|“||"It's all of us together. Always has been, always will be."||”|
–Book Quote from the chapter The Panda
The Dragon's Eye is the eighth and final book in the Fall of the Beasts series, and the fifteenth book overall. It is written by Sarwat Chadda. Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and Seaspray are depicted on the cover.
Rather than facing trial with the rest of their order, the friends and their spirit animals find themselves smuggled to a remote palace. There they discover that the plot against them runs deeper--and is far more sinister--than anyone realized. Someone has been manipulating both the Greencloaks and Erdas' leaders, all to uncover a powerful relic with the potential to flood the entire world.
To stop this conspiracy, the Heroes of Erdas will need absolute faith in their spirit animals. If they fail, all of Erdas will drown.
Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are on a boat en route to Zhong, where they are forced to listen to the other prisoners being tortured by Cordelia the Kind. Rollan talks to Kofe, a fellow Greencloak prisoner. There are two other Greencloak prisoners: Lady Cranston and Salaman. Kofe reveals that the only reason he and his fellow Greencloaks weren’t caught is because of a special mission they were on, but he also admits that it doesn’t look good for any of them with Olvan and Lenori captured.
Rollan sees through Essix's eyes, but the moment is interrupted by a crazy old man who is also a prisoner. Then, Kana comes down and tells them that they’re arriving in Zhong soon. Rollan asks about Worthy, but Kana simply replies that they won’t be seeing him again. She leaves after opening a porthole and Rollan sends Essix to Greenhaven with a note.
They dock. Cordelia comes down, her boots wet with blood, her gloved hands gripping the Wildcat’s Claw. They’re taken up onto the deck and look out at the Summer Palace. Kofe allows the crazy old man to ride on his back while Conor antagonizes the Oathbound. Meilin attempts to calm him down and tells him to be patient. Conor regards a water dragon until Cordelia kicks his feet out from under him. He retaliates, ramming into her stomach and punching her jaw. She unsheathes the Claw, lunging at Conor, who throws a rock into her forehead. He leads Cordelia into the water, pretending to trip when they get far enough out, and Cordelia takes the bait, but her heavy armour weighs her down. He holds her under until a group of sailors go and fetch both of them.
They reach the Summer Palace to find that Princess Song is now the empress. She instructs that they unlock their manacles and offers them some food. Initially, Song treats the Heroes with friendliness, but she soon reveals she is allied with the Oathbound, and that her father's assassination was her own doing. In addition, she reveals that she has a spirit animal—the same Zhongese water dragon the group had seen sunbathing earlier. His name is Seaspray, and Song intends to acquire the Dragon's Eye in order to make him very powerful, since she believes that he’s pathetic. She sends the three elder Greencloaks from the ship to get the Dragon’s Eye, but they refuse, and Rollan is almost thrown out the window due to their defiance. Kobe cries that they’ll do it, and Meilin runs over to Rollan, helping him up. Song insults them both, filling Rollan with a fiery rage. Meilin quickly realizes why she isn’t sending the Oathbound to get the Dragon’s Eye: she already has, and they failed.
After imprisoning the Four, Song prepares to meet with a Niloan delegation. Chief Ugo, a Niloan delegate, is rather disgusted by the Oathbound’s presence, especially Cordelia’s, since he knows about what she did in Eura. He tries to convince Song to allow the Greencloaks a fair trial. He gets into a spat with Cordelia which almost turns into a fight, with Ugo releasing his rhinoceros spirit animal. Song stops them, refusing Ugo's offer, and Ugo warns her that he will tell the High Chieftain of Nilo of her actions. He then leaves. Song hurls her crown at the door, shattering it. She subtly asks Kana to kill Chief Ugo, but she warns her that this could backfire and make her suspicious. Kana continues to warn her not to make enemies, but Song pays her no heed.
Brunhild the Merry leads The Four out of their cell and down to a cavern beneath the palace with a menagerie of animals painted on the walls. Song is down there and tells them that she’s sending them down to get the Dragon’s Eye, since the elder Greencloaks failed. At first, they refuse to cooperate with Song's plan, but she reveals that she had trapped Essix in a cage, and would drop her into the sea if they did not come back with the Dragon's Eye in one hour. Not wanting Essix to be harmed, the Heroes acquiesce, grab some weapons, and enter the catacombs.
They find a chamber filled with flammable natural gas and a floor made up of closely-wedged metal tiles on springs. They also find the burnt body of Salaman. Conor quickly realizes that even slight movements on the tiles would cause the tiles to strike sparks, igniting the natural gas and setting the room on fire. They decide that their best chance would be to throw a rock onto the metal tiles and take cover from the upcoming explosion (as natural gas isn't endless and takes some time to replenish, so they would be able to run to the exit before another explosion set off). It works, but Conor steps on an old tile with a broken spring, spraining his ankle and ripping the skin off of his shin. He makes it across. Jhi tends to his leg before they set off again.
The Four make their way to the second trial: a cavern in which the only way to get across the razor-sharp spikes of stone is to swing from five trapezes. Thinking of themselves as clever, they opt to skip the trapezes and climb down onto the spiked floor. But they slowly realize that skipping the trapezes was a bad idea, as they find Lady Cranston's dead body swollen with large red lumps. In addition, the cavern floor is home to huge mounds of biting ants. Using Rollan's spear and Conor's quarterstaff as stilts, Abeke begins to carry her friends across the ant-ridden floor. Meilin and Rollan get across without any problems, but Abeke struggles under Conor's weight. The stilts are slowly breaking, and on top of that, the biting ants have crawled up the stilts and are closing in on Abeke's foot. Abeke loses her balance and her and Conor begin to fall to the ground, but Rollan and Meilin are able to save them.
The final challenge is climbing down a moist cliff to reach the shrine dedicated to the creator of the Dragon’s Eye. Meilin makes it to the middle of the cliffside before she freezes, too scared to continue her descent. Her friends urge her on, but she slips and tumbles into the cold water. She almost drowns, but someone pulls her out of the water just in time. Meilin drags herself onto the stone and finds Kofe, sitting beside her, and injured but alive, and mistakes him as her rescuer. But her rescuer is none other than Xin Kao Dai, legendary hero of Zhong and creator of the Dragon's Eye. Xin Kao Dai talks about his adventures with Dancer Across Moonlit Waves–his water dragon spirit animal–and informs Meilin of the whereabouts of his bond token and opens up a secret passage that leads out of the catacombs. They take the Dragon’s Eye and the scroll with instructions on how to forge a bond token and leave.
Meanwhile, Song is watching the hour-burning candle slowly diminish. She tries to demand the Oathbound to go in and find the Dragon’s Eye, but they look to Kana, and Kana assures her that they still might make it out. Song talks about destroying their enemies with the bond token, but their conversation is cut off when the candle burns out. Just as they’re about to throw Essix off the cliff, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan appear. They release Essix and give Song the Dragon’s Eye. Kofe tries to warn her that it will corrupt you and sympathizes with her about the cruelty of her father, but Song gets angry and Cordelia stabs him with the Wildcat’s Claw. Song thinks about killing The Four as well, but she decides to wait and brings them down to the beach.
When they get there, Song summons Seaspray. When the water dragon lays down to nap on a sunny rock, she kicks her spirit animal awake. Abeke rushes forward to put an end to the beating. She squats down to brush her hand along his colorful, shimmering scales, admiring him. Song calls her water dragon weak and useless. The princess takes the Dragon's Eye and holds it in front of her spirit animal, who is hypnotized by the relic. The Four Heroes decide to make a run for it as Seaspray starts to thrash in pain, roaring as his body doubles in size. Abeke slams into the Oathbound guarding her and takes off, losing them in a series of caves in the cliff, where she discovers Worthy. However, Rollan, Meilin, and Conor did not escape, and they sit miserably in their prison cell, talking about how insane Song is to condemn her spirit animal to such pain and eating food that looks comparable to seagull droppings.
After they’re done eating, Worthy appears and unlocks their cell. They embrace him, and he explains that he and Abeke ran into each other in the caves. Abeke takes care of Wikam and Worthy introduces Chief Ugo. He’s been suspicious of the Oathbound and decided to check it out, teaming up with Worthy to rescue the Heroes of Erdas. He says that there could be another war when the other leaders discover what Song has done and wants to take them back to Nilo. The Four decide to stay and try to retrieve the bond tokens–particularly the Dragon’s Eye–before they leave, while Abeke and Worthy free the prisoners and try to get them on a boat to Nilo.
They successfully free the prisoners and creep into a stable, but a squad of Oathbound is in the way of the exit. Abeke released Uraza for help, and the leopard leaps onto the roof, encouraging them to follow. They jump across the roofs, but when the crazy old man kicks a man when he’s too scared to jump, the Oathbound hear a commotion and spot them. They reach the beach, and Worthy gets the prisoners on board, but Abeke and Uraza are busy holding off the Oathbound. They almost make it, but a soldier knocks the breath out of her and sends her tumbling into the water. Captain Peng drags her under, but old man saves her.
Meanwhile, Meilin tries to guide them through the palace to Song’s quarters, but Conor’s convinced that they’re lost. They overhear Sid and Kana talking about how insane Song is and getting rid of Cordelia. They find two Zhongese Warriors guarding Song’s room, but Briggan takes him out and they enter Song’s room. They find that the Dragon’s Eye isn’t there, but they do meet up with Abeke, who Conor mistakes for spy.
Song is in the gardens, looking for her father, since she believes that she saw him tapping on the window. She brags about how much better she is than him until Kana and the other Oathbound find her. Convinced they want the Dragon’s Eye for themselves, she flees until she reaches the cliffside. Kana tries to assure her that they don’t want to steal the bond token and her father can’t hurt her anymore. Song doesn’t listen, deciding to show her father what she can do with The Dragon’s Eye.
They go down to the beach again. Song remembers the humiliating day when she summoned Seaspray and dives into the water, not coming up for air, as the powerful relic gives her water-breathing abilities. She marvels at the underwater world and begins to tap into the Eye’s full power.
As Song uses the Dragon’s Eye, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and the crazy old man are unable to escape the palace due to the bountiful guards outside. They go into an armory and find some of their belongings that were confiscated from them when they were captured. They discuss plans to get the bond tokens back and escape. Meilin suggests that they make their own, but the process is incredibly perilous, and if it fails, it could kill them and their spirit animals. Meilin reads the scroll–mostly about what happens if the process fails–and even when they find that half of the scroll has turned to mulch, they each pick an item to become their token and ask their spirit animals for their permission to go along with the plan. They agree. Conor chooses a staff, Abeke wields a bow, Meilin picks a hairpin, and Rollan wears Tarik's cloak as each of their bond tokens.
Conor goes first. He focuses on Briggan and looks through his eyes. Briggan is hunting, comparing his doubtful, cautious summoner to himself. His vision ends as Briggan kills a deer, but Conor still feels as though he’s part wolf, with the robust heartbeat and the thrill of the hunt.
Rollan is second. He goes to sit beside Meilin and focuses on Essix until he’s soaring in the sky as the falcon. He flies high, looking down at Erdas and the different continents. Without warning, the clouds darken to angry greys, and he dives to fly between the Summer Palace’s spires and opens his eyes. He can still feel the undying urge to soar.
Meilin is next. She’s still anxious about creating her bond token, since her and Jhi bonded with the Bile and forced her will on her. They eventually convince her, and she enters Jhi’s mind, finding her mouth to be filled with the Bile. When she opens her mouth, more pours in, and she can hear beasts of all sorts crying in agony as they’re tortured by the Bile. Her friends’ cries join them, and she fights the Bile, suddenly sensing Jhi’s quiet resolve. Orbs of light appear and abolish the Bile. She opens her eyes. Jhi comes over to hug her, and the rest of her friends follow.
Abeke is last. Although she doesn’t show it, she frets about her and Uraza’s bond, since it was torn apart by Zerif and because Uraza killed Shane. She merges minds with the leopard and is thrown back into the scene where Shane was killed. Uraza is relishing killing him, thinking about how pathetic he is. Then, when Abeke watches herself mourn over Shane’s body, she realizes her spirit animal’s guilt and shame. In that moment, any doubt about their bond fades, and she opens her eyes. And four new bond tokens are born.
They go up the stairs with their new bond tokens on hand, and Conor uses Briggan’s powers to smell out every detail of the room. They leap in and take out the Oathbound with the advantage of surprise. Meilin asks where Song went, and the guard says that she’s down by the beach with her inner circle of Oathbound. They run into soldiers at the gate in the courtyard, but the crazy old man walks up to them before the Four can decide on their plan of action. He reveals himself to be Ambassador Ying, the Greencloak who gave the Nectar of Ninani to Song, and the soldiers acquiesce, opening the gate for them. Ying urges them to get the relics back, explaining that he understood Song’s motifs, but knew that her ambition would destroy them all.
They rush down the path leading to the cliffs, but Sid the Generous blocks the way forward. Abeke and Rollan hang back to fight him. Abeke attempts to shoot him down, but Sid uses Stormspeaker to send a bolt of lightning to destroy the arrows. He retaliated, sending more bolts intended to hit them. Abeke shoot him again with no luck. Then, with lightning speed, Sid stabs at Rollan and even becomes a formidable opponent for Uraza. He releases Slasher, but the wolverine quickly flees after a losing battle with Uraza. Sid throws lightning in Essix’s direction, and when Rollan goes to her aide, he flies with his cloak. Then, when Sid goes for Abeke, she leaps twenty feet in the air with her bow bond token. She leaps up again and slams her bow into his chest, and Sid tries to break it, stupefied when it doesn’t. Abeke leaps and kicks him square in the back. Stormspeaker flies from his head and Rollan catches it. They tie him up and head for Conor and Meilin.
Meanwhile, Conor and Meilin fight Kana and Cordelia. Conor is like a wolf, howling with Briggan and sniffing out Kana to prevent her ambush. Meilin tries to convince her to stop Song, and Kana gives in, pleading her to help her friend. Cordelia comes and slashes at Kana with the flames from the Wildcat’s Claw, insulting Conor, yet reluctant to advance.
Conor starts the fight, and they tumble across the ground. Cordelia rams her sword hilt into his back. Conor swipes with his crook, Cordelia kicks him in the chest, and they roll apart. Conor dodges every one of her moves and Briggan jumps in and lashes at Cordelia. She tries to break his shepherd’s crook, screaming in fury when it doesn’t. But Conor begins to weaken from the blood loss and Cordelia knocks his staff out of his hands. Without it, the strength that kept him going seeps from him. He grabs her wrists in a desperate attempt to hold her back, and when she gets away from his grasp, she swings at Conor, who ducks. Cordelia’s swing throws her over the cliff’s edge. Conor tries to get her to let go of the Wildcat’s Claw and take his hand as she clings to the cliffside with one hand, but she swings at him instead, sending herself falling to her death.
Conor then collapses from his wounds, but luckily Jhi is there to heal him. They look onto the beach at the fifty-foot waves and Song, standing in the midst of the chaos as Seaspray swims around her. Conor asks how Kana is, and Meilin says that she’s okay. Kana pleads them again to stop Song as Abeke and Rollan join them on the cliffside. Rollan flies down to distract Song, and chunks of the Summer Palace come crashing down into the sea. Meilin hears screams from those still in the dilapidating palace and sends Jhi to go and help.
They climb down the path on the cliff’s edge, and Abeke narrowly saves Meilin from getting crushed by a boulder. She’s slammed against the rock when a wave comes in and gives up on the climb and yells to Song to stop. She laughs, ignoring her, and Meilin dives into the sea. She swims over to Song. Abeke tries to reach her from the rocks and Rollan flies above. Conor battles Seaspray with Briggan in the water, riding the water dragon.
Meilin reaches Song, hardly able to stand from her battle with the sea’s wrath. She tries to convince Song to stop, trying to snag the Dragon’s Eye from her, but Song knows how to fight and lashes out. She’s been training to fight for the day she killed her father. She feints a blow, kicking Meilin’s jaw, sending her to the ground. She attempts to use her bond token to calm Song, but it doesn’t work. The empress grows angry, raining blows on Meilin, who easily dodges and pushes Song to her feet. Abeke calls a warning to Meilin as Seaspray closes in to kill her. Meilin leaps into the sea where Rollan rescues her, flying her to land. He holds her hand as she coughs up water, telling her softly not to scare her like that again.
Conor is still in the water, fighting Song and Seaspray, but he finally gives up, paddling for cover as the entire cliff comes down. Meilin gets an idea when regarding Song’s blind anger, antagonizing her into coming after her. Song and her spirit animal get appallingly close before Rollan grabs Meilin and flies her away from the collapsing cliff. It comes down on Song and Seaspray who are lost beneath the waves and falling debris. Eventually, the sea calms as Jhi licks their wounds. Everything is peaceful again, and the battle is finally over.
Awhile later, Rollan sits on what was once the palace gates, watching Essix aggravate the seagulls. Soldiers are patrolling the beach, searching for any sign of Song or Seaspray. Kofe, Salaman, and Lady Cranston lay with green cloaks on top of their bodies, waiting to be buried. Meilin beckons him down from the gate, luring him with the mention of food.
They walk into the haphazard camp. Jhi is sitting nearby, merrily eating bamboo as Conor, Briggan, Abeke, and Uraza search the ruins of the palace for any unaccounted people. Rollan gets some soup and Chief Ugo approaches him and Meilin. He reveals that only a few port cites were flooded and that the Greencloaks are being exonerated before leaving them to return to Nilo. Rollan then regards Ambassador Ying, busy signing papers and writing letters and instructions. Rollan mentions to Meilin that there’s going to be a lot of rebuilding of trust.
Conor and Abeke join them, and Ambassador Ying soon after. He says that although two of the original bond tokens are gone, the best gift they’ve gotten out of this is peace, and he still pities Song. She was misguided, though, from her father, who drove her to a path twisted with ambition and anger. He hands them a scroll to bring to Greenhaven that includes the entire truth of the whole situation with Song. They’re interrupted by a soldier telling Ying that his breakfast is ready. Rollan tells him that it’s delicious, and Ying replies that it’s his mother’s recipe.
The Four talk about their hopes of getting their own rooms on the boat they’re going on. Conor and Abeke talk about how loud Rollan’s snoring is. They put their spirit animals back into passive state and head for the ship. Essix decides to fly alongside the ship. Rollan pats Tarik’s cloak and watches Essix fly, knowing just how free she felt soaring in the air. He gathers his rucksack and heads down the beach to his friends.
- “Manage” is misspelled “mange” on page 68.