"When you are watching the tail, don't forget the teeth." I snap at the rookie I have with me.

My sword rings in the mid day sun, and surprise, surprise when it only hits empty air. A tail whips around and I duck that and ready myself for the jaws that will try to take me out from the other direction.

I look over at what my partner was doing, surprised to see her hitting the smaller green male blow for blow. Now there is some talent I can work with. My last partner got a little cocky and well lets just say she won't fuss any more over her hair. Not that I gave her the hard one. I always give my partner the smaller males. I had to learn that the hard way.

I once had a partner, Jack I think was his name. And I know what you are thinking. He was also my lover. Well he wasn't. I have enough sense to stay away from that tradition, but that didn't stop him from trying to get me in his bed. Well anyway I gave him the red female because he had been nagging me. The damn guy had to miss his first swing, stumble and leave me with a very satisfied female and the male to take out. I still have his half burnt, acid eaten belt buckle that I retrieved from her belly when I was done.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the green starting to slow in the air. "Take it up." I scream. The violet female before me took the call as a battle call and decided to pull her neck back to a killing lunge. I ducked to the side before it could hit and clicked the button.

The metallic scales that normally covered my back for extra protection started to ripple and move. I ran directly for the sea cliff we were near knowing that it was exactly what I needed.

The large female figured out quickly what I was doing and sprang into the air. I knew she would meet me at the edge. I had just the perfect thing for that. I reached down the small gun I always had strapped to my thigh.

Now I have no idea how my partner got into the air and I really don't care at this moment. But I could see the flash of fire just over my shoulder. My main attention was the female who turned on her wing tip and fell below the edge of the cliff.

One, two, three, four steps and I was at the edge. I planted my left leg a little harder then my right and it flung me to the side. The violet female's jaw snapped where I should have been if I launched straight. I flipped to my side a little bit started at how close she got. I had expected a few more feet between us. The gun rang out and at this close I couldn't do anything but maximum destruction. The muzzle smoked and the bullet flew. I could see it's path and I'm sure so could she.

Time slowed as I watched the bullet hit dead centre of her pale white eye. The blood welled up and started to run down the surface before it even began to gush. Now I have never before been sick at the sight of blood, but I can safely say, that stain at the bottom of the cliff isn't from any known seabird.

When time decided to flow at its regular speed again. I had to flip myself back over before the wings from my back started to function. They snapped to full glide shortly after I did and the jolt awoke a burn in my shoulder.

I looked over to see a gash in my shoulder. The tail must have snapped back around when I wasn't watching it and was busy retching. I guess I should count myself lucky, but this is so going to ruin my reputation. Now how am I going to keep my name as the untouchable if I go and get my own blood on my shirt?

I turned myself around to see the female on the ground. She was going to be out of this for a while. I scanned the air until I saw a metallic flash. And that was my next target. I put a little more speed on as I saw the male gain height. I knew what he was going to do. And my rookie of a partner didn't have a clue. I guess that comes with time, and if I didn't get there soon that time would be very short indeed.

He was heading straight up with my partner just behind him. I knew this could be a death sentence but I needed to try. I drew out my gun again and fired. Sparks flew from the power pack on my partner's wing set and she started to fall. I knew that she would have just enough power to lock the wings into a glide and get back down safely. The point was she was going down to earth and I could take the male out while the female was out with that bleeding eye. He was still climbing up and up. He would need a lot more speed then his current height could give him. And for that I was grateful.

I could see my partner's face. Oh she was pissed, I'm not sure saving her was the best course of action now. If she could be that idiotic and not see that I was saving her sorry ass then she deserved to be down some dragon's gullet. The point was my ass is still in the air and he's going to turn and dive soon. I need to be where my partner would have been if she had gained too much height and circled back down to regain some clean fresh air.

Standard procedures are totally fucked up. The main office must think we are dealing with stupid animals. I've been in the field long enough to know that they are smart and most every dragon in the sky now knows our standard procedures. Fuck, when they get enough balls to shove me into a desk job or a teaching job I'm going to change those damn standard procedures. They are just getting our highly skilled butts killed.

So I fuck the standard procedures as I over-ride the wing system and push the damn thing beyond the maximum.

The left wing groaned and I make a mental note to oil the damn thing when I get back home. I got into position just as the male turned to dive. He beat those leathery wings to gain speed, his mouth open wide to swallow me as he passed, his claws ready to strike at me if I managed to dodge the open mouth. I've seen this used before so I know what to expect.

Now if you have ever seen a hawk dive down on a sparrow you might have an idea as to what we look like now. I'm circling around and he is diving down at me. My wings are at a full laboured beat and his held close to his body to reduce drag.

I watched him come while making sure I don't let him know I am looking. I knew that he would need to get a lot closer for me to make this work. But if he got too close I was as good as ribbons.

I could hear from below my partner scream at me that he was coming and the dragon cutting through the air, but I ignored them both. None of it mattered. Only my life mattered now. He came closer by the second. And if you wouldn't know time was making up for the slow down earlier by speeding up now. Damn shitty time.

When he was too close for comfort I could hear my partner shooting of rounds. Damn bitch was going to hit me. Bu I knew it was time. I folded the wings back until they where almost back to the folded storage position. My weight grabbed me and let me drop like a lead stone. But the dragon was quicker. He came up behind me quickly ready to grab me from my free fall. His mouth opened farther and I snapped those wings back out. The force of the wind hitting the metal flung me to the side just enough that I could avoid those snapping jaws, but not enough to avoid his large head.

I slammed into his forehead with enough force to knock the wind out of my lungs. But recovered quickly enough to grab onto one of his horns as I tumbled past. His head bucked and shook under me and I clung to him. I feared that at this speed he would hit the ground without seeing it trying to get me off, but he did see it. His wings opened to cup the wind to slow his fall. But not soon enough, his massive body slammed into the unforgiving rocky ground.

I don't think I've ever had a dragon hit the ground that hard. He must just be only a few centuries old. Not at all used to flying combat. I flew over his head and well away from him. Finally coming to a rest at the base of a tree. I so felt like I was just hit by a truck. And I could see the scales of my metallic wings scattered all over the ground. I am so going to get in shit for ruining two pairs of wings now.

I located my sword, which had fallen long ago and walked over the male on the ground. He was still breathing, which is just my luck. The damn thing falls out of the sky and it doesn't even break its neck. That was what I was going to fix next. I walked around beside his head and looked for the soft spot. That spot that every good dragon slayer knows about, the baby soft skin right behind the bonny horns.

My sword came up and down like that of an executioners axe. It bit into that skin and right through. And his head came off cleanly. Very little blood and fuss. But enough to cover me well.

I was just about to wipe the grime off of me when I remembered the female. And it was a good thing too, because she was looking down at me. My sword flew up and over my head as she lunged down. The loss of her eye gave her bad aim and she missed me by enough that I could twist away without getting a scratch.

Her head twisted around. And she hissed out at me. I could hear the words behind it. "An eye for an eye, a head for a head, a mate for a mate."

Now I was really screwed. Last time I heard those words I spend a year running from the dragon until I killed him.

My partner was running toward me and I gave her the signal to go to ground. She stopped dead in her tracks and bundled herself small before she opened the emergency tent. She knew she had to keep the door open until I got there but close it soon after. But I wasn't taking any chances because she was pissed at me to begin with. My luck she would close the thing and tell them I didn't make it despite her best efforts. I rolled and jumped as the tail whipped around at me and took off as soon as my feet hit the ground again. Before I knew it I was plastered to the far wall of the emergency tent. And I could hear the seal being closed.

"What the fuck was that!" She screamed at me. "You fucking shot out the power on my wings!"

"Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. I just saved your life!" She still didn't see that. The tent shook a little and my partner moved away from the sides. "Relax this thing won't let the fire or the claws in to get you."

"I know that, it's just how do we know what is going on out there?"

"You don't. Now hand me those moist towelettes and turn your back."

It took me much longer to clean myself then normal because of the confined space, but when it was done I was more then grateful. I was just putting my shirt back on when my partner turned to look at me.

"When did you get that scar?" She asked.

Now that was a weird question. I didn't have any scars. Oh crap, yes I do, for now anyway. I finished pulling my shirt over my head and looked her in the eye. "That is none of your business." Shit I can be cold sometimes.

"I mean I've seen your records and it says in there that you don't have a scratch or a scar on you."

"And why have you been looking at my records?" This is going to be hard to explain. I just hope I won't have to.

"They made me read them. They want to know what you are hiding."

Shit, shit, and double shit!

"And why would they think I am hiding something?"

"That's what they can't figure out. When you report you leave nothing out. You are too open, and they think you are hiding something."

Now that is very odd. I never knew you could be a spy by being too honest.

"I'm not hiding anything, so you can leave off." I twisted myself past my partner to the door to find out what was happening outside. I cracked it open a little only too see blue sky and blue water. The wind rushed in through the opening before I could close it. "Shit."


"She has picked us up and she is taking us somewhere."



"I know I'm going to die. So I'm telling you my real name." She looked down at her hands. "And my name is Jen."

"Well, Jen, I've never let a partner die if I could help it. So don't worry. I know it's your choice to tell me your name. But you didn't have to. And you already know that I won't tell you mine."

"I know. They have told me that I should only tell my name to my lover. But I know as long as you are my partner I won't ever have a lover." I could see a tear down her face. "I also want you to know that even if I wanted a lover I couldn't take one. I think that is why they sent me out with you." My hand drifter up to wipe the tears from her cheek, my heart breaking at the sight. Oh the joys of being a cold-hearted bitch with too many feelings.

"Take a nap, I'll wake you when we need to move."


"Jen," I poked her in the shoulder to make sure she heard me. "Are you still sleeping?" Ever have one of those 'no shit Sherlock' moments? - Yep, one of those. "The female has put us back on solid ground. Do you want me to check where we are or do you want to see?" Oh crap there's that moment thing again. Why did I even have to ask that? She was scared shitless when the tent moved. Why would she want to go outside for a look?

"I would love to, but I need to clean my blade. I didn't have time last night." Why must they always give that reason? Is it one of the damn stupid procedures too?

"All ready done." I smiled sweetly, or at least I think it was sweetly. It could have been evilly. "I couldn't sleep so I cleaned your sword as well as mine. It's also been sharpened, oiled and returned to its sheath." There try to wiggle out of that!

"What is for breakfast?" Damn she is good!

"Most likely cold dried emergency field rations."

"Yummy." Ouch sarcasm, and very heavy too. She reached over for the bag in the corner and started to sift through it. "If you get me a large flat stone and a small round one while you are out, I could make something edible out of this stuff." Have I told you yet how good she is?

"Well if that's all you need I guess I could bring it to you." I unsheathed my blade and slowly slid the door open. There wasn't a large fanged mouth in front of me so I guess I was safe enough for now. Climbing out I looked around at my surroundings.

The area was kind of bare. The trees were a fair distance away bordering three sides. On the fourth was a large body of water. I could see what appeared to be the husks of burnt out emergency tents. That didn't sit well in my stomach. Some of the tents looked to be of the older models, but the majority of them where the same model of the one my partner was now huddled in.

Because of its size I didn't see it for a while but there was a young dragon looking at me. The poor thing was probably only a few months old. It still had its egg horn sitting on the tip of its nose. I chose to ignore it. I knew it couldn't hurt me. All it could do was call for it's mother and I had to find out where we were.

I slowly made my way down to the water. There I would find the rocks that I had to bring back as well as have enough of a view of the area that I could tell where we could possibly be.

And sure enough with little effort at all I found the rocks. And from what I could tell of the surroundings we were in the upper draconic states. Probably just below the war zone. Which was a little surprising, because I didn't know that dragons raised their young so close to the front lines. But then again from the condition of this 'nest' it has probably been used for generations. And this female just didn't want to abandon it even for the war.

I turned around to come face to face with that baby dragon. It chirped at me a few times before I slowly made my way around it. And started to walk away. I had only made it a few feet before the thing let out a loud long cry of anguish. One that would surely bring its mother back like she had fire up her ass.

I picked up my pace and got into the tent and closed it up tight.

"What was that noise?"

"Nothing." Now I couldn't have her freaking out that I may have brought not only the vengeance pledge down on my head, but also the wrath of an angry mother. "Here are the rocks you wanted."

"Oh good. So where are we?" she started to open packets and lay them on the flat stone.

"We are somewhere just south of where we were last. I can't tell just how far, but we are now totally in hostile lands. If I remember right there are towns under dragon control all along this coast. When I think we are in the clear we are going to make a break for the tree cover and try to find one of these towns."

"Sounds good to me."

I sat there watching her take the blah rations and make them into something resembling food. I made a pact with myself as soon as we found a town I was going to get us real food. Maybe a steak or some ribs. Ribs sounded so good that I didn't even notice she had handed me my share of the food until I took a bite.

"What the fuck is this?" I managed to croak out.

"Its goulash. My mother used to always make it. Normally you take a whole bunch of good food and put it together, but when you only have crap tasting field rations to work with it doesn't work right. But it's better then having them the way they were packaged."

I had to agree with her there. I mean at least I wasn't puking my guts out trying to put it down.


It was three maybe four days after that when we could make our break. We packed up our tent and supplies under the watchful gaze of the young dragon and made a quick get away to the tree line.

My partner blanched when she saw the old tents and even more when she saw the young dragon. I reminded her of her training and she was quick to follow orders. Although I saw her glance over she shoulder at it far to often.

"Shouldn't we have killed it?" She asked as I hacked at the underbrush we were walking through.


"It will grow up and try to kill us later."

"And if we killed it, it will bring its mother who is already royally pissed with us down like an angry god." I took a breath and turned to look at her. "She already is going to chase us to the ends of the earth for the death of her mate. We don't need to have her come after us for the death of her child too. She might have even brought in her brothers and sisters to help if we killed her child. One angry dragon is enough, I don't need a few hundred."

Hours crawled by as we made our way through the bush, but it didn't take us long to find a road. It was gravelled, but still well used. We picked up the pace and set off to the north. To our good fortunes today we weren't that far out of town. It was a small dirty place, only large enough to hold a few buildings. There was rubble around to indicate that it was once larger and possibly more populated. It didn't take us long to navigate through town to find the gas station, which it seemed also play host to the local bar, restaurant and hotel.

Now when we walked through the doors it seemed as if we had stepped in a centuries old movie, one of those westerns. We carried our weapons in plain sight and the locals tried to shun us because we were outlaws in this part. I could almost hear the clang of my spurs as we walked up to the upper eating area. But that was where the similarities ended.

One of the more gruff looking residents made his was up to our table. "What brings you lovely ladies to our town?" Oh my lord, was he missing teeth?

"We are just passing though." I tried to reassure him with a smile.

"I drive the mail between this town and the next. Could I give you fair ladies a ride?" If he thinks I'm gonna trade favours with him he's got his head so far up his ass he can only hear shit. But he does have a point; riding in a car would shorten our trip.

"Good sir would you like to join us for something to eat?" Oh my sanity, how long must you suffer?

He turned to I'm guessing wink at his friends before he sat down. "My I ask your names?" No you may not you over stuffed piece of dog shit!

"My name is Sarah and my traveling companion who may or may not say something is Cindy." Eat that fucker.

"Pleased to meet you." 'Cindy' supplied in a quiet tone.

"My name is Frank." You have to be kidding me. Like frankfurter, as in a wiener, as in a dick. Crap to live with a name like that!

A skinny man came up to us as we sat talking about the region. Oh how I do not trust skinny innkeepers. But as I was hungry for real food I let it slide. I ordered the ribs I had been so dieing for, Sarah ordered some lamb and our Frank took a burger. How very high class of him to order something that was so very unhealthy for him.

The place didn't have any wine to speak of, so I had to resign myself to a pint of the local ale. Or what I assumed was ale because it tasted so much of piss that I wasn't so sure.

We sat for hours trying to get our brute of a gentleman drunk. Which wasn't too hard as he was already into the local drink before we had arrived.

I gently liberated the keys to his vehicle from him before begging to talk to Cindy alone for a second.

We quickly made for the back door leaving our drunken donor and check behind. And headed for the parking lot.

"I think it may take a while to remove the stench of that place from my nose." Jen supplied to me.

"Don't worry about it. There are worse places to be. Now help me find his car." Which wasn't true because once we found it, it was a truck, a very large one with very large wheels. Our good luck had struck again. This truck looked like it could handle any type of terrain that we could possibly want to drive through.

I tossed the keys to my partner. "You drive. I've never really learned how to drive one of these monsters."

"In all that you can do you can't drive. Now that slightly surprises me." She shook her head at me.

"Never wanted to learn." I tried to hold my anger down at the comment.

"Where are we headed?"

"Just go north, there should be a bay north of here with an underwater military base in it. We should be able to get some supplies from them to make it back to headquarters."


"Can't this thing go any faster?"

"Not without bouncing us into a tree."

"These things bounce?"

"Sometimes I forget how much you don't know about cars." Maybe because I had never thought I would need to use one. "If you hit the holes in the road fast enough you can bounce it right off the road."

Now that was news. I can hear it now; dragon slayer and her partner escape only to bounce car off road. Thousands would gasp in shock at our stupidity.

Gosh just my day. First I have to put up with the most stupid hic in the world, then a car that won't go fast because it bounces.

For a while I amused myself by reading the mail from the back. Not bad reading if you ask me. There was a letter from a young woman to ask he young man why they had been dating for seven years and they haven't gotten married yet. Nearly coked on that one. It's clear he's already married and just using her on the side.

After that got boring I counted trees. 564 birch, 73 firs, 459 maples, 360 pines, 643 oak and 7493 trees I can't name. Gosh I really must be bored. And this trip is getting to me, because I must be going nuts. Nuts, things trees grow to reproduce.

Reproduction – sex – guys - that asshole at the gas station, if I could only go back there and take his head off. It's his fault I'm stuck here in this hell on wheels, all his fault.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rock that looked a little like him and almost called for a stop so I could stretch my legs and destroy that thing. Almost. I still had my pride intact because my partner couldn't hear my thoughts. And a good thing too, because she would have put that in the report she is making of me.

More and more rocks seemed to spring from the ground. So my tree counting stopped and I started making shapes with the rocks.

Saw my boss three times, my father once, and a few other people I know. Mostly I just saw rocks, and moss covered rocks. Ya so shoot me I don't have that much of an imagination. I'm just so damn bored I have to do something.

The car stopped suddenly and threw me into the dashboard. "Fuck, why did you have to stop like that?"

"End of the road."

Sure enough if I would have looked in front of us I would have seen we where very close to the edge of a cliff. There goes my all seeing eye. She's going to go back and tell everybody I didn't see the cliff right in front of me. Oh well if I must ruin me reputation to get home so be it. I can always get everything back the way I got it the first time.

We both got out of the truck and walked in front of it to see if there was a way down. There wasn't really a way down, but there was some type of ledge just below where we stood.

I was just about to suggest we tie off some rope to the truck and use it to climb down when a loud bang rang through the air. Both my partner and I jumped for the ledge and ducked. I turned around just in time to see the truck falling down into the water below.

"Well there goes that idea." Not that I had told her what I was thinking. Slowly I stood up to see what could have thrown the truck over the edge.

Surprise, surprise, when I once again came face to face with the young dragon. "Go home," I commanded it. "Your mother will be worried. Go home."

Now if a dragon could look ashamed I'm sure this one would have looked it. It just of turned a started to walk away.

When it was a few hundred feet away it looked back.

"Go." It came out harsher then I thought it would have. But it had the effect I wanted. The thing ran away as fast as those legs could carry it.

"Why did it follow us?" Now that's a brilliant question. 10 points to you for asking it!

"Most likely because it thought we were there are play things for it. And well maybe we were but in the end we would have been diner. Now get up here and tie off a rope so we can climb down to the beach." Yep, there is that beloved bitch I lost somewhere back at the first birch tree.

Now of all the nasty things I said about my partner one thing I can't say is she is completely stupid. She took the broken parts of our wing systems and fit them together so that we could repel down the cliff instead of climb, much faster and a lot more fun. In no time we were sliding down the cliff and had our feet wedged into the sand. I could see the remains of the letters from the truck washing up on shore. I hope there wasn't anything too important in there, because they aren't getting it now.

I took out my sword and let it run in the sand. Never did get that writing in the sand shit they talk about. Hell I've never played in the shit, too dirty for my liking.

"What are you doing?" Ok, I take that back. She is a complete moron. And I don't feel like I need to answer that.

The tip dragged in the wet sand with a hissing sound. It was almost hypnotizing. Well until it caught on something that gave a small clang like hitting a large hollow metal can. Which in a way it was.

I used my foot to clean the sand from it and revealed a large metal door. Bending down I pried it open and leapt in, my partner hot on my heels.

Before my eyes could adjust I could hear a dozen or more clicks of loaded guns. More then likely pointed straight at us.

"Dragon Slayer 6-9-4-3-alpha-5-3. Where is your commanding officer?"

"Stand down." A voice from the dark ordered. "What brings you here Dragon Slayer?"

"Looking for a resupply on our way back to Head Quarters."

The lights around us flickered on and I could finally see what was around me. There must have been thirty of so people standing at ready with guns in their hands. I could only shiver at the thought of what would have happened if they didn't know the codes.

A tall man with dark hair approached us. "Colonel James Alics at your service Dragon Slayer." He motioned over his shoulder at a blond man standing at his shoulder. "And this is my second in command Major Timothy Baraz."

My partner held out her hand to shake theirs. "Pleased to meet you. You may call me Sophia for my stay."

"And you my lady what should we call you?" Major Baraz was going to be a pain in my backside. I can see it as plain as day.

"You can call me nothing but my title sir."

"Very well Dragon Slayer. Please come this way and we will find you some quarters while we gather what you will need." He held his arm out to my partner whom took it with glee and started to walk down the hall.

What a jackass. He didn't even give me the respect that one of my rank deserves. He should have known by now that I am her commanding officer and that I should have been offered his arm before her.

He even took her to her room before he did mine. Not that I liked hers. No view at all. It was facing the blue of the ocean. Just windows of blue and the long stretch or rippling sand.

When we came upon my room he made me open my own door. And followed me in.

The room was smaller then the last but the view was wonderful. It showed the reef with all its colour and life.

"Is your room to your liking Skylark?"

I twisted around quickly and looked at him. "What did you call me?" I hissed at him.

"I asked if your room was to your liking Dragon Slayer."

"I didn't ask what you said. I asked what you called me."

His foot came up to close the door and he leaned against it to lock it.

"I know what you are."

"And so does the whole base. I am a Dragon Slayer."

"Not what you do. I know what you are."

"Where have you heard that name? Not many have heard it outside the ranks of Dragon Slayers." Maybe changing the subject would get his mind off whatever he was thinking.

"I have heard it cursed on the wind and on the rays of the sun."

"And you think this person is me?

"Yes I do."

"Then you have been on the front lines to long soldier. That person is long dead. It is said one of that name died to a large gold dragon centuries ago." I turned to look out the window. "You may go now I have nothing else to speak to you about."

The silence was deafening I could hear nothing. Not the breath of my lungs, or the beat of my own heart. I could not tell if he had left like I had told him to. I just stared at the fish as they frolicked near my window.

I nearly jumped out of my skin as a set of strong arms wrapped around me. I could feel his breath on my ear before he spoke in quiet words. "Young one you know very little. Your father bids you come home and stop this foolishness. He has promised your hand to the one who could find you."

"And you think my father wouldn't take your head just for touching me?"

The arms loosened their hold and finally fell away. "Pardon Princess, I meant no offence."

I turned and punched the guy in the face. He fell forward. "You can tell my father anything you please. But I'm not going back." Picking him up by the back of his shirt I threw him out of my room.

"The nerve of that asshole," I began to rant to those fish that lingered by my window. "First he doesn't even treat my like he should then he tells me things I've known for a while. Does he not know I can still get mail? That and you think my father would have given up and let one of my younger sisters take my mothers place. I mean being queen is not what I want. Not at all when all those people I'm to govern are dieing day in and day out because of this damn war."

I'm not sure how long the rant went on. But I did notice my captive audience had left hours ago when the sun went down. I ignored the gentle tap at my door and the invitation to join the colonel for diner that was issued through it. I even ignored when the lights suddenly went out. But what I could not ignore was the loud crash.

I had my sword in hand and was running down the hall in the dark soon after. I ran into a soldier that was sent to fetch me.

"Come quick Dragon Slayer, There is a dragon at the entrance that you used today. It has killed our advanced party already."

I didn't waste my breath cursing, though how I wished I could, I just set my legs in motion and ran down the hall. My partner was already slashing at the thing to make it back up.

"Lights!" I called down the hall behind me. Seconds later the lights turned back on and the dragon drew its head out of the hall to avoid the light that flared in its eyes.

The forest around the opening was on fire and I could see the dragon clearly outlined in the flames. I could also make out a small figure at its feet. The figure took a step forward toward the opening. Slow and steady it came forward. Not a sound it made until it was standing just outside.

With the glare of the fire behind it the form seemed all at once terrifying and calming.

"My daughter…"

"Shoot him!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

"…I have come to take you home."

Shoots rang out but I couldn't see any of them hit their mark. I growled and sprang forward.

Unfortunately I didn't make it far before a familiar pair of arms took hold of me again.

"Let go of me Major."

"I can't do that Princess."

"You may let go Major. I can handle my own daughter."

"Yes your Majesty." He pulled back and bowed.

"Skylark, I do enjoy looking at the fire in your eyes once again. Shall we dance?" Damn him for nearly giving away all that I hold dear.

I lunged at him and he jumped away from my sword tip.

"No words for your father, daughter?"

"None that I haven't already said at our parting."

"Still angry that I killed your beloved?"

I swung at him with al the force I could muster. "He was the one I would love to the end of my days. Could you have not just been happy for me?"

"I could not have you ruin all that I have made of our family. To ruin our family name just because you fell in love with a human."

I dropped my sword to the ground and lunged at him with my bare hands. Anger clouded my vision of everything but him.

"Come now daughter, set aside your weaknesses and fight me the way I know you can."

"So be it." I stood tall before my father, my hands raised to my side. "Hear me now," I said in a clean crisp voice. "My name is Skylark, I am of royal blood. Those who stand before me in anger shall feel the sting of fire. And I do swear that those who have harmed me or those I love will perish with a thousand deaths."

I let my head dip forward and my hands to rest on the earth in front of me. A ripping sound like none other was heard as white wings sprang forth from my back. Black claws dug into the ground below me. And a tail of silvery blue wrapped around behind me.

My head rose from its place and the deep blue of my eyes looked upon the scared faces of those who stood behind me. They had all seen a protector turn into the enemy. I closed my eyes to their horror and turned to look at my father.

He had seamlessly dropped his human form as well and become the King of Dragons. His aqua marine scales reflected the pure light of the fire back at those who watched. No one alive in the human world has ever seen his dragon form and should count him or herself lucky. They should count themselves even luckier if they get away to tell the tale.

I bellowed my challenge and sprang into the air. I don't wait long to turn and come back down at him. He had just opened his wings to spring into the air when I grabbed them in my claws and tore them to shreds.

The dragon behind him bellowed in fright but didn't move.

I gained some height and came back down at my father and broke his neck.

It was over to quickly, much too quickly.

I landed on the beach and turned to the dragon waiting there.

"He knew he couldn't make you come back. So he made you take his place. Command us My Queen."

I let myself drift back into human form and walked over to where my partner stood. I fell to my knees at her feet.

"You now know what I have been hiding." I took a deep breath. Shit this was hard. I wonder how my father could have done the same. "You know I am a dragon. I am the hunted as well as the hunter.

"My head is yours Jen. But I ask one thing of you. Tell them I died fighting a large blue dragon, one that you killed after my fall. If they know who I really am they will undo everything I have done to help."

"Skylark, partner, is it true you loved a human?" Crap she just couldn't leave things alone.

Tears flowed down my cheeks, tears that I had long since thought dried up.

"It is true."

"Did he love you in return?"

"He did." I held myself tight so as to not fall apart when I needed to be strong.

"Tell me about him."

"His name was Blake Kajka. He had hair as red as fire and eyes the colour of ice. He was just slightly taller then me. And it was a running joke that I would grow to be taller then he one day.

"I met him one day while I flew hunting. I had picked him up to take back to my cave and eat. But wouldn't you have it. He had as much spunk as fire too." I made a lame attempt to laugh through my tears. "I told him if he could keep me laughing I would let him live. And he did. I had never had as much fun as when he was with me. We began to trust each other more as the seasons passed. And soon I realized that I loved him.

"I flew out to hunt one day to feed him and myself. When I came back I found one of my father's scales and blood, his blood, all over my cave. My father had also left his burned head in the centre of my cave.

"I flew long and far that day, and for many days after that. I flew until I could fly no more. I came to a small village and took a human form. I stayed there helping people who asked it of me.

"Right around that time my father thought I had been kidnapped so he declared war. A war we still fight. I joined to fight with the humans I had grown fond of. I started the very first group of fighter trained to bring down dragons. They …"

"The Kajka Squad. I've heard the histories."

"I named them after him. And I made sure they knew whom Kajka was and who had killed him.

"I've 'died' so many times to keep my secret that I have lost track. But time moves slow for me." I began to shake as another group of tears assaulted me.

"Six thousand years is a long time to live with your pain." Did she have to point out how long I've been hurting? "Rise gentle Queen of the Dragons. I will not kill you this day. You and you alone have the power to end this endless war."