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The Exiled Dragon By Veronica Fox Chapter 25

Run 

Odessa 

Creed’s nose was to mine, his head tilted to plant his warm lips on the corner of my mouth. It was so tender, so soft for a man like himself. Instantly, I kissed him back, his hand tangling in my hair. Our bodies flushed together as the snow fell around us, the blue lights finally leaving us alone. Feeling his heart beat next to my chest, I wanted him impossibly closer to me, to be one with him because I never wanted to let him go. He wasn’t a dragon trying to guard a treasure; he was the treasure.

His muffled moan had me grip his shoulders, his grip becoming tighter than his usual grip. Tongue tickling my lips until he snuck his tongue inside. Before I could utter a sound o fappreciation, a loud cracking of branches was heard. Our kiss halted, Creed burying my head into his chest, shielding me from what he thought was danger. The hood of my cloak fell backwards, exposing my hair to the cold. His fierce dragon growl radiated the area. There was no way anyone from a half a mile could not have heard it. A sound so deep it was amazing how well the noise penetrated the air from just his chest.

With a click of his mouth, Fluffy crawled to us, his head low, submissive to Creed’s tone. “Go.” his dragon’s deep voice scratched Creed’s throat. He winces, but that doesn’t have my eyes deter from the large fangs in his mouth. He was transforming right in front of me. The smoke was climbing up his arms as I watched a fierce, enraged face of fury take over m y sweet dragon. I’ve never seen him mad, and this was Creed furious. Gasping as he put me on top of Fluffy, I grabbed the scruff of the fur. Creed slapped Fluffy’s behind, having me squeal from the quick jolt of his massive hindquarters. The power jolted us at least five feet away from Creed. Looking back, Creed had already transformed into his massive dragon, knocking down trees in his wake. An imposing roar with fire leaving his nostrils burned into the tops of the trees. Snow melted, dropping little water droplets to the ground.

Fluffy pounded forward, his paws hitting the crispy snow that laid on the leaves. My grip grew tighter, fearing I would fall off and get left behind. It must have been something fierce for Creed to transform like that. All I heard was a small crack of a branch. Surely it could have been one of the massive rabbits or some other animal, right? Then again, I’ve never seen Creed lose his cool over anything until now. This mountain was so desolate I couldn’t imagine a person stumbling upon us, unless someone or something was looking.

Fluffy continued to pounce through the easing snow. It was turning into a heavy mist of drizzle while his direction took us down the mountain. His paths were not organized, changing direction suddenly, stopping and going a different way. My hood and cloak were falling to my shoulders, but I dared not to pull it back up. I didn’t want to be left behind by an inevitable enemy I couldn’t see.

The woods became scarce, the field that Creed had transformed into his dragon showed. The overcast hid both of the suns, causing a gigantic shadow across the field. Fluffy didn’t stop there, trotting along the line of trees next to the little blue lights fluttering in the grasses.

No signs of life, from what I could see. The field was empty of any larger animals or vampires. I took one hand, daring to clutch the cloak, putting the hood back over my head. The dampness from the drizzle had me shiver and the mud now splattered underneath Fluffy and my body stuck to us heavily.

I felt so exposed out in the open, just trotting along the treeline. What if the vampires were still looking for me? The crazy blood bag run away that is now stupid enough to come down the mountain.

“Fluffy, go back into the woods,” I leaned towards the mountain, but he continued on, hugging the tree line. “Come o n!” I hissed, trying to get his attention. He shook his head like he actually understood. Grunting in annoyance, I let go, only for him to get spooked by a movement up ahead. I fell with a thud in the mud, my whole side of my face covered in putrid stink. The mist became heavier, the weather patterns here completely sucked and made no sense. One minute it is snowing and the next it’s raining. Why don’t you make up your mind!?

Standing up, knocking most of the thick globs from my cloak, I looked to Fluffy, whose hair was standing up on his neck. He

backs up to cover me with his body. Looking over at him, there was no movement in the trees and the bushes were completely still. “It’s probably a chipmunk or something,” I whispered to calm myself. Surely that is all this was. My hand went to Fluffy’s back, feeling the stiffness of his body. It was anything but a chipmunk. The days had been too quiet. Something was going to break me out of my sweet solitude with Creed. It was inevitable.

The thick bushes parted, and several men with long spears, cotton like clothing of browns and greens, enough to camouflage themselves with nature. The trees up ahead were much taller, more tangled with branches and limbs that intertwined with themselves to make heavier branches. They reminded me of thick vines that would climb up a wall of a building or lattice. ”

First two, three and four more came out of the dense, darkened forest. Their faces coated with either paint or mud to help them blend. If they weren’t moving, I’m sure I still would not see them in front of me. The whites of their eyes brightened as they continued closer. Fluffy, giving off a warning growl, lowered into defence position.

“What smells funny?” A child like voice radiated from behind one man. All of their shorter statures that of Creed had someone smaller still poke out behind the leader.

“I told you to stay back,” his stern voice held no tone for argument. This little child’s head went behind him, holding the back of his shirt.

“Who are you?” his right hand said. “You are trespassing, and we don’t know your scent. You must be rogue.” The heckers is a rogue?

“I-I’m Odessa, I’m kind of new here.” My grip on Fluffy tightened, my body turning so I could quickly mount him to take off once more.

“New? What do you mean by new?” The man on the left elbowed the leader, whispering into his ear.

“You are going to have to come with us,” he stepped forward, the child now standing alone, watching intently. Shaking my head, I mounted fluffy, everyone’s spears pointed towards me.

“No, I don’t think so,” I trailed. I would not get captured again. One time was enough with a bunch of vampires and I can’t tell what these things are. I just knew they weren’t human. Their eyes and skin glowed heavenly even with the different shades they held on their skin.

D

S

“I’ll go back where I came from, just forget I was here,” whispering, ‘go,’ to Fluffy as he leaped out of the way of a charging camouflaged being that had come up behind us. They weren’t just in front of us, but all around us. How could I have not hear them coming?!

Fluffy roared, showing his teeth. His claws swiped several times, causing one man to bleed profusely. As quickly as the injury came, the arm healed. Nothing surprised me anymore. Vampires could heal quickly. Why can’t everything else?

Except me, because that would be to darn easy.

“Come on!” I gritted my teeth as Fluffy jumped over two men and headed back into the forest. His claws slipped in the mud, not getting a good enough grip for us to speed faster through the trees. Unfortunately, the men behind us used that to their advantage. They continued to gain as fluffy took a slip and fell into his shoulder, having my knee land with it. Yelping out in pain and unable to push Fluffy off me, I was a sitting duck. Fluffy’s body wasn’t moving off of me. He was barely breathing. A fall like that should not have hurt him that bad. Sitting up, his body was still. The small puffs of breath were slow and deep until I saw a dart in his lower leg. Pulling it out, I studied it, feeling a sharp pain in my back.

Before I could even pull it out of my back, my eyes grew heavy. Groaning, I laid my head down onto the wet mud, unable to move and my lids drastically fighting to stay awake.

“A human,” one spoke, hovering over my body. “I haven’t seen one ages, they are weak, don’t worry though.” I wanted t o scoff. I could put up my own fight if I needed to. I’ll kick him right where the sun doesn’t shine when I wake up. His blonde hair sparkled against the hazy rain that was dripping onto all o fus. He couldn’t be much taller than me but when he turned his head, I knew he couldn’t be anything like me. Pointed ears stuck straight out from behind his hair.

“Right, let’s get going then. Bring the animal, it’ll make a good meal.” One pulled the animal off my leg, so that was something else to be wary about. They are strong. Just like everything else.

“No, this one is trained. Maybe we can have it be trained to listen to us.”

“Doubt that. They stick to one master.”

“Quit getting ahead of yourselves,” the head guy spoke. If my neck could turn, I would get a better look at him, but unfortunately, that would not happen.

“We are going to find out why a human is here, alone and unmated. Mates are supposed to be the only humans allowed here. Let’s take her to the tribe leader and find out what he wants to do.” All of them grunted as my eyes were forced closed.

I never slept, but my eyes were pushed down harshly. Some barbarian stuck his two fingers to have them closed so I wouldn’t open them. My muscles were so heavy, I couldn’t lift a finger if I wanted to and my breathing had become labored. Feeling dizzy from being hung over the back of someone’s shoulder, I began to cough, violently. At least my insides were still working

“Put her down!” I was pushed to the ground quickly, knocking more breath from my lungs. My mouth, begging to open to

grasp more air, was forcefully opened again and shoved a liquid down my mouth. Choking, coughing, I felt the effects of the drug that made my muscles initially weak regain their ability to move.

Grasping my neck, I coughed more until I could fully take a breath. “What did you inject me with? You almost killed me!” I yelled out.

“Shit,” one stepped back, throwing the glass vile to the ground. Several other men looked in confusion as I sat up, holding my arms around my knees.

“What is it?” One of the fair skinned men came beside me, patting my back until his hand stopped mid-air, falling on his behind, scooting away.

The leader of the group came closer, sniffing around my body. Suddenly feeling self-conscious, I wrapped Creed’s cloak around my body. A frustrated groan ripped through him.“ Could you not smell it!?” the leader hissed, pulling the pointy ear guy that held me through the forest.

“Smell what?” he rolled his eyes. “Just the stink of the soil and rogue.” The head of the group’s blackened braid swung to hit another in the face. “She has the dragon’s smell, the black dragon.” The one that held me, who’ve I’ve dubbed the village, ‘idiot’, shrugged his shoulders.

“THE black dragon, the dragon,” he drawled, “with the disfigured face, the jealous brother of Alpha Adam of the Toboki Tribe, the undefeated fighter of the underground shifter ring. His temper is ferocious, kills everything in sight and gives no mercy who dare try to challenge him. He’s wiped out thousands of rogues with a single blow of his breath.” The leader took a breath. “He is said to be so heartless he left his

own tribe to burn to the ground, sitting off somewhere hearing the screams of his parents’ die in the fight to defend their tribes’ homes.”

The grip I had on my neck loosened, my eyes wide with bewilderment. This didn’t sound like Creed at all. This was not my dragon.

“Worst of all, the Moon Goddess cursed him for even coming into this word, never allowing him to have a…” A punch to the shoulder came from another, scowling at him.

“That’s enough,” he hissed. “You are scaring the poor girl.”

“I’m not scared,” I stood up, staring him in the eye, “and the black dragon,’” I held up quotation marks with my fingers,“ has a name.” Wrapping my cloak around me, they continued t o stare in amusement. “His name is Creed. He has done none o f those things.”

“Oh, really?” a sassy brown-haired one jumped in front of the leader. “How would you even know? Most of this happened forty years ago and I doubt you were even alive, right? Humans don’t live so long nor look as beautiful.” His finger goes up to trail my cheek, but I slap his hand. Chuckles were heard around the group.

“So, how is it that you lived?” The leader asked, crossing his arms. “Did you steal that cloak from him, or were you imprisoned?” I scoffed, giving him a frown.

“Neither, he rescued me! He’s been taking care of me, making

 

sure I’m alright since coming here,” I said confidently.

“Ah, she has fallen in love with her capturer. I’ve seen this many times,” the sassy one rubbed his clean-shaven chin.

“What, no!”

“Stockholm Syndrome. I think that is what the humans call it. I’ve seen their literature when visiting the Moon Kingdom.” They all nodded, staring at me with sympathy.

“That is not it! He really saved me!” I argued, but the leader stopped me by laying a hand on my shoulder.

“Let’s talk about it more soon. Since you are mentally damaged, I think it is best we take her and her pet back with u s. My wife is excellent with medicinal herbs. I’m sure she can come up with something to make you forget this fake love spell he has on you.”

“No-”

“That’s enough, now I’m Jhaan,” second in command of the Elven Territories,” the one in front of me spoke. The sassy one pushed him out of the way, bowing slowly, gripping the back o fmy hand, placing a chaste kiss.

“And I’m Daine, the only other male elf you will need to know.”

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