After the drama of the morning, Jevin had only just returned to us when a fully sized dragon suddenly appeared in the bushes behind us. I couldn't help but notice the grin that split his face for a moment before turning around and urging us to run.
"We're close now," he muttered as we ran, before saying louder "that thing is Ukaor's pet."
"Well thats all very well, but how do we get past it? Its already catching up," I said as a lick of flame raced in the woods just beside us. "We'll be dragon toast if we keep running."
"Swords won't work on it. It's scales protect it too well. Magic can work though," Jevin got out in hurried gasps.
"Well that's nice to know. Now if only I could pause long enough to think of a spell," Rerin muttered, ducking as flames seemed to hit some kind of forcefield around him.
"What we need is a distraction," Lace murmured, his eyes on his sword and determination in his gaze as he ran.
"No!" Arien shouted, or tried to shout in between gasps for air as she ran. "That would be suicide."
"Well we shouldn't all run together like this. Let's split up," I said suddenly, dashing away in a different direction. It didn't escape my gaze that Valour had already seemed to have disappeared.
I was able to get my breath for a bit, as the dragon, on seeing us split up, suddenly took the air, breaking through the trees above us. However it wasn't a long breath, for soon fire was bursting among the trees as if the dragon had decided it would be easier to roast us alive. I could see why such a creature would make a good guard dog, so to speak.
I noticed though that the intensity of the flames suddenly seemed to get weaker. It took me longer to realise that I was suddenly running through a fine mist. It seemed one of our spellcasters had been able to pause long enough to get off a spell. So maybe we wouldn't roast alive after all.
My mind had come back to Lace's distraction plan. Sure it might be suicide, but that would only apply to those who were more normal than I was, right? I didn't want to stop and wonder what would happen if I was to lose an arm or a leg, or worse yet a head as I turned towards where I had last seen the dragon.
It seemed that, on seeing its flames mysteriously be extinguished in the forest below the dragon had decided to land and take another run at me. Where before there was nothing suddenly I was face to face with the creature.
We both seemed to pause and I stared into its bright green eyes, eyes which seemed wounded. My eyes also went to what appeared to be a collar around its neck, complete with some kind of strange glowing gem. However it seemed to recover its shock first, going to take a swipe at me. I ducked and rolled under its claw, catching the swipe on an arm. While the wound healed quickly enough it drew blood, blood which suddenly seemed to make the dragon pause...