The red flames roared in the night sky. That brilliant flickering was so bright, perhaps its lamination could be seen from several kilometers away. That being said, the hunter, who was still standing at the edge of the forest, could even smell the piercing burning scent of dread.
The mixed odor of sulfur, charred meat, and wood that had not burnt through was all in the air. Such a man as the old hunter could pick up the scent and can tell what was going on up ahead. At then, even with his sharp, calculative mind, he was unable to think rationally. Like all others in the face of dread, his mind was racing.
The hunter focused his gaze onto the flames and saw the things that he had not wished to seea burning village. Houses that had collapsed due to the flames. Worse of all, the ember remained of the burnt villagers.
That and, of course, the dragon.
A dragon. A being that is rarely seen. Perhaps not even during a blue moon. A being that was treated as almost only a word of legend was seen in a large flock, gathering together in a human village. With the lightning and flames mixed with the screams of terror, the dragon tore down the mangled bodies of dead villagers and houses. Everything... was ashes and flames.
The hunter's face was filled with blood. His veins were popping out as the green vessels were pumping blood at tremendous speed across his temple. His gritted his teeth hard yet he was not sure it was of fear, or anger. All he knew was the sound of his teeth gritting against each other was aligned with the sound of the arrows bumping against the side of the quiver of which he was holding in his hands. Unlike others, the hunter's heart was different. In the same situation where others would burn with fury and rage, his was cold, frigid.
The dragon that he could recognize immediately was the one that had snatched his prey. In the fire dragon's mouth, was the Wild Boar King. The one beast that he had initially planned to have its hide and the money gained from other part shared with the other villagers. He had always been kind to them, as they were to him. How else was he able to leave his family behind to go hunting when none was taking care of them? In return for the villagers' kindness, he would spare anything that he could. However, that was a thing of the past. After the appearance of the dragon, everything was gone.
Underneath the male dragon's feet was the corpse of an older woman who had been taking care of him and his family. That older woman was extremely fond of her two children and often made stuffed bread for them.
Sadly, that older women and her son were squashed beneath the dragon's massive claw. What remained of their mixed entrails was their expression on their severed head not far from their bodythe horrid expression in their eyes.
On the other end, was a land drake with human entrails dangling out of its mouth and fangs. Those belonged to the once living soldiers that argued with the hunter on a daily basis. The cool, quiet middle-aged warrior was still holding onto the spear in his lifeless hands even though life had already escaped from his body. It was obvious that in his last moments, he had wanted to take down one of the dragons but had failed to do so. Horribly.
The pride of the hunterhis ever-sharp eyesight, was then his primary source of pain. He could see everything clearly. Every single detail of who and what was killed. The beastly manner of feasting had made the hunter rage on yet there was nothing he could do then to vent. At then, he was so close to losing his sanity, to charge into the bright red flames to attack them. But logic stopped him. Any of the dragons there was at the very least, a Silver tier potential. There was no way he could beat them. No way at all.
With his conscience speaking directly to his soul, he knew that he had to calm down and analyze the situation before he could act.
There were many types of subspecies of dragons present then. The male fire Dragon, the female fire dagon, sloth dragon, thunder dragon, and many smaller subspecies. Luckily, none of the dragon there were those with intelligence conscience, the kind that could unleash magic, the Astral Dragon.
Then again, the Old World Dragons had never been on good terms with the Astral Dragons. Each side will never accept the other as the same kind. The
Yet, something was wrong. How could the Old World Dragons, famed for their tenacity to kill one other, group together and hunt like a family? From the point of view of a hunter, it did not make any sense. It was an impossible phenomenon. A male fire dragon usually feeds on other smaller dragon subspecies. The main reason was simple. Why would they eat human? Humans are nothing but sacks of flesh latched with countless of bones. Why would the fire dragon not eat other fleshy dragons and instead hunt an iron-skinned Wild Boar King and swallow a mouthful of bony humans?
Just when the thought had crossed his mind, the hunter immediately ignored it and headed out of the forest to race to his house, which was located on the riverside. There were no signs of any intrusion of the dragons on the side of the river hence the houses left there were still standing. It was too overwhelmingly calm. A difference in heaven and earth when compared to the burning houses.
At then, the hunter breath a sigh of relief. There was still hope, he thought.
"They're still alive! There's a chance!"
As excitement built, the man hastened his speed and ran over to the bank of the river, where his house was located.
On the side of the river, in a small house
"Stay still. Be good, don't come out and don't make a sound."
A whisper of a faint voice could be heard down in the cellar of a wooden house. A middle-aged with a strongly built woman was laying on the floor, talking with the faintest voice as she could to the entrance of the cellar where her children were hiding.
"Little Ivan, take good care of Amila. There more than enough provision in there. If the fire spreads in, you have to use the separator to prevent the fire from burning down the cellarYou"
As she spoke with her breath trying desperately to break her voice, a low groan of a dragon could be heard.
"Please, mother! Don't speak anymore. Please come into the cellar with us!"
A young boy named Ivan retorted immediately with his tears rolling down his cheek. His little sister, Amila, was crying behind him. Her tears damped the cotton shirt on his shoulders. As he spoke to his mother, fear broke his voice. "I-I can't remember so many th-things"
"I can't go in with you"
The middle-aged woman peeked through the small hole in the cellar and sighed dreadfully. The space in the cellar was small. She knew that. She also knew that the air inside could never be enough for two children and an adult to survive. If it's just the two young ones At the very least, she understood the consequences.
The dragon roared loudly and judging by the volume of it, the dragon was getting closer. The middle-aged woman knew that it was not the time to be hesitating. She braced herself for the events that were unfolding.
With aforceful smile, she pulled her children and kiss them lovingly on their forehead. With the greatest love in her arms, she pushed them down into the cellar and closed the separator.
"Mother loves you. Remember that"
Despite knowing that her voice could never reach her children, she tried to comfort herself. Hoping for the very best that her children would be safe and sound.
When she felt the dragon was merely steps away from the house, the lone brave mother of two rushed to the kitchen and picked a cooking wok and a burning stick. With the courage of a mother, she ran through the door. Yelling as loud as she could, the mother banged the wok with the stick to distract the dragons. With the loudest voice she could muster, she yelled, "COME HERE! I'M HERE! BASTARD!"
The female fire dragon that was closest to the house was startled by the noise. It immediately focused its attention on the human female that was making the noise and quickly moved towards her.
The one man that was truly safe from harm was on his way from the forest towards his house. At that moment, he saw everything. He saw his own beloved wife came running out of the house, with an iron wok in her hand and her voice as her weapon.
There was no need to ask. With just a single gaze, he knew that she was doing.
As expected of my beloved The hunter thought to himself.
He gritted his teeth and felt the utmost shame of not having a better body to rescue the one he loved.An overwhelming rage burnt inside of him. So strong, that it tore apart any possible logic that was trying to keep himself alive.
Be it shame, guilt, rage, and fear. He knew that all of these negative emotion rooted from one single factor. He was weak.
Why couldn't I be stronger?! Why couldn't I have the strength to protect my wife, my children My village?!
No matter how much he scolded himself, he knew that it was not the time to have an inner conflict.
There was the other dragon, the male fire dragon, which noticed the sudden movement of the female fire dragon and followed it towards the house.
It was too obvious. The female human had sacrificed herself to lead the dragon towards the other direction.
Not far away, the hunter's self-conflicting dialogue had just rose to another level.
Andre, what are you waiting for? The time is nigh. The time is now.
As of destiny had found its way to the hunter named Andre, he remained calm. He was not anxious, only a little startled. He cracked a smile and walked closer to the Fire Dragon. With his hands gripped onto the bow, he raised the bow and nocked the arrow.
The bowstring was pulled, and the arrow was let loose.
The enchanted arrow whistled through the air. In the darkness of the sky, the arrow left a small faint trail of blue light, flying straight towards the fire dragon's eye.
A loud explosion was heard. What follows was merely a normal reaction of a dragon which was attacked. A frantic roar of rage and surprise bellowed throughout the burning village.
In the same time, the female that was sprinting with her best, trying to lure the female fire dragon away from her children, looked towards the source of the explosion.
Both the hunter and his wife meet each other gaze. Both of them stopped their tracks, and smiled.
Beneath the house.
Ivan could faintly hear the sound of which his mother leaving the house. What came next was her loud bellows as she tried to lure the monster away from them.
To do that, his mother had chosen to ignore her own safety.
When Ivan had realized the weight of his mother's action, the sudden burst of an explosion was heard. When the dragon roared in pain, his little sister heard it and pressed her face to her brother and sobbed in sadness. Despite her quiet sobbing, he knew his sister was suppressing her sadness forcefully. He, too was crying. However, the boy had muffled his own mouth in order to prevent making any sound. He shut his eyes tight and tried his best not to allow his grieve from showing out.
With excessive grieving, they would consume more air. Most importantly, the air beneath the separate room, was extremely scarce.
That was all taught by his father during their regular training sessions. A mere daily fun fact by his father in passing. He understood his mother's action, hence, he knew what he should do when he recalled the short lesson from his father. As such, there was nowhere he could vent his pent-up emotions.
How could this happen? Everything was living their lives peacefully. How could a random dragon appear out of nowhere and attack the village?! Why would they not hunt their usual prey but instead attacked the humans?
No one had informed them. They came like the wind. Sudden. Unexpected. At then, no one had noticedthe dragon's eyes, were glowing with a faint blue light.
The next day.
The news of the dragon burning down a village had arrived at Moldavia's main office.
After Joshua read the report about the attack, he was quiet, for a very long time.