DRAGON PEARL - Ren's memories

Monik anxiously looked around, but in addition to the dark gray fog she did not see anything. Sain on the contrary looked enthusiastic, he was in his element and he was looking forward to feed.
"So, let's see," and he waved his hand in front of himself. The fog began to form around them into different shapes till they were able to see a beautiful woman, who stood on the stairs of the main house in the Green dragon’s village. The building looked much newer, than Monik saw, but otherwise, it was irredeemable. The woman had very fine facial features, long brown hair in a braid and small dark-brown eyes. Monik was completely captivated by her beauty.
"Who is she?" asked Monik quietly.
"You don’t have to whisper, she is just a memory," grinned at her Sain. "I don’t know who she is, but this is the first continuous memory of your fighter. Before this, there are just different feelings and images, nothing interesting, but this…" and he made a sound like when someone is enjoying his meal. "This, I want to see," he said enthusiastically.

Monik froze, if Sain is looking so much forward to this memory, it will not be pleasant for Ren.
"Ren, did you hear me?" said the woman with a sweet voice. "Don’t go down from the path, the forest is very dangerous. Just take the food to your fathers and return immediately."
"Mom, can I go with them?" a cute little boy popped out from behind her skirt - he could not have been more than four years old. The woman bent down to him and caressed his face. "You can, my darling," and she gave him a gentle smile. The boy cheerfully hopped down from the stairs, when someone said: "Mom, he will only slow us down. I promise, that we will not go down from the path, just don’t make me take him with us."
"Ren," looked at him strictly his mother, "you didn’t take Kai the last time, now he will go with you and take care of him."
Then Monik felt how reluctantly Ren grabbed his brother's hand. She realised, that she not only saw Ren’s memories, how he experienced them - through his eyes, but somehow, she also felt what he did.  

Ren looked annoyed at his two friends, who were quietly laughing. He gazed at his mother with a begging expression, but it didn’t help him. His mother smiled tenderly and she went back to the main building.
Once, when Ren couldn’t see her anymore, he let his brother's hand go and he wiped his hand into his chest.
"Don’t stay behind, because we will leave you at the mercy of the wolves," he retorted to Kai and they went into the woods. Monik realized, that the village at that time, didn’t had the stronghold build jet, so the boys went directly from the main house to the forest.
"Who wants a race?" asked one of the boys after a while.
"We cannot race, Kai would stay behind," retorted irritably Ren and he looked back at his brother. Ren was ahead with his friends and Kai trotted behind them. He wasn’t bothered by the fact, that he wasn’t fast enough to go beside the big boys, but he was still happy, that he could go with them.
"What is so special about him?" whispered with contempt the boy with a longer messy brown hair and he looked at Kai. The second boy, who was in the middle, suddenly poked into him.
"Luis, with respect... he will be the next Green dragon. He will command all the eastern tribes."
"It is enough, to be born at the right time," said Ren.
"I don’t understand," said Luis again, "just because he was born at the night, when the moons in the sky lined up, he gets the power of the Green dragon? This is not fair," he said firmly but quietly, so Kai will not hear him.
"Why? You would want to become the Green dragon?" asked him taunting the boy with short blond hair.
"Me? No! But I cannot imagine Kai as a commander," said Luis.
"He is still small, perhaps he will become a good leader," continued Zaid.
"But why not Ren? I can already imagine him as a commander," bared his teeth Luis on his friend, "he is already very good at fighting, but Kai is so... soft..."
Ren then stopped, because his brother bent down to the ground and he began to play with some worm, that was climbing in front of him.
"Just look at him, this is exactly, what I was talking about," and Luis pointed at Kai.
"Kai!" shouted at him his brother. "We will leave you here, if you do not hurry up!"
The little boy gave him a big smile, immediately jumped on his feet and ran to the others.

After a while, they came to an edge of the forest, where the men were cutting down trees.
"Ok, now... oh look, the boys are here, let’s have a break," said a tall man to the other workers, when he saw the boys coming. Monik immediately knew, who he was, because he looked exactly like Ren! The only difference was, that he had longer hair in a ponytail and a narrower chin.
"You arrived just in time, I was getting hungry," greeted them the man. When he walked up to them, he ruffled Kai’s hair: "What are you doing here? Are you also helping?"
"Yes," said the boy joyfully and Ren sighed. His father noticed it, but didn’t said anything and patted him on the shoulder.
"What did your mother send?" he asked, when he looked into the basket, which he took from Ren. His friends greet his father, then they went to their own fathers with food.

Ren sat on one of the cut down trees and Kai went with their father to hand out food to couple of other men. Then, they both returned to Ren and his father handed him the empty basket. He sat down across from him with some kind of bread.
"You are starting to cut the trees far away from the village," said Ren.
"Yes, I didn’t plan to go this far, but I want to use only this type of tree to the stronghold," and he knocked on the trunk, on which he sat, "this does not burn."
Kai plucked up some flower from the ground and he showed it to his father all happy. The man smiled at him a little forcibly - to show him, he did a good job.
"Don’t go to the waterfall today," he turned back to Ren with a serious tone.
"How did you get such an idea? It wouldn’t even cross…” began Ren defensively, but his father stopped him.
"Ren. I know that you are regularly going there with the boys, do not try to lie to me. But at least today don’t go there, it's not safe. Your grandfather went to the northern tribe because of a dispute. Their commander is very stubborn and he will not listen to anyone but the Green dragon," he sighed. "So the village is now vulnerable, without his power and the Hourens could be snooping around our territory."
Ren nodded sadly and after the meal, his father went back to work.
"Luis! Zaid!" called Ren his friends and they ran to him from various directions. They all had their already empty baskets and then they went back to the village.

Sain’s mouth twitched, he looked a little disappointed, and the picture disappeared before their eyes.

After a while, the fog formed characters again and Monik realized, that Ren and his friends were sitting on the stairs to the main building.
"...yesterday we had to take him with us, and today we have to look after him? I don’t want to..." said Luis.
"In fact, only Ren has to look after him," said Zaid with a smile, and Luis’s eyes lit up with hope.
"What? No! You want to leave me here alone with him?" and Ren sit up all frightened, when the boys smiled at him conspiratorially.
"It's your brother," snorted Zaid and he got up from the stairs with Luis.
"Hey, guys! Don’t do this to me..." called Ren after them, but they pretended, that they don’t hear him and they went into the woods.
"Where are they going?" asked Kai, when he approached Ren with some flower in his hand.
"To have fun," growled Ren and he laid down on the stairs.
"And why are we not going?" stood Kai over him.
"Mom would not like it..."
"And where is mom?"
"She went to a neighboring village to treat the sick and she left you with me. She would kill me, if she would know, that I took you to the waterfalls,” said Ren in exasperation and sighed.
"But I want to go to the waterfalls! I will not tell mom, if you take me there... "
Ren was surprised, that he proposed this idea, but after a moment, he decided, that he will take the risk. He forced him to swear, that he will really not tell their mother, where did he take him and they were on their way.

When they reached the waterfalls, they saw how the boys were crouching on the other side or the water and they were staring of the cliff from behind some bushes. Ren decided to scare them, so he showed Kai to be quiet and that he should jump on his back. After they got to the other side, thanks to the large rocks in the water, they crept behind the boys. They scared them to death, but they immediately draw them to the ground and pointed down the cliff.
From there was a direct view of the neighboring village, where something was happening. Ren at first didn’t understand, at what were the boys straining, but then he noticed a Houren. He immediately froze and watched, what was going on.

The Houren brought a young man out from the hut and he threw him to a little group of men, who were kneeling on the ground with their hands behind their heads. Altogether, there were only nine. A lot of the villagers were recently fighting an illness and many of them were lying sick in the main building. It was a bit smaller, than in the Green dragon’s village, it didn’t have a yard in the middle, but still, it was the largest of the buildings here.
Ren noticed how one of the Hourens checked, if the door of the main building was barricaded properly from the outside with a big chunk of heavy wood. Then he looked at his companion, who was squatting near him.
"What's he doing?" whispered Ren, because he saw just the monsters back.
"We don’t know, but he is squatting there for a long time," said Zaid.
The Houren by the building then shouted to the third one, who joined them and he instantly began to laugh. Ren had a bad feeling and his hand had automatically slid to the dagger, which was attached to the shoe under his pants. Then the beast got up from the ground triumphantly with a lighted torch in his hand!

The blood in the boys’ veins froze, when they saw how the Houren began to ignite the wooden roof of the main house. One of the men, who knelt on the ground, jumped to his feet, but a monster immediately sewered his head. Ren grabbed his little brother and turned him to himself.
"Kai, don’t look there," he ordered him carefully, while the boy began nodding with scared wide open eyes.
When Ren looked down again, he saw how the Hourens started arguing and one showed the other one. Then he bypassed his mate and he stabbed one of the guys kneeling on the ground with his bloody sword. Several men then jumped to their feet and tried to defend against the monsters, but without weapons, they had no chance - they were killed.

From the main building, the cries of those, who were trapped inside began to reverberate and the boys heard it up to the cliff. Zaid could not stand it and he looked away, but it didn’t help.
"We have to do something," whispered Ren, who was looking at how the monsters were entertained by the pain of the kneeling men, who were listening to their loved ones screams.
"What do you want to do? There are three Hourens and only three men left alive... nine of them couldn't do anything against them," said hopelessly Zaid.
"Mum," said Kai quietly and Ren remembered, that their mother was somewhere in that village! He immediately turned to Zaid and grabbed him by his shirt.
"Have you seen my mother?!" he asked in panic.
"No, but some women were taken by the Hourens over there," and he pointed to one of the buildings.

Ren let him go and Zaid fell into the bushes.
"You are not really thinking, that you can go down there and help?" looked at him Zaid horrified.
"My mother is down there, I have to save her," he said seriously, but he did not know, what could he do, what adults could not.
"I'm going with you," Luis looked at him seriously and he pulled a small dagger out of his shoe.
Ren looked at him gratefully, but frightened, then he turned to Zaid: "You take care of Kai."
"You can not be serious!" shouted at them Zaid and Ren looked down horrified, to see if some of the Hourens heard them. "We should call the warriors from our village and not play heroes!"
"Then go get them," said Ren briskly. "But I will not wait for them. The building is already on fire, and somewhere down there is also my mother! Until you get to our village and back, the Hourens will be long gone! Do what you want, just look after Kai," and with that, he nodded to Luis, that they can go.

The boys went back to the other side of the shore, because there was an easier descent. They got down and went over the river again, thanks to the rocks that stuck out of the water. They approached the edge of the village, while staying as close to the ground as possible and they hid in the bushes.
Ren’s heard was tearing apart from the screams of the people in the main building. Luis was also traumatized, especially when he saw up close the dead bodies of the fighters near them. Ren almost threw up, but he swallowed it and took a deep breath, then he put his hand on Luis's shoulder.
"Try to free the women, but be careful, one of Hourens is no longer here."
Luis nodded looking pale and he disappeared in the bushes.

Ren was trying to come up with a quick plan to help those, who were in the main building. But their screams didn’t allow him to concentrate and he felt only fear passing through his body. Then he drew the dagger from his shoe, and when the Hourens turned to the burning building screaming solemnly, he threw it to the man that was closest to him.
The man immediately noticed the small weapon next to him, he gave a quick glimpse behind himself, and when he saw, that it wasn’t one of the Hourens cruel games, he nodded. He immediately took the dagger and jumped to his feet and attacked one of the monster's neck. The Houren gave out a sound, like an injured animal and his mate stabbed the man with his sword. But the villager wasn’t ready to give up jet, with a sword in his body he ripped out of the monster’s body the dagger and he tried to attack his mate.

When the other two men kneeling on the ground saw that, they got up and attacked with their bare hands. Ren jumped out of the bushes and ran to the burning house. He tried to quickly lift the heavy timber, that was used to prevent the door from opening. He saw, that he didn’t have much time, because the Houren successfully defended himself against the tree fighters and now only one was standing against him.
Ren upholded the heavy wood on the door with his shoulders and with the strength of his legs he pushed it of just in time! The Houren turned to him when the door burst open. Ren fell heavily on his knees, when the running and coughing people got out of the house. Some of the villagers ran out with swords and although they were barely breathing, they immediately attacked the enemy.

After the weakest villagers groggily came out of the house coughing, Ren stood up from the fetal position, in which he was laying on the ground, defending his head. He was relieved, that the people didn’t trampled him to death.
"Ren?" a familiar voice addressed him and he turned around.
"Mom!" he ran excitedly to her and hugged the woman around hef waist. She bowed to him with tears in her eyes and from behind her back, Luis peeked out.
"How did you get rid of the Houren?" asked him Ren, not letting his mother go.
"He was not there," said Luis nervously and he looked at the two dead Hourens, who laid not far from them.
Ren had a horrible feeling and he looked up at the cliff. He saw something, from which his blood froze in his veins... The third Houren stood there, while holding Kai under his arm. His mother also looked up and she cried out with horror, when the monster kicked off the cliff a small body.

The boys knew what that meant - Zaid was dead. Neither of them was able to move, when the Houren turned to leave.
"He has Kai," said Ren quietly, and when his mother heard that, she immediately ran to the waterfall.
"What are you waiting for?!" shouted Luis in tears on the men, who were trying to breath out the poisoning smoke from their lungs. "We need your help!" They wanted to help, but they were not strong enough to stand up, let alone hunt down a Houren.
Ren grabbed a sword from one of the men and he ran after his mother, along with Luis. They went to the other side of the water and from there, they climbed up the cliff. The boys were slower, that Ren’s mom, so when they got up, they could see her persecute the monster far ahead.

Ren had never felt so scared in his life. He was worried about his mother, he didn’t know, what will she do, when she catches up with the Houren. He trembled under the idea, that he will lost her.  
The boys tried to gain speed, but after a while, they completely lost sight of them. They ran to the place, where they last saw Ren’s mother and they started looking for her with panic. It was as if time was standing still and the world was composed just by misery and fear... Ren’s head was spinning and Luis wanted to support him, so he will not fall, but he showed him away.

Then they heard a woman's scream. To Ren it felt like someone stabbed him with a knife in the heart. His legs suddenly weighed a ton and it seemed to him, that he was running awfully slowly to that voice.
Before his eyes some characters emerged... at first he couldn’t even process what he saw... but his eyes filled with tears.
The huge Houren was holding Ren’s mother's head with one hand and under his armpit he was holding a crying child. It seemed, that the woman could no longer move her limbs. Her body was involuntarily twitching, when the monster dug his fingers more into her skull. From beneath his fingers her blood was slowly dripping...

Ren, without hesitation, ran screaming to the Houren, who turned to him with a smile. He threw his mother to the ground like a rag doll and he stood in front of the boy teasingly.  
Luis was trying to think, before he attacked, so he didn’t reveal his presence to the beast. Instead, he went around, gradually hiding behind the trees and he got behind the Houren.

Ren jumped up in an attack to the monster’s head, but he just caught the boy’s sword with his bare hand. He was showing him his superiority - that Ren was, compared to him, just a weak little boy. When he grabbed his sword, he threw Ren down from its other end and he started to terribly laugh. That is when Luis jumped into the monster’s neck from behind and stabbed his dagger straight into the beast’s artery. While standing on his feet, the Houren grabbed the boy's arm, and with a great force, he threw him straight into a nearby tree. Luis fell so badly, that he broke his neck and his twisted lifeless body remained lying by the tree.

The beast fell to its knees, while the blood was spilling out of its neck, then its body collapsed. Kai started terribly screaming, because he couldn’t get out from under the Houren’s grip, but Ren was in shock and he didn’t hear him. His heart was pounding loudly in his ears, when he looked at his friend's dead body. He slowly stood up and walked carefully to his mother. He turned her on her back and sighed happily, while his body shuddered - she was still alive.
"Mom," he said quietly and he stroked her hair.
"Ren," she smiled at him and coughed up blood. Ren couldn’t bare the look at her like this, but he couldn’t look away... these were his mom’s last moments. "Ren, your brother," when she said that, rage began to boil in him. He was blaming his brother and he was angry, that their mother thought of him in her last moments. "Don’t be jealous," she smiled at him and Ren looked at her surprised. "It is hard enough for you," and she coughed up blood again. Ren didn’t want her to talk, he didn’t want her to get exhausted, he wanted her to live... "In the two of you, I will live on," she smiled at him, when he squeezed her hand with tears in his eyes. Her look was suddenly empty, there was no life in her body anymore... she left.

Ren shouted. His voice echoed through the dark forest. Then his body fell to the ground... he stopped crying and felt tired. In that moment, he heard his brother’s cry and he stood up.
The Houren was lying on his side, while his brother was under his upper hand. It was not difficult to get him out of there and Kai immediately hugged his brother around his waist. Although, Ren smiled on the outside, his heart was filled with emptiness. Then his brother looked up at him and Ren realized, how much he looks like their mother.

He put his hand on his head and for the first time he felt, that they belong together - that they are brothers. The hostility, which he always had towards him, disappeared. Now, he understood why... why today his best friends died instead of him... he must protect his little brother.