Roughly an hour had passed and Elijah found himself on the trail he usually took to reach Black Fish Tavern. The air around him was a little warm, but he was constantly cooled as a soft breeze caressed the forest. A mild, sweet scent hung in the air, its source everywhere: several small flowers that decorated the forest. The forest was filled with the sound of chirping from the gulls that frequently visited the island.
Elijah was almost tempted to call the island paradise. But no, this island was no paradise. It was a prison, one that was filled with those horrid dragons, populating the land, sea, and sky. Most of the island's inhabitants were hypnotized or corrupted, tricked into believing these dragons. Every time he even just thought about how most of the island's inhabitants interacted so peacefully with the dragons, he seethed in anger.
And now he was faced with the prospect that another innocent would fall under the beasts' evil spell. He thought back to Darcy. If there was anyone who could protect her from submitting to the dragons, keep her from becoming 'impure', it was him.
He wondered how she came upon the island. He had been on his way to Black Fish Tavern when he had heard someone scream. He rushed to the scene as quickly as he could. When he came upon the scene, he realized he had come just in time. The young girl was surrounded by several small, fuzzy dragons. The girl looked absolutely frightened, and the dragons were getting too close to her.
Getting the monsters away was quite easy. Small dragons were usually cowardly. A mere kick would have sent them running away. He didn't even need to use the sword on them. But all dragons were alike, regardless of size. In his eyes, none of the creatures deserved any kind of mercy.
He was disappointed that Darcy turned down his offer to come with him. Although Darcy was old enough to be on her own, he still felt that she should have at least tagged along with him so she could be protected. Darcy wasn't very old. He estimated that she probably wasn't even thirty years old yet. Part of him wanted to go back and find her, but another part of him was confident that Darcy would change her mind and come find him at Black Fish Tavern on her own, provided that she remember the directions he had given her.
Suddenly, the sound of a windmill churning in the air caught his attention. The distant sound of hay being tossed onto soft grass could be heard. The chatter of people talking and the very distinct dinosaur sounds intermingled with one another in the air. Elijah felt his eyes narrowing. Even though he was still a good distance away, he knew what those sounds meant: he was close to one of the dreaded hatcheries that laced across the island like a plague.
Normally, the path he would take would keep him far away from this particular place, but he had deliberately changed course to stay closer to the river, and Darcy, even though he knew this path would take him close to a hatchery. If he was lucky, no one at the hatchery would notice him passing through nearby.
A few minutes later and the sounds became more recognizable. The tones of the human voices sounded worried and concerned. At the same time, he could hear the sounds of dragons, two very distinct varieties. One sound was high-pitched, resembling the chirps of birds and the other was low and more guttural. He had been on the island long enough to begin to recognize approximately what kind of dragon was nearby just by the sound. He recognized the first sounds as belonging to the same species as the creatures he had fended off earlier and the other he recognized as one of the frilled monsters.
Elijah quickened his pace. The faster he was away from this wretched place, the better. His hand trembled and he was tempted to bring out his sword. But he had to control himself. The island inhabitants were often protective of these dragons. One slip up and the dragons could send a horde of their human followers, along with other dragons, to get him.
Just then, he heard the sound of grass rustling behind him. He stopped walking and let out a soft sigh. He looked around and saw a young boy standing there. He looked to be not much older than Darcy herself. A scowl was on his face. Elijah couldn't help but roll his eyes. The boy hadn't even said a word and he already knew what was on the kid's mind.
"What do you want?" Elijah asked.
It was clear the boy was very angry and was trying to control himself. "How could you do such a terrible thing?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Don't pretend like you don't know!" The boy snapped, pointing a finger at Elijah. "You know very well what you just did! You attacked a couple of innocents!"
Elijah asked, "And just how might these innocents be?"
"Those poor dinosaurs, of course!"
Elijah scratched his chin. He then spoke in a somewhat mocking voice. "Well that's strange.. I thought you said that I attacked innocents, not a couple of beasts."
"Beasts?" The boy exclaimed. "They're people, just like you and me!"
Elijah rolled his eyes. "I fail to see how they are like you and me. They are dragons, little boy. And all dragons are alike. They're deceiving you, just like they deceive everyone."
Elijah tried to hide a smile as he watched the boy seethe in anger. He could see the boy starting to shake and he knew what was going on in the boy's mind. Under normal circumstances, he would have expected the boy to snap at him. But things were different on Dinotopia. Such behavior was greatly frowned upon, and Elijah knew the boy knew this as well.
"That's..that's not true!" The boy argued through clenched teeth.
"Am I?" Elijah folded his arms. "What was it that convinced you Dinotopians to become vegetarians? What was responsible for changing the way you viewed time?" As he spoke, his voice became etched in anger. "And what tried to abolish our right to hold weapons? The dragons!"
The boy growled. "They taught us that way of life to help better ourselves! They didn't deceive us!"
"They still influenced you people to change the way you lived, didn't they?" Elijah questioned him. When the boy wasn't able to make a response, Elijah said, "That proves my point. The dragons have influenced you. They have brainwashed you. Nothing sickens me more than someone like you defending a race of such despicable scaly abominations."
"You..." The boy clenched a fist, his temper near its peak. Without thinking, he pulled his arm back as if he was about to punch. "I...!"
Elijah smirked. "Turning back on your ways so quickly, Dinotopian?" He said in a mocking voice. "I thought it was against your way of life to try to strike back at the person who angered you. Are you turning against your precious dragons, kid?"
The kid growled again, his arm still raised in the air. Elijah watched him, waiting for him to make his move. He even gestured for the boy to approach him if he dared. But the young man remained where he stood, afraid of breaking the customs he had been taught all his life. Eventually, he left out a soft sigh and lowered his arm. He glared at Elijah a couple more seconds before he turned his back on him and started to walk back towards the hatchery.
"Yeah, that's right. Walk away like the coward you are!" Elijah called after him. "Your kind makes me sick! Go on! Go grovel at the feet of your dinosaur enslavers!"
The boy paused momentarily as if he was contemplating fighting back. But he breathed in deeply, as if he was trying to calm his nerves, and pressed on.
"Coward! Weakling! Wimp! Yellow Belly!" Elijah called after the boy with a smirk on his face. Just as he predicted, the boy didn't stop and instead disappeared from sight. Elijah chuckled and shook his head. That was too easy.
Then his thoughts went back to Darcy. After running into this young man, he felt he should delay his trip to Black Fish Tavern and find her. The tavern wasn't going anywhere. He could spare some time to find Darcy before she had to contend with a Dinotopian. The girl had been through enough recently. The last thing she needed was a Dinotopian trying to corrupt her into accepting their ways.
He eventually made up his mind. He decided to continue his journey to Black Fish Tavern. Darcy would be able to catch up to him if she decided to go there. And if she were to run into that young Dinotopian he had just dealt with, he was certain enough that she would be able to resist his dastardly ways and get away as soon as she could.
Yes, they would meet again soon. He felt sure of that.