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Flying Free

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Every bone in his body ached.  He sprinted through the forest.  His boots were muddy, the path was muddy, and kept on slipping but he couldn't just stop.  Every time he got up again and kept running.  His dark clothes were muddy and torn, in some places they were also bloody.  Even the sword strapped to his back was dirty.  He was panting, gasping for breath.  He just wanted stop and rest.

 He glances back, " I.....think I lost them, " and he slows to a quick walk.

He brushes red and white hair out of his face.  Cold eyes scan the trees, looking for any threat.  His fingers brush against a scar on his left eyes.  Then he trips on a tree branch and falls face first in to the mud.  He stands up slowly, wiping mud out of his eyes, and starts walking again.

She hisses in pain as her wing shifts and the thorns pierce through the delicate skin between bone.  Everything hurt.  One wing was pinned beneath her body and the other was stretch above her.  Her claws dig into the ground as the vine shifts in a slight breeze.  Red blood runs down her white wings before stopping at the red and light blue scales of her body.  Her back leg twitches as a fly lands on a deep gash.  Her tail flicks the fly away.  She slowly raises her head, not wanting to get her horns stuck in the branches, and twists it around, scanning the forest.  With a huff she lays her head back on her fronts legs. 

Shoto freezes.  Ahead of him something had broken through the trees.  He draws his sword and creeps forward.  His eyes widen and he freezes as he pushes away a curtain of vines which were blocking his view.

 "Oh god," he says quietly.

His eyes flick over the dragon laying motionless a few steps away.  He sees the left stretched up, the tip torn and tangled with thorn.  The right wing tip was poking out from under the dragon.  It's back left leg was caught in what looks like a bear trap of some kind.  The wing which was stretching up was white with streaks of red.  With a sick feeling he realizes it was blood.  The dragon's body was a combination of light blue and white swirling together with the occasional splatter of red.  He steps closer, pointing the sword at the dragon's throat.  He could barely see it's side rise and fall with each shallow breath.  He then steps on something that he thought was a root until the dragon whines.  Shoto takes a quick step back, now noticing that the root was in fact it's tail.  He walks slowly towards the dragon's head.  The dragon doesn't acknowledge him as he approaches.  Shoto lays a gentle hand on the dragon's cheek.  The dragon rumbles and he pulls away in fright

"I'm not going to hurt you," Shoto says quietly, kneeling next to it, " I just want to help. "

The dragon doesn't respond.

 "What happened to you?" he frowns, slowly petting the dragon's neck.

 The dragon purrs, slowly opening a bright green eye to stare at Shoto.  He jumps back, raising his hands, not realizing that he was still clutching his sword.  The purr turns into a low growl as the dragon's eye locks into the sword. He pales and puts the sword away.  The dragon visible relaxes.

 "Ok, can you understand me?"

 The dragon nods.

 "Can you talk?"

 The dragon shakes it's head.

 "Got it, I'm going to take care of your wing first, ok?" he stands up and approaches the trapped wing.

 The dragon nods, watching him carefully.  He steps over the dragon carefully and sees a tree he could climb.  He scrambles up it before carefully inching towards were the wing was trapped.  He slowly starts to pull the vines and thorn off.  The dragon growls.

 "I'm sorry," he says, " what happened here? "

 The dragon huffs, rolling it's eye.

 "Right, you can't talk," he chuckles, slightly embarrassed.

He gets the last of the vines off and the wing is free.  Immediately the dragon folds it close to it's body.  Shoto climbs down, stepping over it.

 "Now for your leg," he kneels next to it and pulls out his sword, " I'm not going to hurt you, " he says quickly when the dragon tenses.

He uses the sword to pry open the trap and the dragon pulls it's leg out.

 "There you're free."

 The dragon tries to stand up but immediately collapses.

 He frowns, " ok then, to hurt to move.  I can deal with that. "

The dragon purrs, pressing it's muzzle against his side.

 "Don't worry, I'm not going to leave you alone and hurt."