“You two are very lucky to be alive,” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard, or “Tino” as he allowed you to call him, said.
“Believe me, we’ve had too many encounter’s with Death’s door,” Lukas groaned.
Berwald—the Golden Sentinel did not seem to mind that you called him by his human name, either—had offered to carry Lukas on his back.
“How did you know where we were?” you asked them still amazed at seeing the other two dragons out of their element.
“After Mathias told us you two were captured, he directed me over here,” Tino explained. “However, since we found out there was a force field surrounding this area all too quickly, I thought it would be wise to get the Golden Sentinel to come along and inspect this place.”
“Finding you was luck,” Berwald added. “Though the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard did manage to see you flying through the air outside of the force field.”
“Yes, what happened?” Tino asked.
“A sea serpent tossed us up here,” Lukas answered. “I’m going to spare you the details, but all I can say is that it wasn’t pleasant. Mathias is still down there, too.”
“He is? Why would you leave him alone with a sea serpent?”
“The idiot finally gets what he deserves,” the Golden Sentinel mumbled.
“No, no!” you quickly said. “Mathias saved us!”
“More or less,” Lukas muttered unwilling to fully admit it.
“He was on a piece of wood along a river when we saw him,” you explained. “The sea serpent tossed us up because we were on its head when we were trying to prevent ourselves from getting eaten.”
“Speaking of sea serpents, I thought they didn’t exist anymore,” Tino joined in.
“I thought so as well,” Lukas agreed. “Apparently it was just hiding under the ice the entire time.”
“The world is full of surprises,” Berwald said in a wistful voice.
“It is,” Tino agreed. “But enough chitchat. We need to find a good place to land so we can fix that wound of yours, ____________.”
“You mean my head?” you guessed reaching up to your forehead and touching the place where a sharp piece of ice had struck it. It wasn’t bleeding anymore, but it was still a little wet and sticky. When you moved your hand away, some of the matted blood clung onto your skin and hair. It wasn’t a pretty sight, to say the least.
When the dragons did land, you were beginning to feel faint and dizzy—sick, even.
“Dragonheart, are you well?” Tino asked noticing you wobbling around as soon as he placed you on the solid ground. “You look pale.”
“I…I think all of that mind-reading has made me sick…” you groaned and flopped onto your back. Meanwhile, Lukas walked over to you with Berwald slowly following behind.
“Yes, Mathias told us about that back at Eldur Mountain,” Tino said. “He said something about suddenly being able to hear your voice inside his head and communicating with your thoughts?”
“That’s right…” you murmured.
“I believe that’s where her powers come from as a Dragonheart,” Lukas added. “She’s…tried it on me. My brother’s thoughts aren’t the only ones she can hear, it would seem. She could even hear the thoughts of the sea serpent.”
“How amazing,” Tino commented. “I have never heard of a human vessel being able to communicate with other dragons outside of their own dragon souls. ____________, you are one of a kind.”
You managed a soft chuckle. “Mm, I can’t say I’m too grateful for the moment. All this mind-reading is giving me a headache.”
“Ah, that’s right, I should look at your head. It will be easier to do it in my other form,” Tino said. When you winked open one of your eyes, the entire snowfield was shrouded in a soft turquoise light much like when you had seen Lukas and Emil transform.
Wait a minute… you thought. Lukas and Emil both didn’t have clothes on when they were humans…So does that mean—
“Gah! Hang on!” you quickly screamed and rolled yourself into a ball. “You could at least tell me before you transform!”
“Don’t be ridiculous, ____________,” Lukas snorted. “The Eye of the Topaz Blizzard’s human form is just as normal as the rest of ours.”
“That’s not what I was afraid of!” you groaned. “Th-The clothes…!”
“Hmm?” Berwald spoke up.
Since your eyes were shut, you couldn’t tell if Tino had any clothes on his human form or not, but it wasn’t like you were about to find out firsthand with your own eyes.
“Lukas, is he…?”
“Yep, he is,” the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames answered.
“He’s what?” Berwald asked.
You bit your lower lip. “He’s…”
But before you could finish, you felt a human hand grab your shoulder and pry your arms away from your eyes.
“Noooo!” you shrieked and opened your eyes by accident.
Tino flinched and stepped back. “Did I startle you, __________?” he asked in pure concern. “I didn’t mean to frighten you…”
You gaped and blinked a few times at the Eye of the Topaz’s human form. Much to the contradiction of Lukas’ information, Tino was completely clothed in a simple brown tunic with pants. His garments looked barely different than Lukas’ blue attire, but his human form had a few differences. For one, while Tino had short blonde hair, too, his eyes were an icy glass blue with a faint purple tinge. Similar to his dragon form, his human form was rather short, and he bore a friendly aura in contrast to Lukas’ cold one and Mathias’ hyper one.
“Lukas, you liar!” you shouted, enraged that Lukas would make you so flustered for nothing.
A rare, thin smile cracked at the edge of the lips of the Douchebag King of Stupid Ffff…Things.
“Heh,” he chuckled. “You should have seen the look on your face.”
“Priceless,” Berwald said.
“What’s going on?” Tino asked completely in the dark as to why you were so upset.
“I thought you were naked!” you screamed burying your face into your hands—only to get caked, dried blood all over your palms.
“Naked?” Tino repeated taken aback at your vulgar assumption. “Why in Eliatha would I be naked?”
“B-Because,” you babbled, “when Lukas and Emil both transformed, they were both naked so I could only assume you were the same!”
“Oh, I see…” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard chuckled with an embarrassed smile.
“It looks like the time you’ve spent together has improved your relationship,” Berwald observed.
You and Lukas only looked away with clamped mouths.
“Now, now, you two,” Tino chuckled, “let’s all be friends, here. I don’t want anymore fights happening around.”
“I’m assuming pitting Mathias and the Golden Sentinel together caused some problems?” Lukas spoke up.
“It wasn’t very pleasant,” the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard grimaced. “Even when there wasn’t a reason to fight, they’d come up with their own.”
“It was always his fault,” Berwald said. You couldn’t be sure if he was lying or not.
“Anyway,” Tino said as he bent down to look at your head, “let’s see if we can get this cleaned up.”
While the refreshingly friendly dragon helped nurse your wound, Lukas and Berwald killed time by catching up on what had happened since leaving Eldur Mountain. He never cut any corners in telling him about the voices, the merchants, and how Mathias came to tag along.
“Oh, yes, that,” Tino laughed. “Since the force field was up, I couldn’t take Mathias any further so I thought the best way to do it was to drop him.”
“Th-That could have killed him…” you shuddered.
“That skull of his isn’t the only thing that’s thick,” Berwald said.
“But what you said about Emil worries me,” Tino said changing the topic. “If you haven’t been able to reach him, yet you are able to still communicate with us, then I can’t imagine what must have happened to him.”
You swallowed a lump in your throat. It hadn't been pleasant feeling Emil’s emotions during the last time you had spoken with him. Your heart had ached to the point where you thought it would burst. At least he didn’t have to hear about what had happened to you and Lukas when you had been with the merchants.
“Yes, well, there’s nothing we can do except continue looking for him,” Lukas said. Then, his eyes went to the chains still attached to his limbs. “Berwald, do you think you could possibly take these off? Mathias and I tried to, but the best we could do was remove the chains from another location.”
“They’re cursed?” Berwald guessed.
“I believe so,” Lukas nodded. “Mathias wasn’t able to break them, but he was able to break _____________’s.”
“Try transforming,” the Golden Sentinel suggested.
Lukas hopelessly shook his head. “I can’t. I tried to do that once we reached the ground.”
“If they can’t be broken by dragon hands, then we’ll have to use human tools,” Berwald said. “A lockpick might work.”
You furrowed your eyebrows. “Where are we going to get something like that?”
“Somewhere,” Berwald simply said.
Oh. He’s unsure…
“Oh! Wait a minute! We forgot about Mathias!” you suddenly spoke up. “We have to find him, too! What if he’s battling the sea serpent?!”
Lukas blinked unfathomably. “That’s right, I completely forgot about him.”
You didn’t even deny it!
“It’s going to be troublesome if we have to worry about so many people at once,” Berwald said. “Eye of the Topaz Blizzard, do you think you could go with the Dragonheart to retrieve Mathias? In the meantime, the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames and I will go look for a way to get these cursed chains off of him.”
“Will Tino and I be alright on our own?” you asked concerned sending a single was risky after what had happened with you and Lukas.
“The Eye of the Topaz Blizzard is tougher than you think, _____________,” Lukas said. “He should be able to fare better than I would in this situation.”
“Right, well, your head should be fine for the time being, _____________,” Tino said taking a torn piece of his clothes away from your forehead.
“Thank you, Tino,” you replied. “Erm, on another note, how are you going to enter the force field? You have to be humans to do that.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Tino smiled. “We’re going to use the same methods Mathias used to find you.”
You blinked. “You mean, we’re going to contact Mathias and just hope of the best?”
“It was enough for him to find you, apparently.”
“Mm, I don’t know…What if we die?”
“You won’t die with the aid of the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard,” Berwald said.
Lukas nodded. “You two should be fine.”
“I don’t see how, but I’ll try to see if I can find Mathias,” you mumbled and closed your eyes.
Looking for Mathias, looking for Mathias, Mathias, Mathias, Mathias…
“Ah, I’m bored!”
“Oh! _____________! How are you and Lukas?”
Fine, you answered. Tino and Berwald are here.
“Hmm. Berwald’s there, too, huh? So what’s your plan?”
Uh, first of all, where are you right now?
“Just floating around the river.”
Did the sea serpent leave?
“Oh, yeah, of course he did! When he was coming down, I took my sword and (made a fool of myself) sliced its skull clean through! And then (he made a huge splash that nearly drowned me) with a powerful leap, I sailed into the air and was about to deliver the final blow when the coward swam away! (Thank the gods he went away…) I was beyond heroic!”
Uh…That’s nice, Mathias…So you’re really just floating down the river?
“Pretty much. The sea serpent destroyed most of the ice.”
Well, Tino and I are going to meet up with you. Berwald and Lukas are looking for a way to get the chains off.
“Did you reach him, yet?” Tino asked.
You nodded. “He’s still somewhere along the river.”
“Do you have an idea of his location?”
Your hand automatically went to your chest. Ever since making the connection with Mathias, you had been feeling a faint pull on your body similar to when you had been talking with Emil.
“I think so,” you responded.
“Then, we should go before you run out of energy again,” Tino suggested and changed back into a dragon. A sudden chill filled the area. You had forgotten about the Eye of the Topaz Blizzard’s unusual ability to make the temperature drop around him.
“You two be careful,” Lukas said. “Once you find Mathias…see if you can contact the Golden Sentinel first.”
You raised your eyebrows. It seemed as though Lukas was still uncomfortable with you digging into his thoughts.
“I’ll be sure to do that,” you replied and climbed aboard Tino’s back. Like the time before, the cold air disappeared as soon as you touched his turquoise blue scales and secured yourself.
“Alright, hang on, ___________,” Tino said and began to start running.
“Take care,” Berwald said just as you felt a sharp dip to the ground as Tino thrust his legs off of the snow and fanned open his wings.
“Keep going,” you said feeling the invisible string tugging towards the front.
“Understood,” the dragon replied and continued to fly forward. If you looked carefully, you could see something that looked like a rainbow-colored film. It was the force field. Tino was flying at just the right angle making sure he wouldn’t touch it. Neither of you wanted to go flying like you had when Lukas had hit it.
“Now make a slight right,” you said pushing lightly on the dragon’s neck. “We’re almost there.”
Then, the string dropped as if making an anchor below, the force feeling stronger than ever.
“He’s down below!”