They walked as the sun rose, as it reached its throne in the sky, and they continued walking until the sun dropped low in the horizon. It was at this point that Ariss remembered that Lucy was very much alive. He turned around out of the blue, whilst they were walking up along a stream, and decided it was a decent place to stop. Their journey had been in silence the entire day, since Ariss had told her what it had been like waking up dead.
Lucy had stopped with her complaining at that point, feeling guilty at releasing her rage on him. She remembered that he had only been doing what looked right in the situation- helping out a girl being attacked by monsters she couldn’t see. The memory seemed distant, and yet it haunted her. Ariss hadn’t known this was going to happen.
She lay down when he said to stop, letting herself fall down onto the cool rock. A strong wind was beginning to blow, whipping around the top of the hill they were climbing, and gliding overhead. Leaves and twigs were whisked up, sent soaring above them as it cruised through the air. Lucy found herself shivering, and curled up tighter. She wouldn’t ask for Ariss’s help. She couldn’t. He might not have known what would happen when she had attacked, but he had known what would happen when he sliced into those men’s bodies. She was left alone with her mind, bitter thoughts racing around and colliding with each other.
Somewhere in those thoughts, rose a question. “What’s so bad about the people from the black cars?” She wondered aloud, adjusting the position she lay in, hoping to get more comfortable.
Ariss sighed behind her, from the rock he sat on. “Those people are a group I know only as an organisation. They have hunted me since the day I rose from the ground again. They stopped looking after a year, deciding I was too much trouble for what I was worth.” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “Now they want you. They haven’t seen something like you before, I don’t think. I mean, of course there are dragons… but those with magic amongst them probably don’t know it.”
Lucy felt a shiver run down her spine, as a particularly strong gust of wind rushed down the hill. “Is what they’re doing really that bad?” She asked, failing to see the point.
“Yes, is the sort answer.” Ariss said back, twiddling his thumbs. “The stories I’ve heard from there…” He muttered, trailing of into thought.
She decided it wouldn’t yield much more to poke around, and so decided to try her luck at sleeping again, but she was sceptical.
He could tell this, and sighed. Ariss leaned back, lying down flat on the surface of the flat-ish rock. “It’s going to be frosty tonight.” He muttered, getting lost within the beautify of the stars above, the stars that dotted the night sky.
They came once again, late into the night. Ariss muttered something about the survivors, and drew his sword. Lucy stood up sleepily, looking down the hill. “Don’t kill them.” She said, flicking her tail. “They don’t deserve to die.”
He sighed. “You need to face the truth.” He readied himself, twirling the long sword in his hands. “It’s because I let some go that we were found again. Less people will get hurt if these few die.” He glanced toward her, his gaze cold. “Besides, if we kill more of them now, maybe we’ll be classed as too dangerous. It worked for me.”
Lucy was about to protest, when the first of the men came into earshot, and was already shooting at Ariss. She flinched at every shot, edging away, trying to get around to perhaps push them down. Ariss merely strode through the storm of bullets, not breaking pace as he raised the blade in one hand, making eye contact with the man he was about to slaughter.
She had managed to reach one- a woman who was holding her gun like a shield toward her, knowing she wasn’t allowed to shoot. Lucy bared her teeth, trying to make herself look scary, before she lunged, throwing herself into the woman, and knocking her to the ground. She moved toward the next closest, inflicting a heavy blow with her tail to the first, sending her flying into the stream. She didn’t get up, and Lucy hoped it was just because she had been knocked out. Knocked out was better than dead, she thought to herself.
A quick glance over to Ariss confirmed that he was not holding back. Almost half-way through them, he wasn’t leaving any survivors this time. Lucy growled, streaking down to catch up with him, before she positioned herself between the dead and the living. “No.” She snarled, her head close to the ground as she looked up at him.
There was silence behind her, as soldiers puzzled over what to do- Shoot the dragon, and save themselves, or don’t, and potentially die. They decided on the latter, figuring they were more important than Lucy.
Ariss had only time to yell before the bullets came, and he leaped forward to try and put himself between the dragon and the guns. By the time he had, the damage was done.
Lucy fell in a heartbeat, feeling pain spark down her side, and felt a shudder run across her spine. She tried to stand up, wincing as the shooting agony spread across her right fore paw. She glanced down, just long enough to see her blood dripping from her claws. Ariss had returned to his massacre, and the bullets were focused back on him.
In a few short minutes, it was over once more. “… bloody learn.” Lucy caught Ariss muttering to himself, and he walked back up the hill. He stopped before her, looking at her leg, before meeting her glare. “Were there any others?” His question was a command, his voice hard and unforgiving.
Lucy turned her head away, breaking eye contact. Ariss sighed, and trudged back up the hill, sticking a sword into any and every corpse he could see. When he came to the one Lucy had knocked away, she looked away, shutting her eyes.
Ariss walked back over to stand before her, without any regret. “Can you walk?” He asked, deciding she probably didn’t want his first aid at the current moment.
He was right. “Yes.” Lucy said, her voice icy.
He nodded, and turned around, walking back up the hill and continuing. He didn’t change his pace from the previous day, sticking to a steady, brisk walk. Lucy was struggling to keep up, finding it painful to put any weight on her front leg.
After a while, she was far behind, and beginning to slow even more. She looked up, groaning at the sight of Ariss as he was about to go over the top of the hill.
“Wait!” She called up, swallowing her current grudge against him. No matter what she thought, there was still that small voice reminding her that he had saved her life probably three, maybe four times now. She saw him stop, and turn around. Lucy took a few more steps, wincing at the pain chorusing through her body, before she spoke again. “I… I’m sorry,” she started, quieter than before, “I don’t think I can go much further, at least not at this pace…” She trailed off, finding herself staring at the ground.
There was a moment of no action, before Ariss jogged back down the hill, stopping a few steps away and waiting for her to set the pace. She started walking again awkwardly, at a pace considerably slower than before.
It took a little while longer, until after they had passed the top of the hill, until Lucy said anything else. “I guess you were right.”
“About what?” Ariss asked, looking ahead.
“… Everything,” she muttered, her eyes not moving from the spot just a few feet in front of her, as she tried to blank out the pain. The blood was taking a while to begin to clot. “If… if you hadn’t killed them…. I guess they probably would have killed us. Well, me. They would have caught you, right?”
He nodded, glancing back as he took a few steps further forward than her. “They would have taken me and then would have dragged your body back with them,” he paused for a moment, “But I think they would have tried to take you alive, first. They seem to have orders not to kill you unless necessary.”
The pair fell into silence, each with their own wondering thoughts. Lucy couldn’t keep her mind off the last thing Ariss had said. They wanted to take her alive. They wanted to take her to wherever and do something to her, and she could tell now that they didn’t care that she had been human.