_Intro_

I'm just an average teen. Well, kind of. My name is Mark and I kinda have an advantage in a fight that most don't have.

I also have friends, Jake and Keven. They have sorta the same power as me. We can all turn into dragons.

Jake and I are just black dragons and Keven is an Earth dragon.

One might ask, "How do you get those powers?" to tell you the truth I don't know. I think you may be born with them.

OR it could be the fact that 5 years earlier nearly all of the nuclear weapons were fired in WWIII. Yep, I think that has something to do with it. It's not just us three who have super powers. Many people have some weird talents

(Super strength, breathing underwater, shape shifting, etc) but not many of our kind exist that we know of, and

we are all different.

_Chapter 1_

One day we heard on the news that a mysterious force had engulfed a building in fire. I didn't know at the time (I was only 11 years old at the time) but I would soon figure it out. These occurrences became commonplace and I just stopped caring but two years later I was lying in bed looking up at the weird colored clouds caused by the explosions and I started feeling weird. At first I put it off but about 5 minutes later I notices something long and scaly moving on the floor. Well, of coarse I looked down and saw that it was going under my covers. Well, what happened next nearly made me scream. It turns out

I had sprouted a tail. Yea I know what you are thinking GROSS well I wanted that tail to go away and as the thought passed through my mind I watched that darn thing shrink right back into my body. Yea, now you're thinking DOUBLE GROSS.

So was I. Well, I didn't sleep at all that night and when I woke up I was exhausted and cranky. My mother made me some

eggs and I felt better.

You would think that after an incident like that that one would be extremely emotionally scarred but I just passed it off as a dream and thought that even though there were genetically altered people everywhere nothing that big could ever happen in real life. I only started to worry when I talked to my friends and the conversation went from great food at the diner to a dream Keven had had. He had dreamed that he had grown massive wings and his skin had gotten scaly and as hard as a rock.

That scared me. I told him that I had a dream where I sprouted a tail, and Jake finally said, in his creepy serious voice, that he had sprouted scaly limbs with 6-inch talons. This was fascinating but we had to figure out whether this was a weird telepathic dream or we were turning into the only creature with scaly skin wings and 6-inch claws DRAGONS.

We all went to a secret place only we knew about. It was a dense forest that got thinner as it neared a place with no trees at all by a cliff 200 feet high. We hang out there and throw rocks and sticks into the lake far below just to kill time.

When we got there we talked for a few minutes about the new skill and decided to try it out. We paused for a moment, but the silence was broken by Jake who said " so, who is going first?" Jake and I said "not me" at the same time so Keven ended up

trying it first. He thought about the image of a dragon and nothing happened so I decided that maybe imminent danger would get that skin turning scaly. Sooo, I punched him as hard as I could, maybe a little too hard because he ended up stumbling and falling right off the cliff.

_Chapter 2_

Well, we were completely frantic when he fell but when we heard the crash at the bottom it was too big

to have been a regular human who hit the ground. When we finally looked over, there was a giant scaly creature climbing up the cliff. It was Keven. However, he looked angry and we kinda didn't know if the new body had a mind of its own. We didn't want to be dragon chow so we ran back to the forest and hid ourselves.

When Keven got to the top he looked around and then shook his giant head in disappointment. He laughed and said "you guys can come out now I cant actually believe you fell for the whole I'm going to eat you look." We were reluctant but eventually

we came out. The first thing Jake did was laugh. I know that laugh. It means that Jake's little sick perverted mind is at

work. After he was done snickering he said " you know you have no cloths on right" for a second Keven looked embarrassed (as embarrassed as a dragon can look) but then he said" I weigh 10 tons I'm 20 feet long and I have razor sharp teeth and claws. I don't think I need cloths or

that you could find any that would fit me." I agreed and decided that since Jake was so mean he could go next so I punched him, but not in the stomach like Keven, I went a little lower. Haha! But he didn't fall of the cliff. However he did start to change. It turns out, anger can trigger the transformation. He became 18 feet and nearly 7 tons of pure anger, but when he was finished he just looked at me and let out a deep growl.

It was my turn and I wasn't sure what to do I had caused the others to change but what about me. Keven knew what I was

thinking and threw his massive spiked tail at a tree and it fell, trapping my legs. As I started to change I was completely

blown away at the fact that it was painless. There was some tingling but that was about it. As I stood up I noticed that I was taller and longer than Jake I looked at him and stuck my long forked tongue out at him and thought that's a change I'm

bigger than Jake but what surprised me was Jake thought I heard that. Wait, how did I hear that? Evidently sense dragons can't talk they are telepathic. Too bad I "heard" Jake thinking about where your cloths go when you transform. I thought

back to him I don't know, but you will be the first to turn back to see if you still have them when you are back as a human. It turns out only certain cloths work. I wear loose clothing so I was fine but Keven he wears the tighter cloths and he was

in his underwear when he turned back with all of his cloths beside him. But being nice, we turned away so he could re-dress.

_Chapter 3_

When we were done we decided that we better tell our mothers about this strange power. We all went to each of our mothers and turned into our dragons the only one that talked was Keven's mom who said "just don't do that in the house" all of our

mothers were somewhat freaked out but all were finally ok with it (sorta). By the way the reason we didn't show our fathers is because all 3 of us don't have fathers. They were all killed by the deadly radiation (mind you this is a slow and painful death) but that was a while ago and we are all over it to an extent.

If you are wondering how all three of us got similar powers, this might be the reason. You see, we were having a normal day (as normal as you can get with constant nuclear threats) and we heard the bells and warning alarms and rushed to the

nearest nuclear bunker (these were everywhere) however, the bomb dropped several miles from us an all three of us were hit with massive amounts of radiation. We were in a coma for nearly 3 months and in the hospital for almost a year. However

we ended up with no problems (until now).

We also knew that we better learn more about these dragon forms and find out how to keep them from just coming out as happened that other night. To do this we went to our secret spot every day and tried to figure them out. it turned out that

Jake and I were the same kind of dragon with similar powers. We could shoot a blue very powerful jet of something that looked like a flaming laser beam out of our mouths. The thing that is really cool though is we can breathe in the thinnest of air. Our bodies don't need a lot of oxygen so we can fly nearly into space. We can also Form a near impenetrable force field around our bodies for short periods of time. Keven has bulletproof skin in most places and super strength (even for a dragon). He can control rocks and move them without even toughing them and that can be useful in creating walls or making shelter or just throwing giant boulders at annoying people.

We kept on practicing with these powers and then one day we saw something in the water of the lake below the cliff. Normally, we wouldn't have seen this movement but evidently dragons have the eyesight of a hawk. We saw the dark serpentine shape in the water and we went down to investigate. Well that big shape turned into many small shapes as we neared the lake. It was 4 small serpent like creatures like us but you know snake like with only small wings that seemed to serve no function and feathery finlike tails for swimming. These creatures were interesting.

We stayed behind the tree line until we had studied these creatures for more than an hour. Finally, I stepped out of the woods (mind you I'm 20 feet long and 8 tons) those things dove strait to the bottom of that lake. Well, they have to breathe sometime right. Wrong. They have gills and they only came up after an hour to see if we were gone. We weren't but

before they could dive again I explained through the telepathic powers of the dragon that I was not going to harm them we got to um "talking" and we found out that they can live on land as well as in water as long as it is wet the next day we

saw some of their powers, like controlling water, their only limit in that is that they cant control water inside of a living being. They can swim over 100mph and dive to over 1000 feet (not in a lake like that but they could if they were somewhere

deeper).

_Chapter 4_

That night I was in my bed and I was again watching the clouds when I started to daydream. I was so caught up in daydreaming That I failed to realize I was changing. Well I was almost full size now (thank you mom for making my room big enough for

me to not destroy when I did this. My brother had no idea about my powers and he had friends over. His friend Mary who I have a huge crush on (I don't think it shows but my friends think it is totally noticeable) was over and evidently she had a crush on me too. she came in my room to ask me if I wanted to go somewhere nice and eat tomorrow but when she got in my room she was so scared she dropped down to her knees and cried. I looked at her with my cold black eyes and immediately started to turn back into my human self.

she was still weeping on my floor(note to self mop the floor in the morning) and didn't notice me changing back. When I was fully human again I just said "um what are you crying about" and when she looked up she looked completely shocked and proceeded to franticly explain how she thought I had been eaten my a giant black dragon. I knew I couldn't hide it from her so I simply said "did the dragon look like this?" and changed quickly back into my dragon. She backed up and ducked down, but she managed to answer my question with a yes. I came back to normal exhausted. Did I mention that it takes a lot of energy to turn into a dragon it also takes a lot of energy to run the dragons body. But anyway back to Mary. I told her all I could and we talked for an hour before I finally said "I have to sleep but you must promise me

this. You cannot tell anybody about these powers." she quickly promised that my secret was safe and left the room. I finally got to sleep but it wasn't a deep sleep and every little noise woke me up.

When I got up the next morning, my friends were already at my house so I knew it had to be at least 10:00. "It's almost noon" my mother said looking at me curiously. I was still tired so I was a little cranky and simply said "so I didn't sleep well

ok! I'm going to get some breakfast." I ate three bowls of cereal and a granola bar (I told you that the dragon forms use a lot of energy. This means I need to eat a lot). It was three granola bars short of what I normally eat but I was too tired

to care. Everyone was just looking at me and I was just going to ignore it (for now) and eat.

_Chapter 5_

As we went to our spot by the cliff we got to talking and the subject got to my night and how Mary knew my secret now. We all agreed that we could trust her and everything would be fine. However, about half way there a man in camouflage stopped us and said that we were in gave danger and everyone needed to evacuate the city. Well, I told him that we would get our families out of there but that we might be of assistance. He laughed and walked on but I sprouted that same tail that freaked me out that night and tripped that man. As he looked back I was almost all dragon and he tried to run but within seconds I had him trapped under my massive talons. By this time Keven was also full dragon. Jake stayed human to explain to the man what we were and that we CAN be of assistance. He immediately agreed and told us to meet him at the local Auto Repair

Shop at 3:00.

We ran back to our houses and told the news to our families. We told them that they needed to evacuate and they were fine with that. However, when we told them that we were going to stay they freaked out. I told my friends to just say one

sentence if their parents disagreed. The sentence goes like this "I have the ability to be 20 feet long and weigh several tons so I have the ability to help fix this problem and I will stay" that worked like a charm on the parents but remember that we haven't told our siblings about our powers and they were totally skeptical. all three of us ended up showing off our massive dragon forms to our siblings and Jake had some fun with his bully of a big brother before he went back to his human body.

We finally persuaded our families to leave and met the man in camo at the repair shop from there we walked to the diner and ate (again lots of food). He said that enemy forces were targeting one of the 8 remaining nuclear bombs and that they don't have the manpower to protect it. I told him the extent of our powers and he agreed that we were to help the army defeat the enemy. Even with our powers I knew it would be difficult. There were 100,000 foot soldiers, nearly 10,000 tanks, and 1000 aircraft coming our way. The guard only had 30,000 foot soldiers, 4000 tanks, and 300 aircraft to use, and this is horrible given the possibility of a nuclear explosion if anything damages the nuke.

However we were in and we told the man in camo (Ronald Lee) to order another 3 cheeseburger meals because the soldiers will

not believe us and will want us to show them our powers. After getting these cheeseburger meals, we went to the middle of nowhere and as we looked around, the ground started dropping. We were going underground to meet the soldiers who we were going to be fighting alongside. We ended up in a small room while the land elevator went back up. We walked through a large

door and all I could say was "Wow."

_Chapter 6_

You would think that being underground would mean that you would be cramped but this place was like an underground city. This room went on for over 10 miles and then entered another one exactly like it perpendicular to it. The whole base was designed like a giant square doughnut and had plenty of room even for our massive selves.

After our little show (I knew they would want a show) we de dragofied (making up words is fun) ourselves and went to a conference room. We talked about how we would be used to defend this nuke. It turns out, people can come up with some crazy ideas. One wanted to rush out with our army and surprise attack the enemy. We knew that would end in disaster so I simply said "Send us out first. We will destroy as much as we possibly can and if they still want to fight we will be here on the front lines

waiting for them." The people there talked a bit and said that that was a good idea. "When should you go out to attack them?" one woman said. I told her that we have excellent night vision and the main man said "then we will go at 1:00 in the morning. When they are around 5-10 miles away we will strike."

After a bit more talking nobody could come up with any better plans and we were dismissed. I decided to do a little flying and most of the rooms allowed me plenty of room to do it. My room was near the kitchen so I stopped by on my way there. People complain about the M.R.E.s and I still can't figure it out. They are perfectly fine as long as you don't get the bean soup (this not only tastes bad it gives you gas for a week).

I finally got to my room and found it to be a little smaller than my room at home. "Not bad" I said to myself as I

studied the layout of the room. There was a table in the middle of the room and a TV screen set into the wall on the left side. I had a ceiling fan and 2 air conditioning vents on the floor there was a dresser and even a small closet. It turns out, all of the rooms are like this (I told you this place was huge).

I got good sleep that night. "These beds are so comfortable" I said as a fell into a good deep sleep. I haven't had a good deep sleep in a long time. I slept fine and didn't change while I slept (I know because nothing was broken when I woke up). Tomorrow was going to be a big day.

_Chapter 7_

It was dark even for me. it was very cloudy and there was fog everywhere. Off in the distance I could see the faint flickers of campfires. Ok let's get this strait. This may sound beautiful but it is completely nerve racking. Think

about it this way every one of those camp fires represents 100 men 20 tanks and 10 aircraft just waiting to take us out. So no matter how beautiful I make it sound, it's freakin' scary. The fact is, those campfires didn't ever seem to end and I was starting to worry that we were not going to make it out of this battle alive.

We were in a large room now for our briefing and I was so twitchy I couldn't take a sip of the lemonade they so kindly

brought out to us (at this point I'm starting to think they are kissing up to us). We went into a giant hangar to get ready. When the retractable roof opened, we jumped into the cold night air and rose as high as we could do without losing the sight of the campfires. When we got there, I swooped a little lower to find what the military call high priority targets. These are mostly tanks and planes but also include artillery and high-ranking officials.

When I came back up, I quickly told the boys about the layout of the camp. The makeshift airfield is on the extreme west of the camp, all of the tanks except a few are in the front ready to go and the tents are in the middle surrounded by artillery and a few tanks. a few of the tents had small reflective whit tags on them. I told the boys that these are

also targets and to hit them if they get a chance.

I gave them a signal and we all swooped down and spit up to cover more space. I would like to give you a detailed, action packed description of the battle but for the first 3 minutes nobody fired back. I guess they didn't know what hit them.

After that, they were shooting so many rounds that you couldn't but a mouse between them. However, we were nearly 3 miles up and at that distance, only sniper bullets could hit us and even those only left a scratch. We had done our damage and it was time to head back to the base.

It was a celebratory flight back. We paused to sit by a lake about 1/5 of the way back to the base. We all had radios so we called the base to let them know we were fine. They told us not to rush but to be careful and we told them that we would. When we got back into the air, we almost instantly heard the sound of aircraft engines and they were getting louder. I heard Keven think well this is going to be fun.

_Chapter 8_

We decided to try and lose them but evidently they had some kid of lock on us so we had to destroy them. There were 5 planes in all and each was jet fighter. This gave me an idea. There were big billboards down by the street. If I could fly low enough

and pull up before the jet could then the jet would explode into a million tiny pieces on the billboard. There was only one problem with this. It is simply very hard to fly that low. we thought to each other (this is still weird to me) and we decided that this was our only real chance at destroying those fighters. we split up. There were two planes on me 2 on Jake and 1 on Keven (lucky).

Anyway, we all picked a billboard and went strait for it. We later learned that this was one of those cliché movie scenes. Logic forgot to tell me that more jets crashing at once creates a bigger boom. When the first jet behind me crashed it caused the second one to crash as well. This was the same with Jake. Keven's explosion was smaller because he only had 1 jet behind him (I take back what I said about him being lucky)

This one didn't come without a price though all three of us had burns from the explosions and badly cut wingtips (flying that low, they hit the ground). When we got back to the base (after making sure we weren't being followed) the commander of

the unit we were in had a serious look on his face. He looked at us and questioned our various wounds. We told him that we were being followed by fighters and also how we got rid of them. He just looked at us and said "go see one of the base doctors they will try to fix you up."

The doctor was nice, she told me that my injuries were minor and should be completely healed within a week. Well what can I say, there is a huge battle today and I have to fight in it. So, when all three of us were checked out by the doctor we got together and decided to not take the doctors orders and wait a week. We were going to fight.

_Chapter 9_

We decided not to go back to our human selves because we didnt know what would happen because of the wounds. We ate a huge breakfast (they are finally getting the fact that we need a lot of food) and tried to ignore all the staring. Ok

I will admit that a giant dragon eating oatmeal and some sausage and egg biscuits is a weird sight. As we did this, Keven Jake and I worked up a plan that would make the most use of us without getting us killed.

When breakfast was done they loaded the trucks, tanks, and aircraft we were briefed yet again and this time I actually got to drink my lemonade. We told them our plan and they had no problem with it. Our plan was to split up and protect the

tanks, aircraft, and men I was going with the tanks Jake is going with the aircraft and Keven, being an earth dragon, will

be on the ground with the infantry. If any one of us defeats all of the targets then they will go to the target with the most left and help that group. The army people also gave us these special made headsets so that we can hear any urgent cries for help. Of coarse we can't respond to all of them but we can come to the rescue if it is urgent enough.

Then the time came. The tanks went out first and I went out with them then the aircraft with Jake leading, and after we had gone forward the infantry started to pour out of the huge tunnels now open all the way. That was a lot of people and

machinery. The aircraft actually stuck first destroying tanks and artillery so that our tanks could finish the big targets and some of the infantry off. There were several big explosions and I saw machinery and bodies fly up into the air, pretty gruesome but we got that phase of the battle completed after nearly an hour.

Then a second wave of aircraft with these really cool bombs that split open and let go 100 small explosive objects came in to destroy some of the infantry. At this time Jake and I got to be together for a few minutes before the tanks had to back up and let the infantry through. So, when the time came for us to part we blew our blue tongues of flame at the enemy

and left each other.

The tanks eventually backed up and the infantry went forward. The tanks were still firing but only as support fire now. My post was fine and I decided to help the infantry out by flying over the enemy and giving them a heat treatment. It was a good idea for about 5 seconds until I had to go really high to avoid incoming rounds. I was hit a few times on the wings but I was fine, I looked to find Keven and I saw him towards the west, taking people out using pillars of rock. Then, out of nowhere, a 20-foot thick 100-foot high wall surrounded the enemy. When this happened a watched my friend fall to the ground.

_Chapter 10_

This was scary I knew we could die out here but I didn't actually count on it. By the time I got down there, Keven had been surrounded by men. As I landed though, they all stepped back. I was in a really bad mood by the time I had landed and I was

being watched carefully by a lot of people.

I moved closer to my friend and looked him over. No bullet wounds, no injuries of any sort. With the help off a couple hundred men we moved him onto a large piece of scrap metal from a blown up tank. That metal was pulled by a working tank, into the hangar that we had come out of. There, the doctor would look him over and see what killed him.

by this time people from the enemy's ranks started to climb over the wall. While our people picked off their people, I went back and forth over the enemy shooting flames and not caring about the pain of being shot. Finally I started to calm down and as a result feel the pain of the many wounds I now had. As I came down for what was going to be a rough

landing, I looked at the enclosed space. Only about 20 people were still alive. By the time I had registered that thought

I hit the ground, hard.

I was out cold for 4 days according to the person who took care of me. She said I probably wouldn't remember the last days though. I struggled through the pain to look at myself and check the damage. But I nearly threw up when I saw the damage. I was still a dragon. I had several IVs in me I had what looked like a continuous oozing scab from the base of my neck to my back legs and several smaller scabs on my tail and wings

The doctor told me that I would have to stay in bed for at least 4 weeks. I was perfectly fine with that. I couldn't move anyway so it wouldn't matter. Sometime around noon, the doctor came in and told me that someone wanted to see me. I wasn't

in the best of moods so I said "it can wait I need to rest" she said "ok" and left the room. I drifted of to sleep.

When I woke up I panicked. I thought I was dead because when I opened my eyes I saw Keven in his human form. I immediately pulled my head up then let it down because that heart like (you fill in the blank). I nearly had a heart attack I was so

scared(it wouldn't matter if i was already dead). Then, I heard Keven say "you were always hardheaded Mark" "I heard what you did after i got out of recovery 3 days ago. I wanted to see you but you were still out of it" "so I'm not dead, you're not dead?"

"No of coarse not" came the reply. That was a relief.

_Chapter 11_

It was nearly 7 months later when I was finally able to turn human again. By this time I had healed completely. I walked down to the small candy store on the end of the street my family lives on and picked up some malted milk balls (I love malted milk

balls). I hadn't had them in almost a year. After eating that and our lunch, (foot long subs with a large drink a bag of chips and 2 cookies) my friends walked me home. To my surprise, my parents were not there. my brother wasn't there either. I

started to panic yet again.

After panicking, I decided to look all through the house to find them. I cleared room after room and didn't

find them. I came to my room to find the lights off (just how I left them). I was scared but I turned on the lights and who is there, Mary. Why was she here, but not my family? That was the question I wanted and didn't want to know the answer to.

I walked up to her slowly and stopped about 5 feet away. I said something like "what in the world are you doing here?" and she said in a happy note "This is great. Now I can tell your family to come home." I asked her what she meant and she explained to me that I didn't say a return date so they sent her to go home and wait for us to return. She had been waiting there for 2 months. I told her that everything was fine now but didn't tell her about being shot up for fear of her thinking I was

reckless (even though I was).

It was about a week later when my family arrived home. I was standing in the driveway waiting for them. When they got out of the car, they looked disappointed. I later learned that they were expecting me to be in dragon form when they got back. I told them that I was tired of being a dragon at the moment and as we walked inside I told them of the battle (Mary was back home by this time). I was curious to see what their reactions would be.

My mom was the most reactive. She was so worried and by the end of the story I was being squeezed to death in a hug that wouldn't let go. My brothers were just saying, "cool" and "awesome" to everything except being shot up. They said "ouch!"

to that one. I also let them know very clearly that "ouch" no matter how many exclamation points you put on it was a huge understatement.

_Chapter 12_

You would think that after a battle like that, our lives would be pretty easy. For a while this was true. However comma (I like saying punctuation. It's fun) we soon learned that governments were looking at us as weapons and willing to pay large sums of money for our services. This was challenging because we didn't know what they had in mind and we didn't want to end up in the wrong hands.

We decided to be defense weapons only and only work for people who don't have enough supplies or a big enough defense force to defend themselves. We didn't want to be huge attacking monsters that could be bought by the highest bidder. We wanted to give hope to those who have none or very little. We were now the Three Cannons Defense Force. (We figured that was a good name and sense none of us are very creative, that's what we stuck with).

We immediately started getting phone calls and emails from countries large and small. Most of them we denied because they either wanted us to be in an attack or had plenty of supplies and a big enough army to deal with the threat themselves. The ones we didn't deny, we set into 3 categories URGENT, SEMI URGENT, and NOT URGENT. These let us know which ones we needed to help out first. We soon realized that there were too many for all 3 o us to go on all of them so we categorized the jobs into 1D jobs, 2D jobs, and 3D jobs (D stands for dragon). That way we could know how many of us actually needed to go on a mission so that we could do more than one at a time.

These were usually semi easy jobs because the forces involved were not that large. However they were not to be taken lightly because as soon as the enemy knows we are there we immediately become their number one target. I'm here to tell you, that bullets don't feel good. However, no one can do the job as well as we can. This is a huge comfort, mentally, to the soldiers on our side and a huge pain to the opposing forces. I remember thinking, What is wrong with me? I just got done being shot at and I almost died, and I'm fighting in the military again. Fun fun.

_Chapter 13_

So here I am, flying south (we usually fly to far off places unless it desperately needs to be a secret) and with me is Keven. Its winter where I live and for several miles Keven and I chatted (if it wasn't for the mind chat we wouldn't be able to hear each other) about how its kinda funny that we were flying south and it was winter(if u don't get the joke think about migrating birds). It was kinda funny and the cold didn't bother us too much sense the high atmosphere can get pretty chilly. It makes me wonder if dragons are "warm blooded" everything else about us was reptilian except the fact that we weren't bothered by the cold.

Anyway, we were flying south when I heard screams of panic and smelled smoke. As I got closer I saw a large building on fire. It looked like a hotel and I had no clue how many people were inside. However, without thinking, I dropped from the sky

like a boulder. Here we go again.

My mind was racing but I could not think. I was amazed at how fast I was falling and finally slowed up so that I didn't end up a dragon pancake on the ground. How was I going to help? Most buildings don't have 10-foot wide windows. I had a general idea where the scream was coming from so I decided to ram it. Just as I was about to hit the building though, the stone made a huge hole and I rocketed through the entrance. Keven had "heard" my thoughts and didn't want me to get hurt. He had moved the wall. But now I was doing ninety miles an hour through a burning hallway and I had passed the person in distress. Luckily, most hotels are designed with a circular main hallway and I slowed down enough to make the turn and get back to the room that contained the person in trouble. I couldn't go in there as a dragon for they might commit suicide at the sight of me bursting into their room. I would have to turn back into my regular, human self. I did as quickly as possible but the flames were moving fast. I kicked in the door and tried to find the people amongst the piles of random junk and through the smoke.

When I found them (a woman and a small child) they were dirty from the soot and lying on the ground to try and avoid the smoke. I quickly started to speak to them. This was going to be interesting because I would have to turn back into a dragon to get them out. I simply said, "I am here to get you out of here but you will have to trust me. I don't' have time to explain so I need a Yes or No." the mother said yes and I quickly started to change back. You should have seen the look on their faces, priceless, but not a good sign in this situation. They might not trust me. I needed them to trust me but its kind of hard to trust a fire-breathing monster when your hotel is on fire.

_Chapter 14_

I knew by the time I was completely finished morphing that they weren't going to cooperate. I didn't know what to do for them. How could I communicate to them that I wasn't going to hurt them? I tried a few different approaches but none of them worked. Then I had an idea. What if this telepathy works for humans too? I thought. I tried it and they seemed to respond to it. I quickly explained that they HAD to trust me and that I was their only way out of this burning wreck of a building. They finally, reluctantly, decided to come with me. They used the spines on my tail as a ladder and the ones on my back as seats and something to hold onto. Once they were on, I told them to hold on tight. I knocked out a wall with my tail and took off out of the hole. The side of the building collapsed right behind us as we left. That was close but the ride wasn't over for these two. I needed to get them to a safe place and whatever it was that cause that building to flame up had to be close by.

We flew really low and threw some woods so that we wouldn't be seen. Once we got deep into the woods I landed and hmanified (I love making up words) myself. Keven and I talked to the woman and she clarified why I only heard one scream not two. Her child was 6 years old but he is mute. He communicates through words in the air. Basically when he wants to say something he is able to make what he wants to say scroll in the air front of him. Poor boy. I would love that power but not at the cost of being mute. It just goes to show you that the super power tradeoff is not always positive. He can project the words that he forms up to 20 feet but it is still not like being able to talk.

I got a thank you from both of them and they headed off in search of somewhere to stay. We were far enough away from the building that they would be fine. Keven and I found a restaurant and had lunch. (I had almost twice as much as him because of the incident) We talked about how ironic it was that a dragon saved the damsel in distress. After eating, we went back to the woods and got back to flying. We were going to meat the main man halfway to the place we were going as to not be seen by the enemy. We decided to keep low just in case of any trouble. It was time to get back to the main task. Saving a village from armies of raiders (AT NIGHT).

_Chapter 15_

Our day vision is awesome but our night vision is AWESOME. I haven't figured it out though as I haven't gotten the chance to use it a lot. This was going to be a new, and very difficult assignment. "I guess we will see if this night vision thing is very difficult." I thought to Keven to break the silence. "Yea" was his reply, which was not what was needed to start a conversation.

Normally, under the circumstances, we would be flying so high that people would never see us but in this case, we wanted the people to see us, which is dangerous but has a great psychological effect on the enemy. As we neared our area we flew up high so that we could conceal where exactly we were going. And as we landed, I realized just how hopeless their fight was.

There were so few people here and I could already see the charred remains of what used to be a glorious army. I went into a meeting just as before and as always people were pretty nervous around us. Nobody talked for the longest minute I have ever experienced.

When someone finally did speak, the person looked more like an intern than a leader of a military force, we were told of the horrific experiences of their day-to-day lives. The kid, who couldn't be older than 15, told us of nightly attacks that charred almost all of their heavy equipment, and in 3 nights, killed almost half of their army.

Their dilemma was that they couldn't hear or see any enemy movement and thinks that they have some new super weapon that they can't counter. Even I became a little frightened by the destruction.

After all of the usual meetings and the constant being stopped every 5 seconds for someone to get a picture or ask us questions, we decided to fly off and check out the land. We were told where the enemy was and we avoided them. Even though I wanted to check out the enemy, we headed in another direction. After about 10 Minutes of flying, we hit heavy clouds. OK. So what I thought. We have been through lots of clouds before.

About 2 minutes more into the flight I started to get a bad feeling about these clouds. But I just kept thinking they are just clouds snap out of it. I shook off the feeling and kept flying.

I was feeling pleased with myself for the next 5 Minutes. I was flying at normal speed because I really didn't think slowing down was a necessary precaution. Just then I smacked into the ground. Yes THE GROUND, I ran smack dab into a mountain. (Ha Ha So Funny) that is what you are thinking but it wasn't funny to me.

I was knocked unconscious and as a result (when I finally woke up) I lost all sense of direction. That sounds bad right? If it does great if not go see a psychiatrist. I thought Ok Keven could take care of me. But then I thought, I haven't seen or heard from him. "we must have gotten separated in the clouds" I said aloud, well in my mind that is what I said but I was still a dragon so all that came out was a series of growls.

All of a sudden I heard the air twirling around me. I saw a figure through the clouds and thought all right Keven you found me! But as it got closer, I was frightened yet again because this wasn't my friend.

_Chapter 16_

Figuring out that this was Not Keven, I ducked into a hole in the mountain, no deep enough to be called a cave, but wide enough for me to fit in and just deep enough that with the sun on the other side of the mountain it was pretty dark.

Perhaps I could stay hidden in here and the other dragon (had no clue there were any more) won't see me. Ok I admit it. I don't think the word "Perhaps". Anyway, I wasn't thinking about the other senses. After what seemed like an hour but was probably just a minute (new record for the longest minute ever) a huge, dark red, reptilian head, that smelled like ham, moved into the hole and looked straight at me.

This is really bad I thought. Probably going to hurt worse than being shot at. But the dragon didn't try to eat me. Instead, it started to use that mind speech to talk to me. I had no clue what was being said because she (I could tell that much) was not speaking any language I had ever heard (and I speak a lot of different languages for my job.) this was different. I was wondering if she knew any other languages but if my hunch was correct (and I think this is a case where the dragon is more prevalent than the person and may be permanently a dragon) then I wanted to keep the fact that I was actually human secret.

She eventually backed out of the hole and with what looked like caring eyes (with dragons you just cant tell for sure) it looked as if she was letting me out. Is it a trick? I thought. No if she wanted to kill me then she would have done it already. I slowly stepped out of the rock and looked to face this new creature.

She was indeed beautiful but I wouldn't let her know that (as you may recall I have a girlfriend already). No, I was getting out of here. But just as I was about to fly off, I remembered, DUH I AM LOST. I can't go anywhere. As I turned back around, I could see her looking at me. Now looking confused, she motioned with her head to follow her.

Eventually she stopped (she didn't fly during the whole trip). We were near the top of the mountain and the clouds were thick everywhere except or exact location as if the clouds formed a bubble around the entrance to the massive cave we were standing by.

She went in. I was very nervous but up here its cold and I eventually convinced myself to go in too. No need to fear, I told myself She would have killed you back there and she has been nice so far.

So with that I stepped into the cave. Once I was in I realized just how enormous the place was. I saw flashes of light in a room near the back and went that way (carefully of course) and saw the dragon lighting several small fires at the edges of the room. Pretty smart for not being human I thought. Which reminded me that she was eventually going to find that out.

_CHAPTER 17_

I awoke and thought about the terrible dream I had. Then I ACTUALLY woke up. I hate it when that happens. I mean, you think you are having a nightmare and then you wake up and realize oh wait a minute that is just my crappy life! The other dragon wasn't around so I went through the cave system exploring the place in case I needed to know where I was.

From my room, there was a hallway that led to a chamber with several smaller openings into other large rooms. I went into one making sure that that lady dragon didn't see me. Maybe she didn't want me snooping around and I got that feeling of excitement you get when you could get caught at any moment. And I did.

I needed an excuse and fast. The red dragon stared at me. Not only did I need an excuse and fast I also needed to tell her the excuse without hinting that I was not an actual dragon. I got an idea (UH OH!).

Because I was a dragon anything I said aloud came out as a dragon would say it. It was going to be really awkward but it was going to have to work. I quickly made my excuse.

I was looking for the bathroom (translating here as what I really said was a conjumbled mess of growls and groans). The dragon looked at me confused. Then she figured out what I meant and showed me to a large room in the very back of the cave. I went in and looked around. There was a huge hole in the rock that seemed to go forever. I didn't actually need to go to the bathroom but I did need to clean myself up. I hadn't showered in over a week. I asked her If she knew where I could get the dirt off of me and still confused as to why I wasn't using the mind chat, she showed me to a small opening into a HUGE room. The room was almost entirely filled with a beautiful underground lake with a waterfall spilling from a hole in the roof.

I thanked my hostess and waded into the lake. About 100 feet out I went under the water and noticed that even in the dark the water was crystal clear. I conjured up a little warmth and blew some flame into the air (I still get scared every time I do this) and looked for a torch in the wall.

I eventually found a few and eagerly lit them. The light from those revealed even more but I liked the low light atmosphere and decided not to light the others. With the light I noticed that the room was far bigger than I had previously thought. The lake didn't take up the entire room and there were smaller pools (like small ponds) around the outer parts of the lake that seemed to be steaming. I thought about the steam and it just disappeared. It couldn't just vanish. It has to be escaping somewhere. I got an idea on how to get out of this cave once I figured out where I was. First I needed to figure out how to communicate with this dragon, who apparently was an ACTUAL dragon. (Hey this might just be the weirdest life ever lived). I needed a common interest and needed to learn more about her. This was going to take time but I knew it was the only way.

_CHAPTER 18_

It was still morning after I had cleaned the two inches of dirt off of me. I got out and went back to my room lighting one of the fire pits. I thought I have used fire more these couple of days than I have used in months. I am still a human and fire that close to your face generally causes a fear reflex.

I went up to the main chamber where the lady dragon was laying down. I asked her the one question that might just save me. "Do you speak any human languages?" She looked at me confused and after a few minutes of shock the reply came. "Yes" Whew! That is good, I thought. "Would you like to fly around a little today?" I asked. "I don't know where I am and I would love to just fly and get to know you."

"OK" came here reply. I was so relieved that she didn't expect that I was actually trying t figure out where I was so that I could leave. I thought she was nice and maybe I would come back and visit.

As we jumped from the ledge I saw just how bright red she was, an amazing color. Caught myself thinking like that and tried to ignore the thoughts. I was sure that she had the same powers of mind reading as I did and I didn't want her thinking I was in love with her, even though I did ad mire her beauty and strength greatly.

"So" I started a little weakly, trying to hide my admiration, "Do you have a name?" a short pause and then she replied. "Angelina" she said, sounding pleased with herself. "Yours?" I replied with a little more composure and control this time "My name is Mark. Could you tell me a little about yourself? I'm not exactly sure what to ask you." I didn't show any signs of lying because I was being completely honest. What would be the first things you ask to a 20 Ton Red Dragon?

Her reply came in a calm yet weirdly happy tone into my mind. "First off I am one of the last full dragons in the world." I could believe that. "Everyone in my family is dead except my brother and my father." I was shocked and just nodded. " I have been living up there in that mountain for 70 years." Wow and still good looking Oops. Just as I thought this Angelina turned her head to look at me. Her eyes were a bright orange and they pierced my thoughts like a sword pierces was she going to respond to this? What was I going to say? What would my girlfriend think? What is making me think this way? All of these things rolled through my head as she turned her head back and gave a mental laugh. I wanted to know what she thought was so funny. And before I could actually ask she said it. "You are so young and foolish. I am too. I know you are going to leave. I know you aren't an actual dragon. I would, however, like to ask of you one thing."

"What would that be?" I asked. Her reply came "Simple, would you come back and visit sometime soon? I haven't seen a dragon, real or fake, it a very long time and I liked talking with you. Also, Please tell these humans to settle their dispute quickly and not to disturb me." I listened to this and said, "I would love to come back but with a clearer head. I am as you probably know, highly attracted to you. I'm not sure why but I need to figure this out so that when I come back I am not too distracted. As for the humans, I will settle that argument as soon as I get back. And don't worry they won't be messing with you." She nodded and I asked her for directions to the fighting. Angelina gave me the directions and I headed off, taking one final, and rather long look at her as I left.

_Chapter 19_

I returned to find ruin and destruction. Nobody would be able to tell which, if either, side won. I certainly couldn't tell. There were pieces of vehicles and bits of bodies everywhere. Buildings were destroyed. There wasn't any sign of life in sight.

Suddenly, I become nervous. What happened to Keven? Did he escape this carnage? Or is he… NO I can't think that way! That and much more was going through my head. Thoughts like that suck but I needed to think this through. My brain likes to go through every detail and every possibility. It is sometimes useful but for times like this it is just a pain. So my brain was doing just that, going through every scenario, everything that could have possibly happened (logical or not). I was just along for the ride (one that I absolutely hate to be on).

During my ride on this emotional roller coaster, I came up with 3 logical solutions. The first solution was that Keven had come looking for me, causing our army to lose. The second was that we won and they moved the base to a more suitable location. The third was the worst. It was that our team lost and they had captured or killed (of which the second is more likely as Keven would be next to impossible to capture).

That third possibility sent shivers down my spine (and the longer that spine is, mine happens to be 20 feet or so, the worse it is). It scared me more than ANYTHING that has EVER happened to me.

I decided to walk around and see what clues I could find as to which option was true. It would have been easier to fly, as the ground was soggy. It hadn't rained. There was just that much blood on the ground.

Eventually I found a deep indention near what used to be an aircraft hanger. (we don't fit out normal doors so we go out with the planes or tanks). I almost didn't notice it as it was half destroyed by a tank track. I looked in the direction that they seemed to go and noticed that they stopped. Well that is great. That only tells me he started to fly. I thought. But then there was a little hope. they didn't catch us by surprise. This was an attack by us! Suddenly I felt a lot better. The chances of them defeating Keven without some serious stealth and surprise were next to none.

I didn't see any interesting, or out of place land formations so I assumed that Keven had gone out to search for me and the battle had gone badly here because of it. I couldn't help but think that the death of these people was my fault. If only I hadn't gotten lost none of this would have happened. I couldn't afford to think about it then though. I needed to find Keven and fast. He probably set out to find me in the same direction we had gone the first day. I jumped into the air and then fell straight back down. There was now way. I had been in this form for several days now, and without much food to supply the huge energy demand. I need to find something to eat and fast. But first I need to be a human again before I kill myself by starvation. I slowly turned human again, immediately feeling hungry (human hungry not so weak you can barely move hungry) and headed inside the building.

There were many bodies on the ground. For some reason, though, there didn't seem to be enough to have that much blood oozing form the ground. Those were the thoughts I had as I walked into a deserted and strangely clean building. I had no idea where I was or where I was going because I had gone out to explore before I got the tour of the place. I was looking for a kitchen or dining room of some sort, though, and I was determined to find it. It took me nearly 45 minutes to find a place with food and I ate some non-perishable items because with the recent battle I was sure the electricity didn't work and I didn't want to get sick. A box of cereal and several granola bars later I was back walking around. I found an old backpack, worn but still usable and grabbed it. It was heavy but I didn't have time to look at what was inside yet. I was already on my way back to the kitchen for some extra food to take with me. I had an idea (Uh Oh!)!

_Chapter 20_

With the clues I found, there was only one logical solution out of the three that I had come up with. Keven had gone looking for me. The problem with that is that I am not lost any more and you are about to be I thought. Well he knew which way we went and I fly faster than he does. I was going to try to catch up with him before he (or I) became too hopelessly lost.

With that I went back to my dragon form (kind of missing being human because I had been a dragon for so long). I sighed as best a dragon could sigh and jumped into the air. It was not easy. I had just eaten so only some of that had been used for fuel for my body so far. It was going to be a very difficult flight for the first bit. I had the adrenaline pumping through me (if dragons have adrenaline), and if I hadn't I would still be grounded. I was thankful for whatever it was.

I took off in the direction of the mountain that had so rudely knocked me out of the air. Once the food I had eaten kicked in I sped up to my maximum cruising speed and once I got a little farther from the camp I thought the loudest thought ever. I screamed Keven's name making my head spin a bit from the effort of using the thought speech like that.

I guess I was expecting an answer, but it didn't come. I continued screaming out his name and listening for any response. After nearly an hour of screaming I was becoming angry. In a near rage, I saw something huge coming straight at me. I immediately slowed down as fast as I could and pulled up so hard I thought my wings would break from the force of the wind on them. I landed hard but on all fours and safe. I had come to the mountain that had tried to kill me a few days earlier.

Suddenly, in a panicked rage, I did something I had NEVER done before. I guess I let the animal take over, or maybe it was intentional. At that moment the line between the two options was practically nonexistent. What I did was ROAR as LOUD as I possibly could. The ground literally shook and every bird within a hundred miles took to the air. The ones that were really close dropped out of the trees, dead from fear (so you CAN be scared to death). I even scared MYSELF!

I wasn't exactly sure where that roar had come from. I knew I did it but why I still don't know. Am I losing my human self? Why is this happening to me? WHAT is happening to me? My thoughts raced faster than I could keep up with, again going over EVERY SINGLE DETAIL.

In the end, one thing was surtain. I had failed. I did not find my friend. No response had come and I couldn't do any more to help. What I needed to do was rest and I couldn't go back to that base. I finally decided it was best to go ahead and go back to being a normal human being. I found the cave that I hid from my secret crush dragon in (while still in dragon form) and went in. I immediately noticed the fact that it was much bigger when you weren't 20 feet long.

I made a small fire and a makeshift bed and closed my eyes to sleep. But I couldn't. I stayed half awake the entire night. UNTIL, another wrench was thrown into the equation. It was about 3:00 in the morning and it was still dark out. I was in my half asleep state when I heard something outside. I thought it was the wind but it was to regular and I opened an eye.

Right beside me laying down and watching me with interest was the red dragon.

_Chapter 21_

Luckily it was cold so I had slept with all of my clothes on. I could only imagine how awkward it would be to be without cloths in front of a dragon I had a crush on. As soon as that thought left me, though, I immediately thought about how she didn't know what I looked like as a human and then became instantly frightened. She just continued to stare at me. What she wasn't getting for some reason is that I was about to wet my pants. I was trying to figure out why she hadn't asked who I was or why she wasn't responding to my embarrassing thoughts.

I just stayed still and she motioned to a good-sized pork roast just to the right of me. I was so nervous that I hadn't even smelled it. I moved slowly over to the great smelling meat and took a piece off using a knife that I had thrown I the backpack. I looked back at my visitor and motioned her to have some too. She just lowered her head and closed her eyes. She was evidently not hungry. She waited till I had gotten my fill and pointed to her back with her head. I want exactly sure what she meant by this but before I could ask she lifted me and placed me on her back between two rather small dorsal scales. And then she gave me the backpack, which I quickly put on. As the shoulder strap slid onto my shoulder she immediately took off.

I had no clue where she was going but I wasn't in control here so I decided not to complain. Wouldn't want my crush to eat me. I had given up on resisting the fact that I liked her and on trying to hide it from her. She obviously knew something and was unable to communicate for some reason. I looked for some place she may be heading. We weren't heading in the right direction to be going to her lair. Where the hell is this dragon taking me? I thought. I I try not to even think profane language but this was really weird and it deserved the extra bit of feeling.

I remembered why I was out here and started scanning the sky and ground for Keven, Who was still lost. While at this height I could see for miles, I could not see well enough to spot a dragon on the ground. If he wasn't in the air I would never see him. Eventually I gave up. I hadn't even seen a hint of the dragon's presence nor had I heard his thought or a roar. I had to stop before I got all worked up again.

I let my thoughts drift. I hadn't slept well and sense we were at a good height and flying smoothly, I put my head down on the red dragon's neck and fell right to sleep. I didn't care what anyone would have thought about it. We were thirty thousand feet in the air and as long as the dragon carrying me was fine with it, me sleeping was perfectly fine.

_Chapter 22_

I woke up in a cave. For a moment I thought I was back at the lair I stayed in before but I noticed that this was made of a different kind of rock and it looked like someone who was very experienced with making caves made this one. The other one was much more crude and the rocks were not nearly as smooth.

I had no clue where I was and I found that I was in an actual bed. Not sure how they knew that people liked beds but I wasn't complaining. I sat up for a second and it disturbed me a bit that I was in new clothes. I didn't remember changing them. I think you know where I am going with this. SUPER AWKWARD. Why does that red dragon insist on making me feel like this? Maybe she just likes to see my reaction, I thought.

I really didn't want to go out of the room. There were a couple reasons for this. First, I had no clue where I was. And second, I was not in the psychological state to approach my crush right now. I would have to explain why changing my clothes while I was asleep was not the best idea and that would definitely prove to be a very weird conversation. I didn't want to have that conversation with at that moment.

I was about to lay back down when I saw movement out of the doorway to my room. It was a red dragon but much bigger than the girl who flew me here. He or she had to be related to her somehow though. The color was exactly the same, bright shiny red. I saw this huge beast walk past my room. Then as if there had been a coin on the floor he backed up. But, he didn't look down. He looked into the room and then in my head I heard a male voice. Good you're up. The dragon, which I guessed was the father of the smaller (in comparison) red dragon. I stayed still. Didn't want to act completely frightened but didn't want them to think I was comfortable either. I gestured for him to come in and he walked in and lay down by the bed. I looked at him and wondered if he really was her father. Using every bit of courage I could find, I reached out a hand. I felt stupid thinking that a dragon would know what a hand shake was and even more stupid with the fact that my hand wasn't even as big as his small claw. I was however surprised when the dragon lifted a paw and took my hand. Very shocked at how such a strong creature could do this without breaking my hand and arm. There was some reason they wanted me to be here. What that was I didn't know.

_Chapter 23_

After a long silence, the large dragon finally spoke up. My name is Joseph. Tell me about yourself. I wasn't sure where to begin. "Well, My name is Mark and I am 17 years old. I am a mutant. I can turn into a dragon. I have 2 other friends that can do the same 1 that looks like me as a dragon and one that looks different." Joseph just nodded as I continued to tell him about myself. Conveniently leaving out the part about his daughter. " I' am a freak of nature that got lucky and lived. That about sums it up"

His response was kind and inquisitive. Very interesting. Have you had any problems with being a dragon? Have your travels been good?

My answer came after a moment of thought. "Yes, actually, I have had two main problems. The first is eating enough. It takes a Huge amount of energy to run such a large body." He nodded and I continued talking, trying not to sound rude. " It also gets semi wild sometimes. Like the body has a mind of its own when it wants something I have little control over it." This made his eyes open a little wider. He seemed very interested in this for a second but he didn't inquire any deeper into the matter. He probably knew just how scary it was for my just from the memories that came up when I was talking about it.

"Is that all you wanted to know? You have the authority here you can ask whatever you want. Not that you don't already know that" I said, knowing he wanted to know more. But for what seemed like ten minutes he stayed silent. Then he spoke up.

How did you meet Angelina? He said, finally breaking the silence. In all honesty I had totally forgotten her name. She had said it to me not that long ago but like always I am horrible at remembering things like that. "Well, I was flying and got separated from my friend. Due to me not paying attention and the thick clouds, I ran straight into the side of a mountain." At this I heard a mental and physical laugh. " I guess it could be funny," I said not thinking it was funny but not wanting to sound rude either. "it hurt a lot though." Joseph stopped laughing. "by the time I woke up I heard wings flapping but when I peaked around the corner I saw her. I was expecting to see my friend Keven."

I bet that was a shock He said giving a chuckle.

"It was. I found a large cave ant walked into it. It was big but I was big too so it barely had room for me. I hoped she wouldn't see me as my dragon form is black. Can I turn into my dragon here? Just to show you I am not lying and to remind myself that I am not lying?

The large red dragon thought for a moment. If you can keep control of it sure but this room would probably be too small for both of us to be in here comfortably. I will take you to the main room. We will have plenty of space there.

I jogged beside Joseph even though he was just walking. Much longer legs made his walk very fast. We went down a long hallway. Probably a quarter mile long down into a huge room that went up into the top of the mountain. These dragons had hollowed out a mountain! "WOW" I said trying not to look too amazed. But I failed.

Here we are, the main room for this part of the lair, he said. You should have plenty of space in here.

I was beginning to be self-conscious. How big does he think I am? I thought. But decided to go ahead and start the transformation so he didn't think I was hesitating.

_Chapter 24_

I walked away from Joseph enough that I don't bump into him while I was changing. And started my transformation. It seemed to be going very slowly, making each change pronounced. As soon as I became fully dragon I jumped into the air, and circled up to the top of the mountain and back down. I landed with as much care as I could, showing off a bit by hovering a bit before landing ever so lightly on the floor of the massive room.

Wow you are pretty good at that. How did you master flying so fast? He asked as soon as I landed.

Necessity I said simply. When you are being shot at you get good at flying.

He looked shocked. So the humans haven't gotten over their issues with dragons. He said a little sadly.

It is more like they don't like having their lives threatened. I was trying to keep them from taking over a group of people who couldn't keep the enemy away. They tend to shoot at things that are shooting flames everywhere. I explained rather mater-of-factly. I was glad he was at least impressed with my flying skills.

Then the inevitable question came. So have you been injured? How good are the Human's weapons now?

You say "Human" like it's a bad thing. But I guess you have the right to do that. How long has it been sense you have seen a human war?

The last time I was even outside this lair was during your Second World War.

Oh. You remember the bomb dropped on Japan? I asked. He thought for a second then nodded. Well we have much more powerful bombs now and they are self-propelled. They can travel anywhere in the world. Recently a lot of countries used them on each other and the human population is dangerously low and decreasing daily due to radiation sickness and mutations that were not as successful as my own. Joseph's eyes went wide with shock and a bit of fear. My father is dead and along with many others. My mother was lucky enough to survive without any issues. Entire nations have been completely obliterated. Other than that we now have guns that spew out 4 million high explosive bullets a minute and aircraft that travel faster than sound. That can carry nukes like you can carry an ant. We also have artillery pieces and tanks that can shoot shells several miles that can penetrate nearly 10 feet of steel with ease. I watched the old dragon's expression go from shocked to Very Scared. As if a creature his size needed to be scared of anything. Yes I have been nearly killed by the machine guns that could kill a hundred people in 1 burst.

He just stared at me for a minute then shakily spoke up. Uh I have no room to judge you. I planed to assess your skills and mind but I just realized that I have no room to do so.

I looked at him with as much of a smile as I could have with my dragon muzzle. More scary than friendly I always thought. Oh please ask anything you want. I have been a burden on your time. Anyway and you deserve all the answers you want for letting me stay here last night.

At this he broke out laughing. I was trying to figure out what was funny when he finally calmed down enough to speak. You have been here longer than 1 night. You were asleep for 3 straight days. This is the 4th day.

_Chapter 25_

I really wanted to show the probably ancient dragon the world outside of the cave system. The problem, which I seem to have quite a lot, was that I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE WHERE I WAS. I finally settled on a question. Could you show me around? I have only seen two rooms and a hallway.

Well, I originally planned in trying not to show you too much; After all, you are Human. But after all that you have done and the fact that you have not tried to hurt any of us, I guess I could give you a tour.

I thought about explaining that most humans were peace loving people and the only ones who wanted to destroy things were the rich power hungry people. However, I refrained from doing so, for now. Instead I said, well I haven't really been "Human" sense last year.

Joseph, remembering something, said Oh I totally forgot. I have to do something important (of course I didn't ask just what was so important). I was feeling a little down until he said, but of coarse I wouldn't neglect your tour. Follow me. And I did.

He turned and I followed him down the hall that continued on the other side of the main room. I followed him for about 500 feet and then he stopped beside a room. I wasn't able to hear the conversation because he was directing it at a specific mind. He walked off but motioned with a huge clawed paw to stay where I was. I did as I was instructed.

To my surprise, Angelina walked out into the hall and with a bit of a laugh said, I'm Angelina and I will be your tour guide today. I almost fell over with laughter at her accurate reenactment of a waitress.

As soon as I was able to stand we headed off down the hall in the opposite direction that Joseph had gone. I broke the silence a little nervously. So where exactly are you taking me?

I COULD tell you but I think I want to surprise you.

Oh goody! I said sarcastically. How big is this place? I have only seen this hallway and two rooms.

Well I really don't know. Even I have never seen it all. What I know of it is about 23 square miles. I let out a gasp at this comment. She continued to speak. It can all be accessed from under ground but, to me, its more fun flying to the various entrances.

The hallway luckily stayed wide enough for me to walk beside her while she took me wherever she was going. Do you mind If I ask a question? I thought about it for a second and realized I just did but too late.

Seeing as you just did go ahead. She stated giving me a look and a chuckle that made my heart melt and if dragons could blush I was doing it.

When I was talking to your dad, I am assuming that is who that was, I noticed the way he said the word "Human" was a little sadly and with a lot of anger that he didn't want to show but was plain to hear.

Angelina looked at me and thought. Well he was like that before I came into this world. However, he did get worse. About 20 or so years later, I never saw my mom after that. I don't know what happened to her but I assume she's dead. Same with my father, he has no clue what happened.

I thought for a second. There was a story. I thought it was just a myth but it could possibly be true. Stranger things have happened LITERALLY. After we get done here I want to take you somewhere. It isn't that far but I have to check on something and I want you to come with me uh…for…. protection I guess or just someone to talk to. Yes that is it I need someone to talk to. What I really needed was to stop being so nervous around this dragon.

Finally her reply came. Ok but after the room I am about to show you, you wont want to go anywhere. She gave me a wink and sped up a bit. I sped up as well trying to look like I was eager to learn. I was very eager to learn but I have always had a bad case of not looking like it.

_Chapter 26_

I looked over at her and my mind immediately started to drift. The fire from the torches on the wall made her bright red scales seem as if they were ablaze. The firelight was bouncing off of her in the most beautiful way. Why must it be like this every time I am with you? I said out of nowhere.

Like what? She asked innocently and then stared at me with a sparkle in her eye that told me she knew exactly what I was talking about. Then, as if by some miracle, she slipped into a large room. I followed; I was on a tour after all.

As I walked in I realized that I couldn't see a thing. Even with my enhanced vision there was no way of stopping what happened next.

SPLASH!

I fell into water and recovering from shock I tried my hardest to right myself and get to she surface. I have never even thought about swimming as a dragon (I had been in the water at Angelina's lair but I hadn't really gone "swimming"). Flying was more important. But now, I was regretting it. I was flailing around losing energy and oxygen the entire time. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a huge splash and someone grabbing me by the long spikes on my neck. I was finally able to breath and the sight took my breath away.

We were in a huge room even larger than the main room; almost all of it was covered in a lake. The ceiling was made up of the blackest rock I had ever seen but running through it were swirls of gold, and silver and it was randomly studded with a rainbow of gemstones. All lit up with firelight from at least two hundred torches on the walls and on a ring shaped island in the middle of the giant lake. This was simply amazing.

It was then that I realized that my tour guide was staring at me. I looked at her, speechless for a moment and then simply said Wow.

She responded with a smile and an actual sentence. This place is my personal hiding spot. It is where I go to just relax.

I can see why. This place is absolutely amazing.

Yea. Lets enjoy this place for a while shall we? I have shown you everything and this is the last stop anyway.

Sounds good to me but I'm going to have to re-learn how to swim. All she did was giggle and dive underwater with as much grace as she possibly could. She just had to be doing this on purpose.

I dove after her but with not even close to the amount of grace she had put into it. I opened my eyes underwater and to my astonishment there was no burning. I held my breath and looked around finding what I was looking for, hovering underwater to my left. I jumped toward her (as much as you can jump underwater) and she launched herself out of the water and over me like a big scaly dolphin, getting a bit of hang time using her wings like a glider. I looked up she was red on her belly as well, Just a bit darker though. I am black on mine but you cant get any darker than BLACK.

That seemed to last a full minute but actually lasted only a couple seconds. She landed in the water behind me with barely a splash. Before I could react I felt a pull on my tail and I went under again. She only pulled for a second and then I was at the surface again. I swam around in weird, crazy, and random directions to keep the still unseen dragon from getting me again. But that failed. I was dragged under again but this time I turned around and grabbed HER tail. See how YOU like it ha! I mentally screamed not knowing if it worked under water.

You will never win! came the reply.

I made a mental not that you can thought-speak under water and that I don't like my tail messed with (I now know just why dogs and cats hate it). It sounded weird to me for a second. I had a tail and it is one of t hose things that just get to you when you are human.

Probably not but I will try anyway. I seriously joked pulling a bit more on her tail and pulling my own away. I was getting the hang of this swimming thing and now that pesky tail, the first thing I saw myself grow that weird night in my house, Was finally coming into its own, pushing me through the water with a powerful wave like motion. I was going fast and it didn't take long for me to get to the center of the lake where the island was. I surfaced, turned, and pushed off of the makeshift land. I dove deep hoping that I wouldn't bee seen. And decided to scare Angelina. I Used all of my muscles in a single burst, SRAIGHT UP. I erupted from the water Black smoke following the path of the red lava before me. Up and over getting much more air than Angelina had. I glided down in a circle and landed in front of the red dragon facing her. I win. I joked.

I guess you win, FOR NOW. She replied and we just took a relaxing swim around the lake and talked for who knows how long.

_Chapter 27_

You have no idea how much I needed that. I haven't just relaxed in a very long time and I don't remember the last time I actually had fun. I said, shaking off by the side of the lake. Angelina was doing the same but being more successful. One wave of her body from head to the tip of her tail, like cracking a whip, left her almost completely dry.

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. You learned to swim pretty quick was her reply. She walked over and stood next to me. I had finally gotten myself dry. What she did next would have given me a heart attack if I hadn't been so relaxed. She leaned over and gave a gentle lick to the side of my face just under my eye, and gave me a kind, loving, and knowing smile. I blushed so much that my black scales turned blue.

Wha-Wait Huh? That was all I managed to mutter. I had been disabled confused and surprised. I couldn't even move.

Let's hope those pesky humans don't invent a weapon that does that! Hehe. If they do, you're a goner.

I walked over to her, still too confused to speak and without thinking I returned the favor a little shyly and blushed some more. Me Shy? YEA! I had no idea I said when I could finally speak. She smiled and just walked on. I caught up to her and as we were walking down the hall she said That is the answer to the question you were going to ask me before we went swimming. I thought back and remembered that I was going to ask if she felt the same way about me as the way I felt about her. I smiled. She smiled back and gave me another kiss, an even bigger one this time, running her tongue across half my face.

I stopped in my tracks and she kept walking, smiling back at me. I again had to move quickly to get back up beside her. I sighed. This day just keeps getting better and better. I thought to myself. I had gotten better at doing this so that nobody but myself could hear the thoughts. But she knew what I was thinking anyway.

I continued to walk and as we passed my room I said goodnight. We were in a cave so there was no telling what time it actually was but my internal clock told me it was probably about 10:30 and I had been walking and swimming all day. I needed the rest.

As I was falling just about to get into bed, human again because they had only made a human sized bed, Joseph walked past, looked in and asked if I was comfortable. He had a sincere look in his eye but his voice portrayed something was wrong.

"I'm fine. Thank you." I replied "I hope I'm not being a burden by staying here. I will be gone at least all tomorrow though. I still have a friend to look for." He nodded and turned around. Not even a minute later I was asleep. My dream was a pleasant one for the beginning of it, and then it turned into a nightmarish hell.

"Pass the mustard". Those are pretty random words for the first words of a dream.

"Okay," Keven said. We were all in a large field behind our house under the big tree we had climbed in all our lives. All of us as in Me Keven Jake my mom and my dad.

We were eating big subs and I laughed as Jake tried to talk and a piece of his chewed-up sandwich was flung into Keven's face. He didn't find it funny, for the first few seconds anyway, but he then started to laugh with the rest of us.

The conversation continued for a bit with random funny stuff popping into my dream. THEN a it started to rain. We were all running to the car my dad ahead of us all, WAY ahead. At that moment all I saw was a flash of light and there on the ground lay the charred body of my father. It didn't look as burned, though, as it looked melted. The same way he looked when he was hit by the radiation from that bomb.

The rest of us reached the car. We took off down the road and then the weirdest part of the dream happened. While me and Keven were talking, he started to grow pale and then from his legs up just disappear. He didn't seem to notice my horror stricken face or the fact that he was vanishing into thin air. He kept on talking until his mouth disappeared and you could still see the happy expression in his eyes. Then, they turned to an expression of pure terror and disappeared. The rest of life stopped and then vanished. I was in a deep pit. And I had no way out. Then as soon as I was about to give up I heard a familiar voice "Hey you down there. Yoohoo!"

Yoohoo I heard, but I wasn't dreaming anymore. Are you okay? You looked like you just saw an evil spirit or something.

"huh? Oh phew! I just had the worst dream…"

Dream huh? Wow. Must have been really bad! You were shaking and crying and sweating.

"I'm sorry. Did I wake you up?"

Yea. I came in because you were just broadcasting some really strange thoughts. I couldn't make sense of any of it though.

Good. You are too nice and I know you would try to help me fix all of this. You don't need to concern yourself with all of my problems though" I said with a bit of a smile.

Who were the people, if that is okay to ask of coarse?

"I guess I can tell you that much." I said. "Where did you start seeing my dream? I kind of need to know so I can give you the correct information."

I think it started with you eating this weird food. It looked like you were enjoying it.

I almost broke out laughing at the fact that she didn't know what a sandwich was. But I quickly regained my composure. "so you saw the whole thing. Okay here is the explanation." She laid down beside my bed and listened attentively. " the place we were at in the dream was the back yard of my old house. We used to do what we call pick nicks there. That is when we go out and eat in the beauty of nature and have some fun outside. It was from my point of view so I want in it." She nodded. " The one that flung a piece of food was Jake. One of my very best friends and looks like me when he is a dragon." Angelina's eyes widened at the thought of more people like me. " He thinks he's all big and bad but he's just a pushover." She smiled and lowered her head, seeming even more into the story. "the one that the food landed on is Keven. He is the reason I was out here when you found me for the second time." I blushed thinking about how embarrassing that whole series of events was. "He is nowhere to be found and I fear the worst has come of him as I spent nearly an entire day looking for him and he didn't show up. He was supposed to stay near so I could find him if we got split up, which we did. I am not going to rest until I find him weather dead or alive." She seemed to think for a moment and then let me continue the story. " the woman sitting there is my mother she is probably the nicest human on the planet. And she makes the best food." I said still trying not to use the word 'Sandwich'. And the man was my father. I say 'Was' because he died a while back due to the radiation that caused me to be what I am. He just got a lot more of it." I could tell that my emotions were getting into her head because her eyes started to show sadness, no tears formed but there was a noticeable change of feeling in those orange eyes. I continued starting to cry a bit " he died of lightning in the dream which isn't how he died but what he looked like after he died in the dream was EXACTLY what he looked like after the bomb struck." I paused a bit and wiped away the tears that were now freely falling from my eyes and took a few deep breaths. "As for what happened to Keven in the dream I have no clue what that could possibly mean and why I was in the pit I have no clue." She looked at me and I told her that that was all I really knew. Then exactly as planned she asked, what was that you were eating at this 'Pick Nick'? I said "wouln't you like to know" paused for a second and then said, "Okay I will tell you. I'm a sucker for those eyes you know." She smiled and gave me a look that said Oh Really Now…. " It is called a sandwich it is anything you want between two slices of bread. That particular kind of sandwich is called a sub. I don't exactly know why. It barely resembles a submarine, a machine that travels underwater."

Wow. I would like to try one. I'm a sucker for food. I gave her back the same smile she had given me a few seconds ago and I went back to sleep, in a much better mood. She slept on the floor right beside me the entire night making sure that I didn't have to worry about those nightmares anymore.

_Chapter 28_

I woke up to someone pushing on me. As I opened my eyes I realized that a very excited red dragoness was trying to get my attention. I knew I couldn't ignore her so I said, "What time is it?" and she stopped shaking my bed.

FINALLY you wake up! It's almost noon.

"Wha-What?" I said blushing as I remembered that that was the exact statement that came out of my mouth after the first time Angelina had kissed me.

Get up and hurry I have a surprise for you and it can't be brought in here! She didn't leave and I blushed at being as scantily clothed as I was in front of her. But I figured that I was actually nude as a dragon so it wouldn't really matter.

I unburied myself from the blankets and went over to the hole in the wall I used as a dresser. I could tell she was watching my every move so I gave a BIG stretch as I got to the place I kept my clothes and then proceeded to move at my own slow pace putting them on. After that whole scene was through I went over and tapped her side. She had been staring so much I had to get her attention.

"Enjoy the show? Ha!" I said laughing.

Angelina blushed. I could tell even with her bright red scales. She said, No fair! It's just that I have never seen a human uh without the cloth coverings.

"They are called clothes and they serve a functional purpose of keeping us warm and dry and a moral purpose of not going nude. It's a Human thing. Just morals I guess. Nobody really has a good reason why it's unacceptable to go without.

Uh ok well…I hope you didn't feel too uncomfortable with me being here. You could have just asked me to leave.

"I was at first but thinking about it, it isn't the same as being unclothed around a human. I did that big stretch on purpose, just for you" I giggled a bit as she blushed again. This was my day to make HER uncomfortable evidently.

"Would you rather me be myself or a dragon for this 'Surprise'" I asked, emphasizing the word 'Surprise'. I was feeling that I could get her to think something else and make her blush again, which it did.

It isn't that kind of surprise! She said sternly but with that hint of humor that allowed me to know that she wasn't being totally serious.

"Awe" I said jokingly. "I'm going to turn into the dragon for now. You are going to have to leave though. This room isn't big enough for two dragons to fit comfortably." She nodded, still blushing, and left the room and watched through the doorway from the hall as I changed from my average 5'9" to a massive 8 feet tall and 20 feet long. She seemed to enjoy this show too. As I thought about it, she had never seen me actually do this so it was new to her as well.

The first thing that changes is the skin. You start to get weird markings on it, and then they turn to the outlines of scales. After that, your hands and feet start growing and the talons start to form. As that is happening the skin starts to harden and shine a bit. After that is about half way done the weird part comes the tail. It grows out as your body grows longer and taller. It grows about twice as fast because it is longer than the rest of my body (to the shoulders). By that time the skin has finished its transformation and after everything else, comes the wings. These just materialize, in a sort of beautiful way, from above my shoulders. All of this happens in about a minute. I can make it happen in less than 20 seconds but that takes a lot of energy and concentration. I let it take its normal time, this time.

I looked over. Angelina was staring again. I tapped her shoulder and smiled, even though I always thought a dragon smiling looked more hungry than happy. I walked out of the room and down the massive hallway. There was plenty of room for me to walk beside Angelina so I did.

Today was MY TURN to make YOU fell awkward. I laughed.

You sure did a good job. She muttered.

It's ok to stare. I'm just THAT good looking. I joked back lightening the mood even more. She just laughed

You are going to LOVE my surprise. She winked at me.

_Chapter 29_

We walked into the gargantuan main room I had been in earlier. That is when her surprise actually surprised me. There, lying in front of me, were Joseph and 3 other dragons. One was a dark green with black spikes on his back the other two were sky blue with wisps of gray randomly scattered all over their bodies.

Finally Angelina spoke up. Okay, you told me last night how you were trying to find your friend, well I did some long distance calling and I get a couple of my friends, as well as my brother, to help you look.

I was completely astonished. Like all women, you ask them not to worry they worry. That was exactly what happened here. Wow, I have never seen so many dragons in one place. I said to her on a private band. Well I don't know any of your names so I guess I will introduce myself. My name is Mark. I am a mutant freak human who can turn into a dragon. I felt the eyes on me even harder as I said that. Don't worry I'm nothing like the stories I'm sure you have heard. Angelina here likes me don't you? I winked at her not ready to stop embarrassing her just yet. She nodded and smiled, trying not to blush and failing. I am a nice guy and these days I spend more time as a dragon than as a human anyway. I assume you are here to look for my friend. He is about my height but a little bigger and very strong. He is also a nice guy although he can be a little rough at times. His name is Keven and he is my age as well. I am going to send you two pictures now, one of his dragon form, and one of his human form.

I sent the picture of him as a dragon rather easily but I couldn't really remember what he looked like as a human. Finally a picture a little after we got our powers came to mind. He was in only swimming trunks and we were at that lake where we had trained. It would have to do.

I sent that and saw eyes go wide and the thoughts of the others start churning. I got the same reaction when I was getting dressed to come here. Then I decided to come as a dragon. I finally said gesturing at Angelina.

Any questions? I asked making mental checks to make sure I hadn't left anything important out.

Then one of the blue dragons asked. Where did you last see him?

On a flight out from the now destroyed military base. I ran into a mountain and Angelina took me in for a while. When I came back he was nowhere to be found.

We should split into pairs. Angelina said, pointing to a map sprawled across the floor. It was enormous and at least 6 feet long and wide. Mark You and Jacob go to this area. She said pointing to the big green and black dragon and to the map. We were to go back to the base and look around.

Crystal and I will go here. Pointing to the area south of the base.

Watch out for the main road down there. Also there should be a giant rock formation with a cave underneath it. That should have plenty of room for you to stay in. I told her as I sent her the picture of the rocks.

Angelina and Crystal nodded. Angelina continued to speak.

That leaves my dad, Joseph and Kyle, she said. You will search this area, motioning to the area just north of and a little west of my old base.

I interrupted again. You two be EXTREMELY careful around there. That is where the enemy base was. Nobody knew the exact location so you will just have to watch out. Joseph, you remember when I told you about all those weapons? They have them so be careful.

They nodded and we said out farewells and headed off. I didn't know how to get out of the lair but luckily Jacob did, and we flew off in the direction of our search area.

_Chapter 30_

On the flight over to the base, I decided to strike up a conversation. So you are Angelina's brother. No resemblance whatsoever. I said, trying to get to know the dragon I was going to be spending a lot of time with.

Yes I am. She always attracted the weird ones. As for how I look, I have my mother's colors except she doesn't have the spikes on her back. Not sure why those aren't another color. He said in a serious tone, unsuccessfully trying to make me feel bad.

Like I said, I replied, I am just a normal guy. I'm not completely a dragon but I am in a way. I enjoy being a dragon better than being human and lately it has been so. I don't see how it's THAT weird. I said disarming any excuse he could bring up. After all that I said, Okay, I just can't end a conversation on a negative note. So we have to try this again. My name is mark yes I'm a mutant freak but I'm normal otherwise, pleased to meet you. I reached over a paw as I was flying above and to the left of Jacob. He looked confused. I remembered how I had to explain the gesture to Angelina. It's a handshake. Reach out your hand too and shake my hand. Not hard just a firm grip and a simple shake.

After trying that a few times, he finally got it right. I think he enjoyed learning something new. I have encountered several humans on different occasions but always kept my distance. I would never have even dreamed of interacting with one. He said in a tone that was trying to be calm but was laced with happiness.

I smiled. You still haven't. I'm a dragon. I said releasing a bit of blue flame into the air. Then, seeing that we had plenty of time, I decided that I wanted to go higher. I did so very dramatically, turning sharply and rising steep and fast. I was trying to entice a chase out of Jacob. He took the bait but only after I was another 30,000 feet up. I wanted to try something. I started making intricate loops in the air with a bit of flame trailing out of the side of my mouth. Creating a stream of smoke. As Jacob finally noticed me below I had already drawn a note in the sky. It said, " See for yourself, I AM a dragon.

He evidently could read the language I was using and he looked at the period at the end of it. I was the ending punctuation. I was making a point (OMG THAT WAS AN UNEXPECTED PUN). Anyway I was hovering there letting a steady stream of blue flame flow out of my nostrils. Then from 65,000 feet in the air I took a nosedive as fast as I could right toward the ground, purposefully shooting past Jacob only a few feet off his wing. The ground was rushing up, I was propelling myself forward at frightening speed and at the very last moment I spread my wings and pulled my head up. It's true. I'm a showoff. I continued to fly just inches above the trees then circled upwards meeting Jacob with a "told you so" look. That's how I impressed your dad. But I was a bit less of a showoff and was limited to what I could do in that main room. As I said this I did a little spin. I just LOVE flying. It's so fun and free.

Yea. It's pretty cool. He said.

Pretty cool? Maybe to you who have been able to do it all your life, but to someone like me who could only fly in a jet this is purely amazing. I said.

Yea I can see how that would make it better. He said thoughtfully.

He's getting more comfortable with me, good, I thought to myself. We have to stop up here for a second I said. Knowing that I had left a bunch of nonperishable food items in that cave as well as some weapons and tools. I started to descend. And I walked into the cave and turned into a human to make more room. I walked over and grabbed the backpack and the machine gun and its ammo. I put a clip in the gun then tied the others to the backpack with a special knot so that I could get them off easily.

I still had the machine gun in my hands when Jacob landed I was also in human form. He looked at me and I said "Hi. It's not nice to stare ya know." He blinked and I laughed a little. "Alright, lets get down to business," I said pulling the bolt on the gun back like they do in those action movies. " You are going to have to get out of the cave for me to do what I need to do with this. Or at least let me out." He turned and exited and I went out as well. I pointed the gun at a tree about 50 yards away and pulled the trigger. In doing so, I managed to scare the crap out of Jacob and he jumped into the air and almost took off until he realized that it was me. I motioned for him to come back and reluctantly did so. "Let's go see what I did" I said and motioned for hi to follow me. Again, he did so with a bit of reluctance.

_Chapter 31_

Remember when I said they had weapons that would take you out of the sky? This is one of them." I said pointing to the gun and then to the tree. That was Oak, key word WAS. Now it's mulch. I said pointing to the multiple tennis ball sized holes in it.

Jacob looked at the holes and back at me. " I have a few more different weapons but using them here wouldn't be a good idea. I have enough explosives in this backpack to take down an entire building." I said.

I will be more careful then. I have never seen anything that could do that to a big Oak tree.

"Oh, by the way, it's called a gun, this one specifically is a machinegun. I could have cut the tree down with it. But didn't want to waste bullets. It's not magic. It shoots a piece of metal just like you shoot flames."

Oh okay. He said.

"I have something really awkward to ask you so here goes." I said pausing. "I have no way of attaching this to my dragon form. So in order to carry it I am going to have to ride on your back."

Ha yea that is an awkward question. But, my answer is yes. If it means we can use that gun later then yea.

" It would be hard for you to use but I bet if you got enough metal we could make you one. Or maybe we could steal a 105mm canon or something more your size."

I climbed onto the green dragon's back, found a spot between spikes that allowed me to hold on well. "I have only done this once, so take it easy. We have plenty of time," I said as I slid the backpack's straps into a more snug position. As soon as I was ready Jacob launched himself into the sky, immediately catching a breeze and flying onward.

The last time I had done this, I was in serious mental distress. But this time, I enjoyed the flight. I had one of those Can-Do attitudes this time and with all of the searchers, there was no way we wouldn't find Keven.

I watched the terrain flow past; rivers of trees, flowers, and rocks. All of this was viewed between the powerful, yet quiet, strokes of forest green, semi-transparent wings. I started to drift, not to sleep, but just staring off into space.

Hey. Don't fall asleep on me! I'm not Angelina, he joked. His presence in my mind caused me to wake from my daydream.

"Sorry, something about nature is just, you know, calming" I said, fallowed by, "She told you about that?"

Yea. I know what you mean and yes, she tells me EVERYTHING, he said.

"Crap, I should watch what I do near her then." I said half joking and half serious. " There is the base," I said.

I know. I saw it an hour ago.

" Oh that's right, dragon vision," I said, mentally smacking myself for forgetting something like that.

We found a spot to land and I slid off my ride and thanked him for doing that for me. His response was somewhere along the lines of You owe me.

I looked around and said, "Well, unless you want to sleep out here I suggest you follow me."

Uh, okay, he said.

"There are only a few places that someone your size can get into this building. The inside is actually pretty open though," I said as we walked to each of the aircraft and armor hangars. Out of nearly 20 only 8 worked. I led him into one of them and told him to go relax for a bit. He did so happily and I showed him the TV, which excited him A LOT.

For the next hour I explained to him about TV and satellites and missiles and nuclear technology and more. He evidently hadn't taken any consideration into the advancement of human technology.

As we were in the main building, I decided to check to see if the dividers worked. These were like garage doors that close the open main building into 5 rooms. To my disappointment, none of them worked. "Oh well," I muttered to myself.

_Chapter 32_

I helped pull out beds from the bunkrooms. I wasn't going to stay in one overnight because in the event of someone attacking the base there would be no way out. I pulled out a bed for me then enough mattresses to make a giant bed for Jacob.

Wow this is really nice, he said, I have always just slept on the floor or on some grass but these things are just awesome.

"I'm glad you like the bed,"

I responded, " We fragile humans have to sleep on soft things or we regret it in the morning."

Ha well you have given me much more respect for the human race. Dragons in general really think of humans in a derogatory way. They need to do their research though. At least you are very civilized and polite.

"Well thank you. I try but I have no idea how your culture works so it is hard for me to try not to offend you or more importantly Angelina," I responded in a serious tone.

Well you are doing a good job. I was skeptical about coming out here to save your friend. I was wondering why we were saving a human. But now I see why Angelina insisted that I come and help.

"Thank you. I try," I said, "we should be safe there are security cameras and motion sensors everywhere and I just checked, they still run. If anyone tries to get in here, the security guns will handle them."

What should we do then?

"That, my friend, is an easy question to answer," I replied, "Go to sleep we have a long day ahead of us." I got ready for bed, took off the dirty clothes and put on a clean set of shorts to be somewhat decent, although I had learned that dragons didn't think anything about it.

I looked back; Jacob was looking at me, watching my every move. He wasn't, however staring as Angelina had been.

I am sure you have had to explain this already but why do humans wear that cloth stuff?

"I have explained this but I don't mind explaining again." I said. "Clothes are basically like a Bear's fur, and your scales. It keeps us warm, and dry, as well as keeping us from being cut or bruised."

Yea but that would only be helpful outside. Why wear them all the time?

I really didn't want to go into this reason but I kind of had to now. "It's a decency thing," I started, "it isn't proper to be naked presence of another person. Why? I really don't know. Its just something we do without much of an explanation."

Fair enough. Well I have wasted enough time. Have a pleasant sleep.

"as we humans say it," I joked, "goodnight." I patted him on the side and walked away. I climbed into bed and as I fell to sleep I heard a thought, distant and female, He is so good looking isn't he? It's too bad you are male ha. I then knew who it was. Angelina it must be hard to use a private link to communicate over large distances. Either that, or she wanted me to hear it, probably the latter.

I drifted off to sleep, dreams swallowed me.

_Chapter 33_

*NOTE- this chapter is a DREAM.

The land swept past, greens yellows and browns, along with hinds of orange bouncing off of the moist leaves. The new day was just beginning but I had been in the air for an hour before the sun showed its fiery rays.

The ground kept moving past. All movement was opposite my forward direction. Then something different, a movement not like the rest, it was going in the same direction. I knew exactly what it was. I went even faster, knowing that I couldn't let this motion catch up to me. I had to keep ahead, I needed to find a hiding spot and soon.

Finally I saw somewhere that would work. With two final strokes of my tired throbbing wings, I swooped down and landed behind a giant rock formation. I had gotten a substantial distance away from my pursuer so there was no way I could have been seen landing.

The formation looked like a huge mushroom and I shuddered for a moment at the image of a nuclear explosion. Then I noticed a hole just large enough for me to look through. I got an idea (I'm going to break into this dream to let you know that most of the time, when I "have an idea" it usually doesn't end well). I was ready now.

I watched through the hole as the pursuer came into view through the hole in the rock. As soon as I couldn't see movement anymore I launched myself up and grabbed the tail of my follower and caused her to lose altitude and land.

I win haha!, I said.

I guess you do. Dad said you were a good flyer but still.

It's okay Angelina. You did better than I thought you would. I got you though.

Yea you did. Now it's my turn! And with that she jumped at me and tackled me to the ground.

Oh! You wont win this either!

You are ON!

I know I am. I laughed.

We continued trying to outdo each other at random things for a couple hours. As the sun was at it's peak in the bright, clear sky, I decided I was hungry. Follow me and try to keep up this time, I laughed and took to the sky.

I took a giant sub out of the pouch on my side and sliced it in half with a talon. Remember this? You know, from my dream.

Yea. What did you call it? Something about an underwater machine, She remembered.

It's a sub. Yes that is what the underwater machines are called. Try it. It has all kinds of stuff on it.

END OF DREAM

The dream disappeared as she took her first bite. I opened my eyes and muttered to my self. "Crap well I guess I will have to wait to see if she like it or not."

_Chapter 34_

*NOTE—This chapter is from a 3rd person point of view and takes place in Angelina's search zone.

Morning sleepy head, joked the red dragoness. She had already gone through her morning routine of making sure every scale on her body was bright and shiny.

You were always the early bird, Crystal, the sky blue dragoness said. What time is it?

Time to get up, get ready, and get going, Angelina smiled. We have a job to do.

I guess, she stretched and stood up. There was plenty of room in the cave for both of them to stand without worry of hitting their heads. It was a very roomy cave with an opening by a huge rock formation. There was a lake just inside the cave but a large, flat, and thankfully dry area behind it.

I know you don't see the point in saving a human but if you knew him like I do, Angelina sighed, you would try to steal him from me. At this closing statement she looked over at the blue dragoness and smiled,

Wow, already consider him yours huh, Crystal said.

Angelina blushed at this comment and sighed. She then turned to go giving Crystal a slap on the muzzle with her tail. She looked back and smiled. Sorry, she said sarcastically and started to walk towards the lake near the opening of the cave. Well let's get going, She said as she dove into the cool water.

They made the quick swim and walked out of the cave, ducking their heads to avoid hitting them on the low opening. After drying off they took to the sky simultaneously.

Finally, the silence was broken when the sky blue dragon said, Sorry about my comment earlier. I just find the whole thing strange.

Strange huh, the response finally came. He really isn't any different than any normal dragon. He may actually be even better. He isn't as power happy as a lot of the male dragons are.

Yea, but he is still human. There are some logical and physical issues with that. I mean can he really BE a dragon does he just look like one? Do you get what I mean?

Yea I do, but really, he's kind, funny, fun to be around and not to mention good looking.

Good looking huh? I think he's just different. You have always been the one to go for the weirdoes or to stand out in a crowd.

It's kind of hard NOT to stand out when you are BRIGHT RED. Angelina joked but then got a serious tone yet again. And I'm really into this guy. I am not just doing this because he is different. I am doing this because of Mark's character. He is really a nice guy. And I saw your expression when you got that mental picture of his friend in just those short pants.

That last comment made Crystal go from sky blue to aqua really quick. She blushed for a good 5 minutes before it finally died down and she went back to her normal color.

I made no such reaction! She stated during this time.

Angelina just glanced knowingly at the blue dragoness and smiled. Whatever you say.

_Chapter 35_

*NOTE—this chapter is still 3rd person. This chapter follows Joseph and Kyle.

Both dragons were already flying overt eh land. This was foreign territory so they kept an eye out for any movement whatsoever. They were also keeping a close eye on the horizon for any sign of a building. It was possible that Keven had been captured and was in that base somewhere.

I don't want to go starting any fights with the humans okay. Said the much larger red dragon.

Why not? They are just humans. We could take them. The blue twin, Kyle, said arrogantly. He talked like any rebellious teen does (contrary to popular belief, not ALL teens are rebellious).

With what Mark said, I doubt it Kyle. We need to spy a little bit, just to make sure.

That is IF he's telling the truth, the young dragon said with a derogatory tone that probably matched Hitler's voice when talking about the Jews.

You will do what I say and that is final, Joseph said seriously but with no anger showing through his voice or in his face.

Okay, okay! Don't worry. I'm not going to go gliding down to attack a military base. You're in charge. Kyle stated in a way that made you not want to believe a word of what he had said.

They continued in silence, searching the land for any movement. All t hat they saw for almost an hour were trees, rocks and they occasional stream. At these streams t hey would get a drink and then go for a short relaxing swim before taking to the air to search yet again. On one of these stops, however, on one such time the young blue dragon had gone to look around and when he came back, he was wide eyed and pointing. I just saw something.

Relax. It's probably nothing.

No It's a human. But I didn't get a very good look. I couldn't see a face. I highly doubt it's who we're looking for though. He was still breathing heavily. This was one of those advantages of thought speech. You can be out of breath and still have a conversation.

Well then, there's no use sitting around here then. We have to make sure this is safe. Where was he?

There is a problem with what you just said.

What would that be?

He is not a he, the younger dragon stated.

Well, Well, Joseph said with a laugh and a slight gleam in his eye, don't tell me you have fallen in love with a human too.

Humph NO! the now blushing dragon.

You found her. Where was she? Take me there, lovebird.

Fine, but I'm not in love okay! Kyle made sure to put emphasis on the word 'not'. He turned and walked quietly in the direction of the last place he has seen the woman.

They crept low and moved slowly and silently. Even though they were huge and hardly camouflaged, they managed to evade detection. They found the young woman relaxing by a tree not sitting, just leaning on it. Every once in a while she would walk out then turn around and lean on the tree again. She was probably in her early to mid twenties and in a world full of them; she surprisingly had no mutations, visible ones anyway.

Well I see why you fell in love, Joseph said, still not letting it go. He looked at the tall brown haired woman.

She was indeed very pretty. She was muscular but not overly so and carried a long, thin blade on each hip. I don't know why but she is alone, the younger dragon said, lying behind some dense undergrowth.

" I know you are there. Why don't you come out of hiding and meet me instead? I'm a pretty nice person, despite the metal."

Joseph thought for a second, but Kyle reacted first. I doubt you want to see me. You can trust me on that one.

"Whoa! I just heard you but I didn't hear you. That makes no sense but that is the only way I can explain it."

It is my only way to communicate with you. I have a mouth but it's no good for talking.

On a private band, Joseph said, stop before you get us into trouble!

Save your breath. I know I'm young and stupid but you have to trust me on this one. If we are ever going to find Keven we need to ask directions. After this he continued to converse with the woman. We are in search of a friend. Sadly, he is nowhere to be found and we have no clue where we are. We can get home but other than that, we're lost.

"So you are looking for someone huh? Well, I cant help you If I don't know who you are."

Okay but I need some info about you first. I cant just go showing myself to someone who's going to tell everyone they know. Do you have an allegiance with any nation or army? Who do you work for? Why are you alone? As he asked this, he noticed something he hadn't before. It was a long metal tube with wood and metal pieces at the other end.

That would be a gun, and it's a very dangerous weapon. It shoots out metal at very high speeds, which could easily go through your hide, Joseph said in private speech.

" To answer your question I am indeed alone. I have nowhere to go and nobody to do anything for. I travel to keep from going crazy. I have no agreements with anyone."

Independent huh? Sounds like a good life, nobody to boss you around. With that he slid a scornful look at Joseph who only rolled his eyes. (yes dragons CAN roll their eyes and actually seem to do it a lot.)

You are someone who lives the life I wish I had. Under certain conditions I guess I COULD show myself but only if those terms are met.

What the hell are you doing? The red dragon said with shock in his voice.

You had a human in your lair. Why should I not do this? You know what, don't answer that question. She only thinks there is one of us so you don't have to do anything. You can just hide for the rest of your life.

"What are your terms?" came the woman's simple reply.

You must lay all of your weapons over by that tree you keep leaning on. Then, you have to come back over to where you are now and close your eyes. When I tell you to open them, you must not scream or raise alarm.

"Sounds like siege rules"

You have to trust that I will do you no harm. I don't want to die either and seeing me will be shocking enough for you to panic and shoot me.

"Fine then, I accept your terms. I know what you mean and I do trust you. I don't know why, but I do." With that said, she went to put her weapons down. She had a few more weapons that he had seen, mostly daggers. She walked out to the spot in which she had been standing, sat down, and closed her eyes.

Now that his terms were met, Kyle carried out his end of the deal. He walked out into the clearing, lay down in front of the woman and said, Open your eyes and remember, I'm friendly.

"HOLY CRAP!" was the first thing she said. Then, remembering her promise she calmed down enough so that she wasn't screaming. She was nowhere near completely calm though. "Sorry, you said it would be a shock but I was not expecting this."

I figured as much. I'm not all that good at striking up a conversation. I know for a fact you have some questions. Why don't you start?

"Okay, well, I don't exactly know what a woman like me asks a dragon other than 'Please don't eat me.' Oh I have a good one. What is your name?"

ha, I wouldn't eat you. You'd only be a snack anyway. I'm Kyle and I hope you found that funny because that is about as humorous as I can be.

"Yea, it actually was kind of funny."

Well good. Now it's my turn to ask your name.

"Samantha, that's the name I go by anyway. My original name was Hope but I changed it."

A pretty name for a pretty woman; It does suit you well. You seem to be too nice to be carrying such things with you, Kyle stated, pointing at the weapons by the tree. Why?

"No fair, that's two questions."

And I'm a dragon. I will give you two as well. It just came to mind.

"Okay. I was joking anyway. I'm traveling. This world is harsh. These weapons are for defense only."

Your turn.

" How old are you? I have heard stories. Are they true?"

If the stories say that we live for a very long time then yes. I am 82 years old. But compared to human lifespan I would be about 16 or 17. the oldest dragon on record is 987 years old and we average 600-750 years.

"That is so amazing. Here is my second question. How have you gone unnoticed by people for so long?"

We fly too high for most people to see and we generally only fly in low light or at night. We live in places that humans almost never go to.

"Okay. That sounds legit."

My turn. It isn't so much as a question as a request though. He reached over to the tree with his long tail picking up the gun. Could you show me how this works? I know what it does but how and just what kind of damage it does are things I don't know. Could you demonstrate?

I guess. I will tell you what happens then I will shoot it at that tree. Is that okay?

Sure.

Unknown to her she was still shaking badly and didn't pay attention. When she went to grab the gun, she was still nervous and accidentally grabbed the tip of his tail instead. She quickly pulled away, and tried again, this time more successfully. "Sorry," she finally said.

Why are you so nervous? I'm not sure that you will be able to hit the tree with all the shaking you are doing. And I have had much worse happen to this thing, lifting his tail to show a long scale-less scar about tree feet long. I ran into a tree flying to my friend's lair. It was so bad I had to burn it shut right then and there. That, I can tell you, does not fell good.

"Ouch. Does it till hurt?"

Nah, not anymore.

"Okay, well now that I am done shaking I guess I will show you how this thing works."

Sounds good to me.

"Okay, this is a clip. It holds bullets, which the gun shoots out." Kyle nodded. "They are filled with explosive powder which makes the bullet come out of the barrel. To ignite this powder, you pull this trigger which releases a mechanism that strikes the bullet and ignites the powder." As she said this she was pointing to each part. "you aim with these raised bits of metal here."

That doesn't seem so hard. If I were 8 tons lighter four feet shorter in height, and 16 feet less in length, I could use it.

"There are larger guns called Canons that would be more your size. Are you ready to see it in action?"

Yea, go ahead.

"I'll warn you, it's going to be loud. Here goes."

The silence was ripped open as the gun came to life. It was a semi-automatic high-power rifle. Kyle's eyes went wide with shock as a baseball-sized hole was blown through the hardwood's trunk. Wood went flying everywhere; as yet another blast ripped a hole in the poor tree. Samantha flipped a switch on the gun and laid it back against the tree she had basically killed.

Oh yea! That was AWESOME! I want one.

Okay, I admit that was cool, came a voice that Kyle only halfway remembered until he realized that he hadn't come alone. Kyle looked around, and out of the bushes, came Joseph.

Samantha. I want you to know that I didn't travel here alone and if you turn around you will see a much older dragon than myself. He is much larger than me as well ut still friendly I assure you. Well, he can be a bit bossy sometimes. He is almost 200 years old.

"I'm not sure I want to turn around. To me you are huge."

Why thank you. But you don't have anything to worry about. He's a friend of my mother's

"Well a friend to a woman is a friend to me." She then turned around and held her hand out.

Joseph, a huge, 35-foot, fire red dragon reached out and took her hand, lightly shaking it. Mark had taught him this as he had taught Angelina. I will have to thank Mark for teaching me about handshakes. I would have looked really stupid there if he hasn't.

It wouldn't be anything new, Kyle said snidely.

Hey!

" Haha! You are really funny Kyle. You don't give yourself enough credit."

Oh PLEASE don't boost his ego.

"Okay. I'm sorry. Oh I can give you directions but I need something in return."

We don't have anything to give you. We would if we did, but we don't, so we cant.

"I see that you aren't carrying any material goods. I was wanting more of a service."

What do you have in mind, the blue dragon said, before his elder could refuse.

I have to get to a town on the other side of this river. It would take me three days to get to a crossing and with all of the battles going on, I'm not even sure those are there.

So you want us to fly you over.

"No, I want one of you to fly me over. Both of you doing it would be difficult."

I am NOT letting her ride on my back, Joseph quickly stated.

Fine, I will. Just draw a map in the dirt here and I will carry you over.

"Fine with me," Samantha said as she cleared the leaves away and started drawing with a stick. "I hope you are getting this."

I am. I have a very good photographic memory. When you live to be as old as we do it is a must have.

Good. Well, this is as detailed as I can make it." It was indeed very detailed. There were little towns all over and the map also showed roads and paths.

Looking over the map, there was no military base. But after a bit of thought, Joseph figured it out. The reason no one had found a base was that there wasn't one. Look at the way these roads are positioned. They are using the towns as bases.

Makes sense to me. Okay, Let's go. Where exactly do you want to go?

"Just take me to one of the larger paths across the river. I can find my way from there. I know you two don't want to be discovered. I completely understand."

Sounds like a plan, Said Kyle. He crouched low, allowing Samantha to climb up his tail and find a spot on his back. Are you ready?

"Yep."

Hold on, Joseph said with a gleam in his eye.

"What's that supposed to me…." Before she could finish her sentence Kyle leaped into the air.

That.

_Chapter 36_

* NOTE-I am so sorry for how long chapter 36 was. Back to first person now.

I was flying low, just a few hundred feet above the trees. Jacob was flying higher getting a broad view of the land and pointing out places of interest for me to go check out. This was the best way to search that we could come up with.

I had already checked a few dozen spots and I was awaiting another spot when I heard, Oh man! That isn't natural.

What is it?

Up ahead, there's a huge stone dome. It's in the middle of the forest and trees are uprooted around the edges.

Let's go check it out. This time, though, we should both go.

After confirming a course of action, we glided down in large circles. We landed a few hundred feet from the object, not wanting to be spotted right away. I was going to approach the structure while Jacob waited just behind the bushes in case of an attack. It sounds like he was scared but making me go was actually because Keven would recognize me. He wouldn't know who Jacob was though.

I walked slowly up to the dome. It had an entrance on one side. I didn't enter however. On the side of the opening scratched perfectly into the stone was writing. The note said, '11-18-1-14/5-21-4/20-19-5-23'

All of us had been learning code and the first thing you check is direct connections with letters. It so it would read 'kram eud tsew.' A lot of people would be like WTF what's THAT supposed to mean? To which I now respond, READ EACH WORD BACKWARDS. It says Mark Due West. I went inside, now knowing that nobody was home. I looked around for anything useful. The only thing I saw was some food, which I ate then and there.

I walked out and said, we need to travel due west.

Jacob looked at me with curiosity in his expression.

There was a note scratched into the entrance way of that shelter that said, Mark Due West. It has to be Keven and he has to be alive.

I surely hope so. Not to diminish hope or anything but that could be almost a month old. He could have left that the day you got lost.

He isn't all that fast of a flier though. This is all we have to go on anyway so west it is. I jumped up to the top of the dome and then launched myself into the air. Jacob followed close behind.

After flying for several more hours with no words exchanged between us, the silence was finally broken. Hey, SLOW DOWN! You're losing me!

I looked back. Huh? I said as I looked back only to have to search for my partner. I finally found him, a tiny spot in the distant sky. I must have been VERY determined because I was flying FAST. Oh!

I swerved around and went back to fly beside Jacob. When I got there, he was breathing heavily. I simply can't keep flying like this much longer. We really need to land and rest.

I really wanted to continue but I couldn't do that without a partner and Angelina might not like me leaving her brother in the middle of nowhere. I guess we can rest for the night. It is starting to get dark anyway and we have to find a place to stay.

I have only been out here this far once. I vaguely remember a cliff with a cave in it. It's a small opening but a rather large cave, Jacob said.

Okay but unless you can figure out where this cave is we're screwed.

It's this way. Follow me.

Photographic memory?

Actually yea ha.

_Chapter 37_

It was dark by the time we landed. Evidently Jacob's photographic memory doesn't really help that much when the whole landscape has been changed. After about 2 hours of flying and searching, we did finally find the cave (or at least A cave).I let Jacob go in first and decided that the cave would be less crowded with only 1 dragon in it. I went through the transformation to become human again (which is ALWAYS beyond creepy), and after completing that I walked into the cave dragging some firewood. "No need for a match but a fire still needs fuel unless you are going to keep a flame going all night."

I guess so. Do you need any help with getting wood?

I had always taken offense at someone asking if I needed help with physical exertion. I am not body builder but I am not weak either. Finally I just said, " I don't need any help getting it. Stack it on this wall but not near the entrance. That is where we're going to put the fire." I said this all while gesturing to the spots I had mentioned. I thought to myself about how everyone assumes I'm weak, I kept these thoughts private so Jacob couldn't hear them though.

I had found a huge pile of good, dry wood, pre-split by the explosions in the recent past. I just hoped that there wasn't too much radiation trapped in the wood. That was part of the reason for putting the fire so close to the entrance, to let smoke and radiation filter out of the cave instead of killing us.

After only a few minutes I had gathered way too much wood. I knew just how much a fire used but I had gotten so preoccupied with it that I got more than I needed. Better safe than sorry I thought to myself. I quickly built a mini log cabin and a larger one around it.

After making sure it wasn't going to fall over, I told my partner to light the wood. "Be careful though. You don't want to turn it to ashes immediately.

Me? Careful? Really? He said as got ready to be a huge, 18-foot match. A dark red flame oozed out of his muzzle flowed under the mini house I had built. Surprisingly, it only caught the bottom level of logs. You may be a skilled flyer but I know how to handle flames better than anyone I have ever seen.

"Good for you. I personally just need to destroy entire armies and I can do that without much control over the fire. I'm going to go out and get some fresh air." That is what I SAID I was doing. In reality I had another brilliant idea. I just had to try though. I was going to do some long distance calling to the missing Keven.

I went to the top of the cliff that the cave was on. It wasn't quite as big as the one we had so long ago relaxed on and then later practiced out powers on, but the surrounding area and the view were both almost identical. Memories started to rush back, and for the first time in a very long time (so long I don't remember the last time), I began to cry. I didn't even know dragons COULD cry, and I was thinking that if Jacob saw me he would probably just laugh at me.

Despite the emotion I started to call. I knew my friend's personal frequency so it wasn't being broadcast to the world. After an hour of that I gave up and lay down on the rocky cliff. I fell asleep but only for a minute. What woke me was a vibration in the earth below me. The whole cliff was shaking! I had to get out of here! I took off and started to fly away but then I remembered whom I was missing. Jacob! Get out here!

I cant! I'm trapped and I'm not sure if I'm imagining it but I think this cave is getting smaller!

Hold on! I'm coming! I was already heading back. I dove down to the entrance of the cave. No one was there. The entrance was caved in and it WAS moving inward. Get to the extreme right of the cave! I'm blasting you out! I hoped he did what he was told. He didn't respond. I opened my maw and a powerful burst of blue light escaped with more force than I had ever had it do before. I blew a huge hole in the wall. Get the hell out! NOW!

He did as he was told and leapt from the collapsing structure. Just as he left the cliff, I saw something on the opposite side of the rock formation. I couldn't tell what it was, but I hadn't noticed it before. Even with my superb night vision I couldn't make out a shape on the object. I was going to find out weather I liked what it was or not, most likely the latter.

_Chapter 38_

I led Jacob over to a dense patch of trees to keep him out of the way and hidden. Stay here no matter what. Your sister would kill me if you got hurt. This thing's powers are like Keven's but he would have never attacked us."

I was going to ask about that. You sure he just didn't know it was you?

I'm sure. If it was him, that would mean he got my message. I told him about you and not to worry. I also told him that we were here to find and save him.

But it…

No time for this. I'll be back, I said as I climbed to the top of the trees and started my flight toward the attacker. I got to a high altitude and started to glide down in wide circles. Once I found the nuisance, I locked my eyes on him slowly getting closer. It was pitch black and even with the best of night vision I could only see a dark mass on the ground. I finally landed still a few hundred yards away. I crept as quietly as I could toward the unknown.

I stepped on logs and bushes distributing my weight as to not give my position away to a super sense of touch. As I caught sight of a huge mass in front of me, our attacker turned to face me. It was pitch black. The moon wasn't out and the overcast skies blocked out all starlight. There was no light, yet fiery eyes flared in my direction. I could see nothing more than the glowing golden orbs as I froze in my steps. No face or body was visible in the blackness only the piercing eyes on a black canvas. Realizing I couldn't move I broke my main rule about thought speech. I invaded the mind of the attacker. This is simple enough but morally very wrong and I made a rule against it for my little group.

I drove my mind into every corner of the mystery figure's mind like a spear through flesh. It was a simple message. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHY DID YOU ATTACK US? The clouds thinned out for just a second, just enough for me to get a shape. However, that didn't help at all because there were rocks and fallen trees everywhere. These were plenty to obscure any shape or shadow I saw.

No reply came and I kept pushing through the mind looking for anything to identify the being in front of me. I was unable to find anything and I was blocked out of a lot of places in the figure's mind.

Fine. Don't tell me who you are. I would still like to know why you attacked my partner. I was trying a less intrusive approach.

Silence was the only answer of coarse.

I had no choice I finally just said, Tell me or I will FRY YOU!

A response came but it wasn't words. A simple snicker came over the link between our connected minds.

I know full well the extent of your powers. No rocks are going to save you from me! There is nothing funny here so TALK!

Who is this partner you speak of? I got a message and it was broken up so bad from distance that I only heard "save dragon cave. " I assumed there was someone to rescue and saving someone's life endows them to you for something big. Without my leader I needed some stuff to continue.

Message huh? You are just saying that because I just told my partner about it. You probably overheard. What is your real story and who is this leader. If there are rival dragons I want it know about it.

I will not speak his name. I isn't because of the risk it is simply because I promised that I would not speak it until I found him. There were only three of us as far as I knew but evidently we aren't alone.

Your leader wouldn't by chance be named Mark, I said now having a good idea of who he was but wanting to make the scene dramatic.

H-How did you know.

Because, at this point I let out a little flame from my nostrils, It's me. The light from the flame lit my face and I was immediately tackled.

I was ready to fight but then I caught the look on his face. It was indeed Keven and he was as happy as can be. At this proximity (as he had me pinned to the ground and up against a huge tree which threatened to fall over at any second) I was able to catch that kind of detail.

I still want to know who this partner is, he said, finally letting me up.

_Chapter 39_

After that encounter we were both exhausted. We both quickly decided to walk over to see Jacob as humans. There were a few reasons for this. The first was the fact that we were tired, and as I have mentioned before, the dragon body takes a lot of energy to use. The second was the fact that I hadn't been human for any period of time and wanted to spend as much time in my normal state as possible. The third and best reason was that we wanted to sneak up on Jacob.

We walked in Jacob's general direction slowly getting closer and closer. I wasn't stupid, however, so we walked in circles, slowly edging closer and closer to Jacob. We circled around until we came up behind Jacob and to my surprise he was sound asleep. Oh Angelina will love to hear about this ha, I thought to myself.

Taking the opportunity I decided to mess with him a bit before completely surprising him. I grabbed a couple rocks from a nearby piece of blasted earth and tossed one into the bushes toward the slumbering beast's right. The reaction was, to say the least HILLARIOUS! Jacob jumped 6 feet in the air! I almost couldn't keep myself from laughing. I waited a few minutes and just as Jacob was about to lie down I threw another rock to his left. The reaction wasn't as good this time but he did suddenly look toward the noise. After throwing rocks in random places and getting lots of humorous reactions I grabbed my last rock and took aim, as this one wasn't going to be random. I chunked my last rock and it struck exactly where I wanted it to., right on top of Jacob's head.

I heard a deep growl as the, now, very awake dragon looked around frantically to find the source of the annoyance. "I told you to wait, Not to sleep," I said, walking slowly out o the bushes.

I wasn't sleeping.

"Yea right! That first rock scared you half to death." Out walked Keven, being his cocky self; even to a dragon he had never met. Jacob just glared at the new person.

"Jacob this is Keven. Keven this is Jacob. The partner you wanted to know about,"

"Well, we have plenty of time to rest." What he actually meant was 'I'm going to rest'

"Works for me but Jacob here is all rested up I bet," I stated, still joking about the embarrassed green dragon.

"Well this seems as good a spot as any," Keven said as he sat down on a log.

"Yep" I said making my answers as short as possible (this annoys the mess out of Keven).

"Hey dude," Keven jestured to Jacob, "Why don't you come out of that dragon form? I'm sure it would be more comfortable."

I looked at Jacob and smirked. I had for gotten o tell Keven that Jacob wasn't a mutant freak like us but an actual dragon.

"I don't think that's going to work man." I finally said.

"Why not?"

"Jacob, you tell him."

I'm a REAL dragon

"Uh," Keven said, not really having any words for the occasion.

"Yea, It shocked me too. But it wasn't this guy who I met first."

"You meant there are more?"

"Yea, not sure how many but at least 4 others."

And he's in love with one of them. Jacob blurted out.

Laughter broke out, first from Keven, then from Jacob. I wasn't laughing at all.

"What's so funny?" I asked with a scowl on my face.

"Nothing" they both said simultaneously.

It isn't 'nothing'. TELL ME!

"Fine," Keven spoke through his laughter, "Jacob just told me just WHO the lucky girl is haha"

"Crap! Jacob, the last person who should know about this is HIM!"

Sorry, he replied, the thought calm and serious but his face still showing amusement. Served you right for throwing rocks at me.

"Fine, payback is done. Let's get moving. We have to get back to the base then to the lair."

"Okay" both of them said. (it scares me when people say the same thing at the same time like that. And they did it twice!).

The flight back was uneventful. It was dark by the time we got to the base and we stayed the night there. Each group of the search party was under strict direction to stay in their search area. The group that found Keven would return to the lair and then go and retrieve the others. It was a good plan, in theory. The only problems would be finding the teams and getting back without being spotted, as the locals probably wouldn't take too kindly to five dragons flying over their houses.

As we arrived at the huge lair, I asked Keven if he wanted to stay or come help find the others. He decided to help of coarse. We ate and then went to get Joseph and Kyle.

_Chapter 40_

3rd person Joseph and Kyle

After giving Kyle a long speech about how stupid his actions had been, Joseph went over to a nearby lake for a little swim. He needed to relax before making the huge decision to attack or leave the nearby, occupied towns alone. Honestly he didn't see the point. There was no proof that this kid was even there in the first place. He floated around pondering the pros and cons.

Just as the large, and now relaxed, dragon was about to exit the water, a patrol from a nearby town marched up to the lake. All he could do was sink and hope the patrol hadn't seen him and that they would leave before he had to surface.

The soldiers hadn't seen him but they had no plans to leave. Instead, they started unpacking and setting up camp. This wasn't good at all. Joseph had to come up to breath. His only option would be to destroy the group as soon as he came up because they were sure to see him when he surfaced. He hated the idea of killing an intelligent being, but he had no choice.

Joseph sprang out of the water in a powerful burst, spraying the area in a deep red flame. This didn't cause death immediately, however, and the solders screamed and yelled. There was no way this wasn't going to give their position away. Nobody was going to survive but their cover was blown.

They had to leave and fast. Kyle! In the air NOW! Keep low and follow me!

Gotcha! Kyle said not wasting any more time or breath.

The two dragons darted out of the area as fast as they could, keeping too low for anyone to see them through the trees. They flew in confusing paths until they were sure that no one was following them. Kyle saw a spot where they would be well hidden (as hidden as two enormous creatures can be), and they glided down. Once they touched down, they crouched low and were the stillest and quietest creatures on the planet.

Meanwhile Mark, Keven and Jacob were flying straight toward a disaster. A search party could easily ruin the plan of getting out undetected. They also couldn't go straight back to the lair as they couldn't risk the soldiers following them there. The incoming group had no clue what was just a few miles ahead of them.

Is that Mark and Jacob? Kyle said pointing up at a blur he had seen out of the corner of his eye.

I don't know. Just keep low. And with the order to keep hidden, Kyle leapt up above the trees and hovered for a second. I told you to STAY DOWN. Joseph said Pulling Kyle out of the air by his tail.

Let go of me! It WAS them. They are flying right into an attack! We have to get them back here.

YOU have to get them back here. I am not risking my life for a human.

Fine but when your daughter hears about this…He didn't even finish his sentence before he sprang up and flew as fast as he could toward the soon to be doomed search party.

Kyle Finally caught up but just as he had done so, he spotted soldiers in the trees below. Turn around, keep really low, and follow me!

Without hesitation, Mark pulled a 180 and the other two followed. Mark didn't have to see who was speaking to him. He knew the voice to be Kyle's and he wouldn't yell without a very good reason. They then bolted back to the relative safety of a boulder field covered in dense brush. Now that we're back together, lets either get back to the lair or go find the others, I stated seriously.

As quickly as we had landed we were back in the air again (yes I changed the point of view. If you are an English teacher just get over it.).

We stayed low and flew fast. Whoever was following us, wouldn't be for long. You know, this is getting really old, I stated, obviously not content with the current situation.

You humans and your stubbornness; it's even worse when you add guns. Joseph said also not happy at all.

You can't blame the entire human race. I'm a perfect example of the fact that we aren't ALL evil. I said this, not wanting hate to get the better of the, no longer relaxed, dragon.

I guess but I have only known you for a few weeks. That is hardly enough time to make a sound judgment about someone's personality.

True, but you have nothing to worry about from me, I said swerving to dodge a tree that was slightly taller than the others around it.

The conversation ended as the taller trees became more frequent and we had to concentrate more on flying and less on talking. After evasive flying for more than three hours we finally lost the tail, almost losing our tails in the process.

_Chapter 41_

After many hours of flying, we finally made it to the lair. We hadn't gone inside before we had left to go get the two troublemakers. This time we did. I have seen the place and it amazed me, yet again, with its huge size. Keven hadn't seen it, though. His reaction was an open maw and wide-eyed speechlessness, as he walked through the main room.

You are all going to stay. The last search area is close and I can do it alone. I said not wanting Keven to go especially.

Are you sure about that? Keven asked concerned about something. I could tell it was partially my safety but there was something else too.

Yea sure, there will be three of us coming back anyway. That seemed to settle the other part of his worries. I still didn't know what that worry had been though.

Well Just be careful, Joseph finally said.

I will, I replied as I jumped out of the lair entrance and into the sky.

As I had mentioned the search zone was very close and it only took a few minutes to find the entrance to the cave I had told Angelina about. Aside from a few helicopters that I easily 'lost', the flight was uneventful.

I walked into the cave and after a quick scan I found Angelina and Crystal to not be there. I wasn't all that worried though, as they were probably still out searching. There was some daylight still left.

I decided to go for a little relaxing swim in the large underground lake. I was tired of being a dragon (can you believe it?) and decided to take the swim in my natural, human form. Every time I try to stay in my human body for any real length of time, I end up having to travel, fight, or rescue someone. This, however, was a good time for me to relax and be me again.

After swimming a little while in the lake, I got out and walked over o a small pond, separated from the large body of water. I hadn't bathed in over a month and with nobody here and time on my side, this seemed like a good place to do it. I washed my clothes as well as myself (Trust me. They REALLY needed it). The dark black water was actually a few degrees warmer than the lake due to the fact that it was a smaller body of water and therefore easier to keep warm.

It took forever to get several weeks worth of filth off of me. I felt refreshed as I climbed out onto the rock floor of the cave. I felt ten pounds lighter, and with all of the grime that was on me, I probably was. I wish I had brought a towel though. Instead I just stood by the wall until I was mostly dry. I started putting clothes back on and Just as I had buttoned up my pants Angelina walked into the cave. I was caught off guard and then thought how awkward it would have been if she had walked in only a few seconds earlier.

"Ever heard of knocking!" I yelled, partially serious and partially joking.

Nope! We dragons aren't ashamed of our bodies.

"We aren't ashamed, we just have decency." I yelled back, completely joking now.

Well you are here so you must have found your friend.

"Keven is back at the lair. He thought it was hysterical that I was WITH a dragon."

We are kind of an odd couple.

"No, you are normal; I am the odd one here. You are a dragon, and I am a MUTANT FREAK human that can turn into a dragon."

Awe, it's okay. Don't even worry about it. It doesn't matter to me.

"Still," I said, and then didn't finish my sentence.

I want to meet this Keven kid. I'll give him a talking to for you.

"You can meet him but the talking to won't be necessary."

_Chapter 42_

Just then Krystal walked in. In the light, I could see how she got the name. Angelina nudged me out of my daydream and gave me a 'Don't look at her like that' look.

Am I interrupting something? Said Krystal as she stepped into the water of the underground lake.

"Maybe" I said at the same time as Angelina said No, only adding to the illusion that she had, in fact, interrupted something.

Sorry, she said and started to turn around to go back out of the cave.

"Don't worry about it. You weren't interrupting anything. Come on over." Krystal swam over with a look on her face that said 'well, if you insist.'

" I would have been here sooner but your father went and alerted a patrol of city guards and we had to get away without them seeing or following us."

Really. Whatever made him do such a thing? He is terrified of humans.

"No clue. I didn't get that part of the story. He was unwilling to tell me any more and he seemed very disturbed as if he had done something unforgivable."

We will never know. He is impossible to figure out.

"Something was seriously bothering him though."

Oh well.

I feel left out. I looked over to see a blue dragon coming out of the water. I had totally forgot that Krystal was there.

"Sorry. With so many patrols out I can' risk flying at night. And it is already dark. We are going to have to stay here for the night and leave in the morning."

My father will be so angry about it but you are right. The risk is too high.

"Why would your father be…?" I didn't finish the sentence because I figured it out. "Krystal is here to intervene if anything like that starts to happen ha."

Krystal looked at me funny. I'm not stupid. I would die getting between you two probably.

"Huh? Hey! I have SOME self control!"

Yea but dragons don't, especially during that.

"I have only lost control of my dragon form twice and those were in times of extreme anger."

Imagine it in a time of extreme pleasure. That was her only reply.

"Good point. Oh well. Whatever happens, will just have to be then. I plan on staying human anyway."

Krystal's eyes opened a little more and a gleam formed then went away as if she were hiding something. "I saw that. What were you thinking?"

Nothing, she said, and thought about it again.

"Seriously. I will keep you up all night if you don't tell me."

Oh she will have to tell you now. She can't go a full night with no sleep.

Fine I hear that some humans sleep with nothing on.

"Some do. I am not one of them though. I generally sleep in shorts. I don't wear a shirt though. That makes it too hot."

Awe darn. Angelina said in a mocking tone.

We all laughed and I took my shirt off and walked over to a semi comfortable spot to try and catch some Z's. As I walked away, I said, "And Krystal you might want to be careful about saying things like that. Angelina might get jealous."

Angelina just rolled her eyes, which I found hilarious because I had never seen a dragon rolling eyes before and it looked funny. I found the spot but I couldn't relax because Krystal was staring. "There are these things called cameras. They record images. I'm going to have to get you one so you don't have to stare at me."

She blushed (which turned her a light purple and was also funny.) "Remember, Angelina just might eat you in your sleep if you hit on me too much." I got another glare from Angelina and with that I closed my eyes. A couple minutes later I woke up. something had bumped me and I almost went into attack mode. But I opened my eyes and all I saw were shiny red scales and my brain registered the fact that it was Angelina. I shifted a bit and went back to sleep. 'She always has to make things difficult,' I thought as I shifted just a little closer so that my arm was touching the surprisingly warm scales. I then went to sleep again.

Giggling awakened me. I opened my eyes and sure enough, there was Krystal holding back her laughter so much that I thought she just might pass out from the effort. I sat up and stretched. "What's so funny?"

You two make a great couple and at first you were just touching but you were just completely snuggled up to her.

I realized that I was closer, a lot closer, to Angelina and backed away just a little, blushing the whole time.

"Hey! The cave floor is cold and she happens to be warm." I used this as an excuse.

Oh wait till her father and brother hear about this. It is going to be hilarious.

"PLEASE don't do that. I am already on loose ground with her father and he was worried about what could happen. Nothing happened, that I know of anyway, but this would only prove his point."

Fine but her brother will find out. He will get a kick out of it. By the way I took plenty of mental pictures to show with the story.

'Why must women be so evil' I thought.

Just because, replied Krystal.

I moved and got dressed and told Krystal to go outside while I took another bath. Angelina was still fast asleep and I didn't want to wake her. I got in the water. About a minute later Angelina woke up. She looked around as if to figure out where we went. She saw me in the small pool and walked over. The water was dark so I wasn't worried about her being there at the moment. " Morning sleepyhead." I said smiling. "I thought you were the early riser. That is what Krystal said anyway."

"Good morning back to you. I usually am but I decided to sleep in a little."

Then she said something that made me sort of uncomfortable. I hope you were plenty warm. It can get cold in caves sometimes.

I gave a wary giggle and just said, "Don't worry I was plenty warm." I gave an embarrassed smile and looked around nervously.

Good was her simple reply.

Could you go out and see Krystal please? I have to get some clothes on.

Hmm I don't know. I think I'll just stay here.

I hadn't thought about that. She just lay down right there. I couldn't get out now and my skin was starting to shrivel up from the water. I had to get her out. I tried everything from begging to trickery. I even asked her to just simply turn around for 10 seconds and if I wasn't quick enough she wouldn't have to stay turned around any longer (but I knew I was plenty quick enough). Nothing worked. But then I had a great idea. It was risky but it would have to do. I started transforming. I was turning into my dragon form to avoid coming out of the pool as a human. The only risk was that every time was different. Different things changed at different times and rates every single time. The pool wasn't that deep and I just hoped that I changed in a way that didn't reveal anything.

I was nervous through the whole thing and I felt my legs getting longer first. That was very bad. I sunk underwater to the bottom only 5 ft under and lay flat on the bottom hoping that it would be deep enough to buy time for the other parts of me to change. Lucky for me, it did. My tail formed just as I was inches from the surface. When I was fully dragon, I stood up all the way and said, Hah I win. The situation was still awkward but not as awkward as walking out nude would have been. I escorted Angelina outside then ran back in and moved a giant boulder in front of the entrance. I turned back into a human and got dressed. I went back to the dragon form again and moved the boulder away, walked out and then turned back into a human again.

"I'm sick of being a dragon at the moment. I'm going to have to ride on one of your backs."

I'll carry you, Angelina quickly offered. I was a little worried and embarrassed but I climbed up her tail and onto her back and held onto her neck.

"I'm ready." I said. And with hat, she launched herself into the air.

About halfway through the flight I was about to take a nap. Then Angelina spoke up. I'm sorry about this morning. I just got a little carried away.

"No kidding. But I accept your apology. It is still awkward though."

Yea. Sorry.

"I guess I will just have to make things awkward for you. I will start by taking a nap." I hugged her neck, more to keep from falling off but also to make her uncomfortable. Then I put my head down and closed my eyes. I got as comfy as I could and slept like a baby the whole way.

I woke up when we landed. And I slid down off of the poor embarrassed red dragon. I wasn't done yet though. Not even close.

_Chapter 43_

I was sitting in the main room. The vast area was still astounding my senses. The others had gone out to hang out and I wanted to rest. I was sitting around when Joseph came into the room. The massive red dragon was as intimidating as always. "Hey," I said tiredly.

You look exhausted. Why don't you go to sleep for a while?

"Can't sleep. Actually I was hoping you would walk by. Could I talk to you for a second?"

I don't see why not. What's bugging you?

"It's just I know what you think of me. You can hide your thoughts all you want. I can see it in your face in your eyes and in the way you act around me. I'm a mutant freak and I agree. With that said, I find you to be very kind for helping me and for allowing me to stay here and I wanted to..."

To do what? Spit it out.

"I have met your family and I want to let Angelina meet mine." I was very happy to get that off my chest but a new concern was taking hold now. What will his answer be?

Well, He said dragging his sentence out as long as he could before saying, I don't see why not. Just promise me that nothing bad will happen.

"I can't promise that, but I can promise that I will do everything in my power to keep anything bad from happening."

You saying that shows me a lot. That alone shows you have wisdom beyond your years.

I'm not very wise, just realistic about life.

You can't take a compliment though ha.

"Don't get me wrong, I love the compliments but the more compliments I get the more people expect from me."

Even better.

"I'm not so sure."

This has taken a lot out of you. Go get some rest and we'll see how you feel in the morning.

"Yea. Thanks for the reassurance. I just hop you can get over it in your heart that I am human and maybe one day be able to fully trust me." With that I walked to my room and got into bed. I fell right to sleep.

I did feel a little better in the morning. I wasn't as tired and I decided to tidy up the place a little. 'It's the least I can do' I thought. I got carried away and I didn't even notice when the others came in. they had been out all night at Angelina's lair.

You? Clean? Haha! I heard that and jumped higher than I had ever jumped before.

"Don't scare me like that!" I said catching my breath. It was Angelina and she was just grinning (which is scary because when a dragon smiles they show off all of the teeth) I caught my breath and continued to work. "It's the least I can do. Plus we're leaving tomorrow."

Where are you going?

"You must not have heard me. I said WE'RE leaving tomorrow. Just for a few weeks."

Oh well in that case I need to get some stuff.

"What stuff? You haven't ever carried anything with you before."

Nothing just don't worry about it.

"Now that you said NOT to worry about it I worry."

Ha it's nothing and I will be wearing it. You'll see.

"Whatever. I'm going to clean so if you aren't going to help me with that go get your stuff. By the way, I'm sleeping in your room tonight. Your floor is smoother and I'm going to try something your brother told me about to stretch my wing muscles. IT is going to be a long flight and we wont get there in one day."

Do you have a death wish?

"No. I'm on good terms with your father anyway and nothing will happen. I'm just going to sleep on my back and stretch my wings on your floor."

Okay. I don't have any problems with it. Just don't get in trouble.

"I'll be fine."

"I don't doubt it but I'm worried about me."

I wasn't paying attention and I said, "What did you say. I wasn't paying attention."

Nothing.

"I'm sure it was something but I probably don't need to know."

With that she left and I continued cleaning till the room was spotless. I sat on my bed and admired my work. Just then Joseph walked by.

Wow. This room hasn't been this clean in a long time.

"I just figured I would do something for you. You have been so nice to let me stay here."

Well that was very nice of you.

That evening I went out and stared at the sky a deranged wolf waiting for a full moon to howl at. I eventually got chilly and went back inside and went to bed. This was going to be a long journey and I needed to sleep. Flipping onto my back as a dragon would have been difficult to do. So, I lay down on my back and started the change from that position. It was a funny thing to watch, and Angelina came in about halfway through. I rolled my eyes at her and then I rolled my dragon's eyes at her because that was what changed at that moment. When I was fully dragon I said, You know staring isn't very nice.

You are just so interesting.

I know, but you still shouldn't stare.

Yea guess not. Goodnight.

'Night

I closed my eyes and fell asleep quickly. The position was uncomfortable for about a minute and then, either I got used to it, or I was so tired it didn't matter. It was probably a combination of both.

I woke up and transformed back into my human self so that I could roll back over and get up. 'At least my human for m is useful for something' I thought to myself as I walked out of the room. I was up before Angelina because I had some stuff to do before we left and we were going to leave a little before noon.

I transformed back into my dragon and called out to all of her friends (but blocked Angelina from hearing it at all). This was going to be the second part of my plan to get her back. It didn't take long for all of them to get there. And to my surprise there were even some dragons I hadn't met. So I gathered them all up outside the lair and went in to wake the unknowing dragon up.

She eventually woke up and looked at me with what could only be perceived as a death glare. I pulled her out of bed anyway and forced her to come with me. No time to shine scales (which she did every morning and every night) or do anything.

I pulled her out into the daylight. Say Hi

Hi! The group of dragons screamed from the cliff above.

Angelina looked up, and said you win.

Oh not yet I don't. They do want to say goodbye to you. You are coming back but you will be gone for a few weeks. I'm still not telling you where to though.

Fine. Be like that.

I shall. Here come a few to say bye. Oh and one last thing I did tell them about you being all warm and soft that night in the cave.

NOT COOL!

Well you see why not to repeat your actions. I think most just want to congratulate you for finding someone though. I'd hoped that they would bug you about it but Most won't. That is why I have more in waiting.

Greeeaaat! She said, rolling her eyes. That never failed to make me laugh and this was no exception.

That is one thing that you do that humans also do. But it is funny when dragons do it.

What?

When you roll your eyes.

Oh. Now you are comparing me to humans. Great.

Ha. Yea. Well you compare me to dragons. I stated factually.

After the visitors had said their goodbyes we left for my destination. HOME and what was even better was, we were going to be there the day before my 17th birthday. This was going to be great.

I was only worried about one thing. How was Mary going to take it? I did Ask her out but we never even got to go on a real date anywhere and I was sure she could find another guy. She would just have to deal.

_Chapter 44_

We were in the air and about halfway to our destination and it was getting really dark. Keven had left the day before so He was already there probably. I planned for a friend of mine to meet us here. Time to land, it's getting dark anyway. We will get there tomorrow.

Is this friend anything like Keven?

More like me but not. He didn't say if he was going to be in dragon or human form though. I guess I should have asked. At least he wont be too freaked out by you. Keven almost killed your brother because he thought he was trying to kill me. Bad communication ya know?

No kidding.

Yea. Oh well. Nobody was hurt.

That's good.

I avoided telling you while he was there so he didn't end up dragon chow.

Ha he didn't look too tasty anyway.

All right, I finally landed and I called out for Jake. Hey! You there?

That depends. Who are you looking for?

Mutant freak. Looks like me but a little shorter.

Not here, Jake said walking out; a hulking mass of black scales almost identical to myself but not quite as big.

I told you he was like me. But his personality isn't. Jake is a joker. I said this privately to Angelina who grinned.

New girlfriend?

How'd you know?

I didn't. I was just joking but wow. You can pick'em can't you?

She picked me.

HAHAHAHAHAHA

What? What's so funny?

Nothing, nothing at all.

All right, well I'm tired. I trust you found us a place to stay.

Yea. The cave is right over here.

Yay, ANOTHER cave.

We walked into the cave. It wasn't very tall and we had to duck to get in. I decided to go ahead and lie down. Angelina took her place right beside me, this time making sure not to get TOO close.

I asked her on a private link; do you do anything for birthdays?

Uh I was born on my birthday. You can have more than one?

Well I was only BORN once but people have parties on the day of the year to celebrate being a year older.

Weird.

How so?

So you are celebrating being one more year closer to dying.

No you are celebrating the fact that you lived another year. Ha. Way to be pessimistic though.

I guess that makes sense. Why do you ask?

You'll see. I was just wondering.

No we don't generally do anything like that. What kind of stuff do you do at parties?

Well there are generally gifts and food and CAKE and ICE CREAM. You will see why I like those two things a lot.

Okay. How will I see?

In 2 days I will turn 17 years old I think anyway. I lost count. I think I might actually be older than that.

Oh and you will have a party?

Yea my mom makes the best cake ever.

Okay well get some sleep. You have some flying to do tomorrow.

WE have some flying to do tomorrow. I corrected as I closed my eyes. (I have finally been able to get some actual sleep. If you haven't noticed in the last chapter or 2)

I woke up early the next morning. I'm not sure why. It just happens sometimes. I went over to the cave entrance and looked at the sky. Like most nights, there were no stars out and the sky was colored in weird colors. The sky was pink and purple and even green in some spots. It had an eerie glow to it and I knew all of our lives shortened by a week every night. How I had survived I still don't know and probably never will. Nature will do that to you; get you thinking all deep and whatnot.

Yea, I said to Jake, who was standing right behind me.

I'm not always a joker you know.

Really? I had no clue, I said sarcastically.

Well the girl seems nice. What's her name? You never did say.

Angelina.

Okay. I'm going back to bed. I can't take too much more of this.

All right, goodnight. He walked back into the cave and went back over to his side to lie down. I relaxed near the entrance until the sun started to come up, throwing even more weird colors across the sky. I never did get back to sleep. As the sun fully exposed itself over the horizon, I walked in and told the 2 sleeping dragons to get up and get ready to fly.

You really THAT excited to show me whatever you were going to show me? Or do you have something else embarrassing to do to me?

Both but I haven't figured what I'm going to do next for the second option.

Whatever. Let me wake up a little before we head off.

Fine. Don't take too long and don't believe a word of what Jake says about me.

Oh I'm sure he has some good stories.

Probably but none are true, at least, not completely.

_Chapter 45_

The flight was uneventful and Jake flew ahead to give us some space. He got home about 2 hours before we did. There's the place, I said pointing to my house. There used to be a number of other houses around ours but when the owners just left because they wanted to be away from the danger We bought a few of them really cheap and combined them with our own to make one really nice house. The others were eventually torn down and we bought some of the land. We were not rich we just had money at the right time. Home sweet home.

You live there?

Yea. And you get to meet my family.

Well how do I act? What do I say?

Just leave the talking to me and try not to break anything or eat anyone.

I can do that.

Good. Just follow me. I started my decent and eventually landed in the back yard. I moved over and let Angelina land as well.

Great. I'm going to get my parents. They were told I was coming so they should be here. I tapped on the door, careful not to leave any marks on it with my claws. I also made sure I didn't hit it too hard. It wasn't designed to be knocked on by a dragon. My mother walked out, shorter than me but still average, with reddish brown hair and brown eyes. I hadn't seen her in forever. Without warning and against what were probably some loud warning bells in her head, she rushed over and hugged me (my leg anyway).

It wasn't until then that she noticed Angelina; a huge red sparkling dragon standing quietly beside me looking nervous.

"And who might this be? I wasn't told about this."

I changed out of my dragon form and hugged my mom. I hadn't seen her in forever and I had to give her an ACTUAL hug as my ACTUAL self. "Well, introduce yourself." It took her a minute but Angelina finally spoke.

My name is Angelina.

"I'm not going to say what I was going to say." My mother stated.

"Angelina, What was she going to say.?

Not telling you.

"Great, now she has something to hold over my head AGAIN."

"Well why don't I start making dinner? I bet you are hungry after the trip here."

"Wait. Can I speak to you in private? Just for a minute?"

"Sure."

"Angelina just stay here. And no telepathic eavesdropping."

Okay. Darn you know me too well.

"Yea I know." And with that, my mother and I walked in the house.

"You weren't even informed of the fact that she was coming so I'm not sure how you are going to take this. We are um 'together'"

"Um. You mean?

"Yea."

"You haven't like?"

"Oh no! It is kind of a weird relationship."

"What do you mean?"

"Well she isn't like me."

"How so?"

"Well. I'm a mutant freak and she is…"

"She is? Normal?"

"A real dragon, like not a mutant. Not human. More intelligent than a lot of people I know though. I met her family while I was up there and they were very kind and civilized. I will fill you in on the whole story later but I just wanted you to know this before you did or said something to find out. I wanted it to come from me."

"I I'm bit sure how to take this news."

"It's okay. Just try to be yourself in front of her. I have bragged a lot. I bragged mostly of your cooking so please don't disappoint, not that you ever could."

"How am I going to…?

"You will figure it out."

"Is there anything I can do to talk you out of it?"

"Not that I am aware of. Sorry."

"Well I guess I just have to deal then. You are old enough to make your own decisions. I just hope you made the right one."

"I'm sure I did. Now let's not keep my girl waiting shall we?" We walked back into the yard and I told Angelina to follow me. We walked around the house until we came to a huge garage door. I punched in a code on the keypad and the door opened. I went in, pushed a button to shut the door and punched in another code to open yet another garage door. This led to a big open room with a desk and bed on one side. This was my room. The desk had a computer and stereo on it. Most people no longer had anything but we were lucky enough to have 2 computers. I had one and my mom had one. My 2 brothers were almost never home anyway so they didn't have one. "This is the only room that is big enough for you to stay in. This is generally where I sleep. Just one thing, If someone needs to come in here they will have a pass code. If they don't have a code they don't need to be in here. My job is dangerous and with everyone I help I make enemies as well."

Okay. That works for me.

"It will have to. I will set it up to accept another code for 5 weeks. You will be able to use that code to get in."

What's the code? I told her the code she was to use and made sure she had it memorized. I then showed her how to work the keypad.

"I am going for a walk alone."

Why alone?

"I just like to have some peace and quiet sometimes." She agreed and I walked out. I decided to go my usual way. Down through the trail in a patch of woods that, surprisingly, seems to still be alive. I walked at an easy stroll, taking in the scenery and pleasant smells of the woods. I really missed that smell. I had been in the mountains so long and there hadn't been very many trees, let alone an actual patch of woods. I looked back every once in a while to make sure I wasn't being followed. I never was. I just did it just in case. I figured if someone was going to kill me they would just wait with a gun and shoot me from a distance anyway.

_Chapter 46_

I continued on my path not worrying about looking behind me. If nobody was following me by now I wasn't being followed. All of a sudden, something huge grabbed me. I fought as hard as I could but I was immediately pushed to the ground and pinned. If I started to change now I would probably just be killed on the spot. I decided to try diplomacy. "Who are you?"

"What am I you mean."

"No I definitely meant 'Who'"

"Look at me." I did as the mystery creature said. I turned my head and I saw a hawk's beak with a face that oddly seemed troubled and kind. Then I looked over more of the creature.

"You are a griffin. But now that I know WHAT you are I want to know WHO you are. You can let me up though. I'm not going to run."

"I'm not worried about you running. I don't want you flying away though."

"Flying?"

"You are the kid who can turn into a dragon right? Mark?"

"Oh right, Yea that's me. I wont fly either. Would you please let me up?"

"Fine."

He stopped pinning me to the ground and I sat up slowly, wincing in pain from my new bruises. "Did you have to be so rough? If you wanted to tell me something you could have just asked."

"Sorry. I wasn't sure how you would respond to me."

" I have seen worse. Why don't you tell me about yourself and ya know go back to being a human. You speak well with that beak but I bet it is easier with a regular mouth."

"That is actually what I wanted to talk about."

"Huh?"

"My name is Dr. Ronald Zane Kepler."

"Nice to meat you Dr. Kepler although I would have rather you do what other doctors do and help me not hurt me."

"Please just call me Zane. I can't stand formalities."

"Okay. Whatever you say. You were saying?"

"I loved turning back in forth from human to griffin but." Tears started to form in his eyes. And I could tell something was REALLY wrong.

"But?"

"I'm trapped"

"Trapped?"

"As a griffin. I can't go back to my human self. I transformed into this thing and I couldn't turn back. I have tried and tried. I found out later in my lab that I didn't have the rest of my human DNA anymore. I only have three percent of my original human genes left."

"So you are telling me this…"

"To warn you. Every time you turn into the dragon there is a chance that your genes could be lost forever in the mix."

"Oh." That was all I could come up with. I was shocked that my precious gift might end up being a nightmare.

"I was lucky. I kept at least part of my original genetic makeup. I wanted to warn you before you end up like me." He started to cry again and this time he really lost it.

"Sit down over here," I said as I helped him over to the side of the trail to calm down. "I honestly don't know what to say. Why don't you come with me? I have a guest room in my house you can stay in. and my mom is a great cook. You can meet someone I think will cheer you up too."

"I couldn't. You don't have to be nice to me. I'm a freak and you know it."

"I don't see a freak. I see a powerful majestic predator that needs a place to stay and someone to care."

"Are you sure? I don't want to be a burden."

"I'm sure. You can come in the normal door. You should fit." I said this giving him another look over. He had a tan base color with a wide, almost black stripe down his back and most of the way down his tail. His ears were mostly brown with a white marking near the edge. Around his shoulders and the tops of his back legs there were dark brown irregular spots. And silver wisps scattered all over his body that looked like smoke. He had a Hawk's beak and a crest of feathers on his head that appeared to be like a Jay's crest. He had silver markings on his tail and front legs. The bottoms of his back legs had gray rings around them.

"You look really cool you know." I said as we walked through the trees. He didn't respond.

_Chapter 47_

I took Zane the back way home. This avoided public places and roads. I told my mom to come out and told Zane to keep in the bushes till I gave him the signal.

"Mom I have someone else I want you to meet. I only just met him today but he is very nice and needs some help and someone to care. He can't turn human but at least he will fit through all of the doors. I can't turn him down. He really needs help. He is sad and lonely and has no one."

"You were going to sleep in the guest room."

"I know. I will just have to sleep in my room. Not like anything will happen. We slept in the same cave 3 nights already." (This doesn't count the times when the cave was so enormous that we had separate rooms).

"And you haven't done anything? Wow you must be really nervous."

"MOM!"

"Fine. Where is the one you want me to meet?"

I turned and smiled. Zane walked out of the bushes head hung low and dragging his feet. He seemed very nervous.

"Don't bring up the fact that he cant turn human. It hurts him a lot" I tried to stay away from the subject of maybe being trapped in a dragon's body as to not freak my mother out, but I could see the question in her eyes. Then it came.

"You mean to say he was human at one point?"

"Long story. Not telling it now. Just be nice okay."

"Fine"

"His name is Zane by the way."

"Hi." Zane said in a low mumble.

My mother looked shocked.

"Oh and by the way' I whispered into her ear, 'He doesn't use mind chat like dragons. He can speak."

"Great." She whispered back. Then she turned to the griffin and said in a cheery, welcoming voice, "Hi Zane. Nice to meet you." She held out her hand and he lifted a paw and shook it weakly. "Follow Mark and he will show you to your room." She finally said.

I took Zane to the extra room. It had a pretty comfortable bed and a TV. The walls were a dark forest green and there was a small clock on the wall across from the bed. "Make yourself at home. Get comfortable. Dinner should be ready in an hour or so and my mom is a great cook."

"Could you stay for a sec?"

"Sure."

"What is making you be so nice to me? I wasn't expecting kindness at all."

"The fact that you didn't kill me in the woods might be one reason," I joked. "The other reason is I don't like to see anyone sad. You looked like you could use a spirit lifter and I had the ability to give you that."

"Anything. You don't like to see anything sad."

"No, I definitely said anybody. You have to get that through your head. You are still somebody not something. I'm going to go check on my other guest and I am going to send her in to talk to you. She is nice."

I walked out of the room but I heard Zane say, "Wait."

I turned around and he continued. "Thanks, this is really nice of you."

"No problem at all," I said smiling and again walking out of the room.

The guest bedroom had a window and I went to the outside punched in another code and it came open with the hum of the motor moving it. "Keep the window open. Trust me you will want it open."

"Okay," he said, almost smiling but that soon fading away.

"You WILL smile before you leave."

"Good luck," was his reply. He said it in all seriousness too as if he believed he could never again be happy.

_Chapter 48_

I went over to my room. I knocked first because I had a guest. What are you doing that for?

"Courtesy, can I come in?"

I don't see why not. It is your room.

I opened the door and walked in. I plopped myself onto my bed and stared at the ceiling. "I am going to have to teach you about human customs and technicalities," I finally said breaking the silence.

I have always wanted to know why you do the things you do.

"Some things have no reason. Some things lead to others. I have a friend in the guest room that I think needs some cheering up. You cheer me up so maybe you can help him."

Awe thanks. How am I going to talk to him though? I can't fit through any doors.

"There is a window to the outside. Use that. Try not to scare him. He is a griffin."

Awesome. I have always wanted to meet a griffin.

"He isn't though."

Huh? What do you mean?

"He is human. Well, He WAS human. He used to be like me, able to change back and forth. But somehow he is stuck as a griffin. He can't turn back into his normal human form."

Wait, so this means that it could happen to you as well. I don't want you to be sad or trapped either.

"I have my doubts that it will happen to me. I have changed so many times that I think it is pretty much smoothed out."

Yea but…

"Don't worry. If I do get stuck as a dragon, I wont have to worry about the differences between us and our relationship wouldn't be as awkward. Just go talk to him. Before dinner because he might take off if you show up for the meal without him knowing you first."

Okay, I can do that. And with that statement, she went outside and walked around until she saw the open window. (Changing to 3rd person here. Sorry but I have to.)

Angelina walked up to the open window and said, Zane?

"Huh? What? Wait who's there?"

My name is Angelina.

"Okay where are you and how is it that I can hear you but not hear you?"

You promise not to freak out?

"I think I have seen it all. So as for my answer, I promise."

Okay. And with that she moved her head in front of the window. She winked and said, better?

Zane jumped a bit but he kept his promise. He did not make a sound and didn't run. "I guess I didn't need to know. I have heard of the power to change into a dragon but still, actually seeing one is scary."

Well I don't have that power.

"Yea you do. You are a dragon aren't you?"

Yes I am a dragon.

"You are a dragon and don't have the power to change into a dragon?"

Yep. You are looking at a real, live, born this way dragon.

"Uh. I mean."

Ha Mark was speechless too.

"Well I feel honored."

Same here.

"Huh?"

I have always wanted to see a griffin. I have never seen one and even if you really aren't a real griffin it is still really cool for me.

" I didn't even know they actually existed."

Yes they do. They are even more rare than us dragons.

Wow. How many dragons are there, if I may ask?

I would be happy to answer your question but I have no clue how many are left.

"Oh. I'm sorry."

Don't worry about it. I can tell you that there are at least 30 but that is just in my area. I'm sure there are more in other places.

"That isn't too bad I guess."

Yea. I guess not. We haven't had any new ones in the area in a very long time though. That is why I went over when I saw Mark.

"Well it is good that you two are friends."

Yep friends, she said giving away a little hint that it was more than that.

"Oh, More than friends? How does that work?"

We like each other and respect each other. We are kind of with each other but not anything serious.

"Oh well I didn't mean to get into your personal life. I have never been in this area let alone at this house. It kinda makes me a little nervous."

Ha don't worry about it. I am new to this place as well so we can learn together.

"I'm going to lose that bet. People are too nice here for me to remain sad for very long. I like you. You are nice to talk to."

Likewise.

"FOOD IS READY!" a voice called from the other room. "COME OUT TO THE BACK YARD. IT IS A LOVELY DAY WE CAN EAT OUTSIDE!"

That got everyone's attention and a human teenager, a dragon, and a griffin all rushed to the back yard.

_Chapter 49_

I was curious as to what my mom cooked to make a teenage boy, a griffin, and a dragon happy. I was running toward the back yard and saw my strange guests already almost there. I was trying to guess what my mother had made by the aroma in the air. I hadn't guessed it by the time I got there though.

I saw large platters of chicken, prepared in different ways. There was barbecue chicken, fried chicken and a huge vat of fresh chicken noodle soup (the good kind not that crap in a can). I saw plates and bowls and a larger bowl, which I guessed was for Angelina. I honestly didn't know how much she ate. There was another platter to the side, piled high with homemade fries. 'Mom, you've really outdone yourself,' I thought to myself.

With amazing smells in the air, I went over to the table and said, "She doesn't disappoint when it comes to food. Grab a plate and get some food." I grabbed a plate and bowl and got my food. I went over to a shaded spot under a lone tree to sit and eat. The others followed suit and came over to eat with me. And my mom got her food and came over as well.

"You really have to teach me your secrets when it comes to chicken. I can't cook it without it getting dry."

I put some of the fried chicken in my mouth and the flavor filled my head with all kinds of great feelings. I saw Angelina eating and I thought ' I wonder if she likes it.'

I do like it. Like this one best, she said holding up the barbecue.

"Barbeque is always a good choice. Zane you okay. You haven't said anything."

He turned and with a piece of chicken in his beak sideways he smiled. I knew he was going to smile. "Yea. I haven't had good food in a while."

" I win. You smiled. I can't keep from smiling when I eat either though."

"I guess I did. It still feels wrong but this is really nice."

There was so much food left. I guess my mom thought Angelina would eat more. I could eat more though and I went up for more. When I came back I said, "Angelina. I thought you would eat more than 2 plates. You know we have plenty. Don't be shy."

She grinned at me with a look in her eyes that said 'fine I will' and she went up for more. "Ha you overdid yourself Mom. Even if she wanted to she couldn't eat ALL that."

"Leftovers are fine for me. This took a lot of time. Be nice to have a little rest tomorrow."

"Yea I guess." I was full which didn't happen often.

Angelina came back and settled down to eat again. Then Zane said "You two are really an odd couple you know."

"Wait how did you…? Oh Angelina told you."

"Ha I could tell from her reaction when I mentioned your name."

"Oh really, please do tell."

"The look in her eye said 'He's all mine' he said giggling a bit. Angelina just gave him a 'stop while you're ahead' glare and he gave a nervous grin and said, "That face is the "shut up before I eat you' face."

Angelina smiled and nodded. You would have to wait though. I'm full.

I took note of this. Four plates filled her up. I thought it would be more but oh well.

"I hope everything was good," mom finally said. I had forgotten that she was even there. She had been silent. "Angelina's story sure was."

That shocked me. "What story?"

The one about how I found you ha. It is going to be my story to tell for a long time to come.

"Aw come on! I didn't embarrass you THAT bad did I?"

And the incident in the poolroom, at my dad's place.

"Ha I remember that day. That was the best and weirdest day of my life."

You will get a better one some day.

"What do you mean by that?"

Nothing, she said but over private chat she said something else which made me blush.

'As much as I would LOVE that, you know that I am not ready for anything like that.' I thought. I knew she could hear it. I wasn't going to say it out loud.

_Chapter 50_

That night I went to bed in a good mood. And I fell asleep quickly. Before I did I looked over to see Angelina already asleep. She took up a large portion of the room but I was perfectly okay with that. I closed my eyes and fell into the nothingness of sleep.

Suddenly a bright spiraling light appeared in the darkness appeared in the dark. And a scaly face started to materialize out of the swirling vortex. I watched as half a dragon just appeared. Out of nowhere and pointed at me. I knew this dragon from somewhere. Where? I couldn't think of it. Then it hit me. That dragon was ME! I felt my whole body shaking uncontrollably, all of a sudden and a mist started to rise from me. And I watched in horror as it started to form into my own human face and body. After forming it floated upwards and as the dragon grabbed my human leg my human self screamed and I roared as loud as I could that was stopped when, what looked like a giant strand of DNA wrapped the human body up, covering the mouth and the dragon retreated back into the portal from which it came, human body and all.

I immediately woke up sweating so much I was already soaked and sticky. I was clammy and cold and terrified. I looked at my hands and to my relief I was still human. But that dream was a vivid reminder that what I had was so fragile and I had to be careful. Angelina opened her eyes and lifted her head up. Are you okay? You like you just watched a murder.

"In a way, I just did."

What do you mean?

"Nothing. I don't want to worry you. It was just a dream anyway."

She got a curious look in her eyes and tilted her head like dogs do when they don't quite understand something. You sure? I don't want you upset and you look sick.

"I'm fine okay! Just relax!" I yelled. Not wanting to talk about it. I got back into bed and covered back up after drying myself off with a towel. I was not getting back to sleep.

I never really had a problem yelling but for some reason I felt bad about it. I really had no right to yell at the poor dragon who just wanted to help. I turned over to apologize but she was already asleep. I decided that waking her up would be a bad idea and tried unsuccessfully to get some sleep. 'I went to bed feeling great and now I feel horrible. Just what I need,' I thought.

I put my got my old mp3 player and just listened to music all night. It felt like it took weeks to end, but the sun finally ascended above the horizon and I turned the music off. I had done nothing but think about how my life would change if I did become stuck as a dragon. I was stuck in negative mode so; of coarse I didn't find anything positive that could come out of it.

I felt a small gust of air hit my hair and because there are no windows and my fan wasn't on I decided to turn around. I turned into a face full of teeth, and jumped backwards and fell off of my bed in what could have been the most epic of fails ever. "AHH!"

Oh my I am so sorry are you okay?

"Ouch," I said, holding the back of my head as I got up. "I think so. You know I am still human and when there are sharp teeth close to my face it still scares me."

I am so sorry. I forget sometimes.

"No I am the one who is sorry. I had no right to yell at you last night. It ate me up all night but you were asleep so I didn't want to bother you."

I wouldn't have minded if you had woken me. It would have been better than letting it bother you all night.

"I wasn't so sure. I still know almost nothing about you. I have somewhere to take you. I had plenty of time to think last night and I think you should see this place."

Really? Where?

"You'll see."

Another surprise. Great, she said sarcastically.

"Go out to the back yard I will be there in a minute." She nodded and headed to the yard.

I went over to Zane's room and knocked on the door. "Come in. I'm a griffin there really isn't any reason to knock anymore."

I opened the door and saw Zane with a pencil and paper sprawled out on the bed. "Yea I know, just a habit. What are you doing?"

"Drawing," he stated plainly.

"Neat. Can I see?"

"As long as you promise not to tell anyone."

"You can trust me."

He nodded and I walked over to sit on the bed. I looked at the drawing, which was a very beautiful portrait of me as a human, me as a dragon, and Angelina. "Wow this is a really good drawing. At least you have talents. You have it so much better than you think. I have two questions for you though."

"Thanks I used to be better but claws aren't great tools for holding pencils. What would you like to ask me?"

The first is what do you honestly think of me and Angelina in respect to the fact that we are together?"

"Honestly, I find it weird but I think you two are adorable together and seem to have a lot of feelings for each other. Who am I to judge right?"

"I agree that it is weird. I just didn't want to jump into something like this too fast. Ya know?"

"I know what you mean. I would approve. What is the second question?"

"Do you like to swim?"

"Actually, I used to swim all the time but I would have to re-learn in this body. It shouldn't be too hard but I just haven't been in the mood lately ya know? Why do you ask?"

"So you like to swim?"

"Yea but why?"

"Just follow me. Can you fly with those wings? Just wondering because we can walk."

"Yea I can fly just not really long distances."

"Cool, go out to the back yard."

"Uh, Okay," he said as he headed out.

_Chapter 51_

As soon as I was alone I went to the front yard, transformed into my dragon form, not at all caring anymore about being stuck as a dragon. Once the transformation was complete, I jumped into the air and flew in circles to cruising height.

I held a large backpack on one of my front claws and a rock in the other. I flew over my two guests and dropped the rock right in front of them. They looked up and I could see the 'what the hell are you thinking' look on Angelina's face. I did a loop in the air and leveled off and pulled a barrel roll just for the hell of it. Then I took off. I looked back and Angelina and Zane nodded to each other and launched themselves into the air.

I saw them chasing and started to really give them something to go after. I blew smoke out of the sides of my mouth, drawing an arrow in the air with writing below that said 'This Way.' I took off toward the cliff where I had first experimented with my powers. I was way ahead and I went behind the cliff and landed by the lake below. I slipped effortlessly into the cool still water, not even making a ripple. I slipped most of my body below the surface and waited like a crocodile with only my eyes above the water's surface, watching and waiting.

As I watched the sky I noticed Angelina coming by with Zane following a bit farther back. Just as Angelina was about to fly over me I exploded out of the water and grabbed her tail pulling her into the lake below. We landed with a huge splash and we grinned at her underwater. We finally came up and I saw Zane up on the cliff rolling around laughing. That was NOT funny, Angelina told me.

Zane seems o think otherwise and I happen to agree, I said as I gave her a big sloppy kiss on the face, which made it turn from a scowl to a look of shock then to an expression of happiness.

Oh…was all she could say.

You made fun of me for reacting the way I did so I figured I would try it out. Looks like we aren't that different after all. She just stared at me in utter shock and amazement. I was about to plant another one on her but I heard the sound of rushing air and just as I pulled back, Zane landed right between us, splashing us both in our faces.

"Get a cave," He said as he finally broke the surface.

Haha sorry. Got a little carried away, I said and used my tail to dunk the poor griffin as I gave Angelina another kiss.

"Not cool. I'm smaller than you. I wouldn't have come if I knew it was going to turn into a kissing show."

Angelina had a look of pure happiness on her face and I dove underwater. I called out with my mind for my next prank. The four dragon-like creatures I had met so long ago had to still be here. To my relief they were and I explained my plan to them. They agreed and the fun began.

What was that! Angelina yelled as I came up to breathe.

Maybe it's a shark.

Don't be silly this is a freshwater lake. And that felt like feathers. Zane? Was that you?

"NoOOOO! Crap I just felt it too!"

Oh my, I said pointing behind Angelina to a huge serpent swimming at full speed straight at her with its mouth open. Just before it got to her it dove down. But the relief was short lived as it leapt out of the water right behind Zane and three others started circling. The looks on our faces were ones of terror (I was faking it because I knew what was going on) and you could tell Angelina and Zane thought they were going to die as the creatures closed in. they got really close and then they smiled and let out mental laughs, as did I.

Oh my gosh your faces were priceless, I said in a voice that told them that I had planned the whole thing.

That wasn't funny!

"This time I agree with your girlfriend. That wasn't funny at all. I almost had a heart attack!"

Sorry, I said still laughing. I wanted to have fun as, I have a feeling I will not be able to for a while. You know my life is all screwed up. I have to have fun sometime right?

Yea I guess, now onto a more serious matter. Why did you turn into a dragon when you know the risks and I could have easily flown you here?

Easy. I don't care anymore If I am stuck as a dragon. Being a dragon would be cool and It would make our relationship that much easier. Plus I spend almost all of my time as a dragon anyway, so not much would change.

You know I don't want you taking risks like that, Angelina expressed with genuine concern.

It isn't a risk anymore. More like a side effect that I wouldn't mind having. Don't worry about me so much. You sound like my mother.

I swam over and gave her yet another kiss this time adding a hug with it, which made both of us happy again.

"Again? Really? COME ON!"

We both looked at Zane and made a show out of the next kiss just to bug him.

_Chapter 52_

After the swim, we got out, dried off and I made sandwiches for the three of us from the stuff I had in the backpack. I turned back to a human to eat. I was kinda glad I was still able to. "Do you like it?" I asked Angelina. She just nodded. "I am not as good with food as my mom but I know what makes a good sandwich."

Angelina grinned at me with bread stuck between her teeth. It was gross, but funny at the same time so I laughed. We all enjoyed the sandwiches and talked for a little while drying off the rest of the way in the sun. We should probably start heading back.

"Yea," I agreed. I decided to ride on Angelina's back on the trip home so I climbed up her tail and found a spot. I pulled the straps on the backpack tight and said. "I'm ready when you are." With that she catapulted herself into the air and we took off toward home. It didn't take long and we had lots of daylight to burn so I went inside for a minute to get drinks. (Juice mixes survived the explosions. I have no clue why.) I finally came out with 3 pitchers of juice and a few packs of cookies. I gave one pitcher to Angelina, one to Zane and used the other to fill my glass.

Zane was tired so after he drank his juice he said "I'm just gonna go take a nap. See you two later."

"Okay," I said picking up the empty pitcher and bringing it inside to the kitchen. Zane walked passed, headed to his room. "If you need anything let me know okay."

"Will do," he replied.

Outside a blue serpent dragon was watching and waiting. He had been circling in the air, waiting for his chance to talk to the red dragon.

Hey I have been looking for you everywhere girl! His tone was overly enthusiastic and Angelina turned around, knowing that voice from somewhere.

Skye! Why are YOU here. Don't tell me you want me back. I ended your shenanigans two years ago. BEST decision I ever made!

Oh no! don't worry. I did come to apologize though. I really screwed up.

No really! Angelina said sarcastically. I know you. You didn't come here just to apologize. What is going on?

Fine, I'll tell you. My girl kicked me out. I need a place to stay. I was hoping you were at your lair but I didn't see you there and I waited the entire night.

You were at my lair!

I swear I didn't go in. It rained and everything I stayed out. Mostly because I would rather face the rain than be a walking torch.

Good choice. Now get lost.

Please!

"Who are you?" A asked as I walked out of the house, finding a blue serpent dragon standing in front of Angelina.

Ahhh A HUMAN kill it before he gets you! The blue dragon yelled.

Relax. He's friendly. I am staying here for a few weeks.

So wait you befriended a human?

"Is he bothering you?"

Actually yea he is. Please show him why I replaced him with you.

Wait. This is your ex boyfriend?

Yea. Wanna show him to the sky for me?

"My pleasure," I said starting my transformation. Once I was transformed I stood I walked over to the blue serpent and said, Who do I have the pleasure of kicking off of my property today?

Uh…Skye that is my, uh, name. Um, did you just turn into a dragon or am I dreaming. This doesn't seem like one of my dreams because at the end om my dreams me and Angelina are always

SHUT UP SKYE! I interrupted harshly.

Uh sorry. Didn't mean to offend you or anything. I had no way of knowing that she found another guy.

Get lost or get burned. Your choice.

I'll take my chances he grinned and leapt into the air readying himself for a fight.

Oh I didn't want this to happen. Angelina said, lowering her head.

I exploded into the air after him showing I meant business by blowing a 50-foot pillar of flame into the air.

I could tell that unnerved him but he kept his composure and the battle began. He darted backward shooting a green ball of flame I swerved and it dissolved harmlessly into the air. In the process he ended up above and behind me so I rotated my wings to a vertical position and stopped mid-flight, causing him to zoom past me. I took the opportunity and launched a flaming attack of my own hitting him but not where I wanted it. It burned his back leg I wanted to hit his wing so I launched another bunch of flames into the air but by this time he was ready and dodged it. Skye flew straight at me and I did the same. But before he could spit out more fire I swerved a bit using my front claw to slash hole in his side and part of his wing. I then angled up and got as high as I have ever been. I saw the wounded dragon struggling to fly but not giving up. I went into a steep, fast dive I was going too fast for him to dodge and this would end the fight once and for all But just before I hit him I angled out so that I was level and did a loop so that I was beside him.

Consider that a gift. That would have ended you for good but I decided to let you live so land and I will treat your wounds and you can be on your way.

Fine, Skye said in a defeated tone. He landed and I went over to the outside first aid kit and grabbed a roll of bandages and a few tubes of antibiotic cream and alcohol.

This is going to hurt like hell, I said, and as Skye gave me a weird look I poured the alcohol on a rag and began dousing the gash in his side with it. He groaned in pain but he kept his tough guy composure and I put some cream on the wound and wrapped it up. His leg looked like it hurt but it wouldn't need any kind of real medical treatment. I ran some water over it with the hose for a few minutes just to be nice. He collapsed from exhaustion on my lawn and I kinda felt sorry for him.

Wait what happened? Angelina was walking over looking confused.

He owes me big time, I said.

I saw what you did. I'm not sure If I like it or not.

Oh well. What is done is done.

Yea I guess.

He will live but he isn't staying here. Why was he here anyway?

His girl kicked him out of the lair. I don't blame her. I know what Skye is like. He is charming and handsome but a total pain in the tail. Hi is stubborn as well. No telling how many fights just like that one he has been in.

Oh well he won't be messing with you anymore.

You know I am really sorry, said Skye, starting to cry. I didn't even know dragons COULD cry. I didn't meant for it to end up like this. I was doing my best but Sandra just was too much to handle.

HOLD UP! Sandra? That golden dragoness? Angelina's eyes went wide. Why didn't you tell me that before? Of course you can stay in my lair for a while. I'm not using it for a little while so feel free to stay there.

Wait, I said. I thought you hated this guy.

Yea but I hate Sandra even more. She is the one who my mother went with when she disappeared. She came back alone and after a month or two started making moves on my dad. He, of course, didn't buy it but I have a feeling she had something to do with my mother's disappearance.

Oh. Well you can stay here tonight but in the morning you will have to go because I don't have the space for you. It isn't supposed to rain so We can all sleep under the stars tonight. Not how I planned it but hey whatever.

Thank you so much for letting me stay here.

You should be thanking him for not killing you. Angelina states sharply.

That too, Sky said and he walked over to the big tree to lie down in the shade. I went back to my normal self again but something changed. I have a little under average eyesight and I wear contacts for it. I hadn't been wearing them though. When I changed back to my human form, I still had dragon vision. I looked at Angelina and then I ran to a mirror. Shire enough my eyes were still golden and my pupils were slightly thinned like the eyes of a viper. "Crap," I said to myself "I am already changing."

At dinner I kept my head down. We ate in the kitchen and Angelina stuck her head through the door and ate with us.

"Why do you seem so depressed?" My mom asked me. I looked up to give her my normal ' I really don't want to talk about it'stare. That just gave her a look at my eyes though.

"Oh my gosh!" were her only words.

_Chapter53_

After eating I headed to my room and started the shower. Normally I like a hot shower but for some reason I needed a cold one today. I got in and looked myself over, trying to find out if my eyes were the only things that changed. Other than a few patches of skin with light outlines of scales, I had no other changes.

I dried off and walked into my room with the towel wrapped around my waist and walked over to my dresser. I grabbed some cargo shorts and an orange tee shirt. I heard the big door open and I turned around. There was Angelina standing in the doorway.

Oh I am so sorry.

"Oh don't worry about it. I'm covered," I said gesturing toward the towel around my waist.

Okay I really am sorry. I see why you knock now.

"Yea haha. No problem though. I am just going to go in here and get into these," I said smiling and gesturing to the bathroom then to the cloths in my hand.

You know the less you have on the more adorable you get. That comment surprised me. Oh crap did I just say that? I am so sorry I really am.

" That's okay," I laughed. "I just have one question."

Uh sure ask me anything. I have embarrassed you enough.

"It is about Skye."

Okay.

"He looked really comfortable around you, too comfortable, maybe. Were you two ever really, uh, serious?"

I didn't want that to ever come back up again but it only happened twice. After that we left each other because of some issues in his behavior I really did like him but he was just not my type and it never would have worked.

"I understand. I have never gotten to that point in a relationship myself. I don't think any less of you because of it either. Give me a hug."

Uh but you aren't…

"And you start caring about this NOW?" I said mockingly holding out my arms. I had the towel tucked so it wouldn't fall. She walked over and I wrapped my arms around her neck. "I love you, don't ever forget it. My body may change sooner than expected but my feelings won't go away."

Thank you. I really needed that. Now go and change before I rip the towel off of you.

I quickly let go and ran to the bathroom the towel fell off of me just as I closed the door. "That was close." I said to myself. I quickly slipped my clothes on and came out to see Angelina staring at my desk. Then I heard the noise. My phone was vibrating. I picked it up and answered. "Hello" I said.

"Hello," said the voice on the phone. It was a male voice but I didn't know who it was.

"Who is this?" I asked.

"Roy Stevenson. I heard you could turn into a dragon and I think I found one of your friends."

"Really? It couldn't be one of them. They are in town."

"You sure? Is one of your friends a green dragon?"

"No." I said thinking for a second then I said, "Wait, are the spikes on its back black?"

"Yes. You know this dragon?"

" I think so. Where are you?"

"Millington."

"That is a long way from here. I will be there in a few days. And whatever you do don't make the dragon mad and don't let it go."

"Okay it just hangs out near the hills anyway. Doesn't leave just ignores people."

"Don't let anybody hurt it. I will see you there."

"Okay bye."

"Bye."

I turned to Angelina. "Tomorrow was supposed to be a party for my birthday. But we are leaving in the morning. And Skye is coming with."

Uh okay and why is Skye coming?

"I don't know yet. We might need him and I don't want my friends going into dragon form. They use it less than I do so they wont have any problems yet."

Okay. Whatever you say. I trust you, she said smiling and walked over to me and kissed me on the face.

I wiped my face off and said. "It seems considerably less gross when I am a dragon." I walked out of the room and went out to tell Skye not to leave in the morning.

Why? I thought you wanted me to go.

"You aren't staying here. You are going with Angelina and me on a trip."

Where?

"Don't worry about that part of it."

I'm still hurt. I cant do long distances.

"It is a long trip but we are taking our time. Don't worry I think you can do it. Plus we may need your help. That and I want to talk to you."

Fine. It's not like I have a choice is it?

"Nope," I said grinning at him.

Okay. What happened to your eyes? When I first saw you they were brown. Now they are golden.

"I am losing my human genes. I am transforming into a dragon permanently." I said and walked off.

_Chapter54_

I grabbed my backpack and a few guns along with ammo for each. I had to show up as a human so I was going to ride on Angelina's back. I always felt awkward while doing that but I really didn't have a choice. I also packed a first aid kit and some emergency food. I strapped the guns to the outside of the pack so that I could fit more inside.

I noticed that my mom had already baked the cake for my party and I took a few pieces and shoved them into a Tupperware container and put that in my pack as well. I had some extra space. "Hey Angelina, s there anything you want to take with you? I have a little extra space in my bag."

No I didn't bring anything with me of importance.

"Okay. I will just put more ammunition in there then. I am sorry about having to ride. I want to show up as a human but I will fly on the way back."

It's okay.

"Let me know if you get tired. Don't wear yourself out I gave us plenty of time to get there."

You still haven't told me WHERE to go.

I put a map out in front of her and pointed to the town of Millington." That is where we are going." Then I pointed to my town (for my safety I'm not saying where that is) and said, "We are here."

I saw her eyes light up. That is the direction Sandra and my mom went the time my mom disappeared.

"Are you going to be okay?"

Yea I guess.

I am going to keep the peace around that town. It was just captured. That and there was a weird creature seen in the woods and the way it was described it seemed to look like your brother but bigger.

You don't mean…my mom could be…Alive? After all these years…Alive?

"That was an option. I was hoping you wouldn't recognize the area and I wouldn't have to get your hopes up before I knew for sure."

What do you mean?

"What if it isn't your mother? I didn't want you to be disappointed ya know?"

Okay. I still hope it is. I'm going to give her a big hug then a piece of my mind for not coming back home.

"Well we should be off." I said.

Shouldn't you go tell your mom bye?

"Already done."

Okay well lets go then.

I climbed onto her back and looked over at Skye who just looked confused. "Just follow us and don't get separated. If we go to fast let us know okay."

Okay. Uh, what just happened?

"Don't worry about it."

Whatever.

"You sound like a teenage girl saying that," I laughed. Then Angelina took off and Skye followed suit.

Yea well I'm tough enough, and even though I don't exactly like you I will protect you for Angelina. Protect the little Human ha that wasn't exactly what I had planned but what the heck.

'You don't have to protect me' I thought, knowing he could hear it. We were flying so it would be useless to try actually speaking.

Oh really? And how does the little human plan on protecting himself?

"Call me a little Human again and I will be forced to show you," I said putting my hand on my .45.(I told you I packed guns. This was one of my favorites, a semi automatic .45 with a nine-inch barrel and a specialty clip holding a few extra rounds.)

You don't want him to use that. I have seen what human weapons can do. Angelina gave him a stare that said 'Trust me don't piss him off.'

Okay but only because you say so.

"No!" I said in my mind and gave sky a stare because of the 'whatever you say honey' tone to his comment.

Sorry I still talk to her like we're together. I haven't gotten used to speaking to her normally yet.

"Well hurry up and get used to it because she's mine now." I was still just thinking these things because I couldn't talk during the flight. He could read my mind so it was all good.

Skye just looked at me but didn't respond.

_Chapter 55_

We flew in silence for a long time and when I noticed that the sun was high in the sky, I said "I think its time for lunch."

I agree, both Angelina and Sky said at the same time.

I spotted an pen area in the woods and we landed. I got down and almost fell over. It was like the feeling you get after riding a horse but worse. I stumbled around and finally got to something I could lean on. Unfortunately, the thing I was leaning on was a big, blue, and still injured dragon.

"Sorry Skye," I said as I stumbled over to a tree and sat down.

Skye walked over and lay in front of me. It's okay. You won that fight I don't have the right to complain.

"Really? What do you mean?"

I challenged you. You won. You get what you want. I get nothing. That is how it works in the dragon world. When you lose a fight to another dragon they pretty much own you.

"I had no idea. I don't like the idea of owning another intelligent being."

Okay.

"It is time for food," I said, changing the subject. I took off my backpack and pulled out some vacuum-packed pita bread and peanut butter. I made my sandwich and the others watched me and repeated my action. As We ate I broke out laughing because there were two dragons in front of me eating peanut butter sandwiches. The just gave me funny looks.

After that I took the Tupperware container out and said, "This is a special treat. Today is my birthday and I turn eighteen. It is a human custom to celebrate the fact of getting a year older. This is cake, I brought some for us because I couldn't let it go to waste."

You celebrate getting older? Skye inquired with a confused expression.

I thought it was weird too but the way he explained it made sense. It is celebrating the fact that you lived another year.

"Exactly," I said.

Okay.

I passed out the cake and I took a bite and almost died of pure bliss. It was so smooth and the frosting was homemade. I looked at Angelina and Skye who just looked back at me.

"Well, it doesn't taste good until you actually put it in your mouth."

Angelina took a bite and I could tell by the look on her face that she was enjoying it.

I looked at Skye who seemed a bit nervous still. "Does the little human need to protect you from the evil birthday cake?" I was making fun of him for his comment to me earlier. (I will ALWAYS remember things I can get back at you with. Don't forget it. :p )

He gave me a look that said 'that's no fair' and took a bite of the cake, which he immediately took another bite of.

"I told you it was good."

Mmmm, I want a birthday cake when I turn 90 in two months.

My eyes got big at that. "Ninety? Are you serious?"

Yea I would be about 20 in human years.

"Angelina! I didn't know you were interested in older guys! Bad girl." I scolded, jokingly.

I cant help it if I thought he was attractive!

You thought I was attractive? You said I had a good personality!

I lied.

"Oh I think I am going to stay from between you two for now," I laughed and backed up a bit.

I got mean stares from two dragons.

"Alright, figure out your problems quickly. We have to keep moving to be at the next stop before dark."

Skye just snorted and turned away. I figured that was the end and slowly approached Angelina and climbed up her tail to her back and got myself situated.

She climbed to the top of a large tree and jumped into the air, closely followed by Skye.

_Chapter 56_

our flight was uneventful other than a quick rest stop where Skye got bit by a snake. He was freaking out and acting like a little baby. I was laughing my brains out.

He asked me why I was laughing and I told him that the snake was harmless and the fact that he was freaking out was Hilarious. My comment went something like, "I see why she dumped you. You are such a baby, or hatchling or whatever you dragons say." Angelina found it amusing. Sky just gave me a stare and we got back into the air.

It didn't take long, once we were moving again, to get to the cave. I had planned ahead (although on short notice) for the trip and took the time to find places to stay. It was still daylight and I said, "I'll be back before dark. I am going to get us something to eat." I had brought lunch stuff with me but I didn't bring anything substantial. Then I realized how difficult it would be to get something back to the cave so I said, Skye. You are coming with me. I can't bring much back on my own. That and I want to show you what these can do," I said holding up my handgun and pointing to the rifle on my back (just in case we find something big.)

Skye got up, albeit very nervously. Fine, he said in a complaining tone.

"Oh don't complain. There are only two things that could result from me leaving you two here alone. Neither is good. Plus, I need some help."

What do you need for me to do?

"I need a spotter. Even though I have dragon vision now it would be easier to spot from the air. So just get up in the air and search. Tell me where it is and I will take care of the killing part of it."

Awe! I like the killing part of it!

"Oh well. You will see why I am doing it soon enough.

I got on Skye's back and we flew farther into the woods. He landed and let me off, then took to the air again. Luckily, it didn't take long for Skye to find a pretty large deer. He was fighting every instinct to just swoop down and kill it himself.

Got a big deer about 60 yards to your left.

"Okay," I thought and headed in that direction. I crept up and saw the animal. It was a huge 12-point buck and I thought to myself 'why must I get the chance to shoot a big buck when we have to travel light?' I took aim and as Skye turned around so that he was looking at the deer from the air, I took the shot, dropping the animal like a stone.

Oh crap what the hell did you do?

"Just used my gun. It works pretty well." Skye landed near the animal and I walked over as well.

What in the world is that thing? Skye said, pointing to my rifle. I have never seen anything that deadly, and in such a small package too.

"Just a rifle. Not exactly a hunting rifle. More like a military weapon but It is Semi-Auto so it wont completely destroy the meat. Let's get this thing gutted and cleaned out."

Okay but this is my specialty, he said as he used a claw to cut a slit into the body of the deer and easily got all the insides cleaned.

He cut it into pieces and I used a rope to tie it to his sides. He couldn't fly so we walked back to the cave, letting Angelina know when we were almost there via the mind chat. By the time we got back, she had firewood stacked and a cooking fire going.

"Good thinking," I said to Angelina. I started to untie all the meat from the poor blue dragon and I told him about a lake nearby where he could get all the blood off of him. He gladly left to do that. "I hope this is enough," I said to Angelina after Skye had left.

Yea this will be plenty. Just because we are big doesn't mean we eat like lions.

"Hey, I had no idea how much you ate." I said as I was cooking the meat. We had 3 different fires going at the same time, all for cooking. Even so it took a long time to get everything cooked up and ready to go. "I am not my mother but I'm pretty good."

Angelina and I had just started eating when Skye walked in nostrils flared and looking around for the food, which was everywhere.

Wow. Smells good, Skye took a bite, Tastes good too.

"Don't eat so much you can't fly."

Awe, Skye whined, pouting at me jokingly.

I went back to eating my dinner and eventually got ready for bed and went over to the back of the cave to lie down.

Angelina came over and did the same, putting her wing over me.

"Another good idea," I mumbled feeling the warmth of her body and quickly falling asleep.

_Chapter 57_

I woke up earlier than I needed to. I moved a little trying not to wake Angelina up. Waking up a dragon by accident was probably not the best of things one could do. And…. I failed.

She lifted her wing up a little and stared at me. I tried pretending that I was asleep but dragons can read minds so that didn't work either. Don't worry about it, she said, smiling at me. I was awake anyway. One of your dreams caught my attention.

"What one? I have lot's of them."

That is why this one struck me because it was new and I know the answer. The one where you ask me why I act so interested in what is under your clothes when you woke up in my dad's lair with new clothes on.

"Oh uh yea I was kinda wondering why."

I was HOPING that you would forget. At the time I didn't realize just how uncomfortable that could make you feel and I kinda felt sorry for doing it. I just hoped that you wouldn't notice or would forget in the search for your friend.

"No I definitely noticed and I remember it. I was actually going to ask you this morning but you beat me to it."

I know I wanted to spare you the awkwardness.

"Thanks. It was still an awkward conversation but less so because you started it and because I know you a little better now."

Good. I really didn't mean to make you too uncomfortable. I have grown to really like you. In fact I can say that I love you.

That woke me up fast. "Uh I don't know what to say other than I love you too. The day I become stuck as a dragon well you are going to have to show me how to do some stuff but I think you will like what I have planned."

If I read your mind correctly I think I will too. She just smiled at me.

"We will arrive late tomorrow." I said, changing the subject. I had to keep Angelina and myself from getting too excited right away. Who knows how long it will take for me to completely change into a dragon for good.

Good. I want to give my mother a piece of my mind.

"We don't even know if it actually is your mother yet. Heck for all we know it could be male and that would mean You would have to stay away from him.

Don't worry. I only love you. Wanna sneak out for a little ride while big boy over there is asleep?

"Sounds romantic. I'm in. I know this lake not too far away. A different one than I told Skye about. More secluded and much prettier."

Okay. Hop on and we will go.

"Comments like that take on a whole new meaning with the conversation we just had," I said, laughing

Sorry. She giggled a bit and we took off.

It didn't take very long to get to the lake. If I hadn't already known where it was, we would have never found it. We landed and I slid off of Angelina's back and started to take my shirt off to get ready for the swim. Then I decided that what I really needed was a bath so I started removing my other clothes. Angelina turned away and walked into the water. "So NOW you want to be polite and look away." I said jokingly as I got the last of my clothed folded. I jumped into the water, which was very refreshing.

Yep. She said, joking right back at me. I quickly scrubbed down and enjoyed my swim.

The water was dark and cold, but it felt very good, and as always I felt ten pounds lighter as the dirt fell off of me. I had accumulated quite a lot form sleeping on the floor of a cave and sitting on the ground during our lunch breaks. I swam over to Angelina and gave her a big hug. I could only barely get my arms around the thinnest part of her neck but I tried anyway.

Um I really like the hug but you're still...

"I know,but so are you." I said smiling and gave her another hug. This time It was closer and I smiled up at Angelina, who had a look of astonishment yet hinted with pleasure as I did so. "We should do this more often I said releasing her from my hug. She didn't release me though.

END OF BOOK 1