Chapter Ninety-Two: In which I finally meet our enemy

When I looked into those cold, blank blue eyes a feeling of sheer terror filled me. I was so surprised and appalled that my shift slipped, and before I could do anything about the situation I shifted back into my natural form and found myself sitting on the floor in front of the man.

For several long moments the man and I looked at one another in silence. Then a smile began to spread across his face. “Well, well, well. Gryf Frenthfar, as I live and breathe. I knew you were alive and well, but I never expected to see you again. It would seem that you have a very precious Gift. I have never met a dragon who can shape shift.”

I stared at Arwel, not believing that it was he. His face was slightly different, but the eyes were the same. How could it be? He should have died years ago. “How is it that you are here?” I finally managed to say.

Old book edited“I have been using dragon blood to extend my life, dear fellow. I used yours for many years and then, when that ran out, I found other dragons who donated their blood for my cause. It was not easy for me to find dragons you know. After dragons decided to have nothing more to do with human kind, they became very secretive and elusive. Thankfully, I had taken some of your books, one of which told me where most of the dragon groups lived. That was useful. In fact I learned a lot from your excellent book collection.”

“My kin looked for you,” I said, staring at the man who had almost killed me.

“That they did. I had to flee to northern Scotland and remain there until they gave up the search. Having to hide for so long greatly disrupted my plans I can tell you. When I was finally able to return to the civilized world I realized how ignorant humans were compared to you dragons. There was so much that I wanted to do, but I was going to have to bide my time until humans became more scientific, more advanced. It was a very long wait, a lonely wait.”

“What did you do for all that time?” I asked. I could not believe that we were talking like this, as if he was a normal person.

“I studied, traveled, and learned about the world. Then, not long ago, I decided that the time was right to show the world what I could do. When I was a boy I was treated with scorn because I was not from a wealthy family. Later I was not given my due because the fools around me did not recognize my superior intellect. Now, at last, I will build an empire based on technological and scientific discoveries and inventions, an organization unlike any other, and I will use dragon knowledge to make it possible.”

“You have kidnapped our young ones. You have no right to do this,” I said getting to my feet, anger flooding through me.

“I have the right to use the tools that are available to me. Your young ones are just tools, a means to an end. They are not jealous, competitive, or ambitious the way human researchers would be. They are perfect, and so easy to influence through hypnosis,” Arwel said without emotion. How cold he was, how clinical. He walked to his desk, opened a drawer, and then, before I could respond in any way, he pulled out a gun and pointed at me. “Now, you are going to help me in my work?”

I could not believe that he would dare to ask such a thing. “Never!” I replied. “I will never help you in any way.”

“What a shame. Perhaps a little time on your own will give you the opportunity to think about my offer. You will do exactly what I tell you to do or I will kill you again, and this time I will make sure that I get the job done properly. I believe I have a room that will contain you, even though you can shift into so many forms. A little sedative in gas form will keep you compliant until I decide what to do with you.”

With me walking in front of him, Arwel and I left his quarters and after a few minutes we came to a lab, which we entered. Arwel picked up a small gas tank and then he told me where to go next. We went down a few corridors until we came to a metal door that had a strange looking contraption on the front. I was told to open the door and to go into the room beyond. I did as I was told. What else could I do? “I had this room built just in case one of the young dragons became problematic. For now it will serve well to contain you. I will be back after a while to see if you have changed your mind about joining my cause.” The door was slammed behind me and almost immediately I heard a hissing sound and a sweetly smelling gas began to filter into the room through an aperture in the door. In seconds I began to feel so tired. My brain could no longer function properly, my limbs became weak, and I slumped to the floor.

I cannot tell you how much time passed before Arwel returned. I spent much of my time asleep, and the rest of the time trying to throw off the terrible feeling of languor that filled me. I could not move and could not think clearly. It was an awful situation to be in.

Then I dimly heard the sound of footsteps and not long after the gas was sucked out of the room. Soon I was able to sit up and Arwel came into the room, once more holding the gun. Arwel looked at me critically. “That gas mixture I developed is very effective. It works fast, and leaves the body fast as well. I am very pleased with it. Now, are you ready to be sensible? Join me in my quest for knowledge.”

“This has nothing to do with acquiring knowledge. You just want everyone to admire you, to think highly of you,” I said.

“I deserve the accolades that I will be getting in the years to come. It is my due, my compensation for all that I have suffered these many hundreds of years,” he spat.

“Everything that has happened to you since you tried to kill me is your doing. You can blame no one but yourself,” I said, trying not to lose my temper. “I will never join you, I will never…”

Then I heard a loud “THWUMP” and the building shook. Surprise spread across Arwel’s face. “What on earth was that? he said, turning a little.