73. A New Empire
A year later…
“Hit me, brother!” I said, laughing as Damian tried to punch my face. Grabbing his fist, I turn him over and slam him to the ground. Damian groaned as he sat up.
“I give up. I’m tired already,” Damian said, massaging his shoulders. I laughed as I ruffled his hair. Then, looking towards the forest, I quietly stare at the horizon. “It’s been a year, right?” Damian whispered as a gust of wind passed by.
“Yes, and the season is changing with it,” I mutter, smiling.
It’s been a year since they left. The last time we knew about them was eight months ago when they reached Irene’s and Michaels’s kingdom. Her real home. I’ve been wondering if they are all right. If she’s taking care of herself and if she will be back soon.
The red dragon never said how long exactly, but it can be two years up to ten years. Of course, it all depends on how fast they travel.
“She will be back soon,” Damian said as he patted my shoulders, “Let’s go back in and get a bath. It’s been a while since we took a bath together.”
“Gross,” I said, pushing him. Then, looking over my shoulder one last time, I head back in. I hoped I would soon see a red dragon heading this way.
“The hordes have been reaching out,” one of the council said, “They all want to gather here and make a deal.”
“What sort of deal are we talking about?” I asked, growling. My elders have gathered everyone in the throne room. As expected, the other hordes have been sending their people to negotiate a way to prolong Valkyrie’s pregnancy. They are worried that our generation will perish. But even I feel hopeless; there’s nothing we can do about it.
“They want you and the queen to hold yourself. Not get her pregnant. They said that there’s enough time for you to get her pregnant. It doesn’t have to be once she’s back,” the elder said, looking at me sternly. Sighing, I pinch my nose.
“Which part don’t you understand that there’s nothing we can do?” my grandfather voiced out, “we have already said it. The prophecy is here. We as beasts have the only option but to accept.”
“There has to be away,” another elder said.
“THERE ISN’T!” I said, slamming my hand on the armrest, “We can’t do anything. All we can do is use our time wisely. Remember, it’s not like we are going to perish once the baby is born. We will stop reproducing. We can live for years, centuries. It all depends on how long we all live.”
“I agree,” a voice suddenly said. We all look towards the entrance. Zar was standing with a smile on his face.
After his father’s death, and Valkyrie left. Zar took his rightful place as king. It’s been over five months since the last time I saw him, so it amazed me to see him here. Was he here for a reason?
“Good day, my king,” Zar said, nodding his head my way.
“King Zar, what a pleasure to see you here,” I said, standing up and descending the stairs. Then, hugging him, I dismiss everyone. “What brings you here?” I asked him curiously.
“It’s about my sister,” Zar said. I frowned at him. Did something happen? “Don’t worry; she’s safe. It’s that she won’t be able to come back.”
“What did you say?” I mumble as fear creeps up my chest.
“She won’t be coming back. Not soon at least,” Zar explained, sighing, “There’s something that she has to do. I got a letter from her, and she explained she wouldn’t be coming soon. Not at the time expected. So I advise you not to wait for her.”
“You’re telling me I shouldn’t be waiting for her?” I said, growling, “What will make her stay longer?”
“Something of importance for all of you,” Zar said, smiling wryly, “Trust her, Dimitri.”
I growled and turned away from him. She can’t take that long.
“Dimitri, trust her. Remember, she won’t leave you, but she will be back when the right time arrives. Now you will have to wait,” Zar said as he stands next to me, “Once they settle everything, she will come back to you.”
Bidding farewell, I watch Zar leave. It’s been three days since he came and now he is leaving. I watch the forest. The first snow was here, and it felt colder than usual. I missed Valkyrie, but I don’t know how long I would have to wait. Crouching down, I pick some snow.
“Hope you come back soon,” I whispered.
Eight years later…
Time has passed, and everything around us has changed. The kingdoms started accepting supernaturals, and laws around us changed. People that we knew perished. Others left. The more time passed, the closer I felt we would lose something. My Horde has gotten bigger thanks to the time we had. Many of my people searched for their mates, which allowed us to reproduce, except for my brother. It’s been two years since Damian went from Horde to Horde to look for his mate. But sadly, he has come back empty-handed. He’s been traveling to the human kingdoms to see if there’s a chance his mate is human, but still nothing. It worried me he wouldn’t have time to at least have a small family.
Something in me also told me that our time to reproduce and continue our generations would soon stop. Walking down the forest, I see Leo and some man near the lake.
“Dimitri?” Leo said, surprised, “What brings you here?”
“I came to do some scouting,” I said as I greeted everyone.
“Well, perfect timing. We were about to do some hunting. Care to join us?” Leo asked, smiling. I nodded and started gathering in a circle.
It was springtime, and the forest was looking amazing. The trees and bushes were gracing us with fruits and vegetables. We still protected our land, but we allowed Zar to expand his kingdom.
Thanks to Zar’s rules and a peace treaty, we could live peacefully. Zar has spoken out for us. Joining hands with the other kingdoms.
“Are you sure you will be fine alone?” Leo asked as I took off my cloak.
“Yes, we shall see who catches more,” I said, smiling. Leo laughed as we took different turns and started doing some hunting.
Two hours later, we had caught at least twelve different animals: deers, rabbits, fish, and some moose.
“Let’s gather and see what we will take,” I order everyone.
Taking our shares, we head back to the palace. Noticing some movement, I stop in my tracks. Was it a deer?
“Leo, take this, please,” I said, handing him my animals.
“You saw something?” Leo asked me.
“Yes, it must be a deer. I will get it,” I said, “head back; I will see you in a while.”
Leo waved goodbye as I walked back to the lake. Quietly, I move through the bushes. I needed to be careful where I would step in case the animal felt my presence. Noticing a movement from afar, I crouched down. There was movement near some tall bushes. I was preparing myself to tackle the beast down. I hear once again the rustling behind the bushes.
“Got you, beast,” I whispered to myself. Then, jumping, I grabbed something, but with it, a yell came.
Stumbling down a small hill, I closed my eyes and held whatever was in my arms.
Stopping once we had reached the lake edge, I coughed and opened my eyes nervously.
I froze when I saw what was under me. A shocked face was looking back at me.
“Valkyrie?” I whispered in surprise.
“Damn it, Dimitri,” Valkyrie said, hissing.
“Valkyrie, it’s you?” I mutter again, still in disbelief.
Staring at me with her two different eyes and a dazzling smile was Valkyrie. I hover over her body, still in shock.
“Hi, my love,” Valkyrie whispered, smiling, “I’ve missed you.”
Unable to contain me, I grabbed her and pulled her to my chest. Valkyrie yelped and started laughing as I hugged her.
“You’re going to break me, Dimitri,” Valkyrie said, laughing.
“It’s you!” I said, almost choking. Then, feeling her arms circle my neck. I hug her tighter. I couldn’t believe she was here.
“Dimitri?” Valkyrie said as I kept her in my arms, “Dimitri, could you let go?”
Realizing I was holding her too tight, I slowly let go of her. Valkyrie looked up at me and smiled.
“I’m home,” Valkyrie whispered as she caressed my face. “I missed you so much.”
Crashing my lips with her, I kiss her. Valkyrie was surprised but responded to my kiss. Sucking on her lips, I devour her with my kisses. How have I missed her? It still felt unreal the more I held her.
Stopping, I lean my forehead against hers. We both pant as we keep our eyes closed.
Slowly, I open my eyes and find her smiling. Reaching for her face, I hold her and kiss her softly. Was she back?
“I can’t believe it,” I whispered against her lips. “But how come we didn’t see you or Alarik?”
Giggling, Valkyrie backs away and looks at me. Her hands caress my chin and lips.
“I came in a horse,” Valkyrie explained, “Alarik had to stay behind.”
“What, why?” I asked, confused, “Did something happen?”
“Not really,” Valkyrie said as she looked into my eyes, “Let’s just say we have something for everyone.” I frowned, still confused, “How about we go back home?”
Valkyrie was smiling at me. She looked mature, and her long red hair was gone.
“Dimitri,” Valkyrie said, making me look at her, “It’s me. I’m back.”
Feeling a tightness in my chest, I hug her again.
“I know, it’s just that it still feels like a dream,” I mutter as I hide my face in her neck.
Finally reaching the palace. Everyone started greeting Valkyrie.
I heard surprised gasps and happy waves of laughter. Damian was the first one to hug Valkyrie when he saw her. A smile spread across Valkyrie as she greeted everyone.
“You’re finally back, but where’s Alarik?” Leo asked as he looked around.
Valkyrie just looked at me.
“Why don’t we gather everyone in the throne room? I have something to tell you all,” Valkyrie said as she held my hands, “You might be interested in what I have to say.”
She was gathering the elders and every other dragon present. Valkyrie proceeds to greet everyone and to stand in front of the people; she looks at everyone.
“It’s nice to be back once again,” Valkyrie said aloud. Then, a genuine smile on her face, “But I came back just to tell you something of importance.”
I looked at her, confused. Valkyrie looked my way, and she smiled wryly. Why was I getting nervous?
“Alarik, my dragon and I had found a place where all the dragons can live together. It’s a place where once the only dragon tamer Alarik’s birth mother lived,” Valkyrie said.
“Wait, you just said the queen’s place. Are you referring to the fallen empire of Euticia?” My grandfather asked. Whispers started spreading around the room. Then, raising her hand, Valkyrie smiled.
“Yes,” Valkyrie said, “The fallen empire of Euticia.”
“That’s a barren land. They destroyed that place years ago,” an elder said.
“Yes, but it’s no longer like that,” Valkyrie explained.
“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.
Valkyrie looked at me.
“The reason I came back until now is that I was taking care of that place. Alarik could build that place up with the help of some old acquaintances. It may sound strange because recently, he came out of an egg, but it seems old acquaintances were still around. Now that fallen empire is new,” Valkyrie explained.
“So you’re saying we should move to that place?” my grandfather asked.
“Yes, the rest of the hordes have agreed and will start moving. So that will be our empire, our only home,” Valkyrie said smiling, “I know it will be hard, and no one must move there. But believe me, things around the world are changing, and it’s time for a change. For a new start for us.”
Everyone murmured between them. I could feel my grandfather gazing at me. Was he leaving the decision to me?
“Say it, brother,” Damian’s mind links me. I snapped my head and found him and Leo smiling. I could see several of my men nodding with a smile. Understanding it was my call, I stood up and looked down at everyone.
“Just like the queen said. It’s time for our race to start a new life. In a new place where we all can live together,” I said smiling, “It’s time to go back to our real home. Where everything started.”