This is insane. I don't even know why I'm agreeing to do this.
"You're the one who insisted that my brother travel with at least the minimal garments," Emil reminded you. That was something you couldn't ignore: no matter what you were thinking, the dragon's soul could hear your thoughts, too; it was also how he communicated with you.
Nevertheless, you couldn't travel with someone—regardless of how handsome he was—knowing he was going to be walking around buck naked in the cursed snowstorm. Since you needed all of the clothes you had on your body, you had refused to lend Lukas any of yours. As a result, Lukas had told you that if you really wanted him to wear human clothing, you would have to find it yourself, and that meant going all the way back to the castle town to find some. Unfortunately, since your escape had gone so abruptly, you didn't have any money on you. Those without money either had to resort to begging or stealing, and you didn't have the time to waste on begging. Stealing it was.
"You humans have such a complicated reward system," Emil commented as you made your way to the nearest tailor you could find.
And I suppose living without law and order makes your kind more intelligent? you thought.
"We don't live without them," Emil refuted. "My brother has sworn to protect your life no matter the cost so as long as I remain bonded with your heart. It's not every day a dragon will lower his pride to serve a human."
Ha! you dryly laughed in your head. And what about you? What about choosing a human as a vessel in the first place? Why didn't you just fly off when you had the chance? Your brother had no problems taking care of all of those men.
"Had I tried to escape, I knew I wouldn't have been able to make the journey in my previous body's condition," Emil answered.
You furrowed your eyebrows. Journey to where? Exactly where is your brother taking me—I mean, us?
"We are headed for Eldur* Mountain," Emil told you. "We hope to get there before our time is up."
"The time it will take before my soul will consume your heart," Emil said. "Dragons are born of fire as are their souls. Your human heart will eventually expire, and without another vessel, I will die, too. Once we reach Eldur Mountain, I will be able to obtain another body."
So you're saying all of this time, you've been waiting for the right time to find a host to get free? you asked. Why didn't you choose someone else? From the sound of things, it didn't sound like your brother was happy I was chosen as your vessel.
"I needed the proper vessel," Emil explained. "If the human had a corrupt heart, then it would have corrupted my soul in the fusing process. On the other hand, if the person had an honest, pure heart, then my soul would remain true to my vessel and myself. You were the first and only one that fit the requirements." From inside of you, your heart began to pulsate with a fuzzy warmth. Emil must have been laughing.
"Once I leave your heart, I don't think you'll enjoy the real me. It's only your good-natured heart that makes me so well-mannered. Perhaps that is why my brother disagreed with my vessel being a girl as it has made me soft."
That makes sense, you thought.
By now, you had found a tailor with warm-looking garments on display. Lukas had told you that the cold didn't faze him since he was a dragon, so heavy clothing wouldn't be necessary. The least he needed was a tunic and some pants. The tailor wouldn't miss a few scraps of clothing.
When you entered the shop, it didn't take long for your eyes to spot a fine set of clothing that would fit Lukas' body perfectly—it was even in a deep shade of blue similar to his eyes.
"I don't think the owner is around," you heard Emil say. "You should hurry up so as to avoid suspicion."
I know, I know, you thought. Then, after making sure the coast was clear, you hurried over to the tunic and pair of pants and grabbed them off their display. Suddenly, before you had a chance to flee, someone grabbed your wrists and seized you straight into the air.
"And where do you think you're going with those, little brat?" the tailor growled.
Your eyes began searching for leverage. Even a table would do. However, with your feet being suspended in midair, there was little you could do you worm out of it without a little bit of violence.
"This is taking too long," you heard Emil say. Then, out of nowhere, your body became rigid, and your foot suddenly found itself smashed straight into the tailor's groin causing you to fall to the floor.
Emil, stop it! you screamed in your head as you picked yourself up and bolted out of the shop.
"It was necessary," Emil calmly replied.
"Thief!" you heard the tailor shout behind you. "We've got a thief!"
"This is not my day," you grunted and continued to run through the flurries and crowds of people. From the distance, you could hear armor clanging from the soldiers hot on your trail. Then, you heard whistling.
They're shooting arrows at me! you shouted to Emil.
"Not to worry, _____________. As long as I'm in here, my brother won't let harm come to you."
Easy for you to say! You're not the one trying to save your head from being chopped off!
"She's over there!" you heard a soldier shout to his companions. At this point, you had managed to get beyond the main stream of buildings, and the edge of the forest was quickly coming into view.
"Don't let her get away!"
"Damn it!" you panted. Ever since Emil made a vessel out of you, your breath had grown noticeably short, and your energy had diminished. There was only so much you could do to push yourself before running out of energy.
In the middle of running from the soldiers, an arrow went sailing through the air and punctured your cloak causing you to stumble in surprise.
"I'm trying!" you said aloud. "It's hard when I have two lives to worry about!"
"I've got her!" a soldier shouted. From the volume in his voice, you knew he was about to close in on you. Sure enough, when you turned around, he had his sword raised and ready to come slicing through your neck.
Then, as if appearing from thin air, something grabbed the soldier and tossed him sailing through the air.
"I knew you'd draw attention to yourself," an all too displeased voice hissed.
"Lukas…" you breathed gazing upon the magnificent dragon in his true form.
"Dragon!" you heard one of the soldiers roar.
"No point in letting them live," you heard Lukas say as he charged forward and crushed one of the unfortunate soldier's bones into smithereens. Then, he lunged his neck at another one who had tried to flee and bite straight into his throat. Steaming blood began to gush out of the lifeless soldier as Lukas tossed him aside like a ragdoll. At this point, the remaining soldier knew he was no match, but before he could react, Lukas had swung his tail around clubbing him straight in the side and sent him flying on a tree. With an earsplitting crack, the man's body had snapped in two.
When Lukas was sure that no other soldiers had followed you, his body suddenly began to glow in a soft blue light. You had to close your eyes so as not to be blinded, and when you had opened them again, Lukas had reverted to his human form—much to your embarrassment, he was still as naked as you had left him earlier.
"P-Put these on," you stammered holding out the tunic and pants to him with your eyes tightly shut.
You could hear Lukas snort as you felt him snatch the clothes out of your hands to put them on.
"I don't understand why you humans always have to worry about these things," he growled. "Perhaps if you didn't rely on such rags, your bodies would have grown accustomed to the cold."
"I know you don't need them, but it's also a matter of respect," you murmured with your eyes still closed.
Lukas barked a dry laugh. "Respect? If anyone should be doing the respecting, it should be you, human."
You were boiling with anger. I hate you…
"Please understand that we're prideful beings, ____________," Emil reminded you before you could think of lashing out at his brother. "After being chained up for so long, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that my brother has felt anything but contempt towards humans. My true self might feel the same way."
"That doesn't give him the right to think he has sovereignty over me," you growled through your teeth. Then, you opened your eyes and marched towards Lukas who had (thankfully) gotten dressed at this point. "You may think highly of yourself for being able to fly, and smash things, and rip things to bits, but don't forget that your brother is under my care so until we reach Ender Mountain—or Eldur Mountain—whatever it's called! Until we reach our destination, I expect you to treat me with just as much respect. It's you who has to watch out for me, in case you don't remember."
It was quick, but for a brief moment, you were sure a thin smile nearly appeared on Lukas' lips. If he had meant to smile, it clearly wasn't visible now.
"The human has bite," Lukas remarked. "Maybe you aren't as meek as I thought, but that doesn't mean you're any less helpless." He sighed. "It would have been faster to fly to Eldur Mountain, but since your foolish accident has cost me my wing, we're going to have to walk until it heals."
"And how long will that take?" you asked.
Lukas looked behind him as though his wings were still on his human back. "Give or take about half a moon," he answered. "But since we're trekking on foot, it will take longer than that to get there. Eventually, we'll have to fly." On those words, the dragon turned around and began to walk through the snow.
"Wait, wait, wait," you called after him. "Exactly how long will it take for Emil's soul to burn up my heart?"
Lukas batted his rather attractive eyelashes that sparkled with the collection of ice crystals.
"If your heart is as strong as my brother believes it to be, then it will last for about a moon. If not, the two of you will perish before my wing even heals."
"Is that so…?" you sighed and began to follow Lukas.
Emil, I've been thinking: is there anything in it for me? you asked him in your head. I mean, I am walking with you the entire way, after all.
"There are more reasons than one for going to Eldur Mountain," Emil began. "Aside from it being the place where I can properly regain my form, we might find a clue as to how Dragonfall can end."
"Well, don't forget that Eldur Mountain also happens to be a place for dragons to gather," Emil reminded you.
And how is that relevant?
"You'd be surprised at how much knowledge we, dragons, contain in accordance to our long lifespans," Emil responded. "It contradicts what you humans have been told, but my brother and I both know that, without a doubt, we aren't the last dragons in the world."