Kim and Aaron were both exhausted. Aaron had fallen asleep and was curled up in a ball in the grass. The excitement and the events of the day had been more than he could handle. Kim was sitting next to him, and she was fighting to stay awake. She looked up from where she was sitting, and she could see the image of Christian setting Amy's body down next to a tree. He had been very careful while handling her…careful so that he didn't hurt her in anyway. However, she hadn't woken up once during the entire trek.
After he had her leaning against the tree trunk, he stood back up and walked over to Kim. She smiled at him with very tired eyes, but she was struggling to do so. Her eyelids were heavy and she wanted nothing more than to close them. Christian noticed this, and stepped back, watching…as if he was going to watch her fall asleep.
"Is everything okay?" Kim asked. Christian nodded. "Then, what are you staring at me for?" Christian shrugged.
"I need to do something." He answered honestly.
"No…no you don't." Kim answered curiously.
"Certain?" Christian asked nervously. Kim groaned and began to think.
"Well…we could use a fire." Before she had even finished, Christian had darted into the forest. She tried to follow him with her eyes, but couldn't see him through the darkness of the trees. However, it didn't take him more than 10 minutes to come back with sticks and logs of all sizes. He threw them into the middle of the clearing and began standing them up, making a small fire pit. Kim watched him work silently, amazed at how quickly he had done it all. When the fire pit was all set up he stood back to admire his work. Kim was amazed.
"That was great!" She cried. "But…we have nothing to light it with." Christian stepped back from the fire and stared at it with a strange sort of intensity. Suddenly, Kim felt a strange feeling in the air…a strange heat. She watched as Christian began to suck in the air around him, as if he were taking in a deep breathe…however, this was nothing like any intake of breathe she had ever witnessed. He wasn't just sucking in the air…he was doing something to it as it entered his body.
"What are you…" Kim was interrupted as Christian suddenly let out a furious roar, releasing a torrent of intense flames from his open mouth. The flames burst into the sticks, giving off a brilliant light show. Eventually, Christian snapped his mouth shut and the pillar of fire stopped. However, the sticks and logs had all been set ablaze. It was an instant bonfire. The tiredness in Kim's body, which had vanished as she watched Christian breathe fire, suddenly began to work its way back into her system as she felt the warmth of the fire. Christian, meanwhile, walked around it and sat down next to Kim, watching the dancing flames.
"That was…amazing!" Kim cried. Christian blushed heavily.
"Was…fire speaking." Kim gave him a puzzled look.
"I don't understand." Kim said. Christian leaned back and thought to himself.
"You know, first language I know is dragon tongue, yes?" Christian asked. Kim nodded sleepily. "Dragon tongue involve…fire speaking. It how dragons create flame."
"How does it work?" Kim asked. Christian didn't answer. He sat and seemed to be thinking.
"Don't know…never thought about…just come naturally." Christian said. Kim couldn't help but stare. She constantly forgot just how dragon like Christian was…the powers that he possessed that not even he fully understood.
"When do we get to town?" Christian asked.
"Some time tomorrow morning I suspect." Kim answered with a yawn. She leaned back and rested her head on a tree, Christian watched her, with unblinking eyes. "Don't you feel tired?" Kim asked. Christian shook his head.
"No…not tired." Kim closed her eyes, trying to think of something to say. However, fatigue was weighing her body down and dulling her senses.
"I'm nervous." Christian finally admitted. Kim opened one eye and looked at Christian. He was staring at her intently. "Not sure if going to Avendal is very good idea." Kim sat up straight. Though she felt tired, an odd curiosity had come over her.
"Why?" She asked.
"Humans hate me." Christian answered. "They fear me when I was Kraxin…they fear me now as Christian." Kim placed her hand on Christians back encouragingly.
"You saved me from a pack of wolves, and you saved Amy from a bunch of bandits…why would they hate you?" Christian shrugged.
"I am not human." Christians words struck a chord in Kim. Kim wanted to reply warmly and encouragingly…but Christian had a very valid point.
Perhaps it was because she had been spending so much time with him, but Kim had slowly started to forget that Christian was in fact, half dragon. He acted so natural. He walked on two legs, he talked, he laughed, he played…but at the same time, there was something about him that wasn't human. His eyes, his massive strength, his dragon tongue, his scaly skin, his fire speaking, his tail….TAIL?!
"CHRISTIAN, LOOK!" Kim pointed to Christians tailbone, just at the base of the spine. Christian stood up and looked. There, sprouting at the end of his back, was a long and reptilian tail, like a lizards…or dragons. It was about as long as Christians whole body, and it was covered in silver scales that glistened against the flames. Christian looked just as shocked to see it as Kim did! He flicked it a few times and even wagged it, as if testing to see if it was real.
"My tail…I have…tail!" Christian cried. All the tiredness in Kim's body was gone…and it was replaced with a mixture of horror and amazement.
"How did…when did you?" Kim couldn't come up with the right words to say. She couldn't believe that Christian had grown a tail…and that Christian hadn't even noticed it. "How did that happen?" Kim cried. Christian shrugged his shoulders, unable to take his eyes off of his new tail.
"Not certain." He answered. "Perhaps it came while was carrying Amy?" The fact was, neither Kim or Christian knew when that tail had come…however this presented two new problems. How would they go about HIDING this tail? There didn't seem to be any idea that Kim could think up to hide it, so that meant that they would just have to keep it in plain view. However, this would only make him seem even LESS human to the people of Avendal. Though she didn't want to believe her town would turn against Christian, there would be no getting around that tail. What would they say? Also, another question was nagging at the back of her mind.
"What's happening to you?" Kim asked. Christian seemed to have the same question…because he was no longer fascinated by his tail, but rather he looked scared. He looked like scared child…lost and confused. If he had grown a tail, what might happen next? What if things got much worse? Kim dared not to consider it. Christian began pacing the fire pit, as if he didn't know what he was supposed to do...and to be fair…he probably didn't.
"I cannot be Christian." Christian cried. "Christian is human name…but I am not human! Now I have tail! Perhaps better if I return to mountain?" Kim shook her head quickly.
"No, you're going to be okay. Besides, I still think that Christian is a good name for you!" Kim walked over and put her hand on Christians shoulder. He cringed a little at her touch, but then relaxed. "Let's get some sleep, Christian…tomorrow we'll take you to Avendal…and you'll love it there." Christian nodded hesitantly and followed her back to where she had been sitting. Kim lowered herself to the ground, but she kept her hand on Christians shoulder, forcing him to sit down with her. "You need sleep." She said sternly. Christian nodded his agreement, but he didn't close his eyes. He simply stared at the fire.
"Am I…monster, Kim?" Christian asked. Kim gave him a very sad look. She didn't know what to say. To her, no…Christian was not a monster. He was simply a lonely creature who had lived a difficult childhood and had grown up with dragons. However, to another human…he wasn't Christian…he was Kraxin…the dragon boy…something inbetween the relm of beast and human…an "it" rather than a "he." To others, he was indeed what some would call, a monster. But how could she tell him that?
"No…not to me." Kim answered. Christian gave her a small smile, flashing his fangs.
"Then, I am happy." Christian leaned back against a tree and finally closed his eyes. Kim leaned back and stared at the flames, so many thoughts dancing in her head. Now SHE couldn't fall asleep. Too much was happening at once, and she didn't know what to do!
Suddenly a very strange feeling hit her! It felt like a snake had wrapped around her! She looked down, but instead saw the silver, scaly tail of Christian…it had wrapped itself behind her and was acting like a cushion against the tree….like a scaly pillow. Kim made a move to push it away from her…but chose not to. If she was going to prove to Christian that he wasn't a monster…her first step would have to be convincing herself. She rested her head against the tree and looked around.
Aaron was still fast asleep, and Amy was still out cold…Christian was drifting off into a deep sleep…and Kim could feel herself about to do the same. She allowed her eyes to finally close and drift into a comfortable slumber.