Draekon Abduction(5)

By: Lili Zander & Lee Savino

It’s exhilarating.

The pain in my leg makes it hard to track time, but we fly for what seems like hours. We pass over lush jungle, a rocky mountain range, and then a sandy desert. The desert, in particular, seems to stretch on forever, but finally, the terrain changes, the sands giving way to a grassy plain.

Purple grass. I’m definitely not on Earth.

The dragon starts its descent. A small clearing grows larger and larger, and then, before I have a chance to wonder if this landing will be as smooth as a commercial jet, we’re on the ground.

A midnight dragon touches down next to us. Bryce, Felicity, and Paige slide from its back. Bryce’s eyes are shining with excitement, but Paige looks shaken, and Felicity retches violently. I’m so busy watching her that I barely notice the shimmer in the air.

But I do notice the black-haired man walk toward me.

Felicity was right. The men are shapeshifters who can turn into dragons. What had Raiht’vi called them? Draekons.

Roman’s voice sounds in my head, cool and crisp. Agent Buckner, what are your conclusions?

I mentally snap to attention. The female scientist seemed afraid of the Draekons. She’s warned me about them. From that, I conclude that the shapeshifters are feared by the general Zorahn populace.

Good. What else?

The Draekons took us but left the two Zorahn scientists behind on the spaceship. There’s no love lost between the Zorahn and the Draekon.

Roman steeples his fingers together. That’s an obvious conclusion, he says coolly. I expect more from you, Olivia.

I’m aware I’m hallucinating, and my boss is back on Earth, but staying focused on my mission keeps the pain at bay.

The Zorahn call this planet the prison planet. The Draekons recognized Raiht’vi and both Zorahn and Draekon speak the same language. Hypothesis: The Zorahn have imprisoned these men on this planet.

Roman fades into nothing before I can find out what he thinks of my theory. The dragon I’m riding crouches low to the ground, and the black-haired man puts his hands around my waist and gently lifts me off. “You’re badly wounded,” he says unsmilingly, setting me on the ground. Rummaging through his pack, he pulls out a small bottle and unstoppers it. “Drink this. It will ease the pain until we can get you to the med-kit.”

Trust no one. Especially the Draekons.

For a split-second, Raiht’vi’s warning makes me hesitate, then rational thought takes over. If the Draekons want to kill me, one swipe of the dragon-claws will do the trick. There’s no need to poison me.

With a mutter of thanks, I take the bottle from the dark-haired Draekon and lift it to my lips.

I need a plan.

Step 1: Fix my broken leg. The Draekon mentioned a med-kit. If these Draekons possess even a fraction of the obviously superior Zorahn technology, their med-kit will mend the break in no time. That’s good, because right now, even a newborn kitten is stronger than I am.

Step 2: Find the others. Viola, Harper, Ryanna, and Sofia are somewhere out there, looking for food and water. I’ve got to get them to safety.

Then there are the two Zorahn scientists. Raiht’vi and Beirax are still alive, back on the Fehrat 1. They’re not my responsibility, but I can’t let them drown either.

Step 3: Figure out how to stay alive. The Zorahn went through a lot of effort to recruit their lab rats. They’ll definitely rescue us. We just have to survive for the next couple of weeks.

My thoughts seem clearer now. It’s the drink. Blissful numbness is spreading through my leg. “Thank you,” I say gratefully. No matter what Raiht’vi might think of them, so far, the Draekons have acted with nothing other than integrity. I’m not ready to join hands with them and sing Kumbaya, but I’m also not going to treat them like the enemy. “My name is Olivia.”

He nods coolly. “You can call me Liorax.” His tone is impatient, and he avoids looking at me. Not a fan, then.

The other man approaches me as well, his hazel eyes thoughtful and assessing. “I’m Zunix und Kalox ab Mamarce,” he says. His lips twist into a bitter smile. “Welcome to the prison planet.” He lifts his head and addresses the others. “Gather around. We are near our camp, but before we go there, you will need some information.”

The four women crowd around the three of us. Bryce doesn’t look cowed in the slightest, but Paige and Felicity are clinging to each other, and May looks like she’s about five minutes from losing her mind. “What do you know about the Draekons?” Zunix asks.

Everyone looks blank.

He doesn’t look surprised. “Very well. A short history lesson. A thousand years ago, the scientists of Zorahn created a captive race of soldiers called the Draekon, men who possessed the ability to transform into dragons. However, the Draekons were unwilling to stay slaves. They rebelled, and in response, the High Empire decreed that any man found with the ability to transform into dragons would be exiled to the prison planet.” He looks around at everyone. “Liorax and I have been here for sixty-five years.”