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The Lost Dragon 15.2

by soundofmind

Chapter 15 Part Two: I'm Gonna Steal the Declaration of Independence

Clandestine didn't know what to do with herself.

She stood outside the Ruddlan gate for a few minutes, blankly staring into the city, through the gate, where James had already disappeared.

He really left.

She knew she shouldn't have expected him to stay. She knew it was foolish to expect anyone to want to stay with her, and she knew it was more complicated than that because James was wanted or whatever. She still didn't really know what for. Treason could mean a handful of things. Did he try to murder the king? Did he kill somebody else important?

She stopped herself, gripping Billy's lead rope a little tighter.

Those were all questions she would never get to ask, and for a moment, she wished she'd been brave enough to ask them earlier. Even if he didn't give thorough answers, at least she could've said she tried.

Biting her lip, Clandestine looked down at the dirt.

She didn't think she could picture James doing some heinous deed. When she tried to, it just seemed... wrong.

Billy nudged her in the shoulder. The bubble of Clandestine's thoughts burst and all the noises of the city flooded in again, washing her worried thoughts back into her subconscious. A wagon was coming up from behind and passed by her, going into the city. On first glance, out of the corner of her eye, she thought it was Diamond's wagon, but quickly realized it wasn't when she saw it was neither painted nor advertising questionable medical service.

She blew out a sigh through pressed lips, and Billy imitated the sound. A smile turned up the corner of her mouth and she reached back to pat his head.

"Okay," she said. "Let's go exploring, I guess. Maybe we'll actually run into Diamond again and I can ask him what he's doing with an egg."

The suggestion came out as a joke, but it suddenly occurred to her that she really could do that. The thought of a griffin's egg in the hands of a medicine maker made her nervous. She wasn't too caught up on the current attitude about griffins but judging from the griffin-fight arena and the general griffin imagery around the city gates, she wasn't sure if griffins were treated with respect, superstition, or a mix of both.

She couldn't imagine a griffin in captivity, nevermind one trained or conditioned for fighting for entertainment. Sure, griffins fought one another over food or mates or whatever, but... the Griffin Games was still weird to her, even though she'd overheard people mention it before.

Of course, when she heard them say Griffin Games back then, she thought maybe it was just named after griffins 'cause griffins were cool... not because real griffins were actually involved. In hindsight, it seemed like a dumb assumption to make.

What she knew about griffins was that they were very strong, noble beasts who were best left alone. That was the case with a lot of monsters, and like most monstrous creatures, griffins usually kept to themselves. They never went of their way to interfere with humans, and if they did it was usually because humans pushed into their turf, or because food sources had migrated, or some environmental circumstances outside of their control. Times like that would be when a monster hunter might step in to slay the beast, but they wouldn't usually go out of their way to hunt them just for sport. Monster hunting was about getting paid, as much as it was about adventure.

Of course, there were some beasts she'd really like to see... but not fight. Clandestine shook her head and finally hopped on Billy.

As interesting as looking for Diamond and his egg sounded, she felt like the responsible thing to do would be to look for work first. She didn't know what she'd do if she found him anyways, so she felt she should at least try to see if anyone was in need of a monster hunter. So she followed the main routes of the city looking in and out of stores, checking signs and walls for posters or notes that said people were hiring. She asked people if there was any monster hunting work, but everyone just seemed to point her to one place that would point her to the next, and the next, and the next...

She found herself going in circles, from one tavern and one shop to the next, no one seemed interested in her services. Was the town really that safe and secure? Did their partial walls keep all of the troubles out?

After enough wandering around the inner city, she felt like she was beginning to see a recurring pattern.

All of the places she was visiting seemed to be patrolled by the city guards. No wonder people didn't need the outside help of a freelancer. They already had people holding down the fort.

Clandestine found herself reaching this conclusion as she was wandering into the outer city. After three hours of running around town, she was feeling really discouraged. She hadn't realized how quickly she'd grown accustomed to having a partner. Doing everything and thinking of everything herself was exhausting, especially when all she was reaching were dead ends.

She led Billy through streets at a slow pace, keeping an eye open for any inns and stables with cheap fare. That, and somewhere with food that wouldn't give her the runs. She'd had... a few unpleasant experiences. She'd learned to sniff food before she ate it and taste a little before she tasted a lot.

Clandestine shook her head. She wasn't trying to relive that memory.

"Okay, Billy," she whispered softly to her horse beside her. "Let me know if you smell anything tasty." She smiled at him, but then her smile fell. "Uh, on second thought, maybe not. You'd probably just lead me to hay bales or something."

She came to a stop and stared out into the street. The roads were starting to clear more of traffic, and she realized not a lot of people ran around this part of town - nevermind travelers. The buildings had gotten a little shorter and a little smaller, and they looked older. The tall, pointed roofs were replaced by flat tin tiling at low angles. The fun mix of smells was replaced with one single smell she could recognize - some kind of meat being cooked in a place a few buildings down to the right.

The only thing that seemed to stay the same was the level of chatter, but judging from how many people were walking on the street, it wasn't coming from them. It was more distant and secluded. She looked over to Billy for permission to explore, and he just looked at her like he always did. Like a horse who didn't know what she was thinking. She grinned and hurried on light feet with him towards the source of the chatter.

The chatter led her through an alleyway, behind what looked like a small inn. One voice seemed to carry over the rest, and as she saw the edge of the crowd, she realized it was a voice she knew. And the guy on the little platform in front of the small crowd of people was someone she [i]knew...[/i] as much as someone could know a sketchy medicine salesman.

It was Mr.Diamond. People from the small crowd were calling out numbers, going higher and higher, and Diamond enthusiastically called out from one to the next, until finally, someone said "four thousand," and everyone fell quiet.

Diamond searched the crowd for more bets, but the silence only stretched out like an uncomfortable, scratchy blanket.

Finally, he broke it.

"That's it then! One one-of-a-kind, pearly white, genuine, fertilized griffin egg for the fellow in the red striped shirt!" He gestured a hand for the burly man to follow. He walked on heavy feet up towards Diamond. Diamond looked at the remaining people in the crowd. "Now everyone else, scram!"

Clandestine didn't scram. She stayed frozen at the edge of the crowd, halfway in the alleyway. She was so confused.

People sold griffin eggs? What for? Was someone going to eat it? Was it some bizarre kind of delicacy?

Diamond and the burly man didn't seem to notice or acknowledge Clandestine's existence as they exchanged hushed words and what had to be a sack of money. She could see the other Diamond brother standing next to that same, painted wagon behind the small platform of a stage, looking as if he was as bored with life as he'd ever been.

Diamond - no, Sir William Diamond, if she could recall - pointed over to his brother, and the burly man walked behind the stage to meet him.

Clandestine couldn't wait any longer.

She hurried forward to meed William Diamond the moment he stepped off the stage.

"Pack up the wagon after-" He started to call out to his brother, but cut himself off. He must have sensed her coming up behind him, because, before even turning around, he began a whole shpiel.

"Ah yes I can always sense the approach of a customer!" he said without turning towards her, but instead striking a pose with his hands on his hips, apparently trying to impress, but all it did was make Clandestine feel awkward.

"Sadly I am all out of wares to sell!" he continued. "But perhaps you can tell me what you desire and the great Sir William Diamond may find it for you, at a reasonable price even!" He finally spun around on his feet with a wide grin, showing off his pretty spectacularly white teeth, but the moment he saw Clanny, the show was over. The smile faded and he just looked more annoyed than anything.

"Of course I would waste energy on you again," he said bitterly, all shows of friendliness gone. He stood up straight and patted the sides of his white suit to straighten it out. Clandestine was honestly relieved he dropped the act. "What do you want this time?"

"I'm surprised you even remember me, first off," she said.

"Of course I would, I never forget the faces of non-customers wanting handouts," he said, looking her up and down with a look of disappointment. Clandestine looked down at herself, suddenly aware of her appearance.

She didn't look bad, did she? James would've mentioned if her hair was really messy or something, right?

He tapped his foot, clearly getting impatient with her. She brushed a stray hair behind her ear.

"Right, uh, I just wanted to know more about that egg you were selling? And why there are griffins... everywhere, I guess."

His eyes perked up a little bit and his grin started to creep back as if shifting back into his sales pitch mode. Clandestine internally groaned.

"You mean to tell me, you've never heard of this amazing city? Why this is the city where dreams can be made reality! Or crushed into fine dust," he said, his voice even altering in tone as if he were trying to sound fancier than he was. He walked around her in circles, and every time she looked at him he had a different smiling expression. It was unsettling.

"Riches! Glory beyond imagination could be claimed by the simplest of beggar here! And it all starts at the griffin games!" He finished with his arms wide open, before settling down into a casual pose while rubbing his chin.

"I could, of course, help you on your adventure to riches for a small service fee. You see, I do fancy myself a bit of an expert in the griffin arena. I could let you in on some secrets on who to bet on, and I always have a keen eye for the most vicious griffins that are sure to stand proud in glorious victory!" He held his pose as if he expected her to melt with excitement at his offer of riches. When he finally looked at Clandestine, he jumped back a little. "Wh- What's with that look!?"

Clandestine hadn't realized her frown was so prominent and stern. Her frown only deepened. When James mentioned the griffin games, she wasn't sure what to picture, but William's description only burned in her gut. She was not entertained by the thought at all. As a monster hunter, it was her job to kill wild beasts, but it was only out of necessity or if they were hurting innocent people. She never did it for sport or pleasure, and she definitely didn't force monsters to fight each other for amusement.

She took a step towards William. "So you're telling me people force griffins to fight here... for entertainment?"

"Well, yes," Diamond said flatly, regaining his composure and returning to his annoyed state. He sighed. "Well, that was all a big waste of time, and time is money, so it's time I said goodbye."

Without further adieu, Diamond turned on his heels and began to walk off, snapping at his brother to ready the wagon. His brother hesitated, looking over at Clandestine curiously, but another stern look from William sent him back to work.

Clandestine watched as the wagon and the horses kicked up dust behind them. As their wagon pulled away, she could see the burly man close the back of his own wagon and hurry off after them.

That guy now had a griffin egg, and if he didn't kill the baby griffin first, the griffin was probably going to end up in the games...

Clandestine glared at the two wagons. That egg didn’t deserve to pass through their hands... it deserved to grow up among its own kind. She gripped Billy's lead with a face set in determination. It looked like she finally found a job.

She was going to steal the egg.

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254 Reviews

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Reviews: 254

Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:56 pm
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Omnom wrote a review...

Nicholas Cage, is that you? We all have a little Nick Cage in us xD

So, okay, I feel like this chapter and the last chapter is taking the story in the wrong direction. This may be me wanting really badly to see a showdown (because yes this is true xD) but I also think that it's introducing a lot of new plot threads that just aren't as strong as the ones we had with Carter and the bounty hunters, and going forward with those plot threads instead of the ones we've been following for these past few chapters at least. I think it started with the griffin egg, and now the griffin kidnapper, so I'm thinking it's a problem with just, you needed to find something to keep this story going, and decided IM GONNA THROW GRIFFINS IN HERE and now they've invaded your story. And honestly, I get it xD totally you needed something to keep you writing, but I think it's pushing off what could be a great act 1 finale with everyone getting in big trouble with the plot threads you have already set up. I may be completely wrong with why you set up all of this griffin stuff, but I don't know, I'm not liking it yet. I may need time to adjust or something, but yeah. OKAY rambling done, now to continue reading.

So, I get that Clandestine misses James, but this had already been done the last time he left. I was hoping for something different, so I would love to see her be sad that he really left, but then iron herself and get to work. That would make it different, and also not make her seem so hopelessly reliant on Matt to function.

Also, there's a looot of info dumping here. It really feels like this is kinda coming out of nowhere, and you're doing a lot to try and catch the reader up on griffins because all of a sudden they need to be important.

Well, I'm glad Clandestine has a mission now of her own now! I don't quite agree with the direction of Diamond and griffins that we're going right now, but I'll just have to see how it works out in the future chapter parts. ONWARDS XD

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Mon May 13, 2019 3:49 am
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mellifera wrote a review...

Hey sound!! ahh it's good to see more from you again :D

(this review might end up being short or not,, great?? I'm p tired but we'll see! I'll do my best :) )

Okay so, firstly! I finally read that second half of 15.1 that you edited and I do agree it's a lot better + makes more sense! I didn't really engage like, my Critical Thinking so I didn't catch anything that stood out to me, but I can go back if you like and just put an addition in my review!

I love the chapter title and it immediately makes me jump to the conclusion that clandestine is like,,, huh,,,, james is gone,,,, whatever will I do,,,,, sTEAL IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. yES

She knew she shouldn't have expected to stay.

shouldn't have expected him to stay?

Treason could mean a handful of things. Did he try to murder the king? Did he kill somebody else important?



james: *is wanted for treason*
clandestine: this could be any number of things. for example, murder. attempted murder. anything murder related.

(maybe instead of "a handful" of things, it could be "Treason could mean several different things" or something like that? Cause I mean, treason is a pretty broad spectrum that handful doesn't seem to cover? It's really any act against a monarchy/government/whatever which is a pretty big umbrella if you think about it)

Even if he didn't give very thorough answers,

I didn't comment on the "really" earlier, but I am going to complain about the "very" now because it's 100% unnecessary to this sentence ;)

This may sound odd, but it seems a little bit strange to me, with hindsight, that James being wanted for treason is MORE unsettling/alarming than Clandestine literally being for a different century? It makes it sound like that's more normal than crimes are, I guess? I don't know, I know that James was still concealing his identity and stuff, and obviously that's all pivotal to the plot and so forth, but Clandestine being out of time and alive and a dragon????? seems much more important/more greater than James being a criminal?
Also, since it's coming into play more and I'm mentioning it anyway, what's the government like from an outsider's perspective? Like, Clandestine's here thinking "I can't picture James doing something wrong" when I feel like what REALLY should be important is whether she can imagine him doing something against the current ruling power. Like, is there mixed views of the Moonlight Kingdom? Is it generally regarded as good/fair/equal (which then makes Clandestine's "I can't believe he'd do something treasonous" make more sense)? Or do a lot of people think it's corrupt/not good/etc?
This seems kind of... one dimensional? That's not,,,, the right way to describe it. But I want more context, you know? Like, okay so he's a criminal, but I can't really judge what to think about that based on that fact alone because I have no idea what the ruling system is like or what the people of Nye think about it.
This is a long winded way of asking: should I be assuming there's a valid reason for James' treasonous act because of his character or because the government sucks? (and since I only have Carter and Alexander to base those claims on and only Carter seems to be an "important figure" in the government/whatever, if you will, I have to wonder how good/benevolent the monarchy is in the first place, and then why Clandestine would be surprised unless she has really removed herself from everything going on that much)
OR should I be assuming there isn't a valid reason, and James maybe isn't actually all that "good" (I use that term in the most cliché sense of the word, as in purely good/evil standards, etc) of a character? It's hard to judge all that because I'm missing a good chunk of the context for the situation.

when she saw it was neither painted nor advertising questionable medical service.

this made me smile. "questionable medical service" Clanny's dubious thoughts about Diamond's wagons: the thrilling saga.

She blew outa sigh through pressed lips, and Billy imitated the sound.

yes!! quality!!! good babies!!!

In hindsight, it seemed like a dumb assumption to make.

I love this little detail of Clandestine's character? Like, her first thought is to assume the games are named just because Griffins, Man, and not because people are the Worst and having their fantasy dog fighting. she's sweet and soft and needs to be protected.

(also, I would keep an eye on those "really"s and "very"s because it's come up a few times now and they haven't added anything to their sentences! filler words, y'know?)

It's interesting to hear more of Clandestine's thought about monster hunting in general. It... does seem to contradict how she thought before, back with the goblins, but maybe it's just kind of wobbly with her? Idk, with the goblins, she was like,, "not people, monsters, gotta hunt", but now she seems to think monsters are 100% fine, as long as they don't encroach into lands or threaten people? I would have liked to see more of that mindset earlier on (the uh, hunting monsters isn't like, a fun sport, it's to prevent them from hurting people. of course, humans are the ones doing the threatening/provoking, so I think it's their fault like many things are lol. But! I like to see that Clandestine has a different perspective on it!), or at least have it mentioned/woven in better?

she was feeling really discouraged.

I think you know what I'll say about this but ALSO I see telling and no showing and I am going to Complain About It :U

and taste a little before she tasted a lot.

,,,,,taste a little before she ate a lot?

"Uh, on second thought, maybe not. You'd probably just lead me to hay bales or something."


The fun mix of smells was replaced with one single smell she could recognize - some kind of meat being cooked in a place a few buildings down to the right.

Clandestine bloodhound confirmed.

She looked over to Billy for permission to explore.

okay so,, she is leading him through the streets? She hopped on him before (I remember because I immediately imagined her springing straight off the ground and landing on his back), but I never read the part where she got off? You,, might want to include that haha

People sold griffin eggs? What for?

Considering there is a giant like, fighting pit designed for griffins, I can think of a few reasons just off the top of my head.

James would've mentioned if her hair was really messy or something, right?

Yes, I'm Sure this was something he would have been worried about.
also?? you've been on the road for months, and the last time you washed was like,,,, a while back. just,, saying,,,

you've NEVER heard of this amazing city?

The capitalisation,, does not really belong here. this would be one of those italics places.

Clandestine watched as the wagon an the horses kicked up dust behind them.

I was probably just rushing and missed something but I,,, was under the impression this was all taking place in an inn??

She was going to steal the egg.

OKAY I understand the chapter title now and also I lOVE IT YES CLANNY SAVE THAT GRIFFIN!!!

I think that's all I have for you today? Most of my rambles were earlier on today haha. Sorry I don't have more closing thoughts! I am,,, rushing a little, and I'm really sorry about that (I don't have a lot of time right now riP). Again, I can come back and revisit stuff and give you more overall thoughts about the chapter!

Otherwise, ahh!!! yay more chapters, I missed this (and it gives me a real reason to review consistency lol I'm so bad at just Not Doing It). Glad to see you writing again <3

I hope you're having a wonderful time!! :D

soundofmind says...


And oh my gosh I... I am not sure how to remedy the lack-of-context issue. I think a lot of it has been me not being sure how to bring that info up w/out it feeling info-dumpy or just plopped in? I've like, sort of noticed that a lot of key things like that I've only barely hinted at but now I'm really starting to realize the lack... Hhhhh.h.h.... I don't know how to fix. Obviously, I don't want to just save it for the second draft so I'm just trying to think of where it could fit in. BLEH!!!

I was thinking it would come a little later... with certain conversations in mind - but I don't know if that's too far out. It probably is.

Also me putting Clandestine's thoughts about monster hunting was partially,, me trying to compensate for the lack in the beginning. There's a lot that the first few chapters are lacking :,) gotta love hindsight. But yeah... all that to say I agree asjfhgdljkhjkdlsfd

THANK U FOR POINTING OUT MY FILLER WORD WEAKNESSES and again, thank you so much for the review. It was still very (ba dum tss) helpful even if you were tired and rushing. <3 <3 <3 Big love

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268 Reviews

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Fri May 10, 2019 12:46 am
Dossereana wrote a review...

Hi @soundofmind I am here to do a review on your chapter here.

Reel Nice Lines

Clandestine didn't know what to do with herself.

Great line here to start the chapter of,

She stood outside the Ruddlan gate for a few minutes, blankly staring into the city, through the gate, where James had already disappeared.

I find this line kind of interesting and just put to gather really well, and the way the characters feel, is really good, In so many ways I feel sorry a lot for Clandestine.

Maybe we'll actually run into Diamond again and I can ask him what he's doing with an egg."

there is some really strange thing going on here, and I like how your putting all of this lines gather, there is just so much to take in, but it is really nice and good to read, one thing i can say, is that i feel like Diamond is like a girls name and not really a boys name but really that is up to you.

What was really nice about the chapter

Your description is great, I really feel the characters in this story, I am getting a lot of amazing images in my head, that go with this story so well, and there is not a thing missing here, it really got inteasting in the chapter as well, I was all ways not wanting to stop and just carry on with the story, it is not something that you can say, that person has to work on this and that, instead its like wow this person has got such a talent for writing, I wish I could write like that, maybe there is somethings. But really this chapter had nothing that I would say needs changing maybe a little thing here and there but nothing much.

One little thing

She wasn't too caught up on the current attitude about griffins but judging from the griffin-fight arena and the general griffin imagery around the city gates, she wasn't sure if griffins were treated with respect, superstition, or a mix of both.

So I really feel like this line could do with a full stop at the end of gates, other wise the line just seems really long until the first full stop at the very end of the line is seen, this is just a thought that you can just look away from.

So this is all that I can say about this chapter. I hope I was not to mean or harsh or any thing that is not nice, if i was then I am so sorry pleas will you forgive me. So keep up that grate work I think that you have done really well with it. I look forward to the next chapter.

@EagleFly Out To Seek And Kill

I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.
— David Eddings