CHAPTER 2: LAVA FLOWS ARE ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

They arrive near the lava flow, between it and the side of the cave. Ferocity immediately takes flight and begins attacking the flow with his frozen breath. That begins to slow it down, but he won’t be able to stop it entirely. It takes more energy for the Dragon to breathe ice than it does for him to breathe fire. The Muse of Mischief leaves Agent Brzko’s side and enters the cave.

Her sudden appearance startles the already frightened researchers. She sees the group move as one, like a school of fish, pushing themselves further back in the cave, forming a tighter group. “Don’t be alarmed, I will not harm you, I’m here to help. We have to get you out of here.”

They just stare at her completely terrified. They huddle even tighter. Jreyonia are not social beings. They rarely mingle with other species. M considers the best way to get them to trust her when she notices a disturbance at the back of the group.

“Let me out, let me out.” A very small Jreyonian works his way to the front of the group. It’s a child and, what M assumes is his nervous mother follows him out with her hand on his shoulder. “We have to go with her, this is the one I told you about. This is the Muse of Mischief.”

 They all turn and look at her, apparently they’ve heard of her. She reaches for Brzko, “Are you ready Brzko? There are about ten of them.”

“Yes, Ferocity has slowed the lava, they should be OK out here until the ShyUst can get here.”

M steps up and takes the child’s arm, they are instantly outside with Brzko. She immediately returns to the cave to get his mother next. One at a time she moves them out of the cave. The fourth one she approaches resists, M can only move a willing being and this older female does not want to be transported by M. She ends up outside the cave alone.

“Oh no, one of them is too frightened to…” Brzko said. He knows that has to be the reason she appeared outside the cave alone.

M didn’t stay around long enough to let him finish, she wasn’t sure how long Ferocity could hold that lava flow away from the cave entrance. Instead she answers with her mind, “Yes, I’ll take her last.”

She was already back out with another, and another. Now it was just the frightened female in the cave. She has her back pressed against the wall of the cave, her eyes huge with fear. M finds the child she had taken out first, “Can you help us? One of your group is too frightened to come out but I don’t know how much longer we can keep the lava away from the cave.”

“Please save my aunt Drudrilia.”

“OK. Agent Brzko here is going to take you back in with him. Then you can tell her not to be frightened and I can bring her out, got it?”

“Yes.” They were gone.

As they entered the cave Brzko reached for Ferocity.  “Ferocity, keep an eye on them. We’re both going to be inside the cave.”

“Affirmative.”

Inside the cave the child approaches the lone female, “Drudrilia, they will help us. See I’m fine, it doesn’t even hurt.”

While Drudrilia’s attention was on her nephew M takes her arm and moves her out of the cave before she has time to resist. It works. They’ve rescued all ten of the researchers but they aren’t safe yet. Ferocity is exhausted, he has no more ice to breath, he lands near them. The group shrinks back, away from the Dragon. Brzko stands next to Ferocity and addresses the group.

“It’s OK, this is Ferocity. He will not harm you. He’s here to help us.”

Once again, the bravest in the group is the child. He shrugs out of his mother’s grip and runs toward Brzko, stopping at his feet and looking up at him. “Is he a real Dragon?”

Brzko turns and looks at Ferocity, making it clear that he expects him to answer for himself. Ferocity takes a knee in front of the child. “Yes, I am a real Dragon. Do not let my appearance fool you. I’m one of the good guys.”

The child reached toward Ferocity. “Can I touch you? What do your horns feel like?”

Instead of answering, Ferocity bowed his head, and allows the child to touch him. It only takes a second for him to satisfy his curiosity and confirm that Ferocity is indeed real. He trots back to his mother. “It’s real, it’s real, a real Dragon.” The adults seem to relax, but still keep a watchful eye on the Dragon.

 They hear ShyUst via earcom link. “We’re here. It looks like we have just enough space to land the shuttle. Would they prefer that to transports?”

“No one has presented themselves as the leader and I don’t want to waste any time by trying to locate one, send the shuttle.” M answers.

Within a second there’s a flash as the Gaznzulian shuttle breaks through the atmosphere and descends toward them. ShyUst lands the shuttle near them, the side door slides up and the ramp descends. Two Gaznzulians jump out and head toward the group of Jreyonians, causing them to be even more frightened now. Gaznzulian soldiers on one side, a Dragon on the other, and hot lava all around them. To them the Gaznzulians looked like Jreyonians but they know that these are not Jreyonians, they begin to scatter but there’s nowhere to go.

Agent Brzko closes his eyes and focuses, he projects calmness. It is one of his most amazing abilities, he can calm individuals or large groups. It works, they stand still and wait for instructions.

The child and his mother were still standing near M, she looks down at him, “Tell them to board the shuttle, these are Gaznzulians and they are here to help you, they will return you to your ship in orbit.”

He doesn’t waste any time, he runs to the front of the group, “Come on follow me!” Surprisingly they do. M, Brzko and Ferocity follow behind them, making sure no one gets left behind. The Jreyonia quietly board the shuttle as the child stands at the bottom of the ramp motioning for them to enter the shuttle. Once everyone in his group is boarded, he turns and runs back over to M, “Thank you for saving my Drudrilia Muse of Mischief.”

“You’re welcome, you better get on that ship, it’s not safe here.” He ignores her and turns to Brzko.

“I think you must be Agent Brzko. Thank you.”

“I am and you’re welcome, now get going.” He also ignores him and turned to Ferocity.

“Thank you Mr. Dragon. You saved all of us. I hope I get to see you again someday.” With all three of his rescuers properly thanked he finally turns and runs back to the shuttle. ShyUst immediately takes off. H knows that The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko can take care of themselves.

“Thanks ShyUst, you got it from here?” Brzko asked.

“Yes, we’ve located their ship and we’ll get them back to it. Thanks for getting here so quickly. We wouldn’t have made it in time.”

“No problem ShyUst, it’s what we do.” M said via earcom link.

Brzko turns and looks at M, “Do I look as bad as you do? You’ve got ash all over your face and clothes.”

Before she can answer, Ferocity does, “Yes, you look just as bad, we are all covered in ash. Let’s get out of here.”

Agent Brzko takes his Dragon’s arm and the two of them return to Ploosnar. M goes home, to Earth.

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