tagSci-Fi & FantasySurfacing Ch. 40

Surfacing Ch. 40

byEtaski©

Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. (c) Etaski 2017.

This is the second part of four in winding things down, the long arch concerning the Dragons of Miurag. We pick up where we left off, just as trouble is about to launch itself out of the library like a shiny black rocket. ;) Enjoy!


*****

Surfacing Chapter 40

Whispers of where possible spirits in their city may visit with the highest frequency had always lingered around the Inn of Lungai Xiq, for as long as even his grandfather knew. The hint was in the name certainly, translated by the pale men of the south as "Dragon's Rest," yet how often others claimed the proprietors simply wanted to cash in on the legends!

The Fang family did not seem to care. In no recent time had they made claims on the blessed foundation of their three-century building; they did not have to. It was a landmark within the city now, one of the oldest and best cared for, and for certain a place protected by the Guild of Augran. It was best not to displease the innkeepers unnecessarily, lest they become spiteful with their connections.

Lungai Xiq was a place which the youth of the city always had to see for themselves as they grew up. It was a rite of passage to creep around—most often at dawn or at dusk, perhaps without an elder's permission to be out of bed—and see whether any glimpses of Dragon Spirits could be claimed. So often there were claims, detailed descriptions, stories... but all really suspected it was only to entertain one's peers and, in some cases, make up for the pain of a switch taken to one's back or bottom.

They were good stories, they had to be, but as it was with those darker ghost stories with permeated their culture—such as the masked shadow-killers with silver blades—nothing which could be proven.

The Merchant Shi family already had the best stories of their generation, having hosted a full dinner and eve of entertainment with not only the Dragon Spirit of Yong-wen, but also one of his Black Ghost warriors—it was a story which would keep the belief strong in his family for generations—and yet... here he was, spying on Lungai Xiq once again, as he had not since he was little.

"You ignore your lessons too often these days, Bohai," Renshu said, stern just like their father Shi Mu Kuo as he caught up to his younger brother on the street. "I dislike having to come find you as you loiter without use! And I know not what you have put into Dandan's head ever since she was blessed by the Dragon Spirit of Yong-wen, but she is becoming rebellious as well!"

"Why would it have been me to put those notions into Dandan's head?" the younger brother protested as quiet as family arguing on the streets of Yong-wen could be. "The Black Ghost was a womanly warrior and challenged often the Dragon Spirit to stand without bowing to him! She was most fierce! Dandan saw this, the same as I!"

His oldest brother's face flushed with the imaginings. On the honor of their House, the Dragon Spirit had sworn an oath the next morning that, while Bohai had been chosen to be a virgin-companion to the Black Ghost, the third son of the house had not touched his sister, which would have despoiled her during her ritual. As this was true, the young man—for he *was* a man now, even ahead of Hulin, thanks to the sensual Black Ghost of whom he still dreamt!—had continued stubbornly to stand up for himself and spoke frankly of his extraordinary experience with his brothers and father, as much as they dared to hear of the dark spirit's tastes.

Bohai did so because if he did not, or not regularly enough, his family would make up their own ideas of what had happened when he had seen his sister naked, her womb opened and blessed by the ancient spirits from across the Great Lake, which not only damaged her future to their family, but could make Bohai an unappealing suitor should he ever pursue a wife. For now, the fact that Bohai had been in the same room as Dandan was kept within the family, though the honor granted Shi Mu Kuo's only daughter was spoken within their circles. The spirits had been wise to hide Bohai's presence, even as all the servants knew about Dandan's submission to their greatest legend.

"That is not important," Renshu said finally, shrugging off his discomfort and motioning briskly for Bohai to come with him. "You should return to our House, not wander the streets with no purpose."

"I have purpose," the youth protested, not moving his feet. "I sense the spirits are close, and so does Dandan. She is having strange dreams, the strangest and most frightening last night."

Renshu rolled his eyes and looked skyward and took a different argument. "It is the middle of the morning. The times of the spirits has passed, they are asleep. There is no need to stay here until sundown and you have work to do."

"No," Bohai said. "We have heard the same throughout the city. They are near again, in numbers not often witnessed. Perhaps they walk among us. I feel something, and it grows stronger, last night I could not sleep! I will answer the spirit's call since Dandan cannot!"

The Heir of the Shi holdings scoffed. Although he was never one to deny spirits he had seen at his own dinner table, he also knew only too well how the young would use it as any excuse to get out of obligation! He took hold of Bohai's arm.

"Come."

Bohai jerked away. "Let me be! I am not a child to be dragged home by the collar!"

"Father calls you! You disrespect him delaying!"

"Father would understand, he honors the spirits most of any of us!"

"And he understands servicing a spirit does not mean their wisdom seeps into you! What will you have to show for this mindless squatting at the merchant center—?"

A sound like furniture being tossed against a wall was soon followed by a broad spread of surprised screams. The next instant, the front double-doors of Lungai Xiq spontaneously shattered into pieces without a single hand or visible burst of flame to explain it. More screams swelled out of the inn and spread quickly among those standing on the streets, and two black shadows—somehow even darker in the full sunlight—charged out of Dragon's Rest.

Bohai felt the wave of magic causing everyone—including Renshu—to run away. A stampede had already begun, carts were overturned and horses panicked and whinnied in terror. He heard the sound of ceramics and glass breaking, though it was impossible to tell who was doing what. Though the young man wanted to collapse from the breath it took out of him, he let his older brother sprint back toward their home and forced himself to grab hold of the nearest building, as if he was drowning in a storm upon the Great Lake and this was the last bit of wrecked ship which would keep him above water.

The youth shook, but he watched. The Draconic creature seemed larger than before, and was shaped differently—and he had a longer neck, wings, his spines full up like a fish's fan, his tail long and quick as a whip!—but Bohai knew it was the same Spirit who had honored his Father and ancestors once again last summer. He was horrified watching, however, because even though the Dragon Spirit had returned, he was attacking the Black Ghost of his dreams! The dark beast moved like a mountain cat pouncing a deer, as if he meant to eat her!

"Lung jinshen!" he cried, his voice drown out by the crowds swiftly flowing away from their trading carts and baskets. "Jan'shi!"

The Black Ghost was barefoot but moved faster than any mortal, her own magic in full bloom as she sprinted to gain distance, spinning to cry a word, to cast something against the beast chasing her, and stumbling back, losing her footing in her own panic. For a moment it did look like something had either struck the Dragon Spirit or he'd run into a barrier, and the Black Ghost did not wait to see it if stopped him as she continued her unworldly speed, scrambling desperately to her feet and heading in his direction.

Bohai blinked, getting enough of a glimpse—and trusting his gut—that this was not his Jan'shi whom he'd known last year. This was another one, a different Black Ghost.

The next instant Lung Jinshen smashed whatever magical spell remained between them with a terrifying roar. The sharp fangs gleamed white and his eyes shone like purest gold; a long, light purple tongue darted out as if to taste the trail of fear left behind. He sprang forward on four powerful limbs, his wings tightening down along with the spines now laid flat. He moved like an enchanted, otherworldly arrow launched after a moving target: his speed increased with distance and his aim curved slightly to follow the Black Ghost before she could evade him down one of the alleyways. He tackled her, and she screamed, trying to fight back, striking him yet perhaps now unable to cast more magic.

*What has she done? What will he do?!*

Bohai gripped the wood of the corner building so tightly he did not notice his fingers being scraped. Now the Dragon Spirit's wings spread out full, tail whipping so hard it could slash someone's belly like a sword if they got in the way! He was pawing at the dark spirit, trying to pin her down through she struggled and kicked without pause. At first Bohai expected to see that strong muzzle open wide and clamped down on the poor female's throat; perhaps he would bite her head off in front of him! Or his rear legs would rake at her middle...would it rip out her guts, or perhaps release her true form from its borrowed shell?

The screaming hakgwei then made a baffling move as they scuffled in the dirt road surrounded still with people running and pointing and screaming. The fighting pair shifted to a different angle and Bohai realized something. Though the beast shifted quickly to defend himself—at most got bruises on his ribs and hind legs—the female was trying to kick the Dragon Spirit between the legs...

Because now Bohai could see the enormous, bobbing erection beneath his belly, pointed straight at her.

*He...he tries to claim her? For all to watch?*

"Gua sho fen," Bohai whispered to himself, his body still trembling in fear amidst the multiple sources of screams. Immense uncertainty filled his chest. Perhaps he would not witness a quick killing, but a Spirit Ravaging.

*What is this, then? Punishment for trespass? Did this spirit go back on a bargain? What did she do?*

Despite all about it being extraordinary in an otherwise quiet life, the youth was not sure he wanted to watch this, yet he could not look away until he knew how it would end...

"Huixia!" someone called from the Dragon's Rest inn.

Though the caller was not yet visible on the street, Bohai heard it, as did the Dragon Spirit. His ear turned that direction but he did not take his eyes from the shouting female beneath him. He immobilized her simply by lowering himself down on her and using his full weight.

"Whoof!" the small female grunted.

Her kicks and punches did very little then, her flails weakened as her voice stopped with her breath forced from her lungs. Bohai imagined she could feel the hard ridge of his male member pressing tight and protected against her stomach.

"Huixia!"

Gathering her close using his forelegs, the Dragon Spirit opened his wings in a rushing swoop of air as his tail lifted in a counterbalance. He gave them a massive test stroke, disturbing the gouged, churned dirt beneath them like a gust heralding a shift in the weather. With a reverberating growl that almost sounded like the gods' speech, coupled with an unbelievable spring of his hind legs, the Dragon Spirit shot up into the air. A few beats of his wings and he was flying, carrying his prey above and out of Yong-wen.

*What do I do? What do I do?!*

Not able to think, Bohai simply leapt for the first hand-hold of the store-house's wall, against which he'd stayed out of the way of panicked people and the fight. He began climbing for the roof, amazing energy and strength filling him as he did not even consider the risk of falling. He looked toward the sky only, pulling himself up, springing off a window ledge to grip the curved ledge of the roof and pull himself up with muscles burning in a blessed pain he would remember until he was an old man.

Once Bohai got both feet and both hands upon the roof, he sprinted up the steep incline to the highest point, one final jump offering him a hold from which to hang in a precarious crouch. His eyes swept the clear sky above him and quickly found the large, black shape flying away from their city.

The Dragon Spirit flew West toward Yinyue-lun, and Bohai heard a fading call far too late in the day for it to be the Music of the Dawn.

"Boy! Hello! Boy!"

The voices were right beneath him. There were two of them, but... he had to watch. He had to see which side of the hills the black shadow flew.

"Answer the guardians, young man! Why have you not run like the rest? What do you look at?"

"Do you see our Huixia?"

Bohai broke out into goosebumps hearing that, even as the black shadow banked to the South and lowered his flight.

"Young fighter! Do you see our Huixia!"

Finally the Dragon Spirit swooped low as if to land somewhere behind the Western hills and disappeared from sight. It had been so fast! Bohai reluctantly dragged his eyes away from the sky to look down, and almost became dizzy as he clutched harder to the roof. He swallowed.

*What were you thinking climbing so high?*

The two men below were not dressed for assassination, their dress was disappointingly plain...but each looked like he had seen outside hardships. These were not the usual gossip mongers.

And like him, they were still here. They had not run, either.

"I-I saw him," Bohai said, his voice weaker than theirs. "Y-you are Guild?"

"We are. Please come down and make haste. Our Second wants to speak with you."

*****

Most of our so-called "plan" was worked out in shouts while we snatched equipment as fast as we could. Peng Lok and Nianzu had already thrown themselves outside and Fang Ro was calling for Guild help, his wife ordering servants to prepare saddled mounts immediately.

Krithannia, Gaelan, Ragura, and I would be pursuing with our Yungian Guildsmen, and Talov and the other four Dwarves would be staying with Natia, Auslan, and my surprising sorcerer, who was probably the calmest under pressure. Focused mostly on decent protection from the Sun and the "stand-by" emergency grab-pack, I hadn't even gotten to a particularly obvious thought when Shyntre produced the illusion potions and healing gems we could need in sorted pouches quickly distributed.

"We'll need a Ward to dissuade the curious from entering the inn," Krithannia said to Talov, then noticed Shyntre as he grinned at her. She added, "No harm. Dissuade."

"I'll help see no one enters or leaves," the Dark Priest agreed, nodding toward Talov. "No permanent harm done."

"Horses will only get ye so far," Talov said, looking more at Gaelan and me. "Soon as they can smell the kid, they'll try tah throw ye and run the other way."

"And they might smell him while we are still far off," Krithannia agreed.

"What about other Humans following your tracks?" Shyntre asked.

"I will cover that," Krithannia said.

"An' she means it!" Talov chuckled, although it didn't sound as carefree of a laugh as I knew he was capable. He was worried like the rest of us.

We had our stuff gathered and were hustling toward the exit to go up and out, although we had to pause, intending to take the illusion potions, as no doubt many outside eyes were now on the inn. Before I could drink it, however, Shyntre stepped forward and surprised me with an urgent, brief kiss. Both his hands were flush against my belly and as soon as our lips broke he muttered a spell. I felt something happen, it was strange...but—

"What was that?" I asked.

"Shield," he said, staring at me close enough that I saw the gold in his eyes. "Just for Ionne, it won't restrict you. It'll last about four hours but be careful. No warning when it fades."

I nodded thanks as Auslan came up behind holding Natia, who was holding Tedi. He nodded an unassuming farewell, silently willing us to get moving out, but I did point to him.

"Be ready to tend anyone who might need you when we return," I ordered.

"I will be ready," he repeated, and there was a brief hint of guilt as our eyes met that I didn't have the time to explore.

I had to find Jael first, make sure she was alright and that neither she nor Mourn were somehow captured in their distraction. Then we had to make it back here. *Then* maybe I could worry about why Auslan felt guilty, and why he had come out of the library behind Jael and Mourn, and yet was somehow so calm as to soothe both Krithannia and me while we were still shaking in fright from Mourn's Fear aura.

We drank our potions, even Ragura, and within the next few moments were able to pass for male Yungians dressed simply. We left my Priests, Natia, and Talov behind and got out to the stables, where Fang Ro's loyal servants had four horses ready. The stable was built solid enough to be dim even in daytime, though Gaelan and I could both feel the pressure building behind our eyes which would only get worse when we went out beneath the daytime Sky. We would have to wear the masks with a small slit cut out to protect us from Sun-blindness, and Krithannia and Ragura would have to be our guides.

Before we'd decided which direction to ride, Krithannia requested an update from Peng Lok via Dragon Pearl. The expression on her face was bizarre.

"What?" Gaelan asked.

"A few moments," the Guild Mistress said. "They are coming to the stable. They have a witness from the masses who did not run."

Krithannia gave me a looked then—a significant one—and I wanted to ask "What?" myself, but refrained. It was just as well; my confusion dissipated the moment our Guildsman— magically cloaking their arrival from others—revealed to us in the stable their witness. Staring at the gasping and tense young Yungian held between two older ones, I quickly recognized him.

"Shi Bohai," Peng Lok introduced to us in Common. "Third son of Patriarch Sh—"

"Shi Mu Kuo," I finished, experiencing the oddest mix of feeling. Pleasurable heat, pride, uncertainty, bewilderment with this particular youth stood here, right now.

It could not be coincidence. It was not.

Peng Lok looked at me and nodded. "He witnessed Huixia capture his apprentice, though she tried to fight him, to escape. He flew away with her, toward Yinyue-lun, on the South side."

"Good," Krithannia said in her now-masculine voice, "this makes sense. That was my first guess but I am happy to have the confirmation."

Bohai seemed a little disappointed that we all appeared Yungian like him but were speaking in Common around him, but a brief look at his unshielded mind told me clearly he believed we were all Guild in connection with or service to the Dragon Spirit, and he intended to cooperate. It was no surprise we would speak somehow so he would not understand, to keep the Dragon's Spirit's secrets.

There was something else, though. I wanted to know why he was here, now, of all possible Yungians. He felt me staring and met my eyes innocently; the link was effortless and without pain. Now I did not need to know how to speak Yungian to give him my question, and understand the answer.

~Why are you here, Bohai, this morning, of all mornings?~

He would have blinked those dark, tilted eyes if he could, and his thought was free-flowing, unconstructed: ~Hear spirits calling us, Dandan and me, she is dreaming strange and we do not understand, came here because we agreed one of us needs to...~

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