“How is it going, have you sent small units to every damn location?” I asked.
“Yes,” Cayman said.
“Tell me we know where Dante is,” I said, my tone dangerously low.
“We do. We know where he is. He’s in a safe house in Western Chicago, up in a hill,” he said, writing the address down on a piece of paper.
“Thank God. Don’t let them do anything, not until I arrive. And give the order for all other units to start engaging this minute. The war has started. Let’s go,” I said, impatient to get there. Dante had been disconnected since the last we mind talked, and I had no idea whether he was even alive or not. Except for the documents he’d texted to me as a message, I’d not gotten one word from him.
Sierra stopped me as I was leaving the facility with more of my Drakon army.
“Have you found him?” she asked.
“Yes, kitten”, I said, giving her a quick kiss. “We are leaving right away. Are you gonna be staying here, or will you go home? I don’t want you driving alone,” I said, holding her in my arms. I didn’t trust the neutralizers, nor Abby. I didn’t want her unprotected while I was away.
’I’ll take her home,” Baran mocked, coming right behind her.
“I will cut off your hands if you lay a finger on her,” I said, my warning too clear. “Kitten, just stay in my room until I urn, please,” I whispered to her ears alone.
“I want to come with you, I can help with Abby. I know she will be there,” Sierra objected.
“No way,” I said. “Just stay here, please,” I said, giving her a long kiss for encouragement. But, I didn’t have a lot of time to lose, so I pulled myself from her lovely arms, and said, “Baran, you are coming with us.” He was awantedneutralizer, so he couldn’t pull any tricks during the fight, and I so wasn’t leaving that asshole here with my mate. For all I knew, he could kidnap her and take her far far away. I clenched my fists with the horrible imagery.
“You gotta be kidding me,” Baran protested. “They almost killed me,”
“Exactly,” I smirked. “Hopefully, now they can finish the job.”
I lay in bed just as Seth had begged me to, doing an absolute nothing as always. I was worried about Seth, Dante and all the others. Abby was far too dangerous, and I was a complete burden to everyone, not even close to doing my share of the job on earth. The warrior in me in Rawonia, or the Land of Dragoon had left its place to this pathetic weakling. I had done nothing so far, gotten absolutely no clue as to the location of Rawonia’s heart, and I was scared. Damn scared of tonight.
I was not prepared for what the next few minutes would bring as I was wallowing in self-pity. I felt as if I was being attacked, punched in the stomach with a force so great that I screamed in agony, and lost all breath. I kept screaming until the feeling dissipated leaving its place to something else, altogether. I felt so good, so energetic, so different that I didn’t even notice somebody else holding onto me. I gasped in shock, it was Elvan in flesh and blood, her hand clutching my shirt in a deathly grip.
“My God, we made it,” she said, collapsing on the floor in a heap. “I didn’t think we would.”
It took me a few seconds, but I remembered it all, so I didn’t ask her where she came from, or what had happened, suddenly I had all the answers. Not only had my body merged, but my memories as well.
“What exactly happened to her, do you think? I mean is she gone for good?” I asked. Rawonia’s heart had made it too clear that she was the only one who could take Abby out, and if she was gone, that would mean Abby had won.
“I don’t know, Sierra. I don’t know,” she said. “Where is Dante, I think I need a hug.”
Oh, no. Our mates were both far away, in danger, and probably fighting. And, now that I was feeling one hundred percent, we could both go and fight with them. If only, we had the address, that is.
I filled in everything Elvan had missed since she’d been gone. “C’mon follow me, we need to find where they are.”
“How?” asked a worried Elvan. “Oh my God, if anything happens to that hard-headed mate of mine, I’ll cut his head off myself,” she said.
We asked each remaining Drakon, those who’d been left behind to protect the facility, if they knew where the others were, but they had not said a word, either deliberately, or because they really didn’t know, I couldn’t tell. I tried calling Seth, but he didn’t pick it up. Was he already fighting? The thought was not reassuring. I was losing hope when I spotted the piece of paper left on the table. There was an address written on it, I picked it up, and I smiled.
“We got a location, c’mon let’s go,” I said to Elvan.
I found Nicole, and asked,” Do you know where the aquarium is?”
“You are way above your head. Once they are in there, there is not much you can do,” she said.
“That may be, but I still have to try.”
“I’ll take you when in an hour when it’s midnight, and not before then. Things will have quietened, stilled by then,” she said, giving up.
Time passed very slowly as I waited for Nicole, the scene of neutralization playing in my head over and over again. I had to free Mina and others. I had to find a way. But, first I needed to see whether all those poor souls for whom I had not lifted a finger could be salvaged or not.
When it was time, Nicole took me outside, her head turning right and left, her gestures rapid, she was like a hunted deer, reeking of fear. We walked on the wild path for fifteen minutes and then we ran into it. There it was, a huge aquarium, large enough to accommodate thirty people. What I saw took my breath away, I was looking at the humans who’d been neutralized, swimming in the aquarium, their arms moving, their legs constantly pedaling. They were all naked, and breathing underwater like natural sea creatures.
I looked at them one by one, my face etched in regret. Then, one was right before me, her face and arms plastered to the glass, a few inches from my face, her body flowing right behind her. Her face held so much hatred, so much contempt that I held back. How had this happened? I thought she’d been spared, at least for today. But, how wrong I’d been. I had been too late in saving her. Abby must have gone back and completed the process as Mina stood right before me, and she was now a neutralizer. She hit the glass a few times as if she could break it, as if she could fight her destiny, but then she turned her back and swam away. What I saw at her back took my breath away as she sped away. The one whose name was tattooed on her skin was no other than Fileas. Things were getting bad really quick, and I’d just done my share of things to hasten it.
We had surrounded the building, a few units of my Drakon army stood proud, waiting for my command to move. This was it, the moment of confrontation. I gave the command, and a group of ten Drakons followed me inside while the others waited outside. We needed to move stealthily, so I wanted us to be light on our feet. Luck was with us as moved quietly eliminating the enemy one by one as we ran into them, catching them unawares. But, then one of them rang the alarm, and that is how we lost our chance to be in the shadows anymore. All the neutralizers came out at once, and with weapons, and how had they acquired a weapon so quickly was beyond my understanding. I had to call in more of my Drakons as we found ourselves facing hundreds of neutralizers at once. The battle soon spread outside where everybody could move freely. I stayed inside, opening the doors one by one, searching for Dante, I sure hoped he was alive. That is how I ended up in the basement, facing Abby, the witch, the woman who had started it all. She might have started it, but I would be the one ending it today.
“What a nice surprise,” Abby said. “You look quite healthy. I thought you’d stay dead for at least some time.”
“Where is Dante?”
“I wish I knew, so I could put a stop to his miserable existence,” she snapped. “I’m finding myself quite the trusting type nowadays, first Baran, and then Dante. What has the world come to, witches are more dependable than any of the mortal creatures. My dear sister would have cried had she seen me. Oh wait, I forgot, she is pretty much gone, I mean forever. Right, and most probably your mate is gone, too. She was in my magical prison the last time I saw her, right before it all exploded.”
“You are lying,” I said. I had left Sierra at my headquarters, but seeds of doubt had been planted, what if she had not listened to me, what if Abby had gotten to her? I pushed away those thoughts, I needed to concentrate if I wanted to defeat the witch. I shifted, and opened my jaw wide to steam her real good, but she protected herself with the element of water. Every fire I blew her way, she neutralized with ample water.
“Is that all you got dear Seth?” she asked, bored. I tried to take a step towards her, but huge waves erupted in the room, so forceful, so strong that I was pinned in my place. That’s when I heard of the footsteps descending the stairs. What I saw could not be more frightening, my mate and Elvan stood before me, in the same room with the witch, and I was powerless to help.
“Oh, I see, my sister managed to save you at the last moment. She’s always been the sacrificial lamb. But, it will come to naught, I’m afraid,” she said.
Sierra tried to run towards the witch even before I could cry out to her, but she could not take a step, water pushing her back. The waves rose so high as to cover the ceiling, slowly filling the whole basement, making us freeze in our spots, unable to run away.
“Yes, that’s more like it,” she said laughing as she brought more and more water in the room. I looked at Sierra who was swallowing gallons of water, coughing, and yet swallowing more. She tried turning her head but there was no reprieve from it, anywhere. There was nothing but water, and more water. I looked at my beautiful mate with regret, but no matter how much I struggled to move, I just couldn’t. Whatever power she used on water was so strong that it went beyond my Drakon strength and abilities. When water filled over their heads, my huge dragon body was still breathing, and I rebelled against invincible forces. I saw Sierra mouth the wordsI love you. I struggled a few more times, but couldn’t get to Sierra, couldn’t help her, could do nothing.
“Your mate will die along with her protector, but I’ll also kill you this time Seth, make no mistake. I learned so much in time. From Rocco, I learned how to kill a Drakon. How useful that information would have been had I known it back on earth, but alas there were no Drakons in my army back then. And, I kept creating alternative universes by thinking I could kill you like a human. But, now I know it all, dear Seth. Now, I also know about your three life sources,” she said, laughing.
This was it, we were all dying. There was so little breath left in my body, I wondered whether I would be able to breathe just like I had done when I had dived in the lake to answer the call of Abby. But, she ruined all my hopes as if she had read my mind. “No, Sierra this time you will not be able to breathe, not unless you are one of my neutralizers,” she said, laughing.
I looked at Seth one last time when it occurred to me what I must do. In panic, I stretched my hands, ready to draw her light. She depended on light to do her magic and if I could withdraw it, then she would have no source to do all these things. It was nothing but a hunch, but I was dying, we were all dying, and it was worth a try. I felt the different types of light flowing in her body, I touched them, and started pulling them all back towards my hands. A flicker of surprise and confusion flashed on her eyes, and she threw more water at us, which was a stupid move as we were already under water and she was weakening. The water roiled and drew back on itself, letting us finally breathe. We all drew in large breaths, trying to spew out the water in our lungs. As the source of her magic dried up, Seth could move freely and was soon on her. Seth’s dragon grabbed her with its claws, and threw her to the wall. Before she could get up, it grabbed her again, lifted her high up in the air, and threw her again. Her screams echoed in the walls. She was nothing but a human now with all her magic sources gone.
“I believe the witch wants to join her sister, let’s leave the dragon to it, and take our leave,” I said to Elvan, winking.
As we were coming up, Elvan turned hastily and threw a dagger at someone in front of us. He collapsed, his hand on the trigger that had been aiming straight at me.
“Huh, weird but I guess that was one hell of a protector instinct, if you ask me,” she said.
I laughed, indeed it was.
As I was walking outside, I released the lights I had taken from Abby. I was hoping they would find their hosts.
I was frozen in my place, unable to take my eyes off these creatures. One moment they were calm and swimming, and next some of them, including Mina, were banging on the glass, their eyes wide, their faces panicky. They showed the typical gestures of a drowning person. I looked at them for a few seconds, trying to understand what was happening, but it didn’t take me long to know that something had gone drastically wrong, and they were drowning. At least some of them were. I shifted, and hit the glass using my talons, tail and whole body. The glass broke, shards of it scattered everywhere, water getting out, and flowing away. Some of them were surprised with what was happening, and they got up and walked away. As neutralizers they could breathe both in water and air. But, others were coughing, holding their stomachs, vomiting.
“What’s happening to me?” Mina asked.
What I didn’t know at the time was that one of the receptors of the light Sierra managed to free from the witch happened to be Mina. She had turned human again, though the tattoo at her back had not disappeared. But, some others had lost their light forever that night.
I walked back to the facility, Nicole had long left my side. What I saw was beyond reckoning. A battle was being fought, and I had been spared from most of it because of my fascination with the aquarium. What did this all mean for me, not good I assumed. All my efforts to gain the trust of the witch were now gone. When I was about to despair, everything became rosy with my world again. I saw her, walking side by side with Sierra. I shifted back and ran to her, she smiled and allowed it. I held her in my arms, kissing her when tiny balls of fire passed us by, almost sizzling Elvan’s hair. That brought me back to my senses.
The fight didn’t last long, not with Abby dead. When we made it back to the headquarters, we were too immersed in other thoughts to notice that Baran was not among the returned. Nor, did I think or care about what had happened to Nicole. All I cared about was lying next to my mate, holding her till the morning, and never letting her go.
It was not Payal, the devoted, all time fan of Baran who had saved him that night after Abby had struck him with potent magic, right after she’d spotted him. Nor was it Sierra, his mate who had not spared a minute of thought to Baran. It was none other than Nicole, the Drakon girl, the same girl who had previously dumped his body in Sierra’s bedroom when he’d been beaten to death.
She dragged the half alive half dead body of Baran on the ground to a safe corner. “I’m so bored of saving you, over and over again,” she murmured as she knelt down once more to look at his wounds.