Nyctophilia

It’s about a guy who moved out to another world, to start dragon-farming, away from his earlier tribe. You get to watch him overcome some big problems (Dragons, dragons, dragons), and team up with another farmer, to get the crystal for the ancient portal, that can lead to new dragon species they have never encountered. To get it, they have to steal it from a race called daemonium.

Estimated length(Goal): 32 Chapters
Chapter length: 4000-5000 words
Publish day: Friday (Again a goal)

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1. Chapter 1

In a chamber, not unlike that of a prison tube, a guy was resting. Tattoos under his feet, arms bearing scars and missing a heart that should have been his.

The only thing he had brought with him was his pet dragon, as other would say. He himself called it his brother and was ready to fight anyone who dared hurt him. The dragon wasn't bigger than a large baguette sandwich, which was the only thing the guy knew how to make in a kitchen. It had four legs and two wings. In its forehead was horns, ready to burn anyone who dared hurt his fleshy brother. The horn was rough to the touch and colored like coal saved from the base of the volcanoes of his tribe, which is where the dragon hatched.

When touched, even gently, the sod would spread on your fingers before disappearing, and leave no trace that you ever touched it.

If - on the other hand - that the dragon used the horns, the wound would not only leave a trace but leave the pain as well.

The guy's eyes opened in confused blinks. Sure he remembered going into a deep slumber, but that didn't make it less painful. He fell onto the floor, as the liquid retracted out to the sites for later use. 

"Ouf" He whimpered to the cold floor. He had been wearing no clothing when he entered, and he could feel that now. Shakingly he tried getting his legs to move, but all they did was putting in harsh movement in and out from his body, without helping him at all. His hands were clenching hard together, and for some time he couldn't unroll them. Swish. The sound of the nearby machines told him another one was waking up. He stopped trying to move, and instead looked at the neighbor who was going to be thrown out of the chamber, just like he had. Dunk. A white-haired girl fell hard on the ground, her eyes still closed, and her limbs unmoveable. He himself had crawled desperately into a ball of determinedness to get up, while she was laying out straight, just like if the container had just fallen over.

"OUCH!" His fingers started hurting, not unlike the sensation he felt when he got into the deep sleep. Behind him, the rest of his liquid had disappeared and his brother fell out, landing majestically on all four legs, not far from his body.

It moved with no difficulty and soon sniffed to the unconscious girl, to make sure she was alright.

It slowly went over to his brother, and started trying to sting him in the back with his horn, he let out a laugh and felt the pain in his legs as well. He sat up, flat on his ass, on the cold floor. "Didn't they say left, Philly?" He asked his brother with a deep croaky voice and finally got up. Philly stretched out, by shaking its head from side to side, while also going up and down, letting all the little cranks in its little neck loose. He chuckled and stepped over the unconscious girl, who woke up mid-step. Screaming, she curled up into a traumatized ball, Philly bent his neck, while sitting down, to the point it was the opposite way it should be. She let out another scream. Chuckling, he continued left to the 'Exit', where his clothing would be. An elder lady was sitting there, she smiled devilishly when she got a look at the dragon farmer.

"Well hello there, cutie∼" she purred, with her wheezy voice, "Well equipped, are we?"

He didn't know what to answer, so he just stared at her, awkwardly for a while. She was wearing her uniform, but it should have been a couple of sizes bigger. She herself, should not be. Fearing her health might make her lose the job, he wondered how she had gotten it in the first place. She was wearing a ton of makeup, to hide all the cracks, he bet. Her lips were red like late summer apples, and her desk as greasy as her white shirt. He was thankful she was wearing an undershirt, otherwise, he would see almost as much as he had on the white-haired girl. "Em... Clothes?" he pleaded

"Please?" The lady gave him another elevator look, he wasn't going to return, and then opened up her blue screen on the glass window between them.

"ID?" She commanded.

"Eh.... 3...3..9?.. .. 8... 2... 1.. ... 7?" Confusedly he tried receiving them in his head, he had been so sure of the number earlier.

"3-3-9-8-2-1-7?" The lady wanted it to be confirmed, she knew he was confused, and if he couldn't remember the number, then maybe she could get something more out of him. "Yeah". She hit send, and under two seconds later a picture came up. It was him - with wet hair and a dragon on his shoulder. "Wheres the little beasts?" He stared at her again.

..

..

..

"Oh, do you mean Philly?" Before she had answered, he had bent down to pick up his brother and placed him on his shoulder. Without his shoulder pad, Philly couldn't hold on but ended up scratching him hard in the shoulder, letting the blood run slowly down, as the only thing covering him.

"Yeah" She answered back and licked her lip while wheezing after air. "Can I get my clothes now?" 

"Ah... yes... " The lady started pressing buttons behind her desk, while the white-haired girl was going in the line, behind him.

"Pervert" the girl claimed. He ignored it and chose to focus on getting some clothing on. 

"You know, before we drop you off, you should come visit me sometime, cutie, I have a lot of breaks you know?" A packet arrived in a plastic bag under her desk, she held hard onto it, before looking him up and down one last time. 

"Eh.. thank you?" He awkwardly let his hand scratch the back of his neck, almost knocking Philly of his bleeding shoulder. 

"Pervert !" The girl repeated louder.

"Why don't ya give us a little kiss? So you get a little taste of the goods before-" 

"No, thank you" He quickly denied, and looked at his packet in her hands. It was everything he was bringing with him, and she was not going to take it from him. 

"Look boy, either you kiss me, or you are going to run around butt naked, got it?" Teasingly she was dangling his things besides her head.

"So what's it gonna be?"

"FINE" he consented and bent in over the counter with his eyes closed. Happily, she leaned forward, ready to kiss him, when his eyes opened and his left arm snuck past her, to grab his things, still in her hands. Her grip had been loosening up, and he could retract before getting kissed. He barely got out of the way before the lady started throwing things at him, through the small window. The lady not seeing the girl, threw a cup of soda, soaking the girl completely, making her whine loudly, while he left out through the next door, to what was a changing room.

The floor was tiled, as were the walls and the ceiling, the room was decorated with bright blue lockers, reminding you that people steal, and you should watch over your stuff. Cautiously, he walked past some of the lockers before seeing shower heads.

"I'll take a shower, Philly, please watch over my stuff"  He asked, and put his things, and Philly in a locker. He got into the shower, and let the heat give him warmth. "Let all the bad wash out," He told himself and rubbed his skin clean from the dirty floor. "That's what you get for going cheap, the rich probably land on a mattress of clouds and... candy" He heard someone

laugh, and looked around, to see the white-haired girl again. 

She was still drenched in soda, leaving her hair sticky. Her hair was up in two ponytails

to each their side, and even though it was high up, her hair went all down to her bottom. She had, in an attempt to cover herself, moved them from the back to the front, which had been a bad move. 

"Sorry 'bout the lady" He quickly apologized, The girl ignored him but went into the shower next to him.

"My names Lily, by the way, I think you owe me a burger to go with that soda

you got me, otherwise it's not a real date, you know" Lily rambled. 

Meraki bit his lip, and this time ignored whatever she said. He doesn't date anymore,

and he didn't intend to. He let the water remove the soap and dirt from the ground, before stepping out in the intermediate between the too. The vents turned on, and he was blowdried, until his hair could stand mostly for itself. It was no longer clinging to his face. He walked over to the locker and opened up to Philly. He had curled his tail in between his front feet, rubbing the tail in his sleep. The head was resting on its butt, looking away from Meraki.

"Philly, I need my clothes". The dragon got sluggish up, and let Meraki hold him, while he took the clothing he had been laying on. Philly then jumped into the locker once again and got comfy. The cloth in Meraki's hands was extremely soft, and to his irritation, still bearing the gold from his home planet. He had never been much fond of gold - it would so easily bend or

break. He put on the hat first. It would be covering his short hair, and his neck, while allowing him to see out. He might as well had taken a sheet over his head, and cut a hole for his face, only to put a gold ribbon around the top. It was handy on his planet when the storms started showing up, though.

He took the top, which he didn't want to admit he liked wearing. It was a white cloth that would go around his neck, and cover his chest, but leave his stomach back nearly exposed. As all other clothing it was lined with gold, and under the chest the lines met, to form a stone of a kind Meraki hadn't encountered before.

He took on the skirt, which was just 7 pieces of white cloths sewn together at the top, so it would cover the most necessary, but still not clinging to the legs.

He took the shoes, which he hated, and put on. It was confining for him, he liked to know what he walked on, but again, he could see it here. Lily walked out the shower and started putting clothing on as well, she was faster than Meraki since it was a bodysuit she was wearing.

Meraki opened the locker and grabbed Philly, who was displeased until he folded his arms so he could continue sleeping. They walked out a door, leaving Lily behind. His stomach started growling, which wasn't that weird when you consider he hadn't eaten in months.

He found the cafeteria and looked around. There were three tables, each sat up with tableware and drinks, ready to be used. Two robots were standing near the back wall, waiting patiently for someone to serve. On his right were machines, where he could press and get the food he wanted.

He walked in and tried reading the words on the machine, but they made no sense to him. He considered just pressing a random button and hoping for the best. 

"Can I help you, sir?" A robot butler had found it's way to him. It had mechanical arms, but where there should be legs, where a long tube, going into the floor. It's top were wearing the white uniform of the ship's brand, wearing it much cleaner and nicer than the lady out in

the hall. Its voice was deep and honoring. 

"I need food"

"What are you in the mood for good sir? Tomato juice? Cereal? Steak?" Its hands were clapping together, making noise and echo out in the otherwise empty cafeteria.

"Something... sweet?" Meraki tried, as not all the robot had said made sense to him. 

"What about a sweet bun, good sir?" Before Meraki had time to say no or yes, the tube made a boing noise, and out of the mouth, the bun came.

"Looks... good" Meraki said and sat down. He placed Philly besides himself and noticed the chair was uncomfortably hard. He couldn't push it in either, it was nailed to the floor. The robot followed him, and placed the bun on his plate, and filled up his glass with something blue he hadn't seen before.

"Hi!" Lily yelled out in the cafeteria. The other robot moved to her, welcoming her with a bow.

 "Do you want anything for your pet, good sir?". The robot was wearing a smile from ear to ear, clearly enjoying the company.

"A... steak".

Meraki wanted to puke as he saw the steak go out of the mouth of the bot

and into its hands. It slowly placed in on the plate next to Meraki, and

then put it in front of Philly, who woke up. 

"Looks good" Meraki told the robot.

"Do you want to talk about the news?" The robot offered with a grin. Lily sat down two seats from him, he nodded, and the robot sat down in front of him with a larger grin.

"While you have been asleep, the war of Scarab has taken another 55 people, and 3 solar systems has been taken by another black hole..."

"Do you not have any lighter news?" Meraki interrupted and took a bite out of the round bun, coated in frosting.

It was very sweet, he had to admit.

"The nearby solar system of Didi had a new king born two days ago, and are celebrating the birth with the nearby planets". Meraki took another bite, smilingly.

"He's very fluffy, do you wish to see a picture?" Meraki shook his head and looked the bot up and down. 

"Do you have any children?"

The bot pondered this questions for a while but then shook its own head. "A bot as I, do not have any children".

"Why not?"

"Bots are made, not born" The bot explained him, Meraki started smiling, he leaned back in his chair and grabbed harder around the bun.

"But bot, aren't babies also just assembled in the... womb?"

The bot looked terrified and started talking about the difference in mechanical living and 'real' living, which to Meraki was much more exciting than the news.

"But you have artificial intelligence, right? You are like organic life, just made out of metal?" The bot shook his head like he was in shock, 

"No sir! I'm not like the bots on Giolignai! We only live to serve, not to feel".

"But you are feeling something right now... you are scared," Meraki noticed.

He wasn't good at noticing subtle signs, but something as his frown turned to look down, or his eyes opened wide, was easy to read. 

"Stop irritating the poor thing, and buy me a burger?" Lily jumped a seat closer, while the other bot moved her dinner for her. She was drinking soup out of a cup while having the same buns on her plate as he did. He asked his bot for two buns more and started eating again.

"Not interested," He told Lily.

"Let's give you two lovebirds a great view!", Lilly's bot yelled and pressed a button on his shirt, which made the roof slowly go away and showing the portal they had nearly left behind. It was black in the middle but lined with a red glow. He leaned back and looked up with a smile. He took another bite and enjoyed the view in space. The portals had interested him so much when he first decided to get the farm. He had done his best to research as much as he could himself, and found out, that very little was known about them.

With equipment on, people can survive going through them, without a ship. They suck in things, not unlike a black hole, but they also bend the universe. It's estimated that there is so many that the universe could be symbolized by a piece of crumbled up paper.

His hand reached up towards the ceiling. "... wonder how it feels" He mumbled for himself. "Bot, bet you can't tell me 100 facts about the portal?".

As he listened, he felt more at peace with this decision he had made, a long time ago. He didn't want to stay with his tribe, especially not when there was so much more to see where they'll arrive. The girl was angry he kept on ignoring her, but when he left this time, she let him be. It didn't take long before they entered an atmosphere, and she heard the whush of someone being sent down there.

Meraki's feet was the first to land on the surface of the planet. They were on the hard ground, filled with rumble, but his eyes were still blinded by the red/pink beam that had to send him down. He heard the sound of the ship leaving, and helped Philly of his shoulder, so he also could feel the ground.

His eyes could finally look around. He was in a front yard of a sort. He could see special metallic walls six times his own height, which had to be the farming part, of the farm. On his right were a little house, not more than two or three rooms at most. He had seen the pictures online, showing how the kitchen, bedroom, and study had all been one room, and the bathroom being the only other, except for the storage in the basement. The house was half of a sphere and dusted red by the sand and gravel around. They had warned about the sandstorms before he moved here, but he wasn't afraid to get dusty. He walked over to the front door and opened up into the untouched living room. There was a bed to the side, right next to the desk, where a man was sitting, holding a picture of his wife. He hadn't responded when Meraki walked in, so he walked closer, and waved his hand in front of the eyes of the old man with the white beard. His bones were easier to see than his eyes, since they were covered by big old white eyebrows. The man didn't respond, so Meraki touched his shoulder, to only feel the coldness coming of it.

"Oh! You're dead" Meraki noticed. Philly jumped onto the bed and got down for a nap. "There must be tools somewhere around so we can bury you".

Meraki started looking in the house, but there weren't any farming tools at all, even though all he needed was a shovel. He went outside and walked around the big metal walls until he came closer to little metal shed. All of its three doors were open, and inside it was missing a few tools. Meraki saw the electronic shovel and grabbed it, before walking behind the house and started digging a hole. The shovel made it easy, all he had to do was outline a square, and tell it how deep to dig by rolling the wheel. It took an hour, but the hole was 2 meters down, so he didn't mind the wait. He walked into the house to find Philly still sleeping, and took the old fragile man on his back, by holding under its arms. KLONK, the picture frame fell onto the floor, shattering into a few pieces.

They moved out the door, and Meraki could feel the feet of the body dragging on the ground behind him.

Thud. He turned around to see the head of the man rolling around on the ground, getting all the red sand in his beard and eyebrows. Meraki walked the last part, and threw the body down the grave, before walking back and picking up the head. He dusted off the beard and threw it down the grave, so it landed on the stomach of the man. He then used his hand to push the dirt back over and placed the tool in the shed again. He closed all the doors to the shed, and found a broken lock on the ground, not far away from the main door. He got inside, and locked the door behind him, before getting on the bed, surrounding Philly, who only tried to get closer to him.

"Tomorrow we'll get started" He whispered to him.

As night fell, Meraki woke up. He started hearing ghostly screams, and beggings for food. In shock, he got up and ran over to the front door, pulling on it, but it wouldn't budge. He finally got it open and started running after the ghostly sounds, with Philly gliding after on his wings.

The metal wall was very warm, so Meraki placed a hand on it as he ran to find those who were begging for help. As he turned the corner, just after the shed, he could see an entrance to the metal cage. He could walk in with no problem, to his fright and happiness.

Inside the begs echoed, making him fall together on the ground, holding onto his ears, and crawling together into a ball. It was the sound of starving dragons and soon dead ones.

He tore off a piece of his clothing and stuffed into his ears, so he could move on.

Philly walked back out the gate and chose to sleep a little longer. It would hurt too much if he followed his brother, so he chose not too. If he could hear his brother in trouble he would run after him, as soon as he could.

Meraki moved further inside. The big metal walls had been to keep outsiders out. Inside the cages were smaller, and glistering with rust and red sand. Dragons of all age had been put into small metal containers with top bottom and sides. If they wanted to lay down, they had to do it on the spot, and they would not be able to turn around. The first dragon he saw, that was alive, was purple and pink. It had soft areas on its legs and back, which were pink, and had hard wounds embedded into it. Meraki was confused about where its wings were, but realized in disgust, that they had been cut off, years prior. It had grown too much for its cage, and he noticed bites in its skin from other dragons, that had once stood beside it.

They were laying in their cages, fallen to the ground with no meat on the bones.

Merakis eyes started tearing up. It wasn't even crying. He tried opening the gate behind it, but it was stuck: he couldn't do anything for it. he walked a little while, without seeing any live dragons. The next time he met one, it was a cubbi. The cages had gotten bigger, but they were still way too small. The cubbi were different shades of green, with a lump of grass on its head, that kept falling down into its eyes. Its tail was filled with spikes, resembling a morning star.

Meraki had learned about this kind of dragon - later in life the grass patch would expand to go further down it's back, and eventually he would be able to hide from predators, or to kill smaller dragons himself. The cubbi was laying on top of his brother and sisters, which were held together by the mother dragon.

Her once light green grassed back, with mushrooms and small snails were brown and foul smelling. Her skin had lost all glow, and her mouth was chunky white, from the loss of water.

It screamed at Meraki as he got nearer the cage. It wouldn't stop until the intruder was gone, or until it got some food.

"Are you okay?" Meraki tried in a soft voice while leaning down and looked into the eyes of the small creature. It hissed at him and started beating its tail into the cage to scare him off. The cage was shaking, and raining rust over him and his family.

"I'll find some food for you" Meraki promised. He got up and walked on. More and more dragons seemed alive near the center, where they also got bigger. In the center, Meraki found a little shed, filled with a glass container twice his size and thrice his thickness. It was filled with rotten meat, forcing him to pinch his nose shut.

"This is too much," Meraki said to himself. The dragons were still screaming for help. He looked around the shed for anything else. Ah! Triumphant he recognized a remote and picked it up from a nearby table. Over each button was a shining silvery word, disclosing what that button did. He couldn't read what the buttons did, on the remote, but he was not ready to leave the dragons another night like this. He ran past the biggest dragons until he came back to the little cubbi. As the smallest, he would be eaten if any other dragons found him first.

"I understand if you're angry" Meraki whispered "But I need you to run away from here. I don't want you to be eaten by the others"

He pointed the remote at an empty cell and started pressing the buttons one after one until the cage door opened. He then pointed it at the little cubbi and pressed the button. The cage door swung open, and the mothers tail fell out the cell. The dragon started screaming and calling for its mother for help. Meraki's cheek was wet from the tears, that had been long underway. He dried them off in his sleeve and held his hand carefully out towards the little one. Even smaller than Philly.

It hit it's tail towards him, hitting his hand in the swing, and made him bleed.

He didn't care. 

"Come on" He begged it "I just want to feed you, and make sure you survive, please let me".

It looked at him in disbelieve, and too his surprise, its eyes were like two little blue marbles. After turning around, it pushed to its mothers head with its own, and let out a long griefing yell, but the mother didn't respond back.

"Please" He begged again, this time his hand moved closer. It hopped onto his hand, and let him embrace it in a warm hug.

"You need f-f-food and water" he stuttered, the cold itself was getting to him, and moved further back to the pink dragon. He pointed the remote at it, and the gate swung up. It didn't move, and it didn't yell when he pulled it out by its tail. It was heavy and bulky, but Meraki still liked it. It smiled at him, and as he started walking around, it followed him and the little one. It was fighting a fight with the ground, that made it walk slower than Meraki.

It was dragging its stomach, to the point it would eventually get very hurt.

The gate to the outside opened up, as they got near it. Philly sat near the hinges, and held it open, with its head on the side, ready to ask 'what did he find?'

"They are starving" Meraki explained, and let Philly jump on his shoulder before he held the gate open for the pink one. He had Philly show them inside, but the little one refused to let go of its new mother.

Philly got irritated, but Meraki let it be on his shoulders, while he looked for a map in the house. In the kitchen, one was hanging above the sink. It showed other animals on the opposite side of the dragons. Meraki walked out and found some living animals in the same kind of cages as the dragons. He slaughtered a few and skinned them quickly, so the little one and the big one could get some food fast. When he got inside with the meat, Philly was the first to attack it, before he showed the little one how to eat. When the two of them were done, the large one ate the remains, leaving only one big splat of blood in the middle of the floor. In the middle of the room was a fireplace.

With the help of Philly, it got ignited, and not soon after Philly, the cubbi and the large pink dragon were all snuggling up near the fire, while Meraki looked at the map. It was easier to see, now that there was light. The moon - even though it's bigger than what he was used to - didn't give that much light itself.

This is not okay. How could anyone treat anyone like this? Meraki got angry and wanted to go stomp on the old guys grave. He removed the glass shards on the floor, so the dragons wouldn't get cut, and decided to liberate the last of the dragons in the cages.

He ran over to all the dragons, and one after one opened their cage and showed them the way out. When he was finally done, there wasn't a sad moan left on his ranch, and he decided there never should be again as the sun raised itself over the ranch.

 

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