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The Lost Dragon 11.3

by soundofmind


Chapter 11.3 - If You’re Dead I’m Gonna Kill You

Clandestine sighed in relief when she saw Elliot still, calm, and standing at the edge of a creek. Fortunately, he hadn't run too far off. It had only taken a few minutes to find him. With a small smile she hopped off Billy and led Billy forward with eager steps. As they drew closer to the bank, the ground grew softer, and Clandestine stepped into the mud with a squelch. Elliot looked up.

In his mouth, he was holding Matt's hat. Clandestine's eyes widened.

She approached him cautiously, reaching out towards the hat. Elliot pulled it away and flicked his tail.

"It's okay, Elliot," she said softly. "I'm not going to hurt you." Elliot turned his face away and chewed on the hat, almost dropping it in the process. The horse looked out into the water, across the bank. A breeze picked up and rustled the leaves in the trees overhead, and Clandestine felt a chill run down her spine. The sky was clear, but the slow gurgling of water and the dozens of leaves that fluttered down in the wind's wake unsettled her. She took a deep breath, and set a hand gently on Elliot's neck. Elliot lowered his head, and Clandestine looked out over the water to the bank across the way.

Where the water and the land met, she could see a long trench in the mud as if something was continuously dragged through it. The moment realization hit her, her stomach dropped, and Elliot dropped the hat from his mouth.

The poster said he was wanted alive, right? Her heart began to race, and she reached for the poster in her pocket. She unfolded it and searched it desperately for confirmation of what she already knew: yes, he was wanted alive. But he'd been dragged through the mud? That... that wasn't a very nice way to go about bounty hunting at all.

She folded the poster back up and put it in her pocket. After giving Elliot a little pat, she bent down and picked up Matt's hat.

She blinked.

Tiberius's hat. She'd almost forgotten he wasn't the cowboy friend she'd made back in the saloon.

With a sigh, she looked over to Elliot and then back at Billy. "Well, it looks like we're going to be doing some swimming."

--

Tiberius woke with a kick to his gut. He inhaled painfully with a wheeze, and as he leaned forward to recover, found he could not do so: he was tied firmly to a tree. In his lap, his hands were still bound together by cuffs - cuffs that left the skin around his wrists stinging and raw. His neck was stiff and ached from having his head hang limply as he was dragged around, and the consequences of being dragged left him filthy. He didn't have to look himself over to know he was caked in mud, dirt, and grass. He could feel it. He could smell it.

His captor towered over him with his shadow, and Tiberius didn't lift his head to face him. Instead, he looked at the forest around them. The sky was dark, and the moon was almost full. He could see it peeking through the trees above. A few feet behind Alexander there was a fire crackling, a sleeping bag laid out on the ground, and above the fire, a small pot of something cooking. His gut urged him not to take a whiff, but he caught the smell anyway. Soup. He could smell the carrots. The chicken. His stomach twisted and turned with hunger.

Another kick. Tiberius winced and cringed, flicking a glare up at Alexander in annoyance.

"Can't have you too comfortable," Alexander said flatly. "You fell asleep on me while I was talking to you back there. Couldn't wake you up for a while."

Tiberius stared down at the ground. Experience told him to stay silent but weariness kept him still. He was tired of entertaining bounty hunters.

Alexander took a few steps back, and looked Tiberius up and down. Whether he was making sure Tiberius was secure or whether he was admiring his handiwork didn't matter. It was still degrading. Alexander stood staring at him for a minute before he turned to sit by the fire.

"I used to live here in this forest," he said as he sat down, as if continuing an already-going conversation. Tiberius closed his eyes, internally giving Alexander an eye roll. Tiberius did not want to carry on a conversation with a man who intended to hand him over to the law. Nonetheless, Alexander persisted.

"My parents had a cabin out here where my father hunted game. Sometimes I would go out with him to set traps..."

So Tiberius checked out, only to pick up again on Alexander's last sentence - "but then my father died on a hunting trip gone wrong" - before Alexander realized, again, that Tiberius wasn't listening. Alexander shook his head in disapproval.

"You make a habit of being this rude?" Alexander asked.

Tiberius scoffed. "I'm not interested in hearing your life story."

Alexander raised his brows and shrugged. "If I bore you so, then maybe you should tell me yours."

Tiberius looked up at Alexander, meeting his eyes with a dead-eyed stare. "Ha. Ha."

Alexander's face slowly took on a dark expression. The teasing mirth in his eyes shifted to a chilling intent as he stared back. Alexander reached into his jacket. Tiberius broke eye contact to follow his hand. He saw the glint of metal under Alexander's fingers ducked his head. He could hear the knife whizz past his ear as it thunked into the tree. He took in a shuddering deep breath. He looked up to cast an accusing glance at Alexander for almost potentially killing him, but instead only looked up in time to see another knife hurtling towards him. He didn't have time to even flinch.

The knife lodged itself in his shoulder, and he bit back a cry with little success. His own voice taunted him as it echoed through the forest and he looked wildly up at Alexander, who was stalking towards him.

"What in the hell was that for?" he hissed, clenching his fists and curling his toes in his boots to bite back the pain.

"You were thinking of escaping, so I just thought I'd kindly discourage it," Alexander spoke smoothly before squatting down in front of him.

Tiberius's upper lip curled and he set his jaw to keep from showing any more signs of pain. He slowly and painfully turned to look at his shoulder, fighting to keep his muscles from flinching or spasming. He knew in an hour, it would hurt much more than it did now. After the shock wore off, it would only get worse.

Alexander leaned in uncomfortably close, reached for the knife, and rested his hand on the handle. Tiberius stared with dreaded anticipation.

"Carter's damn pissed that you've been running free for so long," Alexander whispered harshly into Tiberius's face. Tiberius's eyes widened slightly at the mention of the name, but he kept his face still. He could feel Alexander's breath on his face. "He finally hired me to take you in, since apparently no one else is capable," the bounty hunter taunted, before twisting the dagger just a fraction. Tiberius's face tensed.

"Got anything you want me to tell Carter before I gag you?" Alexander asked.

Tiberius turned his face to the man before him, with his mouth set into a deep frown.

"I'll tell him myself," he said through grit teeth.

Alexander shrugged, then grabbed Tiberius's head roughly, holding it back against the tree as he shoved a rolled up sock in his mouth. He wasted no time in securing it by tying a bandana around Tiberius's head to hold the gag in place.

"Fine, suit yourself," Alexander replied. "Carter's paying me a lot of money, so I don't need to hear you complain or play any of your mind games either. Not that they'd work on me. Fortunately I know your history better than you think."

He grabbed the handle of the knife again and yanked it out with a straight tug. Tiberius let out a muffled cry.

"I'll clean you up in a bit," Alexander said with a chilling smile. The bounty hunter ruffled Tiberius's hair, and he was too weary to pull his head from his grasp. "I can't have you dying from infection. As much of a pain it is to admit, you're still useful..." Alexander stared at him a moment before patting him on the cheek. Tiberius finally pulled his face away, struggling to swallow a lump in his throat with his mouth agape and full of sock.

"But you made sure of that, didn't you?"


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Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:46 am
Kirkiln wrote a review...



Hey sound, so ONCE AGAIN I'm behind on these chapters because of a darned hiatus, but I swear I will attempt to catch up again, especially before July. That means I have like 12 reviews to do in two weeks. That doesn't sound too bad.

Since I already reviewed the chapter part after this, this review isn't going to be too long. I already touched majorly on how convenient all of this is to the point of me sounding like a broken record SO I'll just give some notes while I read.

With a small smile she hopped off Billy and led Billy forward with eager steps.


You repeated Billy twice in a short amount of time here.

Okay, so besides the convenience of this (YES OKAY I'M BRINGING IT UP AGAIN FITE ME) there are a couple of things I like in this that I kind of want to see more of. The first is that I enjoy how uneasy Clandestine feels here. This is something majorly out of her area of expertise, and I would love to see more of this. She is stepping out of her comfort zone to save someone who did nothing but lie to her. But, I get it. Some lies are done with trust, and in every lie there is a bit of truth. In some weird, sort of twisted way, Matt/James/Tiberius trusted Clandestine. I do want more of this uneasiness though, maybe she thinks someone is following her? Maybe she starts to doubt herself. Something, because you gave me a bit and it was amazing!

The second was just how different yet similar monster hunting and bounty hunting are. I really want to see that leaned into. Clandestine treats these monsters more human than the bounty hunter is treating Tiberius. Who's really the monster hunter in this situation?

Okay, onto Tiberius. I like how he's following his instincts, but they're combined with just how drained he is. It's hard to keep up an act when someone is continuously batting at your defenses.

I do like this point, and it really drives home just how ruthless Alexander is in this. He's merciless. I think the ending here is a bit weak though, especially the last line. I'm not really sure how useful Tiberius is for Alexander besides a paycheck. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but this seems like another attempt at "woooah spooky mysterious ending" that all writers have problems wanting to do with every chapter ending. One of the things I learned from script-writing (yeah, different genre of writing, but it applies here too I think) is that, if you can cut off parts of your beginning and ending without changing the story, then do so. Because of lot of beginnings or unnecessary set up and endings are unnecessary fluff. For example, here, cutting that last line would actually strengthen this with the added bonus of making it sound less cliché.

Okay, onto the next next chapter xD




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Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:47 am
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mellifera wrote a review...



hey sound! I'm back for some more and I've officially run out of ways to say hi so let's just goo


In his mouth, he was holding Matt's hat.


!! I don't think I mentioned this in the last chapter but I was gONNA ASK if Elliot was gonna go gallivanting off to try to find Tiberius and while he didn't I was kinda close??? not really but Listen

Elliot pulled it away and flicked his tail.


horse tip of the day: if he's frightened, he'd be more likely to pin his ears when he's moving away or stomp or something? one of our horse squeals when she gets scared too. and granted, they swish their tail, but usually it more of like,, an accompaniment to something else? like, tossing their head or something? y'know?


OKAY I just wanted to say I really like build-up/description to when Clanny sees the drag marks in the mud because that was kinda like,,,, an Oof moment? (aslkfnkl I know I'm just that eloquent with my words it's great)


That... that wasn't a very nice way to go about bounty hunting at all.


maybe you should begin a kickstarter to make bounty hunting nicer then, Clanny.


this is my daily declaration of my love for Clandestine (not technically daily until now but shh its fine I still love her every day).


Also I'm know I was complaining about it (in?? some sense I think??? maybe not exactly oop), but I'm really loving the more serious tone the story is getting? We had heavier stuff at the beginning with Tiberius' notebook and whatnot but other than that it had been more light-hearted? I don't know, maybe its just because I'm being more consistent about it right now, but now its starting to really feel more ingrained in the story that this isn't just light-hearted, monster hunting fun? like, Consequences are happening now and I Love.
I know, I know, there was the Clandestine/Matt fight before he left. but y'kNOW.


Alexander is Mean and I disapprove (but like, as a villain,,,,,,, I MEAN,,,,)


"You make a habit of being this rude?"


says the man who dragged him through mud and has him tied to a tree.

The knife lodged itself in his shoulder,


whoa whOA WHOA I was not??? expecting that???? "you're rude" he says and then throws a knife into his prisoner's shoulder who has no way to defend himself.

"You were thinking of escaping, so I just thought I'd kindly discourage it,"


he was thinking of how boring you were.
I, too, like to kindly discourage people by STABBING THEM

before twisting the dagger just a fraction.


does Alexander know there's an artery in people's shoulders and if he does not take care of it this will turn into a Big Problem?
(but also *whacks* STOP HURTING TIBERIUS)


I really really want to know what Tiberius did now. I mean, maybe I'm hopping to assumptions but based on the magic being banned and so on, I'm guessing the corruption is at the top of the food chain. if its not then ?? that would seem to make Tiberius the "bad guy", but I kind of don't think that's where it's heading?? Now that I'm thinking of it, I have no premonitions of where the main plot is heading. We know Clanny's chasing after Tiberius and Alexander, and Alexander is taking Tiberius to the Moonlight Kingdom, but what will happen then? What did Tiberius do to warrant the kind of bounty on his person? Who is Carter ( ;) )? Where does he play in all this? (Would I be wrong to assume Tiberius knows Carter then? I suspect an Old Enemy of Tiberius, but maybe I should jUST WAIT PATIENTLY like I am clearly not doing.


I think that's all I have for you today! I'm loving the darker tone and that we have a clear antagonist and that the antagonist is nasty because I will whine and complain about it but I love the dark villains (not to redeem them! I just like mean, crafty villains! it's weird???)

I hope you're having an amazing time!! <3




soundofmind says...


does Alexander know there's an artery in people's shoulders and if he does not take care of it this will turn into a Big Problem?

yYYEs he does!! he... despite obviously making it more pain for him, is being careful/mindful of that. He's uh... experienced enough with killing... and things... I guess I feel like it'd be silly and unnecessary to find out a way to explain that he knows what he's doing though since it's from James's pov and not Alex's??

ASDHGFkldhjk

BUT OMG HAHAH I'm glad you're liking the tone change and that you like Alex as a villain :,) and I wish I could answer all your questions but unfortunately I can't HAaAAaa



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Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:33 pm
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hi, Shikora here to give you a review on this wonderful day.

Let's get to it shall we.
It's been a wile since I reviewed one of your works. So I'm here to give you a lot of feed back.

What I like

This was a really nice long chapter you have here, it was nice to be able to be pulled back into the little world you have made. It's been a wile and I have a pit of reading to catch up on.
I can see your writing has gotten a lot better now your getting into the story and writing a lot more.

Plot

I really like how your plot is moving along. It still bugs me that you only tell us what we need to know at the moment. I really wish I new how this story will end. It was nice you make the chapter long. It aloud me to put bit and pops together that I couldn't in the last chapter.

Description

It's amazing to see how much you have improved, your description in getting really good, I can see everything you want me to see in the story really well, it also lets me enjoy and be part of the world you have written a lot better.

Characters

I really like how everything is going with the characters at the moment. I'm getting to know each of them slowly, and it help me to connect with them better to. And I can't wait to find out what will happen next.

Well that is it form me for now. I couldn't find anything wrong with your chapter, so I felt like giving you a well earned nice review. I loved reading and reviewing your chapter for you, and I hope to review your next chapter soon. Never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
Shikora

Happy review day.

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soundofmind says...


Thanks for the review!





Your welcome.



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Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:01 pm
FireSpyGirl wrote a review...



Getting better and better! So I will jump right into this review. There are two sentences that need a tiny bit of editing, and that is it!

First one:
"With a small smile she hopped off Billy and led Billy forward with eager steps." Really, this is fine, it just seems to me that repeating Billy's name is kind of redundant. That's just me though. :)

Second:
" He saw the glint of metal under Alexander's fingers ducked his head." This is just a little awkward. I would try:
"He saw the glint of metal under Alexander's fingers and ducked his head just in time..."

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!




soundofmind says...


Thanks!




It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.
— Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity