It was a stuffy ball. I had been to stuffy balls before, with the men in fancy coats and guy-tights, but this was different. This was my seventh ball. The time I had to find a husband.
It was a well known tradition that a Royal of Nymsa must be married by the time they were twenty-three, at their seventh ball. My elders already shunned me for waiting “too long”. It’s not my fault I wasn’t swept off my feet by some handsome prince like my mother, or found the right choice on my first ball like my father! I didn’t want to be married at sixteen anyways. It sounded wrong. Even at twenty-three I was quite a child, let alone sixteen.
I was wearing a soft green dress. I preferred trousers. I stood in the corner, scratching Oochoo’s warm chin. Oochoo was a castle dragon. Dragons aren’t at all what they are made up to be. Their bodies and heads are one soft, slightly furry sphere. Two sets of bat wings, one big and one small, flap slowly on their backs. They have a narwhal horn on their forehead, short legs with little paws below, no arms, and goat’s ears. Their tales grew up to four feet long, and they were the many source of Dragon Furr. Underneath all their Furr were fish scales. Hardly any of a dragon is reptilian. They don’t spit fire, are very kind, and from head to very long tail, are only 4 to 5 feet long.
I stroked Oochoo and he purred like a feline and cuddled in my lap as I sat on an expensive chair. I watched as the princes and the dukes and the lords waltzed with the ladies. I couldn’t help but feel lonely, like I could love if I just found the right one. I looked at Oochoo, and he gurgled at me. Suddenly, he perked up and flew away. I stared at him as he left the ball room.
“I guess even dragons don’t care for me.” I stared at my knees. All my life, I had been different. My hood covered my face effectively. My eyes were golden. I could hypnotize any creature I saw with a little effort, as long as I could see their face. It’s a sign, my love. She is cursed! my mother had exclaimed. This led to me being almost constantly trapped in my room, alone. I had almost everything I asked for, but no human interaction. I could barely speak, because I had never had a real chance to exercise the ability. Oochoo was my only friend.
I decided to leave the ballroom and find Oochoo. I didn’t care for any of the people here. I wanted to leave. I found him in what I think was the west wing. I didn’t know the castle well. He flew in my arms again, shivering and wet somehow. I knew dragons disliked the cold, so I held him close. A man strode up to us, at least forty years old.
"Are you Princess Erialc?’ He said, nearly a whisper. A hood covered his face, much like mine. He was tall, and he wore black clothes. His presence was a little… ominous.
" Yes…?" I answered, the word slow to come out. Quickly after I said this, he removed his hood and then I felt a pinch from somewhere. I fell over and fainted.
Dirt. I remember dirt. In my nostrils, in my eyes, in my mouth. I was submerged in this dirt, almost purple colored. I was still holding Oochoo, but I was frozen in the dirt. I tried to move, but felt horrible pains everywhere. Pressure pounded on me. How deep was I?
I heard a voice, in my head. Let’s get started. Experiment 263.
Suddenly I was straightened out, my body parts passing through the dirt. This part is too scarred, we’ll have to remove it. My left arm was then cut off, by an invisible knife, sending sharp pains into the rest of me. With what little strength I had, I groaned. “Stop…”
Be still, it’ll make it easier. Shhhh… The voice whispered through my head, shushing me. It proceded with its work. Combining Element 2. Oochoo then disappeared from my arms. In a moment I felt extremely sick. The invisible voice started bending my back, unnaturally, slitting it in places. The silent torture continued, the voice cutting me everywhere. “This feels wrong… This feels wrong…” I whispered. “Please stop…” My eyes tried to sob, but the dirt caked them.
Be quiet. It will be over soon. Extracting internal organs. My stomach was cut open up to my chest. I tried to scream, and the dirt came in. The rest of the night, or day, was unbearable. Things were twisted, and broken. Finally, it was done. I felt in the most pain I ever had been in. The voice had stopped, along with the incisions, and I felt a moment of peace. If you could call this aching peace. Something somewhere in my body felt terrible. “This… This feels so wrong.” I whispered. This time it was two voices coming from my mouth, my own, and a high, quiet voice, one that was scared like me.
After what must have been days, I was realeased from the strange, purple hued dirt. A hand pushed me up until I reached the surface. I laid on the ground and was able to see a little bit through the dirt on my face. The sky was blue, but greenish too. I looked over at the castle, my home, crumbled to the ground. Some bones littered the area. They were all dead. My family, my suitors, dead. I remembered Oochoo, the one I had protected.
“Oochoo?” I whispered. “Are you alive?”
My mouth moved without me making it move. “I’m here, Erialc. So many colors… In the sky…”
“Where are you Oochoo?” I called. Quickly, I saw a vision flash through my head. A mother dragon, a father dragon, flying to the castle, me holding… These were Oochoo’s memories.
“I think I’m… In you.” I spoke, or maybe we spoke.
I gathered my strength and tried to sit up. I was thrown off balance by the lack of a left arm. So it wasn’t a dream. What had happened to us?
I tried and succeeded standing up again. It was strange feeling. My backside felt completely off balanced, and I could feel the presence of new things. I looked at my hands. They were the same color, but scaled instead of smooth. My dress was torn in many places, but my boots were still intact. Clothes feel weird. I heard in my head. It was Oochoo’s voice… If he could speak. He must have learned when we fused.
Walking was hard. Dragons can’t walk, they mostly fly. Their feet are only landing gear. I agreed that I would be in control of our body for now, and I walked to the castle. My guts and chest felt out of order, and I could feel the presence of new organs. We walked to the castle to find dead bodies of people we knew on the floor. We walked amongst the wreckage, soon stumbling across my mother… Or Oochoo’s mother? I felt like it was my mother, a dead dragon, on the ground. We knelt down and wept for her. Oochoo and I got a flower from a broken vase and set it by her.
We continued searching through the wreckage for items we could salvage. We found a sword inside a sheath, and took both of them. I found pants and a shirt that were roughly my size. There was a partially battered shield with a lion depicted on it. Many pieces of food littered the floor, but we took only the non perishables, in cans, and honey.
We stumbled upon a full body mirror in the women’s bathroom. It was on the ground and shattered into at least a dozen pieces, but it was still usable. I gazed into my reflection to see what I could. A strange, unknown creature looked back at me. It was humanoid. It had short, choppy brown hair and golden eyes. Pinkish scales covered her in some places while skin covered her in others. Her lips were firy red and she had warm brown goat’s ears. Her arms were covered in swirling patterns of scales, and they ended in scaled hands, with sharp nails. On her right arm, the number 263 was carved in. Her green dress was tattered and ripped, especially in the back. Two strong, black dragons wings shimmered in the light on her backside, and a long tail swished. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I moved my hands around, and the reflection moved her hands too. My heart beat faster. No… Two hearts beat faster. Mine and my friend’s.
“We need to get out of here. He might come back.” I mouth moved against my will again. “Agreed.”
We left the bathroom and got our new clothes on. I found sturdy shoes and leather gloves to wear and put them on as well. We left the castle to go find shelter. We headed east for the forests, where we would stay for years to come.
I have grown to be one with the forest. It is my first birthday, one year from my creation. I walk through the forest, stalking an elk with my self made bow. The elk is very old. He limps through the forest. I have heard his suffering for days now. I will free him.
I prepare to aim when suddenly, I hear a rustling in the bushes. The elk does as well, and flees away. I, however, do not. I head to the bushes on my right, bow in hand, when a stranger leaps out.
He’s human. I haven’t seen one for a year now. I lower my bow and stare at him as he stares at me. He is tall, but not one for the eyes. Scars cover his muscular features. I drop my bow and raise my hands slowly as a sign of peace.
“Elt way va. Elt way va lan vi arnay.” I whisper to him in two voices. It is the universal language for ‘Safe. Safe here’. Deep inside, every creature understands these words. Only some may speak it. He recognizes these words and sits down. Quickly, he passes out.
I rush over and check for vital signs. He is still breathing and his heart is beating, but his arm is twisted unnaturally. It must be broken. I try to pick him up and carry him, but somehow he is too heavy, even with my enhanced strength. I instead drag him through Lilli Meadow to my hut near the lake. I lay him down on my bed and go sit in my homemade chair. I eat previously gathered nuts and berries while I look at the mysterious stranger.
Who is he? Is he a threat?
He’s too weak currently to harm us. Golden Eyes, if he raises a weapon you know what to do.
The voices in my head are normally speaking in unison, but sometimes they split in two and argue or discuss. I’m used to it. I’m both of them, experiment 263.