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The Lost Dragon Chapter 7.2 (LMS VI)

by soundofmind

Chapter 7: Treason? I Barely Know Him!

Billy gained speed as they tore up the hill, trying to catch up to the bounty hunter who was still trying to gain on Matt.

Matt disappeared over the hill first. Her heart skipped a beat when the hunter dissappeared a few seconds after him, but as she rounded over the hill behind him, Matt had actually gained distance instead of losing it.

Apparently, Elliot was the faster horse, or Matt was the better rider.

If only Billy had that kind of speed. Not to say that Billy wasn't fast, but he wasn't fast enough to close the distance between the hunter and Matt. She was, however, starting to gain on the hunter as the three of them careened down the hill and gravity pulled all of them faster and faster into the level bed of grass between each arch of land.

Dirt was flying behind them. The long blades of grass started to sway as a breeze came up over the hill, and it almost looked like waves as each gust came in with another push.

If her heart hadn't been racing she might've thought it was peaceful.

The pounding of hooves kept her mind sharp. With another "Hyah!" she tried to push Billy forward, and she could feel him straining to go faster. She hoped he knew he'd get too many pets and snacks after this was over, but she couldn't think that far ahead. She had no idea how this would end, and she couldn't even let her mind entertain the worst-case scenarios.

If only it was night. Then maybe she could try to summon the wind wolves back as a distraction. She doubted they were that far off, being the fleeting images that they were.

They kept at it for minutes.

Each minute dragged on, and she knew that none of their horses could keep such a pace forever. They'd have to slow down eventually unless they were all going to run their horses into the ground.

Eventually, the hunter started to gain some distance from her, getting just a little closer to Matt, but Matt and Elliot didn't relent.

They were still too far ahead to catch, and they were too fast of a moving target.

At least, that's what she assumed.

But then the hunter began to slow down.

They were looking down the slopes of two descending hills. She was still making her way down the first while the hunter stopped at the top of the second. Matt had just crossed a thin creek stretching around the bottom of the second hill, passing between two groups of spindly trees.

The space between them was narrow, and it almost seemed like the branches were reaching out to him as he shot through them, riding Elliot up the next hill. Though she could see Elliot was slowing a little at the incline.

Moving slower, Matt and Elliot couldn't have been more than 200 yards away from the hunter who sat atop his horse at the top of the hill, now holding a long rifle aimed at Matt.

Clandestine stared, eyes locked on the man as he steadied his aim.

He was peering through a scope. The barrel of his gun slowly followed Matt's movement up the hill.

No way he could make that shot. Could he?

She couldn't wait to find out.

Billy had them barreling straight for the hunter. Veering him ever so slightly to the side, Clandesinte found herself acting before she had a fully formed plan in her head.

Normally, with fighting monsters, she knew what to expect. With every monster she faced, she had years of study to fall back on. She knew what behaviors to expect, how to best diffuse the situation if it was possible, and how to kill the creature when necessary. She knew their strengths and their weaknesses. Where they came from, and what they ate. What they would do if you caught them by surprise or came at them head-on.

But people?

She wasn't a soldier or a fighter. Every person was different.

It wasn't the same as fighting a beast.

And what was she going to do if she overpowered him? Murder him?

By the time she had that horrifying thought, she'd drawn her sword. The man was so deeply focused on staring through his scope that he was unflinching. But just as she reached out to swing and knock the gun from his hands, he ducked.

Her blade hit air. The man slid off his saddle and rolled onto the ground.

She pulled her sword up, eyes going wide as she nearly sliced through the neck of the man's horse instead.

Billy whizzed by it all. Clandestine felt her heart pounding in her ears, and she stared at the empty space beside her for a second before she pulled on Billy's reins and turned him back.

Billy skidded at first as they began a wide circle, climbing around the peak of the hill.

I'm over my head.

But it was too late to back out now.

Just as she focused her sights back on the man, now standing up, she saw him reach into his jacket. Instinct told her he was reaching for one of his many knives, and she knew that Billy was the biggest target. Panic coursed through her and she turned Billy to the side and whipped her sword around.


The knife spun into the grass. Clandestine leaped out of Billy's saddle, running up to the hunter.

She'd spent her lifetime hunting monsters. This man had spent a lifetime hunting men.

She swiped at him, but he dodged. As she spun around to swing overhead, he spun with her, like it was a dance. His hand moved quicker than she had time to react.

Instead of catching him with the blade, he caught her.

Like it was nothing.

His hands clamped around her forearms, freezing her mid-motion. Her eyes widened, and she stepped back quickly, trying to yank him off-balance. But he followed her yank with a hard push of his own, and she bounced off of him with a grunt.

He ripped her sword of out her hands as he knee'd her in the gut, sending her to the ground.

The world fell out from under her feet, and she saw her sword flying down the hill, far out of view and lost in the three-foot-tall grass.

Her breath stopped as she hit the ground. Instinctually, she pulled her chest up and fell back down, gasping for air. The man stood over her with a smirk, like he'd already won.

Clandestine furrowed her brows.

Oh, so that's how it was going to be?

Breathless, she threw herself to her feet with a push of her arms and launched herself at his gut. But before she could even get a hold of him, he grabbed her by the shoulders and she was flying again in seconds. She couldn't even register what happened.

One moment, she was upright. The next, her face hit a patch of earth.

Tiny, tiny pebbles of dirt and gravel planted themselves in her face.

Groaning, she pried her face off the ground and squinted out, seeing his feet next to her. This time, she barely got to move her legs to kick at him before she saw a flash of metal in his hands, descending down on her. Her heart stopped as, for a moment, everything seemed to move in slow motion.

His dagger was curved. Shiny. The kind of blade that was well-loved and well-polished.

Clandestine was barely on her side, caught by surprise.

Eyes like saucers, Clandestine threw herself onto her back.

The blade lodged in her jacket, just missing her abdomen. It pinned her to the ground.

This is my favorite jacket, she thought, just as she struggled to abandon it. But again, her escape attempt was cut short as the man followed the movement of his arm and landed on top of her.

He clamped his hands over her wrists and held them down with an iron grip. His bones ground against hers, and she writhed to no avail.

It wasn't fair. He was so much bigger and stronger than her.

Then again, the same could've been said for the sandworm. But that was different. This was different. This was--

"Why defend him?" the man huffed, still unrelenting in his grip. "What did he do to deserve this kind of loyalty?"

Clandestine was still short of breath, and frankly, hadn't expected him to start talking. She didn't respond. At least he wasn't trying to kill her yet.

She wriggled more, still struggling to break free.

He lifted her with one swift pull and then slammed her back into the ground. Clandestine could feel her head spinning.

His face was out of focus as he leaned in uncomfortably close. So much so she could feel his breath on her face. He let out an eerie laugh like he thought all of this was funny.

"You don't know, do you?" the man asked with a smile.

Clandestine knew what he was asking. She knew what he was implying. But she wasn't having it.

Growling, she pushed against him as hard as she could manage, mustering all of her strength.

"Get off me!" she shouted.

Just as she thrust her head up to try to hit his, he pulled away, laughing again.

"By all means!" he said, effortlessly getting back to his feet.

Clandestine's face throbbed as she pushed herself back to her feet. Just as she felt like her vision came back into focus, she saw Alexander swing his leg.

Are you serio--

Her attempt to jump was too slow. She slammed right back down to the ground with a groan, and she caught herself only enough to spare her face this time.

"Stay out of this," the man said coldly, his words swimming in her ears.

"If you knew who you were defending," he went on, "you wouldn't take this risk. I promise you."

Clandestine pushed her upper body up, looking up at the source of the man's voice.

She wasn't going to win this one and she knew it.

"The name's Alexander Kingsman," the man announced, sitting atop his horse. He'd slung his gun back over his shoulders.

For a second, they met each other's eyes.

His eyes were smiling. Smug, like he was proud to know something she didn't.

And then he turned his horse around. With a click of its reins, he was riding off again, kicking dirt up in his wake.

For a moment, she sat there in the grass staring after him. Watching, as he got smaller and smaller, feeling the pain of a hundred tiny grains of hard dirt on the side of her face and the pain of her shattered ego - but mostly, the pain of worry.

Something told her that Alexander Kingsman, whoever he was, had let her off easy.

If he'd let her off easy, what did Matt have coming for him?

Her eyes drifted over to Billy. Thankfully, he hadn't run far. Just out of range of the fight, but close enough to reach again.

Clandestine gingerly touched her face and wiped it off, feeling the ache as she dislodged a tiny rock from her cheek. She didn't know if she'd catch up to them at this rate, but something in her gut told her she had to try.

All she knew about Matt now was that he was wanted, a traitor to the Moonlight Kingdom - allegedly - and his name was Tiberius something - allegedly. And Alexander thought he wasn't worth defending - allegedly.

She wouldn't know until she asked Matt herself. And she hoped to gods that she made it there in time to do so.

Still, Alexander's words floated back into her head.

"What did he do to deserve your loyalty?"

She hated to admit that it was a worthwhile question when it came out of the mouth of her attacker, but it was something she needed to consider.

She was putting her life on the line for him again with this, but this time, it wasn't a business transaction. Helping out an outlaw... well, that could ruin her business just as much as her magic being exposed could. Of course, she still didn't know exactly what Matt was caught up in. It made sense of his reserved, guarded nature though. If he had bounty hunters coming after him of course he was being careful. She could understand that. Being careful.

Course, she'd really put her foot in her mouth by exposing her magic to Matt, but that was a first for her. Not putting her foot in her mouth. Telling someone she had magic.


Matt had made a promise. If he really was a traitor like the poster said, there was no telling whether or not he really was of the character to keep her promise, or if he'd just throw her to the wolves to save himself. But what was most important about all of this was that Matt wasn't just a traitor in general. He was a traitor to the Moonlight Kingdom - the kingdom most responsible for the killing of mages and enforcement of all laws against magic.

In her book, that made him a good person. Besides, she'd rather take Matt's word that he supported mages than the word of some random bounty hunter who just wanted her out of the way so he could get thousands in gold.

Taking in a deep breath, Clandestine pushed herself to her feet and shambled over to Billy. He seemed a little scattered, but not spooked.

"At least Alexander didn't stab me or something," she commented quietly to her horse, still feeling bruised from being thrown around. "That'd make things more complicated."

Gently, she petted the side of his face. She knew how disorienting it was when she abandoned him to take on a monster.

But this was just another type of monster.

Clandestine hopped up on Billy's saddle and scanned the field around her, looking downhill.

She was determined, now.

"Alright," she said with a sigh. "Now... to find my sword."

Is this a review?



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547 Reviews

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Reviews: 547

Thu Jun 08, 2023 1:52 pm
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Ventomology says...

Yesss Clandestine. Fight your oppressors.

Also I'm so in love with the fact that she loses here actually. Like, from a narrative perspective. I didn't want her to lose. It just... builds so much character.

soundofmind says...

AAAAAAA thank you ;-; And yes!! I%u2019m glad you like it too

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378 Reviews

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Wed Mar 01, 2023 11:39 pm
Dossereana wrote a review...

Hi @soundofmind here for another review on your novel, so lets jump right into it shell we.

About the chapter and Characters

I really enjoyed this chapter sound, I always love reading epic sense and you write them so well. I love how determined Clandestine is, I must say when it comes to these sorts of things her real personality truly comes out in full swing, I take her as the overly protective sort of person, but also very carrying.
I love how you enclouded the part about the Moonlight kingdom being responsible for killing the mages. It really makes me worried about Clandestine because if she really does get on this guy's bad side and she accidently slips up with her powers to protect herself, then he will try to kill her or hand her in.
And wow the moment the bounty hunter pulled out his gun and aimed it for Matt I was like Aaaa No don't kill him, his a big part of this story!!!!!!! Lol if you had killed him I would have been real sad. So, you defiantly got the right reaction out of me. I must say I am defiantly attached to this character quite a bit.
I was so hoping the man would tell Clandestine what Matt had done, I was really sad when he didn't, Aww well I guess I'm just going to have to keep reading to find out.
I'm really wondering what Gregor and the others are thinking right now, you know seeing Matt leave along with the bounty hunter and Clandestine. I'm wondering how confused they must feel about this situation.

"What did he do to deserve your loyalty?"

When this part came up I was like, hey his still keeping your magey secret don't you forget that! Although a thought that did come to mind is, maybe he can't turn her in because his wanted, so it's not like he can go the Moonlight Kingdom and say hey she's a fire mage get rid of her, because well he'd be put in jail or something before he even got close to telling them what he wanted to say.

For a moment, she sat there in the grass staring after him. Watching, as he got smaller and smaller, feeling the pain of a hundred tiny grains of hard dirt on the side of her face and the pain of her shattered ego - but mostly, the pain of worry.

I really felt sorry for her at this point, you know I was kind of hoping that Percy or someone would come along suddenly and help her up, she must be in so much pain though. I love how she's still to worried to care about the pain to much though.

She was determined, now.

"Alright," she said with a sigh. "Now... to find my sword."

I love her determination, and wow how long is she going to spend trying to find her sword. Know I see what your talking about with the cliffhangers, I can see that it is mostly because you split the chapters up into multiple parts, so that's understandable.

This was a good chapter sound and I'm looking forward to reading the next part as usual. :) But if I was being harsh, I'm really sorry that was not my intention, I'm only saying what I think might be helpful, I hope to read more of your chapters, keep up the great work.

I hope you have a great day/night witch ever side of the world you're on.

@Dossereana Flying Over The Green Room And Spreading Shards Of Encouragement

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Mon Feb 27, 2023 10:30 pm
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Carina says...

mmmm the plot thickens

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Wed Feb 01, 2023 4:23 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hi again sound!

General Impressions

The fight scene felt pretty brutal, even though Clandestine wasn’t seriously injured. It definitely differed in pace / tone from the sandworm fight, reflecting Clandestine’s thoughts on how fighting people is a whole other ballgame. I felt frustrated for Clandestine during that scene because it kept feeling like Alexander always had the upper hand. I also think James is going to be worried when he realizes she came after him.

Additionally, I do wonder what James did. Now that Alexander’s brought it up, it looks like it might be revealed in the story at some point. I don’t think it’s something to do with mages, since he didn’t react with a *lot* of emotion / anything telling when Clandestine told him about her being a mage.


I like that Clandestine does end up challenging her own motivation and clarifying it in this chapter. It looks like I was right about Clandestine initially acting from emotion rather than a reasoned out response. It was in the heat of the moment after all, and Clandestine seems to recognize that with the thought that she’s “in over her head”. The information about the Moonlight Kingdom’s persecution of mages gives her *more* of a reason to be on James’ side, though I think I might agree with Alexander there that the initial cause was something else. Just camaraderie maybe, with someone whom she feels she trusts.

Oh, so that's how it was going to be?
Breathless, she threw herself to her feet with a push of her arms and launched herself at his gut.

I liked this moment. It drew me into the scene and was what made me feel as frustrated as her when she was repelled.
"Why defend him?" the man huffed, still unrelenting in his grip. "What did he do to deserve this kind of loyalty?"

I feel from this line that Alexander has something personally out for James. While the close contact and his general demeanour does resemble typical story villains, I think Alexander’s hard-hitting questions make him stand out a little. I think most antagonists don’t move to that immediately, so this kind of intrigues me about the character.


Animal time! I like the continuity of James’ bond with Elliot making him perhaps (?) “the better rider”, whereas Alexander left his own horse in Clandestine’s line of attack at one point to save himself. It definitely feels like the horses stay in the picture even when it’s the humans fighting one another, which is a nice touch. I also loved the mention of the wind wolves again. I hope it’s foreshadowing a future confrontation at night when Clandestine *does* get to use them as a distraction!
His dagger was curved. Shiny. The kind of blade that was well-loved and well-polished.

I thought it was interesting that Alexander had a gun before but here chooses to use a knife at close-range. I guess his gun only works at long range? I’d imagine if it’s something like a rifle he wouldn’t be using it when he’s so up close to his opponent. Just a question that came to mind when reading the scene xD
"By all means!" he said, effortlessly getting back to his feet.
Clandestine's face throbbed as she pushed herself back to her feet. Just as she felt like her vision came back into focus, she saw Alexander swing his leg.

I think this use of Alexander’s name in the narration happens *before* he actually says his name to Clandestine, which felt a bit weird, since this is her POV.


Another exciting chapter! I like the subtle psychological complexity of the characters – not just in terms of stuff like how events impact their feelings, but also how they choose to respond to challenges and what rationalisations and inferences they have. As mentioned, I felt invested in how Clandestine was feeling and thinking this chapter especially.

Hope this helps – let me know if you’d like more feedback!

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Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:20 am
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Benji says...

love this chapter and this series and also editing my double posted comment so i gotta take this time to right my wrongs!!!

soundofmind says...

good otherwise you would've had to ask for forgiveness :^)

Benji says...

you: "then beg"

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14 Reviews

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Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:19 am
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Benji says...

it's treason, then.

soundofmind says...

so THAT'S what's wrong with him! all the nice guys always got some dark secret, I swear *eyeroll*

Benji says...

you know us, totally not hiding a third story arc where we realize running away maybe not be the smartest choice, deep down in there somewhere

soundofmind says...

he gets it

Sometimes my life just sounds like surrealistic fiction being sold on clearance at the book store.
— J. G. Hammersmith