Bruce knew it when Chocomint died. Death was inevitable. Nobody was immune. You couldn’t escape from it. It was pointless to try.
So why fight at all? What was the point?
Thrax told him that it was to survive. Gather food. Find resources. Keep the clan busy enough to forget about the plague. The deaths.
Bruce didn’t see the point. They were just staving off the inevitable.
So many had died since Safe and Zone clawed out an existence in this wasteland called the Wandering Contagion. Hatchlings. Young adults. Nobody was safe.
Except Safe and Zone themselves.
Why were they immune to this? The plague? The death?
Why not him? Why not Chocomint?
Why did they all have to die while Safe and Zone got to live, safe and happy in the lair, having nest after nest of children that would inevitably die?
Why bother rescuing them, orphans abandoned in the wastelands, just so they could die fighting in the wilderness?
It was all so…pointless…
Bruce hated it. Hated them. All of them. Safe and Zone and Winse and Lymph and everybody who thought this was an okay way of life! This wasn’t okay! They were all dying! They just didn’t know it yet!
But Chocomint knew it. Bruce knew it.
But Chocomint was dead, slain four days ago in Scorched Forest from a botched attempt by Winse to make them stronger. She and Tussis had died thanks to Winse!
Didn’t Winse have a history of dragons dying around him? Bruce had heard about something involving the first excursion to Woodland Path. How that party, all orphans raised with Winse, had died within five battles.
How ironic that Winse was there when Chocomint died.
“Hang in there, Bruce! Thrax, hurry!”
“I’m trying, Winse! He won’t stop bleeding!”
How ironic that Winse was here now that Bruce was dying.
“Bruce, look at me! LOOK AT ME!!”
A blurry gray face hovered above him. Bruce lay on the ground of Woodland Path, bleeding from the wounds inflicted on him by the Clown Charger. Thrax was fending off attacks by the beast, the Imperial swiping with his own teal claws in a bid to give Winse time to patch Bruce up.
It was pointless. All of it. Didn’t they realize that yet?
“Hang in there! Don’t die on me, Bruce!” Winse barked.
He was going to die, anyways. They all were. Didn’t they know this?
…He wanted to see Chocomint again…
“Bruce, hang on! Bruce! Bruce!”
A tiny fluttering form, the color of chocolate with mint tinting her poison-patterned wings, zipped overhead. Winse faded away, as did the sounds of battle. The only thing Bruce heard was the angel’s voice.
“Come on, Bruce! Up here!”
Bruce smiled. “Hey, Chocomint. Hang on. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Hurry up, slowpoke! I’ve been waiting here forever for you!” Chocomint cried.
Bruce rose, the blood falling from his wings as he left his ruined, fleshy prison behind. Chocomint was waiting for him.
He’d be a fool to keep her waiting anymore.