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[Fiction] Long - The Tiger, Dragon and Dead Girl.


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April 2nd 2015 Yurungkax He River, China

The mountains vaulted to the sky, gray and silent capped in pristine snow. The calm of the morning air was disturbed by a rhythmic bass. At first it was quiet far in the distance. It did not last the sound grew louder. Snow pack broke off from the sound tumbling down into the river far below. The fleet of transport helicopters strained in the high altitude. Their blades beat the thin air forcing it to yield to them. Yet they continued onward the cargo they where delivering was too important to turn back for any reason.

Meanwhile far below on the valley floor a lone figure watched the vehicles pass by far overhead. Enshrouded in a cloak that did little to conceal the large muscled frame of the body or the muzzled snout poking out of the hood. Long growled low in his throat as he leapt from boulder to boulder. Conserving his energy as he followed the choppers. They would lead him to facility. It was odd that the site was so close to the contested region. Long pondered why the Chinese government would put a camp so close to a zone of Nova combat like Kashmir but at the same time he realized that if anything happened here they Chinese could just say it was a wayward Nova action and cover it up easily.

He knew these mountains, once they had been a second home for him. But those times where past. Still when his master had told him what had happened to Feng Kou Rong he knew he must do something. “Shining Dragon” Was the name Rong had used during his brief Novahood. Feng had erupted in Hong Kong last year and caused a sensation. Much like Long himself Feng had manifested as a Zodiac animal. A dragon of ancient times that should have told everyone at the beginning he was doomed. The Government gave him time. Feng could have left the country under his own power at any time. But he didn’t instead he built a cult around him. In the span of six months the cult grew to over one hundred thousand people. Willing to die for him, willing to give everything to him. It overwhelmed Feng, while he was granted the body of the dragon he was not granted the Wisdom. He didn’t see the Government as a threat until the day the tanks rolled into his estate. The soldiers killed without question. Shining Dragon killed many but they where ready to deal with him. They had Novas of their own who disabled him at some cost to themselves. Why they did not kill Feng then was a mystery.

Long bounded again sailing over the crest of one mountain down into the valley of another. He moved quickly never letting himself be spotted. The choppers began circling and one at a time began to descend. The humanoid Tiger crept to a vantage point overlooking their landing area. The facility wasn’t impressive. In fact there wasn’t much to it at all. Landing field, a few buildings here and there but what caught his attention was the massive entranceway cut into the side of the mountain. He nodded as he grasped what they had done. China always had issues dealing with their Nova problem. What better way to build a camp to contain them than build it from one of the largest mountains on the Earth. The security looked impressive as well several tanks and multiple towers fitted with heavy weapons. It almost would work, almost. Long knew he had to get to Feng before they took him underground. Otherwise things would get much more difficult.

Once the last chopper’s engine wound down and the ramps began lowering he moved. Disappearing in a glow of blue energy only to appear on the backside of small outbuilding. It was no use in hiding his entrance. Almost the moment he appeared alarms began to wail. The tiger leapt again clearing the building and hitting the ground next to one of the choppers. A guard died before he truly realized what was in front of him. Claws tore through the side of the chopper he began his search for the Shining Dragon.

What greeted him was not Feng but a Nova the same. Bound, blindfolded and very obviously drugged into unconsciousness. She was young not much older than Hideki her skin was like alabaster but obsidian veins ran beneath the pure white skin. She seemed a ghost of a drowned girl. He didn’t have time to think on it. He cut her restraints and pulled her free. Teleporting a distance into the mountains he laid her down carefully before jaunting back into the combat zone.

This time they where prepared for him. The tanks fired the moment the blue glow appeared. Like they expected him to come exactly at that spot. Still the shell wasn’t fast enough. He thought about letting it pass by him to explode on the mountainside beyond but then thought better of it. Carefully he plucked it out of the air as it passed. He knelt and laid it on the ground beside him before charging the tank with a feral roar. He wasn’t in the mood for kindness or forgiveness with these soldiers. They had trained hard to prepare for the moment they would face a Nova. Now they got their chance and would pay the price for it. Armor crumpled in his grasp as he sank his claws into the steel chassis once his grip was firm he turned and whipped the eighty ton vehicle around building it’s momentum as he sent it slamming in to the side of the other nearby tank.

He did not let up. Instead of dealing with this all by hand and claw he leapt skyward rising high over the encampment. Tiny burning spheres of blue plasma formed in his paws. He focused for a moment on his targets then slung the handfuls of energy like marbles down to their targets. They struck home with great effect watchtowers exploded in a rain of fragments. Vehicles detonated when the fiery spheres met with gasoline. The carnage from one gesture was absolute and over before Long hit the ground.

The remaining two helicopters remained untouched despite the level of violence that went on around them. Having bought himself ample time Long checked the second chopper finding it only full if supplies for the isolated encampment. From which he took a blanket. Then proceeded to the last vehicle. Inside like the girl early he found a Nova bound and drugged. It was Feng or at least matched the description given to him of Feng’s human form. Quickly he freed the unconscious man and moved to the ramp preparing to jaunt once more into the mountains with his escapees.

What caught him by surprise was the lone man waiting for him. He was older and clearly not a Nova. The two studied one another for a moment before the older man spoke. “Honorable Tiger Lord. If you must rescue Shining Dragon then take him and go. I know I cannot stop you from doing this. However I beg you not to take the girl you freed.”

Puzzled but curious Long stepped out of the chopped toward the old man. “Tell me then. Why must I not take her. To me she appears to be yet another prisoner of China.” The old man’s lower jaw set in indignation yet his resolve remained. “She erupted only days ago. Her power is that over death itself and she cannot control it. When she is awake everything near her dies. Her grasp spread more and more with each breath she takes. You must listen to me honored Tiger. She must be kept here.”

Long thought on this, he doubted the man was lying yet to leave her here was to sentence her to death. His came here for Feng not the girl. But the girl needs help would the provide it? Would Utopia deal with her better? Long mulled for a solution he expected to kill everything here. Not to have to judge life and death. “Let him have her.” Feng said through a groggy haze of near unconsciousness. “If what he says is true she must be kept away.” Long looked at the man in his arms and replied. “To leave her here is to leave her to die.”

“Then make sure she does not die here.” Feng croaked. “See the man and the girl from a far and know.”

It dawned what Shining Dragon was saying. The Tiger’s eyes glew with blue flame as the old man cried out in alarm. “I know your mind now. I will keep watch. I will leave her with you but you will do your best to help her. If you do not I will return and bring the mountain down around you.” A blue flash followed the declaration. Where Long and Feng had stood laid the pale young girl still unconscious. The old man looked around for a moment before summoning personnel to help tend to her and anyone else that remained alive.

Some time later two large figures ate bowls of noodle with chopsticks. The Tiger piled mouthful after mouthful into his maw. While the Coiled dragon ate small bites taking breaks to sip a cup of green tea.

“There wasn’t anything you could do and no one else could have helped her better.” Feng commented between bite.

Ryu snorted unhappily as he grabbed a portion of roast duck from the table between them. “Doesn’t make me feel any better. At least I will know it if that old doctor doesn’t do the best he can for her.”

“No one could help her entirely. She might be doomed, you should expect that.” The Dragon commented wistfully.

Ryu only grunted and growled a reply. Leaving one willingly behind like that was not something he cared to think about. He had to admit that Shining Dragon’s point was valid. Though in time he might come to regret it.

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