Chapter 35
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Constantly I am flung around the inside of the bag as my kidnapper moves and jumps around. Sharp shifts in my tumbling interrupt the clear stream of my thoughts as I barrel around from one side of the fabric container to the other, the many implements of her wizardy clinking and clambering beneath my body threatening to swallow me whole down between them like so much sparkly, glittery quicksand. Within seconds I lose my orientation, does the wizard-girl usually move this much during battle?

  Thunderous explosions ring out in every discernible direction, the striking of metal and fists colliding against so much meat and armor. The whispering ring of shadow-magic exploding all around us, the stamping of the great dragon following the screaming, screeching swarm of undead, thundering forward step by step in their wake. There is so much noise, so much screaming. Why is everyone always screaming?!
I grab a hold of the inner fabric of the bag, sinking my teeth into the material to hold myself steady against the great jumble that is my existence. My long neck is extended upwards, my body dangling down low with my feet just barely touching some glass flasks beneath me. It is uncomfortable for sure, tell you what. But it’s better than being tossed and tumbled. Damn it! I can’t see a thing from inside of here. We sway, shifting sideways again as I hear a set of heavy hooves stampede just past us followed by a barrel chested roar, I suppose she just dodged a minotaur. An explosion rings out and I see a great wave of fire wash over the small gap above me. So much for the minotaur.

  I guess even the adventurers, strong as they are, have their hands full with this many at once though. I’m missing everything, I need to get out of this damned bag. Feeling the thick cloth between my teeth I begin gnawing down as hard as I can, trying to dig my way through the stuff. The taste is unpleasant. It tastes like old wax and dungeon dust, which makes sense I suppose. Slowly I begin to feel the fabric spread and loosen in my maw. Even with the chaos of the fray and my body swinging loosely left and right beneath me I manage to hold on tight with my teeth and claws to the wall of the bag and dig deeper. I feel a tooth puncture through with a slight pop. A few chews later and a series of subsequent pops and tearing threads lets me know I’m through. This is why good dental hygiene is important, guy!

  Holding on tightly with my claws I pull open the small flap with my teeth, tearing off the last few threads holding the fabric in place. Anarchy. The first and only thing I see looking out behind her is anarchy. The stone floor is littered with scorched and beaten bodies, mangled and bloodied goblins and shattered skeleton bones. A few twitching dark-fairies who are still ‘alive’ but unable to return to the air, waiting there to either be trampled or to simply fade away and return to dust. Just a- we spin again.

  She did a full turn around apparently, I see what’s left of the minotaur. Poor guy never had a chance. Oh! Hi papa! I let out a small roar through the gap, but I don’t think he can hear me. He’s fighting the hero. Go get him papa! You can do it! This is great, if only she’d stand still than I could watch the fight be-

  Something smacks us hard from the front, I hear her cry out in surprise. Losing my grip I fall back down into the clutter again. Ow. We’re moving again, bounding around at some incredible speed. It takes all I can manage to not start flying around the bag like a piece of loose meat again. Li- meat? My dragon brain sniffs around, it smells something. I know I shouldn’t. I know I need to watch the fight. Meat. My lizard-eyes shine with a draconic greed, with an animal hunger. Meat. My aching body rumbling, I look down through the many glass vials and scrolls. Meat. I see parchment paper. Meat. Sticking my head down I burrow through the mess, past the magical trinkets and oddities past the soft, oddly perfumed pile of her clothes. Oh. She’s the white-blue horizontal stripes type. Good for you wizard-girl. Meat! My drake brain takes over, not having patience for anymore of my commentary.

  I can smell it now, it’s right here. It’s in the paper. I dig down and bite into the wrapping and tear it open like a fresh carcass. As I rip and claw into the thing beneath me I roar in a display of dominance at the weak paper. It never stood a chance. Digging my maw into it I rip out a piece of the dried jerky. Meat! I chow down, tearing it apart with my claws. My frenzy subsides as I consume and gorge myself on the salty food. The knocking and battering of my body around ignored as I eat. No, wait. Wait. Pull it together. I have work to do. Pulling out a second piece of the jerky from the tattered parchment I begin to crawl backwards with my legs and pull my body free and then my head, my jerky still held proudly in between my teeth. Proof of my might.

  Rising up back to my perch I take a bit of the meat and look back out of the hole. I can’t help but notice the sounds of the fight are growing quickly quieter and quieter. As I peer out again chewing on my snack I see that most of the goblins have been dealt with, same as the skeletons. Oh? I see the monk, she’s having a one on one with the goblin champion. Big guy for a goblin, royal guard armor and a sword that’s pretty fancy for a goblin all things considered. Good for him!

  She’s a strange one, the monk. We’ve seen her a few times but have I ever really talked about her in detail? She’s shorter than the other adventurers by a full head. Human. Young. Small. Thin, but muscular like a minotaur. Lean to the extreme. The meat she has on her bones is strung so tightly that spiders probably dream of making webs with it. I assume female like all of the hero-party except for him, though I’ll need some definite confirmation before I can say that for sure. Good for you, hero. Short hair, red-ish dark brown. Tan skin. She wears baggy pale yellow pants adorned with a white braided belt that hangs loosely on the front. Sleeveless top of the same color with exposed mid-riff. Seems impractical for battle, but she seems to manage just fine anyways. Both of her thin arms have heavy wooden bead bracelets at the wrists. I mean heavy. Several balls of solid wood each the size of her own fists are strung around both her arms and they make quite the ruckus when she strikes.

  The two of them are in the middle of their fight. Ducking back and weaving from side to side she expertly avoids the goblin champion’s frenzied swings of his blade. Side-stepping not with a nimble grace like an elf would to avoid the danger, but with more of a stiff snapping popping motion to the left and right like an experienced fighter foreseeing the coming attacks by reading their opponent's body language. The goblin swings as best as he can, putting all of his effort and heart into it. I can see it. I can see it in his wet eyes, in the way they shine. He is furious. I bet. Furious at his dead men. Furious at the human before him he can’t touch. He is screaming. The monk-girl is solemn, concentrated, waiting for her opportunity. For him to make a mistake in his guard, to slip up and let her in.

  Soon enough he does, a stab to her left she snaps to the right and does a single backwards spin, swinging her leg out in an arc. It glides over the top of his sword, the flat side of the metal a surface for her leg to glide over as it finds its way straight to his face. There is a disgusting crack and he flies, leaving only a single boot and a cloud of dust behind where he just stood. Yup. He’s dead. Poor guy never had a chance. I take another bite of my jerky and wait to see what happens next. I hope papa is okay. I wonder if he’d like the jerky too? I should save some for him. I haven’t faded away yet so he must still be fighting the hero. He must be doing a great job to survive this long. Papa is strong after all. I wish I could see him, but I’m facing the wrong way. Even now though I hear the great commotion caused by the raging battle. I suppose the wizard-girl is helping the hero. She likes him after all. Oh! Look, there’s the priestess heading over to the monk to patch her up. What a nice person she is. I really like her, you know?

  Hmm. Wait. One… two… three… I take another bite of my jerky as I count. Four… uh… my lizard eye peers through the small gap I’ve made in the bag searching for her. Searching for the missing piece of the puzzle. The thief-girl, where is she? I haven’t seen her since the fight started have I? No. I don’t think so… uh… no. No. For sure no. The sounds of battle grow louder once more. The world spins around once again and I see papa. Hi papa! I roar, he still doesn’t hear me though. I could try to shoot another fireball but… I don’t think I have it in me. Literally. Besides, he knows who has me.

  He is losing ground fast against the hero though, his scales are breaking and his cuts are deep. He’s trapped. If I wasn’t here he wouldn’t hesitate to fill this entire floor with fire. I remember now. As part of the sub-boss fight he can make the lava in this whole floor start to rise upward making the battle a timed event to beat him before it reaches them. Even the hero can’t withstand lava. I know that much. Wait. The hero can’t withstand lava? I squint my eyes. I suppose that answers my question of lava swimming from earlier, but why am I remembering this now? Hmm.

  I see a glint behind papa and squint my eyes to focus on it. The thief-girl! There she is. She’s on top of a pile of gold, not readying her bow or trying to stab papa from behind. She’s digging through the gold, tossing coins and jewels left and right. She’s searching for something? In the middle of a fight? I can see her expression even from here, even through the shadowy hood she wears. I can see the frustrated gnashing of her teeth, the angry grimace made at nobody in particular but rather at the universe as a whole. I know that face well as my own is often the same shade of mood. The world explodes in a wave of gold. The coins fly off thundering around the room like shrapnel sending the thief-girl catapulting against a far wall in an instant. We turn, I can’t see her anymore. Screams.

  Papa noticed her behind him and sent her flying with a swipe of his hefty tail. Nice one papa! He actually hurt an adventurer, good for him! Suddenly the tension in the air shifts. There is screaming. The hero is screaming.

  That sensation grows tighter as I hear the sound I haven’t heard in a long time. The single strike of a holy bell ringing aloud like a shining light in the dark. The clear crystal ring bounding around like the light of the eternal sun. A midnight beacon tolling the end of the night and heralding the ephemeral dawn of a bright new day to come. Danger. Papa. DANGER! I roar. I roar as loud as I can in my squeaky little drake voice. DANGER. DANGER.

The hero stands there, his sword held at the ready. The scream let loose from his lips never stopping. An ethereal glow shining from the blade as if it were the stars themselves envelops his form, the heavenly aura bounding endlessly around the room from wall to gold coin and from my eye to papa’s. The hero’s final strike, his strongest ability.

I close my eyes. It’s too bright.

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