Miwa presses his back against the tree, trying his best to hide his whole figure. He could feel the bark digging into his back as he tightly clenched hands over his mouth. There was a loud beating in his chest as his legs trembled. He could hardly believe what he had just seen.
With a gulp, he dares to peer from his hiding spot to look at the creature once more. The dragon's scales were a dusty maroon color with a dark indigo underbelly. Spikes protruded from its shoulders with an even larger one extending from its head. Huge wings that reminded him of flames were bound against its body thanks to the wire entrapping the creature.
The dragon struggled against its binding, letting out low growls with every failed attempt at freedom. Miwa flinched when he heard it let out a loud cry. It sounded like it was in pain.
He couldn't believe that something like this simple wire trap had captured such a legendary creature. Dragons were powerful beasts that kept to themselves. If you saw one, it was a certain sign of death. But that usually applied when arriving in their cave or actively picking a fight with one to prove yourself. The human doubted it was the same with finding one like this.
The dragon lets out a loud roar before seeming to give up in its attempts. Its head lies against the grass and for a second, Miwa thinks it had died. Then he noticed the rise and fall of its chest.
He pulls his head back and rests against the tree again. The easiest thing to do was to walk away and never look back. Ignore the fact that there was a dragon out in the woods, in pain and could possibly die thanks to a trap that was never meant for it. Honestly, he could come back and make a living off the corpse if he was a truly heartless person. But he wasn't.
The dragon, although powerful and could probably kill him in one swipe of his tail, was still a living creature. It had cried out in pain and was hurting. If he turned a blind eye to this, it would haunt him for the rest of his life.
'I hope this doesn't kill me…'
Miwa takes in a shaky breath, holds it, and then reveals himself. The moment his shoes had pressed against the taller grass, the dragon had set its emerald eyes upon him. Miwa froze immediately.
"I'm here to help!" He shouts and holds his hands up.
Some legends say dragons could speak and understand humans. Others say they couldn't. He was hoping it would be the former for this one. Doubt formed once he saw the dragon open its mouth and seeing a small spark of flames ignite.
"Please, just listen to me! I want to help you!" He gulps, hoping he wasn't an idiot for not trying to duck for cover at this point. "Just for a couple of minutes, trust me. That's all I need from you."
The dragon's gaze narrows, mouth still open. A puff of smoke escapes before its mouth shuts. Did it actually understand him? He hoped so. Regardless, he would take slow and careful strides to get closer to the creature.
Now he was standing right in front of it and could admire the creature's scales. They shined in the sunlight that broke through the trees, making them seem as if they were set ablaze. As much as he wishes to touch them, he pauses when he notices a distinct shade of red pouring down the darker scales. It was difficult to see from afar, but up close he could note the differences. And he could even see the red trickling down its wings too.
"You're hurt pretty badly…Did the wires dig into you that deep?"
He hears the dragon huff or sigh. He wasn't too sure. But he found it hard to believe this was the case. Blades had a hard time digging into their scales, so why these wires? He'd worry over that another day.
Miwa finds a spot where there is no blood on the creature. He places his hand there while his other one digs into his pocket to pull out a knife. As if on cue, the dragon wriggles in response to sensing the blade.
"I won't cut you, all right? Like I said, trust me."
His eyes meet with the dragon's and he waits for…something. He isn't sure what. A 'yes' or 'okay' would be nice, but seeing the dragon shut its eyes seems like the best response he would get.
He is careful to make sure the blade barely touches the dragon's scales. As long as he cuts through these wires, that's all that matters. He has to move around, cutting through most to ensure the dragon could move freely and shake the loose wire off. Pieces fall against the grass and little by little, he releases the dragon from its bindings.
"There. All done."
Miwa is quick to put the blade away and step back to allow room for the dragon. He watches as it presses its claws into the earth before pushing its body up. On all fours with wings spread out for him to see, he realized just how big this dragon was. It had looked smaller with its body forced down in that trap.
With this huge creature standing before him, he wasn't sure what would happen next. Well, he had an idea. It involved him being eaten. Why wouldn't a dragon eat a human anyway to regain their energy? It almost felt like this was the most likely scenario. Especially when the dragon had lowered its head in front of him, snout only inches away from him.
"N-Nice dragon…mind giving me some personal space?" There's a weak laugh that follows. He quickly shuts his mouth when its snout is practically pressed against his face. The dragon takes a breath in. Then out. Warm smoke being exhaled and engulfing his entire body. The human coughs and tries to wave the smoke away.
The dragon had pulled its head away from him at this point. It had walked past him, leaving him to live another day. As the smoke around him clears, Miwa turns to watch the creature pause in its steps. It extends its wings, flaps them, and then-
The dragon collapses against the ground.
The human waits. He stares. When the dragon doesn't get up again, against better judgement, he runs to the creature's side.
"Hey!" He shouts as he stops beside the dragon's head. He looks back at its body before looking to it again. "If you're too hurt to fly, you shouldn't force yourself."
The dragon attempts to get to its feet again. It fails to even push its own body up. He can see that the dragon wants to stand, wants to fly, but just…can't.
"Just take a break, okay?" Miwa pleads. The dragon seemed to understand before, so hopefully that wasn't just a fluke. "There shouldn't be too many humans out here, but I can try to divert their attention from the area."
That was easier said than done. If anyone was out here, he was certain it would be a hunter of sorts. If he was lucky, just a merchant passing by. But humans were curious creatures, he knew that himself. Whatever he could say to persuade them to leave may backfire.
"Aw man," he lets out a sigh. "Why couldn't you have been a boar or something? No one would bat an eye to you then. Hell, even a human would be better than this…at least then I could take you home and help you out a bit more…"
Miwa lets his head drop for a second before lifting it back up. Sure, this was a hard task but he'd do it. He wasn't in debt to this dragon or anything, but he wished to help it out.
"No more complaining! I gotta go and make sure no one comes around here for a while! Maybe I can make signs or something or…huh?"
The human blinks when he notices the dragon glows. He assumes the worst- that the dragon is dying and being called into the heavens. Except its body is never lifted from the ground and he really isn't sure if there is such a thing as a dragon heaven. Instead, the surrounding glow only grows brighter and brighter, making Miwa bring up his arms to shield himself from the light. He shuts his eyes and waits for the light to disappear. When he's certain that its gone and he can open his eyes without fear of going blind, he does.
Where the once legendary beast lay, now a human did. A male with brown hair swept to the side, wearing some red shorts. He had fair skin with patches of maroon scales…that was covered in scars and blood. If that wasn't distracting enough, there was the fact that he had a tail resembling the dragon's along with smaller wings extending from his back.
"What…just happened?" Miwa breathes out.
The dragon (now human?) forced his eyes open to look at Miwa. They were the same color as the dragon's.
"Take me...to your home…"
It was a weak command, but he said it with as much power as he could muster.
The dragon kept his gaze on the human, never once wavering. He said nothing but looked as if he were about to pass out any second.
"This is…way too convenient. But…all right. Just, uhh…I'll try not to agitate any of your wounds, okay?"
The dragon gives a nod before passing out.
Miwa plops himself down on the chair beside his bed. His gaze falls onto the dragon who was asleep. He'd been out cold since yesterday. There were no signs of him waking up. He didn't even react when he had dropped a pan earlier in the day. Either he was a deep sleeper or he really needed to take a rest.
"Hope you're feeling better, buddy. You looked like you really took a beating…"
While his body was concealed in bandages mostly, Miwa had seen how badly the other was injured. Any normal human would have already died from the wounds on his body. The human remained beside him for a moment longer before letting out a sigh. With no sigh of him waking, he decided that he would make dinner.
Since he now had a guest, Miwa began making another portion in case the dragon were to wake. He wasn't sure what dragons ate. It was easy to assume meat, but if he could turn human, maybe they were omnivores? He really wished he could make a quick stop to the bookseller in town. She would probably know more about dragons than anyone else.
"No one prepares you for taking care of a dragon. But I guess most people don't save one either."
A groan comes from his bed, and Miwa instantly turns to look in that direction. He stops his cooking, eyes fixed on the corner of the room. The dragon was waking up, and the human dashed to the bed.
"Loud…" He mumbled.
"Sorry, sorry. Are you…feeling all right? You slept for a whole day, you know. I did my best to patch up your wounds, but, well…not sure how to tend to a dragon."
The dragon lets out a breath and forces his body to sit up in bed. He places a hand against his head before he looks up. His gaze drifts around the room before falling onto Miwa.
"You're at my home. Just like you asked. And don't worry, no one saw or knows you're here."
"Welcome!" Miwa says with a smile before smelling something being burnt. Oh. Right. He was cooking. "Uhh, one sec!"
Miwa dashes off to finish the food. He really hopes the dragon will be content with beef and veggies. If he didn't like one or the other, he could trade with him.
"Hope you're hungry!" Miwa chimes as he returns to his side with two plates. He sets one on the dragon's lap before sitting down on the chair. "You…eat that right?"
The dragon looks down at the food. He reaches out and picks up a piece of broccoli, unfazed by how hot it should be, and sniffs it. Content, he tosses it into his mouth.
Guess that was a yes.
"Ah, no need to thank me! I just couldn't leave you there." He almost asks what he was doing there, but thinks it might be too soon for that. "You can thank me by getting better and then giving me a ride on your back." He jokes.
The dragon gives him a deadpan look before tossing another veggie into his mouth. A piece of beef shortly follows.
"So…" Miwa starts in between bites. "You have a name?"
He doesn't respond at first and for a moment, Miwa thinks he was being ignored. Once he chomps on the last piece of beef, he gives him an answer.
"Toshiki Kai. Prince of dragons."
"Taishi Miwa. I don't have a fancy title like that, but I guess I'm the hero who saved the prince of dragons."