Chapter 2: No Longer Bound

After the black, massive dragon collapsed, everyone waited to see what he would do. Slowly, Shruikan tried opening his eyes, but flinched when pain shot through his injured eye. So, he just closed it and stared at the group with his other eye.

'I will not hurt you. I just want to talk,' Shruikan said with his thoughts. Oddly enough, the dragon's thoughts and feelings were somewhat calm.

"How did you survive? I thought you were dead when I stabbed you with the green spear Niernen," Arya asked, shocked that the dragon was alive.

'I almost was dead. But the amount of magic that Galbatorix unleashed when he killed himself was more than enough to counteract the magic from the Dauthdaert spear, as well as blast any other dangerous objects out if my reach. I was inches from death, but due to the King's spell blast, I survived. But just barely,' Shruikan answered.

"Are you going to attack us to avenge the King's death?" Eragon asked, preparing himself to draw out Brisingr at any moment.

'No. Why would I do that? I am too weak to even stand. Besides, Galbatorix killed my first Rider before I knew him, and the King made me his personal slave for thousands of years. Why would I be faithful to a Rider who went against what the definition of being a Dragon Rider means? He may have given me everything, but he only did it as long as I obeyed that insane man. He rarely let me live life the way I would have wanted to. A life where I could be free and away from him!' Shruikan replied. The black dragon's muscles tightened as the anger towards Galbatorix came flowing out through his words and emotions. After a minute, he relaxed.

'I wish to thank you Eragon. Now that you have made the King understand his wrongdoings, and freed me from his grasp, I am finally free to think for myself again. Thank you,' Shruikan said.

"You're welcome Shruikan," Eragon replied, a bit surprised by the dragon's apology. Shruikan then turned to Murtagh and Thorn.

'I am especially sorry to you two, Murtagh and Thorn. I never wanted your lives to be like they are now. If Galbatorix had been out if the picture, I would have let you two go wherever you wanted. To live your lives the way you decided. I can't undue the past, but know that I was a prisoner just like you two. I am truly sorry for everything that you have been through,' Shruikan apologized.

"Understood Shruikan. We will live out our lives as Thorn and I see fit, and help heal the damage that has been caused. Your apologize is accepted," Murtagh replied. Shruikan blinked his eye and breathed slowly.

'I too will help as best as I can to fix what gas been done. But I don't know if I have the energy to do so,' Shruikan stated. Arya then thought of something.

"Shruikan, if I may, may Eragon, Saphira, Murtagh, Thorn, myself and other spell casters use magic to sense your energy and the state of your mind?" Arya asked. Shruikan just looked at her with a warning look.

'You may. But if you play any tricks, I will block you immediately out of my mind. I must also warn you, my state of mind is not pretty,' Shruikan responded. Arya nodded and told Shruikan to relax. The black dragon did as he was instructed and let everyone go into his mind and body with magic.

The physical state of Shruikan was very drained of energy, but his emotional and mental state were even worse. They could feel the emotions that Shruikan wa dealing with now, and would have to deal with later. It was horrible. Once they released the magic, Shruikan opened his eye again.

"Shruikan, you need to rest, and get in touch with yourself as a dragon again. It will be a long road, but we will help you through this," Arya said.

'I know. It will be tough, but I know I need to find myself again if I am to help you all. Thank you,' Shruikan replied.

'Now, could you please get this spear out of my eye?' Shruikan asked calmly. He was not just being serious, but also was slightly joking. It was then that for the first time in thousands of years, Shruikan smiled.

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