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“Excuse me, Miss? You can’t go in there.” He thought it odd that the woman was there at all, for how could she have gotten past all the other security guards? She didn’t seem put off by him though. Her lips curled up slightly into a grin and she brushed a few stray red curls away from her face. Her slender hands were gloved, matching her dark but rather fancy dress.
Everything about her looked perfectly normal but when she moved and spoke, something seemed just a little off, though he wasn’t quite sure what. “So sorry, Sir. Weren’t you informed? I’m the private investigator from America, here to help solve the Burmington case.”
She held out a badge, which seemed quite authentic but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss. Still, as she smiled at him sweetly, he mentally shrugged and unlocked the door for her. She thanked him and went away down the corridor, out of sight. He felt a little sad that he couldn’t go with her.
“Excuse me, Ma’am? Only the astronauts can go back there.” Despite being on the lookout for Saurians, she hadn’t escaped his attention. She wore simple black, close fitting clothes that were similar to that of the astronauts and she had a named tag that read “Mezotty”, a common enough name, but something seemed a little off. For one thing, her hair was…red. That wasn’t a natural hair color, yet he felt as if he’d seen it before. Or maybe he’d seen her before.
“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just, you see, there’s no time! The Saurians are coming and I’m the only one who can stop them!”
“Saurians? But the sensors would have detected them.” He was sure now that she had no business in this area and that he should remove her immediately. “How about I take you to Command and you can talk to them?” He reached out to grab her arm but she jumped away, rolling her eyes.
“I really don’t have time for this.” She muttered and before he could react, she waved her hand and everything went dark for him.
He growled quietly, ears picking up the soft patter of little paws. Master had fallen asleep hours ago and now was the perfect time for robbers to do their work. That’s what his job was, to guard his Master’s home and the very valuable items in it. Nothing would get past his keen sense of hearing and vicious teeth. He was surprised though to see a small red fox come into view. It pattered through the garden delicately and a dog with a lesser sense of hearing might have missed the sound.
Standing up, he growled again, more loudly this time. The sneaking creature froze and spotted him. Their reflecting eyes locked and he sense the fox trying to decide whether to flee or continue on.
Finally, the creature crouched low and then rolled over on its’ back, showing submission. He sensed urgency from the fox, a feeling of great desperation. The fox wanted something from inside and he couldn’t let that happen. Still growling a little, he padded forward and bared his teeth at the cowering beast.
The fox gazed at him, unblinking and he was suddenly struck by the fact that its’ eyes were like his Masters-undeniably human. This made him hesitate long enough for the fox-a female-have time to leap up and dash around him. Angrily, he gave chase but because she was smaller, she was more nimble and speedy.
Just as she leapt up to go through an open window, his jaws reached her lithe body and pulled her crashing down into the ground. She barked in irritation and then pain as she saw the deep puncture marks in her flank. He felt a twinge of remorse but before he could do anything else, she suddenly vanished into thin air.
He didn’t like night patrols because they felt so long and the darkness bred weariness in his eyes. Lifting his crossbow a little higher, he sighed and then watched the cloud of his breath drift away into the night air. Being a Royal guard was not what he had expected it to be. In the distance, across the large courtyard, up on the wall as well but on the other side was a fellow guard. He wished they could speak, to make the time pass more quickly but the man was too far away.
The nearly full moon hung quite high in the clear night sky and he found himself gazing at it for awhile. Then, to ward off the cold, he began patrolling the wall again, not hopeful of any action. Suddenly, he realized he could no longer see the other guard.
After rushing all the way around the wall he saw the man lying on the ground, a wound on the back of his head. Gripping his crossbow more tightly, he was about to sound the alarm when he noticed one of the shadows in the courtyard moving. Silently, he crept down the wooden ladder and followed the figure.
The castle gate was locked at night but the shadowed figure didn’t head towards it. Instead, it went to one side of the castle and began climbing a very extensive network of clinging ivy. He was surprised the vines didn’t break under the intruders weight. Thinking quickly, he waited until the figure reached the open window. Just as the figure was going to climb through, he skillfully shot an arrow at it, hitting the shoulder, causing the shadow to fall through the window.
He knew exactly which room it was and he went inside quickly. Though it was reckless, he was almost impressed with the intruder, for few could actually successfully find a way into the well armed castle. He was very curious as to what kind of person would attempt such a thing.
The intruders cloak had been thrown into a corner of the room and the wounded shadow lay in the center, clearly attempting to crawl away. He was quite taken aback when the figure looked up and locked eyes with him.
It was a female with short red hair and bright green eyes. Shockingly, she wore a type of shirt and trousers, something no self respecting lady would wear. She wore gloves but not the delicate kind-these were gloves for working. But the thing that was more shocking than any of these things were the large, foxlike ears that rested where normal human ears should be. And to match the ears was a bushy, twitching fox’s tail.
“You….shouldn’t be here.” He said without thinking but as soon as the words left his mouth, he frowned, feeling very uncomfortable about them. Her only response was to roll her eyes but then she winced, obviously in great pain. Blood was seeping through her shirt.
I’m taking you to the dungeon.” He said and though he expected her to resist, she merely went limp as he picked her up and brought her to a dungeon cell. He knew he had to inform the Captain of the guard about the new prisoner but he could barely imagine how he’d react to this strange woman.
“I need medical attention.” Said a soft voice, just as he turned to go. She was sitting up on the stone floor and seemed a little more aware of her surroundings now. She looked at him expectantly. “Who are you, anyway?”
This made him chuckle. “I think I should be the one asking that. But alright, I am Roman.” Something flickered in her eyes but she said, “A good name. I’m Mezotty. Now, your stupid arrow did considerable damage to my internal systems, so if you would just be a dear and fetch a doctor, that would be wonderful.”
Roman looked at her in surprised and then laughed. “Do you really think I can just call the doctor and ask him to help you?” Mezotty looked puzzled and he continued. “You look like a faery, with your ears and…and tail. He’ll cry witchcraft and have you burnt at the stake.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Then what are you going to do? This is your fault, after all.”
“You’re the one who tried sneaking into the castle!” Roman knew he should be irritated with her but instead he wanted to keep laughing and wasn’t upset when he spoke. “I’ll bind your wound myself. Just let me get some bandages.”
With one last look at her, he left her alone in the dungeon. Once alone, she seemed to breathe a little bit easier as she looked around and then touched her still bleeding wound. Frowning slightly, she concentrated on the injury until it stopped bleeding and then begun to seal.
“Now to escape. I don’t suppose I’ll see Roman ever again and he was nice. But oh well.” She muttered to herself as she touched the cell bars and made them disappear. She quickly made her way down the corridor that would lead to the stairs but before she got there, Roman had reappeared.
“I knew you’d try to leave!” He said, feeling almost hurt, which was rather silly. “Mezotty, I want to help you. I feel like…like I’ve known you from somewhere else and that I need to go with you to…wherever it is you’re going.”
She was gazing at him intently, looking almost puzzled. “Roman…you know, I think we have met before. You can come with me but…I just hope you’re able to.”
She removed one glove from her delicate looking hand and held her hand out to him. He took it with little hesitation, feeling as though something not quite right was now falling into place. “Don’t panic, okay?” She said softly and suddenly everything around them went dark. Then a soft light appeared just ahead of them and then suddenly they were falling from the sky towards a sprawling, charred city. Both of them had straps attached to their backs and a great air filled material was above them.
“Parachutes!” Mezotty shouted against the wind. Nearby, several metal machines flew through the air, dropping things onto the city. Before she could name them, the word appeared in Roman’s head. “Aeroplanes!” She didn’t seem surprised that he knew this.
“Aim for that field.” She pointed to an area just outside of the city limits. Carefully, they steered themselves so that they landed in a heap on the tall grass. Mezotty unclipped the parachutes and then dusted herself off. “Fantastic.” She said to herself. “Okay, a city, planes dropping bombs, obviously London in World War Two. I…” She trailed off as though she heard something, though Roman detected nothing. But suddenly he felt something stirring in him, telling him to go into the city.
“Let’s go.” Mezotty said, just as he thought this. He realized with a start that her fox ears and tail were gone and she now wore army fatigues. Then he realized that he wore the same uniform. They walked in silence for a time, the only sound coming from the distant aeroplanes.
“Mezotty, when we met…I felt as though it had all happened before. But this…this now feels completely new.” Roman wasn’t sure if his words made any sense at all but she nodded. “I know. It’s weird that…” She broke off and fell silent again and Roman didn’t want to press her.
As they reached the beginning of the city, Roman felt s showed Mezotty to the ground just as a man came hurtling towards them, a gun drawn. Mezotty reacted quickly, pulling out her own gun and shooting him down before he got too close. Roman looked at the fallen man and then at the wild looking girl he’d fallen in company with. Her hair was very long now and hung loose. She looked at him and he realized she was shaking a little. “Even though it’s…I mean….I just hate parts like this.”
She put her gun away and stood up. “We need to break into the Town Hall building and steal some plans for a new weapon. The weapon is way beyond its’ time and can’t be allowed to exist for another hundred years.”
It all somehow made sense to Roman, though it shouldn’t have. He followed her towards the half ruined building and snuck in after her, all the while wary of any more attacks. They found a safe and Mezotty began punching in the code. “How do you know it?” He asked and she frowned a little. “I just do.”
Once Mezotty had the papers, they got out of the Town Hall as quickly as possible and ran out of the city. “Ready?” She asked, taking his hand again. The same thing happened as before, with everything going dark and then a new scene appeared. This new place was rocky, all unhospitable looking mountains with no human settlement in sight.
They were on a small plateau. They both looked around but then Roman realized that she seemed surprised that he was still there. “Roman, who are you?” She asked slowly, as though she saw him for the first time. He shrugged a little. “I thought I was a King’s guard but…I don’t think I’m that. Or a spy. I really don’t know now.”
She was about to reply when, high above them, there came a loud and terrifying shriek. Roman reached for his gun and then realized it was gone because he now wore ragged clothing instead of the army fatigues. Mezotty had picked up a large rock and was scanning the skies. However, the next shriek was much closer and so loud that they both covered their ears in pain. And in a great gust of wind and fury, a dragon swooped by them and picked up Mezotty. She screamed and struggled but the powerful talons held her fast.
Roman watched helplessly as the mighty beast flew towards the highest mountain, quickly vanishing from view. With a yell of frustration, he kicked the stone Mezotty had dropped and it flew over the edge. He found that he was shaking violently and took a deep breath, trying to figure out his next move.
Then he was filled with the feeling that it would be alright, no matter what happened. He began climbing up to the next ledge, determined to save Mezotty.
The ogre King hadn’t been hungry enough yet to eat Mezotty but she knew she didn’t have much time left. A crew of ogres had arrived that afternoon and they would stay around for at least a week, feasting lavishly every night. She had to escape tonight or it would be too late.
Before she could do anything, however, the door to her cage was opened and the keeper of the zoo motioned for her to come out. He placed a chain around her neck and wrists and led her upstairs to the court, where the ogre King sat with his guests.
“Ah, my newest pet, everyone! Look at the human’s fur! Have you ever seen anything like it?” Mezotty was made to parade around the court before going to sit beside the throne. All the while, she looked around for ways to escape.
Magicians, acrobats and trained animals performed for the Court, exciting the horrid smelling ogres. They cheered gruffly and drank more of their potent wine. Mezotty nearly fell asleep out of boredom when suddenly the next act made his sudden appearance, slinking in out of seemingly nowhere.
He wore black hunting clothes and a flowing cape and carried a lethal looking crossbow. Servants began setting up targets as the dark stranger bowed to the King and took off his hood. Mezotty gasped at his twitching wolf ears and gleaming yellow eyes and when he grinned, needle sharp teeth were revealed.
“I am Roman, the greatest hunger in the world.” Without further speech, he turned and made an excellent show of his skill with the crossbow. Other archers were called up to try and do better but he won every time. The ogre King was greatly amused.
“You are great indeed, Roman. However, I wager my marksman can outshoot you any day!” Roman seemed oddly pleased with this statement and, bowing a little, said, “Then bring him out! If I lose, I’ll be your servant forever. But if I win, then I claim that lovely creature at your side as my prize.” The Court was astounded at his audacity but was excited by the stakes. Roman grinned at Mezotty and she smiled back, relieved to see him again.
The ogre King’s archer went first and he truly was quite skilled. Mezotty felt a knot of worry in her stomach as Roman stepped up to take his turn. He aimed carefully, released the arrow…and missed completely.
The Court went into an uproar around Roman, who had frozen in shock at his failure. Mezotty began to panic, knowing it was all over now. The ogre King laughed loudly and began to taunt Roman. Suddenly, Roman turned and glared at the overweight and hideous king. In the blink of an eye, the King, the Court and Mezotty’s chains disappeared, leaving them both in sudden silence. She gaped at him and he shrugged.
“Couldn’t very well lose. I came all this way to save you, after all.” He grinned a little and she walked over to him, giving him a hug. “Roman, I think I’m in love with you. Only…” she pulled away form him and frowned a little. He took her hands. “Only what, Mezotty? We can never be? Why is that? Because you’re only a dream?”
She raised an eyebrow and let go of his hands. “What? You’re the dream! You keep showing up in every dream I have, either stopping me or working with me or-” she broke off, shaking her head. “This is ridiculous. It’ll be morning soon and when I wake up, you’ll cease to exist anyway, so fighting is pointless.”
Roman shook his head vehemently. “You’ve got it the wrong way around. I’m a real person named Roman, living in the year 3026 and I always have really vivid dreams.”
They looked at each other in silence for a moment. Then Mezotty’s brow furrowed in thought. “We’re both able to control the dreams. I’ve never had a dream where someone else can do that. And you’re the only person who keeps showing up. But…I don’t see how this can be.”
Roman nodded but as he did, he suddenly felt consciousness returning to his sleeping body. “I’m waking up!” He grabbed her hand. “Even if you are a dream, I love you too, Mezotty. I won’t forget you.” His body began to dissolve and scatter and then Roman opened his eyes, nearly blinded by a bright light.
“Ah, Roman, welcome back. The Centuarians report that you did quite well and after your next vacation, they’d like you back. Also, they said pairing you up with Mezotty was an excellent idea.” The speaker was a tall man in a white coat.
“Roman?” A familiar voice mumbled sleepily. He turned and saw Mezotty lying in the next pod over, just waking up. Reality came to him in pieces-the Centaurians, only existing in the subconscious plane-the Dreamnauts-Mezotty-a big grin filled his face when he realized they were both real. She sat up and must have realized the same thing, because she suddenly giggled and ran over to him. They held each other happily while the tall man smiled and continued to work. “You both have three days of vacation before your next mission. Go have some fun, you kids.”
Birds were singing and the sun was just peeking through the window as Mezotty opened her eyes. For a moment, she simply lay there going over all that had happened. An image of Roman came to mind and she smiled softly…but then her smile faded as she realized sadly that she had been right.