No…No, no, no…This isn’t happening. Lukas was just about to tell me something. He was going to say why he wished he wouldn’t have…wouldn’t have…
“Wouldn’t have what?” you murmured.
You swallowed and shook Lukas’ shoulder.
“Lukas…?” you whispered. “Hey, Lukas, say something. Lukas…?”
The dragon’s angelic face was wrought with pain and terror. His sapphire blue eyes were wide open like orbs ready to be gouged out. Occasionally, his chest arched out to the sky in a spasm, his throat filling with blood. The arrow must have pierced into one of his arteries. This wasn’t good.
Your eyes were getting hot.
No. Not like this. Not after everything we’ve been through…
“Lukas, get up!” you demanded. The light was fading from his eyes. His rapid breathing was coming to a stop. A gurgling pool of blood was flooding his mouth.
You were crying.
If only…If you had the power to turn back time and take the arrow in his place, you would have done it a hundred times over. Why had he done it? Why would he do something so stupid as protecting you? He was holding the flames, dammit! Your life meant nothing compared to his!
Your heart jumped.
You made a face. Lukas was trying to say something, but his mouth was filled with blood trickling down the sides of his cold lips.
“Lukas, what are you trying to say…?” you whispered. As if by reflex, you grabbed onto his hand; his fingers were like delicate spider webs, soft and silky to the touch, yet incredibly fragile.
“Clo…aahggckk!” Lukas coughed. His eyes were starting to glaze over. The same thing had happened when you had watched the sea serpent die. If you dared to look into Lukas’ thoughts, however, you feared your heart would shatter into a million pieces.
You blinked and leaned towards Lukas hoping to hear what he was trying to say.
You obeyed and leaned as close as you dared. It didn’t matter if a little blood splattered on your face. As long as you could hear him, that was all that mattered. In fact, you were so close to his lips that you could have even—
In the past, Lukas had lied to you when he said he would do something for you in exchange for shutting your mouth. You hadn’t exactly looked forward to getting that reward from him, but in the case that he held his promise, you wouldn’t have minded, either. In fact, it was better than you had expected.
The taste of dragon’s blood was unlike the intimidating toxic color it gave off. Rather, instead of tainting your tongue with the sharp metallic tinge of iron, it was sweet like Dragonarian. How long had it been since you had eaten that exotic fruit?
Like the tender Dragonarian, Lukas’ lips were soft and slightly warm. He was on the verge of life and death. He was shaking, but he managed to cling onto the back of your head for a short amount of time. The moment could have lasted forever.
But…as quickly as Lukas acted, he quickly fell back on the snow, his head and arm going limp.
You exhaled. There was definitely blood on your lips. Lukas was still looking at you, his eyes half open. If he had the energy, he might have laughed at how ridiculous you looked with your hair in shambles, your eyes all red and puffy, and your lips stained with a rich purple color. Then he would have said you looked hideous.
“Hey…” you broke the silence. “Lukas…why’d you do that? I thought…I thought you didn't like me.”
You wiped some of the blood off your lips with your sleeve.
“Lukas…? Hey, this isn’t funny. Say something. You can laugh at me. Come on…”
You blinked. Lukas’ eyes were still open. He was teasing you, wasn’t he? This would be one of his stupid pranks where he’d pretend to be one thing and turn around and laugh at you.
But no laughter came.
The color had completely faded from the dragon’s beautiful blue eyes and skin. He had stopped coughing, and the shaking motion his body had been exerting only a few seconds ago went still. His hand suddenly felt cold and lifeless like he was really…
Something snapped you up from your murky thoughts. There were other people around here. Those people had to be the ones who had shot the arrow.
What had once been a dying spirit suddenly came hurling back at full force like a hungry fire being fed an entire fuel of dried wood. You didn’t want to them to take Lukas. The moment they would see the color of his blood, they would know he was a dragon.
“The arrow went over here!” a voice shouted. You could hear the sound of dogs barking. So they had animals, too. Then no matter what, they were going to find you. Whatever they did to you after that wasn't important. You just wanted to spend the rest of your life with Lukas.
When the men came, you were clinging onto the dragon's lifeless body like a starving mad animal trying to defend its territory or precious source of food, but Lukas was no territory nor was he food. He had been a dear friend to you, and that, alone, was more important than any bed you had slept in or any food that had made its way into your mouth.
“Get back!” you shrieked backing your body up against a tree with Lukas wrapped tightly in your arms. “Get! Back!”
At first, the men were taken aback that you were covered in dragon’s blood, but you were one person against a fairly large group and their dogs. With the odds clearly in their favor, they moved closer towards you until they were within attacking distance.
You knew that attacking them would not only put your life into jeopardy but it would mean having to let go of Lukas. Keeping him close to you was all that mattered. Even if they beat you to a millimeter of your life, you would still continue to hold onto him.
However, as the men approached you with their weapons and the dogs ready to launch at you, it would only be a matter of time before they got what they wanted. Despite your efforts to resist them and cling onto your dear dragon, one of the men snuck up from behind and struck you full force on the back of your head.
Curiously enough, when your face fell on the snow with Lukas leaning next to you as you began to black out, the fresh snowflakes didn’t feel as cold as before. In fact, you even welcomed the snow-encrusted ground.