It began to snow as the dragon flew further and further away from the ruined mountain. At the speed he was going, the once should be graceful snowflakes fell like coins. It was a blur to Olivia. She couldn’t stop thinking about the loss of the mountain and wondering where Meggan and Kane were. They should’ve been back already. With the mountain gone, how were they supposed to find the dragon and her? Though she guessed Kane could just pick up their scents and find them once the dragon had landed.
The dragon whined quietly, it wasn’t of pain or fear, but more of uncertainty. Olivia glanced at him and noticed his movements seemed rushed and impatient. He groaned and Olivia knew it was of uncertainty. He was nervous about something. She didn’t understand why and decided it didn’t concern her nor did she want to ask, she didn’t think she would like the answer.
Olivia averted her eyes from the beast and looked out into the distance, seeing the forest and a cold looking river below her. She frowned at the large shadow the dragon cast on the ground from the plain sun and it suddenly dawned on her. “You’re afraid of being seen,”
"You do not understand the hell we live through,"
Olivia furrowed her brows at him, taken back by his answer. “Why don’t you just fly into the clouds?”
The dragon flapped his wings harder, taking them right beneath the clouds. He said again, ”You do not understand the hell we live through. It’s the life of an exiled,"
Olivia frowned and wondered out loud. “Exiled?”
The dragon didn’t respond as he kept flying as fast as he could. The faster he flew the harsher the elements. Olivia could barely see anything and the cold ice stung and made her eyes water. She squeezed her eyes shut and shielded her face with her arms. Snowflakes gathered in any parts of her body, her hair, the gaps between her neck and the jumper, up her nose and in the sleeves. The girl couldn’t help but shiver at the grated ice melting and sinking into her skin, chilling her conversed warmth. She wished the dragon would land soon so she could start a fire and get warm again.
Suddenly, her neck began to itch. Olivia rubbed the part on her neck, remembering it was the spot Lythil had bitten her. It amazed her that she was still alive, having survived the venomous bite, though she didn’t understand why. Any human would’ve died by the snake bite, so why didn’t she? The itching intensified and Olivia groaned in discomfort. Why was it suddenly irritating? Was it because of the lack of heat? It seemed the most reasonable. Once they’d land Olivia would be sure to start a fire, hoping that would be the cure of her itchiness.
"We are approaching,"
Olivia blinked up whilst still shielding as much snow from her face as possible. She squinted and in the distance, there was a lake ahead. It looked frozen. The dragon soon hovered over it, the peeking sun cast his shadow upon it. Olivia frowned slightly as she noticed there wasn’t much of anywhere to land.
The dragon then flapped up, leaned backward and before Olivia knew it a squeal came from her mouth as the two were suddenly diving down directly toward the frozen lake. The air rushed through Olivia’s ears and she forced her face against the dragon’s cold claw, using her arms to cover her face.
The girl squeezed her eyes shut and prepared for the ice to smash against her, slicing and cutting into her skin. Ice didn’t meet with her though; water as cold as ice abruptly crashed against her. All the warmth she conserved was sinking as fast as she was sinking beneath the surface. Water submerged her and she quickly jammed her mouth shut, using all her might to not breathe. Her vision was blurry and she could barely see ahead of her, only darkness. Her heart was thumping heavily inside her chest though she remained as calm as she possibly could.
A few long seconds went by and all she felt was herself being dragged deeper and deeper into the lake. All light had disappeared, heavy water surged around her and all the girl could do was hold her breath. She didn’t know what the dragon was doing and didn’t want to think about him keeping her underwater until she drowned, it was a bit of a weird way for the dragon to kill her.
Another few seconds went by. Olivia was using all her mental strength to not think about where she was, nearly proving impossible with the water flooding into her nose; it took everything she had to not inhale even the slightest. But as the dragon swam deeper into the lake, Olivia felt her lips trembling, so badly she wanted to breathe, but willed her mouth shut. Her body heaved inwardly, trying to get a fresh intake of air yet Olivia refused to open her mouth.
Dully in the darkness, a light appeared. Olivia frowned as her eyes went hazier. Her head throbbed and she felt too dizzy to think straight. The dragon’s grip started loosening and it momentarily distracted Olivia; her mind played a trick on her, thinking that for a second she was in the cave, and doing so Olivia inhaled deeply through her nose and opened her mouth.
Water abruptly rushed through her nose, through her mouth into flooded into her lungs. As a nasty surprise, Olivia choked and coughed accidentally inhaling more water. She panicked. Her throat throbbed and choked painfully at the endless water. She desperately tried to calm down but there was no point. Darkness spotted her vision, her mind went just as black and she couldn’t stop choking, her body rejecting the water with all that it could.
She didn’t want to die by drowning. Even though she was told that it was a peaceful way to die she never imagined it to be so terrifying. She didn’t want to die, she just wanted to be free.
Her eyes sagged, drooping down but tried with the last of her energy to keep them open. It didn’t work, darkness invaded her, her heart pounding in desperation as her chest awkwardly heaved. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t feel the dragon’s claws around her, maybe he let her go. Who knew, she didn’t know what to do or think as she heaved and choked. Soon her hands and arms went numb. Her face felt frozen and Olivia left her life slipping through her fingers like sugar.
As if by chance, Olivia was suddenly against a smooth wall, dripping and soaking wet as her eyes shot open. Water spluttered out of her mouth and painfully from her nose as Olivia wheezed in a large amount of air. A fit of watery coughs choked out of her body as she fell to her side, fisting her hands as water spilled from her mouth. Olivia held back the painful tears in her eyes and breathed heavily, wheezing hoarsely.
Near her, the dragon’s head was laying sideways on the ledge while the rest of his body remained submerged. He breathed heavily with his mouth wide open, inhaling in all the air he could. Olivia got a full view of his sharp row of teeth and quickly looked away. A chill ran down her spine as goosebumps covered her skin. She was so unbelievably cold, she felt like she was colder than ice and not even in comparison to the snow.
Her body struggled to stay awake, struggled to move, it hurt just to breathe as everything throbbed. Darkness filled her vision again and Olivia couldn’t stop as she crashed to her side, a mangled groan managing to escaping her cool blue lips. She pulled her wet knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, securing them in place.
The dragon lifted his head and his front foot with claws rose from the water and gripped the ledge. Olivia didn’t pay much attention to it as her eyes started to droop once again. She tried but failed to stay awake and trembled ruthlessly when a cold breeze touched her.
"Stay. . . awake, Dragella," The dragon reached out for her but couldn’t, he was too weak.
“No,” Olivia whispered weakly. She wasn’t even sure she heard herself.
A series of cracks and grunts were heard. It didn’t phase Olivia, she barely heard it as her eyes shut, the last thing she saw was a muscular arm before darkness snatched her away from the world.
Olivia wheezed as her throat felt painful and dry. Her whole body trembled from the unwanted cold and huddled closer against whatever warmth there was, surprisingly there was a heat source beside her. Olivia subconsciously shuffled closer to the warmth and shivered with delight.
So warm, she thought.
Memories invaded her mind and Olivia frowned at the images of her nearly drowning. Her chest tightened with an old fear that she didn’t welcome and rather pushed it along with the images away from her. For once, she just wanted to enjoy the sleep that she rarely got. A peaceful, soothing sleep.
Though something strange and cold was curling around her leg like a rope around a pole. Olivia groaned and moved her leg, the strange thing tickled her skin. The girl wouldn’t have bothered with trying to get whatever it was off because Olivia just brushed it off as Rykal’s tail. She noticed he had been doing it a lot when they were in the cave. She doubted he realized it and Olivia didn’t mind as much. Strangely she still didn’t when she had a dreadful feeling he was doing it to comfort her before he forced her to do whatever he had planned, no doubt something about his traditions.
Olivia then grumbled under her breath and her neck began to get irritated again. The discomfort drove the tiredness from her eyes and Olivia tried to shake the uncomfortable feeling off. There was something else bothering her. She knew it was Rykal’s tail coiling around her leg and yet, it felt different. It felt much smaller and cold. Warning bells chimed in her head as Olivia rolled onto her back. Something was wrong. She couldn’t even feel the sparks he gave her whenever he touched her bare.
Her neck burned and Olivia let out a small whimper. She reached out and rubbed her neck but it only worsened. She stirred in irritation and cracked her eyes open. Tiredly, she sat up with both a groan and whimper surpassing her. She moved her neck around whilst keeping good pressure on the burning. Her cold hand clashed with the burning though it did little to nothing.
A hiss echoed the air. Olivia stilled. Slowly, she blinked the tiredness from her eyes and looked toward her leg. A frightful sound left her lips as her eyes widened. She didn’t know how or when, but somehow, a green snake was slithering around her leg, climbing higher up to her thigh. All Olivia could do was stare with fear struck eyes. What was she meant to do? What could she do? She couldn’t do anything but be as still as she could. The last thing she wanted was another venomous snake bite, she already had one.
The snake watched her with its yellow eyes, it’s forked tongue releasing another soft hiss. A chill ran down Olivia’s spine as she stared back at it. It crawled from her leg up to her stomach. Olivia swallowed hard. She lost sight of its head as it began wrapping around her waist. Beside her, Rykal stirred and his nose twitched, a slight frown was present on his sleeping features.
Another hiss filled the air and Olivia flinched at how close it was to her ears. She could feel it slithering up her back, giving her a shiver. It showed it’s green head as it crawled over her chest and rose. Its tail was still wrapped around her thigh, much to the dismay of the girl’s fear of snakes. A soft whimper left Olivia as she did her best to remain calm.
It’s a snake. Just a snake. A harmless snake, Olivia told herself but doubted her thoughts. It was far from harmless when it was nearly as thick as her leg.
She held back a whine with all her might as the snake came face to face to her. Her heart was beating faster than her mind could process the creature before her. It stared at her as she stared back, watching the forked tongue pop out along with another hiss. It tightened its body around her and Olivia flinched slightly. Fear grabbed her and started toying with her, making her breathe shallowly and lose track of what she was doing. Her neck burned horribly and Olivia couldn’t stop the cry tearing past her throat as she swallowed hard, trying hard not to move. Tears glistened her eyes and the girl fought hard to keep them at bay.
The snake poked it’s tongue out again silently and began swaying its head side to side. Olivia shook her head and tried not to look at it. The snake hissed at her, warning her. Olivia bit her lip and forced herself to look at the snake, watching it move repeatedly. It was enticing, hypnotizing even. The way it moved its head much like a flame in the soft breeze. Olivia couldn’t look away or even move. What was happening to her? It was strange; watching the snake was like watching a pocketwatch being dangled in front of her, it made her feel sleepy.
A sudden growl filled the air and Olivia snapped her head to Rykal, who was fully awake and crouching on his feet; a glare as sharp as a blade was aimed straight toward the snake. The snake hissed louder at Olivia. The girl turned back just as the snake lunged forward. Olivia screamed in fright and blocked her face with her arms. Rykal snarled viciously. The terrified girl felt the snake slither around her shoulders, it’s cool scales making the back of her neck itch. It couldn’t compare to the burning intensifying in her neck.
Why did you do this to me, Lythil? Olivia thought as she winced, trying not to move as much.
Its head hovered the tender mark Lythil had given her and Olivia felt its tongue flick at it. It did nothing as Olivia so badly wanted to claw at it, wanting to be rid of the pain. Rykal came closer and his tail curled around Olivia’s other leg. Sparks shot through her leg and Olivia gasped at the new, warm sensation and embraced it if it meant she could focus on something else other than the bite and the snake wrapped around her.
Rykal crept closer and Olivia darted her eyes at him, a tear unknowingly sliding down her cheek. The dragon shifter briefly frowned at her, letting go of his snarl for second before it was redirected at the snake.
“Do you trust me?” Rykal murmured, keeping the growl out of his voice.
Olivia didn’t know how to respond, she couldn’t. Her mind was seeing nothing but images of her being squeezed to death or dying instantly from a snake bite. She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head, trying to push away the images.
“Olivia,” Rykal said sternly. “Do you trust me?
Olivia whimpered, fear quivering her body as she forced her head up and down once or twice. She was lying. She didn’t trust him, but she wanted the snake off her more than she wanted to escape Rykal.
“Please, get it off me,” she choked out.