No sign of Raisa. None. Not even close.
I hear Prince Alexander mutter under his breath with annoyance, "This would be a whole lot easier on top of dragons."
Natasha hears him but of course, he gets away with his stupidity. I bite my tongue not wanting to respond in the most snappy way ever and ask him how he supposes we use dragons to search for Mistress Raisa and her dragon when there was a sleeping nest of wild dragons all over the wilds. Of course, no one else says anything to Alexander. God forbid someone calls him a lazy piece of shit like he deserved to be called.
Instead, Natasha just turns to us, "We should rest. The dragons are dormant for some reason, almost in a trance. We can just continue the search tomorrow."
"I'll light a fire," Maxim offers.
"No fire," Natasha warns him, "We need to be as lowkey as possible."
"Well then I'm taking this all off," Maxim states, looking down at his armor.
He has more armor than the rest of us. The prince and I barely have any. The prince probably never needed any and I couldn't afford anything but the squire robes that were given to me. He takes off his armor and reveals underneath that he has nothing but a tight undershirt. My eyes are glued on him when he starts. It's almost like a strip tease as we watch him first taking off his gauntlets, removing his visor and then his the chin strap for his helmet. I notice I'm not the only one looking when he gets to his breastplate.
"Damn..." I hear Prince Alexander whisper.
It's one thing we had in common. Maxim was a FINE specimen. He takes off the buckles of the heavy armor that held the various parts of the breastplate together. It comes crashing to the ground.
He has nothing but a tight shirt underneath showing his glistening muscles. It's soaking with sweat but he takes the undershirt off too.
I can't stand how Alexander is looking at him.
"You might want to keep that on," I state, "It gets cold in the wilds at night."
"You remember how cold it gets?" he asks.
Strange. I hadn't known that was a memory of mine. He had a point. I shrug my shoulders. Sure enough, though there is a cold breeze piling up out of nowhere. Now that the sun was down, it comes heavy and immediate. Natasha leans up against the nearest tree while the rest of us struggle to get comfortable.
"If there are wild dragons here maybe one of their souls will approach me..." Alexander states, "Maybe I can become a dragon rider."
"We can't let any of the wild dragons know we're here," I state.
"You jealous there were dragons down there bigger than yours?" Alexander asks, "You just trying to stop me from being great."
I roll my eyes. It was all about him. I was trying to save my own neck at this moment.
Luckily Natasha doesn't leave me out to dry, "Nik is right, Prince Alexander. With all due respect, if we alert even one dragon that we are near, it's possible we'll be attacked. Our dragons have been sent far enough so they won't be here to help us in time. Even if they were..."
"There are too many," I finish off Natasha's thought.
Way too many. It was a fucking army out there.
We're all thinking the same thing in those moments. It's Maxim who says it, "I didn't know so many dragons existed."
"Could this be the prophecy?" I ask.
I remember what Maxim had read about. Arwen, the elf, had written about the end of the world. Details were in the elven articles. Could this be what my mother was trying to hide for some reason? Could this be why she took the elven articles and came to the wilds?
"What prophecy?" the Prince asks.
I am about to answer him but Natasha clears her throat interrupting me. She gives me a look. She's absolutely right. She may have not said it but I knew she was thinking that the prince wasn't exactly the person I needed to be talking to about this.
"A prophecy doesn't matter. What matters is someone has an army of dragons. More dragons than anyone has ever seen. We need to find Raisa and warn the empire," Natasha states, "Tomorrow will be a busy day. Get some rest."
She closes her eyes forcefully making sure we ended the conversation. I look over at Maxim. He's nervous. I can see it in his eyes. The prince didn't know what we were getting ourselves involved in but the rest of us did. Natasha couldn't be sleeping at a time like this. There was no way in hell that it was possible. She had to be faking it.
I watch as Prince Alexander starts away to a nearby rock, "Maxim, baby..."
"Yes?" Maxim asks.
The fact that Maxim answers to the prince calling him that irritated my fucking soul. It was just annoying, to say the least.
"I'm cold," the Prince responds.
Maxim looks at me and then he looks at the prince. I don't know why I'm surprised when he gets up and follows behind the prince. He has to make sure our beloved prince didn't get a little too cold in the wilds. We hadn't prepared to be staying here at night. The extreme weather meant hot days and cold nights. We couldn't let the prince go sick.
I lean up against the rock, finding myself shivering and wondering how pissed off I am about the fact that Maxim is choosing the prince over me. And even with my own personal issues going on I can't help but to really shiver over the fact of seeing all those dragons.
Something was coming. Something horrible.
"You look cold too," a voice states, "Come here."
I turn and notice that Maxim is back. I'm almost shocked.
"Uh...the prince..." I point out.
"I gave him my shawl," he responds, pulling me in between his legs and dropping his chin over my shoulders. He wraps his arms around me fully giving me all of his body heat.
It has to be the sweetest thing that anyone's ever done for me. I'm sitting there nestled in his arms and I feel almost confused by all of this. In this distance, I can tell that I'm not the only one confused. The prince has retreated to his rock, alone, with Maxim's shawl. He has a look in his eyes. He's away from us quite a distance but I can still see that he sees that Maxim has come over here and literally was cuddled up with me.
"He's a prince," is all I manage to say.
"He's a prince."
"What's that have to do with anything?" Maxim asks me.
I shrug, "Alexander clearly likes you. He doesn't have a dragon. Your dragon doesn't care. You can be with him if you wanted to. Plus let's be honest. He's a prince. He's handsome, more handsome than me----"
"Whoa, I never said that."
"You didn't have to. It's the truth. I don't take it personally, believe me. Prince Alexander is more handsome than a lot of guys. You can't deny that" I argue.
Maxim looks at the cold sands of the wilds beneath our feet. They were cool but when you bury your hands it them, they get kind of warm. Right now it looks like he wants to bury his hands in the sand and kind of just pretend like we aren't having this awkward conversation.
Maxim looks over at the prince. He has rolled over and gone to bed. I don't know if he's asleep but he looks like it. He looks like he had somewhat of an attitude before he went to sleep as well. He can't be happy about Maxim over here with me.
"OK, I get it. You think I should return Alexander's affection because of who he is."
"And most importantly because you can be with him. We can't be together," I state, "You do know that."
"I know that more than you do," he grunts, "It's just... It feels so right. Doesn't it? I planned on going over there and cuddling with the prince but I couldn't fake it. Not even for a second. I know where I want to be."
"It'll never happen."
"I know that. I'm sorry," he states, "Should I leave?"
He doesn't leave. He doesn't even budge. Neither do I. It's so awkward. The only thing he does is exhale a little bit and I can almost taste his breath in my lips.
"You're not going to leave, are you?"
"It's hard," he grunts again, "You leave. I won't follow. I promise."
I think about it. I could just as easily slide out from between his legs and go lay somewhere else. I could distance myself from him. Maybe he'd follow, maybe he won't, but it was up to me now to really act on the words that were coming out of my mouth. We couldn't be together. It wasn't right to be together. I knew it and he knew it. We shouldn't have done this. We shouldn't have been laying down in the way that we were.
It was dumb.
it was stupid.
And it was inevitable.
"I can't," I respond.
Silence again. We are both heavy in this moment. Stuck together. Bound almost like the dragons were bound to dragon riders. I was bound to Maxim. And we both knew why it was a bad idea. In the past week alone I'd gone through multiple texts in the Grand Library about why dragon riders should stay completely loyal to their dragons and never stray. I'd read all about the tragedies. Maxim knew about those tragedies even more than I did.
So why were we being so stupid? Why was it so inevitable for me to turn around slowly, look in his eyes longingly. I stare at his lips. He stares at mine. I don't know who makes the first contact but I know when it happens there's nothing but complete sparks between us.
Flames. Fire as hot as any dragon.
We melt together.
Our clothes come off first. At any moment we know that Natasha could wake up. Even worse, the prince could decide he didn't want to be so far away from the rest of us.
We're naked on the dirty sands of the Wilds. The stars in the sky were the only witness to Maxim's naked muscular body coming over me. He grinds me deep with the shaft of his penis. He nibbles on my earlobes and on my neck. He slowly licks the side of my face until he gets to my mouth and puts his tongue in my mouth aggressively.
Then he lifts my legs. I assist him in holding them above my head.
"We should stop," is what he whispers.
It sounds like a passing thought, one that neither of us knows we are going to take seriously.
"Yeah," I respond, just as pointlessly.
His tongue is between my cheeks. His hands grasping at my asshole holding it open. He wets me just enough that he can stick himself inside of me. There underneath the sands, he fucks me silently and there are moments where I let out whimpers so aggressive that I believe I'll wake the dragons. And just when I think he's going to explode in me he stops.
I don't think I am hearing it right. He looks at me longingly though and then I see him turn away from me. He gets on all knees. His asshole perked up towards me. The moon reflects from his muscular ass. His eyes look back at me with such a passion that I think I almost cum from a simple stare. I don't hesitate to mount him, climbing him like I would a horse or better yet like I would a dragon. I go deep in him and feel how tight he is. I feel how he bears his teeth and takes it. He bites his lip so hard that it bleeds when he feels the girth of my dick deep inside of him.
And he allows me to have my way with him for what seems like hours.
Until I cum in him and collapse on top of him.
It's there sleeping inside of him that I almost feel most at home in the Wilds. I know this is my home and this is the warmest homecoming ever.
At first I think it's just a dream but sure enough, it isn't. I don't know why I thought it was going to be easy. I didn't know why I assumed I could just have a crush and have sex and just lay with him. We're still naked when I see the shadow over us. I'm laying on Maxim's chest. My hair is pressed up against his neck. The shadow over us makes a statement not a question.
You didn't. You didn't. You didn't.
It repeats it over and over.
"What baby?" Maxim asks waking up.
The way he holds me and the intimacy in it all just makes it seem as though he is lost in me. He doesn't contemplate that the soul of my dragon could have followed me here. It was forever attached to me in a way.
The Dread is soulless at that moment. All I see is pride and fury. There is a calm rage brewing underneath his eyes as though I was looking in the eye of a storm.
"Tell him I'm going to kill his dragon. Then tell him that I'm coming to find him next..." The Dread states.
It's too late. The Dread isn't hearing me. He's numb. He's about to go in a Dragon Rage. I can feel it deep in my soul. The connection between us is so strong that I can now feel his indignation. There are no more thoughts. The only thing left to the Dread is a bitter frenzy after seeing Maxim and me in the art of lovemaking.
"He's here isn't he?" Maxim asks.
The answer to Maxim's question is a shuddering screech that fills the air. Its far in the distance. It comes from the west where we'd left the dragons in order to search the Wilds on foot. Maybe a few miles away.
Natasha is the one that pops up at that moment. Her eyes red and she's just as shocked as I am. There is no hiding anything. She sees us. She knows what we're up to.
"What was that?"
I look over at Maxim. I feel so guilty. I know what the scream was. The Dread told me what it was.
It was the scream of Maxim's dragon. It was a desperate call of pain. The Dread had attacked Skyscreamer.
"She's hurt. I can feel it," Maxim states grasping onto his chest, "She's dying. Oh god, she's dying."
"Do you hear that?" Natasha asks.
In the distance, sure enough, we hear the stirring of the dragons from around the wilds. The loud deep earthquake seems to rattle the earth all at once. It's so powerful that it seems like the sands are stirring and the kindling of spirits begins all at once.
The dragons were awake.
"You idiots!" Natasha states, "Get your things. We need to take cover!"
We're running. Our legs not being able to really keep up with the rest. Our bodies breathing heavily as our feet are like glue beneath us. We all have the same thought going on. We need to get out of the way before the dragons took flight. We'd be nothing but ash if they saw us. We'd be dead before we knew what hit us.
when I look around and notice something that the others aren't noticing, "The prince. He's gone..."
Prince Alexander had gone. He was nowhere to be seen.
"He went looking for a dragon," Natasha states, "He had to have..."
Idiot! I feel this anger raise up inside of me. I have no way of judging him right now though. What Maxim and I had done was nowhere near smart either.
One thing and one thing only becomes very clear right now.
We needed cover!
We're running. Our legs not able to really keep up with the rest of us. Our bodies breathing heavily as our feet are like glue beneath us. We all have the same thought going on. We need to get out of the way before the dragons took flight. We'd be nothing but ash if they saw us. We'd be dead before we knew what hit us.
We end up in a cave, out of breath and scared by the waking dragons. I look over my shoulder at the others. Natasha's face says it all. She's pissed. She's not looking at me though. She's looking at Maxim.
"You should have known better," she states, "Nik is unaware but you know exactly what it could mean to sleep with a dragon rider."
His eyes faint back in his face. She's putting all this on him and it's painful to watch.
"I made my decision too."
"No. It's on me. I made a mistake," he states, "I shouldn't have done it."
Mistake. He calls me: a mistake. I didn't think I cared so much. I mean I knew him but I didn't think this verbal rejection would literally stab me in the hard. I lean up against the side of the cave walls.
I get quiet. I can tell how passionate he was about it too. Tears are filling up his eyes. He's worried about Skyscreamer. He should be. The Dread promised to take revenge on Maxim by killing Maxim's dragon. Now we had wakened up an entire herd of dragons and we were right in the middle of it. We were in the eye of the storm.
"We need to find the Prince," Natasha states, "There have to be tracks out there that we can follow..."
"There are also thousands of dragons out there."
"Like him or not he's the heir to the Dragonov Empire," Maxim immediately states, with this renewed sense of purpose, "We need to find him."
Maxim was being forceful with me. Maybe he was really just so passionate to find the prince or maybe he was trying to make up for his moment of weakness. After all, I was a mistake. I cross my arms at that moment.
"It's a fuckin suicide mission."
"Not if I can distract them," Maxim states.
We both look over at Maxim as though he's lost his mind.
"You want to `distract' a thousand dragons?" I ask.
"It's my fault that the Prince ran away. Most likely he saw me with you. He probably felt some type of way. It's up to me to get him back."
"He's NOT your responsibility!" I rage.
Anger is building up inside of me. Prince Alexander was nothing more than a spoiled brat. Maybe he ran away because he was jealous or maybe he ran away to get a dragon. Either way, he was an idiot enough to run away in the dangerous conditions so he should have faced the consequences. I wasn't willing to risk Maxim over it.
"Yes, he is."
I try to say something; anything, but I can't get it out. Before I say another word he's running outside of the cave. I don't know what direction he's going. I don't know why I feel so hurt and upset. I almost feel like he's choosing the Prince over me.
And as I look out with him running away, I have a feeling...a deep fear inside of me that I may never see Maxim again...
"Keep up," Natasha states.
We make our way to the top of some dunes. Natasha is an expert tracker thankfully. Maybe it's her squire training that made her into one. She has on heavy armor but it doesn't slow her down even a little bit. Not even the hot Wild sun seems to slow her down.
"Do you think Maxim is OK?" I'm asking.
"The Prince is the only thing that matters right now."
Of course. The rest of us were expendable but not the jackass prince. I sigh a little bit not saying anything else. That's when we finally see the Prince in the distance.
"There!" I point.
I try to wave Alexander down but he isn't paying attention to me. I notice him naked in the sand. He's laying on his back. His dick is erect. It's a strange thing to see him just laying there and for a moment it looks like he's almost in pleasure. He seems so removed from the world. No one is with him but I could swear he's having sex.
"He's mating with a dragon..." Natasha states.
"He found one..."
Natasha nods, "Yes."
As we approach the Prince doesn't even budge. Moans are seen. I can almost feel his body reacting to the exposure from some sort of sexual intercourse. It's so strange. I wonder when the Black Dread chose me if I looked anything like that.
"We need to go find Maxim," I state ready to grab him and interrupt whatever the fuck is going on now..."
Natasha reaches over and grabs me, "We shouldn't interrupt him."
"He'll be upset."
Sure enough, it's all about the Prince again. Natasha had been loyal to the empire for way too long. Maxim was out there alone and distracting dangerous dragons for us so that Alexander could have an orgasm? Seriously?
I think it's a bad idea, especially when we both turn away from the prince to give him his privacy and turn right into a dark sky. At first, I think it's some sort of storm cloud.
But there is no storm.
"Something's coming..." I whisper.
"A dragon's coming to Natasha!"
I'd never seen Natasha panic before but right now she is panicking. She looks at the oncoming dragon and then she looks at Prince Alexander. Then she looks at the dragon again.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," she keeps repeating to herself.
I can almost hear the sound of her heart beating through her chest. She can't make the decision. She's scared to death.
I was going to make it.
I rush over to the Prince grabbing him up and pulling him. Whatever invisible dragon soul sex that was going on would have to wait.
"What---what are you doing?" the Prince asks me.
"Get up. We have to get out of here..."
"NO! NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" The Prince repeats more and more angrily, "You scared her away! She ran away!"
I look around. In the distance, sure enough, I do see something that looks like a wild dragon. It's flying away. It must have been the dragon whose soul was attempting to mate with the Prince. The Prince looks over at me and he just has bloodshot eyes. There is hate in his eyes.
"We need to go. I'm trying to save your life."
"Save me from Raisa?" he asks.
At first I'm not sure what he's talking about but then I look in the distance and sure enough, I see her. Raisa herself. She's flying on the back of her dragon, the Spiked One. The dragon lands next to us.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Raisa asks.
"We came looking for you," Natasha responds.
Raisa sighs, "Fools. I came to retrieve the Elven articles."
"Did you get them?" I ask.
She opens them. That's when I see them. The elven articles. The thing that was causing all of this trouble. I reach over to grab them when I see the Prince tackle me to the ground. There is so much anger in his eyes.
"YOU SCARED HER AWAY! YOU SCARED HER AWAY!"
The prince has completely lost it. All he sees is red. He's so mad I interrupted the dragon mating ceremony that would attach him to his own personal dragon that he's turned to attack me. He attempts to wrestle me on the ground but I manage to get the upper hand. I had no idea I knew how to do it, especially when I sweep the Prince swiftly to the ground without little of any effort.
I guess Raisa was right about learning how to protect yourself.
That's when I feel something hit me hard on the back of my head.
I fall to the ground.
When I try to turn I feel a halberd pointed at me. It's Raisa. She is trying to kill me. I'm so confused.
"I wasn't going to hurt him! He attacked me first. It was self-defense," I plead.
Raisa doesn't move the halberd.
"I don't care about that."
This wasn't about the Prince. There was another reason she was pointing the weapon at me. Something was definitely on her mind and I can see it a mile away.
"Mistress Raisa, what are you doing?" Natasha asks.
Raisa looks like she was seconds away from killing me. The look in the Prince's eyes makes me think he hopes that she does it. If this wasn't about protecting the prince then why was she doing this? Why was she about to cut my fucking head off.
"I read the elven articles," Raisa states.
"I know why your mother took them and came here. I know why she left the Dragonov Empire. She was keeping a secret about what the prophecy was."
"What is it?"
"The prophecy that your mother was trying to hide was that her son, a survivor of the Wilds, would awaken the Great Immortal Dragon and lead its army of dragons to destroy the world of man."
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