Once Out of Nature
Flight of the Dragon
To say the day was hot was to say
the sky was blue.
It was a pointless observation everyone had already
on their own. And on a scorching day like this, you might just
get punched in the face for stating the obvious.
Victoria walked down the street at a languid pace,
lips and blowing at the whisps of black hair that fell across her
It was one of those days she wished she could be
swimming in the
lake at the park instead of wandering around town. But no.
This is annoying, Victoria
thought as she passed
immensly crowded lake at the right fringe of the park.
I have the lake all to myself any
other given week, but
one time I really want it--completely crowded, no room for a
duck, let alone another person.
So after a bit of thought, Victoria pointed her feet
eastern part of town where her best friend Kristen lived.
It was so boring. Kristen could probably think of
Victoria quickly weaved through the familiar streets
brown eyes lit up pleasantly as she saw the lean figure reclining
on the steps.
“Oi! Kristen!” Victoria called out upon seeing a
face. “What are you doing outside? Waiting for moi?”
Kristen sat grumpily on the stairs leading up to her
waved her hand as if to dismiss the very thought.
"Don't flatter yourself. But no, my air conditioning
broken," Kristen informed her friend.
Victoria gave a mock gasp then smirked.
"Let's go walking in the park or something! I'm
Kristen glided up from the steps and remarked dryly,
honored that you come to my house only when you're bored."
"What else are friends for?" Victoria laughed, and
smiled to show she was joking.
She slid into pace beside her friend and they set
They had been walking for about five minutes now,
drifting in and out of thought with Victoria doing most of the
The end of the park they were in was
deserted, as everyone was either in their nice, air-conditioned homes
or cooling off in the lake.
Kristen suddenly had to swerve out
of the way as her
eccentric friend starting spinning in circles with her arms
"Hey! Watch it!" Kristen yelped.
"But the air is cooler if you do
Victoria stopped spinning and
wobbled off the path and
into the forest.
Kristen rolled her eyes and went to
check on her friend.
Victoria lay sprawled on the soft
loam, and was
grumbling under her breath and glaring at nothing in particular.
"Why, exactly, are you cursing the
Victoria hoisted herself up to her
feet and looked down.
"I tripped on a... Hey! That is
definitely not a stick."
Victoria dropped to the ground again
"What is that?"
A huge indentation
pressed into the ground and five furrowed marks were above the center
hole, crushing the soil in the unmistakable form of a clawed foot.
It was bigger than a human's head.
"Okaay..." Victoria poked at it,
mystified. "Looks like
a..dinosaur print to me." She laughed nervously and looked away from it.
"Uh..Kristen?" Kristen felt a pull
on her sleeve and
she glanced to where her friend was pointing.
The tracks continued on and
disappeared into the
shadows. A large form was hidden amidst the foliage, and a strange,
grumbling noise permeated the air.
Kristen shivered, which wasn't from
the heat-- because the
sweltering heat had increased
from the temperature a moment ago.
Victoria stood up and grabbed
"Okay. I am officially freaked out
now. Let's go."
They turned to go, but the grating
noise swelled into a
Kristen and Victoria both screamed
and broke into a
A loud crackling sound ripped
through the still air as
whatever was back there started to chase the girls. A mighty gust of
wind nearly overbalanced them.
Kristen glanced back and her breath
But this--It can't!
Kristen could barely think. Being a
lover of fantasy,
she knew a dragon when she saw one. And the magnificent, deadly
creature flying behind them was definitely one of the creatures of
But a dragon?!
This is not real,
this is not real, this is not... She kept repeating this in her
head to accompany her rapid heartbeat and footsteps.
Not real..Not real..
Victoria's mind was racing.
Dragons aren't real!
Why don't people
notice there is a dragon
flying in the park?
It's strange how completely useless
thoughts come to
people at the worst times.
dragon gave a triumphant roar as the girls ran into a wide
Wide enough for it to capture them--for
They realized their vulnerable positions
almost too late.
Terrified, both Kristen and Victoria screamed, hoping
anyone--anything--would help them. Suddenly, a blur went shooting
between the two girls.
Still afraid to turn, the girls heard a
there already was a dragon, whatever was growling could be
And that wasn’t a very pleasant thought.
Surrender the humans, half-breed.>
reason, the girls knew instinctively that this voice did not come
from the dragon's throat. Rather, it echoed in their minds as if from a
faraway distance. Then the sentence registered.
looked at what she thought at first glance was a man. As if aware
of her scrutiny, the creature slowly turned.
(for he was undoubtedly male) eyes were slit-pupiled, like a
cat’s. They were a exotic shade of hazel, warm and golden
like clear honey. They met with her own emerald eyes briefly.
Then his lips curled upward in a smile, giving her a shot of his
hurriedly looked away, and saw the outline of erect black ears
nestled on the top of his head--ears like a wolf’s--almost
invisible against his long ebony hair.
clothing was strange, and Victoria instantly placed the red
kimono and white gi as Japanese. He was barefoot, and two
quick glances revealed that both hands and feet were clawed.
Victoria and Kristen both jumped as the half-demon replied
“I will not” to the strange, echoing voice in his own
pleasantly deep timbre.
<KILL THE DEMON!!! And bring me the
The half-demon, supposedly, moved
in front of the girls protectively as the dragon
moved to obey.
A mighty howl cut through still air as
yet another demon yelled a battle cry.
Victoria barely got a glimpse of
the fast-moving form, but this one had the same form as the other
“half-breed”, except this one had beige hair and ears.
The dragon turned its head to one
side to avoid the outstretched claws,
but it wasn’t fast enough. Victoria and Kristen gaped as the
claws crushed the right side of the dragon’s face.
The reptile gave a horrendous, almost
human, shriek. This little demon
had given it more hurt than it had ever known.
dragon opened its great maw--revealing sharp fangs, the points
curved backward. No prey could ever escape from those jaws
without inevitable death, be it bleeding to death or being eaten--or in
this case, being burned by acid saliva.
With an odd
hissing sound, the dragon shot acid at the beige half-demon. He dodged
neatly and yelled something.
half-demon in front of Kristen and Victoria ran to help.
must be his name, thought Victoria.
black half-demon, Aniron, ran and launched himself at the left side of
dragon’s face. He reached out to shatter the other side of
the dragon’s already crippled muzzle, but the dragon evaded
and shot acid at the black’s retreating form.
shouted a warning, and Aniron turned with impossible speed and
dodged. In fact, it was so
fast, the girls didn’t even see it. To their eyes, he was in
one place, and the next second he wasn’t.
the dragon lurched upward with another inarticulate cry of pain.
It twisted and writhed in agony, and the two girls got a glimpse
of the beige hanging onto the dragon’s neck, with his arm
stretched to the front-- in wrist deep at the soft spot under the
dragon’s chin. Blood dripped down the half-demon’s arm,
spattering his white gi with crimson drops.
beige ripped cruelly, and the dragon’s cry dwindled into a
gurgle. The beige jerked his hand out of the dragon’s flesh
and jumped down and away as the dragon flailed in death throes.
It jerked for a few moments, then fell to the ground with a
mighty crash and lay still.
beige half-demon turned to the black and said “Let us
The black protested.
“Maeniel, we cannot leave them
“They are humans!” The beige
He spat the
word “humans” like it was a curse, and looked like he
would be more than happy to add more blood to his wardrobe.
Victoria both took a step back. The beige sneered.
“Why’d you save us, then?” exclaimed Victoria
boldly. Maeniel whipped his head around to stare at her, and she
returned his gaze with defiance.
the same outfit as the other half-demon, and strange-colored eyes
as well. His eyes were a gorgeous violet; they seemed to be
prismatic, drinking up the colors around them. But for all their
startling radiance, his eyes held no emotion. They were blank, as
if someone had just swiped their surface clean and left nothing
scared Victoria more than the fact that he was a demon.
beige, Maeniel, turned his icy gaze on Kristen and back to
Victoria. “We did not kill the dragon to save you, we
killed it because it is a minion of the Sorcerer. You have no
value to us. Foolish humans!”
thought about asking him who the Sorcerer was, but dismissed the
idea as soon as it formed.
"Humans, huh?" Maeniel glared at
Victoria, who was ignoring Kristen's violent "shushing" motions.
“But you," Victoria pointed at the
glowering beige, "are half-human as well as
half-demon. Hn.” She sighed.
rage sprang to Maeniel’s face.
did you just say?!”
repeated, “I pity you. For the rest of your life, you will
go around hating a part of yourself, something you can’t get
rid of. Every time you look at your reflection, you’ll see
something you despise. You’re so full of hatred, no wonder
your eyes are so cold.”
stared at her for a second, his gaze unreadable. Then he growled, a
cavernous rumbling coming from the center of his chest..
Victoria didn’t back down.
has ever dared to say that to me,” he snarled.
you’re pissed because it’s true.”
Maeniel looked at her.
This girl knew just what to say to make
him angry, and
she had never even met him before! Her next words shocked him
even more than the others.
“And if you kill my friend and me, you’ll be as bad as
the humans who senselessly slaughter and destroy.
"Even though I’m
human, I admit that we are barbaric in some cases, but not all.
Somehow, I don’t think you’ve met any nice
humans.” To Maeniel’s surprise, she grinned.
Aniron, gave a small smile. “You
must admit that you
have never met anyone quite like her, Maeniel.”
should kill her for her impudence.”
Kristen, who had been listening quietly, said “Then her
words have just gone to waste. Let’s go, Victoria.”
“No,” commanded Maeniel.
looked like he might chase them. Kristen broke into a sprint with
Victoria following. Kristen turned to see if the half-demon was
following and collided with something very hard.
flopped backwards, and with an “Oof” Victoria slid down
thin air. They both got up, and Victoria cautiously tapped in
front of her. An azure shimmer filled the air, along with an odd,
“Okaaay...” said Victoria, mystified. She turned, and
there were the half-demons standing calmy, looking at both of them. She
yelped. She hadn’t even
heard them approach.
grumbled under her breath. “Stupid wall.”
wall?” asked Aniron.
her surprise at his keen hearing, she said “There’s
this big invisible wall here. When we tapped it, it turned blue
and sort of... hummed.”
She placed her hands on the "wall," her
slender fingers splayed out against the air and the paleness of her
skin stood out against the blue color of the magical barrier.
They just stared.
"What? You can't see it?" Kristen asked,
half-demons shared a glance. “You are coming with us,”
Victoria came to stand next to her
friend, both of them lending each other their own strength to overcome
"How do we know if we can trust you?" she
Aniron looked at them both sadly.
"And besides," Kristen added, "There is
no reason to go with you two. This is all a dream. And even if this is real, there is no reason to
move from this spot.
"We could find a way to go back to our
own world or whatever, from where we are now, if we've gone anywhere."
Aniron looked at them with that sad
expression on his face.
"Would you rather we leave you to the
other dragons? There are many other creatures in this forest, you know."
Green eyes met brown as Kristen and
Victoria glanced at each other. Victoria shrugged, and Kristen sighed.
"Very well. Even if you wanted to hurt
us, you could do so very easily, judging by that battle. We don't even
have a choice in this."
"So..." Victoria started. "Where are we
going? And how long will it take?"
would like you to meet a...friend of mine. It will take about
fifteen minutes to get to the village where he lives."
"Gah," Victoria made a disgusted noise.
"And we'll have to walk in this heat too."
"No," Aniron explained. "the heat is
radiating from the dragon's body, and we shall carry you."
It took a few moments for that to sink in.
the heat comes from the dragon. That's interesting..
“No w-AY!” The last word came out oddly pitched as
Aniron picked Kristen up and flung her over his shoulder.
She shrieked in surprise. Victoria stared.
“Maeniel, come h-”
“No," he interupted coolly. "I think I shall decline." He took off
running without so much as a farewell.
just smiled and picked up Victoria as well. She laughed.
was quite unexpected.
The girls were amazed at
his strength. He could carry the weight of them combined like it
was less than a feather.
Victoria and Kristen were both scared
still, beyond all reason. This couldn't be real, it just couldn't!
They had no choice but to trust these two
demons, for the moment.
The two girls both gasped as Aniron
started to jog, and then sped up to a level that no human could ever
hope to achieve.
moved quickly, with preternatural speed, and was soon running
even with Maeniel. He tried to run smoothly, conscious of the two
fragile humans clinging to his shoulders.
The two girls grumbled
irritably as his long hair whipped in their faces. After a few
minutes of trying to tame the wild strands, Victoria sighed in
mock defeat and buried her
face in Aniron’s soft hair.
laying on his hair keeps it from getting in my face, thought
Victoria. She nudged Kristen and the older girl followed suit.
They rode like this comfortably the rest of the way.
Back in that
blood-strewn clearing, one amber eye snapped open; the dragon
began to change shape. Its mighty bulk shrank rapidly, the wings
and fangs disappeared. The hard scales turned to skin, and long
brown hair sprouted from its scalp. Blue replaced amber in a slow
It was now in
its male human form.
bonus of shape-shifting was that every time it changed shape, any
injuries from the other forms disappeared.
Master has expressly forbidden it to show this power to its prey.
That was why it had pretended to die, so it could change soon
after they left. Now it had to go to its Master. It turned and
strode off into the woods in the opposite direction that the
half-demons had taken.