It had been a long time since she’d been visible like this. Akazha did her best to ignore the people in the village; she was going to save them first and deal with them later. She rolled her shoulders and felt her second arms appear. She shifted from foot to foot and felt her tail unfurl.
In this form, she was a good three feet taller than in her human shape. In this form, she had some weaknesses that were nearly mythical, but the rest of her was pretty tough.
In this form, she looked like a nightmare come down to earth. She was ready to shake this monster until she was in all of his bad dreams, from now forever after.
She could hear some of the humans screaming behind her. Akazha shook her head, her crest waving in the wind. The monster in front of her took a step backwards, pulling two children with him.
“What are you?” he snarled.
Akazha smiled. “I am the thing which awakens with pain,” she told him. “Step away from the children.”
“They’re mine,” he snarled. “This is my town and these are my people.”
“Step away from the children,” Akazha repeated. She stepped forward, massive feet thumping loudly on the broken pavement. “Or I will remove you.”
“You can’t take them away. They’re mine, and what are you, some Nedetakaei bastard dragon?”
Akazha found her lips curling upwards, all of her sharp teeth showing. “That’s about right. Bastard of a dragon.”
He’d meant it as an insult, and she could tell that her smile disturbed him. He stepped backwards again. This time, he pushed the children towards Akazha. “Take them! Just leave me alone, and leave my town alone.”
Akazha stepped forward again, past the children, who were stumbling towards their parents. “I don’t think you understand.” Her claws were so long in this form, and they glinted in the light. “I have been awoken.” It was not the least creepy of lines, but it had done her well in the past. “And now someone will pay.”
“Take them! Take all of them!” The monster scrabbled backwards now. Akazha strode forwards, each step of hers more than twice one of his. “They will pay your price! Just take it, take them, and leave!”
“Not how it works,” she rumbled. She lashed out with her claws, but he had turned around, fleeing like the creep that he was. She opened his back to the bone, once, twice.
He fled. He might die, but it was more likely he would live, forever marked as a monster and a coward.
The blood did as it always did, staining her claws black, bringing a quick exhaustion to Akazha. She dropped to her knees, and then to the ground. She would sleep. And when she woke… then she would know what the villagers would have of her.
Her last waking sight was a toddler tucking a teddy bear between her dark claws.
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