Chapter 3

Before I knew it, I was asleep. I must have been extremely tired to fall asleep on top of a fur laid out on the dirt.

Hmmm. I’m falling? What’s going on? I thought groggily. It felt unreal, as though I was just observing myself fall from an unknown point in space, rather than having my actual body dropping from the sky.

Wasn’t I asleep? This is…a lucid dream? I thought as I wondered what would happen if I hit the ground below. Though some superstitions claimed that dying from falls in dreams result in the actual death of your physical body, I was only slightly afraid. I never believed in such silly superstitions.

Suddenly, the world of my dreams shifted and my body floated, with arms and legs outstretched, until I landed on the ground, which had popped up beneath me, on my feet.   

Before me, sitting on a black throne, was what appeared to be a young woman. Her body was quite voluptuous and she wore a strange, skin-tight, black, leather outfit that left little to the imagination. Her skin was an ivory white color and she had long, silky, black hair tied in a single ponytail, that reached well down her back. Her eyes were unlike anything I had seen before, a bright, glowing, scarlet color.

Her beauty was breathtaking. It took me a moment to see the horns that were protruding from the top of her head. They were somewhat difficult to see as they were ram’s horns that curved around her head and were thus partially concealed by her hair.

I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked considering I am in a strange fantasy world. I was finally able to calm down when she spoke to me. “Human, you should feel honored that I am gracing you with an audience.”

Her haughty attitude was a little off putting but I decided to just go with the flow. It’s just a dream afterall. Surely she can’t hurt my real body from inside it…right?

“Ah yes. I absolutely feel honored to receive your audience.” Whoever you are… I only thought that in my head, as I pretended to bow respectfully to the elegant temptress.

She seductively rose from the throne and approached me, putting her hand on my shoulder as she walked around me. She appraised me like I was a prime piece of meat. Am I prized ham or something? I was confused by her behavior.

“Umm, can I help you with something? Or rather, where am I, and who are you?” She stopped directly in front of me when I said that and came in too close, with her face inches away from my own. What a pretty face…No! Focus! She should get out of my personal space.

“I am speaking with you telepathically through your dreams but I am not far from your physical body.” She stared into my eyes so intensely that I thought she would kiss me, but it seemed as though she was only interested in looking.

I inched back slowly, as she started to creep me out. Noticing my behavior, she backed off and spoke again: “My name is Ardan’allein Sadren Hesaphiri Do Ra Yssafurin.” That’s a rather long name, must have some significance. Hmm, in Earth’s history, long names usually denoted some kind of nobility.

She must have noticed my perplexed look because she then said: “You may call me Allein.” She abruptly spun around before I could respond and returned to the throne. Why did she even bother coming down from it?

“Is there a reason why you are invading my dreams? I was sleeping peacefully until you came along.” I was a little annoyed by her behavior, there should be some code of etiquette in regards to entering another person’s dreams.

Allein covered her mouth again and her eyes gained a sinister look, as she predatorily stared at me for a moment before speaking. I was about to ask her more questions when she spoke: “I have been looking for you for a long time.” What is she talking about now? I only just got here.

“Look, I don’t know what is going on. Why don’t you start explaining some things to me? Like, how are you communicating with me right now? Even though it is telepathy, why am I hearing your words come out in my native tongue? What do you mean you’ve been looking for me? Do you know something about how I can get back home?” I bombarded her with numerous questions.

“SILENCE!” Her voice shocked me and I shut up immediately. “Do you know what good fortune you have that I have come for you personally, a dragon princess?”

Well that would explain her attitude. She looks like a regular woman to me though. Is she really a dragon? She has some horns on her head, but she has no other particularly draconic aspects. Aren’t dragons large reptilian monsters that breathe fire and fly through the sky? Are dragons people in this world? Are there any humans in this world at all? I am beginning to think I might be the only one, well it’s still too early to assume that.

“Are you really a dragon? I mean, you don’t look like a dragon to me.” I asked her somewhat sarcastically. I wasn’t just about to believe whatever some wacky stranger told me just because they were speaking to me in my dreams. She had a look of annoyance on her face, but she answered me anyway: “That is what I said didn’t I? I am Dragonkin, proud daughter of the Black Dragon King!”

“Aren’t dragon’s enormous monsters that breathe fire and fly around attacking human villages and stuff?” That only made her angrier.

“How dare you compare my kind to one of those monstrous beasts!“ I was enjoying taunting her a little too much. She was just too easy, must be all the pride swelling up her head.

“Alright, just calm down. I have to process this. First I meet some kind of animal lady and now a dragon woman? What kind of messed up place did I come to? Nevermind, don’t bother answering that. What do you want from me?” I asked her pointedly.

“I already answered that question, are you stupid? I am here for you.” She pointed directly at me and scoffed.

“Even if you say that it doesn’t mean a thing! What do you mean you are here for me? Do you know something about what happened to me? Do you know how I can return home?” This was all I wanted to know.

I had often daydreamed about being transported to a parallel world but now that I was actually in one, I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to stay. I mean, besides my daughter, I didn’t have much going on for me at home. I’m sure my former wife will be happy that I am gone but I didn’t want my daughter to grow up without her father. She is still very young, If I can’t get back, will she eventually forget about me? That thought gave me goosebumps, it would be like I never existed to begin with. I wondered whether anyone would actually miss me.

She didn’t answer. She just looked at me and I felt as if I could see something deep within her eyes. It was a strange feeling, a deep sadness that would drown me if I continued to be drawn in. I wondered what she could possibly be thinking as she looked at me with her scarlet colored eyes and I was having difficulty taking my eyes off of her.

My vision began to blur and my dream became distorted. I felt like I was being forcefully pulled out of my dream. The vision of the strange dragon lady began to fade. Before I was fully pulled out of the dream, the woman said one last thing to my fading form, “we will meet sooner than you think, make sure to welcome me.”

My eyes suddenly opened, it was still somewhat dark outside but the sun would soon rise. I was being shaken by someone.

“#@@%@$^%#@@!@!!#@$#@%” I couldn’t understand the words, but I recognized the voice, it was Reia.

Reia had been shaking me, but once she realized my eyes were open, she stopped. Putting a finger to her lips, she looked off into the distance and pointed. Again she put her finger to her lips. That obviously meant that I should remain quiet. I had slept through the night which could only mean that she must have remained awake. Was it out of concern for me, or was it because she was wary of me? I didn’t know.

I stood quietly and I helped her pack up the fur she had rolled out for me. She again warned me to be quiet while we made our way out of the meadow and through the forest. Her movements were calm, but she was looking around nervously and I got the impression that something, or someone, was stalking us. Is it the Dragonkin woman from my dreams? I didn’t know and I had no way to communicate with Reia so I just followed along as carefully as I could.

Without any warning, Reia suddenly stopped and motioned for me to do the same. She put her back to a thick tree trunk and peeked around it while unsheathing her blade. I watched her carefully, and quietly, remove her blade from her sheath. The sword was an ordinary looking iron sword. There were no fancy embellishments on it or any notable design, just a plain old sword. I had some experience with swords from when I was younger and could at least recognize quality.

As a history buff, my favorite time periods were always where people fought with sword, spear or axe. I loved those kinds of things and had played around a bit with a sword in my youth. Nothing fancy, just basic stuff. I could at least swing a blade without cutting myself.

I creeped closer to see what it was she was looking at and she gave me a warning look but didn’t say anything further and continued to watch whatever it was ahead of us. After making my way to the same tree trunk which was thick enough for both of us to hide behind, I also took a look. Ahead in a small clearing was a beast that resembled a sabretooth tiger, only larger. It was feasting on a fresh kill. Damn, I wish I hadn’t looked, how the hell are we going to kill that thing?

The beast was frightening and I was hoping her plan was not to fight it because I didn’t think we would survive if she did. As I watched, it lifted its head and started sniffing the air, Oh shit! Can it smell us? Fuck!

Next to me, Reia had loosened a dagger and now that the beast was aware of our presence she threw the dagger at the beast. The dagger pierced the beast and it roared in pain before rushing towards us.

Why the fuck did you do that Reia! Now it’s pissed! She pushed me and yelled, “@#%%&$” and then began chanting a spell. We both ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction but the beast was quick and looked like it would catch up to us soon. Reia finished her chanting and threw ‘Ice blades’ at the beast without slowing. The spell didn’t seem to faze the monster much, only slowing it down for a moment, and it continued its pursuit.

I didn’t know how much longer I could last, but knowing my life was on the line, I pumped my legs as fast as they would go. Reia chanted another spell and slid her hand across the blade causing it to glow dimly. She stopped running and turned to face the beast.

Is she trying to buy time for me to run? If she dies here, there is no way I am getting away but what can I do? I stopped after realizing this and she yelled at me furiously. I couldn’t just run and leave her here to die and without her, I couldn’t see how I was going to survive anyway. She clicked her tongue in frustration and faced off against the beast.

The beast began circling her as it caught up and growled ferociously. Its fangs were as large as an elephant’s tusk and I knew that those things could easily go right through my body as if it were paper. Fuck, what do I do? I was frantically trying to think of a solution when I remembered what had happened when fighting the monsters from the day before.

Wait, that’s right. Need to concentrate, how did I use that black flame? I concentrated, focusing my thoughts and tried to summon up the power I had used the day before.

Reia continued to hold the beast off while the beast lunged at her, avoiding her attacks, falling back and then lunging again. Her attacks were doing some damage but it wasn’t enough. The beast was slowly overpowering her until it finally jumped on her pinning her to the ground. She struggled to keep its jaw from her face by holding her sword sideways and pushing with all her might. I watched in horror as the beast’s jaw slowly inched closer to her.

I strained my brain, imagining the power that I had used before and I felt a well of power within me. My consciousness pulled on it, dragging it to the surface of my mind and I could feel the power igniting within me. My arms suddenly flared up with the same black flames. It worked! I was so excited I momentarily forgot why I had done it in the first place.

Reia’s scream reminded me and I thrust my hands towards the beast sending the flames roaring towards it. It didn’t even have time to respond as the flames blasted the beast and using the momentum, Reia kicked the beast off of her. She rolled to the side to get further away from the beast as it collapsed on the spot where she was a moment before. The flames continued to burn the beast unabated and it screamed in pain until the moment of its death. Its flesh continued to be consumed by the flames until there was nothing left.

Exhausted, I collapsed to the floor but I remained conscious. I was just too tired to move. Reia was clutching her shoulder, the beast had partially sunk its razor sharp teeth into her and she was in pain. I wanted to go over to her but I couldn’t move just yet. Using those black flames had tired me out completely. Reia struggled to remove her pack but eventually got it off of her. She took a large piece of cloth out of the pack and unwrapped it. Whatever it was she had in the cloth, she applied it to her shoulder and then wrapped the cloth around the wound and tightened it.

Her task done, she remained still as she grunted in pain but the pain eventually subsided and she visibly relaxed. Once the pain was gone, she finally stood and walked over to me. I had sat up by that time but I was still not able to walk just yet. I didn’t know what happened to me. Did I use too much of my power? That seemed a reasonable guess.

Reia sat down next to me and breathed heavily, she was most likely still in pain but was suppressing it as well as she could. I admired her strength and her spirit left a deep impression on me. I wanted to thank her, even though I had killed the beast, if not for her bravely taking the beast on as she did, we might both be dead.

“I know you don’t understand me, but thank you.” I tried my best to relay my feelings to her.

She shook her head and put one hand on my shoulder, “#^%$&$%%@##$^$%^*”

I couldn’t understand her words but her voice was gentle, not like it was before when she was clearly looking down on me. Or at least that was the impression I got from her earlier, but I couldn’t blame her for that. Either way I assumed she was thanking me as well.

She suddenly smiled and despite her dirty and sweaty face, it was a lovely smile. I chuckled to myself and she looked at me strangely, but then she laughed along with me.

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