Thanks everyone who reviewed subscribed. I totes appreciate it. Anyways. Here's another chapter.
keacdragon: Yaay! Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Leda-sky: Buh, Thank you! I'm glad. I always worried I'm going to have fans coming after me with pitchforks for messing up a character.
Hearts cannot live if they do not beat.
Hearts cannot survive if they are alone.
Hearts cannot endure if they are wounded.
Hearts cannot continue if they are tired.
Hearts cannot exist without one another.
The cold morning grass seeped straight through her new clothing, dampening her frozen stomach. Like a tiger waiting for its prey, concealed within the tall grass, Alex narrowed her eyes, shifting her sights to catch a glimpse of the guards. The dragonslayer, whom Alex learned was named Khalen, scooted next to her, quiet and obedient. Any other treatment method would've ended up with a knife to the skull for sure. This Alex woman was not a being to be trifled with. Just settling her in his sights was enough to make his blood boil to the point of overflowing. No matter, this was temporary, he'd be free to slit her throat in her sleep soon. It was odd, considering Khalen never had a problem with women, nor did he ever think of raising a hand to one. But, this one, he would've raised a hand, foot, knife, sword, catapult, whatever he could get his hands on. And what was worse, she had an enormous dragon trailing after her. One that was undoubtedly larger than the sizable handful he'd come across and slayed in the past. Then again, the dragon didn't give any signs of liking the violent woman either. Two fingers snapping loudly in his face roped his attention.
"Clear." Stated the girl firmly with an air of authority that almost forced him to listen. The two jumped up and sprinted across the clearing towards the tower. Leaning against a wagon-full of hay, Alex glanced up at the tower. "Rapunzel."
"What?" Irritatedly, Khalen's discontent was evident in his voice.
"The girl that was locked in a tall tower like this one, but with just one window, for her whole life by an evil witch." In awe of the sky-scraping height of the tower and its authentic medieval structure, Alex didn't notice two heavily armored guards sauntering her way. Aware that if she was caught, he would lose his head as well, the dragonslayer yanked the girl back down to hide.
"...Why?" Ventured the man, "Foolish girl to end up in the clutches of a witch." Alex's face soured.
"Before her mother had her, the husband would steal lettuce from the witch's garden for his wife to eat." Her eyes moved about cautiously, her voice lowering to a whisper to avoid attention. "The witch caught him and demanded their firstborn as payment." Peeking over the bright yellow straws of hay, she noted another group of guards in the distance. Too far to make them out. The two exchanged a nod and made a quick dash to the back curve of the tower, pressing their backs against the cool stone. They listened intently for any nearby crunching grass.
"She died then?" Khalen concluded surely from his gathered information, being that she was locked in a tall tower with no doors and a high window.
"No." Inching along the cylindrical shape of the tower, she continued, "Rapunzel had beautiful long golden hair that reached from the top of this tower, right down to the bottom." There was no need to look to see the dragonslayer's wide eyes. "Everyday the witch would come and say, 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let your hair down." Alex paused, taking in a sharp breath as the entrance was in view... along with a dedicated guard wearing a hard stare, stationed at the entrance. "All alone in the tower, the lonely Rapunzel would sing." The woman slowly bent down to search for a stone of some sort. "And a prince heard her." A neighing shrilled out against the morning air as Alex launched the rock at a brown horse tied to a wooden post, presumably the guard's mount. Smirking as the man jogged off to tend to his startled horse, Alex motioned for her partner, at the moment, to follow.
"That isn't going to do him any good. No man can climb this sort of tower." Oh ye of little faith. The first floor of the tower was a simple square room with a fireplace parallel to the archway entrance, and a table to the left. At the table was a man, head burrowed in his arms, fast asleep, his snores louder than a motorboat. Alex cast her glance upward, feeling her heart sink to the pit of her stomach. Why the hell was the tower so high? Winding stairs seemed to whirl up endlessly, leading straight to heaven. The uneven stone steps leading to the acme of the tower were to the right. Alex advanced up the stairs, swiftly, but amazingly quietly. When she was at a safe distance from the base of the tower, she opened her mouth again.
"He saw how the witch did it, and he did the same. 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let your hair down'." She turned her head back to make sure the man was following close. "Unknowingly, she did. The two instantaneously fell in love and from then on, he visited her everyday." A gasp ripped from her lips as a third pair of footsteps were heard descending the steps. Habitually, the pair slammed themselves against the tower wall behind them, but they knew that eventually the guard would reach their coordinates. The element of surprise, fortunately, was well on their side. Khalen ascended the steps, as fast as permissible. Alex shut her eyes as she heard a cut-off yell and a muffled grunt. No other footsteps were heard. Slowly, her eyes re-opened, meeting with Khalen's darker ones.
"Then?" He demanded, setting his victim gently on the ground, careful about his noisy weapons and armor.
"The witch found out and set a trap." Stepping over the man with extra care, Alex continued up the steps, each one claiming her stamina little by little. "She cut Rapunzel's hair and tricked the prince into coming up." Her words were becoming a little breathy at this point, "When he reached the top, she pushed him down into the thorny forest below." Khalen stopped running so abruptly that Alex almost smashed straight into his back. "The Prince pulled the Witch down as well." Another guard was coming down the steps. Again, Khalen ran up, punching the man straight in the nose. This guard didn't reach for his sword, but instead opted for hand to hand combat, returning the dragonslayer's bone-crunching blow. Khalen staggered back, unprepared for the retaliation. During his fumble, the guard managed to wrap his arm around the slayer's neck, squeezing tightly. Face red from holding his breath against the pressure on his neck, Khalen smashed the guard against the wall behind him, in hopes of knocking the wind from his body. It should've worked. The guard was much tougher than he'd expected. A loud groan of pain sounded as the guard slumped to the floor. Khalen found Alex, fist clenched with a vicious glint in her eye. "Waste of time."
The change in her voice when she told a story and when she conversed normally was unthinkable. They encountered guards a total of three more times on their trek up the dizzying path of the winding stairs. Alex let her eyes move to her companion, finding them occupied with something that he apparently was focusing all of his current thoughts on. She raised an eyebrow, wondering if her guess would be right about his quandary. "The Prince survived, but was blinded by the thorns. The Witch perished." His eyes may or may not have lit up from the explanation. Finally, after running and breathing like their lungs were about to shrivel up and pop straight out of their body, the two came face to face with a door. Khalen's face paled as he scrutinized the fancily shaped keyhole smiling at him mockingly.
"In the name of—HNGH!" He cursed, looking to the girl for some kind of plan B. Her expression hadn't changed, she was proceeding with plan A.
"The blind Prince wandered for days." Brushing past the man, Alex stood before the door, a placid mask painted on. "Until he heard a beautiful singing voice." Whatever peace and serenity she'd wracked up from the last lines of her story were destroyed in a pinch as Alex pulled her foot up and smashed it against the door. Throbbing pain shot up her leg, squeezing her sensitive nerves, as the door burst open. There wasn't much in the room, aside from a bed and.. a girl... a blonde one.
"Rapunzel!" Khalen blurted. Slowly, but surely, Alex brought her palm up and smashed it against her forehead.
"Pardon?" The woman, probably a year or two older than Alex, rose to her feet, eyes bright and kind. Long, light, wavy blonde hair cascaded from her thin shoulders, down to her lower back. "Forgive me, I don't understand. My name is Avalon." Her voice was as sweet and gentle as a cooing dove. Maybe she was Rapunzel...?
"You're coming with me. Now." There was a good chance that their trail of passed out guards were regaining consciousness or sounding an alarm. Charging forward, Alex roughly took hold of Avalon's upper arm, wrinkling her neat white dress, and pulled her towards the window.
"You're mad!" Did she detect a little accent? Oh God, this was a nerd's freaking paradise!
"You're damn right I'm mad!" She wanted answers, and what did they find? A primp, delicate woman. "Here, take this." Essentially throwing Avalon at Khalen, Alex ran to the door and pushed it shut. There was to be some permanent damage to her leg for sure, judging by the pangs still plaguing it with each step she took. Kicking down the door wasn't her most brightest idea.
A loud commotion suddenly broke loose outside. The flapping of wings and a gut wrenching roar were enough to tell them just who it was. "Oh my." A familiar horned skull peeked in through the window. "Milady." Draco flapped his wings steadily to stay near the hole for a window, bowing his head at Avalon's presence. Inexplicable joy bloomed on the young woman's face at the sight of the dragon.
"My Lord." About to grab her dress and perform a perfect curtsey, Avalon was interrupted by an unknown force to her back. The force was later identified as Alex.
"If you two are quite finished." She hissed in pseudo-politeness.
"Hurry no—." Draco himself was cut off by a hazy blur of yellow smashing hard into his side, sending the dragon flying away from the human's view.
"Draco!" Alex cried out, running for the window. Outside, on the ground, the older dragon tried to regain his bearings and assess the situation. Groaning at the unprecedented attack, the dragon looked up at what had crashed into him. Above him, an enormous gold-colored dragon flexed its talons, ready for the kill.
"Well, well, my brother was correct." A grizzled voice rolled from the overly muscled dragon's throat, followed by a deep, hearty chuckle. It's glittering blue eyes glanced down the long snout of its face to size up its opponent. Draco knew that there was no reasoning to be done here. This would be a merciless fight to the death. Steadying himself on all fours, the dark auburn dragon bared his teeth to accept the challenge.
Alex, eyes wide, poked her head through the window and glanced down at the two dragons gearing up for combat. "We 'ave a problem." Khalen's gruff voice called from behind her. Several loud bangs came from the door, signaling the efforts being put in to break it down. If a girl pumped up on adrenaline, of twenty two years of age could do it, well-seasoned soldiers should have been through faster than her. "Can ye' fight?" The sword being handed to her received an uninviting stare.
"Uh. Does swinging it like a baseball bat count?" Hand to hand combat, she was an A+ for sure, but genuine medieval sword fighting was not down her alley. Khalen scratched his head in confusion to her query. "Er, forget it, I can fight." Her muscles tensed as the sword was placed into her hands, a watchful eye sent to Avalon. The young woman cast her innocent doe eyes on Alex, feeding her inner desire to barf. Obviously, little miss dainty here wasn't going to lift a finger in this little skirmish. She'd never... actually killed anyone before, just beaten them senseless. Murdering someone was not a casual activity done for leisure, but if this was truly an elaborate dream...
The hinges on the door finally gave way, as well as the improvised blockade Khalen had set up. Gripping the blade improperly, Alex fumbled for her dagger. Khalen had charged right into the entering crowd, slashing this way and that, with a barbaric, but surprisingly graceful precision. Flesh tore, swords clashed and armor smashed, filling the small room with battle cries and agonized screams. The dagger was finally in a suitable position in her hands. Alex pulled her arm back and let the object fly, spinning until the blade sliced into soldier's left eye, but not before whirling past Khalen's head first. "Oi!" Alarmed and relieved over narrowly avoiding death, the dragonslayer glared at his fighting companion.
"My bad." A guard came at her, pegging her as the weakest link already. Gripping the sword with both hands, Alex readied herself. The man swung his weapon in a wide arc, sluggishly enough for her reaction time to come up with a counter. As their blades made contact, the vibration waved through her entire arm. Wildly swinging the sword about, luck sided with her as the weapon struck her opponent on the side of the head. He staggered back as a trail of blood formed on his throbbing temple. With a swift kick of her boot, the man stumbled back and toppled out of the window, flailing his appendages at his imminent demise.
"Good God, Alex." Breathed the dragon as he noticed a figure literally soaring from the tower's opening. In a flurry of claws and scales, the two dragons took flight and initiated the battle at the same time. Sharp, defined teeth sank into Draco's scaled shoulder and twisted harshly. The older dragon ground his teeth, refusing to emit any sound of defeat. A skillful thrust of his tail sliced into the yellow dragon's soft belly, one of the weak points of a dragon. Draco had been in numerous fights in his time, and was well-versed in the art of war. A furious bellow roared from his opponent's throat as he made the wise decision to retreat back, using his wings to propel him in the proper direction. Horned tail swishing and nostrils flared, the sandy colored dragon flew after him.
"Impressive." Lomere was admittedly amused. He hadn't been locked in combat with another dragon so ferocious before. Readying himself, he sucked in a deep breath. The group of air went into his fire lung, transformed and burst forth as a raging inferno from his nostrils. It was an impossible attack to dodge, given their spacing and intensity of the flame. Draco braced himself, shutting his eyes and turning away, feeling the heat scorch his scales and burn deep into his very core. A large wing swept forward to act as a shield, cutting the fiery wave short. Through the wall of smoke, Draco torpedoed through, wings back and head lowered, ramming his pointed horns right into the bright, golden dragon's stomach. Lomere yowled and swung his curved claws, catching his target in the side of the head. The older dragon persisted, driving the other dragon into the ground, despite the throbbing pain on his temple.
What Draco failed to anticipate was the extra talon jutting out of the white-gold Dragon's wing fold. A sudden pain burst through his chest as the talon lashed out against it in one quick swipe. Gasping and staggering away, the elder dragon ventured a glance downward at his chest. The other dragon whose over-sized muscles appeared as if they would rip past his scales entirely, pulled his lip up in a devilish smirk. The bastard had slashed open the covering skin of his vulnerable heart, exposing it to attack. It was beating, loud and clear, punching against his chest with every rhythm. An underhanded way to emerge victorious in a fight.
With the malicious intent to strike Draco's heart imprinted into the younger dragon's mind, he lunged forward, claws out, eyes burning wildly with blood-thirst.