Lady Ola charged toward her. Olivia panicked and quickly flung herself to the side, making Lady Ola trip and fall into the desk. Loud thuds were heard and Lady Ola screeched out, hissing and snarling at a piece of wood driven through her thigh. Olivia didn’t waste any time as she made a run for the door. She reached out for the knob and a sharp pain pierced into her shoulder blade. She cried out but yanked the door open, feeling warm liquid pool through her dress.
Lady Ola screamed, hissing in the air and Olivia slammed the door shut. Her heart pounded, adrenalin pulsed through her shaken body, and she raked her hand through her overgrown bangs, barely able to wrap her head around what just happened.
She ran for the main door before hearing hisses behind her. Olivia hesitantly looked back, was greeted with pairs of glowing green eyes staring at her and Olivia’s eyes widened. Her heart pounded with fear and a scream wanted to rip through her throat. She swallowed it down and finally made it to the kitchen. Glass plates smashed, ringing the cold silence and Olivia snapped her head to see Dreya backing away from Kindle, a gingered hair girl.
“Dreya!” Olivia shouted in panic.
Kindle’s glowing green eyes snapped to Olivia. Shivers crawled her spine again and Olivia stepped back. She couldn’t process anything while the human girl before her, wasn’t actually human at all. Purple scales emerged underneath her human flesh that grew transparent and slimy, falling to the down. Her green eyes had black slits, much like a snake and glowed eerily. How was it possible? How was any of it possible?
A forked tongue slithered from Kindle’s mouth, releasing a soft hiss as she bared her fangs. “Oliviaaa,”
Dreya took the chance and ran for Olivia, grabbing her arm and pulling her to the front door. “Come on!”
Olivia quickly followed as Dreya burst open the door with her shoulder. They both froze. Dozens of glowing eyes watched them intensely as hisses came from all directions. Olivia’s body trembled in fear, watching as human flesh dripped from the Limrock folk, revealing purple scales and a forked tongue hissing from each of their mouths.
“This can’t be. . .” Olivia stuttered. “T-They’re not. . .”
Olivia refused to believe that fantasy was real because who would believe such absurd stories? She just thought that it was supposed to be for a child’s bedtime story. There wasn’t any proof that any fantasy existed and she didn’t believe what the Fantasy Hunters told. For all she knew, they could’ve just killed a wolf and ripped out its fang and would say they killed a werewolf and brought back its fang as a trophy.
“We need to move!” Dreya grunted and pulled on Olivia’s arm.
Olivia snapped out of her trance and ran behind Dreya. Another screamed was heard and Dreya stopped and looked over her shoulder. Olivia did the same and saw a girl named Meggan backing away into the wall of the orphanage as a boy stalked toward her. His slimy flesh dripped from his body as his forked tongue slithered out. Meggan screamed in terror, tears streaming down her cheeks and covered her face with her arms.
“Meggan!” Dreya called out in panic.
She let go of Olivia’s arm and ran over toward Meggan.
“Dreya!” Olivia yelled.
“Stay there!” Dreya shouted at her.
Olivia grew anxious and pulled her overgrown bangs behind her ear as Dreya tackled the changing boy to the ground. He let out a threatening hiss and Dreya punched his jaw. He let out another hiss and snarled at her. He clawed at her arm with his sharpened claws and Dreya growled angrily. She grabbed both his wrists and quickly turned to Meggan.
“Run, Meggan! Run to Olivia!” the fierce girl shouted.
Meggan didn’t move a muscle, tears overwhelming her. Olivia’s instincts tingled. Her feet moved on their own and she ran toward the girl trembling in fear, forgetting about her shoulder. More hisses filled the air and Olivia knew more were coming. They needed to leave before it was too late.
“Meggan!” Olivia shouted, approaching the petrified girl.
Meggan still didn’t move and instead began muttering under her breath, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. Olivia stopped in front of her and grabbed both her hands.
“Meggan. . .” she said softly, trying to keep the panic out of her voice. “We can’t stay here. We’ll die if we do.”
Dreya grunted and shouted as the boy was on top of her. “Any time now, guys!”
Meggan didn’t say anything and stared into Olivia’s eyes. Gently, Olivia pulled on Meggan’s hands, Meggan didn’t resist. Olivia began to slowly walk and Meggan followed. Soon Olivia picked up her speed, keeping it matched with Meggan’s as they ran from the orphanage. Olivia quickly turned back as Dreya kicked the boy off her, picked herself up, and ran after Meggan and Olivia. Dreya caught up and she frowned at Olivia.
“Olivia, I’m sorry,” she said with an apologetic tone.
“What for what?” Olivia questioned in confusion.
Dreya ran behind Olivia. “For this,”
Before Olivia knew it a scream tore through her lips as Dreya yanked out the sharp object lodged in her shoulder. Pain pulsed through her shoulder. Her whole back started throbbing, aching with undeniable pain. She stumbled over her own tripping feet, her knees wobbled uncontrollably and it was as if all the adrenalin had seeped out of her body.
“Damn it,” Dreya cursed. “I should’ve waited.”
Suddenly, Olivia was tackled to the ground. Her knees buckled underneath her and she fell hard against the hardened soil. Her head pounded and swelled as it hit the ground. A strangled groan escaped her mouth as she attempted to move. Meggan cries filled the air once again and Dreya yelled in fury. Dreya came charging toward Olivia before something knocked Dreya back into the building near them. Meggan screamed in terror as she backed away from Olivia, shaking her head with more tears in her eyes.
“Hello, Olivia,” hissed a voice all too familiar to Olivia.
“L-Lythil?” she croaked out.
He chuckled. “My little Olivia,”
“Why did you tackle —”
“Sh, my little Olivia. Soon, it’ll be all over and we can finally be together,”
“What are you talking about?” Olivia gasped, coughing at the rough air. “We have to go,”
Olivia tried to stand, but Lythil didn’t allow it. He hissed in reply. “Go where? This is our home,”
Then Olivia realized it. “You’re. . . You’re one of them.”
She felt something lick her neck as hands held her waist tightly. Olivia’s stomach churned as she felt slime soak through her thin dress. Lythil didn’t reply as his fangs grazed along her injured shoulder. Olivia shuddered in disgust and struggled to get him off. He paused for a moment, looking at the blood soaking through her dress and frowned.
“Let me fix this for you, my love.”
“What are you —”
Lythil didn’t allow Olivia to finish her sentence when he sank his fangs into her neck. Olivia’s eyes widened, searing pain ruptured through her and she couldn’t contain the agonizing scream ripping past her throat. Lythil’s fangs sank deeper into her neck. Olivia screamed again, louder than the first; thrashing and kicking as overwhelming pain shot through her. Every nerve in her body was on fire and she felt as if a branding iron was repeatedly being pushed against her body, burning away her skin.
Olivia heard a raucous snarl come from Lythil while his hands on her waist tightened. His body pushed against hers as he snarled in pleasure and Olivia found herself screaming in agonizing pain. It felt like hours to her. The pain continued to attack every part of her body, numbing whatever coldness she felt with searing heat. She couldn’t put up a fight, her strength and energy draining from her body just like the blood pouring from her shoulder.
Lythil licked it up and hissed softly beside her. “You will heal, my little Olivia,”
Then yelling rang in Olivia’s ears. Lythil growled and retracted his teeth from her neck. Olivia didn’t feel it. To her, it was still happening, the pain shaking her nerves and bursting every vein to make her bleed red. Her body shut down, numbing from the blistering throbs in her shoulder as she stared at the ground.
“Get the hell off her, you disgusting pig!” furiously shouted Dreya.
Lythil hissed venomously at her as she came sprinting toward him and Olivia. Olivia tilted her head to the side and saw a blurry figure of Dreya running with an axe in hand. She held it high and Lythil lunged at her. Dreya yelled in fury and she swung it down, driving the axe into Lythil’s shoulder. Lythil hissed and screeched in pain as he collapsed to the side. Dreya paid him no attention and stepped on the axe, driving it further into Lythil’s shoulder and ran toward Olivia.
“We gotta get out of here now,” Dreya muttered as she slung Olivia’s arm over her shoulders. With a grunt Dreya pulled Olivia up onto her feet, wrapping her arm around Olivia’s waist.
Olivia felt the blood from her shoulder trickle down the side of her body. She could barely match Dreya’s fast steps and when she tried, the lack of energy and strength had her losing her balance and she collapsed. Her head throbbed from the number of times she’d taken a blow to it.
Dreya cursed under her breath as hisses and snarls filled the silent air. Olivia knew she was a lost cause. She was only slowing Dreya down and she would be the reason for getting Dreya killed. There was no point in both of them dying when Meggan was alone in the forest, vulnerable.
“Leave me,” Olivia wheezed out.
Dreya grunted as she hoisted Olivia onto her back. She secured Olivia on and held onto her thighs to keep her from falling. “Not an option.”
She staggered the first few steps, grunting and cursing as the hisses grew louder, and broke out into a full-on run. Olivia bounced and jerked with each step Dreya took and swung her arms around her neck. She had little strength so there wasn’t a chance at managing to choke Dreya.
“Meggan!” Dreya called out.
Dreya let out a frustrated growl when there was no response. Dreya changed direction and sprinted toward the right, running deeper into the forest. Olivia’s head pounded aggressively as black dots circled the corners of her eyes. Then the girls heard a scream, Meggan. Dreya ran toward the source of the noise as it got louder and louder by the second. Leaves rustled as twigs snapped.
“Something’s coming.” Dreya murmured as she slowed to a stop.
Dreya and Olivia heard Meggan scream again but it was close, much, much closer than before. Dreya tensed and tightly held Olivia’s thighs; she was preparing for whatever was running toward them. The rustling got louder and Olivia tensed as she weakly lifted her head up from Dreya’s shoulder. Meggan came running out from behind a tree, tears streaming down her cheeks as she ran behind Dreya, trembling and whimpering in fear.
“Megan? What happened?” Dreya asked as she turned to her.
Megan pressed herself into the gap between Dreya and Olivia and Olivia could feel Meggan’s heart pounding rapidly against her body.
“H-He’s coming,” she whispered.
“Who is?” Dreya asked, dismissing the fact that it was the first time Meggan talked in months.
She didn’t answer. She whimpered and buried her head into Dreya’s stiffened back. It grew eerily quiet, nothing was heard, not even the deathly hisses from Limrock and they weren’t that far from it. Something had scared off the snake hybrids and possibly the same thing Meggan was talking about. Then Olivia heard flapping wings, powerful wings beating heavily through the air. Dreya’s body physically stiffened as Meggan whimpered again, squeezing herself between Dreya and Olivia. A deafening roar erupted through the empty air. It sent tingles running down Olivia’s spine as the flapping wings got closer.
“We need to move. We’re too exposed here.” Dreya said and began to walk quickly again.
Meggan closely followed and stayed in the gap with the protection from Dreya and the shelter of Olivia. The girl noticed Dreya’s arms trembling and she knew what the cause was, Dreya was getting tired from holding all of Olivia’s weight. She may be one of the toughest girls in the orphanage, but even she had limits, and she was wearing them thin.
“Dreya. . .” Olivia rasped out faintly.
“Not now, Olivia. I need to find us a place to stay for the night,” Dreya hushed in a grunt, unable to keep the exhaustion from her voice.
Olivia weakly shook her head. “You need to. . . rest,”
Dreya grunted as she stepped over a fallen branch. “I’ll rest when I die. For now, I’m finding us a place for the night.”
Olivia wasn’t able to respond and simply laid her head on Dreya’s heaving shoulder. Dreya constantly had to hoist Olivia higher on her back as Olivia kept on coming close to falling off. Dreya growled frustratingly as Olivia slid down for another time. She hoisted Olivia onto her back again. She was barely able to keep Olivia on and within two steps, she fell to her knees, panting heavily. Olivia winced when she rolled off Dreya’s back and landed on her own aching one.
The weight of her body was on her back that was laying uncomfortably atop of a risen tree root, causing it to throb painfully. Though, she didn’t say anything and stayed silent. The girl turned her head to Dreya just as Meggan stepped toward her.
She tugged on Dreya’s shirt and Dreya looked at her. “What is it, Meggs?”
Meggan pointed out into the distance and Dreya followed where Meggan was pointing and her eyes widened. “A cave,” she breathed, then gave a skeptical look. “Ironic.”
Olivia couldn’t see where they were looking, but she had noticed something else, the flapping of wings had stopped. It gave her a bad feeling. She warily looked around where she could see, maybe finding whatever it was the girls heard. She arched her neck accidentally and a wave of immense pain wracked through her aching body. Olivia cried out as tears gathered in her eyes but waved off Dreya when Dreya looked at her alarmed. The venom Lythil injected was burning her body from the inside out.
The thought of Lythil made Olivia think about Limrock as its true form. All the years of living there, not once had she noticed anything strange apart from everyone calling the village a nest and it’s strange laws. But she never noticed anything with glowing green eyes and purple scales. Though, she had noticed that almost everyone at Limrock had green eyes. Olivia always found it strange but brushed it off as a genetic thing. But to think that her village was overrun by snake hybrids from a mythical book, Olivia couldn’t wrap her aching head around the thought of them actually existing, and living among them for so long. How had she not noticed?
“Meggan!” Dreya shouted, pulling Olivia from her thoughts.
She looked up as Dreya suddenly stood. Meggan wasn’t anywhere in Olivia’s eyesight as Dreya ran in the direction Maggen was pointing at before. Olivia heard the rustling and crunching of dead leaves from Dreya as they got fainter and fainter. Soon she could barely hear them, meaning Dreya and Meggan were no longer near her. She was left alone in the forest in the middle of daylight.
An uneasy feeling traveled through Olivia. She felt exposed and an easy target for predators. A growl rumbled around her, an animalistic growl that sent fear spiking through her. Olivia tensed, shaky breathes left her and she heard the rustling again.
“D-Dreya?” she called out, thinking that it was her.
No response. There was a growl again, louder than the first and the rustling got equally louder. It was getting closer. Olivia made an attempt to sit up against the tree beside her. She winced and cried out at the sudden pain prickling harshly at her neck. The girl gritted her teeth and, using the last of her little strength, Olivia pushed up and leaned against the tree behind her.
The rustling was in front of her. Olivia snapped her eyes up and she froze. Her brown eyes locked with a pair of intense blue eyes. They swirled with a bright passion, yet they were as dark as a midnight sky. Olivia fell into a trance, her breath hitched in her throat and her eyes were unable to look away from the creature standing majestically before her.
All along the sides of his high cheeks were dark grey scales that lead down to the sides of his neck and shoulders, stopping at his large biceps. His large forearms, down to his fingers were coated in dark scales that defined every rippling muscle on his body. Darker shades of grey scales grew from behind his back and covered the sides of his chest, layering down to the sides of his well defined and built abdomen. His black pants were ripped and shredded at the knees revealing his legs covered in dark grey scales, his feet hidden with hard black boots. Each scale on his body was outlined with a soft blue glow, it was as if his grey scales were floating rocks on an ocean of blue lava.
Olivia stared at how handsome he was with his ruffled black hair falling over his forehead and tanned skin, much different from her soft, fair complexion. His dark, yet bright blue eyes were swirling with a passion she couldn’t figure out as he looked upon her. His dark wings were spread at his sides, a tail circled at his feet.
His wings then folded elegantly behind him and he took a step forward. Reality came crashing back onto Olivia and she immediately realized what the creature before her was.
“You’re a. . . a-a. . .” she couldn’t speak. The disbelief rushed through her, leaving her to a stuttering mess.
The creatures given name kept repeating over and over in her head like a blacksmith hammering his hammer onto hot metal. She couldn’t keep her head from spinning and she felt as though she would throw up. She couldn’t believe her eyes as she blinked, then blinked again and again and again. No matter how many times she blinked, the aesthetic creature was still standing there with all his beauty and muscle.
“I won’t harm you,” he murmured, his voice deep and masculine, yet gentle like a snowflake. It sent odd shivers down Olivia’s spine and she gulped.
She suddenly felt an urge to say it. Her mouth parted open, the same two words screaming at her, demanding to be voiced. She felt that if she didn’t say it, she would be left regretting it for the rest of her life.
“Don’t be afraid,” he murmured again and he stepped closer. His voice held a dangerous tone but was soft like a poem that calmed her. It was tricking her and she didn’t understand it.
The words threatened to tear from her throat. She had no control over it. She couldn’t stop as the urge grew stronger and the words left her lips in a whisper, “Dragon shifter,”