Chapter 40: The Way Out
It seemed they had left me to die in here, and I had been unable to find a means to get out, as of yet. I had banged on the cell door, scratching it until my fingers had started bleeding, I had shouted, but it was to no avail. No one was coming for me. Not even Dante! He should have snapped out of his fit of madness by now, but he had not even shown up, not even once to ask how I’d been doing. The idiot had simply given up on me. In the end, he was a merciless Drakon, just like all the others. I was stupid enough to be moved by his stupid kiss, and empty compliments. On top of everything, I was not going to be able to help Sierra. What would happen to her, if I didn’t make it in time? Did Seth even care about Sierra? But, why had he given me Noah’s name if he hadn’t, not that it had helped?
Oh, wait, was the joke on me? Had Dante already sent a Drakon to save them, and was I the only one who was being punished? For what exactly? Being a human who’d saved their asses? I was angry at myself for being a fool, I had trusted them, I had put my life in danger to save theirs, I had thought Seth, and I were more than a leader and a follower, that we’d become friends. Being friends with a Drakon, what had I been thinking? Well, I hadn’t exactly known, of course, now had I?
Did the Drakons hate all the humans? It was hard to believe that, after all, that failed to explain Seth’s affection for Sierra. Perhaps, she was the exception. What about Travis and Mina? Had he even saved their lives, or had that been a twisted joke? Nothing made sense in here, but none of it changed my fate. I was too weak to lift a finger, I had not put any food in my mouth in two days, and I was so damn thirsty. I had long ago stopped counting the minutes and hours of my stay. But, worse still, I’ve come to the edge of insanity myself, lying here day and night in this pitch dark cell room. And, all these random weird thoughts and meaningless questions kept swirling in my head as my only loyal friends. I was so utterly alone.
“Hey,” I heard someone from the other side of the door address me.
“Hey, who are you? Someone get me out of here,” I said, starting to bang on the door again.
“Ssh, just be quiet, will you please? Control yourself. I brought you some food, there is enough space underneath the door, and I will slide the sandwich, though it is impossible to send you the bottle of water like that. I can pass the water to you in a spoon until your thirst is quenched. It will be torturous but effective.”
“Who are you?” I asked, feeling extremely excited about the water and food.
“I’m Pietro. I’m a human like you.”
“Can you get me out of here Pietro?”
“No, I’m afraid that exceeds my talents, you see I’m not a guest here in the Palace. No, my situation is far from it. But, I can bring you food as long as you are here.”
“I see. Do you know what they plan to do with me?”
“No, I’m sorry. I don’t have their ears, and neither does Kristin.”
“Who is Kristin?” I asked.
“Uhm, well, she and I are mates, you see. She’s a Drakon,” he replied.
“You mean?” I said.
“Yes, that means we are together,” he clarified for my sake. “In fact, it’s a rather weird story.
“I bet,” I murmured, sarcastically.
“You see, she had kidnapped me in her dragon form when I was trying to get away from her kind in the middle of battle. And when I thought she was going to kill me, well.... she didn’t, or perhaps a better way of expressing it would be, she simply couldn’t. We rather fell in love, but Drakons are not sympathetic of humans, so I’m her sweet secret, in a way, to be kept hidden at all times.”
I was not as surprised or as disgusted as I should be, the wheels in my head were turning. Were Seth and Sierra mates, too? And, what about Dante? I stopped myself; I so didn’t want to go there!
“How come you are here then, helping me?”
When I heard about a human prisoner, I just knew I had to do something. Believe me; Kristen would have a fit if she knew I was here right now.
“Then, I thank you, Pietro, from the bottom of my heart,” I said. And, I meant it.
“You are welcome, here grab the food now so that I can slide the spoon. You need to be careful with the spoon, yes grab the handle tightly now, like that...yes. Don’t let the water slip; there’s very little there anyway, you don’t want to waste it.”
He had brought some light, so I was able to see what was happening.
Pietro stayed at the other side, patiently filling the spoon and passing it to me, I messed up a few times, dropping the spoon, but I eventually got the hold of it and devoured any sip of water I could get my hands on. Then, I ate the sandwich, and for the very first time in what seemed like many days, I felt much better. Even after Pietro left, I refused to be afraid. I would kick their Drakon asses the moment I found a way out of here, and I was not giving up. Watch me, shitheads, I shouted, I’ll get out! I lifted my butt with a renewed vigor, and I started feeling the tiled walls, it was thankfully a bad handy work, and tiles were sticking out here and there.
An idea began to form in my head. Though it would be tough, it was doable, and I would try it. I put one foot in between the two bottom tiles, stretched my hands on the two files above those. I felt the blood flow from my fingertips when I pressed them deep in between the tiles to get a good grab, I bent my back, glued my stomach and pelvis to the wall, and hauled myself up. My arm muscles shook with the exertion, yet I did it again, and yet again. I was hoping to find a ceiling hatch; it was worth trying. Anything was better than sitting on my butt, crying and cursing over my fate. So, I took another breath, and I stretched my arm to a tile right above me, placed my other hand to the one on its left. My right foot thankfully came across a tile which was sticking out, but my left one was barely holding on a flat one, so I curved my feet and curled up my toes to hang onto it. I took a deep breath and pushed myself up. And, that’s how the Drakon found me when he opened the cell door. I cursed. The light from outside blinded me, and I almost slipped. But, I held onto the wall, and lifted myself up again, hoping to make it to the assumed hatch, the existence of which was in doubt in the first place.
“Stop it witch!” he shouted, rushing to the wall to grab my foot. I lifted my foot in a hurry, but his hands were long, and he had no problem in catching my ankle. I shook my ankle trying to get rid of his hold, but I lost my delicate balance and toppled down to the floor.
“Screw you!” I yelled at him, trying to kick him with all the force I could muster in me.
“Noah, stop playing, and catch the damn witch,” a Drakon yelled from outside the cell.
“Noah? Is your name Noah?” I asked, excited.
“Shut up witch,” he said, “Your time is done here.”
“Stop, wait...listen,” I yelled.
“I told you to shut up.”
“Seth gave me a message for you!”
“You are lying,” he accused me, narrowing his eyes. “There’s no way you could have run into our Prince,” he said as he tried to drag me out of the room holding me by one leg. I slid on the dirty floor; in vain I tried to create friction by trying to hold on to something, but there was nothing, and the sticky blood on my hands didn’t make it easy, it only helped collect all the grime and dirt on the floor gluing them to my poor hands. Though I would have done anything to get out of this cell, I knew getting out right now meant I was going to my death.
Starvation made all my limbs ache. The stretch of my leg was pure agony as he pulled it, and I could barely get the words out, “He said you were taking care of Travis and Mina, and he depended on you to do the same for me.”
“What did you just say?” he said, finally stopping.
“He said he could rely on you to protect me and that I should ask for you if Dante wasn’t himself.”
He was silent for a few minutes as if to decipher the veracity of my words. “Go on, I’m listening,” he finally said.
Holy crap, was it working? Was this not a farce after all? Would he help me, just like Seth had promised?
“Noah, C’mon man, let’s kill the witch and be done with it,” the other guard said from the door.
I shivered when I heard their plans for me as confirmed.
“I’ve got this,” Noah shouted. “You go ahead,” he said.
“Fine, this one is on you, you can explain it all to the King,” he muttered as he departed.
“Where is our Prince?” Noah asked.
“He is in trouble, he was shot, and he was too weak the last time I saw him. Sierra is also hurt, and so Dante and I went ahead to bring help. But, Dante ended up slipping into one of his episodes, and I got stuck in here. Did Dante send aid to them? Are they already here?”
“Who is Sierra?” he asked.
Though he didn’t say anything else, his question indicated they were not here. “She is human like me,” I answered.
“Oh no, not again,” he muttered. “I no longer know what’s going on in Rawonia,” he complained.
“Dante?” I inquired.
“Prince Dante is lost to us, we have restrained him, he’s been extremely violent, and destructive.”
So, that explained why he’d not been around. My heart gave a big beat, though I hated myself for it. You fool, fool Elvan, you’ve always been sensible, now is not the time to lose yourself over a stupid Drakon, I’d admonished myself. But, I knew how to help him, and I would do it no matter the state of my feelings, if only Noah allowed it.
“I can help him,” I said.
“There’s no helping him, human girl. He’s got the Drakon madness, and there is no curing it. Tell me where Prince Seth is, and I will go and get him.”
“I have to show it to you,” I said, hoping he’d allow me. I would do anything to get out of here, and I was not taking any more chances on my life by continuing to stay in this Palace.
“Fine, let’s go then,” he said.
“Not yet, I may not be able to cure Dante, but I can help him. I’ve done it before,” I insisted. “Please, Seth would want me to help him.”
“Dante will kill you,” Noah said.
“Why do you care, you were going to kill me anyway, that would solve your problems. Just take me to him.”
“You are the only one who can locate Prince Seth.”
“Okay, bring me a map, and I will show you where he is,” I said, giving up on my only leverage, and the right to freedom.
“Listen to me, human. I’m taking a huge risk here by taking your word for everything, but if you play me wrong, I will burn you alive, do you hear me?”
I showed him Seth and Sierra’s location on the map. He then dragged me by the elbow, making sure I knew my place at all times. Dante’s room had a guard in front of it, who flinched every time the door shook in its hinges with one of Dante’s hard kicks. Dante’s singing had been replaced by painful screams, shouts, and acts of violence.
“Open the door, ” Noah said.
“Are you crazy?” the guard responded.
“Just do it, the last time I checked, I still outstripped your rank. Do it,” Noah insisted.
“Here you do it yourself,” he said, as the guard threw him the keys and left abruptly. When the door opened, I was in shock. Madness seemed to have made Dante unrecognizable, his hair was a tangled mess, falling over his eyes, his clothes were torn, his hands were all bloodied from punching the walls, but it was his eyes which were the worst, they held no glimpse of the charming Drakon I once knew. Was I right in taking this risk? He turned around, and grabbed one chair leg he had broken before, and lifted it high into the air, hissing as he shook it threateningly.
“We should leave, c’mon. I told you,” said Noah, trying to pull me out. But I stood my ground.
Dante started to walk towards me, raising the chair leg as if he was getting ready to hit me, but then his eyes caught mine on the way, and he stopped. He blinked in confusion and looked at me. His eyes watered as though that could wash away the madness; his hands shook terribly, and he eventually dropped the chair leg with a loud crash. He swallowed a few times as if to form words, but nothing seemed to come out. Though he tried a few more times, he had to let it go. I took a few step towards him, as he seemed to be transfixed in the same spot, unable to move, speak or do anything. When I was close enough, he did the one thing that I never thought I would miss, not in a million years. He started to sing.
“Dante,” I said, as I took another step towards him, and I took his head in between my hands, and I rose on tiptoe to crush his lips. I didn’t let go, holding him tight as I kissed him, angling my jaw so as to deepen our kiss, not giving him much space or opportunity to get away, just the way he’d done to me before. I kissed him as though this was our last day in Rawonia, as though I was a mere girl who’d just found her long lost love, as though he was mine, and mine alone. When I finally let go and opened my eyes, I saw him blink again. “Where were you?” he said, though no longer singing. “I thought I lost you, why did you leave me?” he asked, sadly.
Noah was in utter shock, taking the weird scene in.
“Shit! How long have I been out like this? Did you send help to Seth?” he asked me when he suddenly remembered our mission.
I shook my head.
“But, why? Did you forget our purpose in coming here? What have you been doing?” he asked, his tone getting harsher, more suspicious. “Have you been dallying with another?”
“No, not really. In fact, I was also locked away, if you must know.”
“Locked away? Locked away where?” he asked.
“In prison,” I replied.
“Who would lock you away? Who would dare touch you?” he growled.
“My Prince, we didn’t know who she was. And, you were not yourself,” Noah tried to explain. We still don’t he wanted to add, but he didn’t.
Dante was shaking with rage. Oh, he was certainly not in the mood to sing now!
“Hey, control yourself,” I warned him. “Can we just get to the rescuing part now? It’s been days since we left Seth and Sierra there. We don’t have any time to lose.”
I was still in a haze about Seth and Dante being Drakons, but this didn’t change what needed to be done. Seth and Sierra needed help, and I still cared, it seemed.
“Yes, of course, sweetheart,” he said, immediately placing a charming grin to his face. “Whatever you want, if only you give me another kiss, hmm?” he said, leaning towards me.
“Whoa, you’ve already had yours. I’m afraid you filled your quota for today,” I said, getting away fast.
The suddenly appearing frown on his face was too funny. “It is not fair; I’m a big Drakon. How can one kiss be enough?” he asked, pointing at his height and size in exaggerated gestures. “Someone of my size should have at least a dozen, heck two dozens of kisses to last me a day.”
“You are free to get them from other Palace girls, just not from me,” I said, smiling.
“You are such a vixen,” he said, pouting again. “I can not believe you can not find any compassion in your heart for a sick, mad Drakon like me. You are heartless.” He sighed deeply.
“Oh, please,” I said. “Leave away the theatrics.”
“I know you will not be able to resist me eventually,” he said with a huge smile. “Unless of course, the madness has wiped away any trace of my charm,” he said, slightly frowning, as he contemplated the possibility. But, the frown was extremely short lived. “Oh well, in that case, I will just have to try a lot harder, my sweet, beautiful vixen” he finally said, finding his joy again.
“Who will go to rescue Seth?” Dante asked Noah.
“I will go, my Prince. And I will take Kristen, too.”
Of course, he was taking the Drakon mated to Pietro. It seemed the number of human fans among the Drakons didn’t go up higher than two. Would Sierra and I, be secrets in this Palace, too? Sierra could stay if she wished, but I hoped they would allow me to leave before it came to that.
“Okay, Elvan and I will come with you,” Dante said.
“As you wish my Prince,” Noah said, bowing.
And, that’s how I found myself riding a Drakon. It was the most rejuvenating, exhilarating, thrilling moment of my life as Kristen’s dragon rose to the sky. I held onto its neck tightly at first, but then only used my legs to stay put, while I opened my arms wide, feeling the rush of air, and thrill fill my whole body as the dragon flew high up in the clouds. I cried out in joy and closed my eyes to focus on my other sensations. Many times, I cried out in joy when it went out of its way to conduct an unusual move, such as diving or spinning around. I could also not help but wonder how it would feel to fly with Dante instead, but I didn’t want to go to such uncharted territories, not even in my thought process. Instead, I tried to focus on Sierra and Seth, and I wondered whether they were still doing okay.