[Chapter Twenty Five]
A coldness seeped into Olivia’s hands, a groggy moan hummed passed her throat as she rolled onto her side. The cold seemed to follow her and Olivia tried moving her hands away but they were firmly kept in a certain position. Although it soothed her hands, the discomfort of her position outweighed it and Olivia peeled her eyes open. She saw movement in front of her by a dark figure but the light outside blinded her and her eyes weren’t ready for the daylight just yet. Still, something was waking her up and Olivia groaned, blinking herself awake. The light was more bearable as the dark figure crouched in front of her.
“You’re awake,” Rykal’s voice piped her attention and Olivia looked up at him.
“Your eyes,” she whispered, noticing he wasn’t wearing the bandages.
Rykal nodded. “I can see fine. My wounds healed overnight,”
Olivia frowned and sat up, brushing back the overgrown bangs falling over her forehead. “All of them?”
Puzzled, she moved his shirt away from his shoulder and her eyes widened in bewilderment. It was as if Rykal wasn’t shot with the arrow to begin with. There were no green veins, no black fluid, no pale skin or even a scar. Olivia brushed her fingers over the invisible area, expecting to feel some sort of tissue damage, but his shoulder was smooth with scales etching into his skin. Olivia, fully awake, turned Rykal around and lifted up his shirt. Sure enough, nothing was there, not even a scar was left.
Rykal turned around, sat down, and the girl stared at his chest peeking through the black shirt, her hand still in the air unable to wrap her head around an idea of how it was possible.
“How? How were your wounds able to. . .”
Rykal grasped her hand gently and Olivia looked at him. “There is a lot you don’t know about my kind, Dragella. But one thing you will know, I have healing abilities more advanced than your human ones. Just like your senses, mine are stronger, and just like your healing abilities, mine is quicker,”
Olivia stared at him, shocked beyond her understanding, mouth gaped to speak no words as they jumbled and caught in her throat. Dragon shifters were so much more powerful than she could image, they were far more superior than humans alone. Other fantasy creatures who were dangerous probably couldn’t come near the dragon shifter’s power.
Rykal frowned. “Why are you looking at me like I’m plotting your death?”
Olivia snapped out her thoughts and quickly shook her head, taking her hand from his. “Sorry. It’s just a lot to take in, that’s all,”
Rykal didn’t look convinced and something clouded his eyes, uncertainty.
Olivia only gave him a small smile. “Rykal, I’m not plotting my next escape plan. Why would I run from someone with fast healing?”
Rykal narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms, an unwilling pout puffing out his cheeks. He remained silent and Olivia giggled. Rykal just grumbled and looked away, his jaw twitching. Olivia only smiled more. She stood and walked passed him, before she did, she crouched down beside Rykal and kissed his cheek. Instantly, the dragon shifter froze and Olivia didn’t give him the time to react as she quickly walked outside the cave. Why she walked out she had no idea as the burning in her cheeks told her so. The more she thought about it the more embarrassing it was replaying in her head over and over again. How could she do something so absurd? Rykal would think of the wrong idea.
Olivia gulped and started pacing back and forth. What was the idea? Olivia’s cheeks burned bright red at the dark thoughts of him above her, kissing her sensitive neck and tracing his hands down her body. Olivia stifled a squeal of pure embarrassment and covered her eyes, somehow thinking it’d stop her from having different fantasies invade her mind.
The sound of his voice sent an undeniable shiver down her spine and Olivia stiffened. She heard him walk toward her with each crunch of the snow and Olivia’s heart raced with panic. She couldn’t let him see her in a flustered mess, he’d think there was something going on; it was the last thing Olivia wanted him to think as there was nothing going on apart from the sinful fantasies making her feel more bothered than she liked.
“Olivia? What are you doing?” Rykal asked behind her.
Olivia tensed all over and breathed in deeply, attempting to calm herself. “Oh, um, nothing,” She felt Rykal’s frown on her and she stretched her hands in the air, hoping it’d calm herself. “Just stretching out the cramped bones,”
She turned around and was surprised to see his cheeks tinted a shade of fair pink. She wondered if he thought there was something going on but didn’t bring it up. She was glad.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“Ready for what?” Olivia asked.
“Ready to leave,”
“Oh. Um, no,”
“I’ll give you time to pack then,”
Olivia frowned. “Where are we going to go, Rykal? I mean, are we just going to travel one enchanted cave to the next, surviving on what’s around us for the rest of our lives?”
Rykal looked at her puzzledly. “I don’t know. It honestly hadn’t crossed my mind about the future. I was just so focused on finding you —” Olivia arched her brow when Rykal cut himself off and cleared his throat. “So focused on finding Youtopia that I didn’t really give much thought to the future,”
“Youtopia?” Olivia repeated in confusion. “I’ve never heard of it,”
Rykal shrugged his shoulders and turned toward the cave. His actions made Olivia narrowed her eyes and question it. She’d never heard of such a place called Youtopia, was there even a place that existed? Olivia frowned at the way he stopped his first sentence and corrected himself. Even the way he shrugged it off when she questioned it. Olivia cursed under her breath before she picked up a pile of snow. She formed it into a ball and threw it at Rykal. It crashed against his back and Rykal stopped. He turned around with a perplexed look and Olivia clenched her jaw. A glare flared through her eyes as she picked up and formed another snowball. Rykal frowned as she threw it, though the dragon shifter easily stepped to the side, dodging the snowball.
“What are you doing?” Rykal questioned.
“You tell me, Rykal!” Olivia growled and threw another snowball his way.
Rykal cocked his brow, leaning his head to the side as the snowball soared past. “What are you talking about?”
Olivia glared at him as he began walking to her. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, you coward!”
Before she knew it, she blinked and Rykal was in front of her, his eyes darkening. “What the demons is wrong with you?”
Olivia clenched her jaw and attempted to push him back but Rykal grabbed her wrists and held them behind her back. It wasn’t painful but Olivia grunted, wanting him to get off her. Rykal bared his gritted teeth and yanked her forward, throwing her against his chest. Olivia only looked away, too angry to look at him. She was oblivious to most traditions of his, and nearly all of fantasy, but she knew there was no such place called Youtopia. Rykal had made it up for the purpose to hide what he was really going to tell her. Why he didn’t, infuriated her to a point where she wanted to slap some common sense into him.
“Are you going to tell me what’s brought on this sudden mood?” Rykal gritted out.
Olivia looked at him with anger. “You’re my problem, Rykal. You and your pathetic lies,”
Rykal narrowed his eyes.
“Do you honestly think I’m going to believe there’s such a place called Youtopia? How gullible do you think I am?”
Rykal scoffed. “You must be that gullible if you believed nonsense books over my word,”
Olivia felt a wave of anger cloud her better judgment and used all of her strength to push Rykal away from her. “Your word? You mean me not understanding your traditions that relate to your intentions? You mean that word that you hardly explain?!”
“Do you think I’m going to tell you everything in one conversation and have you run away thinking I’ll be your doom?” Rykal argued.
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Does it look like I want to hear everything in a single day? Be smart for once and tell me things when I ask you a question! How hard is that?”
“Too hard for your human mind,” Rykal muttered.
Olivia clenched her fists, ignoring the burning pain swelling through her palms. “No. You’re just a coward,”
Without a word, Olivia marched passed a silent dragon shifter and to the cave. She didn’t care what he said or did, she was leaving. She couldn’t stand being lied to and treated as if she would run at any new thing she discovered. If Rykal couldn’t be honest and give her one decent answer then there was no point in her staying with him.
She wasn’t even ten steps from the cave when her arm was yanked back and her back slammed into a hard chest. Olivia groaned at the dull pain from her healing bruise as a tail curled tightly around her thigh and torso. Olivia tensed and a growl rippled through Rykal’s throat. He tightly held her wrist and growled softly in her ear. Olivia couldn’t stop the shiver crawling down her spine and visibly tremble her body.
“You think you can walk away from me that easily?” Rykal taunted.
“Let go of me,” Olivia snapped, using her free hand to push him away.
It hardly did anything and just annoyed Rykal as he grabbed her other wrist, holding both to her sides. Olivia squirmed and shook her body, hoping he’d let go of her. She thought he was when his tail unrivaled from her body. Though she was wrong as his tail rewrapped around her torso and arms, trapping her chances of escaping.
“Damn you, Rykal,” Olivia growled. “Let go of me,”
Rykal only growled dangerously in her ear as he moved her sweater and shirt off her shoulder. “You want to know what my intentions are? So be it,”
Olivia didn’t have time to react when his fangs suddenly dug into her neck, releasing a scream from her throat. Pain stabbed through her neck, tears blurred her vision and Olivia’s knees gave out. Rykal followed her down, biting hard into her neck and the pain trembled her entire body. Olivia continued screaming, unable to stop as she fought to get away from him. Her head ached and Olivia could see darkness lurking in the corners of her vision. Her body quivered as if she was freezing. The pain throbbed as if she was burning. Tears fell from her eyes and she cried out, falling forward into the snow as Rykal let her go.
She could hardly move, her body was paralyzed. The darkness crept up on her like someone was shutting a door on her in a room with no light. Her neck ached with unbearable throbs, another tear fell and she closed her eyes.
Her neck burned, it wasn’t painful or uncomfortable it just burned. Olivia muttered under her breath. Coldness surrounded her, she couldn’t move her body apart from her arms and legs, something was holding her down. It didn’t feel like she was laying down when her head kept swaying side to side. The wind bristled through her tangled hair and Olivia knew she wasn’t in the warm cave.
Slowly, she rubbed her eyes and forced them open. A cold wind swept against her and Olivia groaned in annoyance, trying to stay warm. Her ears came into focus and heard loud thuds of wings. The girl looked around her, noticing white puffs around her with a big open blue sky. She looked down and she saw the snowy land below her, far below her. She snapped out of her sleepy gaze and screeched quietly, clutching whatever was holding onto her eyes set upon the mighty dragon beside her.
“Rykal?” she whispered.
Memories flooded into her mind as everything came back to her. Instantly, she reached out and touched her neck, it felt hot and tender and she could feel the puncture marks. Olivia gritted her teeth, angry that Rykal came on her like she was nothing but something to claim as a prize.
“What the hell was that, Rykal?”
The dragon turned it’s sharp gaze on her and Olivia immediately squirmed. His blue eyes were icy and dark, pouring into hers with such intensity it made her shiver. Strangely, they seemed to glow, passionate and bright yet held no emotion, it was like expecting to find water in a cup but it was discovered as empty; there was nothing in his eyes. Olivia frowned and looked away, they seemed so void of anything, masking whatever he was truly feeling.
"Rykal is currently fuming as an infant, Dragella,” the deep voice rumbled in response.
Olivia shot her eyes up, astonished. “Are you. . . Are you the dragon part of him?”
"He is the human part of me as I am the dragon side of him. We are equal,” the dragon answered. He flew steadily, floating through clouds and Olivia couldn’t help but close her eyes thinking it would hit her.
“Do you know why Rykal bit me?” she later asked. She hoped the dragon was more forthcoming with her than Rykal.
The dragon gave her a sideways glance and remained silent for a few moments. ”I do not know why Rykal seems to retain things from you, his reasons are absurd, and he wishes me not to tell you,”
Olivia groaned and rubbed her face in frustration, annoyed that not even the dragon will tell her. What was so bad about her knowing what he wanted to do with her? The more he hid it the more she thought that in all honesty, he was going to kill her.
"However, due to me being in full control, I shall tell you,”
Olivia looked at him with hope in her eyes as the dragon lifted her up and placed her on his large back. Olivia was hesitant about touching the blue glow that outlined each and every one of his dark scales, but when Olivia did, it brought nothing but warmth. Olivia laid on her stomach, gripping his scales to hold and said she was ready. The dragon gave a firm nod and flapped higher into the sky though strangely held himself back from flying too high up. Olivia decided it was a question to ask later. The dragon slowed his speed down so the wind wasn’t howling in her ears, almost like they were gliding.
"I will not bore you with the story of how everything began as it will be a lot to understand, but I shall answer your question first, after that, I shall allow you one more question,”
“Okay. Before you answer my questions, do you have a name?”
"Exiron,” the dragon answered.
“Exiron,” the girl whispered, liking his name. “I’m Olivia,”
"I know, Dragella,"
Olivia decided her other question would be to ask why he and Rykal called her Dragella, it was an unusual name to call her knowing her actual name. She said she was ready and Exiron gave a rumbly sigh that vibrated his body. Olivia settled her racing heart, finally, she would be getting proper answers to understand why Rykal rescued her in the first place.