I use my nose to track him down as my Draconess. The midnight sky shrouds my prowling demonic beast as I prance around trees and stalk my way to Zarcar’s precise location.
I could smell his body’s scent; daisies, polish, charcoal and sweat. I could hear the dirt softening the heavy step of his boots, the twigs and dried leaves crunching with his walk. Long strides. Angry strides.
I kept believing that one thing. That he was directly angry about something.
As the proximity between us becomes a rather short distance, I slow right down and take each step with silent caution. I wanted to get closer without detection. I wanted to see just how close I could get without my Mystifyer noticing.
In all honesty, I wanted to scare the living demon shit out of his ass. Smack him against a tree, break a few ribs, hear his screams begging for my forgiveness. The feelings I had been left with as I escaped Swendula, were too many too count and too complex to name.
But I needed this.
And I couldn’t wait for this.
I look around a cluster of trees in a dip on the soil, looking for Zar’s presence. I had seen him a few paces down not long before this moment, yet now as I look into the shadows of the night forest – I see nothing.
I hear nothing.
There seems to be no presence.
Maybe he was about to relieve himself behind a tree?
I stay right where I am, unmoving and crouched low, eyes focused and unblinking. I look for any movement, ignoring the beetles and glow worms.
But the bugs – a few moments after that last thought – stop buzzing. Absolute silence. Not even the howl of wind.
A wolf passing through perhaps? But where?
My instincts scream that there is danger close by. But where was Zarcar?
And then I hear it.
A flare of scorching fire burning to life.
I look to the right and I see trees alight in flames from the roots to the low branches, lighting up a hulking, burnt bronze toned scaled beast between them. The black demonic eyes are focused on me. Unlike my absolute beastly, ugly form that I had witnessed in the water’s image – this monster was smoothly designed. Though the teeth and claws were impressive enough to match mine, this Dragon was double my size! That wasn’t fair!
I chuff out a short warning to test the opponent.
In response, the eyes of my enemy focus, the Dragon breathes out fire from between their teeth and it distracts me from the ground frosting over, all the way up to my talons…
…which are suddenly frozen solid in the soil.
A loud growl surfaces from the intruder in my territory, and it quickly turns into a snarl. I snarl back, but as I try to rip my claws from the ground from such a low crouching position, I have to arc myself up – making more of me vulnerable.
The moment my claws crack the icy soil and pull out, they land back down and I slip.
My enemy rushes me, pouncing forward onto the frost – using it to slide into my side and go straight for my neck.
I spin at the last moment and our snouts smack into each other. I sneeze on impact and swipe up violently while I’m on my back, but the other Dragon sinks his teeth into my back leg, crushing down across a painful nerve. Now, I just go more crazy.
I try to get up, but the frost is too slippery. I can’t get a grip on anything!
My rage is too blind and I can’t get any tactical thoughts working in this fight for territory.
But… I swiftly still my movement, totally confused by one fact that arises swiftly.
While my opponent has gripped my hind leg, and crushed down – they do not shake, tear, pull or do any other aggressive attack.
They are waiting for me to surrender.
Like a… oh.
I had never seen Zarcar’s demon form and my Draconess had been so hyper excited by the intruder – I hadn’t even bothered to make the connection. Even though it was obvious now.
I lightly swat at his own front leg to let him know, that I know, that it’s him.
Zarcar takes his teeth out of my leg, which bleeds and twitches with pain while it heals on its own.
I think he’ll back up. Maybe shift back.
Instead, he turns violently for my front and steps over my Draconess, not biting me.
Simply drooling and growling his displeasure and anger over the top of me.
While I smile with my teeth, Zarcar looks deep into my eyes.
I feel an opening in my chest and…
His voice, different and deranged, booms through my skull.
You traitor, each word is pronounced as if from the mouth of a high born demon. Rough yet melodic.
I test speaking back along the deep mental connection we have made.
The added frost was an underhanded move, Warlord.
He snarls over the top of me again, whipping his head up and back, his spit flies everywhere.
You think your skilled. You’re naïve and stupid and it’s pure luck you haven’t died roaming on your own. Especially in these lethal hellborn times.
On the contrary, I have been enjoying freedom. Hunting demons from the Surge!
Idiot! One prick of poison and you’ll start losing vision, one cursed sword and you’ll be reduced to a mortal form and begging for your life. One scratch from a demon bone and you’ll get infected. Fresh out of the Surge, the demons thrive with disease, Zarcar lowers his snout to my neck and chest, sniffing my unhealed wound… injured, Chyronex? Already, my sweet idiot?
I use his distraction to kick him off with my hind legs under his belly. I shove him to the side and get onto my fours.
I look to Zarcar but he’s now smoke, rushing and forming into his mortal being.
I linger in my monstrous Draconess, holding my head up and smirking down at his suddenly miniature form.
Zarcar is naked and scared, his face red as boiled beets. He screams his rage up at me, “You could have been killed, woman! That wound needs to be healed – immediately! Andoll will fix it back at the camp. What the hell were you thinking? Running off while my brother was matching forces with Rey? You humiliated all of us, you humiliated me! Chyronex! You were my charge!”
That’s about enough.
I smoke next into my mortal form, not ten feet from him, not three feet.
My naked breasts press instantly into his unwashed, dirt stained torso, my feet rising as I stand on my tip toes and hold up my chin, snarling with my lip – and my eyes.
“I am thriving without you, Warlord,” I hiss, “The wound on my chest is my wound to deal with. How I live is how I so choose… and my Venatores…? That I so choose. Is mine. To command. Are you a part of my Venatores… or not?” Zarcar, although transfixed by my glare and I by his, remains silent, which I take as a definite yes, “So you will remain silent about my transgression of approaching Rey’s camp… and you will listen to me… won’t you?”
“…you harness your power incorrectly…a Draconess commands in an active Venatores… little sweetheart…” Zarcar shakes his head, his lip curling but not into a smile, rather a smirk and a snarl and a scoffing, mocking, curve of disrespect, “A King Commands me outside our active order. I have. My orders.”
“You seem rather passionate and proud of whatever these orders are,” I drawl my own sultry disrespect, pulling away from his front.
I step back.
I ignore the pain in my chest, from both my wound and my heart, and I look to the sky.
“To capture you… and imprison you,” Zar’s response is void of emotion.
“What?” I ask casually, pretending to be oblivious, I look down from the sky to my nails, inspecting each one. They’ve all grown long, one is torn and hanging. I tear it off and fling it at his feet.
“My orders,” Zarcar’s mouth barely moves with his spoken words.
I’m surprised he hasn’t lunged at me yet.
He seems… reserved all of a sudden. As if he’s holding himself back.
“What’s wrong, Warlord, too scared to scrap with me in the soil in our mortal forms…? I might spell your limbs dysfunctional… all… your limbs…” now I smirk.
But then the hairs on the nape of my neck, rise.
I can’t turn in time to see the other foe.
“Dearest witch shit!” Lixar collides with my naked back, wrapping his arms around my waist and holding me tight, in a feigned hug. He kisses my cheek in front of Zar, who does nothing. Lix whispers in my ear, “Oh how I’ve missed your sweet mouth and the cheek of you. You’re like a breath of fresh air…” he leans down towards my mouth, his cheek brushing against mine, his nostrils flare, “…oh, putrid meaty breath… you need a bath… and peppermint tea.”
“Ill timed, Lix,” I growl, “I have a fight with my Warlord. A fight of wills.”
“You’re infected,” Zarcar steps forward and raises a hand to the wound. I do not stop him inspecting it, “Besides. You’d lose and I’d have to fuck you quiet first, knowing how much you’d cry if you ended up face in the dirt, your ass cheeks spanked as red as your wound. However, I will not reward you with such attention right now…” Zarcar’s words are tight and restrained. He’s holding his passion in, now that Lixar is near.
“Oh, relax. I will find help elsewhere for my tiny wound. I enjoy my freedom, if you do not want to join me… and listen to my commands – then you are free to leave back to your Immortal King of Hellfire’s camp. But know, if you do leave, I will find another Venatores to replace you… all… of you,” I whisper, short on every word.
Lixar holds his breath and Zarcar catches his cousin’s gaze past my head.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Lixar drawls to Zar.
Zarcar’s hand snakes out to cover my eyes, while Lixar also raises a hand to slap over his cousins.
“…somnum infernum daemonium…” sleep hell demon. Both Mystifyers hiss the curse.
I smile, knowing it won’t affect me.
At least… I think it won’t! I’m too powerful now, I had been honing my powers for four weeks!
“…somnium libidine nobis…” dream of lust for us. Lix adds to it.
They both do.
Zarcar, next, “…somnium paenitet... turpe femina… oportet veniam petimus…” dream of regret, shame on you woman, you must beg for forgiveness.
And repeated by both to seal it, “…somnum infernum daemonium…” sleep hell demon.
Whatever magic they use together, I cannot counter. Yet.
So, I fall deep into a dream.
I dream of their fire. Their demonic hearts, beat with mine; telling me their worries.
It is received from both. And I know without a doubt before I wake, that I am disapproved of, that my actions are abhorred – by my very own, supposedly loyal, Venatores.