Albel stirred cautiously, instantly aware of his surroundings. Of all the places he could finally enjoy a good sleep, it had to be the place he hated the most. As he lay, eyes open and scanning the ground below the hidden safe ledge Fayt had found the day before, the Wicked One tried to recollect what had helped him to sleep.
He moved slightly, trying to get closer to the wall against which his back rest. The effort sent sudden pain running up his side.
That's right... my side... the Earth pain medicine must've helped knock me out. He managed to sit himself upright. In his attempt to recline against the wall, however, he found that the wall he had been sleeping against was in fact a warm bundle of Earthling named Fayt. We've been back-to-back ever since we entered this place, so it's not strange... no. There's no reason I should be concerned.
"We're friends..." The realization of the prior night's events shocked him into speech. We're friends... 'til the end of time. Albel smiled smugly, enjoying the chance to let his guard down before the boy awoke. No dragon could find them here, so Fayt would be the only one who could hurt him. And the boy with such powers of destruction lay sleeping and powerless before him. The thought made Albel laugh a little. "I guess that wench mother of yours couldn't take away all of your power... you could easily destroy me... unless I take this chance right here and destroy you."
The Crimson Scourge was only a stretch away. But the stretch could easily re-open Albel's wounds from the previous day. "But if I don't do it, you could destroy me so much more than that woman could..." Crimson eyes flicked across Fayt's vital points, studying him in earnest. "Would we still be friends after I kill you? You said 'til the end of time'. 'Forever'. It's so much heavier than 'til death do us part'. You promised..." As he felt his heartbeat intensify, Albel realized that he was experiencing fear. And fear could not be tolerated.
He carefully unwrapped a mutilated finger, pressing the corded scarred skin to Fayt's neck. The boy instantly awoke, throwing an arm out to knock away the threat and using his body weight to tackle the threatener. He stared in shock as Albel the Wicked writhed in agony from having his vulnerable arm assaulted in such a manner. He reacted like an injured animal, throwing the stunned Fayt onto the ground, hovering over him with wild eyes. The boy quickly averted his gaze. Albel panted as the pain subsided and his sanity returned, retreating from Fayt as quickly as possible.
"Albel... are you? I'm sorry... Are you okay?" The boy crawled after him.
I never wanted him to see that... He knows where I'm weak. Now I'll have to kill him. "I'm fine," came the response, as Albel stared at his feet.
With a sigh, Fayt gave in, knowing that Albel's pride would rather forget the whole incident. Albel could care less whether or not I'm concerned. "Let's get headed back out. I want to be back home tonight. Sleeping out here is awful, I almost forgot. I was amazed that you were asleep so soon."
The man couldn't help but laugh. "That's because you helped." Fayt raised an eyebrow. "With the medicine! The medicine made me sleep, fool. Don't look so hopeful. Friendship talks won't sway me into resting. Promises mean nothing." I learned that the hard way.. If only I had been able to stick to my rules at the beginning, then I wouldn't be in this dilemma. 'If they're an enemy, we kill them. If they aren't, we dispose of them. It's as simple as that.' How could he have guessed how involved he would become with the boy in the dungeon.
As he stared into those feline eyes in frustration, Albel could still hear Woltar's response.
'If only things were as simple as you say.'
Rotten old man was always right.
"Let's get out of here." He grunted, fighting his armor back onto his arm.
"I can help--" Fayt resigned his assistance when his companion growled at him.
Each time Albel managed to slip the leather straps through the iron buckle they would slip back out when he tried to fasten them. After a few tries he threw the metal away from him, irritated.
"Albel..." Fayt retrieved the claw, tenderly crawling back to to the man and reaching for his arm. The Wicked One didn't protest, but refused to look at the boy who was carefully applying the armor. "Come on, we're almost to the Marquis. If we're swift, we won't even have to face another dragon. How's your side? If it's healed, our party of two will allow us the ability to climb above the mountain paths, now that we're in the heart of the mountains."
"And sneak around like cowardly rats? Bah! I'd like to see any measly dragon stand between us and Folstar."
"I'm sure the dragon would be more than happy to introduce us..."
"Then why don't I just kill you?" Albel smirked. "Then, when Folstar comes for your soul, I can inquire about the mask." His pride regenerating, the man grabbed the boy's wrists, pinning him in place.
"Like he'd be so ready to share information with you."
"Well, why not? I'm the main reason he has a job. With the end of this war, he's probably bored and would be glad to do me a favor, considering all the employment I've provided him in the past."
"If he liked you so much, then why did his servants try to kill you? And I'm sure he isn't too glad about you killing them." Fayt struggled to gain his freedom.
"Let's go kill some dragons." Albel scoffed, slipping off the the ledge.
"The point of this escapade isn't about killing." With a sigh, Fayt followed.
But I need to cover my earlier weakness. The warrior sought out the first dragon he could find. The large, dominating female appeared almost frightened by the appearance of the bull-headed man with wild red eyes.
With a territorial roar, she ran at him, her feet creating thunder through the earth. Albel parried the oncoming claw with his own, ducking from her jaw and slashing at her soft belly.
"Albel, wait! Retreat!" Fayt pleaded, trying to find a way between the two without costing any lives.
Usually only male dragons are this aggressive, but this female isn't going into the defensive. The only thing that would turn a female dragon into a berserker would be if we were in proximity of her nest.
"Shut up, Maggot!" Albel snapped back, slashing after the wounded beast as it lured him down another part of the path. The wicked one's eyes flashed with insanity as he ripped through the membranes of her wings before forcing her to take a tumbled down a steep edge to depths unknown.
"Are you satisfied?" Fayt barked, crawling over some rocks. "There it is." Sitting on top of the rock wall, he looked down into the stony cradle. The hatchlings were still covered in their eggy goo. Needle-like teeth gleamed from three gummy mouths as they cried out in hunger. The biggest fell silent as her round brown eyes caught sight of the human. Her siblings quickly followed suit when they noticed their sister. All at once, the small flock of little dragons scrambled to climb the rocks.
As the boy remained in awe, Albel fought his wounds in order to scale the wall of rocks. He took the first infant out with a scream, knocking the second one back down the far side of the wall where it landed on the last sibling.
"Albel, they're newborns!" Fayt scolded.
"The most dangerous type."
The third and smallest dragon cried out from under its dead sibling.
"Sounds like I missed one." Before he could unsheathe his katana, Fayt had slid down into the nest, lifting the body off of the living infant.
"Albel, this one isn't going to hurt us, he's helpless." He cautiously took some dried meat out of his bag and chewed it until it was moist and tender. Throwing it to avoid losing a hand, he accidentally hit the crying baby in the snout, startling it into silence. It sniffed at the chewed meat before greedily swallowing it. "See, it'll be okay."
"It has no morality, you worm, it won't think twice about gnawing your bones."
"I beg to differ. If dragons had no morality then how would the Dragon Brigade tame them?"
"Morality and self-preservation instincts are two different things. Beating into submission is the only way to make these monsters understand."
The infant crawled up onto Fayt's lap, turning its head to the side to gaze at him with big, bird-like eyes. With a deafening squawk, it begged for more food.
"Fayt, even if you spare its life, it's going to starve. We can't possibly afford to take care of it, we don't have the time."
The boy sighed, remembering the mouse he had acquired in his childhood. He had rescued it from his parents' lab when it was still pink, not wanting it to have to go through the experiments. He had thought it the humane thing to do at the time. The mouse had slowly starved to death.
"What do they eat?"
"Regurgitated meat. What you just fed it will probably upset its stomach in some time. I also don't think that your stomach acids will be enough to handle what it needs, nor will you be able to handle the volume, before you get any ideas." The Wicked One wiped the last of the mother's blood from his claw. "So, are you ready to let me finish?"
"Will another mother adopt him?" Fayt stared at the pleading infant in horror.
"Are you kidding? Killing this one would greaten the chances of their own brood's survival."
"Albel..." The boy gritted his teeth as the dragon nudged him in the chest.
These monsters killed my father, they caused my mother to starve to death, I had to fend for myself. Even those who tried to take care of me were scared away by the aftermath these monsters did to my body. Why should I grant this little monster the comfort of death?
"Fine, we'll see what we can do."
"Thanks. Maybe Corisel will have an answer." After doing a couple of laps around the nest to be sure the little one would follow, Fayt crawled out of the nest and back onto the path with Albel.
"Hmph. If you're lucky maybe it'll start to call you Mommy."
"Hah! I'm sure Edgar will learn perfect Terran. He'll be the first dragon to speak the inter-stellar language without a communicator."
"Edgar?" Albel grimaced at Fayt's smile. "You're a fool. The thing has a slim chance of lasting the day and you're naming it and talking as if it'll live as long as the marquis."
"It's worth a shot if a life can be spared."
So.... I haven't been on here since I was 16?! So says my profile, which I just changed....
I personally wanted to write a well-written, longer chapter with a lot more action. They were supposed to be to the Marquis by now... but, due to the fact that I haven't written in years, I wanted to hear some comments. Constructive critisism, typo and grammar catches, suggestions, ideas, throw 'em at me.
Oh, and, lastly. Thank you so much for coming back! I love you guys.