Eventually I started to go numb from the dragon's iron grip, and yawned with fatigue.
Struggling didn't help. Being limp didn't help either, but it took less effort at least.
That, and it gave me time to enjoy the view.
We soared above grey mountains and rivers, huge canyons and forests that sped away from me.
I was aware that we were gaining altitude, but I still wasn't prepared for when the dragon let out a screech so loud that the air rippled.
I felt wind whipping at me from all directions and my eyes were forced shut.
When it finally died down and I was able to open my eyes, I gaped.
We weren't in hell anymore.
Instead of the ground, as far as the eye could see -
Clouds. We were above an endless expanse of clouds, and we were approaching something that glinted in the impossibly bright light.
Quickly enough, I could see that it was a set of huge golden gates that extended across the horizon as far as I could see.
The dragon dropped me a few feet from the ground and landed a few yards from me, flapping its wings slightly as it balanced on its feet.
I stood, trying not to be weirded out as the clouds bounced slightly beneath me.
The dragon roared and, to my amazement, I watched as it shrank and changed shape, until I was facing a woman with dark curly hair and silver eyes dressed like goth Indiana Jones.
"Sorry about the rough ride." she laughed, "We're on a schedule, and I had to skip the formalities."
She gestured toward the gates and jogged towards them, waiting expectantly.
I followed and cleared my throat awkwardly.
"So, um...what's happening?"
"You were summoned." dragon-lady beamed, "Welcome to Mount Olympus."
I tried not to look as stunned as I was.
"So...I'm in heaven?"
"Yep. Lucky you. Don't get too excited, sport."
I looked at the blinding gates, and noticed a huge knocker.
The woman laughed.
"Do you know what the wait time's like? I knocked before I left."
In any case, it felt like we were standing around for a while before an old man in white robes hobbled over, holding a thin book.
"Yes?" he asked, glancing at me, "I think you've got the wrong place."
My companion cleared her throat and he looked at her, nodding.
"Quite sorry. Just a moment."
He hobbled out of sight and the gates creaked loudly as they opened, and the two of us walked through.
"This place is so...empty." I muttered as we walked, having to half-jog to keep up.
"Yeah, it's a pretty exclusive club." the were-dragon replied, "You could even call it a society."
We walked through manicured gardens until we reached the foot of a mountain, whose peak was obscured by even more clouds.
"Do we have to get up there?" I asked, a tone of dread in my voice.
I didn't want to be carried again. It was safe to say everything still hurt.
"Aparctius will carry us." the woman shrugged, "So just put your feet up and relax."
I didn't have time to ask my question, because a strong gust of wind lifted the two of us off the ground.
"The North Wind." she explained, "He makes an amazing apple pie."
I, luckily enough, was still accustomed to flight from our recent journey and didn't feel too inclined to puke.
After an awkward moment of silence I decided to introduce myself.
"Um...I'm Zara, by the way."
She smirked, extending her right hand.
I shook it, noticing how calloused it was.
"Aasimah." She replied, "Most call me Ace."
"So, how did you...?" I started, unsure of how to phrase my question.
She held up a medallion around her neck.
"Curse. It took a while, but I've learned to control it."
"Sixty, seventy years?" she offered, laughing when she saw my expression, "I fought in the Second World War with the Allies. Zeus granted my immortality after that."