Here’s How You Escape

I know a few ways to kill a dragon, but poison isn’t one of them. If you’d lived on the Ranch as long as me you’d have thought about it too. Maybe if you make it to my age you’ll find some method I don’t know about. But I promise you, it won’t be poison.

That little packet in your hand would kill any ten of us, but it won’t do a thing to them. Think about how they use it. They feed it to us and we die, instantly and without pain. Dragons are nothing if not humane, right? Then they cook us up, poison and all. It’s good for them. Flight, fire, strength, those mental powers of theirs—all the abilities that let them rule over us, all the tools they use to keep us here—require them to consume every element. Oh, why am I telling you this? What does a kid like you know about radioactivity?

You should listen to me anyway. I serve their food and I listen to them talk. Sure, every human here knows the tricks of survival: stay skinny, let them breed you, take on as much work as you can. But none of that’s going to help you escape. To get out of this place you’re going to have to kill one.

I know what you’re thinking: if I know so much about killing dragons, why haven’t I done it? Well, anything you try is going to be risky. Very risky. I’ve never seen a human break out, though some try. But I have seen how dragons deal with each other, and they are not gentle. I know how they die.

You’re going to have to act fast. Your best chance is to surprise them. Use a little audacity to catch them off guard, and use their own tools against them if you can. You see, we’re so far beneath them that they refuse to believe we can think. Dragons are ethical creatures; if they believed we had thoughts, they would find our meat distasteful. They deny our minds for the sake of their digestion.

I’m afraid I have no idea what to do once you out there, where you can go. I want to believe you’ll find something. Me, I’ve lived thirty years, long enough to breed five times. I’m too old for the kind of chance you’re taking; it’s too late for me to learn to live free. I intend to survive a few more years. You’ll be pretty damn lucky if you make it through the day. But if you’re across that wall next time the sun sets, that’s more real life than I’ll ever have.

I’ll watch and help, tell you what I know. I can show you the places where there’s only one guard. I can create some kind of distraction inside while you find a way to kill him. Then I’ll come back to this hidden place, where I can watch through the bars until you’re far, far away.


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