The ground was muddy and moist; wind whipping hard as he groaned into wakefulness. The cold crept up the bones in his body; leaving him shivering he pushed his palms into the mud, "Where the hell am I?"
Looking around the world was blurry and undefined; over-looming trees standing over him, surrounding him in every direction he looked. Feeling around on the ground he found his glasses; sliding them on to find his first assessment had pretty much been accurate.
Where could he possibly be; he'd fallen asleep in his small twin size bed and had awakened in the middle of this strange forest sleeping in mud. Rustling noises suddenly came from the forest; swiftly turning into thundering noises as the large beast crashed through the tree wall.
He barely rolled out of the way; turning to face the strange creature as what he could best describe as a three eyed rhino stared back at him. Huffing angrily he cracked his neck "Okay Leo strange monster in strange land trying to kill you, think…"
It charged again and he laughed maniacally as he charged back at it; the idea was suicidal but it was the best he had. As it grew nearer it swung its head at him and Leo grinned largely and grabbed the horn; swinging over its head as he landed on the beast's back.
The creature growled angrily into the air," What's wrong beastie, don't like hitchhikers?" He looked up, realizing what the creature had in mind, "Oh shit…" Only those words managed to come out as the rhino charged through the thick tree front into the forest.
Branches and leaves whipped into his face as the creature tried urgently to shake him off; growling loudly into the air. Leo gritted his teeth as after an unknown distance the beast finally broke into an opening; finding themselves in a grand opening it stopped dead in its tracks, sending Leo flying head first into the ground twenty feet away.
Getting back to his feet he turned quickly to find the rhino preparing to charge at him; not ready for a round two he looked around and saw the cliff edge pointing out. Beginning to charge Leo ran as fast as his legs could take; the edge wasn't far away but could he make it?
The rhino was right on his tail as he wasn't nearly close enough; which left another last idea as crazy as the one he'd just attempted. Turning he screamed defiantly as he could and mounted the rhino once more. Going for the same strategy the rhino charged as fast as it could; trying to shake him off as it ran straight for the cliff edge in blind fury.
All of a sudden a loud growl far more powerful than that of the rhino's resounded from what seemed like everywhere at once. Looking up he was both amazed and horrified as a large black dragon came flying down towards him; growling once more as it swooped down and grabbed the rhino and took off as though it weighed the same as a chew toy.
Holding on for dear life Leo looked down at the ground speeding beneath him; the world was so alien to him with grasses varying from green to what seemed like long grass of blue. Looking up he saw a scabbard attached to the dragon leg; sword hilt sticking out at him.
Smiling he looked down; he couldn't be that high from the ground. Pulling the sword out he had no time to look it over as he stabbed the dragon in the heel while holding unto the rhino. The dragon shrieked in pain as it released them; falling swiftly the rhino landed hard on the ground dying upon impact.
Unscathed Leo smiled, "Sorry chum, higher than I thought…" The dragon was growling furiously and was already swooping around back towards him. Cracking his neck Leo knew he could not run so he stood with the sword sticking out defiantly, "Come and get it slimy lizard!"
Leo should have been scared but all he felt was adrenaline as the dragon came charging at him; Leo began charging at it, screaming in challenge as the dragon swung at him with its large talons; Leo retaliating by slashing another deep gash into it's foot cutting off its toe entirely.
Blood gushing out it landed beside him; melting the ground beside him as it growled furiously, landing roughly a few feet away back to him. Off the dragon jumped a man; Leo hadn't noticed someone riding the dragon, "You interrupt a hunt, steal my sword and harm my dragon, you will die for this, how dare you attack an Imperial Guard"
His armour did look quite extravagant; blue with a dragon upon it that looked like the dragon he was riding, "Yeah well…I don't care because I'm Leo! So Imperial or whatever you are, why don't you chew on this."
Giving him the finger the dragon rider didn't seem to understand the meaning as he simply scowled and drew a sword from his back, "You challenge me, what kind of a fool challenges an elite from the Imperial Guard. Fine I accept your challenge, prepare to die."
Cracking his neck they begin circling each other, "Actually I was just saying fuck you but I guess what you said works too." He'd taken some sword fighting classes in the past; charging at someone with unknown skill was probably a bad idea but so far bad ideas were all he had to work with.
The dragon rider dismissed his attack with ease; swinging down at him as Leo kicked at his feet, tripping him. Kicking the sword out of his hand the rider glared angrily "That was a dirty move, where is your honour?"
Shrugging off the insult Leo simply grinned, "That's…" Kicking him hard across the jaw the dragon rider passed out unconscious as he finished, "what she said." Looking over the dragon he'd ridden he tossed the sword to the ground, "You wouldn't happen to know what this place is would you?"
To his surprise a voice resounded in his head "You're not from this world at all are you? You should run before my feet heal and I decide to kill you!" So dragons could communicate, giving the finger to the dragon he turned and began to walk away; if he could find a village he could ask where the hell he was and maybe even find a way back home.
His steps of shame resounded loudly in the hall; still suppressing the tears of witnessing the execution of his dragon. A rider was never to fail; to fail meant the worse imaginable fate, to live the remainder of his life dragonless and without honour.
The Elites stood as a line leading to the throne; none looking at him directly in fear of sharing the same fate. Stopping at the throne he bowed, "Father, he fought without honour and…" Not letting him finish the Emperor stepped down from his throat, grabbing him by the throat, "Be silent Wingless One, you are no son of mine."
Accepting his fate without complaint the Emperor tossed him to the ground, "However your service in the past has been invaluable… I will grant you this once chance no one else has ever gotten me. Come back to me in one year with the dragon and the head of its rider and you will be forgiven in full."
Those under the Imperial Service never received a second chance so this was a gift indeed, bowing he smiled, "It shall be done my liege, I Ananias the wingless shall do as you have commanded."