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The Boy and the Beast

By GentleHorror All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Other

Prologue

The sky was choked with orange smog as the sun rose on Tokyo. The great city rose and fell, writhing like a great snake as it was torn apart. Skyscrapers fell like pieces of lego, glass shattering, rainbows of colour in the morning sun. Overpasses crumbled, and cars were thrown high into the air.

Saemon stood. Watching, his large green eyes absorbing everything. The destruction. The death. His parents were dead. He knew. His sister was dead. He knew. His little hands were clenched into fists. His feet rooted in the ground. His heart was in his throat, it threatened to tear away from him, to fly free. His shoulders tightened as the ground trembled. He caught glimpses of it with every fallen building. Just beneath the earth. A shining scale. A large beady eye. The flash of ivory teeth. He would hear it, as cars were crushed beneath the rubble, beneath concrete and steel. The roar that shook loose the towers of men. Elemental. Eternal. Lee listened. His body straining against the roots set down by his feet. Fear was gone. Only awe remained.

It writhed and screamed. Its power was unknown. Unexpected. Its death would destroy everything. Its body scarred and bloody. Its scales murky with oil and waste. Its magnificence dulled by man. By time. Slowly. So slowly. Saemon lifted one foot. Put it forward. Then the other. He fell. He crawled. He pulled himself to his feet on a scarred old cedar. Blood dripped from his knees. Gravel crunched beneath his feet. He walked. Slowly. So slowly. Then he jogged. Pain was nothing. He needed. He wanted. Power. Dragon. He ran.

The dragon was dying. It did not know why. It knew only that it awoke to great pain, after long slumber. Its body had grown old. Its once beautiful scales had dulled. Its eyes grown milky. Its claws and fangs dull.

It awoke to great pain. It raged. It hated. Were had its life gone? Why now? Why was it dying? Why? It knew not even where it was. The city it crushed, unseen. For it awoke to darkness. To coldness. To pain. And an inevitable ache.

Saemon ran. A pylon nearly crushed him. A piece of glass slashed open his elbow. His throat was choked with dust. He stumbled. He fell. He crawled. He stopped. Everything was quite. He stood. And he beheld. Its scales did not shine. Its russet mane was dulled. Its teeth and claws were chipped and yellow. Its eyes milky.

Something stood before it. Small. So small. Young. Only just able to walk. It smelt of blood and dust. The dragon lowered its head. Its snout inches from the little things face. It breathed deeply, ruffling his hair and clothing.

“You’re weak.” They said it together. Neither heard the other. Though both knew the comprehension of the other. A disappointment. A realisation. A sense. That beneath the weakness, there lay strength. Strength to come. Strength in time. It had no time. He had all of it.

Saemon put his little hand on the dragon’s snout. A swathe of stinking mist enveloped him as the beast snorted.

“Can you become strong?” Again. Together.

“Yes.”

It withdrew its head. Raising it high. Coiled.

“What’s your name?”

“Saemon.”

“Ryujin.”

The dragon lunged. Its jaws snapped shut. As boy and beast disappeared in azure fire.




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