The Dragoness Backstory: Fanfiction

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Flitt's picture
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.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! DDD:

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*hisses evilly in the darkness*

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss.........

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Solveig the Fair
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NOOOOOOO!!!

TOO FAR! NOW they've gone TOO FAR!!! I know the chapter is literally titled "Don't be too mad at the humans", but how am I supposed to NOT be furious at them after they do something like this?!?!

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Because you do the same to frogs

So this really is very horrible, because WE know that the dragons, while not at the level of humans, are intelligent, feeling beings. Many of the people working on this project would be horrified if they realized that that is the case. However, they simply see them as normal animals. Rare, yes, but no more evil than dissecting a lion or ostrich. This is also why they won't dissect Ness; she's too close to human to feel comfortable doing that (even though they think it would be really really informative). Also, a couple of these characters (one in particular coming up) are only doing it for the pay (the Boss pays good hush money) because they've got nowhere else to go.

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Ooooooo

...

My boi is broke...and homeless...Oh...you're treading dangerously now, my friend :') I love it xD

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Only once. That was gross...

That's actually reassuring to know. I hope they figure it out soon.

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ARG!!!

NOOOO!! Not one of the dragons!! DDD': How dare they! >80

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One?

*shrugs* It pays good money.

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What do you mean "one?" I'm even more worried now... o_o

Money-shmuney! Even if they think of the dragons as simple animals, why would they dissect one before getting a count on the population to make sure they weren't getting rid of one of the last living males or females of the species? For all they know, they could be causing an extinction! >8I

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How could you do this to us,

How could you do this to us, you horrible author!?!??!?!? How?!?!?

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Hahahahaaa!

Ahhhhh....you know you're doing your job right when your readers are cursing your name...*smiles serenely at the screams*

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As a writer, I agree. As a reader, I join in the cursing. XD

True, that. XD

ninjadragon
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I too, agree as a writer and continue the cursing as a reader.

I second this. 

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nononononononono!

Noooooooooooooo, the HUMANS are EVIL. *drowns in sea of own tears* 

 

whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

*hugs plushy birdy* I shall sleep in sorrow tonight. *dramatic faint onto bed*

 

Though I kind of have to admit that this is incredible writing to make us all react this way. (T_T)

 

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Nalda!

Aww, thank you.

Y'know...Ness is still part human...wonder how she'll feel about THAT once all this is said and done.

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Ummmm I'm over here.

WHy dID yOu CalL hEr NaLDa? 

 

*oh no, i forgot to mention i stole her name aaaaggghhhh! i'm in trouble now ohno ohno ohno 

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Never fear, for Blobby's here!

Evil, evil hoomans.  I am starting to wish that Ness will disect one of THEM...  Mwa ha ah! 0.o

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Nuuuuuu!

Don't dissect them! That's much too cruel, even for them.

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Fears and Failures

A swarm of scientists buzzed their way into the room and around the body, and the next three hours were some of the worst in my entire life.

Amid the horrified screeches and structure-shaking pounding from a few of the more high-spirited dragons, the scientists eagerly cut off patches of scale and skin to reveal sickening bone and oozing muscle. They peeled back the membrane of the wings to reveal the finger bones, tore apart the barb to find glands full of mild venom (Maria and Avery looked particularly satisfied), and opened up the neck to view the larynx and trachea. And then--

I looked away as they spilled his guts out onto the floor and bared his ribcage to the unforgiving air, as they examined the lungs and once-beating heart, as they drilled open his skull and took samples of brain and eye.

Dragons are supposed to be burned at death, their bones turned to ash to strengthen the trees and their breath turned to heat to dance with the wind. They aren’t supposed to be torn piece by bloody, oozing piece into a biological puzzle for others to stare at and prod. Ammil didn’t deserve this fate.

At some point I vomited into the bucket in the corner of the cell. At least it smelled better than what was going on outside my cage.

Once the sun had started to sink low and fill the warehouse with hazy orange light, once Ammil lay in so many pieces it was impossible to see him in the carnage, the scientists collected their last vials of samples and bile, and the handlers bundled up the canvas my dragon’s body was laying on and took him away, probably to leave in some nondescript dumpster. It was too much to hope for that they would actually burn him as he deserved.

They left behind a sickening smell and spatters of blood.

That night all was silent and still. The dragons were too shocked and frightened to sing the songs of lament. Some primal instinct warned them that if they drew attention to themselves now, they could very well be next. I curled into a ball and sobbed myself to sleep.

I thought that would be the end of it. I was wrong.

Dissections. What a difference one tiny letter can make.

The next day it was a Deadly Nadder. The day after that, a Northern Shortsnout.

I hated myself for being glad it wasn’t Oak.

The stench grew stronger every day, and each dissection seemed to take longer. They started on a Monstrous Nightmare in the morning and ‘worked’ on her until almost sunset.

I didn’t bother with sleep anymore.

They didn’t have any Skrills or Frostfangs. The Frostfangs almost never emerged from their caves when it wasn’t winter, and the Skrills were mountain dragons, far more aggressive and deadly to humans than forest breeds. And if the scientists had been able to experiment on their electric shocks--well.

At least we didn’t have to watch the Terrible Terror. I watched my little one go limp in the handler’s firm grasp, and they took him away into one of the operation rooms.

The other Terrors, fierce pack animals, keened until nightfall.

Through it all, I could only pace and seethe and burn. I was trapped, trapped, trapped, by much stronger bonds than fear and hesitation. The bars stood starkly black in front of my face everywhere I looked.

Then the handlers came for me, and I panicked.

NO!” I screamed. “NO NO NO NO NO!”

This time, I didn’t pretend to fight--I gave it everything I had. If they killed me, there would be no one left to take care of my dragons, no one left to help them escape. If they killed me, that would be the end.

Eventually, after a few concussions (not mine), nasty scrapes, and more than enough bruises to last a lifetime, the handlers pinned me down and forced the cloth over my mouth. I held my breath and, knowing it was inevitable, fell limp.

Finally,” puffed a handler. “She’s feisty.”

“Terrified,” corrected another, sounding a little unsettled. “Hazard of having those dissections in the open. They learn what to expect.”

“Not like we had much choice in that,” the first handler grumbled. “Come on, help me carry her.”

The handlers picked me up in a similar hold to last time and carried me out of the room. The dragons hissed and shrieked their dismay, but they were as trapped and helpless as I was.

My heart beat fast and my palms sweat feverishly as I desperately tried to come up with a way out. From the echoes of the footfalls, we were in a narrow hallway, with maybe four or five handlers.

Nope, I was doomed.

The handlers carried me down a few turns and then into a room that was a few degrees below comfortable--for a human, anyway. A few of the handlers shuddered involuntarily. I could feel the tremors through their arms.

“Hopefully the temperature will help her relax,” said a cool, familiar voice. Maria.

“Hopefully,” agreed a handler. “She didn’t go down easy.”

“I can see that.” Maria’s voice shifted to concern. “She didn’t hurt you too badly, did she?”

“Not me, but a few of the guys and a gal all got a good few blows to the head and ribs. They might need a few days off.”

“*bleep!*”

“Avery! Watch your tongue! This is a work environment.”

“Sorry, but we really can’t afford to be down men at the moment. The Boss is going to inspect us tomorrow and now there’ll be no one to clean the warehouse.”

“And why does that matter?” the handler asked impatiently.

“It matters because he’ll decide he needs to hire a janitor, and there’ll be that much less money for research and supplies.”

“Oh. That does sound bad.”

“Not bad, per se,” Avery grumbled. “I wouldn’t mind having someone around whose sole job is cleaning up my mess. Just not ideal money-wise.”

“Yes, Avery, you’ve made your point. Let’s get started, shall we?”

I forced myself not to tense, which is difficult when you’re getting an ordinary shot, let alone one that will kill you.

To my undying relief, there was no click of an opening briefcase, or pinch of pain in my arm. Instead, there was some shuffling and murmuring. Then the quick order, “Hold her down.”

Aaand the panic was back.

“Why?” a handler questioned, already securing an ankle while another grabbed my wrists.

“Just because she’s sedated doesn’t mean she won’t feel pain. I would numb the area, but we don’t have that kind of budget.”

My fear-clouded brain whirred as I tried to figure out what she meant. Pain, numbing, no needle? Dissections, DNA--

A quick, bright slice along my forearm, and my left side exploded into pain.

I cried out and thrashed weakly, eyes squeezed shut. Thank goodness Maria had been expecting it, because there was no way I would have been able to keep silent and still.

“Was that really necessary, Maria?”

Maria’s fingers probed the wound and I cried out again. “A little. I do need a larger size of skin samples, and more blood to run tests on would be nice. However, what with how many of her victims we’ve had to stitch up, I rather think it would do her good to get a taste of her own medicine.”

“She’s not that intelligent.”

“No, but some behaviors can be trained out of animals. Besides, it felt good.”

“...I guess that’s true.”

“Of course it is. Remember Malcolm?”

Oh, did I ever.

“Point already taken, Maria.”

The probing fingers apparently found what they wanted. The bright, slicing instrument cut once more, and I felt a sudden coldness as a small patch of skin was just...gone. The blood and tissue exposed to the open air made me feel vulnerable in a way I had never been before, and hoped to never be again. But even as I cried out again and fought the hands holding me down, the sinking in my gut and the dullness of my scales told me that such a hope was not to be.

 
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O.O

That was horrifying... For once I'm speechless...

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Bwahahahaaaaaa

Beginning this fanfic, while I planned to have her captured, I don't think I meant for it to be this dark and traumatic. Oh well. Glad it had the intended effect! *cackles in evil*

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Never fear, for Blobby's here!

Terrrifying.  Is Ness allowed to disect the hoomans now?  Where's Conner and the others to save the day?!

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Short answer: they don't.

Conner and the others don't know until much, MUCH later. If you'll remember, Ness has already disappeared once. They won't realize something is wrong for weeks, maybe months. Conner's gonna be hurt she didn't keep her promise, poor bean :( he doesn't realize it wasn't her choice this time.

And no, Ness won't dissect anyone. Too much trauma.

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o.O

Twas a painful chapter to read :'( Them poor dragons... but it was far worse for the others who lived and had to watch, and Ness.

 

Agree with Ginger here, these peeps don't know what they're doing by dissecting so many rare, perfectly healthy creatures! And DEFINITLY agree with Ness I'm very very very grateful that northern shortnout was not Oak. Though knowing you I'm not too sure he's safe at all O__O

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I knows :( I didn't LIKE killing those dragons...

Oak? Oh, he's fine. Very fine. *nods vigorously* Yes. And he has absolutely no reason to not be that way, ever. No reason at all.

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O__O

Lies. All lies.

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Cinderellie has her mouse, the Boss has his

Once they were finished, they dragged my back to my cage and set me down none-too-gently. Almost before the door swung shut behind them I had curled over my injured arm with hisses of pain.

It was just as I thought. A long line of flesh was gone. At least they had thought to stitch me up before leaving me to rot. Or was it sutures? I never did learn the difference.

“Ness!” Oak called. “You aren’t dead!”

“I’m just as surprised as you are,” I said shakily. “But I don’t think they’re going to kill me.”

I couldn’t tell whether it was something to be hopeful for or something to dread.

My arm sang with pain, and I closed my eyes and focused on not puking.

At least there were no more dissections to be done--for now, at least. The researchers had gotten all the samples they dared collect, all the information they could from their limited supply. After all, there were less than fifty dragons there. Not a large pool to keep killing from, not without bringing more dragons in, and it was full winter now. As long as the mountain snows lasted, the rest of my wylde was safe.

 

Maybe three days later--or was it four? They started to blur together now, and that was truly worrying--the staff got their inspection. Not by the Boss, thank goodness (I had a nasty feeling about that one, and had no desire to ever meet him), but by one of his agents. It was just as Avery had feared; the agent took one look at the state of the main warehouse and pulled a disgusted face. So now, we had a maid.

Okay, fine, she was probably something like a janitor, not a maid--she didn’t do the dishes or the laundry, but she did sweep and mop, and she was young--too young--so let me have this.

I didn’t catch her name, not at first. I nicknamed her Mouse in my head because of her wide, dark eyes and rather nervous demeanor. Her clothes were shabby, threadbare, and her eyes darted from cage to cage in awe and fear and pity. All in all, she reminded my a bit of Hail. I felt a pang when I realized the only reason she was here because she likely needed the money.

“Alright, kiddo,” said Avery on her first day, not unkindly. “Your job is to keep the floor clean, the cages from rusting, check the mousetraps, and give all the animals their food and water. Don’t worry about cleaning the inside of the cages, the handlers do that every week or so.”

“What times do you want me to work?” Mouse asked quietly.

“Mornings around seven or eight to do a check on the traps and change out the food and water, and then five to eight in the evening for the cleaning and another food and water change.”

Mouse’s brow furrowed in concern. “But what about the...the dragons’ lunch? Or do they only need two meals a day?”

Avery smiled at her. “Only two, but it’s nice of you to worry. They don’t get much exercise in here, and I’m afraid it’s too dangerous to take them outside, so they don’t need as much.”

Also because riding dragons only really need one large meal every four to eight days, but they didn’t need to know that.

“Okay,” Mouse nodded, “I can do that.”

She could. She did. And she did it well. By day two it was like she’d always been there. At least she smiled at the dragons, and talked to them softly. The rest of the staff didn’t even bother to do that.

 

The next phase of experiments started...I don’t know when. After Mouse. The days slipped by in a haze of waiting, and I no longer felt the need to count. I was still there, did it really matter how long?

Oak was right. My spark was dimming.

When the handlers came to take me, I didn’t even bother fighting. Not that I would have had to, anyway. They just approached me cautiously (a handler outside the cage held a small dart gun--good, they took me seriously) and kept my hands firmly behind my back. It would have hurt my wings, if I could feel anything from them but a dull sort of ache. Those clips were so tight.

They led me through the second door, on the far right of the wall that shared with the rest of the building, and down an unfamiliar hall. Well, all the halls were unfamiliar--I’d never been able to see them before, had I? But the footsteps echoed differently, and the air tasted less chemical.

I didn’t tear them with my tail, but did I ever want to.

They pushed me into a bright room and slammed the door hurriedly behind me.

Just-captured Ness would have pounded on the door furiously, angry at being trapped. Now-Ness was used to the feeling, and I surveyed the room dispassionately.

It was well-lit and bare, with white paint and tile, and two large mirrors on either side.

I snorted. Two-way mirrors. Well, if they wanted to watch me they might as well have saved themselves the trouble and just stood outside my cage.

I sat on the floor with a grunt and ignored the ever-present twinge in my wings. That reminded me…

I pictured the faces of the handlers and the voices of Maria and Avery and glared furiously at the mirror in front of me.

Then the door opened again, and I swiveled to look.

The door closed again, but I took no notice, only gave a cry of joy and opened my arms wide.

The little green Terrible Terror squawked eagerly and leapt into my waiting hands, licking feverishly.

I laughed through desperate, happy tears and snuggled him fiercely. My little one. As long as I could hold him, I could keep him safe.

 
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Never fear, for Blobby's here!

Aww, happy little terror.  I have a vey good feeling about Mouse.  And a very bad feeling about Oak :(   Great chapter as always!

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Good Oak. Good Mouse.

Oak'll be fiiiiiine, don't wooorrrrryy...

Thank you!

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Phew, no more dissections

Yay, a happier chapter! I like Mouse and I'm glad she talks to the dragons. Aww, I love how affectionate and huggable Terrible Terrors are! I think the scientists want to observe how Ness acts with the dragons, though, and something doesn't feel right about that.

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Just wait till spring

Yeah....I think they've bitten off a little more than they can chew, though. Now Ness has a chance to get her spark back, and they're going to be hard-pressed to get the Terror BACK XD

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Spring?

Lol yep, I can imagine how THAT will go XD I'm sure many of the scientists will need medical attention afterwards!

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O__O

WHY

 

This is clearly an experiment. I do not LIKE experiments, particularily when they toy with fragile emotions

 

...I'm watching you

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Because WHUMP and ANGST >:)

Consider me watched 0_0

And while I do not enjoy experiments, I do love me some emotional trauma >:D

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*chants*

Mouse, Mouse, Mouse, Mouse, Mouse, Mouse, Mouse Mouse Mouse Mouse!

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Mouse mouse mouse!

Glad you like her! I think I'm overdoing it on the nice girl characters again, though...I really need to get better at writing boys XD

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As it has been given, so can it be taken away

The Terrible Terror skittered up and down my torso and head, and if my laughter was on the hysterical side, who was there who would know the difference?

“Are you alright?” I asked once I could stop gasping for breath. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m okay!” he cheeped. “I though you were going to go away, and then they took me and I was scared, but they let me go to you, so I’m okay!”
“Good,” I breathed fervently. “That’s good.”

“Why are they doing this?” he asked sadly. “I miss Amy.”

I stiffened. That was right. He was one of the Terrors who loved to frolic with Miss Amy while I messed around with Conner--Spark, Miss Amy called him. That seemed to be a lifetime ago.

“These humans are cold,” I said at last. “They only care about what they can take from us.”

Spark bared his teeth in a despairing snarl.

“But that doesn’t matter right now,” I said determinedly. “Now you’re with me. I might not be able to help...everyone...else...” I bowed my head and he chrred softly. “But as long as you stay with me, I can help you.”

The Terrible Terror gave as close to a smile a dragon can give and nestled into the crook of my arm. I stroked his horns and tickled behind his ears, and he squirmed happily.

Spark’s head jerked up, and he craned over my shoulder to peer at the mirror.

I lifted my chin to stare in the same direction. “They watch us,” I said calmly. “They want to know what we will do.”

The little Terror’s neck puffed with alarm and he hissed.

“I won’t let them touch you,” I promised. When he still didn’t calm, I scratched behind his ears soothingly. “Do you want to play a game?”

The little Terror perked.

I got to my feet and ignored the stabbing, ever-present ache in my shoulders and wings. “Like you played with Miss Amy.”

Spark narrowed his eyes playfully and swished his tail. Oh, I was doomed, and I looked forward to it.

For those timeless minutes, we forgot about the watching, listening researchers with their scribbly clipboards, forgot the pallid whiteness of the walls and lights, forgot the pain and chains and heartache. We were two wild things, laughing and playing as wild things are meant to play, beneath the sun and dappled shadows of the hidden forests.

I leaped again for Spark. He chirruped and dropped from the air to land splat on my head. My hand shot to my head, but he neatly evaded it and sprang back into the air with weak, wobbly flaps, squawking gleeful taunts.

Joy bubbled in my chest as it hadn’t in a while, tainted only by the shadow of an ever-ticking clock. This time was stolen, after all.

And as all things must, it came to an end. Footsteps marched firmly towards the door. Spark gave a shrill cry of fear and dove into my waiting arms just as the door swung open and the handlers entered the room.

“Come on, playtime’s over,” said the leader, ignorant of the stab of pain his words evoked.

I snarled and backed away, arms clamped firmly around my little one. Protect protect protect.

“Go away!” Spark snarled, but his flat ears and wide eyes betrayed his fear.

“Huh,” said the left handler. “Guess I owe Jetta ten bucks.”

The right handler shook his head. “Shouldn't've bet on something you don’t understand,” he chided.

I had backed far enough away that they would have to come further into the room to get me, but not so far that I was trapped against a wall.

The lead handler sighed in exasperation. “Come. Here.” As he spoke, he gestured very firmly for me to give up my Spark.

“No,” I said stubbornly. Protect protect protect.

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Did it just talk?”

I hissed protectively. “Mine.

“They did say she knew a few words,” ventured the right handler. 

The left handler groaned. “Great. Now it’s intelligent.”

“Not as smart as us, though,” the lead handler argued. “It’s just cornered and scared. As soon as we get them back in their respective cages it’ll be fine.” He took a step forward. “Now just help me--”

I screamed defiance as loud and fierce as an alpha--which I was. PROTECT PROTECT PROTECT!

All three handlers eyed my ready crouch, and the evil glint in the little Terror’s narrowed eyes.

“On second thought…”

“Maybe we should just leave things be. It’s not like they’ll do each other any harm if they’re kept together, and the little dragon can’t fit through those bars.”

The lead handler hesitated, then shrugged. “Whatever. If Maria gets mad, she can try to separate them herself.”

The other two handlers and I breathed sighs of relief.

I straightened and narrowed my triumphant gaze at them as I stalked forward to be led back to my cage.

“This was a bad idea,” the left handler grumbled. “Look, she’s laughing at us.”

Indeed, I wasted no effort trying to hide the way my lips curled devilishly at the corners, or the gleam of my sharp canines.

“Then go ahead,” gestured the lead handler.

The left handler paused, considering. I watched him think it through for a moment, then leaned forward, spread my wings awkwardly, and hissed.

The left handler stumbled back in terrified shock before quickly composing himself. “Never mind, it’s fine,” he said casually.

I laughed, bright and brittle, and walked back to the hulking black cage. Only now I had a tiny Spark to bring with me.

 

It was so much easier to be trapped with a friend. Instead of huddling on the cold floor each night, I snuggled into Spark’s twitching, scaly warmth. Whenever one of us started drooping with grey gloom, the other would tweak at ears and wings and make funny faces until the we cheered up.

Mouse noticed the difference, but didn’t comment on it to her superiors. Probably still intimidated by them, as any sane teenager would.

Not by me, though, so maybe she wasn’t sane. Or just considered me too pitiful to be dangerous.

“Hi there,” she whispered once everyone else had left the building. “I know you don’t really understand, but....” she pointed at Spark and looked so hopeful. “The other dragons won’t get close enough for me to touch them, and I just thought, he seems so nice with you, so maybe he would let me? Or you would let me, and now I’m rambling and you don’t understand, do you?”

Spark, who was following the one-sided conversation to the best of his abilities, looked to me with cautious curiosity.

A lump of sorrow-tainted pride formed in my throat. After everything, he still wanted to give her a chance.

“If you want,” I bowed my head.

Spark squeaked his acknowledgement and squirmed his way forward cautiously, belly pressed low to the floor.

Mouse gasped and held a hand out to the bars. Her fingers only shook a little.

A forked tongue flickered against skin. Mouse’s soft delight brought back a whirl of painful, beautiful memories that I hadn’t quite succeeded in suppressing.

“Oh, you’re beautiful,” she breathed.

I watched as girl and dragon interacted, without malice or aggression or fear. It was too easy to forget all the Good I’d seen, in the face of all this hurt.

“Spark,” I said quietly.

Mouse’s head jerked up, stunned.

I gave a sad half-smile and pointed to the little Terror. “Spark.”

Mouse’s face lit in awed understanding. “His..his name is Spark? He has a name?” When I nodded, she sat back on her haunches, a little shocked. “Oh. Um. My name’s Arda.”

I snorted a little laugh and shook my head. “Mouse,” I said firmly, only a hint of laughter in my voice. No matter what, she would always be Mouse to me.

“Mouse?” she said, offended. “I’m not a mouse!”

I just laughed again and settled back into the shadows of my cage, Spark curled around my belly.

 

When Maria found out, she was not pleased.

“What do you mean?” she asked shrilly. “Why would you...no. No! Just because it looks cute doesn’t make it good, or, or safe! What if one of them gets sick and the other refuses to let us see them? Or what if they get into a fight? You know how much damage they can cause!”

Yes, I thought darkly as I twitched my tail from the darkness of my cage. Yes, I do know.

And we did a little more damage when the handlers went in, trepidatiously, to try and rectify the situation. Idiots.

They tried jumping us when we were sleeping, but then again, dragons have good ears, and I’d become something of a light sleeper. They tried drugging the food, but Spark smelled it out, and they had to stop once it became clear we would rather starve to death than separate. Then they tried bargaining.

“Come on, Cryptie,” Maria wheedled as the handlers and the dragons looked on warily (Cryptie is their nickname for me, seeing as I was basically their cryptid for almost a year). “If you let your friend go back to his other dragon friends, he’ll be so much happier, won’t he? And we’ll give you this nice, tasty sausage as a bargain…”

Oh, that sausage did smell good. I glared. Stupid sausage.

Besides, Spark assured me, he was far happier with me than with the other Terrors, and none of them begrudged him his minute freedom. At least he could stretch his wings.

“Or….how about some toys? Maybe a ball or some rope?”

I stared at him in disbelief. Sweet sally mae, if this was what kind of minds the Boss had on this stupid project, no wonder he had them working so hard.

“What if we release your wings?” Avery tried, and my heart stopped.

I tried to hide how much those restraints hurt, how much I loathed those shiny, paltry pieces of wire. A weakness was something that could only be exploited, and I hadn’t covered it nearly well enough.

Spark knew this as well--he’d tried to chew them off once and only stopped when I almost cried out.

“If I go back...you’ll be as free as me?” he asked with all the innocence of a child.

“It--it doesn’t matter,” I said shakily. “I can’t really feel them anyway.” Which was definitely a bad sign, but whatever. “I need you more.”

Spark trilled sadly. “You need your wings.”

And drats, drats, drats, but he was right about that too.

Protect.

Be free.

Why, why, WHY can’t I do both?

Hesitantly, Spark crawled out of my arms and took a few steps towards the cage door.

Protect. Be free.

Avery’s and Maria’s eyes widened.

Spark took a few more steps, and I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Please,” I said softly.

Don’t make me choose.

Spark turned back and leaped onto my chest, licking my face lovingly. “Be strong! Be free!” And then he whirled and scampered to the door, back into the cold, uncaring clutches of the monsters that dared make me choose. The cage swung open and Maria scooped up the brave, sweet little Terror.

“Got him!” she said with tangible relief, and promptly marched away to give him a full check-up before ‘releasing’ him with the rest of the Terrible Terrors. Avery trailed after her.

I got to my feet, wincing with the movement, and the handlers promptly slammed my cage door shut.

I screamed with rage and leapt forward. They promised! They promised!

It was the same three handlers that had first confronted Spark and me, all those days--weeks?--ago. So long ago and yet too short. They even stood the same way.

“Yeah, nope, not happening,” said the left, backing away warily. “I am not touching that thing with a ten-foot pole.”

The right handler hesitated. “I don’t know. Didn’t you see? Both Cryptie and her dragon knew what Avery and Maria were talking about. Giving back the dragon in return for the wing restraints. It doesn’t feel right.”

“It’s madness! Just because she knows a few words doesn’t make her human. Look, she’d as soon tear out our throats! Don’t you dare open that cage,” he snapped at the right handler, who had been inching closer to where I watched, heart in my throat.

Please. It can’t have been for nothing.

The lead handler stayed silent for long, gut-wrenching moments. Then he heaved a sigh and took a tiny screwdriver and key from his pocket. “Rogers, get over here.”

The left handler’s mouth dropped open. “You cannot be serious.”

“A promise is a promise,” he stated wearily. “If they’re smart enough to act on a bargain, then they’re smart enough to know when they’ve been wronged. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy being on a dragon’s bad side.”

I released a shuddering breath and leaned my forehead on the cold, metal bars, even as they creaked and pulled away. Finally. Spark was gone, but my wings would be free.

 
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*yeeks in*

Spark! D: ahhhhhhhh.

Also, a YEAR???!!

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I knows :(

I'm gonna miss Spark. He was really fun to write.

Yeah, a year. I thiiiink that's about when Ness started stalking hunters. That would be when reports of her started coming in, thus starting the cryptid-like legend.

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I'm still here, don't worry x'3

Good chapter :D

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*squeezes in hug*

Thankies!

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*more hugz* <3

It's been really well written, and dare I say, I've been enjoying this a lot x'D

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Hard choices are the worst...

At least now Ness can exercise her wings so she'll be able to fly when she escapes, but I still wish she and Spark could've stayed together.

A year?! Man, they've been watching her for a long time! How long has she actually been captive by now?

What does Spark look like?

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"Maybe we are lucky that we are not Kings or Heroes..."

"...because we do not have to make the choices that Kings and Heroes have to make."

 

Yes, Ness will be able to at least stretch her wings. Unfortunately, without at least semi-constant flight, her shoulder, wing, and torso muscles will all be pretty atrophied, to the point where if when she escapes, she'll pretty much be at square one again, which she is...not going to be happy about.

I wish Ness could keep him too, but there's something poetic about her losing her Spark >:)

Yes, they've been looking for a while now. They haven't told the Boss about Cryptie because a) he wouldn't believe them, and b) he'd order her killed and they really wanna study her. She's actually been captive for about two months now. I've made the timeline more fluid because I'm lazy and don't want to pin down and figure out actual dates and lengths of time, and also because the style of this story is Ness looking back and telling it to someone else.

Spark--well, all the Terrible Terrors are supposed to be green with shades of yellowish-green and slightly-more-blue-than-yellow-green, because that's how reptiles work, so that's how scales work. However, since reading Selene I can't help but see him as another Trooper so....officially? Green. Unofficially? I can't picture him as anything but purple now XD

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A very fitting quote

At least she'll still have her wings; who knows what would've happened to them if they stayed bound like that? But yeah, it'd be very frustrating to have to learn how to fly all over again.

I'm confused; there are plenty of reptiles that are lots of colors besides green. And aren't the dragons not exactly reptiles anyways?

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Book fan to book fan, agreed

What I meant is that within a species, there is very little variety in color and pattern when it comes to reptiles. Scales on reptiles are not like fur on dogs (one of the reasons I hated those Night Lights). Therefore there will not be such a huge range in colors for these dragons. No, say, hot pink Nadders. Just blue, yellow, and orange.

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I need to reread the books...

Oh, that makes more sense. Now that I think about it, most of the ball python color morphs I've seen are white, yellow, orange, brown, or black, which I think can all be created by various levels of the same kind of pigment.

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Never fear, for Blobby's here!

I just re-read the entire thing, and went through it just as fast as I did the first time.  I still couldn't stop reading, even though I knew what would happen next!  Oh, but poor little Spark...  :'(

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:3

Thank you! And for everyone's peace of mind, and to prove I'm not THAT cruel, know that Spark will never die. At least, not of anything but age.

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Never fear, for Blobby's here!

Phew!  *Sighs in relief*  Although you actually ARE that cruel, since you have made no such promises about Oak!