Tides of Magic - Dragon Tears: Chapter 23

in dbooks •  4 months ago

Note: This is the twenty-third chapter of a small novel I wrote. If you would like to read it off-site, you may download a PDF. The PDF will be updated every week with the next chapter. This project is now also available on DBooks

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Tides of Magic - Dragon Tears

Chapter 23 - Meeting of Worlds

 

“… and you are really sure that this is safe?” Barnett watched the shimmering surface that had formed within the strange gate with mixed feelings. A part of him wondered which stone circle the strange gate was stolen from, but he kept silent rather than asking these scientists an offending question. Instead his gaze was wandering around, following the many cables, which were hooked up to irons wedged into the stone, to some great machines. A deep humming was in the air and Barnett could almost feel the energy that was pumped into that gate right now. Something like that couldn’t be safe.

“We are very sure”, answered the white coat, adjusting his glasses. “We went through the gate ourselves once and everything is fine with us.”

Barnett wondered if “fine” was the correct attribute for these scientists, as one had to be slightly mad to be in this profession. And who was “we”? He was only talking to a single person and he couldn’t picture him ever leaving the safety of his laboratory. The most irritating thought was, that he and his men were now his new lab rats.

“Where does it lead?” Barnett touched the shimmering surface. The tips of his fingers began to tingle as they made contact to the water-like energy.

“We don’t know”, admitted the man. “It can be anything. Another Planet, another Dimension, maybe even the inner earth”, he shrugged. “The only thing we did was finding this portal and open it. In fact, depending on the amount of energy we put into the portal, we can choose an exit.” He pointed towards an enormous knob. Barnett didn’t want to know, how much energy would be running through that, when turning it to maximum. “We sought out an exit with a special environment. We hope for many new findings when exploring that.”

Barnett nodded. “That all sounds well and fascinating, but why are we here?” He pointed with a thumb over his shoulder to his men, standing behind him. They were fully equipped, carrying light weapons, heavy guns, camouflage-suits, radios and a few things more.

“I can answer that question.” A corridor formed behind him, a larger man with short black hair stepping through them. He had a grin on his face and felt clearly superior. It was the one person, that Barnett didn’t like at all. Sadly Bradley was his superior, so he had to stand to attention, waiting for his explanation.

“We have good reason to think that the other side of this portal holds some new Materials for developing exceptional weapons.”

Barnett would have rolled his eyes on that. He knew that they needed new weapons desperately, but how did they got the Idea, that they would find suitable materials on the other side of that gate?

“The area on the other side seems to be of volcanic origin”, supplied the scientist as if answering his unspoken question.

“It will be your task to scout the area, find possible mining grounds and secure them. A few scientists will accompany you.” Bradley looked towards the gate, his gaze almost asking, why they were still standing there.

“Understood.” Barnett didn’t like that task at all, it could be highly dangerous. But he hadn’t had any grounds of refusing it either, so he had to do it or be court-martialed. He was payed to do the job, and most court-martials ended in a guilty verdict and shooting the defendant. Barnett somehow clung to life.

“There is another thing”, the scientist supplied. “We can’t keep the gate open for a prolonged period of time. An hour at most. Because of that we will close the gate behind you and reopen it in about six hours, contacting you per radio.”

Barnett nodded. Thaat explained why the job was so extraordinarily paid as well – and he had an upcoming vacation right after the job.

“Let’s go!” Barnett raised his voice, speaking full of authority, and went through the gate first. Two dozen men followed him into the unknown.

Barnett stood shortly after a short, but cold, massage of his whole body in the brightest Sunshine. The Temperature was significantly higher than in the cellar he had been in before, but it wasn’t uncomfortably hot. Barnett looked at this job in a positive light: Out of the cellar and as far as possible from Bradley. Two days. Everything it took was a job for two days to go without any problems. That shouldn’t be too hard.

While taking the first steps he surmised his surroundings. They were in a canyon, yellow and brown rocks were all around them, reaching high into the sky. A hint of sulfur was in the air. One or two brown plants had dug their way through the stones.

His men were seuring the perimeter professionally, hiding close to the rocks and keeping a look out front, back and up. Barnett looked back to the gate. The last of his men got through the shimmering surface, then the four scientists they had to protect. After that the shimmer started to flicker and the whole watery surface vanished. The gate itself stood within a stone circle – why did he have to be right about these things? Behind the stone circle was another tall wall. A dead end. Great. At least they couldn’t lose their way.

The scientists did the same, looked to the plants, taking a few steps towards them and shook their heads soon enough. There was nothing here.

Barnett motioned his group to press on, following through the canyon. They kept their firearms ready, in order to response quickly to any threat that may arise.

Soon the lighter Stones were replaced by much darker, almost black ones. The temperature raised with their discovery. “Volcanic origin” had not been a lie. Barnett could easily imagine the black stains to be volcanic ash. He could only hope that the volcano wouldn’t wake right now, greeting them with a shower of hot molten stones. A cold shiver ran over his back despite the heat.

He looked again to the scientists, hoping to see a sign of them being interested into something, but there was none.

He continues his way for another quarter of a mile and stopped. The heat was almost unbearable. He suspected the stones around him of starting to glowg orange-red and melt any moment now. This was another dead end for them. He didn’t see the need to befriend magma.

“Sir?” One of his man pointed upwards with his rifle. Barnett looked up and thought for a moment that he had seen a shadow in front of the sun. A moment later he was sure, as the shadow grew into a large black Creature that landed right in front of him within the canyon.

The creature was more than a dozen feet taller than he and his men, large claws dug into the ground that splintered slightly. A large head lowered itself down to them, black scales covered almost every spot on the creatures body. As it breathed the air around them it felt like a small gust of wind passed through them. Its teeth were as large as their weapons and glittered in the sun. Hot breath greeted them as the creature opened and closed its maw. An eye as large as Barnetts head looked at them.

No one was brave enough to even move. Immobilized by fear they looked at the creature they only had known from stories and fairy tales. Suddenly he heard a voice inside his head.

What do you humans seek here?” The breath of the dragon felt like hot wind. How could something that large even exist? “You came through the gate. You have something foreign about you.”

Barnett gulped. What should he answer to that? Should he even answer? “We are here on a peaceful mission” he tried with a loud voice. It was less stable than he had liked it to.

The dragon looked at him for long silent moments, then more and more of his teeth got visible and … did the creature just smile? “On behalf of my fellow dragonkin, I welcome you.”

Barnett felt a cold shower run over his back. Dragon-kin? There were more of these creatures? What were they planning? Did he invite them in as some kind of meal? Should he back out?

Suddenly black mist started to surround the dragons features: His teeth, eyes, wings, the tail and his pranks. The mist shrunk in size, changing form into that of a smaller creature, probably bipedal in nature. A human stepped out of the black mist, which dissipated only a moment later. At least he looked mostly human: His skin seemed to be pale grey instead of pink, his head was bald and there was not a single strand of hair, not even where his eyebrows were supposed to be. A long black leather coat hid most of his skin. His eyes were glowing in an unearthly light.

“Follow me. Our chief would like to speak to you.” He turned and continued his way deeper into the hot hell before them, not even breaking a sweat.

Barnett hesitated to follow him. The wiser action would be to turn around and leave these dragons be, instead of following them into some kind of trap. On the other hand they had to wait five hours until the gate reopened and were trapped with these creatures nonetheless. And Bradley would be furious with them, if they returned empty-handed.

He decided to follow the dragon, in hope that their chief really would only like to speak with them. He motioned his soldiers to go on, but he didn’t had to remind them of being more alert and careful now.

The way through hell felt like an eternity, but then the temperature started to drop to more comfortable levels. He and his men sighed as they felt cold wind on their skin.

It still took them at least an hour and a half until their way ended in front of a few caves. The grey man took position in front of one entrance and nodded towards it. “Go on in, he is waiting for you.” After that he just stared forwards as if he had turned to stone – which seemed very likely with his grey skin.

If they entered the lions … no dragons den, their chances to escape were almost zero. But the dragons could have feasted on them already, if they wanted. He followed his instinct, straightened his posture and entered the shadow of the cave.

It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the darkness within. First he saw a scheme enter his vision, soon after that he could make out the silhouette of a human. It was an older man, wearing short black hair and a long black leather coat. The only things that distinguished him from any other human he knew were his eyes. They were as red as the ones of the dragon they met before.

“That’s close enough”, bellowed the stranger. His strong deep voice and the self-confidence he radiated made him a perfect leader.

Barnett signaled his men to stop as well. The stranger hadn’t made any move to attack them and he didn’t want to give him any reason to do so.

“Good”, the man looked over them all, his eyes soon fixating on Barnett. “I want to know why you are here.” He made a step towards them. “You told my son that you were on a peaceful mission, yet you carry strange weapons.”

“These weapons are for our defense. We didn’t know what to expect.” Barnetts mouth felt dry.

“You didn’t know what to …” The man made another step closer to Barnett. He looked him over, judging his every move. “So it was fate that brought our worlds back together?” He turned, making some steps away once again. “I doubt that it was fate or a random occurrence, but I shall allow you to stay, provided you respect our laws.

Barnett felt like they should leave as soon as possible. But they needed to stay for a while, especially since those four scientists had become very curious about the cave they were in. Perhaps they could trade some things before they returned home. “Should we put out weapons down?”

“You don’t need to put your toys down, if you feel more secure wearing them. You can’t hurt us anyways.” The dragon turned towards him again. “The rule for you staying is that none of you enters a cave without any of my sons going with them. And don’t touch any of our treasures.” There was a growling sound in his voice that made Barnett flinch.

He looked around. The cave seemed empty. What treasures did he mean? And which one of the dragons were his sons? ‘Or were all his sons because he was the chieftain? “We accept”, he answered and tried to smile. It was common courtesy to follow the houserules of the place you visited. Given that the owner could easily kill them this was only more true.

The dragon reached out with his hand. Barnett did the same, hesitating slightly, but as they shook hands the dragon before him smiled. “I am Yargyuu, the oldest and strongest of the black dragons and therefore their chieftain.”

“Lieutant Barnett Dias.” He felt insignificant with that short a title, but he didn’t dare to add some invented titles.

“I am pleased to meet a leader such as you.” Yargyuu smiled, making some steps towards him once again. “I will hold you responsible for the actions of your people”, he added with a threatening undertone.

Barnett nodded and smiled. He was used to being responsible, but he knew also that he could trust his men. The only ones he couldn’t trust were those four scientists. They hadn’t had a military background and could step out of line. He didn’t mistrust them as much as he mistrusted Bradley, but it was close.

“Can some of my men gather some rock-samples?” Barnett found it prudent to ask first.

“I don’t know what you want to do with those rocks, but if you like, you can take as many as you want.”

“Thank you”, Barnett nodded, relaying the orders to his men with a few meaningful gestures and military signs. Four soldiers flanked those white coats as they started going about their business.

“I see you mistrust your own men as well.” Barnett wasn’t sure if Yargyuu asked or simply stated that.

“As well?”

Yargyuu frowned. “I am the chief of the clan not only because I am the oldest and wisest, but moreso because I am the strongest. I had to establish that rule a while ago. Still there are many young ones that come to challenge me, wanting to lead our clan instead.”

Barnett nodded, understanding fully. “So you can’t relax, because they might attack you at any time. What if an outsider would challenge and win against you … would the clan follow him then?”

“Do you challenge me, human?” Yargyuu growled in a tone that wasn’t possible for a human. “You can’t beat me, especially not in a one-on-one fight!”

Barnett raised his hands defensively. “I was just curious”, he added. This would be one of Bradleys strange ideas to get new weapons.

Yargyuu looked into his eyes, staring. “Maybe you should go back where you came from, or curiosity might kill one or more of you.” The dragon turned, ending their talk there and then.

Barnett got the message. They weren’t welcome here any longer. He shouldn’t have asked that. After taking a deep breath he went back to his men. One of the scientists was still examining a rock, two others had given up already, sitting on the ground, their shoulders hanging down in defeat. None of them wanted to be out there with those dragons around. The fourth scientist was braver than them. Barnett turned to one of the soldiers.

“As soon as white coat four returns, we’ll go back.” The man nodded, saluted and informed the others. The outlook to leave this place soon allowed his men to relax slightly. Barnett looked on his watch. They had been out here for about three and a half hours. If they hurried, they would make it back in time until the gate reopened.

Scientist number four returned after a bit more than ten minutes.

“Have you found something?” Barnett looked at him.

“Only more stones, nothing of value”, one soldier answered. The scientist nodded, and looked back over his shoulder. He seemed slightly nervous. Maybe he wasn’t as brave as Barnett had thought.

“We’ll return to base.” Barnett bellowed the command with a loud and steady voice. His men didn’t hesitate in the slightest, getting back in formation within record time.

A few dragons followed them with their gazes, her black heads held high, but none made a move to follow them. His men kept looking around despite that and Barnett did the same until they had left the dragons dwelling far behind.

They kept a harsh pace to make it back to the gate. The scientists could keep up with them, earning his respect. They arrived at the gate with fifteen minutes to spare.

Barnett took a deep breath. That hadn’t been too bad. With the right wording he can put off this realm as a threat that shouldn’t be visited again – no weapons to be found. Then maybe one other mission like this and …

A loud roar ended his thoughts. The stones around him shook, some fell from the cliffs. This couldn’t be good. They hadn’t done anything wrong, had they? But why had he that bad feeling that the dragons would attack any time now? If they did, they had almost no chance to survive. Those creatures were large and heavily armored, they probably had not many weapons that could penetrate their scales – and even if they did, the amount of damage would be minimal.

Another roar joined the first, then one more, a cacophony of roars raised from possibly every dragon in range. He could only hope that they opened the door on time, maybe even a bit earlier.

Was there a weak point to these creatures? “if they attack us, try to concentrate your fire on one spot, like their breast or head. If we have to use grenades, don’t bring the walls down on us”, he instructed his soldiers with a loud voice. “Take cover! We don’t know if those dragons breathe fire!” He hope that would only be a figment of imagination, part of the story to make them more dangerous.

His men scattered, finding cover behind rocks and some of the monoliths of the stone circle. The dragons appeared only a moment later above them. Shadows appeared one by one, growling in number and size every second as more and more of them arrived. That Clan was almost an army of dragons alone.

Barnett rolled to the side, barely escaping a wave of fire. The heat still burned on his skin although he hadn’t touched any of the flames. Damn! The fire breathing had to be true, too!

“The gate is open”, someone shouted.

“Retreat!” Barnett shouted, pulling out a flash bang. He hoped that the creatures eyes were as vulnerable to it as any other he knew. The safety-pin fell to the ground, the noise it made drowned by roars and gunfire. He let go of the handle, waited about one and a half second and tossed it high into the air.

He scrambled to his feet and started running. His men were still firing at the dragons, covering their eyes just in time before the grenade exploded in a flash of light. The dragons roared slightly different than before. It had worked. He hoped.

It should buy them a few more crucial moments to escape. The scientists were through the gate already and most of his men. Only the most loyal stayed behind, covering him.

“Go, go! Before they regain their senses!”

His men stopped and ran the last meters to the gate. Just as he arrived at the gate and touched its surface he felt a wave of heat … which was replaced by the coolness of the basement only a moment later. He stumbled, fell, rolled and turned.

A burning person stumbled through the gate after them. The last man to make it through ran around crying. “Get a blanket! Close the gate!”

They struggled a bit to get the running man to stop and douse him. One of the scientists went to help him, sending for cooling agents and bandages. It was a try in vain to save his life. Second and third degree burns covered his whole body. He couldn’t recover from that.

“Have you found something?” Bradley sat in a corner of the room, leaning forwards in his chair.

Barnett wanted to shake his head, but one of the scientists stepped forward. “Indeed, we did.”

He couldn’t believe his ears. The scientist produced something in a white piece of cloth, just the size of a first. He uncovered it, making a clear white crystal appear.

“That’s why”, murmured Barnett. “The dragons told us not to touh any of their treasure”, he whispered. “You broke their rules …” His gaze wandered to the soldiers that had accompanied him. “Why?” They didn’t move at all.

Barnett jumped up and made the white coat go down with a bloody nose. The crystal fell to the ground, giving of a clear noise. Two rifles stopped him from mutilating that man.

“Lieutnant!” Bradley went next to him. “My men seem to have carried out the mission. Why are you attacking them?”

Barnett took a deep breath. “He brought us all into danger by stealing that! He almost had all of us killed! Because of your greed!”

“That is no simple gemstone”, the scientist answered, getting back to his feet and using his coat to wipe the blood from his nose. “That stone seems like a diamond in structure, but it is much more than that. I felt it as soon as I touched it!”

“How about you pick it up”, Bradley said, smiling.

Barnett growled under his breath. They couldn’t even see what they did wrong. He reached out for the crystal and picked it up, his fingertips tingling. It was as if he had a soft velvety cloth in hands and not the unyielding surface of a gem like this. Had he picked it up with the cloth? No, there was no cloth between his fingers and the stone.

“Now give it to me!”

Barnett gritted his teeth and hold the diamond out to Bradley. The other one reached out for it, took it in his own fingers … and suddenly there was lots of lightning, a shockwave threw everyone in the room onto the ground.

Lightning was jumping uncontrollably through the room, reactivating engines, the gate flickering, becoming active again. The crystal split into five parts that flew out of side like bullets being fired from a gun.

Two of them drilled their way through the ceiling, the other three disappeared through the gate. The surface started to flicker and disappeared a moment later, the room went silent and dark, the only light visible were the red emergency lights that came on a few minutes later.

Then he felt Bradleys hands around his collar, lifting him from the ground. “You! This is your fault! What have you done?” His face was contorted by rage. “You will regret this! You are relieved from duty immeadieately.” Bradley let go of him and stormed out of the room, even before Barnett had had a chance to answer.

He was sure that his superior had gone too far. He had put up with him for far too long. He would file a complaint with high command immediately! He had enough time to do so now, thanks to him.

He looked once again to the soldiers that had betrayed his orders, remembering their names and faces, before leaving the basement as well.

As he brought her the message, the woman started to shed tears, but managed to stare at him with hatred in her eyes. It was as if she made him the one responsible for the death of her husband. He had to admit, that part of his death was his fault. He shouldn’t have trusted his men to the extend he did.

He continued on, giving her the belongings of her husband, telling her that he was sorry and gave her the medal as well. They had honored him after his death, raising him a rank as well.

His wife tore the envelope from his hands and threw the door shut. A moment later he heard her crying through the wooden door. There was nothing more he could do here, so he turned and left the house behind, going back into his car. He breathed in, fighting down the cold showers over his back and the bad feeling he had, ever since Bradley left. He turned the key and drove along the way, all the time thinking what he would put into that complaint about his superior.

As fields and trees went past him, his thoughts started to wander, the complaint soon left behind. He started to wonder if he could have protected that soldier. Maybe if he had paid more attention to the soldiers that were tasked to accompany him.

In the end it all boiled down to Bradleys schemes. It wasn’t the first time he had toyed with him. The worst thing was that he hadn’t had many things he could file a complaint about. His chances of getting rid of Bradley were slim.

Maybe he should ask to be reassigned to another division. He had to move somewhere else then, but it was better than staying under Bradley.

The sun was on its way to vanish behind the horizon, as he entered the way to his home. The sky had taken on the color of a beautiful orange-red. It was his sister’s favorite color. It wasn’t a surprise to find her on the veranda, looking towards the horizon.

She turned to him as his car came close. He parked it next to the house and was greeted by her as soon as he got out of the car. He returned the hug as well, smiling once again for the first time in weeks.

“Welcome back.” Her voice had a beautiful melodic tone.

He looked at her as she managed to stop clinging to him. She had blossomed into a beautiful woman and was getting to old to welcome him like that. She was able to find and marry a husband now.

“I really missed you!” She smiled to him. “I just recently found something and I wanted to show it to you since I found it.” She pulled a small orange-red gem from under her clothing. “This was in our garden this morning. Isn’t it beautiful?”

Barnett looked at it, smiling as well, just before a memory and a realization hit him. That gem had been one of the parts of that crystal. A small part of him hoped that all of this was just a coincidence, but such jewelry wasn’t to be found in one’s garden by chance.

He put his hands around hers, making her take the gem into her own hands. “Please. You can’t show this gem to anyone”, he told her. It would probably be better to throw it away somewhere, but a part of him realized that he couldn’t make her do that.

“But why?” She looked at him, studying his features, as if it would tell her the answers. While he was still thinking of a reason he could give her, she answered to his plea. “If you insist, I shall keep it hidden.” He didn’t know what she had seen. Maybe it was his pain over what he had lost? Maybe it was his stern gaze? He was just thankful and nodded once.

“Let’s go inside, it’s getting cold.” The stone reappearing here was a bad omen, something supernatural haunting him. He would have liked if Luxana would have thrown it away or buried it somewhere, but he knew that she wouldn’t do that.

His sister shrugged with her shoulders. “I still think it’s warm”, she said but turned to go inside. “I’ll make us something to eat.”

Barnett undid the tie from his suit and opened the first two buttons, before following her inside.

“You got post, by the way”, Luxana called from the kitchen, “it’s lying on the living room table.”

Barnett put his jacket on a hanger and put it away. He took the envelope from the table. No return address. He opened it, took out the contents and read the mail, wondering about the second envelope inside that was addressed to his sister. He had a bad feeling as he started reading.

It took him only a few moments to read it all. “Forget the meal”, he told his sister, “pack your most important things, we’ll be out of town.” He hit the door frame with his fist.

“Why?” Luxana looked into the room, a big head of lettuce in her hands.

“I’ll explain on the way”, he grumbled, taking the second letter. He broke the seal and read it as well.

“Did something happen?” She put the lettuce on the table and tried looking over his shoulder. He let her read it as well.

“Conscription call”, the letter said. “Dear Miss Dias, the ongoing difficult military situation forces us to call in not only able bodied men, but women as well. Please report to the Grenhil Barracks on the morrow auf August the fourth to begin your military service. With best regards Major E. Bradley.” Attached to the letter were some more documents and forms, proving the validity of it.

Bradley only had a few hours to arrange this unless it had been his plan from the get go. He was too powerful in the military already, a simple complaint won’t work.

“W… what does that mean? I don’t want to go to the military”, Luxana whispered with a quavering voice.

He looked at her. If they stayed she hadn’t had much of a choice. If she didn’t comply, she would be caught by military police and killed. They couldn’t flee into another country as well, as they were at war with both countries that were next to Bucar. There had to be another way. He clenched his teeth.

“I won’t let that happen, I won’t let them take you!” His voice was firm. There was one possibility. It was the only one he had open and it was very, very dangerous. He just had to make sure that they didn’t arrive in the dragon’s realm. There had to be other places, where they could survive and maybe live in peace.

“What is your plan?”

“Just take your most important things”, he told her once again. She didn’t move, looking up to him, wanting to know more. “We will leave the country, this night.”

She stared at him for a moment, then turned and ran up the stairs. Barnett followed her, went into his own room and started packing things. A few cloths, some rations and a few minutes later his suit case landed in the cars back.

He changed out of his uniform, determined not to put it back on, ever. He was relieved from duty, but he knew some men as well and had some favors open. He needed to have them returned now, in order to flee and break down any bridges behind him.

Luxana came down fifteen minutes later, a small suitcase in her hand. She followed them to the car, put her case into the trunk as well and got on the front passenger’s seat.

The journey would take them straight to the barracks and area 23 right behind it. Luxana didn’t ask why. He knew that she trusted him. His sister seemed uneasy despite of that, maybe a part of her feared that he would give her to them.

They didn’t say a word while they traveled and it was deep within the night as they stood before the gates of the Barracks. A guard looked into the car, puzzled. “You are relieved from duty, Lieutnant Dias.”

“My sister has been called into active duty and asked me to show her around, before she starts service”, he replied and gave the letter to the guard. He took the paper and read it in the cars lights. Luxana looked at him questioningly, but stayed quiet.

The guard returned to him. “They want our women, too now?” He sighed and gave the letter back to him. “She is supposed to be here on August the fourth. You know the rules, she can’t go in prior to that.”

“Only three days prior”, Bradley frowned. “She got the letter today. This visit is to calm her, as I can’t be with her when she has to start her service. Please, do me the favor?”

The guard looked at him and sighed. “I suppose you have your reasons and since it is the middle of the night … three hours.”

Barnett nodded thankfully, “just before the next shift, got that.”

The guard nodded again. “We are even now”, he said and waved them through.

Barnett never intended to stay that long, but he also didn’t intent to leave through that gate. He didn’t like do this to that soldier, but the safety of his sister was more important to him.

He drove to one of the further most buildings and stopped. “Wait here”, he told her and went inside. He sneaked through the barely lit corridors to the armory, kicking the door. The old wood gave in quickly, the door opened inwards and smashed into the shelf. Barnett switched the lights on, took two pistols and several ammunition. Then he found some grenades. He took of his jacket and packed some of those up in it.

He was gone within the minute. If they were lucky, it would still take some time until the soldiers would react to the alarm. Hopefully it was enough time for them to flee.

He threw the jacket on the back seat, and drove off, tires screeching. It took about another minute until the alarms of the whole barracks were howling. They shouldn’t count on him going even deeper into the barracks now. Some of the soldiers would await him at the gates, a few would search for him, but not where he was going. They stopped in front of a seemingly small and unimportant building.

“Come with me”, he told her, got the jacket with the grenades and his suit case. She took hers and followed him into the building and down into the basement. He stopped on the second flight to load his weapon and release the safety on it. The Alarm wasn’t as loud in the basement, but there might be guards posted nonetheless.

On one of the flights he told her sister to wait once again and took a deep breath to calm his heart. Then he ran around the corner. The soldiers there were too slow to react. He shot and the first one clutched his breast. He turned around, looking into the barrel of a rifle. The soldier recognized him and hesitated, one moment to long. The bullet hit him in the head and he sank to the ground, lifeless. “I am sorry”, he whispered and closed the soldiers eyes. “Luxana!” He called his sister as he got back, picking up the jacket with the grenades once more. They ran the last few meters to the laboratory.

He could see Luxana go past the guards carefully, her hand to her mouth, tears in her eyes. Bradley would never get that pure soul!

No one was in the laboratory. The only sound was the faint humming of some machines still turned on, the sound of the alarm stayed outside of the heavy metal doors, as well as the sound of any approaching soldiers. He probably had only one chance to find a suitable target. He turned towards the switches and controls, turning the machines on that supplied the gate with power.

Lightning surged the air started to flimmer and then the faint surface of the gate appeared. He looked onto the man instruments. It seems that it was at half the maximum power. He hadn’t got any idea how he could change the amount of energy that was fed to the gate, but he hoped that the scientists had changed it after the last time.

He went through it and stood deep within snow. This wasn’t the realm of the dragons, it seemed to be te opposite. He went back and looked to the frightened Luxana. “Come. We will be safe on the other side.”

She looked back to the door, hesitating a moment, then she nodded and followed him through the gate into the waiting cold beyond. She knew as well as he, that this was their only option. He lead her far from the gate, unpaked the grenades and dug a hole next to one of the big monolithic stones. He threw the grenades in there after pulling the pin. He jumped aside and after a moment they exploded, taking the stones foundation away. The stone began to wobble, lightling stroke from the gate to the ground, the faint surface between them flickered and tore with a loud screech. The gateway was closed even before the stones hit the ground.

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Nice read. I leave an upvote for this article thumbsup