Slatr the Invincible
Word smiled. The dragon lumbered out of his citadel, brushing against buildings as he past them. After long months of planning, experimenting and researching, he had done it. Much better than his chromatic dragon. Far better.
The tail of the dragon swished, hitting the nearby buildings lining the small street. The dragon needed more room for his monstrous body. Smaller than Abandonn, yet still larger than any normal dragon, he moved with incredible ease through the streets. With a face set with malicious thoughts, Word watched from the entrance to his citadel.
The spikes on the dragons tail broke windows as it past them. Its scales were hard, as hard as any draconium. Too hard to pierce through with any thing. It was near unbeatable. The impassible scales covered its entire body. They covered its belly, its legs, and its face and also the inside of its mouth. His teeth were nearly a foot long and his claws were twice that size. Huge spikes and horns protruded from his body, each one of them deadly sharp. He was a dark brown colour, mixed with a few dark purple markings. And he moved forward on a mission.
A safe distance behind, Moordryd followed on Decepshun, completely dwarfed by the huge dragon. He was following to make sure the dragon didn’t stray from its mission. A mission that couldn’t be failed.
Decepshun watched the spiked tail, and moved along at the same speed as the dragon, careful not to get too close.
Word’s smile grew as the dragon moved quicker. He had been starving the dragon, so as to make it more deadly. The dragon would attack anyone in its way. Word hoped Moordryd would listen to his orders and stay behind it, out of sight.
With a final glance, satisfied that things were going according to plan so far, Word turned and walked back into his citadel, to watch the events from his monitors. The dragon was to kill the Dragon Booster. The Dragon Booster would surely come once Word’s new dragon started a rampage. Then, he would eat the Dragon Booster and devour the Dragon of Legend. Word had given up on catching that thing, only to have it run free again. It was better to get rid of him.
The darkness of the citadel’s interiors swallowed Word as he thought of his new warrior dragon, Slatr.
Moordryd followed at a comfortable distance, grinning. This dragon would destroy the Dragon Booster. Finally, things would work out. No more Dragon Loser to ruin his father’s plans.
Decepshun plodded along at a reasonable pace, swinging her tail slightly. Moordryd watched the monstrosity before him. His father never ceased to amaze him. Slatr was a formidable opponent. The Dragon Booster couldn’t possibly escape alive.
For a moment, Moordryd thought of what would happen. Not to the Dragon Booster, but of the other people. The ones that would surely get in Slatr’s way. Many of Dragon City Security forces would surely be hurt as they tried to protect the citizens. Many of the bumbling people would be hurt, perhaps killed as well. But as soon as the moment of worry came, it passed. If those people got hurt, it was their own fault. They probably deserved it if they were stupid enough to get in the way.
Moordryd settled back in the saddle, confident of the Dragon Booster’s imminent demise, and followed Slatr up to Mid City.
“…just rampaging through the streets. DCS has blocked off the entire northeast sector of block 32 in preparation of the beast. The trail of devastation left behind is completely horrific. Joining us from behind the DCS blockade is field correspondent Alan…”
For a moment, Artha and Lance continued watching the news as the reporter continued talking. Artha was the first to respond.
“Woah.” Lance nodded at Artha’s exclamation.
“Woah is right. A huge…monster dragon. Did you hear? They said it was made of indestructible scales. Huge spikes and…”
“I’m sure they’re exaggerating, Lance. I mean, come on, where did a dragon like that come from?”
“From…the wastelands. One of the forgotten breeds of dragon has once again resurfaced…” Lance said in a spooky tone. Beau sniggered. Artha shook his head.
“It’s probably just a savage dragon escaped from some place…or something.”
“Or something.” Lance said and Artha shook his head.
“Block 32 is pretty close you know.”
“No it’s not.” Lance retorted without looking at Artha. His young eyes watched the news intently.
“Yeah, it is. We‘re on the edge of block 31.” Artha said.
Lance paused. “So?“ He dismissed him unconcernedly.
Artha sighed. “It looks like they need the Dragon Booster. Lance, stay right here, understand?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll stay here.” Lance flapped his hand vaguely in Artha’s general direction. Artha sighed.
“Lance I’m serious. Don’t run around.”
“I won’t. Really.” Lance persisted and turned to his brother. “I’ll just watch you on the news.”
“Fine, but if you get into any trouble, dad’s gonna blame me.”
“I know.” Lance smirked. Beau sniggered again.
Artha rolled his eyes and turned Beau. “Alright. But remember to cheer me on.” He said before Beau sprang into a gallop to a secluded spot to transform. Lance watched him go, then turned back to the news. His young face soon began to show signs of worry. From what the reporter was saying, the dragon seemed to be extremely dangerous. Ripping through buildings like toothpicks and clawing anyone who got near…. Lance hoped Artha would be alright. Little did he know Artha wasn’t the only one he should be worried for….
“Where is he?” He muttered. How dare the Dragon Booster wait this long to appear. Didn’t he know that people were getting hurt? “Stupid hero with his stupid dragon….” Moordryd mumbled as he raised the lower part of his helmet. “Can’t even hurry up….lazy idiot….” He glowered. Decepshun snorted as if to let him know she was in the same mood.
Just then, Moordryd smiled as he glanced up to the rooftops. Bounding along on top, headed towards Slatr, was the Dragon Blunder! “Finally!” He breathed. Decepshun grinned as she looked up. “Come on, girl! I don’t want to miss this!” He finished in excitement. Decepshun raced down an alley way, just to get in front of Slatr, just a bit. Moordryd had to get a good view for this.
“Sir!” Came a voice to Faier’s right.
Faier replied to his second-in-command without taking his eyes from the beast. “What is it?”
“The entire city block is safe. Everyone has been evacuated.”
“Good. As long as this thing doesn’t rampage into the more populous sections, we might be okay.”
“Sir? How can we stop it from going there? Block 31 is close by, and the people there haven’t been issued orders yet.”
“I was hoping this dragon would stay here. If it gets a few streets closer to block 31, evacuate everyone there. That place is just jammed packed full of people. I don’t want to move them unless we have too.” Faier said. His second-in-command nodded grimly. “Let’s try this again.” He shouted to all his men, holding his arm above his head. “On my signal…” The twenty or so police units lifted their arms and pointed their green trapping gear at the huge dragon.
Slatr growled menacingly at them and ambled in their direction. “Fire!” Captain Faier yelled as he brought down his hand. As one, all of the police units fired trapping gear at the dragon in rapid succession. Slatr roared as they all found their mark. Faier looked on hopefully.
The green trapping gear expanded as they hit the dragon. Slatr growled as he was thrown back and pinned against a nearby building. “Great work men,” Faier congratulated them as he watched the dragon toss his head. Faier was just glad he was able to get those extra sized trapping gear. Normal trapping gear would do nothing to this huge dragon. Faier’s men yelled in glee. “It’s not over yet. I want this dragon’s energy drained, he….” Faier was cut short as Slatr suddenly wriggled violently.
Slatr put a paw onto the building, and with great force, pushed himself away, snapping all the trapping gear lines. He regained his footing, and roared at his enemies, baring long, sharp teeth.
The short victory of the police ended immediately. Faier worked his mind frantically, wondering what to try next. Slatr tossed his head, and began to charge.
Faier jumped in surprise as the Dragon Booster jumped down from the rooftops directly in front of him. “Need some assistance?” He grinned. The Dragon of Legend then spun to face Slatr and roared loudly at him.
Faier sighed with relief. The Dragon Booster had finally arrived. “Men, stand back.” He shouted. They retreated a few steps, not wanting to get in the Dragon Booster’s way.
“Yes, yes, let the Dragon Booster fight to his doom.” Moordryd said with a grin from the shadows. He laughed, watching as the Dragon Booster faced Slatr.
Artha glared up at Slatr as Beau roared with his authority. Slatr didn’t slow. He grinned and increased his speed. Artha pressed a finger to the button on his helmet. “So, Parm, you plan on waiting any longer?”
“No, I do not!” Parm responded almost enthusiastically. “I finished the analysis of this mutated dragon, and I discovered that the only unprotected part on this dragon would be his insides. Even the inside of his mouth is covered in tough scales. But at least his inner systems can’t allow for that hard exterior, it just wouldn’t work. Why, his digestive system, circula….”
“So what you’re saying is his only weak spot is inside, right?” Artha impatiently interrupted. “So the plan should work.”
“It should.” Parm replied. Artha released his hold on his helmet button, and reached behind him to grab a flash stick in one hand, and a mag grenade in the other.
“Let’s hope this dragon is hungry tonight, eh, Beau?” Artha said as he stared determinately at the oncoming monstrosity. Beau snorted and leapt into a run. Artha mag jumped into the air, and held up the flash stick. He watched fearlessly as Slatr ran closer, face set in a snarl.
The flash stick went off, and Slatr tossed his head and halted. He roared as the blinding flash of hot light filled his head. Artha wasted no more time and Beau moved Artha closer to Slatr. Artha set the grenade and tossed it into Slatr’s mouth, which didn’t prove too difficult. Slatr was roaring like mad, leaving his mouth agape.
Beau magged Artha back onto the saddle and stepped back, waiting for the effects of their actions. Everyone leaned forward. Captain Faier had as hopeful a look as he could ever have. If only this nightmare could end now….
“Come on, come on, swallow….” Artha chanted silently. Slatr closed his mouth on the grenade, letting Artha’s spirits soar, knowing he had at least got it into the mouth.
Slatr blinked his eyes and rolled his tongue over the smoothness of the ticking grenade. He savored it as he noticed the Dragon Booster, directly in front. He grinned, showing off his teeth once more. Saliva dripped from his jaws. He started to take a step, but before his foot was once again placed on the ground, it happened.
“No!” Artha shouted. The grenade went off, exploding in Slatr’s armor protected mouth. The entirety of the security forces were as distraught as the Dragon Booster. Moordryd laughed from the shadows, what idiots they all were.
Slatr tossed his head and screamed, completely shocked by the experience. Then he bolted. “No!” Artha yelled as Slatr turned and ran off quickly, squeezing between the buildings.
“He’s headed to block 31! Evacuate, issue the alarms. Dragon Booster!” Captain Faier shouted, looking at Artha. Artha grimaced and Beau bolted after Slatr, trying to keep up. He needed a new plan.
Beau whined, apparently trying to tell Artha something. “What is it?” Artha asked. Beau continued in his deep, dragon voice. Then Artha remembered. Lance! The dragon was headed straight for him! “Lance! Magna Draconis, no!” Beau increased his speed, following Slatr’s destructive path.
Unseen behind him, Decepshun raced along. Moordryd couldn’t believe it. His plan had failed. The stupid Booster’s plan failed. He wondered what the idiot would attempt next.
Lance had since grown tired of the news when Artha didn’t appear on it. It really scraped scales, especially since the DCS had banned all reporters from entering block 32.
Lance, so focused in his game, failed to hear the distant, heavy footsteps of Slatr as he rushed towards block 31...
Slatr the Slayer
Slatr rushed onwards, careening down streets wide enough to let his bulk through. He tore off sections of buildings and left a trail of devastation in his wake. Behind him, ran the Dragon Booster, neatly avoiding the mess. And still, behind him, trying to keep out of sight for the most part, came Moordryd Paynn.
Slatr sent a bellowing roar to race before him down the street. “Get out of the way! Move!” Artha shouted as loud as he could, though it didn’t do much good. Slatr’s roar made a better warning anyway. Much more effective.
Artha pressed a finger to his helmet. “Lance? Lance, pick up!”
Lance raced past a blue dragon, and earned an extra 1500 points. “Fracshun, I’m heading for a new record!” Lance said, nearly pressing his face against the screen. Fracshun moved his head, trying to look past Lance’s, which was currently blocking the entire screen. This went on until he shoved his head in beside Lance. “Okay.” Lance laughed. “Watch me win.”
Lance was mostly ignored by the shoppers that bustled by, engrossed in their own duties. Occasionally these busy shoppers bumped into the motionless group that stood before the huge screen in the main plaza. With either disgruntled looks or a light hearted apology they continued on their way. Some even joined this growing group of stationary, news hungry citizens. Faces began to grow angry as Dragon City News said no more of the huge dragon, but instead reported about a dragon with two heads that had recently been born in Sun City.
“Come on!” One man shouted at nothing. “Who cares about that scaling freak!” He had set his bag onto the ground and stood with crossed arms.
“Yeah! What about the big dragon?” Another shouted, cupping his hands around his mouth. Loud murmurs of agreement coursed through the crowd. And Dragon City News called themselves the best in the city. Hah. They can’t even report on one of the biggest events this year. Someone threw a tomato at the screen.
Lance, oblivious to the goings on around him, scored another thousand points. Fracshun lifted his hand and gazed at the crowd. Nothing new came on the screen, so he shifted his position a bit and peered again at the game.
People in the crowd, however, leaned forward eagerly knowing that the news segment was about to end soon. The reporter, Alan, looked into the camera after petting the baby dragon. “….a full long life. This has been Alan in Sun City, reporting that two heads aren’t always better than one.”
The screen flicked back to the main desk and a professionally dressed woman chuckled, than said, “Thank you Alan, and now, back to perhaps the biggest story so far this year. A rampaging dragon, tearing up Mid City.” A small rustle of hope grew around Dragon City. This was what they had been waiting for. Lance, after being hit by Fracshun‘s tail, realized that they were about to talk about the huge dragon. He took out his headphones and everyone listened intently. “But first, a word from our sponsors.”
“Tired from aching muscles? Than you need Nym Souffe’s Liquid Gel. It works like magic! No more…”
The plaza instantly erupted in anger. Some nearly cried with frustration while others shrugged their shoulders and continued on their way. Lance rolled his eyes and once again was dragged into the splendor of his game.
“Forget the stupid sponsors!”
“What about the dragon?”
“That gel doesn’t work.”
“What a load of….”
“For all we know, the dragon could be headed this way right now.” Said one of many angered patrons. After waiting for a few minutes, and realizing that this commercial might never end, most of the onlookers left. They had lives to live, and they could always watch other screens infesting the city.
The faithful watchers, on the other hand, were rewarded in due time. Eventually, Dragon City News did once again report on the situation, but failed to locate the dragon’s current position. Due to the heightened security and tight mouths by Dragon City Security, the reporters failed to learn much.
Listening attentively, the crowd began to grow confused and worried, as a strange sound rose. Some would describe it like thunder, but others would say, more accurately, that it sounded like a charging dragon. But how could one single dragon make that much noise?
The thuds of falling feet grew steadily in volume. Anything lose and light began to shake. Windows shuddered and advertisements began to flicker. The street reverberated with the sound. Lance paid no heed to the vibrations and thought the sound of pounding feet was in his game. People grew uneasy, and Fracshun sensed this. He looked around and tried to dig his claws into the hard street to steady himself. A sudden, blood curling roar froze Fracshun in his place.
At that exact moment, one of the reporters on the news put a hand to his ear, listening to a sudden bulletin coming through his earpiece. As he listened, his face slowly grew more worried. Until finally, his mouth hung open. He fumbled for his microphone and nearly shouted, “I’ve just received word that the rampaging dragon is charging blindly towards block 31! Authorities advise anyone and everyone to run into the nearest building for protection. This monster is deadly...and…yes, it seems as though the Dragon Booster has finally arrived!”
That did it. That and the second roar from Slatr. People screamed and ran in circles, dropping their shopping and bumping into each other. The plaza was in utter chaos.
Fracshun shook his head and came out of his stupor. His head swung around as he glanced at the panicked people. With his nose, he promptly nudged Lance roughly. “Fracshun!” Lance moaned, annoyed by his dragon. Lance tried to keep playing his game, he never knew it had such great sound effects. The screaming people sounded very realistic. Fracshun hit him harder with his head and stood up as he did so. Lance crashed into the siding, losing the race. As the game over graphic flashed across the screen, Lance tore out his headphones and glared at Fracshun. “What did you do that for? I was….”
Trailing off, Lance looked at the deserted plaza. Another huge roar shook the city. Fracshun whimpered and lowered his head for Lance, who quickly scrambled on. And then, as he looked down the street, Lance gasped with fear.
Slatr emerged from behind a building, swinging his head from side to side and bellowing all the while. His charge had slowed some considerably, but it was still at a monstrous pace. Slatr’s small, green eyes looked ahead and soon spied the only living thing in the plaza. His hunger and vicious nature propelled him forward.
Lance slammed his helmet onto his head and Fracshun wheeled about and raced in the opposite direction, going as fast as he could. Fracshun ran in between two closely placed stalls. Close behind, Slatr swung his head and knocked the left stall, sending it to crash against the second story window of a nearby building. He crushed the other stall with his heavy right foot and ran on. Fracshun increased his pace when he heard the noise behind him, and the fear and adrenaline in his veins drove him forward at an amazing rate.
Running lightly into the plaza behind Slatr came Artha. “Artha! The dragon’s chasing Lance!” Parm yelled into the VIDDscreen.
“No!” Artha called out as his heart began to beat at a rapid speed. “Beau!” Beau narrowed his eyes and swerved around the crushed stall and chased down Slatr.
Decepshun slowed her strides so they wouldn’t be right behind Slatr when the Dragon Booster attacked. Moordryd didn’t fancy being too close. They crossed the empty plaza and ran on ahead, still undetected by Artha.
Ahead, Beau’s footfalls edged them closer to Slatr’s spiked tail. It swung back and forth as the huge dragon chased down its prey. “My brother,” Artha said between clenched teeth, “is not food!” Beau roared threateningly.
Slatr didn’t turn to face the dragon following. It was of minimal importance. His attention was fixed ahead of him. He was getting tired of running after his food and it was time to squash the pipsqueak ahead. His eyes followed the small dragon eagerly. With a burst of strength, he leapt over Lance and Fracshun. He landed nearly fifty meters in front.
Lance’s gaze was ripped from the street ahead when he no longer heard Slatr’s pounding feet. When he saw a shadow darkening around him, he looked up and gasped. Fracshun chattered with uncontrollable fear. Lance could see Slatr’s underbelly and razor sharp claws as he soared over them. Lance screamed as Slatr landed in front. He pulled back the handles sharply.
Slatr swung his head around, turned to his left and lowered his jaws to the ground and roared directly in front of Facshun. As he turned, Slatr also swung his right paw and made contact with the blue dragon. Frachsun flew through the air from the force of the blow and sailed over the edge of the street to the ground below.
“No!” Artha yelled, then raced forward with Beau as he cried out a battle cry. Slatr fixated his gaze on the black and gold dragon. For the moment, Lance was no longer a concern for him. Slatr lunged forward and opened his mouth wide. Beau concentrated and fired off a blast of mag energy directly into Slatr’s mouth.
But with an armor protected mouth, it didn’t hurt him at all. His head, though, was thrust backwards sharply with the force. Using this window of opportunity, Artha and Beau jumped over the ledge to where Lance had fallen over.
Moordryd’s eyes widened as the scene unfurled before him. Slatr had hit the mini-brat! Then the Dragon Booster had jumped after him, and Slatr was just recovering from the surprise Beau had fired off…. “Uh oh.” Moordryd gulped, realizing he was headed directly for Slatr with nothing in between. Lucky for him, he had not been going as fast as the Dragon Booster. Decepshun was able to screech to a halt, and race back in the direction they had come from with little difficulty.
Slatr blinked his eyes and refocused his sight. Looking ahead he could see the back end of a black dragon disappear. He snorted at the puny dragon, but did not follow. He wanted to get that blue dragon. Nothing escaped from him! Plus, the black and gold dragon had headed that way as well, and Slatr wanted revenge. Unfortunately for Artha, Slatr had also dimly remembered his mission. To destroy that dragon.
Slatr turned and jumped cleanly over the ledge.
Fracshun had tumbled from the first street, and landed heavily onto this drag way. His momentum soon had him sliding across the expanse of the drag way, and Fracshun, unable to regain his footing, fell off the edge.
Beau ran to the edge and looked down. Artha’s gaze surveyed the alley below. Though the street they were originally on was very popular and had heavy traffic, the drag way below it had very little traffic. And the alleys below that were nearly deserted, save for the homeless who called it their haven. But they had either scampered out of the area or hid in the deserted, rundown buildings.
“Lance!” Artha called down as he saw the crumpled body of the blue dragon.
The force of the blow that Fracshun took nearly knocked him unconscious. Fracshun’s right side was battered and bruised from his earlier fall to the drag way, and his left hind leg was badly bashed from the next fall to the alley. He now lay on his left, weakly and dizzily lifting his head. Fortunately, Lance was better off. Readjusting his helmet, he looked around.
Beau readied himself to jump down, but looked up in surprise. Slatr leapt from the street above and landed directly in front of Lance in the alley. “Help me!” Lance yelled as he gazed into Slatr’s wide mouth. Fracshun struggled to his feet, and stood forlornly.
“Hang on!” Artha yelled, but his voice was drowned out by Sltar’s menacing roar. He looked down at the huge dragon, and filled himself with mag energy. Beau sprang over the edge and landed cleanly behind Slatr. “Hey, move your big butt!” Artha yelled. Slatr ingored him and finished his roar at the young duo. “Never mind, how about I move it for you?” Artha fired off a hard mag blast, just to get his attention.
It worked. Slatr felt it and swung his head around, giving Fracshun the opportunity to limp away as best he could. “Beau, together!” Artha called out. They both fired off mag streams at the dragon. Quicker than a red dragon with thruster gear, Slatr met both with his own mag stream. “Beau?” Artha asked, finding it difficult to hold his stream. Beau himself found it difficult, and soon Slatr’s mag energy began to near them.
Slatr grinned and intensified his mag stream. “Come on, release the dragon!” Artha said. He looked down at Beau’s head, where his star mark was beginning to glow brightly. But Slatr chose that exact moment to send a mag burst traveling up his own mag stream. Beau and Artha were hit, and flew through the air. They sailed over a low building and out of sight. Slatr, thinking his job was done for the moment with that dragon, turned to once again chase down the blue one.
“Yes, yes.” Moordryd laughed from his hiding spot. He saw the Dragon Booster fly back with the force of Slatr’s mag energy. Moordryd had quickly taken an easier route and watched carefully from behind the Dragon Booster. As the Dragon Booster was flung backwards and sailed over his head, Moordryd was glad he had such a good spot to watch. “Yes! Finish him…no…where are you going?” He cried as Slatr turned and charged off. “You idiot!” Moordryd was deciding whether to chase down Slatr or to finish the Dragon Booster himself when his VIDDscreen came up.
“Moordryd,” Word said in haste from his citadel. “My wraiths have been slowed down by Dragon City Security. Where are you? Has Slatr finish his work?”
“He…almost. Er….” Moordryd faltered. Word looked far from amused. “Almost.” When Word sighed irritably, Moordryd knew his answer was not enough. “Well, Slatr chased the mini-brat for a bit, then the Dragon Booster tried to intervene, but Slatr threw him back with his mag stream. He could be….” Moordryd paused as his father laughed unexpectedly.
“Connor’s son?” Word laughed again, evidently pleased at his nemesis’ misfortune. “Tell me, has Lance Penn been…hurt?”
“Slatr did hit him pretty hard. He seems hurt.” Moordryd said, then looked around. He tried to ignore his father’s chuckles. He didn’t find it funny that Lance was hurt, perhaps badly so. The mini-brat didn’t deserve it. The Dragon Booster did. Where did Lance go? Where had Slatr gone?
“Follow Slatr, make sure he delivers the final blow to the Dragon Booster. I. Want. Him. Dead.” Word stated rather blandly, then terminated the connection so Moordryd could do his bidding.
Moordryd sighed. Where was the Dragon Booster? Moordryd contemplated whether he should run after Slatr to help Lance, or find the Dragon Booster. He tapped the handles in his quick thinking. He had to do something now. What would his father rather him do? He almost turned Decepshun to look for the Dragon Booster, then changed his mind. He had to make sure the mini-brat was alright, whether his father would approve or not. His conscience was bothering him again.
Decepshun was just about to gallop off in the direction of Slatr, but stopped before she took a step. A brave roar from a near dragon caused both Moordryd and Decepshun to look up.
And there perhaps thirty feet above, flew the Dragon of Legend.
Soon, the tarnished back wall of a low building loomed into view, blocking the dragon. Artha felt as though all his bones had been broken in the fight. All too soon, Beau and he made contact with the ground. If his bones had not been broken before, he knew they were now.
Beau hit the ground on his right side and was flipped over to slide a few meters on his left side. Beau clenched his teeth as he felt the rocks and hard surface grate against his scales. Artha wearily lifted his head. He had no time to gasp, yell or think before they slipped off the edge.
Once again, they were falling. Too bad the street had ended. Now they were in a dive, quickly nearing the nearest drag way a half mile down. Artha, with great effort, straightened himself on the saddle. Beau adjusted his body so he wasn’t falling with his back to the ground.
“Come on, boy! Release the dragon!” Artha shouted. The star mark on Beau‘s head began to brighten. Artha smiled triumphantly as Beau extended his wings and smoothly flew up. “I’m coming, Lance!”
Beau gained in height, but also slowed in speed. He could glide, but not actually fly. Beau was in danger of stalling since he was attempting to glide nearly straight up. “Almost there!” Artha called, and indeed they were. Just as Beau ceased to go forward, he reached up with his claws and gripped the ledge tightly.
His strong muscles lifted him onto the drag way, where he panted from the toll the fight had put on his body. “That dragon must be after Lance still.” Artha said, trying to glare through the building in front at the huge dragon. “Wait.” Artha said suddenly, and paused, listening. He could hear Slatr roaring, but to his dismay, it was far off. “Lance! That dragon must be chasing him!”
Beau narrowed his eyes and growled. He glanced up to the building. Jumping over would be the quickest way, and would put them directly were they had seen Lance last. Gathering his strength, he leapt. He leapt onto a conveniently placed pile of debris. As it started to topple from his weight, he jumped off and onto the roof of the building.
Running swiftly, he reached the edge and jumped off, spreading his wings once again. He glided up, getting a reasonable view of the area. Artha leaned forward as he saw the huge dragon’s bulk.
Fracshun, after Beau had bravely jumped in to the rescue, had regained his senses and limped away. As his sides began to throb with less pain-he was after all, young and tough-he increased his pace. He carried Lance at a slow gallop, away from the awful dragon.
Lance glanced behind. The evil dragon was defending against Artha’s and Beau’s mag streams with one of his own. Suddenly, his mag energy intensified and threw the Dragon Booster and his dragon backwards. “Art…Dragon Booster!” Lance yelled, horrified.
Slatr, hearing the young voice, turned his head in that direction. Had Lance not have yelled, he would have hunted down the Dragon Booster. Lance had just saved Artha’s life, unknowingly. Slatr grinned at Lance with his razor sharp teeth.
Fracshun didn’t need Lance’s urges to make him go faster. He bolted into a flat out run and raced along the deserted streets. Fracshun ran on as the street began to narrow. Slatr closed the distance disturbingly quickly, soon letting the terrified duo before him feel his hot breath. His teeth were meters away from their mark.
Coincidentally, Slatr’s progress was considerably slowed when he encountered the tight street. He thrust his bulk in between the buildings and forced his body through. He clawed at the structures with his monstrous paws, trying to pull himself forward. Fracshun swiftly put some distance between them.
Lance nearly moaned when he realized that the narrow street soon ended. The buildings on the right abruptly stopped. The buildings on the left, however, continued. Lance looked over to his right, where the street met air. Not too far below was the next level of the deserted alleys and streets.
Slatr snorted up a column of dust and mucus as he watched the blue dragon run further away. With a mighty effort, he wriggled through the constricting street and forced his head and front paws past the last building. His great claws dug into the street as he tried to free his rear end as well. Lance, now racing comfortably ahead, smiled at Slatr’s roar of frustration. Frachsun stopped his mad dash and slowed to a painful trot, trying to keep his weight off his left hind leg.
Beau and Artha both spared a moment from their ceaseless worrying of Lance to snicker at the huge dragon. “You think someone’s a little stuck?” Artha asked Beau. Beau chuckled. “Let’s land in front and try Parm’s plan again. Before that dragon gets loose.” Beau veered to the right, not wanting to fly directly over Slatr’s head. Slatr’s spiked tail was still thrashing about, and Beau wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it were poisonous.
Slatr still struggled magnificently, extremely displeased at seeing his prey run free. His muscles rippled under his scales, his eyes filled with fury and his breathing became intense and rapid.
Beau was just now gliding over top of the buildings on Slatr’s right side. As the buildings stopped, Beau glided down. Slatr also chose that exact moment to lunge forward and slip free from the confinement the buildings had implemented on him. He suddenly swung his head at the dragon flying not too far away.
“Beau! Right!” Artha yelled, sorely surprised. Beau banked harshly to the right as Slatr’s teeth snapped at his flanks. They grazed Beau’s hind legs, leaving a bright red streak. Beau managed to force down a roar that was threatening to emerge. The Dragon of Legend did not whine because he had been scratched. He just didn’t.
Artha jerked the handles sharply to the left. Beau, in his surprise, had turned right too hard and was now facing the direction he had just come from. Beau veered left to correct his course.
Slatr, after snapping at the annoying winged dragon, felt discouraged as the dragon flew out of range. Slatr had also used too much of his forward momentum from popping out from between the buildings, and found himself teetering on the edge of the street. By throwing his head back and shifting his weight to his hind quarters, he managed to stay put. After stepping back a few steps onto the drag way, he ignored the flying freak and looked to where he had last seen the blue dragon. He smiled.
Fracshun limped as he trotted in what he thought was safety. Lance coaxed his dragon onward. The distant and familiar thundering of running feet caused him to look back. Lance instantly pushed the handles forward as he saw Slatr running towards him. Fracshun responded by bolting ahead.
Beau glided and landed behind Slatr as he thundered onward. Slatr’s huge strides soon carried him dangerously close to Lance. All too soon, he was within meters. Beau found himself running at nearly top speed. “Beau, I’ve got to get that dragon off this street! Lance can’t outrun him!” Artha filled himself with Beau’s mag energy. “Beau, let’s try to mag-pull his front foot. He’ll trip and fall off the street. Hopefully.”
Beau responded by glowing gold and nodding up to Artha, indicting he was ready. “Now!” Artha yelled, and Beau and him fired off their mag streams at Slatr’s front right foot. Slatr was in mid stride, and was about to put all his weight on his front feet. But as his foot was pulled out from under him, he toppled forward. Artha and Beau jerked Slatr’s leg sharply to the right.
Slatr howled as he landed on his face, and then followed his leg as it was pulled right. His monstrous bulk wavered over the edge of the street. Reorienting his body, he grasped out with his left foot and clawed at the street, trying to both slow himself down and to keep himself on the street.
From behind, Beau took advantage of the situation and shot out a powerful mag-blast at Slatr’s body. That did it. All but Slatr’s left foot tumbled over the edge of the street. He hung on with his sharp claws and looked back towards Beau. Slatr snarled and mag-blasted the street just ahead of Beau. Only by jumping off the street and landing on the platform below was beau able to avoid the deadly shot.
Slatr, disgusted with himself for missing, turned his attention to the blue dragon. Fracshun was limping at a walk. He had overexerted himself and could go no faster. Slatr aimed a mag-blast at the little dragon.
Artha, from the street below, anticipated this. Slatr’s aim was thrown off as a ball of mag energy hit his head from below. His mag-blast went high and shattered the street just ahead of Fracshun.
Fracshun cowered down and Lance ducked as the street ahead erupted in shards of pointy concrete. Lance looked back. He could only see Slatr’s head and left paw. Slatr growled at him, and reached up with his right trying to pull himself back up. It didn’t occur to him to drop down to the street below and jump up easily, but then again, Word hadn’t created him for intelligence, just brutality.
Lance’s hopes fell as he realized the hole ahead spanned the entire dragway and was too broad for Frachsun to leap over in his current state. Likewise, the way behind was blocked in the same fashion. Lance could only hope Slatr wouldn’t managed to climb back up.
Perhaps luckily for him, this didn’t happen. The street, being unused in a nearly deserted part of town, hadn’t been maintained properly, inspected or fixed. It was old and couldn’t hold Slatr’s massive weight any longer. Huge cracks appeared on the left side where it met the buildings. Slatr groped forward with his claws, still trying to pull himself up. He applied more pressure to the already weakening street, and the cracks expanded.
Then, unable to hold itself any longer, the street actually broke. From where Slatr had destroyed a section in an attempt to get at Artha, and running on the left side, up until it nearly met Lance, it snapped. Slatr, still holding onto the street, slowly descended as the drag way angled downwards.
Fracshun ambled to where the hole was before him. As the street slanted downward, he reached forward with his claws and gripped the edge. It was like a giant hinge. Slatr’s hind feet soon touched the ground. Beau slowly backed up a few feet as Artha witnessed the event.
The street now looked more like a ramp, with Lance at the top and the huge dragon at the bottom. Then Artha understood the problem. Fracshun was in danger of sliding down the ramp and meeting Slatr at the bottom. Fracshun barely hung onto the edge, and with his bruised and hurting legs, found it more than difficult to stay at the top. Lance looked behind and willed Fracshun to hang on. From below, Slatr licked his lips.
“I’ve got to get his attention again. Then Fracshun can climb up and get away.” Artha said. Beau stood with is feet planted firmly in the ground, and roared to get the dragon‘s attention. Slatr turned to the sound.
He dropped to all four and stalked towards the black and gold dragon. Soon his slow stalk changed to a brisk walk. Artha and Beau stood motionless, watching the dragon advance.
When he was within range, Slatr completed the first move by swinging one of his huge paws at the Dragon Booster. Beau jumped lightly back, avoiding the blow. Slatr mag-blasted the ground in front of Beau. Once again, Beau jumped nimbly back. A thought penetrated Slatr’s small mind. The dragon ahead was playing with him and taunting him. No one taunted Slatr!
Slatr readied himself to launch a powerful mag-stream, like before. If it worked once, it could work again. Beau, however, was ready. Just before Slatr unleashed his mag energy, Beau turned and ran. Slatr’s mag stream followed Beau, coming close but never touching. Beau zigzagged, making it harder for Slatr to get him. Slatr stopped his mag stream and kicked up a cloud of dust as he started to pursue the dragon. He could easily run him down.
Artha looked back and grinned with satisfaction. The dragon was following. He glanced down at the mag grenade in his right hand as Beau bounced along. Suddenly, Artha pulled back Beau’s handles, and Beau skidded to a stop. Before the dust even stared to settle, Beau was off again. To Slatr’s surprise, Beau was headed straight for him.
Beau and Slatr charged towards each other. Artha brought back his hand, ready to throw the grenade into Slatr’s mouth as they rushed towards each other at a terrifying speed. No more than seven seconds passed before Artha was within range. Slatr, being the foolish dragon he was, opened his mouth wide to roar at his prey and Artha-who could not believe how lucky he was- threw the grenade with all his might.
Moordryd smirked as he saw the scene below. The Dragon Booster and Slatr were rushing towards each other. Slatr opened his mouth and uttered a ferocious roar, and Moordryd felt for sure that the hero was done for. His malicious smile, however, began to fade as he saw what the hero held in his hand.
“No!” Moordryd said, grinding his teeth. If Slatr swallowed that…his father would be extremely displeased. Moordryd couldn’t let that happen! Slatr mouth was wide open. How could he miss?
Quickly, just as the grenade left the Dragon Booster’s hand, Moordryd fired off a mag-blast. His aiming was superb. His ball of black mag energy hit the mag grenade in mid air, just before Slatr’s mouth. The impact caused the grenade to explode prematurely, and the force immediately halted the charge of the two dragons.
Slatr’s head was thrown sharply upward at such an angle that he was in danger of having his muscular neck snapped. Because of his speed at the time of the impact, Beau was stopped and thrown a short distance backwards. From his safe place above, Moordryd paused as he witnessed the event, then laughed.
Meanwhile, Frachsun had managed to grasp the edge of the ramp with his paws and was doing all he could at the moment, hold on. His drained energy and battered sides allowed for no more action.
Lance took the uneventful moment to catch his breath and slow his racing heart. Then, as his brother and the evil dragon raced towards each other, he watched with rapt attention. His small heart pulsed with hope as he saw Artha lift his hand back. He had a mag grenade!
Then his world crumbled around him as it detonated before it reached its intended mark, hit by a mag blast. Lance whipped his head and skimmed the surrounding area, searching for where it had come from. Finally, his eyes came to rest on a figure, half hidden in the shadows of the narrow street, shoulders shaking with amusement. Lance widened his eyes in shock as he recognized the black dragon and rider.
Wasting no more time to ponder on his sudden intense dislike of Moordryd Paynn, Lance looked back to where Slatr was. The huge dragon shook his head and backed up a step, moaning softly for his sore neck. Because he was bigger and more aptly built for withstanding blows than Beau, Slatr recovered while Beau was still lying on the ground, momentarily stunned.
Artha, whom the blast had affected the most, being a mere human, was slumped down in the saddle. Beau looked up as Slatr’s footsteps approached. Growling, Beau staggered to his feet, ready to meet Slatr head on. Slatr prepared himself to fire off a mag blast, one that would end the lives of his noble prey.
While Moordryd could barely sit still in the saddle from the excitement of it all, Lance took out his flash stick, the only weapon he had with him, not counting his mag staff. But how useful could that be at such a distance? “Hey, you….you stupid, ugly lizard!” He called out.
Being convinced that his prey could no longer fight, Slatr took a brief moment to glance behind him, just to make sure nothing would challenge him while he enjoyed his victory thoroughly. A brief glance was all Lance needed.
Moordryd looked over at Lance as he heard him yell the insult. What was the mini-brat doing….oh. “Decepshun, close your eyes!” But Moordryd’s warning was not needed. Decepshun had seen the flash stick and has already closed her eyes. Even with his eyes closed, Moordryd could see the light of the flash stick through his eyelids as Lance activated it. Magna Draconis, that thing was pretty powerful. When the faint light faded, Moordryd carefully opened one eye, than the other. Lance’s plan had worked.
Slatr roared in fury and turned, utterly blind for the moment from the flash stick. He forgot about the dazed dragon of legend, and ambled blindly in the direction the light had come from. No one dared attack Slatr! He would put a stop to that insolent menace!
“What? Stop! Stupid dragon!” Moordryd snarled as Slatr stumbled, still blind, in Lance’s vague direction. Moordryd’s face became even more livid than before as he saw the Dragon Booster sit straight up in his saddle. “Hey, dragon!” He yelled, firing off a mag blast at the same time. The stupid dragon had to finish off the Dragon Booster, not Lance!
Moordryd’s mag blast landed squarely on Slatr’s hindquarters. Slatr wheeled around, still blinking his temporarily blind eyes furiously, and snapped his jaws around in a circle. Where was that menace? Had he snuck past him and attacked him from behind? He shook his head, then stood panting as his vision finally returned to him. Ahead he saw the Dragon Booster, now glaring at him defiantly and ready for action. Moordryd backed Decepshun further into the shadows, grinning from a job well done.
Slatr, who was getting rather ticked off by the constant interruptions, charged, ready to kill, and his prey did something he didn’t expect. Beau cleanly dodged Slatr’s jaws and ran low between Satr’s front legs. Slatr looked down as Beau ran underneath him.
As they came out the other end, Artha kept a firm eye on Slatr’s tail. The spiked end was raised high above his head and wavered threateningly, then came down at a frightening velocity. Artha met the deadly tail with a mag-push. Artha managed to keep it at bay till Beau and he were out of range. Slatr spun around and gave chase once again, just as Artha knew he would.
Beau quickly turned down a street, hoping to lead Slatr away from Lance and give him the chance to limp away to relative safety. Leaning low over the saddle, Artha and Beau sped away, trying vainly to maintain footing and speed as Slatr’s footfalls jarred the street beneath at regular intervals. Artha could hear the windows in the buildings shake as Beau flew by them. He looked back, only for a second, and smiled as he looked ahead again. Slatr looked intent on following them to the ends of the world.
Artha breathed a sigh of relief as Parm appeared in his VIDDscreen. “Got a good idea? I don’t know if throwing mag grenades in his mouth is going to work anymore.”
“I was thinking this over and I have a better idea.” Parm said in such a rush that Artha could barely understand. “And while you do it, I’ll try to find Lance and help him and Fracshun.”
“Well tell me your great idea, Parmon! And hurry?”
“Yes, alright. Just….” Artha was rudely interrupted from Parmon’s great plan as Slatr fired a mag stream above and over his head. The stream snaked through the air ahead of him and landed on its target.
The huge, screened advertisement spanned over the entire street and rested on the tops of two buildings, one on either side. The old, unused and perhaps rusting screen was instantly deprived from one of its supports by Slatr’s mag energy. Another mag stream quickly hit the other support on the other building with a huge crack. Both supports broke into hundreds of splinters, and the screen started to fall.
Slatr had timed his shots pretty well, Artha hated to admit. There was no way he’d be able to sneak past before they hit the ground and the screen was far too large to jump over. Artha jerked back the handles and Beau screeched to a stop as the screen fell right in front of him. It blocked the entire street.
Beau was just about ready to shoot off in another direction, when Slatr hit him. As Beau had halted, Slatr was still rushing up to him. Barely pausing, Slatr swung his back end around and, with amazing agility for a dragon of his size, hit Beau hard with his strong tail. Having no time to react to the sudden attack, Beau and Artha both flew through the air and struck a nearby building with incredible force.
As they hit the ground, Beau’s head smacked the hard street and was instantly rendered unconscious. Artha was no better off as Slatr’s hard plated tail had hit him in the chin, the only place not protected by a solid armor of gold draconium. He lay immobile, half in the saddle, unconscious as well.
Blood ran down Beau’s side where one of Slatr’s sharp spikes had impaled him. Though it was neither deep nor life threatening, the amount of blood that was being lost would be a problem, if not tended to soon. Slatr loomed over the pair and chuckled. He eyed the twosome and breathed in the metallic smell of blood.
Ready to end his mission then and there, Slatr paused. The not too distant grunting of Fracshun could be heard as finally stood safely off the ramp and on the horizontal plane of the street. Slatr hesitated longer, then trotted in Fracshun’s direction. He could tell that the black and gold dragon and his rider were not about to wake up soon. Slatr wanted to finish off that annoying little pest before it got away. He would come back for the final kill later.
Lance and Fracshun stood on the drag way, at the top of the ramp. Fracshun forced himself to remain on his feet despite his aching muscles. Lance’s back stiffened as he heard heavy footsteps approach. Hadn’t Artha led the dragon away? He looked in the direction of the sound, and found himself staring at Slatr.
Slatr showed off his wide, toothy smile and waved his tail about passively. Lance’s wonderings of where Artha had gone escalated when he saw one blood stained spike on Slatr’s tail. That was enough for Frachsun.
But before Frachsun could once again attempt a rapid escape, Slatr hit him with a mag-blast. Frachsun was thrown forward, further onto the street. Lance, however, toppled backwards off Frachsun and landed on the sloping street and started to slide down. Slatr bounded to the bottom and watched as Lance, unable to stop or even slow his sliding, approaching his now waiting jaws.
Glancing down the street, he could see Slatr chasing down the Dragon Booster. He was just about to follow, from a safe distance, when he heard Lance. He glanced up at the higher street where Frachsun was still clinging to the top of the make-shift ramp.
“What?” Moordryd questioned and added a touch of rudeness to his sharp voice.
Lance rolled his eyes. “I said, does your father have anything to do with that dragon?” And with that, he glared down at Moordryd. Moordryd was slightly amused at his attempt to seem threatening.
Moordryd almost left then and there as he couldn’t afford to lose Slatr. But as he was about to head down the street and ignore Lance, he heard the sound of breaking metal. Looking ahead and past Slatr’s monstrous bulk, he could see an enormous advertisement break free from its supports and fall crashing to the street. As he peered closer, he could see the black and gold dragon stop. So Slatr had made an obstruction. Good for him. Now Moordryd had time to address Lance. “What makes you think my father has something to do with this?”
Lance frowned down at him. “Uhh, evil dragon trying to kill the Dragon Booster. I don’t know. Just a wild guess.”
“Well, keep guessing mini-brat.”
“But the dragon was hurting a lot of people.”
“And your point is?”
“You’re helping! You stopped the Dragon Booster from winning and….”
“So?” Moordryd smiled wickedly. “That dragon will finish off the Dragon Booster.”
“But…but….” Lance said as Frachsun finally made it up onto the level street. His tail drooped as he stood, exhausted. “But if the Dragon Booster doesn’t defeat it, who can?”
“Perhaps no one.” Moordryd cackled at Lance’s reaction as the young boy was both startled and annoyed. Lance muttered below his breath and tried to ignore Moordryd as he focused on Frachsun. Moordryd chuckled again and turned to Slatr.
He froze as he realized Slatr was standing over the still body of the Draogn Booster and his gold dragon. How could he have missed Slatr’s victory? “Scales.” Moordyd whined, angry at himself. “Scales, scales, scales!” He suddenly repeated as Slatr turned from the Dragon Booster and walked toward him. Decepshun needed no urging to slink away quickly before Slatr took notice of them. She galloped back a ways and snuck behind a building, and Moordryd peeked from around the corner.
Silently he gasped. Lance was still engrossed in reassuring his dragon, so much that he hadn’t bothered to look in Moordryd’s direction again or even hear Slatr’s heavy footfalls as he approached. Moordryd could see Slatr as he emerged from the street and pause to look at Lance. Moordryd opened his mouth to shout a warning to Lance, then thought better of it. It would only call attention to himself, besides, it wasn’t like Frachsun couldn’t run or something. For the moment, he stayed quiet and watched.
Moordryd saw Lance stiffen and turn around. Finally! Frachsun attempted to make a run for it, but was stopped. Slatr hit him with a powerful mag-blast, and Lance was thrown onto the ramp. Slatr carefully positioned himself at the bottom. As Moordryd watched on in growing horror, Lance slide closer to his certain doom. Frachsun was unable to come and mag him to safety, as he had landed quite far away on the street and was preoccupied with his bruises and wounds which had now exploded in pain after the shock of the mag-blast.
But before Moordryd could even twitch a finger, Lance slid the rest of the way down. Slatr opened his mouth and scooped Lance up in the death trap. His jaws closed about the young boy, but not before Moordryd heard Lance utter a heart wrenching scream.
Slatr the Beatable
Moordryd froze as the world seemed to move slowly. Slatr swallowed Lance with stunning sluggishness. Each and every detail was highly vibrant; Slatr’s gleaming scales, his glistening teeth, the blood stained spike on his deadly tail and many other miniscule features. Moordryd continued watching as Slatr’s throat constricted as he swallowed his prey. Whole. While his tough and armor plated hide barely showed his actions, Moordryd could see a small bulge slide from his mouth to his abdomen. Lance.
Moordryd shook his head to get out of his stupor. He pulled back the handles. Decepshun obeyed, backing up into the shadows silently. Moordryd’s pale hands shook as he continued watching Slatr. Slatr had swallowed the mini-brat.
Slatr stretched, cracked his neck, and ambled slowly and contentedly in the direction of the Dragon Booster, who must still be out, judging by Slatr’s unconcerned attitude.
Moordryd felt oddly saddened by this turn of events. No, not saddened. He felt as though he had been kicked in the gut. “Lance…,” Moordryd whispered, unable to call him mini-brat. Lance was dead. And it was his fault. Moordryd hadn’t expected this or wanted it. He tried to console himself with the fact that it was the Dragon Booster’s fault, not his. But he failed. It was his fault. If only he had…done something.
Decepshun looked up at Moordryd, worried about him and his sudden quietness. She too, was stunned by the sudden loss of Lance. Moordryd looked up, and Decepshun followed his gaze. Not to Slatr, but to the top of the sloping street.
Fracshun could be seen on the edge, holding his right paw slightly off the ground. Blood could easily be seen on it. Frachsun whimpered at Slatr as his tail drooped. He stood there, too shocked and heartbroken to move.
Moordryd grimaced as he heard Frachsun chatter sorrowfully to his dead rider. He pulled his eyes from the blue dragon and stared at his saddle. Lance was dead. Slatr had swallowed him whole, and alive too. Was he being digested alive? Great, now Lance was suffering because of him. Moordryd felt worse than ever. Lance….
Moordryd’s head snapped up. Lance was alive! He hadn’t been chewed at all, simply swallowed, and would soon die from either the digestive juices or the lack of air. The latter would claim him first. Moordryd’s mind began racing, whether it was a hope for a new plan or craziness, he didn’t spend much time deciding which. Perhaps both.
Moordryd fingered the handles, thinking quickly. Slatr could only be destroyed from the inside, his only weak point. And Lance had to be rescued, he just had to.
Moordryd relaxed upon the saddle and filled himself with as much mag energy as he could safely and comfortably hold. Then he jumped valiantly off the saddle and ignored Decepshun’s questioning glance. “Girl,” he said breathlessly, “whatever happens, don’t mess with Slatr. Hide. When Slatr dies, then you can come help me if you can.” With the adrenaline rushing through his veins, he stepped forward, cupped his hands around his mouth, and yelled at the dragon. “Still hungry, newt face?”
Decepshun looked at him like he had lost his mind, and Slatr looked at him like he had just found his dessert. He hissed and moved forward. Moordryd pushed Decepshun, indicating to her that it was time to move. Then, he rushed forward to meet Slatr. Moordryd called, without turning around, “run Decepshun.” Decepshun backed up a couple of steps, but did not leave.
Slatr dashed forward and was soon towering over Moordryd. Moordryd was undaunted, and strode forward with a purpose. He never slowed as Slatr extended his head and opened his jaws. Decepshun, trusting him, stood still. He probably had some last minute plan and just needed to get closer to Slatr.
But as Decepshun watched, Slatr snapped up Moordryd in his monstrous mouth, and then swallowed. Moordryd had actually leaped in! He had wanted to be eaten! The only reason Decepshun could think of was what Moordryd had said earlier. Slatr could only be destroyed from the inside. Why did Moordryd have to take things literally?
Slatr noticed her, growled softly and advanced a step. Decepshun backed up, then turned and ran. She was no match for him. Slatr grinned and walked slowly, at ease, following her.
Moordryd’s hands scraped on the hard covering of Slatr’s mouth as he pulled himself towards the throat. He was beginning to rethink his mad plan. But it was too late. Unable to stop himself, Moordryd slipped down Slatr’s throat.
Now completely coated by the dragon’s disgusting saliva, Moordryd was pitched into the darkness.
The further he slid down Slatr’s gaping throat, the more fleshy it became, which was a relief to Moordryd. Slatr did have a weakness. The constricting muscles of the esophagus pushed him downwards at a rapid pace, threatening to squeeze his last breath right out of him.
Soon, to his relief, he plunged into a mess of liquid and gore, which he assumed was the stomach. His hands, as they were splayed out in front, were the first to come into contact with the digestive juices. Instantly, he felt a burning sensation. But it was nothing he couldn’t handle, for the moment. He just hoped he would find Lance soon.
Ignoring the stinging of the juices, Moordryd groped about blindly with his hands, pushing aside what felt like muck. Not wanting to think what it may be, he continued searching, finding it hard to move about with nothing firm to push off from. His hands slid through the contents encountering no barriers. He tried swimming, in his own way, since he didn’t know how, but gained little ground. How big was Slatr’s stomach anyway?
His lungs began to ache for air. Desperate now, he lunged forward as best he could, fumbling about wildly. He had to get to Lance first before he destroyed Slatr.
A surge of joy shot through him as he felt the bottom of a shoe. Who else but Lance? Reaching further, he gripped it tightly and pulled it toward himself. The foot kicked, indicating life. But Moordryd felt the original amount of joy ebb away when he felt how feeble the kick really was. Lance was closer now, and Moordryd reached with his other hand and grabbed Lance by his shirt. He pulled Lance close to himself.
Lance, at first, struggled weakly, then either he stopped because he realized help was near, or he didn’t have the energy to keep moving. Moordryd hugged him and concentrated. Now that he had found Lance, he could get out of here. Moordryd unleashed the most powerful mag-pulse he could, and it radiated out from around him and instantly seared Slatr’s insides.
Decepshun was about to continue, but then shook her head. She was the Shadow Booster’s dragon! She was a pure black! She absorbed the Vysox bone mark! Was she really going to run from this ugly dragon?
Growling at her earlier cowardice, she spun around and faced Slatr. Slightly surprised, Slatr’s speed decreased. He stopped, and then laughed. Decepshun’s anger was fueled. First he ate her rider, now he laughs at her? She growled. She would have to show him a thing or two. No one ate Moordryd except…um, no one. Decepshun crouched and bared her teeth at him and roared.
Slatr shook his head, almost disbelieving that another dragon had the silly notion to confront him. Standing straight and leaning forward, he roared back. Decepshun cringed at the blast of hot air. She shook her head and almost gagged on the stench.
Slatr then prowled closer while Decepshun was almost blinded by the toxic fumes. She blinked through tearing eyes in time to see him stalking her. His tail flicked in the air as he crouched, within jumping range. Deceshun crouched as well, ready to pounce and do whatever damage she could. She quickly looked Slatr’s formidable, armored body over. She would go for the eyes.
Slatr didn’t move. Perhaps he was waiting for the right time, Decepshun thought. But what time wasn’t right for Slatr? Looking at his face, Decepshun was confused. But not nearly confused as Slatr himself.
He stared straight ahead, shocked as he ever could be. Decepshun recalled hearing a faint boom a few seconds before, but what did that have to do with anything?
Slowly, a dark trickle of blood ran out from the corner of Slatr’s mouth and careened down his chin. His legs seemed to buckle beneath him. His eyes were already filming over before he hit the ground.
Decepshun jumped back in surprise as the street trembled when he hit the ground. Whatever faint lights that had been on, flickered before returning to their dull glow. Slatr lay on his side.
Decepshun slowly advanced, fearing a trick. There was none, and she walked right up and sniffed his nose. By now, a great stream of dark blood was emanating from his mouth, crating a large pool. Decepshun had to back up to avoid touching it. What had happened? Moordryd! He must still be alive.
Decepshun bounded forward through the blood and once again approached Slatr’s head. His head was nearly five times bigger than her own. Using her paws, head and shoulders, she forced the huge jaws open and looked down the throat. Which was hard, considering that it was now blocked by blood. She gave a small roar that went unanswered.
She stared into Slatr’s mouth as her tail slowly drooped. For the first time in years, she whimpered. That too, went unanswered. She lowered her head in despair. She tried to refuse to believe the fact, but it soon struck home. She no longer had a rider.
Her ears suddenly perked as she heard something. Unexpectedly, a hand shot out from the back of Slatr’s mouth. Decepshun wasted no time in magging Moordryd out and away from Slatr’s jaws.
He was covered in Slatr’s inner fluids and blood, and held something close to his chest. Decepshun stopped her mag stream and waited expectantly. When Moordryd didn’t move, Decepshun nudged his shoulder with her nose. Almost immediately after, he coughed and took a breath of fresh air.
He began to wonder if it had all been for nothing. As he shook Lance slightly with his hand, Moordryd realized that he wasn’t breathing. Moordryd clenched his teeth and fought back emerging tears. Lance couldn’t be dead. Not after all he’d been through.
With a cry of rage, he slammed his fists on Lance’s chest, nearly using up all his remaining strength in the act. Lance’s body jerked violently, shocking Moordryd. Moordryd gave a small cry of alarm, which soon turned to joy as he watched Lance breath deeply.
“Mini-brat!” Moordryd grabbed Lance and held him close in a genuine hug. Lance spluttered and gradually opened his eyes.
He found himself looking over Moordryd’s shoulder at Slatr’s body. “Woah,” he said bluntly and feebly. “Was I in there?”
“Yeah,” Moordryd replied.
“Did you….” Lance pulled himself away from Moordryd and looked him in the eye, “did you…how did you…” Lance then, for the first time, noticed how disgusting Moordryd was, drenched in unnamable fluids and slime, just like himself. “Were you in there too?”
Moordryd relaxed his grip on Lance, realizing how out of character this was for him. “Uh, yea. I mean I…I didn’t….” Moordryd stumbled and could feel a faint blush rising in his cheeks. Lance merely grinned and flung his arms weakly about Moordryd again.
Moordryd hesitated before hugging him back. “No problem,” Moordryd coughed. He glanced around. It wasn’t like there was anyone else around to see this. Nobody except….
“Decepshun!” He said weakly, yet happily, nonetheless. Decepshun stuck her nose in front of his face, noticed how slimy he was, and licked his entire face with her warm tongue. Moordryd had to grin after that. His face was still slimy, but at least it wasn’t wet with Slatr’s stomach contents.
Decepshun smacked her lips, causing Moordryd to groan. She couldn’t actually like the taste, could she? Moordryd himself felt like throwing up.
Then Decepshun lifted her head and stared past Moordryd and Lance. She had obviously heard something. Moordryd pulled Lance from him and shakily got to his feet. Lance sat down on the ground and watched.
“Won’t your Dad be mad?”
“What?” Moordryd asked as he finally stood. He stepped over to Decepshun.
“Won’t your Dad be mad?” Lance repeated. Moordryd looked behind him to the dead giant.
“I guess he will.” Moordryd sighed and mounted Decepshun, which didn’t prove to be as easy as he had hoped. As he finally settled into the saddle, inspiration struck him. He smirked down at Lance, “but I didn’t kill him.”
“What? Yes you did. You risked your life for mine….”
Moordryd cut off Lance’s protests with a wave of his hand. “Nope. You did.”
“Yes. You had a mag grenade and you were able to destroy Slatr from the inside with that.”
“But where did I get a mag grenade?” Lance asked as he wiped at his face with his hand.
“You…I don’t know. Can’t you think of that yourself?” Moordryd snapped. Lance dropped his gaze and looked at the ground before him. As the silence between them stretched, Moordryd bit his lower lip. “I er, I dropped one, and you picked it up.” Lance looked up and smiled at him graciously. Moordryd smiled uncertainly back.
“Lance?” They both looked up. The Dragon Booster’s voice drifted from the street he had been last seen. Moordryd quickly turned Decepshun the other way.
“Remember,” he said over his shoulder, “I left some time ago. You haven’t see me since.” Lance nodded his head too vigorously, felt the world spin and slowly put a hand to his head and closed his eyes. When he looked again, Moordryd had disappeared.
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