Yelena; First Blood

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Yelena stopped watching them and decided to take advantage of the situation, and run away from the village while they were busy. They should have no reason to attack her, but the smell of blood could attract a larger carnivore. She headed in the opposite direction and left the village. When she thought she was far enough away, she sat down, took food and water out of her bag, and had breakfast. She took the map to see where she would go next. A few kilometers from the village there was a highway leading to Novi Sad. She decided to move in that direction as soon as she gathered a little strength.

It took her two hours to walk to the highway. It was completely clogged with the wreckage of various vehicles. There was everything: limousines, trucks, buses, etc. As she looked around, she noticed the wreckage of a passenger plane, some hundred meters away from where she was standing. The plane burned completely. It was black as coal. She assumed that the pilot tried to land on the highway by force, which seems to have ended fatally for him and the passengers unless one of them managed to get out before they were swallowed by the flames. She heard nothing but the wind, some birds, and her own breathing. She was walking slowly between the wrecks when she suddenly thought she heard something. She took off her rifle and locked-and-loaded it, not knowing what to expect. She noticed that something was moving towards her. The only thing she could see clearly were a few twinkling eyes. It was only when he came out of the shadow of the truck trailer that she realized that a giant scorpion, over one meter long, black-green in color and with massive clips, was approaching her. She didn't hesitate for a second, but aimed at the scorpion's eyes and fired two bullets. The first missed the creature's eyes and scratched its articulated tail, while the second bullet hit one of the creature's larger eyes. The scorpion paused for a moment and hissed in pain, but still continued to approach her. She aimed again and fired three bullets into her mouth. This time she managed to kill it. She slowly approached the now dead scorpion to get a better look at her. She approached it about a meter and a half away. It was completely black-green except for the venom gland at the end of the tail which was indigo-blue. A greenish-blue liquid leaked from four gunshot wounds; most likely its blood, which smelled indescribably.

A few meters away, she noticed a military truck and decided to see if there was anything useful inside. First, she looked under the truck to see if, by any chance, a scorpion was hiding there, or something else. Fortunately, only various mushrooms and weeds grew under the truck. She found several boxes of ammunition, and there were rifle grenades in one of them. She took some extra ammunition for the "tetejac" and two rifle grenades mines. She had more than enough for the "papovka".

She pulled out a map and compass to determine her position, then looked at the hand-drawn map where the elven cities were indicated. The closest was between Novi Sad and Djurdjevo. Nobody understood how they managed to take the whole city with them, but here, their cities appeared overnight, almost out of nowhere. Most likely, it was a kind of magic - that mystical power that people did not possess or understand. Among other things, their armor was enchanted, or the metal itself was magical, no one knew for sure. Either way, most of the bullets of infantry weapons simply bounced off their armor, barely leaving any scratches. One of the rare, weak points were the slits for the eyes, on the helmets, while some had lenses made of some kind of glass or crystal that was almost impenetrable. Her "father" once told her that a sniper managed to kill an elf, whose helmet had those strange lenses, by shooting at the same thing about twice, with a large-caliber rifle, the so-called Black Arrow. Whatever the name of their city, it was her best chance to find out who her parents really were; if by some miracle members of her race do not kill her before that.

Fruška Gora could be seen in the distance, which was a sign that she was on the right path. She stopped at a small house to disassemble and clean the „papovka" and ate some food along the way. She put the rifle together, checked that everything was working properly, loaded it, locked it, hung it on her shoulder, and slowly moved on. She passed through the settlement of Čortanovci without any problems and reached the bank of the Danube. On the opposite bank, there was a nature reserve "Koviljsko - Petrovaradinski" bogland. To her right, at a distance of about two hundred meters, she saw a collapsed bridge, and searched the shore, hoping to find a boat in good condition. After about an hour, she found one undamaged, under a tarp, in a garage, right next to a rusty blue "Fića" (nickname used for the car Zastava 750). She removed the tarp and dragged the boat to shore, then returned to the garage for a paddle and checked to see if there was anything useful inside. She found an oar, a kerosene lamp, and a box of military matches. Slowly and carefully she pushed the boat into the water and entered it, and began to paddle. The weather was cloudy but calm, as was the river itself. She didn't want to risk running into a wild boar, or something worse, so she headed west - as far away from the reserve as possible. Her plan was to get around the bog completely. She arrived on a relatively dry coast, not far from where the reserve ended. She dragged the boat into a shed, thinking she might need it again; or maybe some other unfortunate soul who would like to cross the river dry; so she covered it with various rags, to protect it from rain and weather.

A few kilometers from the coast, she saw several wrecks of "MIG 29" jet planes. Similar to a passenger plane, these MIGs also had claw marks and fire marks on them. Dragons, Yelena thought. She had never seen one alive, just a skeleton in a cornfield, ten years ago. She continued on and entered the overgrown orchard through a hole in the rusty fence. Nobody picks fruit now, so without thinking she took one apple, wiped it a little, and ate it while walking through the orchard. Then she noticed a tractor and some skeleton next to it. She came closer. Her suspicions came true, it was a dragon skeleton. Its bones were dark gray, almost black, and up close they looked more like stone or metal. She touched the skull that she estimated was a meter and a half long, expecting to feel something, some tingling or something. But she didn't feel anything, except that what was in front of her was just a pile of bones, regardless of the fact that they looked different than the bones of a normal animal. As her "father" said, bones are just bones. She noticed holes in the vertebrae and ribs of the dragon, and it reminded her of the troll and the armored vehicle. A similar thing happened here. The dragons damaged the MIG, the MIG hit the dragons, and both fell to the ground. The only question is what happened to the dragon riders because the pilots could catapult themselves and then land safely. Maybe they had some magic parachute or something. There was still a half-rotten saddle on the dragon's back, but no sign of its rider. She looked around and found him in a trailer. His head was bent at a strange angle which suggested that he had fallen from the dragon onto the trailer and broken his neck. The skeleton of the elf was still in its armor, which was dirty and overgrown with moss, but not rusty like the trailer. The scabbard of the sword hung on his belt, but she did not see the sword itself anywhere. She moved on and found three more dragon skeletons and another dead elf. She did not understand why the other two if they survived the fall, did not take the bodies of their dead comrades. Maybe they ran into soldiers, so they killed them. She couldn't know, and it didn't matter so much to her.

She got out of the orchard and headed for a small village nearby. She entered the first building she came across, which was a grocery store. Most things either broke down, or were stolen, but she went in more out of curiosity. She entered the back entrance, where the warehouse for goods was. There was everything: toys, cosmetics, medicines, clothes, various cans, tools, etc. Part of the store was also engaged in hunting and fishing, so she took some fishing hooks and nylon for fishing rods. She will make the rods out of tree branches. She didn't even touch the cans, because she noticed that some of them were inflated. She went outside and headed for the nearest house. The sun was slowly setting, so she set out to get ready for bed. She had just put down her sleeping bag when she felt something approaching her. The hair on her head stood on end. She took off her rifle and unlocked it, and as quietly as she could she went to the window and looked outside. She expected someone or something to move between the houses, but she noticed four shadows sliding over the roofs. She looked up and with horror saw the four dragons with their riders, silently flying only fifty meters above the village. By some miracle, they didn't notice her. She thought her heart would jump out of her chest as it pounded. She was drenched in icy sweat at the thought of what would happen if they noticed her. She held her breath and continued breathing only when they disappeared on the horizon. She sat down and leaned against the wall, then took off her helmet and ran her fingers through her hair. She was all wet with sweat. She remembered what the dragons looked like, now that she didn't have to worry about dying. All four dragons were different colors. The largest was blue-green, with black horns on its head and nose. The other was red with yellow and pink stripes and blue horns. The third was grey-black with green stripes extending from head to tail and orange horns, while the last was almost completely white except for the horns which were jet black. They flew silently as they were illuminated by the rays of the setting sun. They were as beautiful as they were scary. Their scales shone as if they were made of polished metal, and their eyes shone with an unnatural glow. She couldn't get them out of her head. She got ready, laid down, and fell asleep dreaming of dragons.

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