A roar that shook the foundations of the monastery bringing dust down on the angels froze them in mid-sentence.
“What the bloody hell was that?” Drew demanded.
Another roar much closer had them running to the nearest door and out onto the path that bordered the buildings built into the mountain. They stared in awe as an enormous red dragon passed so close to the monastery the force of wind blew the angels back against the wall. Another roar had them crying out in pain, their hands over their ears trying unsuccessfully to deafen the sound.
“Where did that thing come from?” Darrick asked his voice sounding muffled because his ears refused to work. “I thought they were all dead.”
“Apparently not,” Drew muttered pushing himself off the wall to join Gideon who had moved back to the balcony’s edge, his eyes following the great beast. When it angled its wings and headed to where he knew the mouth of the cave was, his heart stopped.
“Sara!” he breathed.
Then he was running.
Realizing what Gideon had seen, Drew unfurled his wings while drawing his sword.
“What’s wrong?” Darrick asked moving next to Drew.
“It’s heading for Sapphira,” Drew yelled just before he launched himself into the air.
“Shit!” Darrick hissed following his brother over the side.
When they reached the cave entrance, they stopped in mid-air gapping at the scene before them. The dragon was too large to fit on the ledge, so over half its long body was down the mountain side, his back claws dug deep into the rock to keep it in place. The upper legs were on the ledge with its wings tucked into its sides as his short nose head was laying on the ledge with its eyes closed. The thing that stunned the angels into silence was that it was purring. That red scaled monster was purring like a large cat while Sapphira scratched it behind its ear with both hands.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all,” Darrick said the awe thick in his voice.
“There is more to this girl than we’ve been told,” Drew frowned.
Darrick looked at him as if he was daft. “You’re just figuring this out? And they call me slow,” he scoffed. Ignoring Drew’s glare, Darrick started to very slowly descend towards the cliff’s edge, careful to stay as far away from the large lizard as possible. The moment his toe touch the ledge the loud purring turned into a deep growl. Darrick froze.
“Sapphira,” he called, his voice as careful as his movement as he floated a short distance from the ledge, “could you tell you’re oversized lizard that I’m not dangerous?”
The dragon snorted in disgust. As if saying the thought of Darrick being dangerous was laughable.
Darrick glared at it.
“Two words, big and scaly,” he snapped holding up two fingers in front of the dragon. “Breath. Mint.”
The dragon lifted one side of its lips barring his long razor sharp teeth, snarling. Apparently it understood English quite well and did not appreciate Darrick’s sarcasm. Unfortunately Darrick did not know when to back down and continued glaring at the dragon, itching to take it on.
“Do you have a death wish?” Sapphira asked calmly.
“Yes, yes he does,” Drew answered, slowly coming even with Darrick. Giving him a look that said shut it, he turned his attention to Sapphira. “I take it you know each other,” nodding towards the dragon.
“I have never met this one, but yes. I am familiar with dragons,” she answered carefully gauging the two angels’ reactions. This could go either way. She had no idea their dealings with dragons, so she did not know if they held grudges or not.
Dragons had not always been cast in a good light, and there were good reasons for that. Like everything in life, there is a good side and a bad side. Good people and bad people. Good dragons and bad dragons. Then there are those who are in-between that are just trying to get through life without causing too many ripples, but if angered were one of the most fearsome of their kind. This particular dragon was one of those. It was one of the reasons he was still alive when his brethren were all gone.
“So, not to harp on the obvious, you can control dragons?” Drew continued.
“I can, but I prefer not to. They are living creatures, sentient beings. I do not believe in slavery of any kind.”
“But you called it here?” Drew persisted.
“I asked him to come to me. He was about to eat my brother and the others for disturbing him. I needed to explain they were no harm to him so I called him. He is very lonely.” She turned her attention back to the dragon and began to scratch behind his ear again. She smiled affectionately as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he began to purr with what was as close to a smile a dragon could have on his snout. “It has been a long time since he has seen anyone, dragon, man or beast. He will not harm us as long as we do not harm him.”
“How do you know that? He looked like he wanted to eat me,” Darrick’s skepticism in his voice and on his face as he watched the large lizard warily.
The dragon opened one eye and swiveled it around to look at Darrick, the smile turning menacing as his long tongue slipped out between his teeth and he licked his lips. The sound that came from it was close to a chuckle. An evil chuckle.
“See!” Darrick squeaked, pointing his sword at the dragon as he floated a few more feet away.
“Maybe he realizes that you’re an idiot,” Drew snapped. Just what they needed. A dragon with a wicked sense of humor.
Darrick opened his mouth to retort but two things happened that stopped any further talk. Gideon burst into the cave, sword drawn yelling Sapphira’s name. It was enough to startle the dragon and he reared up knocking Sapphira off balance. She gave a yelp of surprise, wobbled a few seconds, her arms flaying, before disappearing over the edge.
“No!” Gideon cried heading for the edge forgetting that he could no longer fly. With one huge clawed foot, the dragon knocked him back into the cave before diving over the edge after Sapphira.
“Go to Gideon before he catches his breath and keep him in the cave, I’ll go after Sapphira,” Drew ordered. With a nod the two angels separated.
As Drew followed the dragon down the edge of the cliff, he hoped one of them would make it in time to save Sapphira. From what he had learned these last few days, Drew was pretty sure she would survive a fall like this. What he was not sure of was how much of the part of her that was immortal had returned since the spell had been broken. If she died, a lot more than Gideon’s heart would be shattered.
When the Dragon suddenly veered to the left then leveled out, Drew breathed a sigh of relief thinking that it had caught her. That relief was short-lived. What he saw did not turn his blood cold with horror, but shock that quickly heated into anger. What the hell? Having had enough of secrets that were potential deadly, he followed the small silver blur as it streaked between the craggy mountain tops with the ease of one who had been flying all their life. If the powers that owned him would not give him answers, then he would go to the source of all this turmoil. One way or another he would get answers. Afterwards, he would decide what his next move would be, not that he had much of a choice.
Copyright 2018 Heidi Barnes