"She was a dragon?" They were on the road, Gilbert kept it five under the speed limit not wanting to be arrested again.
"Yeah didn't know at first, probably wouldn't have taken the job if I did, but she was showing it to me at the end, not even hiding it. The gem was a big hint, breathing smoke the other." Clarissa was just stunned, she just thought Miss Parker was a nice old woman.
"I thought you said dragons are dangerous."
"They are, but they are also unknowable, which is the real danger. Like that troll was no issue for her, literally could have plucked it from this world and eaten it, but what she wanted to see was us and how we would handle the creature."
"It's a good and terrifying question. Dragon's at their nature are secretive, in the past they were hunted, now because of how society has forgotten them, they have become the hunters to an extent, putting us in conflict with each other so they can remain." Clarissa was quiet, this felt almost like more of Gilbert's distrust of government anything, but there was something else there, something she wanted to know.
"When was the first time you encountered a dragon?" Gilbert knew the question was coming and sighed all the same.
"1973, I was twenty and a dragon saved my life."
"So are you going to tell the story or?"
"I was getting to that trying to arrange my thoughts damn woman you're worse than my wife." They both laughed at that, it was a way to break the tension.
Japan was a nice place in the summer, I remember that more than anything else. I was in the air force back then, off on a vacation with some other serviceman who's names I don't remember. I remember their faces though, mostly what they looked like when the creature got them. It was a Janzu demon, at the time I had no idea monsters were real, all I knew is that the nice japanese lady that had lead us to a "sacred forest" had turned into some lizard thing that spit venom and had killed my friends.
My eyes were burning from the shit she spit on me, I don't know how I found my way to this small shrine with a fountain, but I did. Looking back on it I probably desecrated the hell out of that shrine just trying to wash the venom from my eyes. I could hear the Janzu coming, the dying scream of my last companion told me she was on the way. She sang a song while she came, I don't know what the lyrics meant, but I assumed it was some kind of dirge about eating me.
I could see more now, and saw the shrine had some kind of bladed pole weapon alongside the little fountain I'd used. The weapon is called a Naginata, this one looked more ceremonial with a blade made out of jade, but I figured if I was going to go down, I'd go down swinging. The creature arrived with me standing there half blind holding this bladed staff and it laughed. It laughed and laughed. I think that just pissed me off more than anything. To be facing death and your killer is laughing at you. I was so angry I just swung that big pole at the creature. Ordinarily I would have come up short, just slammed that big blade into the ground and then been feed for the creature, but that wasn't an ordinary weapon. It must have taken my rage and turned it into an extension of the weapon, because instead of missing I sliced the Janzu in half. Its stunned expression permanently frozen on both sides of its face.
"Janzu I told you to leave the americans alone, and yet you just couldn't help but go for a bite." The old woman had come from thin air. She was dressed like a beggar would, and her hair was stringy and a dirty grey. What was strange to me is she appeared black, I hadn't seen another black person who wasn't a fellow american, let alone an old woman who wouldn't have been in the service. I was immediately fearful since she knew the creature I'd just killed. I turned with the blade holding it in front of me like a ward.
"Hush child I mean you no harm." With a wave of her hand the weapon was out of my hand and back in the shrine, its blade already cleaned of the creatures blood.
I fell to my knees, "Please don't kill me I just want to go home, I never wanted to come here." I truly was afraid, I admit I probably pissed myself.
"I told you I mean you no harm and you should know when someone like me makes a statement we mean it." I was just crying at this point, and she came up like my mother and calmed me. Her touch was warm almost to the point of feeling like she had a fever. "Hush child, you're safe, you're safe." I eventually calmed down enough to speak again, I feel like a damn fool now, but back then my life almost taken I was so very afraid.
"I just want to go home m'am whatever you need I'll provide what little I have." Now she laughed, I imagine at the thought of someone with very little yen and nothing of any material wealth trying to barter with a dragon is hilarious.
"Dunkley is it? Wow unfortunate last name young Mr. Dunkley, what you have I do not want, I came here to see what had disturbed my shrine and now seeing you I feel very sorry for you. You don't even know what's going on here."
"What is going on here?" The old woman smiled.
"The world just got a lot bigger for you Mr. Dunkley, my name is Del, and I'm a dragon." The woman who had been an old woman in rags suddenly became a huge green dragon and I damn near passed out again.