"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink."
Alex awoke early in the morning like normal, only he now had a nicer place to stay, all thanks to Dave. It was very likely he owed his life to Dave, he could not have recovered from his injuries without a lot of food, and he couldn't have caught anything himself in his prior condition. Well maybe he could have, but not easily. The dragon still didn't know why Dave cared so much for him, but he was glad of it. For the past few days Alex had just been hanging out with Dave, and the dragon had been learning about Dave's life. Right now, however, Dave was likely sleeping, and Alex was hungry.
He had not eaten anything since he killed that deer and freaked Dave out, two days ago, mostly because he hadn't been very hungry. Now he needed something to eat, but he didn't want to wake Dave just for something to eat. Alex felt like he would be taking advantage of his hospitality if he just got free food every time he was a little hungry. He was fully recovered, as far as he could tell. Why should he accept handouts if he could take care of himself?
Alex took flight and began searching the area for potential prey, he decided to look around where he was attacked, for curiosity's sake. He soon found the place where he had crashed to the ground, then found an opening in the trees and landed. He smelled Dave, and followed the smell to the tree he remembered before waking in Dave's house. There he could smell his own blood, he looked up in the trees and seen many small, broken branches. Alex thought those must have slowed his fall, because he thought he should have been injured worse. He wasn't complaining, of course.
One thing bothered him though. Why hadn't the dragon who attacked him come back and made sure the job was done? Alex didn't think anyone would go though that much trouble merely to injure him. Though his injuries could have been fatal, he didn't know how his attacker would know that. Worrying about it won't solve anything.
Alex resumed hunting, he had often found deer in the area, so he thought it would be a good place to start. Alex started moving carefully into the wind, as deer could smell him easily if he got upwind of them. After close to an hour, Alex noticed something move ahead of him, he froze and watched it. It was a deer, and it was eating something. The deer was completely unaware of his presence, and he intended to keep it that way for as long as possible. Alex carefully moved closer, making as little sound as possible; he knew from experience and from going hungry more than a few times that deer have very sensitive hearing.
He got nearer to the deer, but he stepped on something crunchy. The deer heard it. Alex froze, holding as still as possible. Deer have very good eyesight, but they only seem to notice things if they move. Alex once had a deer walk within a couple feet of himself, and it didn't notice him until he moved, but then it was too late. Holding as still as possible, Alex watched the deer. It was looking directly at him. He was sure it would run, and he was too far away to easily catch it. After a few more seconds, the deer went back to eating and moved ahead and away a few steps.
Alex crept even closer, he was just about close enough to easily catch the deer, but still he inched closer. When he was about thirty five feet away from the animal, it moved ahead a small distance to find something better to chew on, near some thicker brush. Suddenly, something jumped out of the brush, trying to get the deer, but the animal easily jumped out of the way, straight toward Alex.
Alex saw something try tp jump on the deer but he didn't have any time to think about what it was; the deer was heading right for him. Alex leaped into the air, directly toward the panicked animal's neck. The deer tried to change direction, but it was too late, the dragon bit into its neck and his momentum broke it's neck and pushed it over backwards.
The dragon released his hold on the deer and looked back to the brush, hoping to find out what had been trying to get his kill. Not seeing anything right away, and not knowing what to expect, he moved carefully closer. When he got to the brush he still see nothing, but he could smell something that seemed familiar somehow. He hadn't noticed it before because he had been focused on the deer. He heard something move to his left and turned, a short distance away was another dragon limping away.
Alex recognized it immediately, it was the dragon who had attacked him days earlier, and it was horribly injured. Alex could see many large lacerations in its green sides and could remember making some of them. The wounds had started to heal, but they did not look good, one of the wings was hanging oddly on its back and it was limping a bit, not putting much weight on its front right leg.
He didn't know anything about how this dragon would act, so he ran to it and quickly, pounced on and pined it to the ground. It released a pained, high pitched yelp. "How... How did you survive?" The wounded dragon gasped while trying to free herself from Alex's grasp. The voice was obviously female, though her 's' sounds dragged slightly longer than normal. "You're barely even wounded! You had injuries all over your sides! Are you here to finally kill me?" She asked, as she gave up struggling, exhausted from her wounds and a week without food. "Just get it over with quickly."
Alex didn't do anything, he just held the other dragon fast, thinking of what to do. He had done far more damage to this dragon then he thought, if it wasn't for her hitting him hard in the face and nearly knocking him out, he probably would have killed her in the fight. But instead they both had ended up falling to earth badly wounded. Alex wasn't sure what he should do, it didn't feel right to kill her now, wounded, weak, and defenseless. Sure, he had killed animals like this for food, but this did not seem the same.
"No, I'm not going to kill you." Alex said, slowly getting off of the other dragon and backing away carefully. "Just don't try anything. I would not be in much better condition than you, but a friend found me and gave me warmth and food."
"How? That's impossible, there are no other dragons in this area besides you!" She said.
"It was no dragon." Alex said, thinking of all the kindness Dave had shown him.
"No." The female said. "No. They told me humans would try to kill any dragon on sight. You must be lying!"
"I'm not lying. He found me a short way from here, unconscious. He brought me into his home and tended my wounds. He gave me his food, he even built me a better place to stay." Alex said. "He thought I was a simple beast when he found me, yet he still helped me. I don't know why he cared so much."
"It must be a trick!" She shouted. "It must be. He's lying. He's just trying to get information about the hierarchy, and when he finds out you're not part of it and don't know anything, you'll be dead!"
"Oh, Dave would not hurt anything, not without a reason. He already knows I'm not part of that group. I told him about how they tried to force me to join." Alex said. "He only seemed surprised and a little scared to know that a hostile group of dragons exists."
"It can't be true." The young female said, Alex thought she might be about to cry. "It can't be. They lied to me!" She yelled as loud as she could; not very.
Alex dragged the deer over to the young female dragon. "Here, eat. Those wounds will never heal if you don't have enough to eat."
"Thank you. But why are you helping me? I tried to kill you, and probably would have succeeded if you hadn't torn my wing right before I knocked you out." She said, as she started tearing into the deer ravenously.
"I don't know." Alex said. "Maybe the same reason Dave helped me earlier. Though I have less reason to help you then he had for me. Maybe because I want to know why you attacked me.
"I was ordered to." She said. "Or else. They didn't tell me much, only that you were a risk to the hierarchy and needed to be eliminated."
"Or else what?" Alex asked.
"I- I don't know." She said. "There was another dragon who didn't follow orders and tried to run away. They caught him, and I never seen him again." The female dragon seemed scared. "They told me my family would never accept me, that no human could even look at me without horror, that anyone who saw me would try to kill me.
"I don't have any place to go now, I'm sure the hierarchy would kill me or worse if I went back after failing to kill you. I've been punished more than once just for mentioning that I want to see my family again and for not accepting a new name. My name has always been Lynn, I don't need a new one just for becoming a dragon. I'm still the same person I've always been."
"I see." Alex said. "I'm sorry for hurting you so badly, but gave me little choice. You were trying to kill me, after all. And besides, if you look at the whole picture, your attacking me only brought good things. I have a new friend. That is the one thing I've wanted since I became a dragon so long ago."
"I don't know how you you can so forgiving." Lynn said. "I don't think I would be, in your position."
"I don't know either." Alex said. "You don't look good, I'm gonna go get Dave, he can help you far better than I can. I just need a few bites of this meat, if you don't mind." Alex said, then he tore off a large piece to eat, and jumped into the air.
Alex ate the meat as he flew, he was soon over Dave's house. He circled around a few times and landed right outside Dave's living room door. Dave was sitting by his wood stove, and quickly got up and opened the door. Seeing the blood all over Alex's face, he said "Couldn't wait for me to get up to have breakfast, could you?"
"No, but that's the least of your concerns." Alex said.
"What happened?" Dave said, suddenly worried.
"I found the dragon who attacked me." Alex stated.
"Really? Did you kill it?" Dave asked, pointing at the blood.
"No. I didn't. She's baldly injured, I found her while I was hunting." Alex said,
"Get that ATV thing and trailer running and follow me."
"Ok..." Dave said, getting his coat on and opening the garage. "Where is she?
"Not too far from where you found me. Just a little farther."
Dave followed the dragon as it flew on ahead of him, wondering what he would find when he got to his destination. Dave did not know why Alex seemed so worried about the health of what should be his enemy, but he would have to save his questions for later. Alex landed near where Dave had first found him and started running farther into the woods, Dave followed him off the trail, taking care to avoid trees and other hazards. He soon saw a partly eaten deer carcass and something large and green lying near it. It looked up at him, and slowly moved into a defensive position. Alex moved to her side and said something to her, and she calmed down a bit.
Dave got off of his vehicle and slowly walked toward Alex, he noticed many wounds on the female dragon, she looked worse the Alex did when he found him. "What's this?" Dave asked.
"This is Lynn." Alex said. "She is the one who attacked me, though it was not her idea."
"I see." Dave said, slowly walking forward, not knowing how this dragon would react. Lynn only looked at him, not knowing what he would do.
"Don't worry. He doesn't bite." Alex said to her.
"You don't look good." Dave said. "I can help you, but I can't do anything out here. Will you and let me help you?"
"Yes." Lynn said, not seeing any other choice.
"Can you walk? I'll need you to get on the trailer there, then I can take you to my house where I can clean those cuts. They don't look infected, but they are dirty. If you're anything like Alex, you should be fine though. I've never seen anything heal as fast as he did, it's almost like the meat I gave him went right to his wounds in a matter of hours."
Lynn carefully got up and moved herself to the small flatbed trailer, watching Alex and Dave. She was not sure what to think of them, it went against what she was told by the hierarchy. They said that it was impossible for humans and dragons to get along peacefully. They said the only way for dragons to thrive was to eventually dominate or destroy all humans. Their most important law was to never show yourself to a human, in order to keep themselves hidden until they could take over.
But everything she had seen of Dave and Alex went against that. Lynn was right about her family. They would have accepted her, even though she looked nothing like she used to. She had been lied too, and she believed it. Not only had she believed it, she had nearly killed an innocent person because of it. Now, for some reason, that person was doing everything he could to help her, and she couldn't understand why.
Alex watched as Lynn carefully get onto the trailer, and as Dave carefully started driving back to his house. Alex took what remained of the deer and jumped into the air again, Lynn had eaten much of it, so it was not very heavy. Alex was a little amazed at how much she had eaten, but it made sense, she would be desperately hungry after being injured like that. Her body would need as much energy and raw materials as it could get. Alex had been injured a few times, though never anywhere near as badly as he was when Dave found him, and he always became very hungry after.
He followed Dave he as he drove toward his house, watching Lynn and wondering what she was thinking. Alex flew ahead and landed near Dave's house, and started eating the remainder of the the deer. Dave returned before Alex was finished eating, and parked the ATV near the living room door. Alex walked closer to get a better look and asked Lynn how she was feeling.
"Better, now that I've had something to eat. But everything still hurts." Lynn said. "Thank you again."
"Well, lets get you inside where it's warm, and then I can have a look at those nasty looking cuts. Did Alex give you all those?" Dave asked.
"Well she was trying to kill me." Alex said before she could answer.
"Yes." Lynn said, getting off of the trailer. "I was. I probably would have done it too, but he managed to tear my wing." She said, slowly unfolding her right wing. The membrane had three deep cuts in it, one going all the way though and leaving a large rip in her wing. "I should have still been able to fly, but I lost my balance. We were not far above the trees, and before I could recover, I crashed though at least one tree and hit the ground hard." Lynn said, "My wing hurts like hell when ever I move it."
"So how did Alex end up crashing too?" Dave asked, after all three of them had entered the living room. Dave was glad these dragons were not any larger.
"She kicked me in the head right after I clawed her wing." Alex said. "Hard enough to knock me out for a few seconds. I was falling straight down when I could see again, and I could not pull up fast enough to avoid becoming one with the ground. I only managed to slow my fall."
Lynn moved near the warm wood stove right after she came inside, and carefully lay down near it. Dave left the room for a few minutes and returned with some medical supplies and a bucket of hot soapy water, and began to take a closer look at the new dragon. "Hmm, at this rate, I'm gonna have to put a sign outside saying 'Dave's Dragon Clinic.' But anyway, I'm gonna take a look at these cuts and clean them out a bit. They may have gotten infected, but I hope not, because that's is no fun."
Dave looked at her wounds, and though they were a bit dirty, none of them appeared to infected. Dave was amazed, he'd heard of similar things only in Alligators, who can lose a limb in a filthy swamp and not suffer any infections. Dave also noticed that most of the wounds had started to heal, this was most evident in her wing where the tears in the membrane seemed have started knitting themselves back together. Dave cleaned all of the cuts carefully, though Lynn flinched whenever he touched something tender. He used adhesive strips to hold the wing membrane together where it was still separated, thinking it would heal faster that way.
"You're lucky nothing was deep enough to cause any major bleeding, otherwise you would have never found help in time." Dave said. Though the cuts were up to an inch deep in some places, none of them had hit a large blood vessel. Dave thought either Lynn was very lucky, or maybe dragons didn't have anything close enough to the surface to be injured by simple lacerations.
"I know." Lynn said. "Some did bleed for a long time, I was scared of bleeding to death at first, but the bleeding finally stopped. I think that's why I feel so weak. Just moving hurts like hell, and my right arm hurts whenever something touches it. I was so hungry before I just ignored all my pain to try and catch that deer, I could not feel anything. I probably would have caught one sooner, but I'm almost useless at hunting
"Arm?" Dave asked.
"Well I suppose leg is more correct, considering..." Lynn said. "This is still new to me, even though It's been months."
"I see." Dave said, and looked at her right front leg. She flinched away when he touched it, and Dave saw that it was swollen a bit. When he held it, and moved a bit too far, Lynn growled and pulled it away. Dave backed up, startled.
"Sorry! It just hurt so bad."
"I'm okay." Dave said. "You probably fractured it when you fell, though knowing you dragons it's probably started to heal already. It should be fine, it looks like it's still aligned properly. I'd just stay off of it until it's completely healed. Don't worry, I've got a whole bunch of food, I bought a lot of beef for Alex, but he recovered far sooner than I thought he would, and seems to prefer catching his own food."
"That's true." Alex said. "Though I do love grilled meat, it seems wrong somehow to depend on Dave for my food."
"I told you I don't mind." Dave said. "Let see that other wing, it's probably fractured as well." Dave carefully tried to move the wing, but Lynn yelped in pain when he did anymore more then lightly touching it. The smaller 'arm' part of the wing was swollen, Dave noticed. He was not sure what to do. "I'd say that's another fracture, but I don't have an X-ray machine handy, so I can't be sure. About your wing or your leg. It doesn't look displaced or anything, so it's probably healing properly. I'm not sure how to splint it, so you'll have to move very carefully until it gets stronger.
"Well how do you feel? I've got your wounds all checked and cleaned, you look pretty good as far as I can tell."
"I don't feel very good." Lynn answered. "I feel tired and weak, and my wing hurts. I just want to sleep." Lynn lay back down, and carefully moved into a more comfortable position. Dave thought she looked rather like a sleeping cat, though he could not recall ever seeing a huge, dark green cat.
"That's fine with me."
"Thanks." Lynn said, and yawned very wide, revealing many large, sharp teeth and fell asleep shortly after. Dave noticed that Alex was watching her, and wondered what he was thinking about.
"I'm gonna go eat the what's left of that deer." Alex said to Dave. Though there really wasn't much left to eat. "I'll be back soon."
"Okay," Dave replied. "I'll keep an eye on Lynn for you."
Dave watched Alex go outside and walk away, then remembered what he had been doing before he was interrupted. Dave walked into his kitchen and began to make himself some pancakes, one of his favorite foods. 'I wonder what will come of this. I wonder why I'm the one who found a dragon and befriended it.' Dave thought. He was very concerned about the future, these two were not the only dragons, and he was sure they were not the only ones in similar positions. He didn't know what to think of the situation. Just days ago dragons were a myth to him.
When Dave finished eating, he sat on the couch and was watching Lynn sleep when Alex returned. Alex opened the sliding door, came inside and closed it, then walked across the room and sat near Dave. Dave thought he looked kind of like those trained dogs that assist disabled people when he closed the door. Though Alex was far better at using his hands because he had the advantage of opposable thumbs. He was also far larger than most dogs, and Dave thought he'd more than a foot taller than him if he stood up on two legs.
"So, what do you think?" Dave asked.
"I don't know." Alex said. "She was a member of the Hierarchy, the same ones who tried to get me to join them in their plot against humans. They told her lies, and ordered her to attack me because I might pose a risk to them. As far as I can tell, she has only become a dragon recently, and only wants to return to her family. It seems the Hierarchy forbids most any contact between humans and dragons."
"I see. Poor thing." Dave said. "You don't think she will try to return to them, do you?"
"No, and I doubt she could if she wanted too. She mentioned something about penalties for failure." Alex said. "It seems they didn't like her just because she mentioned she wished to see her family and friends again."
"I wonder what she will do." Dave said.
"I don't know." Alex said. "We would probably be better off asking her when she wakes."
"So now what do you want to do?" Dave asked. "She's probably gonna sleep all day."
"Not sure." Alex said. "I think I'm gonna go flying. Just for the fun of it, I've not done it for a while."
"Okay then, I'll see you later, when do you think you'll be back?" Dave asked.
"I'm not sure, before dark though." Alex said. "I don't really like flying at night."
"Okay." Dave said, as Alex walked outside. Dave sat on the couch and started reading a newspaper.
Alex walked a short distance away from Dave's house. He felt oddly glad to get out of Dave's house, it was not that he didn't like it, he just didn't like being inside doing nothing at the moment.
He leaped into the air, and with a few powerful strokes of his wings was once again above the trees. Even after doing it hundreds of times, it was still a thrill. He kept his flight just tens of feet above the trees as he flew away from Dave's house because it was less likely that anyone would see him, if anyone was around. flying low also had the advantage of being more fun, as well as allowing him him to see more details, if giving him less time to see them.
Alex flew on slowly on the crisp air, taking in the view. The trees were a blaze of vivid autumn color as far as the eye could see, with patches of dark green where evergreen trees grew. He flew on, looking for signs of deer or other prey, although he was not hungry right then, he liked to know where the animals commonly moved, so he could find and catch one more easily when needed.
He kept on flying, and examining the land. Alex loved just to look at things, and enjoy the view. He liked how the world constantly changed with the seasons. Even the air smelled different at different times of year. Alex soon spotted a familiar clearing and landed in it, the place was special to him. Not for any particular reason, other than it being a nice place. He had found it years ago, shortly after his change and enjoyed just resting there, watching the world around him.
Alex lay on the dried grass and thought. He wondered where his future would lead. He had expected to live the rest of his life alone, much like an animal, but this did not seem like a very appealing option anymore. Not the 'alone' part, anyway.
He continued to lay in the grass, just enjoying watching and listening, it was relaxing and soothing to him, familiar. After some time, he heard a rabbit come near, eating and generally being a rabbit. Alex just watched it, curiously. He liked to observe nature, and there was often little else to do. The rabbit had not noticed him, and so kept on eating. Alex wondered if it ever worried about its future, or if it ever wondered how it would eat in the coming days. How simple life would be if one did not have to worry about the future. Alex continued watching the rabbit until it moved out of sight, never knowing how close it come to one who'd eaten countless others like it.
Alex continued laying in the sun for a long time, even taking a short nap, until he decided to get up and get something to drink. There was a small creek with fresh clean water near the clearing and he started walking to it. He wondered how long he'd been lying there, as the sun was quite a bit lower in the sky.
He soon walked downhill to the creek, there was an old beaver dam in it, though he did not see any signs of the animals. Water was flowing quickly over the sticks and mud that made up the dam, and Alex saw an occasional small fish get swept over as he bent down to drink.
Alex spotted something shiny underwater a few feet downstream and he went to inspect it, and dug it completely out of the mod. It was a white stone, with several large clear crystals growing from it. He had seen similar stones before, though none with crystals as large as this one, it was slightly larger than one of his hands. Alex wondered if Dave would like it, it looked very interesting, and he'd seen a few other interesting rocks at the house. So he decided to take it back with him, and it was about time for him to start heading back anyway, and he told Dave he would be back before dark, and he wanted to see how Lynn was doing.
Alex walked back to the clearing to take off, as the trees were rather thick near the creek. He was soon airborne again, and flying toward the setting sun.
Dave was sitting on his couch reading something online on his laptop, and Lynn was still sleeping. Getting an Internet connection this far away from a town had been somewhat difficult, not even having a phone line. However, he was close enough for his cell phone to work just fine, and so he tethered that to his computer.
He looked up when he heard something outside the door, and saw Alex landing. Just in time too, it was almost dark. Alex reared up and opened the sliding door then came inside, looked at Lynn and then at Dave.
"She's still sleeping?"
"Yes." Dave said. "She has not moved all day."
"So now what?" Alex asked.
"I don't know. We wait for her to wake I suppose.
"Right." Alex said, and moved the short distance to Dave. "I found something you might like." He said, dropping the interesting rock on the couch next to him.
"What's this?" Dave asked, as he picked it up. "Looks like a big piece of Quartz. Where did you find it?"
"I found it while I was getting a drink from a small stream, and I thought you might like it. I saw you have some other rocks over there." Alex said, looking to a shelf on the wall which had a few other interesting looking rocks on it.
"Thanks. I do collect a few rocks, I always thought they looked interesting. I've never found a quartz crystal this large before." Dave said, turning and examining the approximately grapefruit sized stone. "And I think there is a bit of gold in it! Look, there." Dave said, pointing to a shiny yellowish vein in the otherwise unattractive white part of the rock.
"Glad you like it." Alex commented, as he climbed onto the couch next to Dave, who thought he looked rather like a large dog, with his rear legs and tail hanging off the front. The dragon put his head near Dave's shoulder and looked closer at the stone, Dave absentmindedly put his hand on Alex's head and started petting him lightly, as if he were a dog. Alex didn't mind, and thought it felt rather good. He lay his head on Dave's lap and started to feel slightly sleepy.
Dave soon realized he was petting Alex's head, but he didn't stop because Alex didn't seem to mind and even relaxed and lay his head down. It was an odd feeling compared to fur, with his dime sized scales. They were a bit warm to the touch, slightly flexible and felt extremely tough. Dave continued to idly stroke his scales, and soon heard him make an odd low sound, not unlike a cat purring.
"Are you... purring?" Dave asked.
Alex stopped and said "Uhh... I don't know. Is it bad?"
"No, Cats do it when they're happy. I just didn't know you could do it."
"Neither did I..." Alex admitted, "But I guess I am very comfortable."
"So even dragons like head and neck massages?" Dave asked.
"Apparently." Alex said, laying his head down again and yawning. Their talking must have made just enough noise, as Lynn stirred, opened her eyes and then suddenly burst awake on seeing Dave again.
"Ahhh! Don't hurt me please!" She gasped, but soon mastered herself. "Oh. Now I remember. I thought for a second I'd been captured like the Hierarchy had warned me about so many times. Sorry."
"There's nothing to apologize for. You've been though a lot." Dave said calmly, watching the the stressed green dragon, though she looked a bit better than she had in the morning.
"Thank you. I wonder..." Lynn said "I wonder what my family would think of me now. I had thought I'd never see them again after this happened to me, but after seeing you and Alex, I wonder."
"That depends." Dave said.
"I know." Lynn replied. "I think I must try. Do you have a phone I can borrow?"
"Yes. What's the number?" Dave asked.
Lynn told him the number, as well as her parent's names and he dialed it on his cell phone. Alex watched, wondering what would happen. He was also slightly jealous and sad that she could remember her contact info and he couldn't, but his hope for her future overshadowed that.
"Yes, is this Mr. Shaw?" Dave said into the phone.
"I'm Dave, and I believe I found your daughter-- Yes she's alive! No this isn't a sick prank call-- Sure, one second." Dave said, and put the cell on speakerphone. "Here she is."
"Dad?" Lynn said carefully.
"Lynn? Is that really you? You you okay? What happened to you? Were you kidnapped? We thought you were dead! Where are you?" Said the very exited voice on the phone.
"Yes, it's me. I'm fine now, a bit beat up, but recovering. Yes, I suppose you could say I was kidnapped. And I thought I was going to die too." Lynn said, starting to become emotional. "But Dave and his friend here saved my life! I can't wait to see you again. And... I don't know where I am. Dave?"
Dave told them his exact address.
"But, but that's like 500 miles away!" Mr Shaw replied after a few moments. "How did you get that far away?"
"Long story, and I'm not completely sure myself." Lynn said. "Can you come right away? I miss you so much. And Mom too! I'd come there myself, but I'm not in any condition to travel yet."
"Why not? What happened to you?" Mr. Shaw asked. "Of course we will come!"
"Thanks!" Lynn said. "As far as why not, my second biggest problem is a few broken bones."
"What happened to you? How did that happen? And what could possibly be worse than that?" Mr. Shaw had been sounding more and more distressed.
"Look, I can't explain it, you'll have to see for yourself. It's the cause of all this." Lynn said. "Just come as soon as you can. The only way you'll believe me is if you see for yourself."
"I will, I'm printing maps right now honey. We'll leave this evening! And be there in a day or two!"
"Okay. I'll see you, then, talk to you later, I don't feel very good." Lynn said, and hung up the phone. "Oh, what will happen when he gets here?"
"Don't worry about that until it happens." Dave said. "Don't you think it's odd that he didn't ask you anything to prove who you are?"
"No, not really. He believes the fake lottery tickets I buy him for Christmas every single year." Lynn said, laughing a little. "I expect my Mom will call you as soon as she gets home and sees dad packing..."
"Well, your dad said they'd be here today." Dave said to Lynn just after breakfast. He had noticed that Lynn was was quite a bit different than Alex. For one, she could walk on two legs instead of four as soon as she was able to move easily. Dave had wondered why dragons rear legs seemed a bit longer than those of most animals. Alex had tried to replicate the feat, but had ended up nearly falling on his face, Dave figured he might just need some practice. However, the more he looked at both of them, he noticed that they seemed to be built slightly different, or maybe it was simply due to the fact that Alex had only ever walked on all fours, and therefore had developed differently. "I hope they believe us."
"So do I," Lynn said. "So do I..."
Alex entered the house though the living room door and said, "So this is the day, right? When should her family be here?"
"He told me he might get here anytime today." Dave said.
"I think I hear something." Alex said, and ran to the front door and looked though the window and down the drive way. There was indeed a car coming slowly toward the house.
"There is someone coming!" Alex exclaimed, and moved into another room, so he would not be the first thing Lynn's family saw. It would not do to scare them off as soon as they arrived.
Dave went to answer the door, and as he opened it an older man walked in. "We're here! I can't thank you enough for finding my daughter." He said, his wife standing next to him in full agreement.
"It was no problem, but you should be thanking Alex, he's the one who found her. But first, you should come and see your daughter." Dave said, and started leading the way to the living room. "You will probably not recognize her, she's been though a lot. More than you can imagine." He stated simply, as they entered the room.
Lynn saw them enter the room, and quickly moved to hug her father before he had a chance to say or do anything. "Thank you for coming." Lynn said. "I missed you so much."
Lynn felt tears coming to her eyes, she was glad that she could finally hug him again. Her dad, however, was almost frozen in fear as the green creature ran up to him and... hugged him? What? Missed him? It couldn't be... could it? But how? That's impossible! But why else?
"Lynn?" He asked. "Is that really you?"
"So that's what you meant when you said broken bones were your second biggest problem." Lynn's mom said, just as shocked as her dad. "I can't believe what I'm seeing. Is that really you?
"Yes, it's me." Lynn replied, trying to avoid crying. "You mean-- How can you recognize me?"
"You'd need more than a new color to fool us." Her dad said. "And I can't think of any other reasons for a-- a dragon to run up to me and hug me." He said, hugging her back.
"Careful- I'm still sore in places." Lynn said as he hugged her.
"I can't believe this. It's impossible-- But you're right there!" Lynn's mom said. "How did this happen to you?"
"It's a long story, lets all sit down." Dave said, motioning to the couch, while he took a chair. Alex walked into the room, sniffed both of Lynn's parents carefully, and then took his usual place near the stove, further alarming her already shocked parents. Her dad broke the silence.
"I suppose this is Alex, then?" He asked, as he Lynn, and her mother sat on the couch. They were all visibly shaken by the whole situation.
"Yes, I am." Alex replied. "Like you daughter, I was once human, more than ten years ago, I'm not really sure how long it's been. Unlike your daughter, I can't remember anything I could use to contact my family."
"I understand you found her?" Lynn's dad asked, and noticing Alex's scars, added "What happened to you? You look like you were beat up as bad as Lynn!"
"I was. We were both injured at the same time, and in the same way." Alex said, he was about to continue when Lynn cut him off.
"I was ordered to kill him, and I failed. We nearly killed each other in the resulting fight... We were both seriously injured. Dave found Alex shortly after and nursed him back to health, and Alex found me almost a week later while he was hunting. I thought he had come to finish me off after the fight, but instead he gave me his kill and brought Dave to me. He saved my life, after I tried to take his."
"Ordered to kill him? By who?" Her mother asked.
"Lets start at the beginning." Lynn said. "Remember the day I disappeared?"
"Yes. How could I forget? You'd just went outside on one of your long walks to the state park like usual, but you never came back. The police searched everywhere, but they didn't find any trace but some shredded clothes. How did this happen to you?" Both of Lynn's parents seemed to still be settling down somewhat.
"When I was walking, I picked up an odd green stone. Long story short, it crumbled and changed me into this. Don't ask me how, it just did." Lynn said. "It wasn't a pleasant experience."
"Same here." Alex stated.
"Well why didn't you come back home?" Her dad asked.
"At first, I was scared, so I waited until night." She said, starting to become emotional again, like she might cry, and was having some trouble speaking. "But before I could get back, two dragons forced me to come with them, and forced me to join their organization. They have some grand plan of taking over the world, and enslaving humanity.
"They lied to me, repeatedly told me that humans and dragons could not coexist peacefully. They told me that my own family-- you two-- would try to kill me. I was punished for just mentioning I wanted to go home. I saw one dragon try to escape to his family, but he was caught. I never saw him again. I was so scared, so I didn't try to come home again, then they moved me to this area, so I didn't even know where home was. Eventually, I started to believe their lies, and that lead to me following an order to kill Alex because they thought he might be a threat after he refused to join them." Lynn finished, and hugged her mother.
"That's horrible!" Lynn's dad said. "I'm so glad you finally found us again."
"So am I. I can't wait to come home again." Lynn said, looking much happier. Her parents suddenly looked very worried.
"About that..." Her mom said. "We live in an apartment in the middle of a city, and I don't think everyone will like the idea of a dragon living nearby."
Lynn's expression wilted. Did her own parents hate her after all?
"I'm sorry dear," Her father said. "but I'm afraid she's right. You'd have to hide in the house every day, all day, you'd never get to stretch those new wings of yours. I don't want to think of what might happen if you were discovered..."
Lynn realized they were yet again thinking of the best for her, and they were right, it would be horrible to be locked in the house forever. At least with the Hierarchy she could move around. "You're right, as always. And doesn't the landlord have a policy against exotic pets?" Lynn asked, trying to lighten the mood.
"Oh no." Her mother said. "You're not a pet, Lord no. We just can't possibly hide you in the city. I'm sorry we can't help you there. But we're going to stay around here for a few days at least."
"I understand perfectly." Lynn said, a little sadly, it would have been very nice to be home again. But there was no way it could work. "I should never have thought of it. It would be horrible to be stuck in that closet like a prison, hiding anytime someone comes to the door. I was just feeling homesick. I'm just glad you know what happened to me, and that I'm okay. That's all I ever really wanted."
"Same here." Lynn's Dad said. "I'm so glad you're safe. We thought sure you must be dead, but there was always that thread of hope. I never imagined this though. Never. I still feel like I'm dreaming."
"She can always stay here." Dave said. "And you can always call each other."
"That would be infinitely better than the last six months." Lynn's mom said. "I was constantly wondering what had happened. I didn't even know if she was dead or alive. It was horrible."
"I'm so sorry." Lynn said. "I did not want you to worry."
"It isn't your fault." Her dad said. "We're together again, that's all that matters. It's just a shame that you can't go back to any of your previous life. You might call some of your friends, but you can't ever show yourself in public. I can't imagine what would happen."
"But I'm still alive." Lynn said. "And I've proven their lies wrong. I'll be fine, I've got two new friends, and I've been reunited with my family. All I have to worry about is the Hierarchy trying to kill us. But somehow, I don't think they will try, I've never been worth anything to them, and I suspect that's why they sent me to attack a larger, older, and more experienced dragon than myself."
"Someday, humans and dragons will live together in peace, I've decided I'm going to do all I can to make that possible. There is no way Lynn and Alex are the only two dragons in this position. Someday, if I have anything to say about it, they will be able to walk as freely as anyone else. That is my hope." Dave said, his earlier thoughts coming to a point. "Until then, they can stay here and eat all of my ice cream." Dave said, and looked at Alex.
"That was an accident!"