Rebel Camp, Arkala Village
I woke up to children laughing around me. The soft salty sea breeze blew past and I opened my eyes only to grimace at the brightness of my surrounding. Rolling over on the bamboo bed outside a small cottage, I clutched at my chest. My ribs were throbbing but are healing well now. I eyed my surrounding. For a second, I didn’t recognize where I was until it dawns on me.
Arkala was a small village on the far edge of the Kingdom. It is rarely visited and practically is almost a ghost village. Five children skipped around the fireplace at the heart of the village. They were giggling and playing with long sticks, dragging them on the ground behind them.
My eyes moved away from them and landed on the pitcher of water sitting next to the bed beside me. I leaned over and took hold of it, bringing it to my lips and gulping it down in large amounts. Some water escaped and dripped down the corners of my mouth and down my throat. The cold water soothed the dryness in my throat.
When I was done, I sat it back down on the small square table it was sitting on and glanced down my body. There were no bandages on my body but there were scars. I had a thin knitted blanket over my lower half but I knew I was completely naked underneath.
A few voices came to my right and I looked up immediately to see General Takashi talking to a few men. After he gave them the order, he turned around and his eyes widened in surprise when he saw me. He started my way.
“You are awake.” He grinned. “That’s good.”
“How did you manage to get me out?” I questioned.
His smile fell a little and a small sad smile appeared on his face, “We lost a lot of men. Infiltrating the prison was not an easy feat. We fought our way in, captured the warden and forced him to lead us to you. Your father wasn’t notified until after we had successfully escaped.”
“Do you realize what you have done?” I asked him not because I was upset with him. It was more of letting him know the position he was in right now. People who betray the throne, betray the kingdom. He is now wanted along with everybody that aided in this mission.
He nodded, “I understand the severity of my punishment if ever caught but I do not regret it.”
I nodded at his words and glanced back at the children and people around me. They were happy, unmindful to what was going around them. I wished I had that kind of life. I didn’t need to carry punishment or expectations over my shoulders. I could mate with the woman I want and have children with her.
“How long have I been out?” I asked.
“Three days. You were passed out when we rescued you. Since then, you have been feverish on and off.” He explained.
That would explain why I was naked underneath the blanket. Dragons rarely catch fever but when they do, their body heats up to dangerous heights. It is dangerous on the body and could kill them if not taken care of immediately. We are stripped out of our clothes and sometimes bathe in cold water to keep our temperature down.
“Are there any spare clothes to change into?” I glanced his way.
He chuckled before standing up. He called out a woman’s name and an old lady stepped out with a pair of clean trousers. Takashi tossed it at me and I caught it with one hand. Wincing I stood up and wrapped the blanket around my mid-section. I needed to head inside to change.
Once inside and in the safety of a private bedroom. I dropped the towel and changed into the trouser, pulling on a black thick belt to keep it in place around my waist. After I was done, I walked out to meet Takashi outside. He was sitting in a chair on the porch of the cottage.
I walked over to the water basin that was on a table on the porch and splashed some water on my face. Takashi offered me a toothbrush to brush my teeth. Once I was done, I turned to look at the village people before us.
“Do they understand what their punishment is for harboring me in their village?” I asked.
Takashi stood next to me. His eyes also on the people before us.
“These people are not what you think they are. They are rebels formed against the King. This is a base camp for most rebels who are fleeing from the King’s rule.” He told me. “You fought against the King, your father because you disagreed with him. We are the same.”
He glanced my way and must have seen the question and surprise on my face because he sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, spreading his feet slightly apart.
“Your father isn’t a very likable person. The Kingdom questions his rule.”
“And you?” I asked.
“I am an orphan, Raiden. I grew up in the dumps and ate scraps for survival. I was taken into the palace to be granted a better life but the things I have done for your father, I am not proud of. I wish to make amends.” He said in a quiet tone.
He gave a short laugh before shaking his head and turning to look at me, “That and the fact that you’re my friend. I can’t let you suffer alone.”
I shook my head with a small smile on my face. While I did not like the idea that these people are in danger because of me. I can’t suppress the gratefulness of having Takashi as a friend. He saved me and gave me a chance to fight. I have been out for three days but three days was a long time up where she was.
“What are you planning on doing?” He asked.
I glanced his way before exhaling, crossing my own arms. My father uses my mother as coercion against me. It has always been that way. Everything in me tells me to go to Anna but I love my mother. Anna is safe but my mother isn’t.
“I’m going back to the palace,” I told him.
“What?” Takashi looked confused.
“I have to save my mother,” I replied.
He shook his head, “I don’t think that is a good idea. The palace will be heavily guarded. You are going on a suicide mission.”
“I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to lose the ones I love.” I whispered, unmoving for a second before I blinked and shook my head, a small smile appeared on my face as I placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I want to thank you for saving me but I do not want any more blood on my hands. This mission is a mission I will be doing alone.” I replied. I don’t have time. I need to move now. Every second is a second too late.
“I told you before that I am loyal to you.”
“Then if you are loyal to me, you will follow my orders. This is my fight.” I ordered.
He blinked, torn between his duty as a loyal servant and his duty as my friend.
I let go of his shoulder. “I have to go.”
He shook his head, “Hold on!”
But I disappeared before he could finish his what he needed to say. It was better this way. No innocent bloodshed. A fight between father and son.
My father felt me before I even arrived. His own Dragon coming out to meet me. He clashed into my flying form. Strong red and blue light lit up the sky as we fought for control within the palace. My father inflicted a blow to my stomach and I threw one on his chest, tearing us apart.
I changed into my human form and waited in the middle of the grand hall. My father appeared seconds later in front of me. A look of rage on his face.
“Let me guess, you are back because of your mother.” He replied with a sneer.
“Where is she?” I questioned.
“I see you have healed up nicely. Who took care of you?” He was mildly curious but I can see the faint glow of red in irises. He was angry and whoever helped me will die in his hands.
“No one,” I answered.
“Lies!” My father hissed, he disappeared and appeared in front of me. Gripping my throat. I took hold of his wrist and twisted causing him to release me immediately.
“I took care of you, made you one of my own. I am your father!” He roared. “You dare to disrespect me?”
“You took care of me but you are not my father. A father doesn’t hurt his children. He doesn’t stop whom they love.”
“You are weak!” My father growled. I released him with a harsh shove.
“I am not the one that is weak. You are, father. You hide behind your mask and command everyone to bow down to you but you are the one that is weak because you realize that their loyalty to you is not pure. That you will grow old and alone and never will be able to discover what true love and honesty is.” I lashed back. My father backhanded me before gripping me by the collar and throwing me against the wall. It cracked under my weight.
“Where is my mother?” I stood up.
“Dead.” He gave me a malicious grin.
I wished he was provoking me but the look in his eyes-my father killed my mother. I roared, my beast taking control of my body. My human self was pushed to the back of my mind. He took control. I could hear the shouts and screams but I was paralyzed and enraged. I allowed my best to kill everything around me.
After what seemed like forever, I felt something poking my mind-pushing me back to reality. I opened my eyes to see the destruction I have wreaked on the place. My father was underneath my palms, bloodied and broken. My beast allowed me the pleasure of ending his weak little life. I was breathing hard and realized while my beast was in control, I have sustained my own deadly injuries. That was what was prodding my mind. A sword was plunged into my side.
I raised my palm up and a large glowing blue orb appeared in my palm.
“You...” My father laughed while coughing up blood. “You would have made a great King if only you listened to me.”
“I never wanted to be King,” I growled. Pain erupting at my side. I brought the light down with a swung of my palms. It hit him in the chest. I fell off his body-weak and finding it terribly hard to breathe.
I turned to look at him and saw him looking at me. The lights in his eyes dimmed and his body began losing its color. Slowly, his body began turning into little red dust. Disappearing before my eyes. I watched him until there was nothing left.
I coughed up more blood, feeling a tight tension in my chest. My arms dropped to my side weakly and my eyes lulled back.
If I ever leave your side, trust that I will always return.
Darkness began to cloud my peripheral vision. Voices can be heard but they were distant. Suddenly, Takashi loomed over me. He was shouting something but I couldn’t hear him.
“Anna...” I whispered before death wrapped me in his welcoming arms and my eyes fluttered shut.