65. A Will
We gathered at the cave’s entrance. It’s been days since we started preparing Zar’s plan. According to him, we could infiltrate his father’s castle through a passageway that was hidden. He said no one would know and no one would find us.
Gathering my men, I give orders when Zar runs up to me. His face was paler than what already was. I frown as he tries to catch his breath.
“Letter!” Zar said, placing the wrinkled paper on my chest. Opening it, I read its contents. My face fell as I realized what it was. King Gabriel sent a letter calling for Zar to go back if he wanted to save Valkyrie. Furthermore, he ordered him to be back in two days, or she would pay the price.
Before everything, Zar explained that his father had the lodge to kill him. Because he was an obstacle for him, it seems Zar influenced several kings and princes. King Gabriel’s council also agreed with the peace treaty Zar wished to do. But King Gabriel’s ambitions were too much.
Moving my eyes to the letter, I find another section. It was addressed to me.
“King Dimitri, if you hand up your Onyx Heart, I promise to let your dear mate survive, even though I don’t wish for my daughter to marry an animal like you. I have no choice. Decide, and we shall negotiate. Come along with Zar in two days. If you don’t, I will take it as you are leaving the life of your queen to me.
I gripped the paper in anger. How could he try to bargain something with me?
“Did you read it?” Zar asked, breathing.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“My father mentioned that Valkyrie was his daughter,” Zar said.
Reading it back, I realized he was right.
“Do you know the meaning of this, Zar?” I asked angrily.
“No,” Zar said, shaking his head, “I’m confused as you are.”
“Fuck,” I cursed, “Change of plans.”
“What?” Zar said in shock, “We can’t. You know it’s a trap, Dimitri.”
“I know that’s why we are doing it differently. So let’s gather everyone together,” I said, walking up the stairs.
Once I gathered everyone. I look around at my people.
“Men, as you know, King Gabriel has declared war upon us. He has sentenced himself since the moment he took our queen away. Now that he has sent a letter requesting an exchange for the queen. Things are getting serious. Now we have to change our plan. I know it may surprise you the sudden change, but there’s a reason,” I said, looking at everyone, “You’re Queen is carrying my heirs. I can’t let a simple bargain put you, who are my people, in danger, or me. And I won’t let my queen be in any sort of trouble for our mistake. Now here is the plan. I will head to King Gabriel’s castle with Prince Zar. Damian and a group of eight will go by land. Following the trail that leads to the woods.”
“What about everyone else?” Leo asked.
“I will leave a group of twenty here in case they decide to ambush the palace. Leo and a group of ten will go by air, and Jordan will head down the river. I need you and the team of scouting to prepare for an ambush. We shall have people around his castle in case it’s needed to be attacked,” I said as Damian frowned.
“You’re going alone with Zar?” Damian asked, moving next to me, “You need men, Dimitri.”
“I’m enough,” I said.
“No, let me,” Michael suddenly said, “I shall accompany you both. Also, if Cian is there and Irene as well. I need to save them. Remember, it’s my brother and mate who are stuck there.”
Seeing that Michael wouldn’t back down, I smiled and patted his shoulders.
“Good, now everyone knows their roles. Let’s prepare,” I said, dismissing everyone.
As I walk away, Michael stops me.
“Where are you going?” Michael asked worriedly.
“There’s something I need to do,” I said, smiling. Patting his shoulder again, I head down towards the south side of the palace. There was a place I needed to visit before everything else.
Walking down the quiet hallways, I stop near the window and look outside. The weather was changing, and I had a bad feeling. Moving my eyes down to the forest, I frown. I saw something flying our way. Were we being attacked?
Leaning against the window, I look down. The guards have sensed the new intruder. Then, mind linking Damian and Leo, I let them know what was happening.
Using my dragon sight, I see it was a brown dragon. It seemed kind of injured and was acting strange.
“Let me know what happens,” I said to Damian through the mind link. I couldn’t deviate from this. I had something else to do.
I was reaching two enormous golden doors. I move my hand and place it in the center. Then, moving the latch, I make a cross until the door unlocks. I heard creaking sounds throughout the hall as I pushed both doors open.
An enormous chamber with lit torches greeted me. The place was eerily quiet, and the smell of moistness reached my nostrils. Walking in, I look around. It’s been a while since I have set foot inside this place.
This was the vault, a secret room in the palace where all the kings who had ruled the horde left their most precious treasure hidden from prying eyes. Like any dragon, we all have something we were attached to. My late father had something he was attached to and left for me to use an egg. It was rare to see, but as animals, a female dragon could lay an egg. But it was barely known, especially for a king who mated with a human most of the time. In my case, it was different. I was mated to a hybrid. It meant that if Valkyrie could turn into a dragon, she could lay an egg, making it the first hybrid to lay an egg in four generations.
Why did my father’s precious treasure have an egg? It was easy. Long ago, someone gave him an egg, according to the story. He helped a king who was mated to a dragon. She got pregnant while losing her humanity and was able to lay an egg before passing away. And not any ordinary egg, but one breed in specific.
Father told me several times that his most treasured possession was this egg. A black egg that had the power to crack and make a dragon be born if the person’s blood was strong enough. The king was strong enough to make it come to life. The egg has been dormant for the last three centuries. I could not be awake because one awoke with my father’s blood and two. After all, I never used it. Never found the need.
In all this chaos, it’s time to use it.
Once the king’s blood is given to the egg, it will crack, and a unique dragon shall be born. It will be a pure dragon, a beast: no humanity or human form in it. No one knows how it will look or if the dragon will accept his king as his master.
All this time, I had reserved this egg for one person, Valkyrie. Since finding out she was my mate, I had the idea of bestowing her for this. At first, it looked like it may be of no use, but after finding she was a hybrid, it made more sense. Not only that, but she is also a tamer. Which would make her a master in taming this beast? But now that they have captured her, it’s up to me to use the power of it. To take him with me and fight together.
Standing before the egg, I stare at it. I frown for a second as I go around it. Was it me, or did the egg grow in size?
I remember this egg was half my size, but it seems like it grew now after all this time. But why?
Confused by this sudden discovery, I reached for it, gracing the rough surface of the egg. I stop. Something caught my attention. Moving my hand over it, I feel a slight humming coming from it. Was the egg reacting to me?
Smiling, I moved closer and leaned my face, the dragon inside stirred but just for a moment. Then, stopping as I back away.
Taking a deep breath, I let one of my claws grow enough for me to cut. Reaching for my wrist, I make a deep cut, and hovering my arm over the leg; I let the blood cover it. Squeezing, I let the blood flow. But nothing happened. Did it need more blood?
Doing three more cuts on my palm, wrist, and upper arm, I let all the blood cover the entire egg, but it only moved slightly.
“Is this not enough?” I said, confused. I kept my eyes on the egg. Then, putting my arm down, I pinch my nose. Was I missing something?
I was trying to recall my father’s words. So Damian’s mind links to me.
“Dimitri, you need to come. You wouldn’t know what just happened,” Damian said with excitement in his words. Frowning, I let him know I would be there in a moment.
Keeping my eyes on the egg, I walk around. Did I miss something? It was confusing, but nothing happened after a while.
“Am I not strong enough?” I said aloud, frowning. Then, deciding to leave, I sigh and walk away, closing the vault once again.
Reaching the cave entrance, I stop and stare at everyone. In the middle of the cave lay an exhausted brown dragon. It was panting, struggling with itself.
“What’s this?” I asked as I joined the group. Looking at the front, I find a worried Michael. “Damian?”
“Dimitri, this is Irene,” Damian explained. Surprised, I stare back at the dragon.
“Excuse me?” I asked, confused, “What do you mean this is Irene? Michael?”
Michael was in tears as he caressed the brown dragon.
“This is Irene, Dimitri. Somehow she is poisoned. It seems Gabriel tried to tame her,” Michael explained.
“What about the changes back?” I asked, frowning.
“She… she can’t,” Michael said as his voice broke, “It seems she has started to lose her humanity. She’s more of a beast now.”
Michael looked hurt as he watched Irene.
“Is there a way to make her change forms?” I asked, “If she’s here, it means she still knows us.”
“Dimitri is right,” Damian said, “She came for a reason.”
Walking up to him, I look around. There had to be something we could find as a clue. Stopping near her back, I find some trials of blood and some arrows. Picking one up, I sniff it.
Backing away immediately, I scoff.
“Poison?” I said aloud.
“What?” Michael said, moving next to me, “Let me check it out.”
Sniffing, he finds poison. Then, frowning hard, he moves around.
“Is something the matter?” I asked him.
“Yes, there are two different types of blood here,” Michael said.
“You sure?” I asked as my heart started beating. Michael didn’t say a word. He kept staring at her back. “Michael, answer me!”
“It might be Valkyrie’s,” Michael utters, making my heart full of worry.
“We have to go,” I order, “get everyone ready. Michael, if you want to stay, do.” Michael nodded as I turned around.
“Brother, make sure to scout the forest as you go,” I said, grasping his shoulder, “Anything you mind, link me. Anyone who finds the queen, you take her away, are we clear?” Everyone yelled yes as I turned and got ready to depart. Zar stood in the cave, looking at everyone.
“You ready?” I asked him. Zar sighed.
“Yes, I am. Shall we leave?” Zar said.
“Yes,” I said, undressing. Once on my black beast, Zar gets on my back.
“Damian,” I said, mind linking him. His eyes met mine. “If anything happens, you know what to do.”
Without saying a word, he turns and walks away. I looked down at the vast forest. The mist was covering the first snowfalls. Then, taking a glance back for the last time, I fly off the cave.
I walk down through the dense forest as the snow falls. Falling on my knees, I tiredly sigh. My body couldn’t move any longer. Looking down, I see my legs completely covered in blood. My abdomen and back hurt as I tried to make a single move. I felt drained and weak. How long more for me to reach or find help?
Crying, I bit down a sharp pain that crossed my lower abdomen.
“Dimitri…” I cried as all I wanted right now was to be in his arms. Getting up again, I muster my strength. Taking a step, I feel sudden dizziness hit me. I held my body using the thick stick I carried.
Breathing hard, I see black dots. I groan as my body hits the ground. Then, holding my belly, I yelled. Would I lose the babies if I didn’t get help soon?
I was laying my body up. I stared at the sky; snow fell on my burning face. Letting my tears slide, I close my eyes. But a sound caught my attention. Opening my eyes, I see a black shadow pass by quickly. I sat up and tried to yell, but I couldn’t as the pain became stronger. Recognizing the beast, I cried for Dimitri’s name, but he flew past fast. I tried running, but the more I moved, the more blood oozed down my thighs.
“DIMITRI!” I yelled, falling on my knees, “please don’t leave.”
I choke on my own words as I see the figure disappear in the mist.