A shadow swooped overhead. Instinctively, Elenia ducked again. Nursing an arm that felt as shattered as the windowpane that had sliced it ‘to ribbons’, she wandered into an alcove at the side of an Accommodation block, and glanced up.
The creature. Wings the size of levs kept it in the air, but the head less than half the size of one wing made Elenia's blood run colder. The creature had an elongated snout like a cat or a pig or some other farm animal with flakes of dark flesh covering every area of the face except the jewelled eyes.
Those eyes were the worst feature. Bright purple. The colour of nightshade, a flower known to be key to poisons. At the moment searching the concrete below, but also glinting with bloodlust.
The dragon landed on the Accommodation block, and Elenia yelped. She clamped a hand over her mouth, but she knew she'd not done it quickly enough. It had seen her, and began its spellbinding descent down the side of the building.
She didn’t recognise the mass of dragon above her. Its fleshscales were a gold almost beyond any colour she’d ever seen, like the colour of a rotting metal, and its head was crowned by blonde locks, tied as if in a hurry— Yet, behind the claws and teeth, behind the snarling beast, Elenia saw the man that had been. The creature called Devil, the one who was supposed to be on their side.
She took a deep breath, and upped her head to him.
His claws scraped the Accommodation awning of metal and stone and pebbles rained down on her. Eyes locked. Elenia stopped breathing. For a second.
His jaw opened and a menacing set of teeth leered down at her.
"You are meant to be dead."
"And you're meant to be on our side," she scolded.
His shoulders pulsed up and down, and his eyes closed momentarily. If Devil was indeed laughing, it sounded like a lev backfiring.
"Yes, I suppose I am. Well, I can't help past associations."
"Who are you working for...?" she demanded, despite her voice fading the more she spoke. So much for putting on a brave face.
"I cannot say."
"Oh come on!"
"No, I cannot actually say. It is part of my curse."
She didn't consider planned mutation into a dragon a curse, but Elenia's throat had dried up, and any words on her tongue would've been reduced to squeaks.
She threw her hands up, but no power flooded from them. Nothing. Elenia froze. The dragon tossed back his head, and his eyes glinted lightning. He wasn't budging.
She pressed her hands forward into the air, praying. Come on, come on. Anything.
Nothing, responded her magic.
Devil stretched his neck the meter down to her level, and a rumbling brewed in his larynx.
"You are meant to be dead," he said again, as if he were stuck on a mantra.
Hell no. Elenia turned and fled. Without her magic, she was nothing. Hadn't Whitney always said that she was feeble...?
"Running is useless," the dragon called behind her. "You know it to be true."
Well, if not running, then...hiding? No, he had found her anyway... She tried to the handle of the front door of one of the blocks on the levway; this area of Dartoc-6 relied less on keypads on the doors, and whilst Elenia had disputed that logic when she'd been kept in the safety of her royal parlours, she got it now. Sometimes people needed an out. Or, in this case, an in.
She collapsed against the front door as she slammed it, her chest heaving in and out, though she'd not run a marathon.
"Think, Elenia..." She wrapped her head in her hands.
She couldn't blast him off his feet, she couldn't outrrun him... The door made a rattling sound on its hinges, and a talon shattered the wood in the centre of the door. Inches from her scalp. Her hair showered with flakes of poster-paint and cedar, Elenia dived for the block's stone stairs.
Another talon pierced the door. Devil was about ten seconds from ripping the door off and doing whatever dragons thought was the most efficient way of eliminating small princesses. Elenia pressed herself against the stairway. No way would she ourrun Devil here. Not without her magic.