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The Return of the Dragons von Peter Lässig

He stood infront of the biggest book-store of the town, Paul, a programer of 35, married, 1 daughter, somewhere in Germany. He looked at the notice in his hands: "The Return Of The Dragons", that's the name of the book his daughter asked him to get here. "Childish stuff", Paul muttered entering the store. Dragons! Why can't a 15-years old teenager not become grown up; other girls in this age are reading about movie- and popstars etc, but she spends and wastes all her time with this childish stuff. And then, she always uses his computer Paul needed for his job as programer for travelling through the internet, always looking for dragons. And now also this book, about 200 $ for such a foolish piece of paper!
Paul went to the information-desk: "Excuse me, I am looking for this book here." He passed the note to the young employee. She looked at it, frowned: "Well, I don't remember this title. Let me just see if it is available. I am sure we don't have it here, but maybe we can order it." 
She typed the title and the name of the author into her computer, waited and ...frowned. "I can't find it. Let me now try it with the ISBN-number..." She tried again, but again without success. "I am sorry, Sir, but this book is not available. Are you sure it is the correct title?" "Yes, quite sure. My daughter told me it would be available without any problems." "Strange, but wait a minute, we could ask Mr. Reichelt, he's the boss for the fantasy-department. Maybe he knows more...Mr. Reichelt?". Mr. Reichelt was an elder man. "May I help you?" "Well, yes, I am looking for this book. My daughter told me it would be available, but it can't be found in any lists." Mr. Reichelt took the note and frowned. Paul could tell, Mr. Reichelt seemed to get a little bit pale in his face, reading the title. But it was maybe only for half a second. " >The Return Of The Dragons< I know this book...it is for years that somebody asked for it. You are sure you are looking for that book? Where did your daughter find this title?" "Oh, she has access to the internet and knows lots of strange people, who believe in dragons and other foolishness", Paul answered. "Dragons are not foolish", the man muttered under his breath and added, louder to Paul: "I see. Well, it is a special book. Maybe we have got it here, please follow me.". He lead Paul through the whole store and stopped infront of a door "for staff only". "May you go in. It will take a few minutes to get me the 
book. Anything to drink? Coffee? Water? I need to talk to you, but first let me get the book." "Water, please". Paul answered puzzled and opened the door. Behind the door was a small corridor, a metal-door on the other end. "Yes, go through the other door and wait for me". Paul did so and crossed the corridor, he stepped through the second door and stood in a dark room, smell and the sound of a working coffee-machine in the air. Paul grope after the light switch...he couldn't find it. Bang, the iron door was closed. Strange. Where is the damn switch...Paul got in panic. "Hey, what's that for a game? Where's the light?" Paul wanted to step back through the door, but instead of feeling metal, he felt...nothing. No door, not...even a wall. Paul stood somewhere in the open, darkness around him...and a light breeze. Paul now really got panicked: "Where I am? Is here anybody? What happened?"
"Who is making so much noise here in this peaceful night?!?" - Paul jumped some steps back as he heared this powerful rumbling voice. "Ahhh! What's that? Who has spoken? Why is there no light?" "Light?", the voice roared like thunder, "You want >light<?! You should get your light, mortal!!", and out of the dark shot a gigantic flame. Paul stumbled and felt to the ground, incredible heat engulfed him. "Attention! And better come away from here before you burn down to cinder", the incredible voice rumbled. Before Paul even could react, he felt getting grapped and somehow flying through the air. He screamed in fear. "Relax, human, relax", the voice said softly, "besides, who should hear you here?". "Who are you? What are you? Where do you bring me? What do you want from me? What the hell..." "Shut up!", the voice roared interrupting the human, "Not cursing in my presence, ok? Then: first, calm down. Then, don't ask so many questions. I take you with me, there's someone who wants to meet you! By the way, my name is Tocca." "Tocca?" Paul struggled "Let me down, I won't run away, please." "Let you down? Can I trust a human? But...well, sure, you won't run away for sure - I would burn you to cinder if you do any attempt. But I think so foolish even a human can't be to try to escape from a dragon." "Dragon?!?", Paul asked in disbelieve. "Yes. D-R-A-G-O-N. Dragon. What you humans call a >fabolous creature<. Surprised? And now go on, I don't want to spend the whole night here." And with these words, the dragon pushed the human forward. After a walk of about 15 minutes - during this time, the dragon refused to speak at all - they arrived infront of the entrance of an huge cave. "Welcome, mortal", the dragon roared and without any warning he grapped the human and carried him inside. The cave was lit by torches on the wall, and the first thing Paul saw was a pile of skulls and bones. He shivered and swallowed hard. The dragon chuckeld: "It won't be you, besides you  annoy us. Here we are." The dragon put the human down and now Paul recognized a moving shadow in the background of the cave. "So, you are the human we are waiting for, welcome. May I call you >Paul<?". A gigantic head with impressive horns appeared infront of Paul's face...it belonged to a gorgeous body with 4 legs, with sharp taloned claws, neatly folded wings. The dragon's golden scales were glittering in the flickering light of the torches. A breathtaking view. Paul swallowed: "You know my name?" "Oh, I know more from you than you ever guess, although I am only a stupid, foolish fantasy-creature, good enough for children.", the dragon grumbled ironically. "Welcome in my kingdom. I am Lahkoona, queen of the dragons. And this", she moved her head towards the smaller dragon who brought Paul into that cave, "is Tocca, my daughter. "But before we talk further, you should relax a little bit. And then you are certainly hungry", she added. Now Paul lost his nerves. " What the hell is going on here! Where am I and what do you want from me", he screamed. But it was more out of panic than anger. "Quiet!", the dragoness roared. "We will have enough time to talk about it." "Time? Why >time<? I have got a family and I must go home,. They are waiting for me." "Home?", the dragoness shook slowly her head and in her face appeared a sad expression. "Well, I am afraid, I can't let you go now, my friend." "What do you mean?! I can go where I want to", Paul protested. "Unfortunatly not. You are in *my* kingdom and *I* will decide about your departure! So far, you are my guest. Don't force me to treat you as a prisoner. And now lets eat." With this, Lahkoona turned around and motioned the human to follow her. Paul recognized it would be senseless to try any flee. He was deeply afraid and puzzled...and tired. He followed the dragons into another, even larger cave. The ground was covered with blankets and furs, in the middle of the room a large table with lots of fruits, roasted meat and vegetables on it. "Eat!", Lahkoona invited her guest. "Then we can talk."
After they had finished their meal, Lahkoona said: "Well, it has become late now. Too late for talking. You need to rest, it was a heavy day for you. You can sleep here" - she pointed towards a pile of furs on the floor - "Next to me. So I am in your reach if you need anything during the night. Here in the back of the cave, you will find a little brook with fresh, clean water. And, please, don't try to escape. It would be useless and I don't want to hurt you. You needn't be afraid. I don't mean any danger to you. No dragon wants to harm a human. But this and much more we will discuss tomorrow. And now prepare yourself for going to sleep."

Paul woke up in the night. The both dragons slept quietly and deeply. Carefully the human got up and moved slowly towards the cave's exit. There must be a way back to his world, a way out of this nightmare..."Are you looking for something special?" - the growling voice behind Paul made him turn around. Tocca stood there, showing a toothy grin. "I...I...I was just ...I just wanted to get a little bit of water...I ...I am thirsty, you see?", Paul stammered. "The water is in the opposite direction, my friend", Tocca reminded him friendly. "Better go back quickly before my mother notices you were not in her cave. She can get quite angry easyly, you know?" 'Damn!', Paul thought and followed Tocca back into the heart of the caves....

Something was tickeling Paul's face; it was not only one single ray of sunlight coming from outside of the cave, but also something warm and moist flickering over his face. Those sensations together with the appealing scent of fresh roasted meat let Paul open his eyes...and a little scream escaped from his mouth as he found himself not in his own bed but on a cave's floor, two scaley, tooth-showing dragon-faces close to his face. "Good Morning, mortal. Hope you slept well", the golden dragoness greeted her guest. "So ist wasn't just a nightmare", Paul muttered and got up. The elder dragoness sighed and whispered something to her daughter Tocca. She nodded and left the cave. Then Lahkoona motioned Paul to follow her. "Let's have breakfast. I hope, you like well-done meat and fruits." Although the human actually was hungry like a wolf, he was still too frightened and confused and nervous to eat. So Lahkoona took a slice of the meat with her claws and forced it gently into Paul's mouth. "I am sorry, but I must insist that you fill your stomach. You need it, so eat, I won't accept any "no". Understood?".

After the silent breakfast, Lahkoona started: "I know, you are full of questions. And I regret that I had to be a little harsher with you. But all this now is far too important to be taken easy. I will answer your questions now, telling you a little story. But first I want you something to view. Follow me."
Together they left the cave and stepped into the sunlight. Outside, Tocca was waiting for them. Both dragons in the sunlight, Paul for the first time sensed their whole gorgeousness and grace. Lahkoona's golden scales glittering in the sun-light and her daughter's scales shimmering like emeralds. In the bright light, the dragons didn't appear anymore so threatening and demonic as past night. Of course, these dragons were predators, their bodies were perfectly shaped to kill and to fight... but there was something more, Paul now started to feel. Majestic as Sibirian tigers, but in addition to the nobility and dignity there's also the impression of an incredible intelligence. And the dragon's eyes: full of wisdom and...Paul shivered...full of sorrow which cancels all emotions except of deep love...
"I have brought it here, as you told me to do, mother", Tocca eagerly explained. "Thank you, my dear...and now, please let us alone for a while. And you...", she points a taloned claw to Paul, "... you come with me overthere."
The dragoness made a few steps and finally Paul could see it: It was a horric view and Paul jerked back. It was not only the fact that Paul was confronted with death, but there was something else. Somehow this view touched Paul deep inside his heart, the dragon was somehow familiar to him... those blue-greenish scales, although without life still shimmering in the sun, the shape...but it was impossible. It just could not be!  "My son", Lahkoona whispered and and pointed at the mummyfied carcass. "Killed by you humans, Paul. Killed by *you*." "No! " Paul exclaimed. "No! You can't blame on me something I have never done. I swear, I never have slain any dragon! I never knew dragons would exist! Besides, there are no traces of a fight or any blood on him. It seems as he dried out here in the sun. But I never would have done such a thing!" Lahkoona shook her head and looked sadly: "There are other ways to kill us and you know that. You don't need a sword or a lance to kill us. You bring death upon us in a far more cruel way as in former times brave knights did. Look in his dead eyes. I want you to look in them - deeply." Lahkoona's last words were of a threatening grumbling and although Paul was deeply disgusted, he didn't dare to take his eyes from the dead dragon.
After a while, Lahkoona folded a wing over him, and pulled him closer to her. "And now, I will tell you the story. Come on, let's go back to our cave", and gently she pushed him back.

Back in the cave she told Paul to take a seat and made herself comfortable, as well. Then she started. "Paul, what I will tell you now is very important. I will tell it to you only once. So listen and don't interrupt me. Later, you can ask me questions - if you still insist to ask. And one thing you must know, before I start. I *know* you; I know you better than you know yourself.". Lahkoona took a deep sigh and muttered. "Well then, let's do it.", and she started to tell in a soft, deep voice which hypnoticed Paul.

"In former times, my ancestors lived in your world in peace and harmony with the human race. But then mankind started to search for the "meaning of life" and finally its reflections and researches ended up in an institution you call now "God" or "Allah" or "Manitou". You have invented different names for one and the same thing, the fountain of all life, the creator...You have invented different religions. But who ever wants to believe in God, the Good, must also believe in the Evil, called "Satan". And here the whole mess started. Someone has had the glorious idea to equalize us dragons with this Satan. We dragons don't know the reason for it and we probably will never get to know it. Maybe it's because we have from time to time hunted cattle and sheeps from human's herds. Maybe because a human was killed once by a dragoness defending her hatchlings, who knows... Anyhow, the humans started to attack us and to drive us away from our homes. And we dragons have been so incredible evil and satanic to defend ourselves, our lifes. For every human lost its life in that senseless battle, at least two of us got killed. Even as we retreated into other dimensions and worlds, we still have been pursued.
Since this couldn't go on this way, the eldest from us wanted to reunite dragons and humans in peace again. So they took the decision to send dragons in your world looking for humans - mostly children - whose hearts haven't been spoilt yet of that insanity dragons would be the Evil in person. Those humans were brought here and each of them was looked after and educated by one dragon. Our pupils studied hard and learned much and took their new knowledge back into their world for spreading it among the humans. And now those seeds we have sown in your world sprout slowly."
Lahkoona paused and looked thoughtfully at her audience. Paul said nothing, and Lahkoona was not sure if she had expected any reaction of that human. But she could feel it: Something was going on in Paul's mind. She continued:

"Seeing this success, hope raised among us and the younger dragons thought of returning to earth. Of course, we could not appear in our true forms, this would have caused chaos and panic among your people - although more and more people started to accept the idea of dragons not being evil, they didn't believe in us. So we had to wait and to watch: Volunteers were sent to earth, "reborn" as humans living among humans to watch and to study them. By the way, the same did also other races like griffins for example or unicorns...
Well, our hopes were shattered quite soon: Humans started to destroy their environment, the nauture surrounding them; they kill animals not for having nourishment but for sports, they even strated to kill themselves, because one human thought his people would be of a better race. And they worshipped a new god: Money. For money they do everything. And the people become isolated in their society. And now among these people there are some "humans" which don't understand and accept this way to live. Can you imagine how those dragons or unicorns or what ever you want felt to be forced to live among the humans? All attempts to reeducate the humans seemed to have failed.
But they did not give up, and although they soon became outcasts of your society, they didn't give up their hopes. And fortunatly, they found also *humans* who were not like the others. Humans, who lived after far more important values and rules than money. Humans who suffered as well of the coldness of their world they have to live in. And they came into contact with each other, using some magical instruments you humans call >internet<  or >e-mail<. This way, even friendships between some humans and dragons could develop. There have been even humans who fell in love with the dragon-kind. Of course, those humans feeling that way mostly were children, and adults who have had similar feelings were outcasted by the rest of the human race. Still, most of you call it childish and foolish to think about dragons or even to believe in us. Can you imagine the pain a dragon must feel in your world confronted with such a close-minded opinion? Have you ever felt the pain we dragons feel if we are denied by one of you? People like *you*, Paul? Also words can hurt, mortal. Sometines even more than a sword. And if there are too many wounds, death follows..."

Lahkoona's words faded in Paul's head. He moved uncomfortable, wanted to stand up and just run away. But the dragon's gaze pinned him where he sat and the story went on:

"Also my daughter, Tocca, lives that way as a human on your planet. But she is lucky enough to be of royal blood so she can return to her home whenever she wishes it, the other dragons living in your dimension were captured on your planet until their human body dies. Well, Tocca was also lucky enough to find a friend among you humans; and their friendship became so strong  that she brought her friend several times to us and introduced her to me: Tocca's friend is...*your* daughter, Paul. A charming girl, congratulations: wise and full of love, a real uncut diamond among your people."

Lahkoona lowered her head and showed a toothy grin as she pushed gently her snout into Paul's flanks and whispered "Unbelievable that she has got such a father." She chuckeld a little and became serious again.

"You have seen my son. You can guess it, he lived also among the humans on your planet? Also he was an outcast in your society, but also he found some human friends. By the way, his name is >Akathan<.  He has had a very special friend and soon there developped even more than friendship between them. This human and my son were connected by a bond of love. Now the meaning of love for a dragon is something different than the human's definition. Love for us means a deep care for someone, which can also end up to a mating-ritual. But love for us is something very precious and we believe in it. So we are very careful to use this term to describe a relation.
But my son felt real love for his human friend, and the human never was tired of telling my son how much he would love him. The human promised my Akathan to come with him onto our world here, to give up his human life and to be the mate of my son, not caring that he has been male by himself. By the way, Paul, for us dragons the gender is unimportant; love happens between two individuals, not between two genders...
But back to the story. Akathan trusted his friend and so called lover, and he did everything for him. He cared for the human's life, gave him comfort when needed, advice, warmth...all to make his love happy...."

Lahkoona stopped as she noticed Paul stood up. "Why are you telling me this story? Why should I listen to this nonsense?", the man exclaimed. "My daughter never would talk to a fantasy-creature. She's not insane! It's a lie you are telling me. And about your son, only a fool could fall in love with an animal. Such a person is mad and belongs into the hospital. I don't want to listen to that bullshit any longer. Let me go! Now, at once!"
With these words Paul tried to pass Lahkoona and leave the cave. The dragoness watched him with a feeling of anger and amusement. "Stop, human", she said, "I will warn you only once! Stop *now*!"; then she tilted her head back, took a deep breath and a beam of blue-white, incredible hot and bright fire was placed directly infront of the human's feet. Paul jerked back and stared at the dragon, her scales glittering in the shine of the fire. "You wanted to kill me, didn't you?", he asked frightened. Lahkoona came close to him and breathed her hot, firey smelling breath into his face. "No", she rumbled. "I don't want to kill or hurt you, you know that damn well. But I *will* do it if you keep on bothering me. And now sit down and let me continue the story." She used the tip of her wing to press Paul back on the floor.

"Wait here for an instant. I trust you enough not to run away, I will be back in a minute."
Paul didn't dare to move as Lahkoona went deeper into her cave. Soon she returned, bringing a large cup of fresh water and some fruits. She offered it to her guest and Paul drank thirstyly. Lahkoona made herself comfortable again, carefully watching her wings, lowered her horned head to the same level as Paul's face and looked him straight into his eyes. "The friend of Akathan", she whispered, "That was *you*." She pressed her sharp talon like a dagger gently against the human's chest, tracing lines along his body. Her voice was surprisingly soft and without any accusation. It was a simple statement, emotionless as any TV-speaker tells about the weather of the forthcoming days.
Nevertheless, Paul was hit by Lahkoona's words like a tree by a lightening. 'This is impossible,' he thought, ' this can't be true, that would explain...but no, it is simply a nightmare, a dream...'. "Not a dream! And it *is* possible... You was my son's friend. You became his fate!", Lahkoona grumbled, her scaled face rather close now to Paul's. He lookes scared and puzzled. For a second the dragoness showed an amused smiling: "Oh, do you have forgotten - we dragons are masters of mind-reading. Just for you to know!". Silence. Then Paul lost his control and he jumped back on his feet. "No!!!", he eclaimed. "That's not true! I have never dealt with any dragon! I am not interested in dragons! Indeed I don't like dragons - stinking, slimy reptiles born out of pervert nightmares of insane people's minds. And my daughter would never believe in this madness! I am fed up with it, go aside and let me go, monster!" Underlinig his words he stomp his foot. Paul now was enraged fully and he looked around, fire in his eyes; then he saw it: among lots of other stuff an old sword, heavy and sharp - and easy to reach for him. Paul never handled any weapon, but his anger and also his panic now took completly control of his mind. "You accuse me to have killed dragons - well then, *now* I really will slay a dragon. *You*. And I am proud of being a dragon-slayer!", he screamed, reaching for the sword.
Lahkoona didn't react. How easyly she could kill him - only a short blast of fire and the human would be a pile of cinder. But she didn't move, she only watched Paul raising the blade with his hands. Her eyes didn't show any signs of anger, rage or the will to fight - only a deep sorrow and sadness - and pain. ... Then Paul attacked, ramming the sword between two scales deep into her chest. Lahkoona moaned in pain, the wound was deep and hurt, but it didn't endanger her life. Paul jerked back; he never thought to be able to actually try to kill another being - and how easy it would be to use a weapon. Something in Lahkoona's strange behaviour let him hesitate to do the second strike, but finally he overcame that feeling and started another attack. "Now it is enough, boy", the dragoness said calmly and using her tail like a whip, she knocked down the human smashing  his left leg. Paul fell to the ground, screaming in pain. "Oh, you stupid boy! Why must I hurt you to open your ears and your heart to listen to my words. But I will teach you a lesson now. You will come with me!" she roared grapping the man and hauled him deep into the cavesystem. With her breath she quickly lit some torches and dropped the human in a smaller cave. "Akathan's lair", she explained. "Look around and then tell me: Do you still dare to maintain your lie of not having known my son? That you was his friend? That you have cheated him? That you even *killed* him?! Look now and then talk like a man, speak the truth!" Saying this, she knocked down Paul again, this time using the tip of her wing, hurting his shoulder. Then she left the room, leaving Paul alone in his pain caused by his shattered leg and his dislocated shoulder. She shut the entrance to the cave rolling a big rock infront of it so the human could not escape. Of course she let a small crack open for Paul could get fresh air for breathing. 
Paul was not able to move, but he could not take his eyes from the walls. Like pictures on the wall of a house, this rocky wall was covered with stone-plates showing....Paul could not believe it, there were paintings showing a human male at the age of about 25 years somewhere in his holidays on a beach...like a painted photo. And more stoned "photos" of this young man in different situations, for example somewhere in a city, infront of an university. There were also pictures of Akathan, a beautiful blue and green scaled male dragon, a breathtaking view of elegance and beauty and strength. This dragon alone; together with his family. Paul started to cry, not only caused by the incredible pains of his tortured body...
And then he saw those strange inscriptions on the wall. They looked like e-mails Paul knew from his world. But this was too absurd...e-mails? Here? And: Written in stone? Paul moved closer to the wall, moaning in sharp pain especially his leg caused. "Dear Akathan, my love...I just wanted to mail you how much I love and miss you. And I can't wait for the day, I will be united with you forever. In deep love, Paul." Paul looked at the headlines of that "e-mail": written about 10 years ago, sent from the university, by...Paul. 'You can't escape your destiny and your past...', with that last thought Paul lost his consciousness and darkness engulfed him.

He felt something hot and liquid pressed against his lips and a sharp pain...then he noticed, first blurred then sharper, the presence of Tocca and Lahkoona. The younger dragoness was cushioning  gently his head, while the dragon-queen prepared different things next to him. "Here's something to ease your pain, and to heal you quickly", she softly speaks. "Drink of it; I know, it will taste terrible, but it helps your recovering." Paul did as him told, knowing that he has lost that game; if you can call it a game. There was no sense any more to deny. Yes, he knew that dragon...and indeed, long time ago he was a so called dragon-lover. But soon he was captured by daily business, by his career and dragons didn't fit into his life anymore, so he broke all connections to his former friends. But he never guessed that some of them have been *real* dragons, not just any role-game-players as Paul always believed. But...*killing* dragons? Paul shivered and moaned. The pains in his leg and his shoulder drove him nearly crazy and he felt like being sick. Lahkoona took carefully the shattered leg in her claws and muttered some words Paul couldn't understand; but he felt an incredible coldness rushing through his bones, narcoting his pains. "I will put a healing spell on you now. You soon will fall into deep slumber. And when you wake up, your wounds will be gone. Your physical wounds, at least. But before you fall asleep, let me say a few things, Paul....""I...I also must tell you something", Paul whispered, "I am sorr...". "Sshhh!", interrupted him Lahkoona. "Stay quiet, don't talk now. Stay calm and relax; let my healing powers do their work, but is shoulder...the spell did work perfectly. "Lahkoona? Tocca?". No answer, all was quiet. Paul sighed and stood up. The entrance to that chamber was not closed by the rock, he could leave...."Lahkoona?".
Paul avoided every sound. He had to leave the cave, he had to go to *him*. He must see him, beg his pardon. Paul stepped out from the dark of the cave into the dark of the night outside. Two pairs of reptilian eyes following him...

The carcass was still where they have left it. Paul stood infront of the dead dragon's snout in silence. Finally he knelt down infront of it and made the sign of the cross, starting to pray. Finally he spoke to the dragon: "Forgive me, Akathan. I..I never wanted *this* to happen. I never could imagine..I...", Paul collapsed and started to cry. He cried as he never did before in his life. The deepest corners of his soul and his heart turned upside-down and he let his tears flow. He petted and kissed the dragonsnout passionatly. Then he looked on the sharp, deathbringing talons of his former dragon-love. "Yes, Akathan, my dear, beloved friend, my brother. Your mother is right, my act must be punished. And I can't think of another way of paying off my guilt than..." Paul wanted to use the talon as a dagger to cut his vein on his wrist. But a yell stopped his actions. "For heaven's sake! Paul! Stop it, you fool" and than he felt pushed away from the carcass, from the talon. "Paul! Your dead is not what could Akathan let return. Your life is not wanted as prize for his love to you.". Lahkoona looked at Paul and added softly. "Come over there, to me. Let's sit down and talk." Paul nodded. "I am so sorry, Lahkoona. I never knew that I would kill him by not writing him anymore. That I really didn't want, please, believe me." Lahkoona sat down next to the human. "Please understand me, when I say you now these things. It is not only you have killed *him*. I told you once that there are several ways to kill us dragons. You don't need a lance or a sword or a magic spell. You can also kill us by actions, for example calling us in your world >fabolous creatures<. Calling the believers in us >foolish< and >childish<. Everytime one of you humans does so, we dragons feel a pain. And if it is done often enough, a dragon finally dies. But you, Paul, have killed Akathan twice and even more cruel: First, you hurt him by denying his existence. And then, you killed him by not loving him anymore without telling him the reason *why* you have left him. He always hoped to hear from you again, to meet you once. He was longing for your love, like a thirsty wanderer in a desert. Finally he dried out, he died of thirst for your love and friendship, Paul." Paul started again to cry; the words Lahkoona spoke hurt even more than the shattered leg. "What can I do to pay off my guilt? I know, I can't change anything anymore, but, what should I do? Tell me, I will all do what you want." Lahkoona looked Paul deeply into his eyes and Paul felt her look penetrate his eyes, his brain deep into his heart and soul. But she remained silent. After some minutes she finally whispered softly "Follow your heart, my boy, listen to your heart", and she folded her wing over him.
So they sat both silently, looking at Akathan's carcass, until dusk.

"You can leave now, as I saw in your heart that you have done atonement. Return to your world and follow your heart". Lahkoona broke the silence. "You mean, you will let me go, I am free?". "Yes, my friend. But never forget what I have told you".
"I certainly won't. So it seems to be time to say >goodbye< also to your daughter. But, wait a minute. How should I return, and then, what should I tell in my world? I must have been away for at least one week." "Don't worry about that", Lahkoona chuckled. "You are under a time-spell. When you return to your dimension, about 5 minutes will be gone. And I will send you back, so don't be afraid. But there's one thing left to settle." "What kind of thing?" "Well, I must get sure you don't forget us and that you won't go on with your actions like calling us dragons >monsters< and >fabolous beasts< . So, gimme your hand." "What?" "Your hand. It may will hurt a little, but you are such a brave boy...and then:... Farewell!!!..."
Before Paul could say or do anything, Tocca put Paul's hand between her jaws, holding it on. In the same instant, Paul felt a sharp pain as a thin beam of fire out of Lahkoona's nostrils burnt his flesh.
"Aahhh!!!!! Paul screamed ....................
"Sorry, be careful! This stove is very hot!" Paul jerked back as he heared the familiar voice. Why did he put his hand on a stove? He stood in a small room, only a table and some chairs and a wardrobe inside and he looked into the eyes of an elder man, Mr. Reichelt. "Is everything ok with you, Sir?" Mr. Reichelt asked worried. Paul gasped and looked at the back of his hand; there was a nasty scar...somehow the shape of a dragon. "So it was not a haluzination or a nightmare", Paul muttered under his breath. Mr. Reichelt handed Paul the book. "Here is >The Return Of The Dragons<. It is a very precious and rare book, and it has no prize. Let me give it to you as a special gift, Sir. And allow me to say: *You* should read it before you give it to your daughter." "Why?" Paul wanted to ask. "You just will notice it", Mr. Reichelt smiled and lead Paul back into the store. When they shook hands, Paul could see a scar on Mr. Reichelts hand. It looked somehow like a dragon....like thesame dragon whose portrait was printed on the cover  of "The Return of The Dragons".  .......................