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[h3 [center Lamonor]]
The draconic male remained standing in place with his clawed hand outstretched. His cold eyes stared straight towards her, as if looking right into the girl's soul. The gem in his forehead seemingly shimmered, but black hair soon fell, covering it once again.
Lamonor's tail slowly swayed one way, then the other. He was about ready to release a sight and turn away, when he felt the girl's gentle hand settle into his. Feeling it, the draconic male was extremely careful with his own. His claws lightly wrapped around her own. Lamonor tried to give Alanna a smile, which was hard when in such a nightmarish form and in such a form, he was most often used to a cold, despairing air. It would be so much easier in his normal form, but only the gods knew when he was going to change back.
As Lamonor heard her response, the draconic male suddenly drew her closer to him. Without a second thought, one of his arms moved downwards, lifting her off her feet. He brought her close, carrying the girl bridal style. The dragon's tattered wings unfurled from his back. Lamonor gave them a few flaps, testing, then he suddenly leapt upwards. His wings beat the air, quickly lifting him in the sky. Despite their battered appearance, his wings were still in usable condition.
The dragon was soon flying across the dark sky. He didn't look down as he carried Alanna close to his body. Lamonor was quiet for a bit, then suddenly spoke.
[b [i "I apologize if this isn't your ideal way back home, but I'm sure it is easier than walking all the way back, especially at night when there are usually worse things lurking in the dark."]]
Lamonor seemingly glanced down towards her. The moonlight glimmered against his gem, the air blowing back his black hair. His eyes seemingly glowed in the darkness. The black scales contrasting against his pale skin.
It was quite the distance to travel back to the castle. Even if the horse hadn't run off during the entire fight with Rhath, it wouldn't have been of any use in the dark. Riding a horse was an extremely dangerous thing to do, even for an experienced rider; Alanna had experience, but she had never ridden in the dark.
Without a horse, she could either walk or find a place to hunker down for the night. Both of these options weren't good.
Walking home in the dark was generally a bad idea, especially now that she knew of the existence of dangerous creatures such as Rhath. It would be so easy for any creature to snatch her midroad and kill her. Also, Alanna figured he wouldn't be able to walk the distance back home, or even going in the right direction.
As to hunkering down for the night, it was in some ways a better idea than trying to walk home. But that meant that she'd have to find a way back the next day. That amount of time would make her parents more, a completely unintended consequence of today's adventures.
Lamonor approached, litterally, with an offer. He offered to carry her back home in what he called his humanoid form, all these different forms were still confusing to Alanna. This offer offered a way out of her interesting position. It allowed her to still get back home today, if today hadn't ended yet, and calm down her parents.
Putting her hand in Lamonor's clawed hand, [+purple "I agree"], and said with a graceful smile.
[h3 [center Lamonor]]
Lamonor simply observed the girl. He could tell she was trying to comprehend it, or he just simply had a feeling. Well, the dragon couldn't really blame her. To suddenly be thrown into the fray with little to no knowledge was bound to leave anyone flustered.
The male approached her very slowly. His long tail trailed behind him as he moved. The dragon's tattered wings unfolded from his back, flaring out behind him. his movement caused the air to blow back his long bangs, revealing the grayish gemstone embedded in his forehead, keeping it even while in human/humanoid form.
Lamonor soon stood before Alanna, easily towering over her a few feet. The male suddenly gave a small bow, then straightening again. The dragon stretched out a scaly clawed hand towards the girl. Once again, his features were completely expressionless.
[b [i "If I may Miss Alanna, I shall carry you back in my humanoid form. I will be less likely to be seen, as well as not to frighten you in my true form since I am still unfortunately in my nightmare form. It can be such a pain."]]
The male remained standing before her, claw outstretched to her should she choose to let him carry her. If not, guess he'd have to try and find another way. Though the dragon was hoping she would take his offer. He really didn't want to have to show his true form in nightmare mode.
If it wasn't for something glinting on Lamonor's head, most likely the gemstone, Alanna wouldn't have been able to spot him in the darkness. The sun had set sufficiently enough for a light darkness to start covering the world, and with it came the pre-chills of the night.
And yes, Yeseo had mentioned her brother Cernos. Just the mention of Rhath had sent Yeseo on a very emotional roller coaster through which Yeseo had to take time off to recover from it.
Another piece of a puzzle which Alanna had no clue about. All this information, Cernos living among humans to study them for example, didn't really make sense by themselves, made a bit of sense if paired with other information, but would only really make sense when pieced together with all the other bits of information.
Until then, Alanna would have no idea how the puzzle even partially looked like.
And yes, it was getting late which meant time to be getting home. Her parents had probably gotten extremely worried about her while she had been out here this whole time, not even thinking about her parents while fightning a hellbeast, learning that dragons did indeed exist, learning that dragons could switch between their dragon and human forms, being healed by a herbalist dragonelle, all the while staying out later then she had ever been out before.
[+purple "Yea.... I suppose that's right. My parents are going to be extremely worried."]
[h3 [center Lamonor]]
The male's face was completely expressionless. His hair seemingly moved ever so slightly as a slight breeze swept through the area. A sliver of a gleam was seen as the gemstone glimmered ever so slightly beneath the mass of black hair. His long tail was curled on the ground behind him, the tip twitching ever so slightly.
[b [i "Yeseo, despite being the runt, really does try her best. In all honesty, I feel she outshines her other siblings. Oh, she more than likely mentioned her one brother, Cernos."]]
Lamonor's arms moved, coming to cross in front of his chest. Though there was still no sign of expression whatsoever on his features. His tattered black wings seemingly twitched behind him, but remained mostly folded, as best they could, against his back.
[b [i "Not many are sure what happened to him. Though he always had a fondness for humans. Cernos often lived among them, studying them,"]] he said. Though, the way Lamonor spoke, it was as if he knew this 'Cernos', probably knew more than he was letting on really. But it was difficult to tell.
[b [i "Rhath is a cruel, bloodthirsty hellbeast. You more than likely heard a great deal about him. Either way, I suppose we should get you back to your home Miss Alanna."]]
A single question, that had been Xanthos' answer. A single question, nothing more and nothing less. Alanna did not answer the question, maintaining a silence which answered yes.
The silence, it continued to drag on, was interrupted by a soft breeze. It lazily moved through some trees, a quiet swish as the tree branches bent with the wind.
But Xanthos still did not answer. But looking up at him, Alanna noticed he was thinking something. Or so she thought.
What surprised Alanna was that even though it had been cold, the air around Xanthos began to warm up. Not only that, his voice also deepened as he said his final say on this subject.
Even with Xanthos' wisdom, it seemed that he also didn't know the answer to her question. It sounded somewhat similar to what Lamonor had said to her, especially that last bit about "in due time".
For some reason, the fact that Xanthos had turned into a dragon hadn't thrown her off not a single bit. It seemed she was slowly becoming used to this crazy world of dragons.
With nothing else to keep her waiting, Alanna stepped forwards and walked to Lamonor.
She ran into Lamonor at the spot where he had left himself. Alanna could not understand whether he was concerned or not; she decided that he was being concerned, and that his current form did not allow him to speak with emotion.
[+purple "Everything went well with me. As to Yeseo, apperently there is quite the history there, and quite the history as it concerns Rhath."]
[h3 [center Xanthos]]
The male had his hands in his pockets as he continued along. His boots made a soft echo as he walked, tail trailing behind him.
As he came to the main cavern, Xanthos' yellow eyes wandered towards the tunnel nearby. His gaze narrowed, glowing ever so slightly in dimness of the cave. He remained still for several moments, as if listening intently for something. Though, once seeming satisfied, did Xanthos start to move again.
His eyes shifted to the side as he noticed Alanna soon catch up, walking in pace with him. Xanthos was quiet, other than the echo from their feet treading on stone. Though the girl soon broke the silence, asking him a question. He listened, raising an eyebrow.
[#b22222 "So you felt 'something' huh?"]
It wasn't long before the outside world once again greeted them. Xanthos continued along, though soon came to stop once seemingly a decent distance from the rocks where Yeseo called home. A soft breeze started to blow through. The area around Xanthos seemed grow hotter. The male's yellow eyes started to glow brightly.
His gaze wandered back to the girl. As Xanthos spoke, his voice deepened, sounding nothing like before.
[#b22222 "Unfortunately, there is little I can offer to answer your question. However, perhaps in due time you will learn what it is that has 'awakened' within you."]
The male's form suddenly burst into flames, growing even larger. Moments passed, and the flames died down, revealing a massive red dragon. Xanthos now stood in his full glory, his size making it clear why he had shifted to his human form in order to just fit inside Yeseo's cave. The beast's head turned, showing exposed bone, a tattered griff with boney spines. Smoke escaped his nostrils, yellow eyes glowing brightly now. His wings unfolded from his sides, flapping a few times, stretching.
[#b22222 "Farewell human."]
Then without another word, the red dragon sprung upwards. Powerful wings beat the air, thrusting him into the sky. He circled once, then took off, soon becoming nothing more than a speck in the sky.
[h3 [center Lamonor]]
He hadn't moved a muscle. Tattered black wings folded back, revealing Lamonor, still in his nightmare form. Cold eyes turned, looking towards Alanna as she approached. His tail uncurled from around the rock he was sitting upon. Slowly he stood, his wings folding against his back.
[b [i "It is good to see that Yeseo still excels at her craft."]]
Lamonor tried to put some emotion in his voice, but it was honestly difficult to tell. He could be sincerely concerned, but the tone of his voice didn't sound as such.
[b [i "I hope you were treated well?"]]
At least there was one thing that both of them could wholeheartedly agree upon, that there were too many bloody mysteries.
During this whole time, she had completely forgot that someone had existed; Alanna had completely forgot about Lamonor. That wasn't the best way to treat someone who had rescued you from life threatening situation,and then had pointed to a place where there was someone who could heal the wounds inflicted in the fight.
Yes, Xanthos was right. It would be best that she returned quickly, for the night sometimes held even worse surprises than the day.
But as she began to follow Xanthos out of the cave, Alanna was still bothered by that one question that she had asked Lamonor. Would Xanthos have a better answer?
Unless she asked now, she would never find out.
Alanna ran up to Xanthos, walking besides him for a few seconds in silence before asking what was on her mind. [+purple "When Lamonor and I, Lamonor doing most of the fightning, were fighting, I felt something awake inside me.. I know it probably sounds crazy, but considering all the crazy things I've seen it and felt today, but it's something I have never felt before.. I was wondering if you could offer any insight."]
And after receiving Xanthos' answer, Alanna walked off to where Lamonor had been waiting this entire time for her. Alanna hadn't forgotten to of course say her goodbye and thanks to Xanthos.
[h3 [center Xanthos]]
Xanthos seemingly gave a half-hearted chuckle. His tail slowly swayed one way, then the other. The male's eyes remained a dull yellow, pupils mostly round in a calm state.
[#b22222 "Too many mysterious if you ask me."]
He partially turned his head, eyes gazing towards the girl. A forked tongue slipped out of his mouth, testing the air. Xanthos' pupils seemed to narrow, if only for a second, before becoming more round once again. He sensed that something was either bothering the girl, or perhaps personal thoughts of her own which had surfaced in her mind. Either way, it was none of his business.
So, Xanthos rolled his shoulders back, yellow eyes shifting back to the tunnel. The tall male started to move, walking past Alanna. Though, he paused, glancing back towards her.
[#b22222 "It is getting late in the day. Night will soon come. It would be best if you returned to your home human. I'm sure Lamonor is still patiently waiting for you nearby somewhere."]
Then once again Xanthos started to walk. His red tail trailed behind him as he slowly made his way to the exit.
This little exchange had a big impact. Yeseo had calmed down enough, or so Alanna thought, to turn back into her human with a tail form.
But even though Yeseo had calmed down, she had not calmed down all the way. Her tail was still tucked in between her legs, her eyes began to sparkle a bit which meant tears would soon fall, and she kept biting her lips.
Oh great, not again. As soon as one thing happened, the after affects was more unknown knowledge. Now Yeseo told about her brother who had mysteriously disappeared. From one unknown to the next, how many more unknowns would she be running into today?
It's not that Alanna did not feel sorry for Yeseo. Alanna understood the pain of losing someone close to you, especially if the one was a family member. It's just in one day she had run into so many mysterious unknowns than she had in the past few years.
Xanthos walked up to Yeseo, and allowed her to cry into him. Alanna could only stand there and watch as Yeseo trembled and cried into Xanthos. It made her feel uncomfortable, as if she were watching something which she was not supposed to see.
And then Xanthos led Yeseo away before returning shortly.
Alanna listened to Xanthos, that's all she could do really. Listen and learn that Yeseo's brother was Cernos who had disappeared and never returned, and that Xanthos was afraid to tell Yeseo that Cernos might as well be dead.
[+purple "From one mysterious thing to the next... Never would have believed there would be so many mysteries.."] Alanna did have a personal mystery, but she didn't feel quite comfortable telling it to Xanthos, even though in her eyes it was possible to see she was mulling over her personal mystery.
[h3 [center Yeseo & Xanthos]]
The dragonelle's copper eyes remained fixated on the girl as she released her hold, backing away. Yeseo sat in place, then her form shimmered, shrinking downwards. Once again, she stood in her human form, tail tucked between her legs, copper eyes swirling to grayish blue, pupils round.
The short woman was seemingly biting her lip. Her round eyes shined, as if she was trying to keep from letting the tears she feared were going to fall.
[#4682b4 "M-My eldest b-b-brother often said t-the same thing to m-m-me...he w-was really the only o-o-one to a-actually care...about m-me..."]
Yeseo raised a hand upwards, wiping away the wetness from her eyes. She seemingly made a soft sound, but it was difficult to tell. It was almost like a sad whimper.
[#4682b4 "I-I-I wish...w-w-wish I knew where he went...I..."]
[#b22222 "Enough Yeseo,"] his voice suddenly cut through. Xanthos' voice was stern, but seemed to also hold concern.
He started to approach, easily towering over both the females. The red-haired male soon stood behind Yeseo. Xanthos lightly wrapped his arms around her.
Seemingly unable to contain it any longer, Yeseo turned around, burying her face into the male's chest. Her body was trembling uncontrollably as she sobbed quietly into Xanthos' body.
As for Xanthos, he seemingly sighed softly. He held the woman close to his body, then suddenly lifted her off the ground. His voice was quiet as Yeseo remained with her head buried.
[#b22222 "C'mon, you've had a long day and your tired."]
The red-haired male then disappeared, tail trailing behind him. He was gone for several moments, but soon returned to where Alanna still stood. Xanthos sighed again, reaching a hand backwards, rubbing the back of his neck.
[#b22222 "Poor thing always gets so emotional when it comes to her one brother. Yeseo and him were pretty close, since Cernos was the one to protect her. Whatever happened to him, no one really knows..."]
Xanthos' dull yellow eyes stared at a stone wall. His tail slowly swayed one way, then the other, [#b22222 "She keeps hoping he'll return...but all honesty, I think Cernos is dead...yet I cannot even think of telling her it, since no one actually knows where or what happened to him..."]
Alanna knew that her gesture had surprised Yeseo. Yeseo hadn't even attempted to hide the body going somewhat rigid, or the words that came stuttering out.
But then Yeseo relaxed. Her whole body went from being rigid, to being completely relaxed. This was good, since it meant that Yeseo at least somewhat appreciated this gesture.
Alanna made sure not to hug too tightly. She did not want to seem overbearing by accidentally choking her, which might have also triggered a responce from Xanthos since he was very protective of Yeseo.
Yeseo spoke up again, less shaky then before but still a light stutter persisting through the sentence. All this 'runt' calling ticked off Alanna, since the sole reason for this name calling was because of Yeseo's size difference to the rest of the dragons.
Carefully unwrapping her arms from around Yeseo, Alanna stepped back and met Yeseo's gaze. [+purple "For one, I don't think you are a runt. Sure, the rest of the dragons might call you a runt because of a physical size difference. But the impact you make as a per... I mean dragon, is bigger than they know."]
[h3 [center Yeseo & Xanthos]]
Yeseo's body had trembled now and then, even as she sat. Her once grayish blue eyes were completely copper. The dragonelle found herself shifting her paws nervously as she waited for the answer, a soft rumble coming from her.
Though, the dragonelle was most certainly not expecting the sudden gesture. At first, her body went rigid as Alanna's arms wrapped around her neck.
[#4682b4 "W-w-what are y-you doing? I-I-I..."]
Yeseo seemed to be at a loss of words. Though as a few moments passed, her once stiff body seemed to eventually relax. The gray dragonelle's stammering trailed off as the girl held her in the light embrace around her neck.
Xanthos made not a sound. He seemingly glanced over out of the corner of his eye, but made no movement whatsoever. The male's tail seemingly twitched a bit, but that was the only sign of moving.
Yeseo seemed to have found her voice again, her voice still a bit shaky, [#4682b4 "W-why? I-I-I don't understand...I-I'm just a-a-a runt..."]
Xanthos seemingly made a snort at Yeseo's comment, but still said nothing. His yellow eyes locked onto the dragonelle's becoming a gentle, soft glow for several moments, then returning to the cold glare of earlier, looking in a different direction.
The grayish dragonelle noticed his look, but her gaze remained mostly on Alanna. Yeseo didn't make any movement, being extremely careful. It seemed, even though despite her small stature, she was worried about making one wrong move or step and hurting the one she had just helped.
There was one reason and one reason only why shy had asked that question. Alanna was truly ignorant to the whole situation, and all she wanted were answers to fill her ignorance upon the situation.
But the laugh that came out of Xanthos, did not make her feel as is was seeking answers. Instead, it made Alanna feel as if she were asking a completely stupid question. It was awkward to sit through Xanthos' long, and what felt to Alanna as a mocking laughter.
Even before Xanthos had stopped laughing, Alanna had partially curled up. She had tucked her chin, hugged herself, and partially tucked her legs into a sort of makeshift tail.
To be honest, she did not know what had been tried. She had only run into this hellbeast Rhath this day, and there had been no history talk. Instead there had been a fight, where there had been near killings.
And what the news seem all for the better, was that this Rhath was "nearly impenetrable". All manners of things had been tried, and not a single thing had worked.
Now that there was this piece, Alanna thought she could answer the puzzle of why Lamonor had stopped her; no sword would ever be able to penetrate Rhath's "nearly impenetrable hide".
And then there was the sound of constant clicking. Alanna turned around, curious as to what the source of those clicking sounds were.
What emerged was Yeseo, although in a somewhat different form. It wasn't a slightly different form, it was Yeseo in her dragon form. And even if she was small for a dragon, to Alanna Yeseo still seemed much much bigger.
Yeseo had no need to apologize, but the name Rhath had evidently spooked her beyond measure.
How much of a cruel person one was when even just the utterance of their name sent someone into some horror world inside their head.
Alanna did not answer Yeseo's question. Instead, Alanna's eyes wandered to Yeseo's face, and gazed at it. And even though the face was a draconic one, Alanna could still see the frown as well as a well of other emotions.
ANd then looking into Yeseo's eyes, Alanna felt something. As if a string instrument was being slowly strung.
Alanna found herself walking up to Yeseo, and hugging her.
[h3 [center Yeseo & Xanthos]]
A sudden snort came from Xanthos. The snort soon turned into a chuckle, then full-on laughter. His tail uncurled from the leg of the chair, swaying left and right in rapid movements. The male's laughter lasted for a minute or so before quieting down to a snicker.
His yellow eyes landed on Alanna, a grin on his face, appearing even more so strange with his exposed jaws and fangs which gave no expression. So it appeared that only half of his face was able to show the grin.
His lashing tail slowed down to a twitch now and then. Xanthos' arms moved, crossing his chest. The male soon replied to her questions.
[#b22222 "Don't you think we have tried? You think we've just been sitting back on our asses while that hellbeast goes around killing smaller dragons, destroying nests of old and new dragonelles? Trust me, we have, and not everyone has come back from their encounter with Rhath. The few who did, well, they all say the same thing; [i 'Nearly impenetrable hide...resistant to our breath...'], and so on..."]
Xanthos sighed, the smile disappearing. A small stream of smoke escaped his mouth, eyes closing. He opened dull yellow eyes again. The male stared directly towards the rock floor. His tail ceased its movements, coming to a stand-still.
[#b22222 "The most we've done is give him some twisted enjoyment at our suffering..."]
The sudden sound of movement and claws clicking on rock came from the tunnel leading into the cavern. Soon, a gray, scaly head appeared. A frown appeared on the dragonelle's muzzle as she looked towards Alanna.
[#4682b4 "S-s-sorry you have t-to see me l-l-like this...I-I-I know I shouldn't b-be...b-b-but you can kinda s-see why I don't r-really fit in..."]
The dragonelle soon fully entered. Yeseo was indeed quite small compared to most dragons. Though, still a decent size when compared to a human. Yeseo came around, sitting down on her haunches nearby the girl. The frown still remained on the beast's muzzle.
[#4682b4 "A-are you feeling a-a-alright? Your w-wounds feel b-b-better?"]
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