Carpathia III: Episode 96: The Boy and the Dragon

Yseri, Forest

Kaoru dropped to his knees next to Jaze and his hands hovered nervously over Jaze's torso. Not sure if Jaze was alive or dead, he was afraid to touch him for fear of making his condition worse. Panicking, he looked for any sign of life.

Kaoru: Jaze! Jaze!

Fortunately, before Kaoru could do anything damaging, Artemis kneeled next to him and put his hands over Jaze.

Artemis: Stand back, Kaoru. Let me take this.

Artemis's hands glowed green as soon as he laid his hands on Jaze. Kaoru scooted backward and he, along with everyone else, watched Artemis do his work. Kagurain, however, struggled to get closer, but Adell held him back.

Artemis: He's still alive. This might take a little time.

Kagurain continued to struggle, but was no match for Adell.

Kagurain: Jaze! What is he doing? Jaze!

Confident that Artemis had the situation in hand, Adell turned and put his hands on Kagurain's shoulders. Kagurain began to calm slightly as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Adell: Jaze will be fine. Artemis will take care of him.

Kaoru also turned his attention to the mysterious boy with the spear. He kneeled on the ground and spoke to Kagurain in a soft, fatherly voice.

Kaoru: I'm Kaoru and this is Adell. What's your name?

Kagurain sniffed and glanced at Artemis and Jaze.

Kagurain: Kagurain Rahotep Leonar.

Kagurain's voice lacked its usual bravado and his ears sank on the sides of his head. Kaoru and Adell quickly glanced at each other knowingly, but said nothing of what they knew of Kagurain's origins. They had larger issues to deal with.

Kaoru: It's nice to meet you Kagurain. Jaze is our friend too and we've been looking for him for a long time. We're all very glad you found him.

Kagurain rubbed his eyes.

Kagurain: Jaze is my friend too.

Kaoru: You're a good friend. You were right to come and find help...

Kaoru's voice trailed off as he looked over his shoulder at the dead razor bear. Quilyon was kneeling next to it, poking the beast with her fingers.

Kaoru: I was just going to say that nobody could take on a razor bear without a powerful gun, but what happened here?

Kagurain: I don't know. It was alive when Jaze told me to get help. He said he was going to climb a tree.

Quilyon lifted the bear's head and twisted it from side to side. Finally, she dropped it and stood and wiped her hands on her pants, scrunching up her brow in confusion.

Quilyon: Its neck is broken.

Now Kaoru was also surprised, though Adell didn't understand the significance of the statement.

Kaoru: You're serious?

Adell: Why? What does that mean?

Quilyon bent down again and began carefully checking the creature's mouth while Kaoru scratched behind his ear as he tried to think of a way to explain the nature of razor bears.

Kaoru: To put it simply, razor bears have very tough skin and skeletons. Attacking one without a powerful rifle would be like attacking a tank with a toothpick.

Adell's eyes widened as he looked down at the razor bear again in awe. At the same time, Artemis approached the two of them from behind.

Artemis: Jaze will be fine, though he's still unconscious. He'll need plenty of food when he wakes up. He lost a lot of blood.

Both Kaoru and Adell turned towards Jaze and saw Kagurain squatting next to him as though he were a nervous animal protecting her young.

Artemis: The boy seems very attached to him, doesn't he?

Adell: He seems a little off to me. It's like he's a bit feral or something.

Just then, they were interrupted by a familiar voice.

Ryuu: Is somebody there?

Adell, Kaoru, and Artemis all whipped their heads around at the same time, all looking past Quilyon and the razor bear in the direction of the voice. On the ground, staggering from side to side as though drunk, was Ryuu. He was trying his best to approach, but couldn't seem to walk in a straight line and everyone could clearly see the bloody, matted fur on his head and back. Ryuu flopped on his side several times, wings flailing as he tried to keep himself upright.

Kaoru: Ryuu!

The others ran ahead as Ryuu stopped, swaying like a boat on the sea.

Ryuu: What's that? Who's there?

Kaoru got to Ryuu first and he kneeled on the ground. As soon as Kaoru's hand grazed Ryuu's fur, he jumped backward, nearly falling over, and hissed.

Ryuu: Stay back!

Adell and Artemis kneeled as well and all three wondered how best to approach Ryuu. Adell waved his hand in front of Ryuu's eyes, but they did not seem to follow. Instead, Ryuu sniffed carefully at the air.

Kaoru: Let me try.

Kaoru held his hand out in front of Ryuu's nose and kept it steady. Hesitantly, Ryuu leaned forward and spent several moments sniffing it.

Ryuu: K... Kaoru?

Kaoru took this as a sign to move closer and he reached out further, slowly, and scratched Ryuu's chin. Ryuu lowered his head and cradled his head in Kaoru's hand.

Kaoru: That's right, Ryuu.

Adell: Artemis, are you up for another?

Artemis scooted close enough to Ryuu so that he could put his hands on him.

Artemis: I'll try. I hope this works on a dragon.

Carefully, Artemis held his hands out and gently lowered them onto Ryuu's back. Just before he made contact, his hands, just like with Jaze, emitted a green light. When Artemis finally touched, Ryuu suddenly stiffened like a statue, his wings and tail stretching out as long as straight as they could go.

Artemis: My god, you have a dense genetic structure.

Slowly, Ryuu began to relax, his wings and tail sinking to the ground. Eventually, Ryuu's back began to arch, as though he were a cat angling for a scratch.

Satisfied that Ryuu was in good hands, Kaoru and Adell turned their attention back to Quilyon and the dead razor bear.

Kaoru: Artemis said that Jaze was going to need to eat. Good thing we have plenty of food now.

Quilyon pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and continuously wiped her hands with it.

Quilyon: I'm afraid not. This razor bear had the madness disease. It's not safe to eat.

Adell: That's too bad. Does that explain the broken neck?

Quilyon: Not really. I suppose it could have fallen or something, but that would have taken a miracle.

Kaoru sighed heavily.

Kaoru: So much for extra food, then. At least Jaze and Ryuu are going to be okay. That's what matters.

As if on cue, Ryuu landed between Kaoru and Quilyon.

Ryuu: Hi guys!

Adell: Glad you're okay, Ryuu. You had us worried for a minute.

Ryuu shook like a wet dog, though none of the matted blood in his fur came loose.

Ryuu: Sorry about that. I took a bump on the head and I couldn't see anything and all the sounds around me were muffled.

Quilyon: I guess this is the dragon friend you told me about, Kaoru?

Before Kaoru had a chance to answer, Ryuu extended his paw to Quilyon.

Ryuu: I'm Ryuu!

Amused, Quilyon smiled and took Ryuu's paw, shaking gently.

Quilyon: I'm Quilyon. Good to meet you.

Ryuu sat and swished his tail around his front legs.

Ryuu: Artemis told me that Jaze is going to be okay.

Adell looked around, just now noticing that Artemis did not come to them with Ryuu.

Adell: Yeah, where is Artemis anyway?

Just then, they heard a tiny, weak voice coming from behind.

Artemis: Guys?

Kaoru and Adell turned around and Quilyon leaned to the side to see past them. Artemis was still kneeling on the ground where he had healed Ryuu and his eyelids were fluttering sleepily.

Artemis: I think I'm going to take a little nap.

Right away, Artemis flopped to his side and began snoring.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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