I gave a silent sigh of relief as Reaper turned his chair away from the rest of us, with a high pitched scraping of wood on wood. He faced the wall and rocked Devlin gently as she continued to weep quietly.
I took a tissue from the box beside me. I was sweating heavily, which was unusual for me. It was a tense situation, but I've faced worse. I didn't usually sweat so much. The room seemed to have become rather warm. Then I smelled smoke. I turned my attention to the corner that seemed to be the source of it.
Moonwalker once again had her hand over Llewellyn's snout. She spoke to him calmly, and soothingly.
"It's okay Llew, it's over now. The girl's alright, he didn't hurt her. Relax ... exhale ... slowly ... slowly. There you go, excellent."
Moonwalker evidently had some calming techniques of her own. I took a closer look at the corner they were standing in, and my jaw dropped open in surprise. The paint on one wall and the ceiling were bubbled up and charred! They bore evidence of a sudden burst of intense heat, although the smell of smoke had dissipated, and the heat had diminished a bit.
I walked toward them with a confidence I didn't really feel. I'm not usually a bigot toward magical creatures, but dragons scared me, even small ones. Regardless, I had to keep control of the room. If I didn't, there could be chaos, not to mention multiple homicides.
"May I ask what happened here, Moonwalker? My attention was focused elsewhere."
"So was his, Anna. Llewellyn is very protective of the weak and innocent. He was one himself, right up until this past year. You just about ended up with a barbecued Reaper on your hands."
"I see. Well, luckily that didn't happen. Regardless of how we feel about the other patients, we simply can't go around frying them alive."
I spoke directly to the dragon, with what I hoped sounded like the voice of authority.
"I know, but I couldn't let him hurt her." He said defensively, with a little puff of mist coming out of his nostrils.
Llewellyn's voice surprised me. It wasn't as deep as I expected it to be. Maybe his author had downsized his voice with the rest of him, but I didn't think so. He sounded ... young somehow, perhaps a teenager, or even pre-teen, not that I had the slightest clue about the aging process of dragons.
"Why? Why couldn't you let him hurt her?" Since he was at least talking to me now, I thought this was as good a time as any to start his therapy.
"She's young, and small, and he's big, and really really mean!"
The rest of the room went quiet. His voice wasn't deep, or even loud, but it carried.
"Why do you think it's up to you to defend her?"
"Because I can help her now. I have my full dragon abilities back, and I don't have to stand aside and do nothing when someone else gets hurt."
"When did you have to stand aside when someone else got hurt?"
"Right up until last year. My best friend and I were more or less slaves to the Van Helsings in their stronghold. They hated magical people and creatures, so they killed as many of us as they could. They used us against our own kind!"
Steam began to form around Llewellyn's snout, so I thought it best to change the focus of his conversation.
"Who's your best friend?" I asked.
His head went back in a gesture of slight confusion. He apparently didn't expect the abrupt change of subject.
"Galen. His family was slaughtered right in front of him. He was only five when they abducted him, and brought him to the stronghold to experiment on, same as me. I had already been there almost a year when they dumped Galen in my cold stone cell. I was only four when they took me from my family.
"Why would your abductors experiment on you and your friend?"
"Because we can do stuff they can't. They're human, and they can't do much of anything, except torture us to do their bidding."
I stifled a smile at his apparent rudeness, or at least his inability to see that I was also human, and might be insulted by that remark.
"I take it your friend Galen is also magical?"
"Yes, he's a shape shifter."
"I see. What did they do to the two of you?"
"They whipped us and starved us, sent a dreadful thing called a Drael after us to beat us up and drop us from great heights!" Llewellyn became agitated, and began to breathe fire.
Moonwalker once again put herself in front of her dragon friend. I think it was more to protect him from inevitable consequences, than to protect anyone else.
"That's enough! All the crap that happened to him was only a bit over a year ago, so the memories are fresh - and painful. We'll stay for the rest of the session, but that's all you're going to get from llewellyn!"
She put a protective arm over his shoulder, at least as much of his shoulder as she could reach. The woman definitely had maternal issues.