The two of us made our way down the corridor at a cautious jog. The corridor became dimly lit as we proceeded deeper into the base, I had lost track of the time, and the darkness made it seem unfamilier. Worringly I could no longer sense my parents...
I looked at her, embarassed that I had been keeping silent this whole time.
"Yes? Sorry I was thinking..."
"Oh, that's ok... You just had this scary look on your face..."
For some reason the look of sweet concern on her face brought a smile to mine. Before I got chance to voice that revelation we were interuppted by a high pitched and piercing squeal that shook me deep down inside. I knew I had to run and find my parents but it was so alien a sound I found myself frozen to the spot.
"Tam!? What was that? It sounded like... Your mother... But it's so unlike her character to scream... I-I don't know..."
The thought that my mother could be scared or in pain frightened me. I wasn't a child, I was a full grown dragon, and yet the thought of my strong and perfect mother being vunerable still disturbed me as if I were. But I looked at Carla, her bright eyes were so scared and confused I realized that this was far from the time for that form of cowerdice. I didn't stop to think, I had already lost to much valuable time to thinking. I ran down the corridor my wings held above me, knocking down nearby light fittings as I went.
Eventually I reached the end of that seemingly endless corridor and discover it was a dead end. No...
"You stupid animal."
I turned round to face Tobias, a fierce look in my eyes. I felt Carla cower away behind me and covered her with my wing.
"What's wrong with you Tobias? Can't you just accept that you've lost?!"
"Alas." The evil man shrugged his shoulders in a matter of fact fashion before continuing. "I have already won. I have you two and your parents. I have everything I desire. I. Win."
"No you don't! You don't have me and you don't have Carla!"
"Oh? Is that so?"
A sudden panic gripped me and I turned to Carla. Her breathing was laboured and she had developed a dull look in her brilliant eyes. I saw that a tiny dart, the type that sent me to sleep, was sticking out of her neck. But I could smell that this was no ordinary sleeping dart. It was stronger, and I could feel Carla slipping into a deeper sleep that I had ever had.
"What have you done Tobias?!"
He simply smiled and I felt a dart entering my own neck. I tried to remain conscious long enough to work out who fired it but as I turned the sleep filled my head and consumed my mind.
When I awoke I was in another one of the 'ring machines' For one blissful moment, just before I woke fully, me and Carla were back in the INN. We were laying in the soft bed and the nice lady arrived with meat as Carla stroked my spine...
I woke with a jolt and reached out my mind. My mother and father were with me! I looked through their eyes and found that they too were in 'ring machines'.
"We're here son." (The way they thought in unison freaked me out a little...)
"Where's Carla? Please, do you know?!"
"I'm sorry Tamago, She hasn't been through here..."
"Don't lie to him Chosi!"
Was Chosi my mother's name? And what did dad mean by lie to him?!
"Mama... Please tell me if she's ok..."
The tears I shouldn't be shedding in front of my parents squeezed out of my eyes. Tobias was right! He had won and now we were all doomed! He'd probably all ready caught up to Crissie, Steve and the others! They were probably dead! And it was all my fault.. If I had never met any of them they'd be safe! It's all my-
"Tamago this is not the time for teenage angst!" My father's thoughts were as harsh as his roar.
"Don't yell at him Orochi! It's not his fault!"
"Exactly! That's why he's only crying to get attention!"
"He's had a rather stressful day can you blame him for crying?!"
"We've all had a stressful day Cho, it doesn't mean we all just break down!"
"Well he's only young!"
"He's half your size! He's grown more in the last half hour than the rest of the time he's been alive in total!"
"Oh this is getting us nowhere! We shouldn't fight, there's enough of that going round..."
"You're right, we should make love, not war."
"Well this is hardly the time or place!"
"You have a diseased mind Chosi..."
Their bicker fell on deaf ears, I was so worried about Carla it churned my stomach and I felt my chest ache. What if they had done something terrible? She could be traumatized, or injured! Or dead... The thought of never seeing Carla again banished away my self pity and doubt. I had to save her! I didn't know how or why but I felt as though I couldn't go without her...
I found an inner strengh greater than any power I had felt before, it was as though I had been woken up. With one casual movement I lifted my tail and it moved so easily through the machine it was as thought it wasn't even there. My parents fell silent as I effortlessly removed them from their rings and walked through the wall into the room next to us. In there I saw a man in white.
He pressed himself against a nearby wall, knocking over several chemicals that probably shouldn't be spilt. He stood gawping for a moment before raising a shaking hand and pointed to the room next door.
"Thank you." I strolled into the room he had indicated, shaking some debree from the ex-wall out of my spines. I saw Tobias, he was standing next to one of the forcefield machines my mother had been kept in, only this one contained my darling little Carla. I winced. She seemed to be in pain... Tobias just stood next to her gormlessly, mouth agape. This wasn't going to be pretty...