Chapter 9:

The Matter of Reparation - Part 1

The Heroes' Story After Saving the World

I have to address a very specific pet peeve, that I think not many can relate to. It’s at the end of Sonic Adventure, when the city lays in shambles and Tails exclaims: “All’s well, that ends well, right?”

Excuse me, what exactly ended well? The city? Well, I guess!

It’s this blatant disregard for collateral damage that I have been reminded of a lot lately.

Specifically, since a certain dragon had multiple buildings collapse with his magnificent roar.

Through the magic of actual magic no one died in this attack. But many were left injured and/or homeless. Some businesses had to start over completely. People lost their means of existence.

The city, of course, was not prepared for a catastrophe of this magnitude. Having emerged from an ongoing war just a decade prior, we found ourselves still in the middle of a rebuilding phase.

I had to walk through the rubble every day, just to get to work.

As I accidentally kicked away a pebble that was laying in my path I halted and sighed. I thought I was over my guilt complex, but I wasn’t sure when the last time was something went wrong to this scale.

I breathed in and I breathed out. I didn’t try to delude myself that this wasn’t my fault somehow, but I had to accept the present. Only then could I work on making things better.

And making things better shall be today’s job!

“He’s ... late,” I muttered to myself. I shouldn’t have been surprised by that, considering he had a couple of centuries to catch up on. But I was sure hoping he’d get over his childish sense of discovery soon enough, so that we could get rid of the mess he made.

So, because I haven’t gotten over my guilt complex quite yet, I decided to take on another job for the city, namely, the rebuilding of said city. Of course, I wasn’t going to sully my own hands doing the dirty work of a plebeian!


I am sorry, I seem to have gotten carried away by the prospect of becoming a famous author known for my extravagant word choice, which even rivals that of a thesaurus.

In any case, as I stood there pondering my own (literary) past, present and future ... he! finally arrived!

The magnificent dragon, asleep for a thousand years; it needed but a single yawn escaping his jaws to have towers topple, bridges break and a hero hurry to save his city.

His name reminiscent of the blood his enemies left on his scales: Crimson.

“Hey, wassuuuuup!”

“Where the heck did you learn to speak like that!?”

Crimson the dragon, having turned into his admittedly hunky human form landed before me, blowing up dust in the vicinity. Audible gasps (and some coughs) escaped from onlookers still trying to salvage anything from the rubble. I could only hope they didn’t immediately realize the resemblance between this brash human and the disastrous dragon.

“You ... look different from before,” I commented his appearance as he folded in his wings.

After arriving to the city, he briefly turned into his human form. While both were undeniably attractive, his old form was rather bland. Previously sporting unruly long, black hair, the same color as his scales in dragon form, his hair now has been cut down, turned crimson-red and styled upwards, reminiscent of flames. He also seemed to wear makeup now, his eyes being accentuated by some form of red eyeliner. His whole look seemed to scream red.

“Yeah, you know, after spending some time in the city, I met a few people and decided for a bit of a “glow up,” as they say,” he explained. “I think the colors suit my name.”

“That is without a doubt. Why are you bare-chested though?” I asked without missing a beat.

His outfit was...let’s call it unconventional. It would fit right into a certain district of the city, however. Indeed, his upper half was left completely naked, not that I minded in particular. He wore some low-rise black pants with straps lurking out from underneath and having a tight grip just above his hips.

On one hand I honestly wanted to cover him up, on the other hand I really did not mind the sight.

I hope Zenia never gets to read this.

“In any case, let’s make that a problem of future us. Glad you could come!”

“Of course! I realize I might have, err, gotten carried away a bit,” he said as he examined the destruction he caused.

“To put it mildly ...”

The way he looked at our surroundings at the moment was almost comical.

I sighed.

“I’m going to be real with you. The city really has no desire to pick up the pieces after you. However, someone needs to coordinate this whole clean-up campaign, which is why I am here.” I paused and turned towards one of the broken-down buildings near us. “Apart from getting rid of all the rubble, we need to remove the foundations of some of the buildings that have been damaged too badly. The owners have tried to salvage as much as they could, but there may have been some oversights, considering they can’t exactly just move an entire block of concrete on their own.”

“Why not?”

I just looked at Crimson, absolutely bewildered.

“I’m just kidding. I’m not that out of touch. You humans have always been weak.”

I hoped that his poor sense of humor would be all that was going to annoy me with him. Don’t need no butterfingers working on these buildings.

“Well then, I think we should just get started.”

“Alright!” He let out a motivated shout and upon jumping into the air turned into a gigantic black dragon.

“Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wait, what are you doing?!” His giant shadow engulfed the entire street, probably almost this whole district, in darkness.

“What, I just thought it would be easier to do the job this way,” he communicated telepathically.

“Get down here, in your human form, now!” I sounded like a mother reprimanding her child. Crimson followed suit and landed in front of me in his human form.

“Now, I know, it would go muuuuuch faster, if you just used your dragon form, but look around you.” I gestured towards the people, cowering in fear. “These people are traumatized because of you. You can’t just turn into a dragon again and expect everyone to just go about their day, like you didn’t just blow their homes to smithereens.”

Besides, having him painstakingly gather each and every pebble by hand may give him some time to reflect and learn from his mistakes. Not that I was going to say that out loud.

“Besides, you are too big for your own good. I wouldn’t be surprised if on the way to our city, you accidentally blew off a mountaintop with your tail.”

“That is true ...” he answered sheepishly after a small pause.

I sighed.

“Don’t worry, we’ll manage somehow, but for now you’ll need to get used to your human form. Think you can move that block of concrete over there?” I said.

Without hesitation he went over, and lifted it, as if he were just picking up a book.

“Be careful to not accidentally hit anyone with it,” I said, as I watched him lift the block above his head.

“What do you want me to do with it?” he asked, as he heaved the block up and down, like a dumbbell.

“Right, just outside of the city we have a recycling site for those bigger stones. There they crush the blocks using magic and mix the dust together with water, to produce new concrete.”

“Can’t I just do that here?”

This dragon keeps bewildering me.

“What do you mean? Can you crush stone with your ... muscles?”

To demonstrate, he knelt down, still lifting that concrete block with a single arm and picked up a stone the size of his palm. Without hesitation he threw it into his mouth and, in a single bite, crushed the stone to pieces.

He continued chewing on it for a bit, before swallowing the stony mush.

“Ah, sorry, should I have spat it out for recycling?”

“N-no its fine. You can ... eat the smaller ones I guess.”

What did I just witness.

“Ahh great, they taste much better now, than they used to before I went to sleep!”

This whole exchange was too much for me to really comment on what he said.

Dave Mania