Chapter 3:

Battle 2: Mini Dragon

Dragon Waker

Author’s note
Hey there! Author again! If you read the first battle, first, thank you very much! And second, obviously I need more practice with writing battles, so here’s another chapter in this same story. If the style feels completely different from the first battle, that’s because it is! This is practice for me, so I’m testing new styles and techniques. Again, I welcome opinions and critiques in the comments! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy!

Part 1
Nora ignores the gun toting soldiers assigned as her ‘escorts’. She grumbles to herself, “Stupid government. Stupid dragons. Forced civil servitude? Reparations for damage to the city? Stupid! It’s not my fault! I didn’t ask to be born a dragon waker! I didn’t destroy the city! I saved it! Take your complaints up with the stupid dragon! And what the heck! No one noticed a dragon under the city when they built it? Stupid!”

She ceases her grumbling when a big soldier approaches. The commander, she recalls. Nora glares at him. He indicates five minutes to drop. She wants to ignore him, but knows that won’t do any good, so she signals her understanding. He goes back to the other soldiers, leaving her alone.

“Stupid.” She mutters at him.

Nora stands and draws her weapons, a sword and a flintlock pistol. The government offered her a ‘better’ gun, but she adamantly refused. They almost insisted until she promised if she didn’t get her gun, she would sit in jail and watch the world burn, doing nothing to help. They relented.

The back of the military aircraft opens. Icy wind buffets Nora. She covers herself with ki, the best jacket in the world. The soldiers prepare to jump, smooth and efficient, well-trained. She also received some stupid training on how to jump from the plane. She ignores it. The commander's horrified eyes give her a moment of satisfaction as she sprints past him and leaps from the plane without a parachute.

Nora free falls toward the desert below. The rushing wind brings a pleasant feeling of freedom that blows away her anger. Finally rid of her babysitters, at least for now, she tears off the military vest and helmet they forced on her. She realizes her airplane stunt may get her in trouble later, but she decides to use the excuse that she had to get to the ground first because the soldiers would just be in her way. No time to dwell on it now. The ground is coming up fast. She makes no attempt to arrest her fall.

She crashes into the desert sand with enough force to send a mushroom cloud sky-high. With a swipe of her sword, the dust disperses. Nora rolls her shoulders and stretches her neck. The impact helped release the tension from her back. Despite how much she’d resisted bending to the government's orders, she feels quite glad to be out in the open air with the chance to relieve some of her pent-up aggression. Sword resting nonchalantly on her shoulder, she eyes the desert sand, scanning it for her opponent, which turns out to be unnecessary.

As she expected, and as they always do, the dragon comes to her, or more precisely is already at her feet. Her remaining expectations are thrown out the window as the two-foot tall cutie stares up at her. It resemblance something like a velociraptor, but with all the cuteness of a puppy. It trills at her and tilts its head sideways, eyeing her with curiosity.

Nora’s heart about bursts from the adorable gesture. She levels herself with the bite sized dragon, and gives the little thing a smile. She says, “Well aren’t you a cutie! Cutie! Cutie! Cutie! But not what I expected. You seen any other dragons around here? Maybe something about the size of a uh— missile silo? An acquaintance of mine borrowed a missile without asking, and I’m supposed to politely ask for it back.”

The mini dragon doesn’t answer. Instead, it tilts its head the other direction, squeaks at her, then lowers itself like a puppy ready to play. Nora grins affectionately.

“Can I keep you?” She asks while scritching the baby thing under its chin. It chirps playfully and trots in circles in the sand. Which is when something odd catches Nora’s attention. The little thing's tail is pocked into the sand and never leaves the sand even as it runs about.

Now it’s Nora’s turn to tilt her head in curiosity. She asks, “What’s up with your tail, little buddy? Why you got it stuck in the sand like that?”

The little creature stops rubbing its back in the sand and looks at her. It blinks slowly, then with a puff of dust disappears beneath the sand as if dragged under by its tail. Nora stares at the spot where it vanished. Her mind rushes through half a dozen scenarios in half a second. It burrowed underground? Got eaten? Fell in a hole? Was a hallucination? Was an illusion? Is a trap? In the next half a second, Nora leaps into the air just as the sand falls away beneath her, leaving behind a gaping maw filled with row upon row of teeth.

Nora clicks her tongue at her own foolishness. Of course, the stupid, adorable thing was a trap! This dragon was already awake, so she couldn’t instinctively sense it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t sense her.

The open maw beneath Nora undulates grotesquely. Her instincts kick on. An overcharged shot from her pistol propels her out of the way just as the maw bursts from the sand, attempting to snap her out of the air. Nora hits the sand and keeps going, bouncing across the desert and unable to correct herself. Her awkward kick off the sand as it fell away left her off balance.

She crashes into a dune, throwing up a cloud of sand. Her ki protects her from the impact, but she’s still left with buckets of sand in her mouth. She rights herself in an instant, extremely glad she remembered to protect her eyes and ears because in the next instant, the dragon is bearing down on her. She leaps out of the way as it barrels into the dune, throwing more sand in the air.

Nora lands a ways off and spits up as much sand as she can before jumping away from the pursuing dragon again. As it pursues her across the desert, she finally gets a good look at it. The thing is more like a massive toothy worm than a dragon, which she finds gross, but the worst part is the little velociraptor thing perched above the mouth like a passenger along for a Sunday ride.

As she runs, she exclaims, “Sicko! I take it back! You’re not cute!”

Nora turns about abruptly, skidding to a halt and throwing up a wave of sand behind her. Sword charged with ki, she narrows her eyes at the charging dragon worm. At the last moment, she steps to the side like a natural bullfighter, letting the dragon worm pass her by. Faster than the blink of an eye, she slashes twice. First, to decapitate the dragon worm. Second — for good measure and for offending her — to decapitate the disgusting velociraptor passenger.

To her surprise, the dragon worm doesn’t fall dead, but instead rears back and flails through the air, accompanied by an earsplittingly loud roar of pain. Even with ki protecting her, Nora instinctively covers her ears against the cry. The sound is so loud it makes the sand vibrate, causing Nora to start sinking. Before she knows it, the sand is up to her knees, but to her relief the sound stops before she can sink further.

The headless dragon worm retreats into the sand before Nora can cut it into smaller pieces. Now that her ki has touched it, she can track it even deep underground. She follows its path as it furls itself tighter and tighter, until abruptly, it vanishes.

Nora scowls at the sand. To the ground, she says, “Trying to hide the dragon from me, are you? Well, it won’t work. I’m just getting warmed up.”

Nora concentrates. Her field of awareness expands and the dragon worm comes back into sight, except it’s not a worm anymore, and she understands why it seemingly disappeared. It wasn’t too far away, as she thought. It was blocked by something so massive, she mistook it for part of the Earth.

Faster than something that large should be able to move, it tunnels for the surface. The whole desert shakes and Nora starts to sink again. She leaps into the air, as high as she can get, and watches with a bird's eye view as the desert splits in two.