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Introduction:

Blue and the Grand Meister
With a rampaging dragon tearing up downtown and trying to eat Areth, Lyden rushes to the rescue. Unfortunately he’s still extremely weak from healing Captain Richard Jewkes’s officer, and even Becky and Lisa are exhausted from the effort. How will Lyden surpass this challenge?

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Chapter 26
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Blue and the Grand Meister

I waste no time in running for the elevator, wishing I had the strength left in me to super speed. Healing Johnathan took almost everything I have. I almost knock over the doctors as they rush into the newly restored man’s room.

“Lyden, what are you going to do?” Brooke asks me as she catches me before I tip over from dodging the doctors. “You’re too weak to stand up to that beast! Hell, you’re barely able to stand at all.” I spare a glance back at the mermaid, and see that Becky and Lisa are groggily trying to follow us. Because I’m not looking, I slam into something soft and go down hard. I don’t worry about the doctor I just bowled into as I regain my feet, rushing for the elevator.

The image of Areth frantically dodging the dragon’s attacks flits through my mind, and my resolve doubles. “I don’t know,” I tell her, “but I can’t just leave her out there!”

By the sounds of the footsteps behind me, Becky, Lisa, and Jewkes are hot on our heels. I feel sorry for Becky and Lisa, knowing they haven’t gotten nearly enough rest, after the energy they gave me to heal the wounded officer.

Reaching the elevator, I frantically mash on the down arrow, willing the conveyance to go faster. I can’t help but wonder if the stairs would have been faster, I’m so impatient. Of course, I really don’t have the energy right now for that, anyway.

“Lyden, listen to me,” Brooke’s voice is pleading now. “I once saw over seventy five of my people take on a water dragon. When it was over, only two lived. They’re not something you can take on alone.”

The doors open and I freeze in shock, not at the mermaid’s words, but at the sight of the woman in the square box.

My hesitation costs us, as the very plain looking Miranda Olsen whips out her pistol, and points it at my chest. “Get in,” she states, twisting the wrist with the weapon in it to emphasize her point, “all of you.”

“I don’t have time for this,” I mutter, but I see her eyes narrow, and her hand tighten on the pistol’s grip. She looks over my shoulder for just a moment as more doctors go rushing down the hallway we’d just come from, but it’s not enough to give me an opening. I do as she says.

The doors close behind us, and I realize just how crowded this elevator is. The barrel presses against my chest, and I know I don’t have the energy or the skills to dodge this bullet.

“What are you doing here, Miranda?” Jewkes asks, and I notice he’s dropped the honorific ‘Agent’.

“I had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to resist killing off the other agent that entered the house,” she says through gritted teeth, but I can still hear the anger and loathing behind it. “I should just kill you right here and now, but my superiors want to talk with you first, and trying to explain your death in here would be too much hassle and paperwork.”

I can feel Lisa tense on my right at the same moment Brooke moves on my left. Their actions are quick and fast, as the martial artist strikes the gun holding hand up, and Brooke drops to kick our antagonist’s feet out from underneath her.

The pistol goes off, and sparks fly as one of the lights extinguishes. There is a short scuffle in the small room, and I have just enough energy to get jostled around as the Lisa, Brooke, and Richard subdue the mad agent just in time for the doors to open.

“I don’t know how you managed to escape last time, or make all the evidence disappear,” Captain Jewkes says as he cuffs her hands behind her back, “but this time you’re not getting away.”

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with,” Miranda screams, and then spits on me. Luckily her aim is terrible, and her saliva lands on my shirt instead of my face. “He’s a monster. He should be put down like the beast he is! My superiors will never stand for this.”

“Come on, let’s go,” he says, ignoring her comment and shoving her towards the exit while giving her, her Miranda rights. We get a few odd stares, but no one questions the sight of an officer in uniform arresting a yelling and screaming lady.

Once in my car, Richard pulls out another set of cuffs, and uses them to secure her to the bottom of one of the benches in the Orange Bubble.

“We don’t have time to take her to the station,” I tell the older man, wearily.

“I’m not taking her there again,” the hook-nosed man replies evenly. “Someone high up let her go last time. I’m not willing to let that happen again.”

I can already feel my car in motion, as I plop down on the soft bed in the back. Maybe I have enough time to take a quick nap, I’m so tired.

Hands fumbling at my pants brings my head up slightly, and I see Brooke’s determined sea green eyes looking back at me. “If you won’t listen to reason, and wait until you have enough energy, then I’m just going to have to give you some,” she states testily.

“Um, what about. . . .” I trail off as I nod to Jewkes and Miranda. Considering the fun earlier today, I know she’s not concerned about Lisa and Becky.

Her cheeks go bright red, but I see her resolve strengthen before she answers. “They can watch if they want to. I’m not willing to lose you, because I was too shy.”

“We’ll help, too,” Lisa says, coming over to the bed.

“No,” Brooke states firmly as she pulls my pants down and off. “You’re both too weak to give much after helping that other officer.” Despite the redhead’s hands frantically working my cock, I’m not getting very stiff. The mood just isn’t right for this sort of thing, and having Richard Jewkes and Miranda Olsen both staring wide-eyed at us doesn’t help. “Come on,” Brooke pleads with my flesh between her fingers. “We don’t have much time.”

I watch as her cheeks go red, and a moment later she turns back to my other two women. “I guess I’ll need your help after all. Get undressed,” she orders them, then stands and does the same. Richard’s eyes nearly bulge out of his head as all three women strip without any modesty. “Don’t touch him,” she continues to give commands to Becky and Lisa, “I don’t want you getting too drained, but do what you can to turn him on.”

“This is disgusting and vile!” Miranda spits venomously, but as the brunette and dirty blonde crawl onto the bed on either side of my head and start rubbing their crotches next to me, I finally begin to stir down south. A moment later when I feel Brooke’s warm wet mouth encompass the head of my penis, that stirring becomes a storm. It only takes a few seconds before she’s deep throating my conforming length, and she wastes no time in lubing me up with her saliva.

“This should be hard enough, now,” she murmurs, looking me in the eyes again. Lifting her body up, I can’t help but admire her sleek form as she straddles my hips, reaches down to aim my tool, then impales herself on me in one quick motion. “Sorry there’s no time for foreplay, ungh,” she grunts as she lifts herself back up, and lets her slight weight bring her back down, “but we need to hurry.”

I nod that I agree, and can see that Lisa has two fingers in her coochy, while Becky is still rubbing her clitoris and tweaking the overlarge nipple on her right breast. Surprisingly I see Richard has his cock out, and is stroking it in time to Brooke’s movements. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but decide to worry on it another time. I’m more surprised by the look on Miranda’s face, a cross between disgust, hatred, nausea, longing, and lust. It would be comical, if the situation weren’t so serious.

And pleasurable.

“She’s taking the whole thing. . . .” I can barely hear the captured agent mutter in awe.

Looking back to my current lover, I know I need to get her off fast, and lean up to grab the back of her neck, and pull her down into a passionate kiss. Her tongue darts into my mouth with force, and I drop my left hand to her right tiny nipple, thumbing it, and making her moan into my mouth. Her vagina feels fantastic as it slides up and down my length, and I move my hips in time with hers, trying to bring her closer to the edge.

“You can’t cum,” she whispers into my ear, breaking the kiss. A moment later she grabs my head and guides it to her left breast, and I latch on hungrily. I understand what she’s telling me. This is a time where I have to take, and give nothing back.

Well, not entirely nothing, I think, and concentrate on her pleasure, trying to drive it even higher. “Oh, Lyden, ungh, you shouldn’t be doing that!” she moans above me, and I feel a slight dip in my already slackened reserves, but don’t let up. “Oh, oh, oh, I’m . . . Ungh, I . . .” Her pussy clamps down on my phallus and I feel her energy flow into me, rejuvenating my limbs. The exertions of healing Johnathan Stokes aren’t entirely washed away, but I no longer feel like I need a weeklong nap.

Releasing her small breast from my mouth, I see that one side of me is vacated, and I roll Brooke over so that I’m on top. Looking down at the gorgeous woman, I can see that her chest is flushed, and her breathing labored. A slight sheen of sweat beads her brow, and her hair is still a mess from earlier, but she is still one of the most beautiful creatures in the world to me.

“I love you,” I state, then drop my mouth back down to hers, and piston my hips back and forth, driving myself into her as deeply and powerfully as I can. From the way her fingernails dig into my back, I suspect she’s still sensitive from her last orgasm, but I don’t let up.

A dual-toned moan on my left makes me look in that direction, and I see that Becky and Lisa are locked in a passionate kiss, their legs scissored together, hips moving against one another. I have to look away, too turned on by the sight, and concentrate on getting Brooke off again.

I almost lose it when I feel the two loving women’s orgasmic power flow into me, weakened without actual physical contact. A grunt from Jewkes, and a bit more strength, tells me Jewkes is blowing his load, allowing me to bring myself back under control. Never thought I’d get this type of help from him, much less any man.

Just in time as I sense the Orange Bubble come to a stop, and Brooke cries out wordlessly, soaking my crotch and the bed at the same time.

I have to use the mental image of Areth in trouble to goad myself into pulling out of the mermaid with a wet squelching sound, and redress to the sound of Miranda calling us all disgusting perverts. Despite the mood I’d been in when I’d gotten into the car, I have to painfully stuff my sloppy but stiff prick into my pants, before rushing out the door to see where we’re at. There will be plenty of time for hygiene later. At least, there’d better be plenty of time!

Two blocks away I can hear screaming and the sound of destruction. “Get back in the car,” I tell whoever had stepped out behind me. “Be ready to get us at a moment’s notice.”

“You’re really going to fight that thing?” Jewkes asks me.

“Are you crazy?” I ask, but don’t wait for a response before tearing off down the street in the direction of the noise. I don’t use my super speed, though everything in me cries out that I should. I’m going to need all the energy I’ve got to get away from the dragon once I’ve safely nabbed the troublesome little fairy.

“What can you tell me about dragons?” I ask the sword on my left hip.

Some of them are intelligent, and some are barely more than mindless beasts. Their scales are almost impenetrable, no matter their intelligence. The assassin is correct, however, in that you shouldn’t try to take this one on. Shemhazau’s voice in my head informs me.

“Does its color mean anything?” I seem to remember in some novels that color depicted a dragon’s abilities.

No. Color is no more important than skin color is in a human. Abilities come from within, not without.

There’s no more time for conversation, as the dragon comes into view, its large light blue body chasing after a small golden speck.

I use my super speed now, moving to Areth’s side and grabbing her out of the air.

“About time you showed up,” she pants, and I can tell she’s almost out of endurance. “A couple more minutes, and I would have had to take care of the thing myself.”

An anger-filled growl behind me spurs me up into super speed again.

“Dodge left,” I hear the small woman in my hand yell. I move without thinking. And almost get singed by a gout of flame for my trouble. “I meant my left, dolt!” If I hadn’t been on super speed, I’d be extra crispy right now.

“Well, how was I—“ I cut myself off as I hear the dragon sucking in to attempt another attack. Placing the fairy on my shoulder, I scream, “Hold on!” Shoving hard off the ground, I launch into the air in time to feel a heat wave blast beneath me. Windows on the buildings next to us zip by as the force of my jump propels us higher and higher.

“Brilliant!” Areth titters next to me, her hands tightly holding onto my dark hair. “But how are you going to land?”

Smiling, I call forth my wings, the pain of them ripping through my back and shirt minimal compared to what landing without them would feel like. I also note that the energy required to summon the brown leathery extensions is less than in the past.

“Um, the dragon is still coming to eat you,” Areth announces, and I look back to see that the beast has taken to the air behind us.

Well, that didn’t work out as planned.

“Fly!” the pixie screams, taking to the air and tugging on the remains of my shirt.

“I can’t!” I yell, desperately flapping my too-large wings and spinning us both about.

“What kind of—“ Areth shakes her head as I right myself and begin to fall back towards the monster below us. “We’re dead.”

Not if I can help it, I think, as I see the blue dragon’s toothy maw open up, easily large enough to swallow us whole. I just hope I have enough energy in me for this.

Closing my eyes tight, I concentrate on what I want to accomplish, and feel my body conforming to the image.

A surprised squeal sounds below me and I open my eyes in time to see the blue dragon frantically trying to get away from my plummeting bulk. Spreading wings that are no longer too large for my dragon’s body, I’m able to guide our descent.

I spy a park off to my right, and carefully turn in that direction.

“Where am I, and why can’t I control what I’m doing?” Areth’s voice seems to speak directly into my mind, and I look around for her, but can’t see her. I do, however, notice something that makes my blood run cold.

The only other time I’ve transformed into a dragon, I was brown, similar to the color of my hair and wings. I’m still brown, but now there is an unmistakable hint of gold to my scales.

“What the heck?” I ask no one in particular as my hands—paws? Talons?—touch the rich grass of the park. Speaking of which, the long talons on each finger are striated with shiny chrome and dark ebony colors. “What the heck?” I ask again, glad I’d formed a human tongue, and not the dragon’s usual forked one.

When you change shape, you use what’s around you, my father’s voice says. The mass has to come from somewhere. Thus far, you’ve been using what matter is in the air around you. You probably didn’t notice, but there was a small shockwave when you changed, as air and other particle rushed towards you.

“Shemhazau?” Areth asks in my mind. “Is that you?”

“But my clothes didn’t transform last time!” I protest, remembering how I’d woken up naked, and afraid I’ve lost both the fairy and my father in my ignorance.

Did you concentrate on your clothes being there when you changed back?

Thinking back, I realize that I hadn’t been conscious when I’d changed back. I’d better not take a nap before transforming back to my real form, I think.

The ground shuddering reminds me that I’m not out of danger yet.

The blue dragon looks at me speculatively, and I know he’s trying to evaluate the change in me. Hopefully he’ll decide I’m too much trouble and retreat.

“That’s a female,” Areth tells me, “and from the looks of things, she’s interested in you.”

“Interested?” I ask. “As in. . . .”

“She wants to mate,” comes the all too happy reply. “She wants to do perverted thing with you!”

But I’m obviously not a dragon. Well, that’s better than fighting, at least.

Not really, my father dashes my hopes. She doesn’t look like the intelligent kind, and their mating habits are a lot more violent than the smart ones.

Remembering how violent TanaVesta could be, I shuddered. This really wasn’t turning out like the rescue I’d hoped it would be.

“Is there any way to convince her I’m not a good mate?” I ask, hoping to avoid fighting this monster.

Dragons respect strength. If you let her kill you, she won’t be interested. But I don’t think that’s a good plan to follow.

I can’t help but agree. So, it’s either play her game and fight for my life, or rather our lives considering Areth and Shemhazau, or try running again.

I’m sick of running.

Be very careful of using your claws. I don’t know what might happen.

The female dragon lunges forward at the same time I do, her teeth going for my long throat. Ducking my head just in time, I bring it up hard, slamming a horn on top of my head into her jaw.

The blow does her no harm as she accepts it and moves away for a brief second, before coming back at me, this time standing on her rear legs, fore claws extended. Whipping my body around, I bring my tail to bear and feel it smack satisfyingly against her side.

I realize my mistake too late, as my tail isn’t enough to knock her bulk aside, and now my back is to her. I can feel her talons dig into my sides, my scales barely slowing them.

“Ow, ow, ow,” Areth yells into my brain.

Screaming in pain, I rear up, craning my neck around, and bite one of her legs. My counterattack catches her off-guard, and she disengages before I can really sink my teeth in. Warily we circle each other, and I can hear the sounds of police sirens and choppers flying overhead. We’re going to be on national news after this.

“Then my plan worked,” Areth says, and I’m so shocked that she’d actually intended for something like this to happen, that I miss the blue dragon’s next attack.

Her head bowls into my chest, knocking me onto my back, and I can feel one of my wings get wrenched, as she climbs on top of me and goes for my throat again.

Instinctively I inhale deeply, and bellow at her, flame pouring from my open mouth, and burning my human tongue.

“Ouch, that hurt!” Areth screeches in my mind.

Better not do that again! At least it got her off me. We circle around again, and now I see that cops have the park surrounded, weapons drawn and ready.

The female watches me warily, head low to the ground and tongue snaking out occasionally to taste the air.

Any advice? I ask mentally, my tongue hurting too badly to try to actually speak.

“Don’t die,” Areth responds helpfully.

She’s taken your measure now, son. Her next attack will be in earnest.

No sooner are those words in my mind, than she launches herself at me again. I can hear gunfire, loud pops that almost sound like popcorn popping, and I can feel rounds bouncing harmlessly off my tough hide. Sparks fly from her blue scales as well, as we come together, teeth snapping and claws trying to gain purchase.

Pain flares across my abdomen as she scores a strike. Using my long neck, I get my head behind her, and latch onto one of her wings where it connects to her body.

Suddenly she’s trying to get away from me, but this time my jaws are locked, and I can feel her hot blood begin pouring into my mouth, cooling my scorched tongue. Thankfully I can’t taste it. She darts her head in, snapping only inches from my snout, but somehow I know they’re just feints now. She tries to pull away a couple more times, then stops, and lies flat on her stomach. An odd noise fills the air, and it takes me a moment to realize she’s crooning softly.

Carefully I release the muscles in my jaw, groaning at the pain after having held them so tightly clamped. The dragon just lays there for a few moments as I carefully back away, then I jump back as she rolls onto her back.

“You’ve won!” Areth screams into my mind, inducing a sudden headache. “I can’t believe the pervert won!”

Why did she act like that? I ask my mental guests. She had me pretty well beat, until I got her wing.

Dragons use their wings to protect their eggs and incubate them, Shemhazau informs us. I’m afraid things might actually be worse off now than they were before.

How can they be worse? I wonder, confused.

The blue dragon is watching me again, and I swear I can actually make out a smile on her face. At least the cops have quit firing at us.

By attacking her wing, you declared that you would protect your young by her, and by her behavior, she is now completely submissive to you.

Great, just great! What the heck am I going to do with a submissive big blue dragon?

“Lyden?” a male voice asks. I turn to see Jewkes slowly approaching me, hands held high and empty, though his pistol is still on his hip. Further behind him, parked on the grass, is the Orange Bubble.

As soon as I turn my head, the blue dragon snaps at me, and I quickly nip back, catching her nose and making her yelp.

I open my mouth to respond to Jewkes, but only a gargling noise issues from my throat. My tongue is too damaged to speak. I’m surprised to see him shy back, but when I nod my head, he visibly relaxes.

Around the park, cops and SWAT are still pointing their weapons at us, but it seems like they’re willing to wait and see how things play out with Captain Jewkes.

The older man slowly approaches closer, and the blue dragon begins to growl, until I move in front of her, blocking her view. The captain stops, sensing the tension in the air. I feel the other dragon begin to rub her head against my hind end, and her crooning increases. Did I just prove to her that I’m willing to protect by getting in front of her? I’d meant to protect Richard!

“You’ve got the entire town terrified of you right now, young man,” he tells me, and I nod, unable to speak. “You can’t talk in that form, can you?” he asks, already knowing the answer. “Well, at least I won’t have too much difficulty in convincing my superiors when I write this report up.” He glances at the helicopters overhead.

“That was my plan!” Areth announces. “I brought the dragon here to make a spectacle and clear his name.”

Throwing my head back, I roar with laughter. I can’t help it. Trust the little pixie to come up with a plan like this to save an ally’s reputation. For such a small woman, she has some big ideas.

“Why, thank you,” I hear her say self-satisfied in my mind.

You realize you’ve just changed this world forever, right? Shemhazau admonishes her. There were better and less grandiose ways of helping the officer of the law.

Bringing my head back down, I can tell that I’ve terrified the very same officer with my outburst. Turning back to the blue dragon, my mirth dissipates. What am I going to do with her?

“Send her back,” Areth informs me.

How do I talk to her, if she’s not one of the intelligent kind? I wonder inwardly.

Perhaps I mislead you a bit on that, my father states. If you can talk to her, then she’ll understand. All dragons are smart, but not all are as smart as say, the Pillar of Fire.

But if I change back in front of her, how will she react? I get no response to that question.

For good measure, I tower over the blue dragon, and move my head to her neck, squeezing it carefully between my jaws, before pulling back. She makes no move to resist or pull away.

Closing my eyes, I picture Areth on my shoulder, Murasame on my hip, and my clothes whole and in one piece on my human body, then have to gasp at the amount of energy that drains from me in the process.

Opening my eyes while firmly gripping Murasame, I look at the dragon, but she just looks back at me complacently. Apparently she’s not surprised, and I realize she’d seen me transform in the first place.

“I can move again!” Areth crows as she launches herself from my shoulder. The dragon’s eyes follow the golden woman, but she makes no other movement.

“What do I call you?” I ask, or try to. It comes out as barely more than a mumble.

“What happened to you?” Jewkes asks, coming up behind me.

The dragon reacts quickly, rolling back over, and growling menacingly, until Jewkes backs away.

“Okay, okay, I’ll stay back,” the man says, doing just that.

“He burned his tongue, and can’t talk,” Areth speaks for me.

I remember talking telepathically with Angela when I’d first become a dragon way back in Egypt, and concentrate on doing the same with the dragon.

WHAT DO I CALL YOU?

She blinks at me a couple times, before turning her head and rubbing her muzzle across her blue scales.

BLUE? She seems to accept this, and I chuckle lightly, turning it into a groan at the feeling of my burnt tongue. I nearly jump out of my skin when I feel her forked tongue brush lightly across my body. Somehow I know she’s offering comfort for the pain she’s caused me, and tentatively I reach out and place my hand on her snout. She suffers my touch, but backs away when Areth tries to do the same. I can’t help but laugh again at the way the fairy pouts.

“It seems you have some control over her,” Jewkes states. “Can you safely get her to leave?”

The man’s words bring me back to the present, and our current circumstances.

WAIT FOR ME IN THE PILLAR OF EARTH’S DOMAIN, I tell her. I WILL RETURN TO YOU THERE, AND WE CAN FINISH OUR BUSINESS.

I’m not certain I want to finish our business, but I don’t know if Blue will leave without that guarantee.

ARETH, HELP GUIDE HER BACK, I order the fairy, before turning back to Blue. PLEASE DON’T EAT MY FRIEND, I tell her. BUT YOU’RE WELCOME TO SCARE HER A BIT.

The dragon seems to enjoy that thought as she takes off after the fairy, smoke trailing from her nostrils. How had the dragon and fairy come to Earth? Blue is too big to fit in that elevator.

“You’re bleeding,” Richard states, and I look down to see that my shirt is soaked in blood. Lifting up the bloody cloth, I’m happy to note that there are only three deep scratches across my abdomen, plus a few more on my sides, none of them life threatening.

Waving my hand to the Orange Bubble, I indicate that I’m ready to go.

“You are all under arrest,” a new voice sounds, and we spin to see a very large black man in a SWAT uniform carrying an equally large shotgun in his hands.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Jewkes asks indignantly. Placing his hand on his holstered pistol.

“Remove your hands from your weapons,” the man intones emotionlessly. “By the power entrusted in me by the Order of the Paladonic Knights, I remand you into custody.”

Something invisible grabs a hold of me, and I topple over, unable to move.

“Lyden?” Becky’s fearful voice reaches me, but I can’t turn to look in her direction. From a grunt next to me, I can only assume that Captain Jewkes is in the same predicament.

With an unsettling feeling in my stomach, I’m hoisted into the air with invisible hands, and follow the dark man, the letters S.W.A.T. painted in white on the back of his body armor. Two more men join us, neither as large as the first man, and both are dressed in casual clothing.

When I see Becky, Lisa, Brooke, and somehow Jennifer join us, floating over the ground like me, I begin to struggle against my bonds, but to no avail. Somehow I’m able to breathe with no problems, but my arms and legs refuse to obey.

We stop only long enough for a self-satisfied Miranda to plant herself in front of me.

“You are a sick and disgusting creature, Mr. Snow. I will not be sorry to see you die.” Her full-armed slap across my face stings more than normal, as my face can't move to dissipate the pressure. Then she turns and walks away.

The man closest to me chuckles, until the large man in front turns to look at him. “Put them to sleep, wizard. I’ll deal with our audience while you transport them back to base.”

“Where did their car go?” I hear another voice ask, right before I lose consciousness.

* * *

Horrific pain in my mouth wakens me, and I sit up screaming. Or trying to scream. My tongue feels like it’s still on fire, and nothing I can do blocks out the pain. Dimly I’m aware of people coming in and striking me, but compared to the pain of my burned tongue, I barely even notice them. How long I lay here in agony, I don’t know, but the moment something pours into my mouth and the pain abates, is when I become fully aware of my surroundings.

A balding man in tan corduroy pants and a flannel shirt, looking like he belongs back in the early eighties, is bending over me, a plastic cup in his left hand and my head in his right. By the gray brick walls and dark metal bars, I figure I must be in some sort of prison.

“You burned your tongue pretty bad,” the man is telling me softly. “I’ve seen this in burn victims before, where you don’t feel the full pain right away, but after a bit, the agony is horrendous.” His voice is calm and soothing, almost kind even. “What I gave you won’t heal you, I’m afraid. None of us have the skill to heal a wound that bad, but we can mitigate your pain at least. I’m afraid your tongue is nothing more than a blackened husk. Normally I’d recommend having it removed, but you’ll likely be dead soon enough anyway.” He sounds almost sad at this news.

I nod that I understand him, moving my mouth, and noticing that it feels large and empty inside. I can’t even feel my teeth or cheeks.

“Is the bastard done yelling Emmet? I was getting sick of the sound of his girlish screams.” The new voice comes from the other side of the bars, and where Emmet’s tone is kind, this new guy’s inflection is cruel.

“Yes, Brock, he should be able to rest peacefully now.” Emmet heaves a heavy sigh as he gets to his feet, and walks to the barred door.

“That’s Paladin Brock to you, Emmet.” I notice that he gives no honorific to Emmet. “And I could care less if he gets any rest. Just as long as he quits that infernal yelling. He was driving the other prisoners into an uproar. I don’t understand why we haven’t already killed him. He’s obviously not human.” I catch a glimpse of the ornery Brock as he opens the door to let Emmet out. A large man with broad shoulders, and a perpetual scowl to his otherwise ugly face. His hair is cropped close to his head, with a little more on top in a military fashion. I dislike him immediately.

His mention of other prisoners reminds me that Becky, Lisa, Brooke, Richard, and Jennifer were also captured. Where had Jennifer come from? I’ll have to figure that out later. Looking around my small cell, I see a toilet in one corner, a small cot without a mattress, and nothing else. The women must be in a different cell.

My first order of business is to relieve myself, before I lie down on the cot. I try to fall asleep in order to see if I can find anyone else’s minds, but the sound of my cell door opening brings me alert.

“On your feet, monster,” Brock orders me, pointing a shotgun at my chest. I swing my feet around, off the cot, and I don’t miss the large man stepping back quickly in fear. “Slowly now. I’m not afraid to shoot you.”

I raise one eyebrow at him, questioning the quaver in his voice, but otherwise move slower. He backs away as I approach the door, and he indicates with the weapon where he wants me to go. The man follows behind me, and I can feel the barrel press between my shoulder blades as we go.

“Just so you know, this is loaded with silver buck shot, blessed by our priests.” He shoves me forward, and I stumble for a second before catching my balance again. “Move faster, the Grand Meister doesn’t have all day.”

I pick up my pace, trying not to curse at the opposing commands he gives, all the while trying to look into the cells we pass. I don’t see any of my companions. In fact, I don’t see anyone else in any of the cells. I’m guessing that they don’t take many prisoners. The walkway is large, with occasional choke points that I assume would be good for defending. The point when we leave the detention area, and enter the more functional places is obvious by the decorations on the wall, and the change from solid gray brick walls, to painted white brick walls. We pass by a series of offices, before Brock stops me in front of a set of massive double doors. The doors are solid wood, probably oak, and at least twenty feet tall. Two guards, dressed in ceremonial medieval armor shined to mirror perfection, stand on either side of the doors. At our approach, they lift two long spears, and slam the metal butts hard against the floor in unison. The sound echoes down the hallway we’d just come down, and a second later the big doors open.

I don’t need Brock’s prodding with his shotgun to tell me to start walking, and I can’t help my eyes growing large as we enter the new room. If I thought the doors were huge, then this room makes me think they’re too small. The ceiling is high above us, hidden behind bright lights. Large round pillars, at least six feet across and spaced thirty feet apart, line a long walkway. The walkway floor is made of dark marble, shined to reflect the ceiling. I can’t see the far end.

I swear we walk for at least a couple minutes, before Brock stops me in front of a raised dais, atop which is a white chair. Sitting in the chair is a man obviously past his prime, but in no way do I suspect him to be weak or feeble. A massive sword sits across his knees, which seems odd considering he’s in a very expensive looking business suit.

He’s not the most important thing to me now, however, as I see my friends on their knees facing the Grand Meister, each with a guard behind them.

Brooke looks up at our approach, and I see her eyes grow large as she sees me, but her guard makes a threatening gesture with his shotgun, and she fearfully turns back.

Anger begins to boil inside of me at the treatment they must have received, in order to make her act so cowed. I reach for Murasame, and my hand closes on empty air.

For a second I’m overcome with shock. My sword isn’t there. Mentally I try to summon him, but a sharp pain in my skull makes me stop. Brock’s shotgun shoves me forward again, and numbly I comply.

As soon as I’m parallel with my companions, Brock uses the butt of his weapon against the back of my knees. “Bow before the mighty Grand Meister, beast.”

I still can’t believe I’ve lost my sword. How often have I wanted to be rid of the thing, only to feel naked now that it’s finally gone?

“You may leave.” The power of command behind those few deeply spoken words is astounding. My friends have said that I’m a leader, but if I live to a hundred, I’ll never be able to sound as the Grand Meister does in that one simple order.

I can hear footsteps moving away from us, as the guards follow the command. We sit in silence, me because I can’t speak, my friends because of fear I think, and I have no idea why the big man on the dais stays silent.

Finally after what seems like an eternity, but is likely only a few minutes, he breaks the silence. “Please, stand.” While the words themselves are polite, his tone is still a command, and I find myself obeying before I think better of it. Is his voice magical in some way?

Growing daring, I look up at the Grand Meister, and am surprised to see kindly brown eyes looking back at me.

“I apologize for the rough treatment,” he states, remaining seated. “Unfortunately there are protocols that must be followed, set down by centuries of tradition, and I’ve already broken as many of those as I can.”

I’m completely thrown off guard by his attitude, and find myself shaking my head to try and catch up.

“Why have you taken us?” Jewkes asks, stepping forward.

“Some of you are human, and I apologize for that, but some of you aren’t.” His eyes land on me, and even if I could argue, I know there’s no point in it. It’s pretty obvious after I turned into a dragon that I’m not human. “Technically we kill any non-humans we find in our world almost immediately. Of course, not many are as obvious as you, Lyden Snow. Even fewer are willing to put themselves in danger to stop a rampaging dragon.” He steeples his fingers beneath his chin as he continues to examine me. “You are a conundrum, young man. That Daughter of Respite would have me put you down immediately. She tells some interesting stories about you. I must say I’m a bit interested in exactly what you are. At first I thought you were an incubus by the way she describes you, but an incubus can’t transform into a large dragon, and quite frankly, they’re not known for being altruistic.”

I remain silent, not just because I have little choice, but I don’t trust this man. Marchosias had said that the Paladonic Knights were more dangerous than the Daughters of Respite.

“And the rest of you.” The man transfers his gaze across the rest of the group. “Captain Richard Jewkes, I’m fairly certain you just got caught up in Lyden’s machinations, but you don’t seem surprised by the fact he isn’t human. This makes me suspect that you are a collaborator with the monsters of the other world. The rest of you each have a long history here on Earth, and all but one of you has a birth certificate. Of course, Lyden has a birth certificate as well, so I guess that doesn’t mean much.” He shakes his head, and actually looks sad. “So again, what am I supposed to make of you?”

It’s obvious that he expects an answer, and just for show I open my mouth as if I’m going to speak, and then close it.

“I don’t know what you mean by a collaborator,” Jewkes says, speaking for the group again, “but I learned that Lyden wasn’t human just a short while ago, when Miranda Olsen tried to murder him and me.” I’m surprised to see the Grand Meister flinch at this statement. “I have since been to that other world, what he calls the Shadow World, and saw that we’re all in great danger from a creature called Aldol.”

“I am sorry for Miranda’s overzealous attack. The Daughters tend to act first, and think later. As far as this other creature, this Aldol, what danger does he pose?” I almost want to believe that he is truly sorry, but the way he moves right on to talking about Aldol makes me cautious.

Richard looks at me for a moment, before turning back to the Grand Meister. “I don’t know much about him, Lyden has already faced him a few times, but from what I understand, he wishes to destroy the Pillars of the Shadow World and destroy it.”

“And Mr. Snow can’t talk to tell us what he knows. Hmm.” The man on the dais ponders for a moment, before turning back to Jewkes. “It sounds as if we should be helping this Aldol. If he wants to destroy the other realm, your Shadow World, then why should we stop him?”

“Because if that world falls, then every creature from there will be forced back into this one,” Brooke states, stepping forward and glaring at the large man. “It doesn’t want to just destroy the other world, but all worlds.”

“It? Why would it want to destroy both worlds? Where would it live?” He sounds skeptical now, and I really can’t blame him. If I didn’t know that the thing existed outside of our dimension, I would wonder the same. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m the only one with that knowledge, as everyone looks at me worriedly. “I see that the one with the answers is the only one unable to speak.” He stands up, and for the first time I realize just how large he is, well over six feet. He plants the tip of his large blade on the floor, and he glares at us for a moment before speaking again. “While your story has plenty of holes I’d like to have filled, I’m afraid you’re too dangerous to leave alive, Lyden Snow. You will be executed in the morning. As for the rest of you, you will be tested tonight, starting with you.” He points at Brooke with his weapon, and I see her shudder under his glare. “Any of you that are found to be nonhuman will be executed with him.”

The Grand Meister turns his back on us, and suddenly our guards are back, shoving us from the massive audience chamber.

Hope abandons me, as we’re separated, and I have no idea where my friends are taken. Brooke is the only other nonhuman, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re not just going to let the others go after this.

Unable to talk, and too weak after my battle with Blue, I collapse on my cot, and try to get some sleep before tomorrow.

=====================

Author’s note: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. If you want chapter 27 right now, you’ll find it on my pleasuretrove blog at blogspot. If you still need the address, it is in my signature on my forum here: forum.xnxx.com/showthread.php?p=5847059# .

Also, if you’re commenting on my story with you kik address to pick up people, or your email, just stop. It’s sad and pathetic. There are plenty of other forums and places that are better suited for getting nudy pics from someone.

Also, I’ve been asked how Lyden knows his car is orange, when he’s colorblind. Simple: being colorblind doesn’t mean you see the world in black and white. It means you have a hard time identifying colors. I’m colorblind. Blue and purple look identical to me. I also have issues with red, green, and brown. I still see colors, but struggle to identify them.

And last, but absolutely not least, Garbonzo, you have done a fantastic job in editing this chapter. THANK YOU!
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