Dragon Slayers (Slayers & Protectors Book 1)(3)

By: Kristin D. Van Risseghem

The dragons did not have any weapons to use. They were the weapon. Back in the early days, what was used against them couldn’t penetrate through their thick scales. Eventually we found out that they had magic on their side and could conceal their human bodies. What could humans do against beasts the size of dinosaurs? Not much. So their numbers grew and spread across the world. Using ginormous leathery wings they are creatures like a pterodactyl on steroids.

As time went on, a Slayer Council was created to gather and pass data to other regions of the world. My parents are the only two who remain from the original members’ line. So, I guess you could say that I’m kinda like royalty, which may also be a reason why I’m alone.

The stop of the van jolts me from my absent staring out of the window. The ride doesn’t take long at all. New York City has an underground tunneling system that matches the roads above it. The Slayers built it before the city became what it is today. Yes, we’ve been around that long. Our school and Council are the only ones who know about the secret passageways and the hidden doors. It cuts the time in half when we’re needed across town since if we don’t have to battle the bumper to bumper traffic above.

Manny squeezes my hand. I look down at our threaded fingers and wonder why he’s holding it. Butterflies flutter in my belly and my heart pounds.

I give him a tentative smile, and he lets go of my fingers. Each Oner grabs a titanium shield as they pass us and step through a magical doorway and up onto a vacant street. The van leaves as we huddle around Manny and wait for our instructions.

“A dragon has been seen around this area,” Manny says. “Your mission is to capture and slay it.” He stares at each Oner, and his gaze lingers on me for a split second longer. “Stay in a tight formation, and we’ll all get through this together. Now, let’s head off that way.” He points and we scatter. It’s not as tight of a group as I’d like it to be, or Manny would probably like.

Normal humans who don’t possess magic can’t see us, or the dragons. Our magic keeps us hidden and our Social Media Team at the school knows how to spins stories when things gets out of hand.

I take off and follow the tail end of my classmates and then veer toward the Morrisania neighborhood. The old brick buildings are nestled in between newly refurbished ones. The neighborhood is trying to give its self a facelift. After jogging three blocks, I realize that I’m alone. Between my looking around and not paying attention, my class has left me behind. I slow my pace to regroup. There are two options I can take: go back the way and I or proceed forward in hopes that I meet up with my team. Neither option is great. My breathing races and palms start to sweat. Every noise jerks my head in different directions.

Then the night becomes eerily quiet. Even the flickering streetlight above me doesn’t make a popping sound as it rotates between on and off. I’m crouched next to a blue dumpster that has tangled one too many times with a truck and lost. The smell makes me nauseous.

A large shadow from an animal passes over the alley, blocking out the buildings’ lights, the moon, and the stars.

Come on Brooklyn, you can do this. You’ve been training for this moment, and you must pass to graduate to the next Level.

I slowly unfold myself from my squatting position, but then a haunting screech breaks the silent evening, stopping me in my tracks.

It’s close.

I briefly wonder where the rest of my classmates are and where Manny is. We are supposed to stay together.

As the Senior Team Leader on this mission, he should have stayed by me. Maybe he’s with the others. He wouldn’t abandon us and leave anyone to die. He’s not like that. Manny is one of the best students in Level Three, which is why he’s our Leader tonight and has been our Skills instructor.

A massive fireball zooms toward my face, breaking me out of my thoughts. I hold my shield up to cover my body, not wanting to get my clothes burned off. Reaching behind me, the comforting feel of my stainless-steal crossbow is lifted and ready to take aim. Titanium is the only thing that can penetrate through the thick scales that coats the beasts we hunt. It’s infused into our shields, weapons, and if you can afford it, into clothing.