Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 50: The Dragon's Nest

It was not a good feeling flying like that with my feet dangling in the air, hoping Dante was not bleeding bad enough to drop me in air. It was like a dangerous roller coaster ride, and I was not enjoying it. Moreover, I was uncertain of what was to come. Where was he taking me? What would happen next? What did he plan to do with me? With all his misplaced and confused instincts towards me, and his gone humanity, what could I expect from him? I had so many questions, and so few answers. Yes, I was free from Baran, and Abby and it was the sun day, so I had many reasons to plaster that smile on my face, but then again I was kidnapped by Dante’s dragon which probably had mating in mind, and I was moving towards a million of unknowns.

I closed my eyes because flying with Dante like this was making me extremely dizzy, and turning my stomach inside out. After what felt like hours of riding, I saw him swiftly descend into the gaping mouth of a cave. He bellowed as if to mark his territory, and stepped in, dropping me softly inside the entrance. He nudged me forward with the tip of his snout, and I had to walk inside. There were traces of stalactite deposits on the rough walls, and ceiling, a natural occurrence of caverns. Clusters of crystals, located in sporadic pockets throughout the cavern glittered from the sun light reflected from the entrance. The cave was getting dimmer with each step. The last thing I wanted was to go deeper where the feeble rays penetrated, at best, faintly into the cave. I hated darkness, I’d been facing darkness in the last two days, and I struggled to stop the claws of panic taking me under its grip as I walked away from the sun. When I was about to lose the last rays of sunshine, I sat down, refusing to budge any further. Dante pushed me gently, but I remained seated.

“I’m not moving Dante, you see I can’t see in the darkness, and I hate it,” I explained as if he could understand me in his dragon form. He tried a few more times to move me, but when he failed, he cried soulfully, and then let it be. His bloody tail swept the ground as he moved and he coiled it around its gigantic frame keeping me in the center, as if to protect me. He folded his wings, and closed his eyes. His breathing was ragged from the pain he was experiencing. I bent over the tail, examining it in detail, touching it softly. He flinched, his tail twitching. There was a bullet wound right in the center of it, he must have been hit by a human. Poor him. Poor humans. I would not cry when this world exploded, unlike that of Rawonia.

The dragon was suffering, I touched its tail, light erupted from my hands flowing directly to the tail. I fed its life source, feeling the energy revive, mend and cure its tail. When it was all over, the dragon gave a happy snort. And, then I felt Dante lick me from neck to cheek, his saliva dripping from his jaws

“Eww, stop licking me, Dante. It’s really disgusting,” I said, trying to wipe it off. “Enough, I’m serious,” I said, shaking my forefinger in a reprimanding gesture.

Dante’s dragon groaned in complaint, and stretched to its full form. It turned around, its long tail scraping over the cave floor, the ground shook as it walked slowly towards the entrance. I had no idea where it was going, was it leaving me? Before I could wrap my head around to being deserted in a dark cave, it spread its wings, the mosaic of colors on its body brightening under the sun, and flew away.

“What the hell just happened?” I murmured to myself. “Seriously, this is so not cool,” I complained, slightly panicking. I walked towards the entrance, the cave was a deep ledge high up a rocky cliff and climbing down was outright dangerous. The mixture of gravel, sand, and stones which jutted above the cliff looked extremely slippery. I had no other choice, but to wait, hoping Dante would be back. I sat down, closed my eyes, letting the sun rays seep through my skin. I let my anxiety dissipate around me, my body was utterly relaxed and I was able to block out everything, focusing solely on the soothing warmth surrounding me.

I woke up with the heavy footsteps of the dragon, the thudding sound the raw meat made when it was thrown from its claws, and the boastful ode of the dragon to its mate. It was Dante, he had hunted for me, and he expected me to eat this bloody meat, as it was, uncooked. It looked to be a freshly killed animal meat, the stench of the blood, and the ripped muscles and meat filling the air. My stomach turned at the sight and the smell of the hunt, and I dry heaved as there was nothing in my stomach since I’d last eaten with the bandits.

“No, please, take it away,” I begged, clutching my stomach. “I can’t eat this, but thank you,” I managed to say in between my stomach convulsions.

Dante took the meat with its claws, and threw it right at me. I shook it off me in disgust. Holy shit, he was nothing but persistent. We played this game a few times, him throwing it at me, and me throwing it right back at him. He roared in frustration, but then gave up, eating the whole thing himself, smacking his lips, and slurping the juicy treat. Then he turned around again, and left. Dante took off a few more times like this, each time bringing me new and different meat. In his own way, he was giving me a buffet of fresh kill, though it was obvious that he was perplexed with my repellence and reaction. He had stopped eating them, the chunks of meat eventually piling up in the cave entrance. It was not sightly.

As the day was wrapping up, I felt sad, angry that another sun day was ending. I would be enslaved to darkness yet again, this time, in this cave. I was not looking forward to it. I would also not survive the hunger in here. I’d once read a Clive Barker story entitled, the Dread. It was about a young student becoming acquainted with an older student who had a morbid fascination with fear. They were together kidnapping a vegetarian woman, imprisoning her in a locked room, providing her with only meat as sustenance. Resisting the meat at first, she eventually ended up eating it, and long after it had become spoiled. I wondered whether that would be my fate in here, starvation had a way of breaking habits. Would I eventually end up jumping at this raw meat, tearing it down like Dante, with blood dripping down my jaw. I almost retched at the thought of it.

I had to do something to find Seth as soon as possible, I couldn’t stay in this cave, I couldn’t stay in this universe. “Dante, do you know where Seth is?” I asked, hoping he’d understand my words. “Seth, your dragon brother, where is he?”

He roared as if that’s what I asked him to do, his voice clear and loud, shaking the very earth. Then it opened its jaws wide and let out a stream of fire. Over and over again it belched waves of fire onto the cave walls, each time looking at me to gauge my reaction to the display of its talents and abilities. I stopped him when he came to lick me, yet again. He grunted, and almost pouted. His expression was nothing, but comical.

The fire display though gave me an idea. I found a stick in the cave, and put a piece of meat on it. I stretched my hand holding the stick the next time Dante’s dragon created fire, and tried to roast the meat. It sizzled, the smell of cooking meat making my stomach grumble. The dragon looked in astonishment, closed its jaw abruptly quenching the fire. It stubbornly refused to provide more fire as though I was doing discredit to the way meat should be eaten. I continued my hand in air, and it eventually relented, bringing another wave of fire. Though the dragon fire was too high to cook the meat in ideal conditions, anything was better than eating raw meat.

After what seemed like endless attempts of turning the meat around the fire, my hand was shaking from holding the stick for too long, and I finally drew it back. I tore the bottom part of my shirt and captured the grease from the meat, I would use that to make a torch later on. I then devoured the meat. The dragon was observing me with keen interest. I was now content, with my stomach satisfied, and I had collected the right ingredients to make a torch for the next day. Though I was not closer to finding Seth, I had assured my survival for today. I would make new plans tomorrow.

Things however got awkward within minutes. I saw three dragons heading our way from the entrance, none of which looked like Seth. They flapped their wings, bellowing in fury, about to land on the mouth of the cave. I stood a little back, uncertain of what their arrival meant. Dante’s dragon pushed me even further back with its head and it stood at the entrance, answering back with its own furious roar. Who were they? Perhaps, they were the other inhabitants of the cave, and they were far from happy in finding me here. Soon they were all in the cave, circling Dante in a ritualistic dance before combat. Though Dante was the stronger of the lot, it would be an unfair fight with three fighting against one.

They all attacked at the same time, tails high in the air, talons sharp as razors, fire steaming from their open jaws. Their uproar was ground shaking, scary. I saw claws tearing flesh, blood spurting from inflicted wounds, heard shrieks of pain, observed large wings enmeshed with others, tails coiling around bodies, heads clashing against one another. It was all a big mess. I saw Dante’s dragon take down one dragon, biting the other’s neck, its jaw clenched firmly on it, with the cry of the fatally wounded dragon echoing in the cave. But, this also gave the other two the chance to inflict damage on Dante’s dragon, they were both on him in a second. Dante’s dragon was holding on to the dying dragon despite the other two clawing at its back, hitting its head with their tails, biting its wings. It was trying to shake them off its back, but it was a futile attempt.

What if something happened to Dante’s dragon? I would be dragon meal in here, torn apart like the little meat pieces at the entrance. Would I be able to protect myself against so many if it came to that, just like the way I’d eliminated Nicole’s guards simultaneously? I didn’t know.

I heard Dante’s pained roar. Though he’d got ridden of one dragon whose massive body now lay immobile on the ground, he’d become badly wounded himself, his wing folded to one side, his back bleeding, and his one eye shut down. And, yet there were still two dragons standing, circling him all over again. I could not withdraw their light sources, even if I could, as I would be withdrawing Dante’s too, killing him in the process. I saw Dante’s dragon fall down, but it tried to stand up on its legs again, its eyes searching for mine. On shaky legs, it stood but, it was faltering badly.

I heard another dragon in the air, were all the dragons flocking this way? Did they all nest in here? Dante could not handle another confrontation. This shit was getting worse. It was the beating of the pulse in my palm which alerted me to what was coming. I closed my palm to slow down the beat, its fast tempo hurting me again. I recognized the dragon, its green scales, its gigantic form, the way it flapped its wings, the way it emitted its battle cry. Seth’s dragon was soon upon us, forcing its way in the cave. Thank God, it was here to help his brother’s dragon. Now, Dante would be safe. And, I would hopefully get a chance to fulfill my mission. How I had missed him, even seeing him in his dragon form made my heart flutter. He was here, and dragon or man, he was mine.

But, before I could rejoice in his presence, I saw him join the group of dragons circling Dante. Holy crap, Seth was here to finish Dante, not to help him. What do I do, what do I do, I kept muttering to myself. I had no damn clue.

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