The duo approached the nest where the dragons were sleeping. Daren started to be covered in fear as he got closer and closer to such powerful creatures. he had faced many opponents in the past but he was never a good match against flying enemies. He had a hard skin in his beast form and Marceus would provide him with even bigger defensive power, but there was still little he could do against the power of gravity. If possible he would have preferred to just leave this place as soon as possible.
[You got the scent yet?]
"Not yet, i need to get closer..."
[... You are not moving...]
"I'm trying to move but my body won't respond..."
[Are you really that afraid of dragons...?]
"I'm afraid of anything that can grab me a drop from the middle of the sky..."
[Just calm down... With our boosted speed there is no way they can catch us even if they wake up!]
"Yeah... Yeah you're right... It will be ok..."
[You are still not moving...]
"I need a minute ok!?"
[... Take your time...]
Daren finally started to move closer towards the nest very carefully trying not to make a sound. But as he approached it he realized they might have a problem.
"There are more scents in here than i expected... This might take a while."
Daren started to circle the nest slowly to gather all the scents he could find. Just how many people have been here before? Luckily the dragons seemed to be in deep sleep and didn't notice the lion man sniffing their bed. Daren was trying really hard to relax but the fear was almost paralyzing him. He needed a distraction to calm down.
"Hey Marceus... What did you meant back then by "Your world"?"
[... You wanna talk about this now!!??]
"I need to take my mind somewhere else, please!"
[Fine... The thing is i actually came from a different world from yours. When i was younger i suffered an accident that ended up killing me. My body ended up perishing but my soul was sent to some kind of divine realm. There i met a woman in a beautiful dress who made me an offer.]
Daren kept listening while still gathering all the scents.
[She told me i could either rest in peace among my ancestors and loved ones that had already parted, or i could try living another life in a new world. I barely knew any of my ancestors and didn't really had that many loved ones so i just picked the second option.]
Daren thought to himself... "Does this guy always treat everything with this much casualty...?".
[She told me that when i reached adulthood in this new life i would gain some sort of power and that i should use this power to aid the hero that would bring peace to this world.]
"Wait, is that why you are so obsessed with world peace?"
Daren asked in a casual tone now that he was more relaxed, not noticing that his voice had made the sleeping dragon budge a little bit.
[Kinda? With the way she said it i thought it couldn't be that hard to accomplish. Of course i had some doubts at first... But as i met more and more incredible people and managed to help so many lives that were deep in despair, i started to think that we might actually do it!]
"So... What happens when you do find the ideal partner...?"
The dragon moved by the noise started to open his eyes.
[No idea... Sometimes i honestly kinda forget that i even have to chose someone... Don't you think it's fine to just stay as we are now, all of us working together?]
"I suppose so... Ah! I got all the scents! A lot of them are from other dragons around here but if go back to the village i can find the bab- Blarggh!!!"
Before he could finish his sentence Daren was smacked by the claw of the now awaken dragon who had all his focus on the two of them.
[I think we were talking too loudly...]
Daren stood up with immense pain. this was the first time anything had managed to hurt his beast skin to that degree. Never mind falling from a high drop, that claw alone could end his life right there.
"You think!? God... What are these things made of..."
The dragon leaped from the nest and pounced on Daren. Before he was squashed Marceus extended his form to cover Daren' whole body. The black lion monster was now completely covered in silver armor.
"Oh that was close... Thanks Marceus... Marceus?"
[His claw... It stinks!!! Get us out of here!!!]
Daren raised his arms to push the claw that was trying to flatten him away. The power was greater than Daren expected and the dragon ended up hitting it's back against the nest, awakening the second dragon.
[Daren you got the scents right?]
[Then let's get out of here!!]
Daren started to move at tremendous speed but his body was still in pain from being hit by the claw.
[Gustav, can you hear us?]
Marceus sent a telepathic message to Gustav.
[I can hear you Marceus! Did Daren got the scents?]
[He did! Tell Ria to prepare a wind-scar. The dragons are following us but we will try to shake then off! Also tell Auren that Daren will be needing some healing soon.]
[Daren! Are you ok??]
"I'm fine... Just not used to running while this hurt..."
[I'm so sorry Daren... I shouldn't have brought us here alone...]
"Its fine... I'm the idiot that tried to start a conversation in the middle of two sleeping monsters..."
Daren looked up and noticed one of the dragons dive-bombing towards his direction. One light slap from his claw was enough to make Daren shrink in pain, what would an impact from that high at that speed cause?
The lion monster finally came to his senses and leaped out of the way in the last second. The whole terrain got destroyed making Daren fly far away due to the wind pressure. Daren tried to recompose himself but before he realized the second dragon was behind him and used his tail to send him flying towards the ground. The impact was powerful but thanks to Marceus protection the two didn't got too injured.
"Marceus are you ok?"
[I'm fine... But i don't think i can take many more of those... We need to get out of here fast.]
There is no way Daren can outrun these two by himself. If Marceus passed out right there and undid his transformation Daren would loose his speed boost and they would become dragon lunch.
"Marceus... We need to fight back..."
[But... It's not their fault... The egg thief caused this... We invaded their lair...]
"They are going to kill us..."
"I know you have your goal set on trying to change this world peacefully... But you can't do this if you are dead!"
[So... Should i have killed you back then?]
"Marceus this time..."
[Each time counts!! First it will be one time, then it will be two, then three, and by the time we realized it we are just like anyone else... If we want to make a change we need to be better!]
"You are going to kill us!!"
[Not if you trust me!!]
[I trust you! So please trust me!! We can do this, together!]
"I trust you."
Daren's body started to glow with immense light. The two dragons that were about to attack then suddenly halted their moves from being blinded by the light. A ball of smoke started to raise from the spot the two were located on and when it vanished a new figure was present.
"What is this...?"
The figure asked himself looking as confused as the dragons. What was once a huge lion monster covered in silver armor was now a smaller figure covered in silver energy. The half lion half man body now looked more man than lion while still holding some feline features. The Ugly face that was the constant target of Marceus mockery was now Daren's face but his usual skinny body was now much more muscular, possibly taken from his beast form. What was most impressive was his fur. Every single piece of hair was covered with Marceus armor , but it was so thin that it made Daren look like he had silver fur.
[This is just like with Lilith...]
[My power is your power, and your strength is my strength.]
The dragons started to pounce towards the silver lion man, but for some reason he showed a rather calm expression.
He easily leaped out of the way making the two dragons knock against each other. To his surprise he ended up jumping farther than he expected and almost reached a cloud. Daren has always been afraid of heights but for some reason he didn't panic this time.
"I can see the whole kingdom...!"
Daren realized what had happened. He and Marceus had fused into one being. He was feeling Marceus's calm, Marceus's peacefulness, his ability to just enjoy the situation and live it with a cheerful smile.
"I'm feeling so goood..."
[It's gonna wear off in five minutes...]
[When Lilith first managed to do this she could only hold it for five minutes. It took months before she could do it for even an hour.]
"I see... Then we better hurry!"
As Daren started to fall he noticed that his teammates were looking at him with shocked eyes. He stared at Lilith as she was staring at him. Lilith's face was crying with a smiling expression as if saying "Thank God!". Daren signaled with his hand as if saying "Be right there!" and returned to the ground. He faced the two dragons and started talking to them.
"I'm so sorry for all the trouble we caused today! Don't worry, we will bring your kid back as soon as possible."
The two charged at Daren one more time with their mouths open in a attempt to bite him but Daren simply moved behind the two, grabbed their tails and knocked them against the ground as gently as possible.
The two dragons were completely knocked out as Daren moved away from them.
Before he left completely he took one look at the knocked beasts and let out a few words. Looking at the two parents that were already hurt for having lost their baby and now have just been defeated Daren started to feel guilty.
"Causing pain is that easy huh...?"
"Let's go fix a little bit of that pain shall we?"
As soon as they said that the fusion were off and the two returned to their regular human forms. They rushed off to join the rest of the group. Lilith hugged the two of them which surprised everyone present. Ria was in a loss for words.