Chapter 21: Bad Tidings
“Okay, what are the Drakons doing right now?” I asked Fileas.
“What do you mean?”
“Are they attacking?” I snapped.
“No, not yet.”
“You see, all is well. I’ll deal with this. Just give me a few seconds,” I said, trying to calm my heart. I needed to clear my head to figure out how to handle this situation best, and Sierra’s closeness muddled all my thinking. As much as I hated it, I had to put a distance between us. And, that was another thing that needed my scrutiny. Why was I attracted to her this much? Why did I feel as if I could never let her go? I had my suspicions unfortunately, I felt as if I was standing at a crossroad and my life was about to change forever. Was I ready to confront everyone I knew, and loved, and dispense with the life I once knew if it came to that? I sighed in frustration, but first things first, I had to deal with Dante.
Perhaps it was good that he was dropping by, I could pass the vial of the sedative to him. They could analyze it right away as time was not a commodity we had in ample supply, the madness was spreading fast.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t mind speak with Dante, only father could. The ability to communicate came with an oath, which is why I could only mind speak with my Drakons who had vowed their allegiance to me. I had to go outside without arousing the suspicions of the humans.
“Open the hatch, Fileas,” I ordered.
“Uhm, are you sure?” he asked. “Do you want a support team?”
“No,” I said.
His face was expressionless, bereft of any judgment, surprise or shock. He was a good soldier. If circumstances were different, I felt that we could have been good friends.
“Seth,” cried Sierra. “Are you crazy? You can’t go alone. I’ll come with you, I fight well. At least, I think I do,” she said, hesitantly.
Well, I had certainly forgotten about my little kitten. I grinned, unable to help the flood of emotions in my heart responding to her sweet outburst of worry.
“You stay inside; this is something I have to do alone,” I said as I held her by her shoulders. “Trust me,” I said. Gazing deep into her eyes, I felt paralyzed, as if our locked eyes had opened the gateway between our souls, and hearts. I could feel the pour of emotions from her, fear for my safety which almost pushed her to the verge of tears, worry over losing the one person she trusted, panic over the thought I would refuse her offer, and most miraculously love, that encompassing feeling of wholeness, and warmth, fluttering its wings steady and strong in her heart. How could I feel all of this? What the hell was happening to me? To us?
“Boss,” I heard, Fileas say.
“Yeah, right,” I swallowed, finally blinking. “I’ll be fine,” I said to her and then walked away with the sheer force of my will, knowing she was devastated, knowing she was fighting tears, knowing she was shivering with the weight of her feelings towards me, yet to be discovered by her.
The night was slowly settling outside, a chilled breeze was sweeping the dirt and mud across the wet ground. The sky was filling with gray clouds, casting lengthening shadows across the ground under the shine of the newly emerging moon.
I walked, trying to get a sense of where Dante and his men could be. I didn’t have to wait long, it was Rocco, his right hand Drakon, who cut off my path.
“Seth,” he nodded in greeting.
“Hi, Rocco,” I nodded back. “Where’s Dante?” I asked, letting my eyes wander around, in search of him.
I am not sure what alerted me to it, whether it was his unblinking eyes, his unwavering pose of confidence, with his shoulders straight and legs set apart, but I knew what he was about to say.
“Where is Dante?” I asked again, my tone now chilling.
“He caught the madness, Seth. We’ve restrained him.”
“Where is he?” I asked, enunciating each word.
“It does not matter. He’s as good as dead, and you know it.”
“Rocco, you’re forcing my patience. Where the hell is my brother?”
I was already mind speaking with Cayman, I knew what was happening here even before Rocco spelled it out. It was so unspeakable, it was so unheard of, it was so preposterous that I had trouble in letting it sink in. But, I knew it for what it was, and as much as it hurt me, I knew the ramifications of it. Our lives would never be the same.
“How much time will it take you to bring your sweet asses here?” I asked Cayman.
“Why, what’s happening Seth?”
“Treason,” I said bitterly.
“Shoot! We’ll be there in half an hour. Can you hold on?”
I had no idea why they were so close by, apparently, Cayman had ignored my orders to go back to the Camp, for which I was grateful. I laughed. “I will, I have no other fucking choice,” I said. I could easily take out Rocco, but how many were with him? How deep did this betrayal go, I had no clue.
“Why are you laughing Seth?” asked Rocco, his face enraged. “Do you know why we are here?”
“You are here for me.”
He nodded. “Well, you’ve always been the clever one, my Prince.”
“What bothers me Rocco, is how you came to know I was here.”
“You know the answer to that as well, don’t you?” he laughed.
Fucking no, I wouldn’t believe what he was implying. “There are no traitors among my Drakons,” I said, calmly. I wouldn’t allow him to play mind tricks with me.
“How many are there with you?” I asked. “I refuse to believe all his Drakons would turn their back against him.”
“Enough that you can’t take us down alone, or with your stupid human army,” he laughed. “Oh, yes I know about all that nonsense. What would the King say, my dear Prince, to know that his successor is complicit with the Drakons’ number one enemy? It’s the news that would shake the Palace, for sure. Talk about treason,” he said, chuckling. “You have simply outdone yourself.”
I had difficulty remaining in my human form given my haze of rage. I had never liked this asshole, unlike my ever trusting brother, and now I was looking forward to ending him. But, two things stopped me. I still had to gain some time before my Drakons arrived, and I had to gather more information on where Dante was.
“I’m going to ask you again. Where is Dante?” I said.
“He’s with the witch,” he said, smirking. “And, in case you are curious, most of his men are dead, while others are probably heading for the Palace.
“What are you babbling about? What gibberish is this?” I asked. I knew of no witches in Rawonia.
“It doesn’t matter, not really. What matters is that they can’t come to your aid, and you’re here alone. Just the way we wanted it.”
“Cayman?” I asked. “How much longer?”
“We’re here,” he said.
I sighed, thrilled to hear the magical words. “Then I guess, I can start the show,” I said loudly and shifted, letting out my dragon who wanted revenge on this pathetic creature.
I could see his tattoo clearly. It was on his abdomen. His hand came protectively over it, he knew I could see it, he knew I could kill him with a touch. But, I was not going to kill him, I needed him alive as I needed to know more about this witch nonsense he’d sprouted. More of the traitors came out, about twenty of them, to help Rocco. They thought I was alone, some of which shifted and faced me threateningly in their dragon form.
Rocco was not shifting. Hmm, interesting. Perhaps he was no longer an Uruloki? I saw him take a step backward to hide beneath the protection of those who’d managed to shift, his hand still clutching his abdomen.
Suddenly, the roar of my Uruloki warriors filled the sky, and they descended one by one forming a protective circle around me.
“Shit,” I heard Rocco’s panicked outcry.
“I want him alive,” I shouted.
I rose to the sky with the Uruloki, leaving the others to continue the fight on the ground. The battle between the Uruloki would take place in the sky, as it was supposed to be.
Then I charged.
“What the hell is happening out there? Where’s Seth?” Sierra asked.
Fileas saw the lifeless form of a Drakon fall from the sky as it wheezed out a death rattle. “I don’t know. But, the Drakons are killing each other” he said. Despite Seth’s command, he’d brought the Andra to help out Seth, and Sierra had insisted to be part of the fighters. Standing where he was, watching the sky blaze with fire as the dragons slashed at one another, hearing the agonizing cry of the wounded ones filling the silence of the night, he wondered what the hell was going on.