The dragon began slashing at the shimmering wall, his claws glancing uselessly off of thin air.
Ah. The walls must be magic then.
I think I'm gonna throw up.
Feeling a little green myself, I slowly began walking along the ring's wall, keeping an eye on the dragon. It was mainly focused on escaping at the moment, and as long as I didn't move quickly or make a sound―
Some sort of air horn went off somewhere behind me, and I froze as the dragon's head whipped around, his eyes locking on me. Whimpering, I held my sword out in front of me, the tip shaking erratically.
I knew, knew, I should change into my third form, but...I've never change in front of anyone other than mom and Trish (I'm excluding Gerard and that Alfred Einstein look-alike. They don't count). I can't just change in front of strangers, especially a crowd of them!
But, as the dragon snarled and began charging at me, I began to have second thoughts.
After all, what's a little uncomfortableness in front of strangers compared to being ripped apart by an overgrown lizard?
Taking a deep breath, I reached down inside me and felt around for my inner-wolf.
Panicking, I felt my body go numb as I began frantically searching for my wolf.
No. No, no, no, no!
Where is it?
Did-did that third form mess with my ability to change?
Gasping, I turned and began running, the dragon's footsteps heavy enough to make the ground shake. Glancing back, I saw it was too close, and I knew I had to do something, or else I was gonna become dragon food.
Stabbing the sword tip into the ground, I pivoted 180 degrees, so now I was running at the dragon. Before I could think about what I was doing, I jumped up, aiming to land on his head.
Well, that had been my plan, anyway.
Turns out, dragons are quicker than I thought.
In mid-air, I couldn't avoid the dragon's head as it reared up, his jaws opening wide as they could, his fangs glistening with saliva. Horrified, I stuck my foot out, gagging as it connected with his nostril. Pushing off, I fell to the ground in a crumpled heap, my head slamming into the blood-soaked dirt.
Everything began to spin, and I closed my eyes as the lights above pierced them, making them water.
Okay, this fight was not going too good.
Growling, I shut everything out and focused on searching for my wolf. It was elusive, like the name of a song that you're trying to remember, but you just can't.
I screamed as pain erupted in my ankle, teeth sinking in to the bone. I scrabbled at the ground as I was dragged across it, then suddenly lifted, something in my ankle popping. I was tossed through the air like a rag doll, my sword left behind as I crashed into the magic wall, my shoulder going numb as it connected.
Falling back to the ground, I groaned as my entire body cried out in pain, the scent of my blood thick in the air. I cracked my eyes open just in time to see the dragon bearing down on me, his jaw open as he aimed for my mid-section.
No! I will not die in this stupid, damn tournament! I have to get home and save mom, kill the rogue, talk to Kimbley...
With wide eyes and a new determination, I reached up just as I could feel the dragon's breath on my bare stomach. Grabbing the horns on the top of his nose, I yanked myself up, keeping my weight off my injured ankle. The dragon snorted, then jerked his head up, nearly dislodging me as his head began to whip side-to-side.
I held on for dear life, feeling his teeth brush against my stomach as he snapped his jaw shut with a sharp click. Growling, I sank my claws into his snout in retaliation, tensing as he roared, his breath hot on my skin.
Excited, I looked at them, grinning as I spotted black fur and deadly-sharp nails. Focusing, I followed the source of my claws, finding a warm, glowing golden trail threading throughout my body. I recognized it as the feeling I get when I change, but slightly altered. It was...stronger. More feral.
Of course I couldn't find it earlier! I was searching for the wrong sensation!
Closing my eyes, I traced the gold trail through my body with my mind, then gave it a little nudge, just enough to initiate the change.
And then everything erupted in a blazing hot inferno.
I passed out.
I know I passed out, because I was currently laying on the ground, clear on the other side of the ring, and I had no idea how I had gotten there. The dragon was going batshit crazy on the magic walls across the ring, bodily throwing himself at the shimmering area.
Groaning, I sat up, glancing down at my body. The hairs on my arms and legs were singed, and, as I felt my hair, a lot of it was frizzed or simply gone.
Great. Another hair cut. My mom'll be thrilled.
I shakily got to my feet, looking around. The crowd was quiet, and only murmurs or whispers could be heard. Every eye was on me, and I swallowed nervously, looking around for the sword.
Blinking, I spotted the remnants of what it used to be laying a few feet away. Now, it was nothing but a melted puddle of metal with a blackened hilt.
I felt my throat close up as I realized what happened. The sword had saved me. The dragon had let loose one of it's fire-breaths, and the sword had shielded me from the flames.
I-I'd have to give it a proper burial once this tournament is over.
Well. As long as I don't end up needing my own burial first.
Taking a deep breath, I glanced down at my ankle, surprised to see it looked healed. Gently testing it, I felt my eyebrows raise as no pain erupted or anything. Hmm. The unicorn blood must still be working, then.
Looking back at the dragon, I felt my chest fill with determination. I was going to win this. I'm going to win.
Chanting that encouragement over and over in my head, I bent forward a bit, took a firm stance, closed my eyes, and then reached deep down inside me for the golden trail. With a quick nudge, I felt my body tense as it finally began to change.
Finally! I thought, then lost all coherency as my body crumpled to the ground, pain crippling me as my body broke apart and realigned itself bone-by-bone, muscle-by-muscle.
The dragon had sensed my change. I could tell by the sudden roar he screamed to the heavens. As a human, the sound made no sense, but, as a werewolf, I recognized his anger at being held in a cage and denied his freedom. I sympathized with him, but that didn't mean I was going to go easy.
After all, he'd ruined my hair.
On gangly, unnaturally long arms and legs, I wobbled to my feet, flexing my claws. Throwing my head back, I howled, taking a firm stance on my two hind legs so that I wouldn't fall over and make a fool of myself.
I could sense another presence in my mind as I stared back at the dragon. Something feral and instinctive, with images and sensations rather than actual worded thoughts. It growled, sensing an enemy as it stared at the dragon.
'Kill!' it screamed, one single word filled with so much violence and hatred, I was astounded.
No killing, I automatically thought back at it.
Pain lanced through my head, and I grimaced as my vision wavered.
And then I lost control of my body.
Without my permission, I was flying forward on suddenly-steady legs, my body moving with grace I knew I didn't have. I watched, detached, as I lept at the dragon, dodging his fangs as they snapped shut just inches away from my arm.
My claws pierced the dragon's eyes, white goop squirting and dripping from the empty sockets as the eyeball popped with a sickening sensation. The dragon screamed, the sound stabbing my eardrums. The dragon whipped its head down, bashing it against the ground, trying to knock me off, but I'd already crawled over his head and attached myself to the back of his neck.
This time, I, not the presence in my mind, managed to sink my claw past the dragon's scales and into flesh. I tried to jump back off the dragon, but the presence fought against me, halting my actions. Growling, I closed my eyes and focused on the presence.
It was a werewolf. My werewolf.
Amber eyes glared back at me in my mind, a vision of dripping fangs and midnight black fur filling my thoughts. It snarled, and I could feel it's blood lust as it inhaled, the sent of blood thick in the air.
It wanted me to tear the dragon to shreds. To kill it.
I can't kill it, I thought helplessly. I can't kill.
I could sense it pulling back, my strength suddenly sapping as I felt my power being pulled along with the werewolf.
No! Help me fight, not kill!
It paused, and I could sense the wolf waiting, teetering on the edge.
We will fight, I thought. Not kill.
I could tell the wolf was sizing me up, a pressure in my mind as he riffled through my thoughts. He managed to work out my intent to win the tournament, and the reason I was doing this; to destroy the rogue and protect my mom.
Protect. The word was mangled, and had a gravelly quality to it, but I still got what he was saying.
Yes, I thought back at him. Protect mom.
Win. The wolf had an image of the dragon, his body rip to shreds, blood pooling around it and slowly sinking into the ground.
No. I sent him and image of the dragon, back in his cage, and me holding a trophy. Like this. Win.
He didn't understand. I could sense his confusion.
Sighing, I simply said, Let me fight. Lend me strength.
There was a pause, and then I felt him accept me, the strength he'd pulled away with him returning. With my power restored, I felt like I could actually take on this dragon and have a chance.
Opening my eyes, I felt the wolf's presence still in my mind, but he didn't try to control my body any more; he was simply an observer. Looking around, I realized our little encounter had taken no more than a split-second, and the dragon was just beginning to rear up on his hind legs.
His wrongly-proportioned wings spread out from his shoulders as he roared, his arms flailing at thin air. I felt my stomach drop as the dragon suddenly twisted, throwing his entire body to the ground, intending to squish me beneath him. I managed to throw myself the other way, barely escaping as the dragon smashed to the ground, the entire warehouse shaking at the impact.
Rolling to my feet, I turned back to the dragon, my sharp eyes searching for a weak spot. The dragon was swift, and managed to get back to his feet before I could attack. His chest rumbled as he growled, his head swiveling back and forth, his nostrils flaring as he tried to locate me, his sightless eyes useless.
Gouges in his neck dripped black-blue blood, turning to crystals as the drops hit the ground. I began softly rounding on the dragon, my huge wolfish paws not making a sound. The dragon's tail was whipping side to side, his muscles twitching as his head kept jerking from left to right.
With a quick, soundless lunge, I lept up for the dragon's neck, snapping my fangs in the soft flesh beneath his jaw where his head joined his neck. The dragon tried to roar, but it came out as a liquid-y gurgle. Brandishing my claws, I began raking them across his face, scoring deep furrows as I peeled away the scales.
I jerked as a sudden pain erupted in my shoulder, my arm instantly going numb. Gasping, I lost my grip on the dragon's flesh, falling to the ground. Looking at my shoulder, I saw a giant, oozing hole in it. Venom dripped from the wound, and, as I glanced at the dragon's wing, I saw my blood dripping from the spike on it.
Groaning, I attempted to move my arm, but it was useless, hanging limply at my side. I knew I had to get to my feet and move, but my body wasn't cooperating with my mind. The wolf in me growled, beginning to thrash around in my mind.
I felt a sudden surge of strength, and managed to roll out of the way just as the dragon smashed his snout to the ground, the spike on his nose drilling a hole into the earth, sending up a cloud of sand and dust. Roaring, he pulled back, sand cascading down his face as he shook his head.
Ignoring my numbed arm, I focused on standing upright, my limbs heavy and shaky. I had no idea how to beat this dragon, but I did know that if I didn't do it soon, I was going to lose. I still didn't fully know what I could do in this body, but I did have more strength, and better agility.
With that in mind, I waited until the dragon took a cautious step forward, before I dropped to all fours and began limping silently towards him. Rounding on him, I stood near his left side, my jaw hanging open as I looked for a weakness.
I wasn't sure if that was mine or my wolf's thought, but I knew where to look. The yellow scales of his underbelly were thin and small, offering less protection than his other scales.
Sinking my fangs past the scales, I tasted foul, cold blood. Grimacing, I embedded the claws of my good hand into the dragon's hide, ripping and shredding as much as I could reach. Swinging my lower body around, I pressed my back to the ground as I kicked upwards, sinking the claws of my feet into the lower end of the dragon's belly and hooking them beneath his skin.
Blue blood began to gush from the wounds, raining down on my fur coat and coating me in a slimy, quickly-solidifying liquid. Haha, I'm turning blue!
Wow, inappropriate thought to have while fighting for my life.
I shook my head, growling past scales, blood and flesh, a chunk of flesh separating from the dragon. I spit it out, then began ripping and tearing the ragged hole, widening it.
And then I found it's heart.
The muscle was beating rapidly, pumping blood to the open wounds. I could feel the dragon bucking and attempting to shake me off, but I was hooked and I wasn't letting go.
Getting a firmer grip with my claws, I unhinged my jaw, blood spraying as I ripped my teeth away. With a vicious snarl, I took aim, then darted my head forward and clamped my fangs around the beating heart.
The dragon froze in mid-roar, a weird keening sound erupting from it's throat. Biting down as hard as I could, I felt muscle give way as I began tearing the heart from the dragon's chest, blood spraying in a fountain of blue.
With a final snap, I felt the last string holding the heart in place give, and before I could realize what was happening, my inner wolf took over and swallowed the heart!
I gagged, then squealed as the dragon suddenly went limp. My eyes widened as I felt the dragon's limbs began to fail, and then he was suddenly falling, and my claws were still embedded in his flesh, and I couldn't get them out in time―!
5 tons of dragon landed on me, burying me into the ground. I could feel my bones grate against each other, my joints creaking and my ribs pressing against my lungs. Something cracked, and I felt pain in my chest. My head was forced into the ground, and my teeth ground together as my nose filled with sand.
I couldn't breathe!
My vision was black, and I began to see little colored spots dancing beneath my eyelids. I tried to breath, but all I got was a trickle of dirt passing through my sinuses. My body ached, and everything was being flattened, even my damn tail!
Push, the wolf growled.
I felt a sudden surge of adrenaline, so I wasted no time in focusing all my strength in my arms. With a grunt, I began pushing upwards as hard as I could, silently rejoicing when I felt the dragon move a fraction of an inch. Feeling my lungs expand as I got enough air to breath, I gathered my strength a pushed again, riding on the surge of adrenaline.
This time, I lifted the dragon enough that I could breathe normally again, though my chest still hurt. Gasping, I felt my arms shake as my strength began to falter. Growling, I shoved the dragon sideways, inhaling deeply as the dragon thumped to the ground beside me.
Panting, I laid there for a moment, trying to catch my breath and let myself re-inflate from the flattened position I'd been in. I faintly heard the crowd cheering and the announcer chattering on excitedly, but my ears were ringing too badly to understand what he was saying.
Glancing down at my claws, I saw they were covered in blood, and, before I realized what I was doing, I began to lick at the blood, cleaning my razor-sharp claws. Mmm. Not too bad. Little salty, but oh well.
I rolled onto my side, groaning as my body protested. Staggering to my feet, I looked around, taking in the crowd as they cheered. I saw Gerard up on a platform near the announcer, looking smug, while the elf from before who'd used the Glamor stood on a platform on the opposite side, looking not-too-happy.
Glancing back at the dragon, I slid my eyes along its downed form, eying the gaping wounds, the blood, and the unmoving body. Feeling pride and triumph well up within me, I tossed my head back and howled, telling the world of my accomplishment.