“I don’t understand,” Anton said holding a weird-looking gun in his hand.
“This is my gift to you, and my curse,” Rubin said with the sigh of an old man. He was now sixty, not the ripe age to run around and do adventures. He didn’t want to pass on the responsibility but it was beyond his capability now.
Anton looked at the gun again. It was weird but somehow it felt right in his hand, which was weird because his hand was much smaller than Rubin’s hand which was almost giant-like. “What happens now?”
“Now, Alara will tell you everything you need to know. Hopefully, you have more time than I had before the first test comes.” Rubin said and walked away.
“Hello, new friend,” the gun said with almost a purr.
“I don’t understand.”
“Let’s talk,” Alara said and began talking.
“I was created by someone a long time back. As with any journey, my beginnings are foggy to me but I remember my purpose. I was created for a single task. Killing dragons.”
“Yeah, vicious creatures, and powerful too. The bullets that I fire aren’t exactly normal. They are powerful against dragons even though their bodies are built like tanks.”
“But where are these umm… dragons?”
“The dragons live in an alternate dimension. Not alone either. There are many creatures who live in other dimensions, dragons, phoenixes, ghosts, centaurs and what not. I have seen a few of these but the fight has only been with dragons. They are too violent, and too dangerous.”
“Because they are the only creatures who are trying to come to this dimension and who are interested and capable of destroying humans.”
“Yeah. So, we fight them and ensure that they stay at bay.”
“But how do we find them and how do we reach where they are? What if they try to enter in London and I’m in New York?”
“They are in a different dimension. To enter, they will go in a limbo dimension where nothing exists and everything is present. We can reach them in that limbo dimension directly.”
“Wow! You can travel through dimensions!”
If Alara could blush, it would have.
“Not really. Just to the limbo dimension. Dragons can do that too.”
“It’s amazing. All of it. How long has it been happening?”
“Centuries. Perhaps even more. I’m not even sure if I’m the first weapon. Perhaps there was some weapon before me which protected the world.”
“So, now what?” Anton asked.
“Now, your journey begins dragon hunter.”
Anton’s heart filled with pride that he didn’t understand. He was now a dragon hunter. Not like anyone would ever know about it. It was clear that dragons’ existence was a secret that was never going to come out, as long as he did his job well.
Anton and Alara spent the next few days understanding the nuances of being a dragon hunter, Alara helping Anton understand each of its capabilities and the past history of previous dragon hunters and the variety of dragons in existence, at least the ones they had fought.
“You’re lucky. Usually, the dragons attack almost immediately after they realize that the dragon hunter has changed.”
“Why haven’t they done it this time?”
“Three possibilities. One, they haven’t realized that dragon hunter has changed. Two, Rubin’s reputation still scares them. It’s possible as he has possibly killed more dragons than any dragon hunter except the first one. We hadn’t seen dragons in the past month so they were already hiding, in some sense.”
“I have a feeling that it’s the third one,” Anton said and if Alara could, it would have laughed.
“Third, they are planning something big. Something for Rubin which now you have to face.”
Anton gulped. He hadn’t planned on fighting the biggest battle ever on his first day at the job.
“How do we know?”
“We don’t. We prepare.”
Three more weeks passed and there was no sign of the dragons. If not for the talking gun, Anton would have assumed that Rubin was either lying or had gone mad. He continued training as per Alara’s guidance.
“It’s time,” Alara said.
“What happened?” Anton said picking Alara.
“They are here.”
“See for yourself,” Alara said and both of them vanished.
Anton’s breath went away. In front of him were more than a hundred dragons of different sizes, the smallest the size of a dog, looking at him with the meanness of hyena. The largest, almost the size of T-Rex he had seen at a museum once, maybe even bigger.
“I can’t win against these.”
A few dragons spewed fire in agreement.
“We don’t have a choice,” Alara said. “Perhaps, there would be a next Alara by whosoever created me. Perhaps, we will live to tell the tale.”
Anton nodded and shot the dog-sized dragon. It died in one bullet, giving Anton some confidence. And then, they all attacked.