Waking Other Lives

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Campus Call

Seth’s POV

I looked at Cayman in disbelief. “You took the wrong turn,” I said.

“Oops, why didn’t you say so?” he said, taking the next exit, too sharply for my liking, the tires sliding on the slick wet road haphazardly. It was raining, and Cayman behind the wheel was a menace to the whole population. Somebody behind us honked wildly, I heard him roll down the window and curse at Cayman as he passed us by. I sighed, I was beginning to think he was better off sticking to flying. Who would have thought?

When Cayman parked the car in the parking lot, I chuckled. The car was now parked in the middle of the space allocated for two cars. I was better off getting my hands on my own car soon, or with Cayman with the wheels, I was going to be dead long before Abby got to me.

“Are you mayhap working with the witch?” I joked.

He looked at me, feigning insult. “I’d never...” he objected. “Mayhap a little,” he said, and smacked me hard on the shoulder.

“I liked you better in Rawonia,” I said, rubbing my shoulder.

He laughed heartily. “Where do we go?” Cayman asked me, the playfulness slowly disappearing from his tone.

I took the lead, I don’t know how I knew, or why, but I felt where they were, my buddies, my Drakons. One bunch was at the cafeteria, sitting at our usual table, patiently waiting for me while the others, the impatient bunch, was at the basketball court, getting hot and sweaty, playing against one another, wasting hours as they waited for my arrival. Dante was among the latter.

I sent Cayman to the cafeteria to gather the former group. “Come to the basketball court in the west wing afterwards,” I instructed. The joking friend a few minutes ago was all gone, Cayman was all serious now, like the loyal and responsible soldier he’d been in Rawonia, he was on full alert mode.

My footsteps were hurried with the urge to see my Drakons. I hurried through the hallway, and heard it all stop, the dribble of the ball--thump thump thump against the floor, the slapping sound of hands transferring the ball from one to another, the running shoes hitting a hard surface, the movement of bodies rising high up in the air. A hush of silence prevailed as I entered the room, they all stood frozen at the court, looking at me in amazement. Then, they all bowed their heads in a gesture of respect. But, that was that, as within seconds, they were all over me, hugging me, too many hands patting me at my back. It was a moment of pure joy to see them like this, my emotions heavy with our shared memories which extended far beyond this earth, and I felt awed with the knowledge that I had the loyalty, friendship, and respect of these great men in life, no matter the universe we were in.

I turned around, feeling him standing like that with his sloppy smile. Dante. My brother in arms, my brother, my friend.

Dante playfully punched me in the stomach. “I still remember the beating you gave me at the cave,” he said. “You almost killed me, douchebag,” he admonished, with a grin.

“Well, you had my Sierra, asshole,” I responded back. The joking atmosphere soon changed though, Dante’s face suddenly contorted pain, in remembrance.

“Where is she, Seth? I can’t find her, I’ve looked everywhere,” he said, the emotions pouring out in his voice, burning like stirred hot coals.

“Elvan?” I asked, knowing full well what was disturbing him. “I don’t know where she is, Dante. I don’t feel her. But, then again, I don’t know many things,” I explained.

He cringed as if the uncertainty of it all pained him physically. He then, composed himself, even if barely. “And, Sierra? Is she fine?” Dante asked.

“Not really,” I sighed. ” She is barely functioning with one third of her heart, we don’t know what happened to the rest. I am desperate to help her, yet clueless on how to do that. It’s very exasperating.”

“At least she’s alive,” Dante said. “Not knowing anything about whether Elvan even made it alive from that universe is destroying me.”

“She should be fine, she had her light from Sierra. She’ll show up, Dante. Have some faith,” I said. “You know...what I did to her there...” I swallowed. “I am sorry. You know that right? I couldn’t help myself, she had shot Sierra. That was not me,” I explained. The air had to be cleared between us. I owed him that much.

He nodded. “So, what is the plan?” he asked, trying to change the topic. It was on that note that Cayman brought in the others, all of them proudly displaying their tattoos on their bodies in flimsy t-shirts, short skirts, even shorts despite the chilly weather outside. I was shocked with the scene of seeing at least a hundred Drakons slowly filling the large space in the room, some of those were familiar faces, from earth or another universe, and yet others were strangers. When I looked at Cayman questioningly, he threw up his hands in air as if to say he didn’t know more than I did.

“They were all there, in and outside the cafeteria,” Cayman explained. “Apparently, more will be coming in the next few days.”

“Wow, that is impressive,” I said.

Some of the Drakons from the crowd greeted Dante enthusiastically, hugging him. I noticed that they were the Drakons under his command in Rawonia.

It was an emotional scene, this get together, for a cause we all believed in. When everybody had hushed I started the speech, the one that needed to be made.

“You know that a war is upon us, a war with those forces who’d like to sever our connection to our mates, the humans. I found my human mate, and so has Dante. But, we are not anomalies among the Drakons, we are the norm. We know that by now. The Goddess of Rawonia has made that very much clear,” I said.

There were sounds of ahs and ohs circulating in the room. The news was still shattering for some of the Drakons, which had a hard time accepting this fact. Though they had lived as humans on earth, oblivious to their Drakon identity, their lives in Rawonia, or the Land of Dragoon were too real to let go so easily.

“No one can speak to the heart of Rawonia,” one Drakon objected.

“My mate, Sierra did. In fact, Sierra was chosen for this mission, the heart was waiting to speak to us,” I explained, allowing my sincerity to wash over the whole room. They could feel it, like a wave washing over them in an ocean.

“I believe you, I, too have found my mate among the humans,” one of the Drakons shouted.

“Me, too,” another added, promptly.

“That’s good, that’s great,” I encouraged them. “We’ve been through so much together fighting and killing humans in other universes, all because the witch and her army of neutralizers have pitted us against one another. But, this is not just a fight for our human mates, this is a fight for the survival of both of our races, of life on earth, as we know it. We’ve accomplished so much thanks to my mate, Sierra, which is why we can all remember our alternate lives now. But we still have a very bumpy road ahead of us. Just because we’ve just awakened, just because the enemy has not struck as of yet, does not mean we can relax, or that we have the luxury of sustaining our usual life on earth. Everything has changed.”

“What about the Drakon fratricide?” one asked.

I saw Dante’s face scowl with the memory of the betrayal.

“I believe we left that far behind in Rawonia. This is the time to unite for all the Drakon race, walk hand in hand with our mates to fight against all those planning to divide us, to destroy us with their blatant lies, secrets, wicked games, and evil magic,” I shouted.

And, they all cheered, yelled, and let out their war cries.

Dante turned to me, his neutral face expression not letting out anything, and whispered,” By the way can you shift, by any chance?”

And, I shook my head. That was the crux of the matter. We all remembered being Drakons, yet my dragon was still like a doormat, passive, very much sleeping. I had found my mate, my light, and yet I was still very much just a human. And, what about all those others who had not found their mates? This war would be very much tilted against us from the beginning if we didn’t find a way to activate our tattoos.

“Not good, not good at all,” Dante said, whistling softly to cover up his disappointment, and agitation from the cheering crowd.

“Oh, not that again,” I groaned, remembering the marathon of whistling, and singing in Rawonia amidst his madness.

“What?” he asked innocently, and continued.

His horrible whistling was soon forgotten when, one by one, I saw each Drakon kneel and swear fealty to me. Just like in Rawonia, and in the Land of Dragoon, I now had my own Drakon army.

***************************************************************

Dante’s POV

Hours later....

I kicked the stone on the sidewalk, having roamed the streets for hours now in search of a clue, any clue of Elvan. “Where are you?” I screamed in frustration looking at the many apartments lined up in an empty side street. I could feel barely visible flashes of human light here and there, but nothing too bright, nothing too shiny so as to draw me in, to compel me like a magnet, dragging me like an undeniable force, like hers was. “Where are you my heart?” I whispered, my voice trembling.

I was distracted with the thoughts of my missing mate, which is why I did not hear the silent footsteps behind me, and was not prepared for the syringe which was injected at my neck, paralyzing me on the spot. My eyes widened with the realization that I was in trouble, big time trouble.

“C’mon wake up,” I heard somebody nudge me, forcibly, disturbing my deep sleep. I forced one eye open, not knowing where I was. When I spotted the one standing right beside me, I had the urge to close it right back, thinking I was having a nightmare.

“Hello, Dante. Long time long see,” the Drakon addressed me.

“Rocco,” I murmured. “What a joy it is to see you,” I said sarcastically.

“Indeed, I’ve missed you, too, my Prince,” he laughed.

“Why am I in here?” I asked, trying to understand exactly how much screwed up I was.

“I have a proposition for you. I heard that you were looking for your lovely mate.”

I jumped up in my seat despite the fogginess, and the weary muscles, possibly the after effects of the injection. “What do you know of her whereabouts?” I said, with clenched teeth.

“Too much, I’m afraid.”

“I’m listening,” I urged him, barely holding onto my rage.

“I’m afraid, she never made it from the Land of Dragoon, she is trapped,” Rocco said.

“Trapped where, asshole?” I asked, holding Rocco by the collar, and shaking him in temper. It was stupid of Rocco to leave me untied, leaving me free with the temptation to kill him, and God knows I was going to if he didn’t speak up soon.

“I don’t know, only my mistress knows,” he replied. “He is the reason why she is trapped, you know? He did this to her, she was too weak for the journey ahead, and this is what happened.”

I sighed, I didn’t need to ask who Rocco was talking about. Seth had done this to her, Seth had kept her from me. An undeniable rage swirled in my veins, boiling my blood.

“How do I get her back?” I asked, my words were clipped, hard.

“Simple. You join us. We need someone from the inside who can play the game.”

My face became expressionless, but the thought process took only a few seconds at most. The rage in me knew no limits, and the mating pull made the choice easy. I would do what needed to be done, and I would get Elvan back.

I nodded.

*****************************************************************************

At the hospital, where the grandmother lay in bed, away from all prying eyes, the signs of life started beeping in the machines monitoring her, and the vitals on the screen above her head stabilized into normal ranges. The old woman lying in bed, in a comatose state for months now, opened her eyes, her eyes wandering in the strange hospital room, as though she was in a daze. Her first words were, “Where in the blazes am I?”

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