Lóng er knew about dragons, and dragons do not hatch easily. It takes years for them to hatch, and thousands of years for them to grow any larger than a dog. But here, under the light of thousands of stars, she lay down next to a full-sized dragon that had hatched but a few months ago.
His bright Green eyes had turned darker, and around his cut-oval pupil a red trim bore, under heavy midnight blue eyebrows. His face was green, and his head was framed by a crown of fiery red. His snake-like body was a darker green, and his wings melted from green to dark midnight blue. His claws were golden and shiney.
Dragons in China are born out of water, and do not tend to breathe fire as their European cousins do. But this was a Chinese dragon, there was no doubt. And winged, which was rare. Even rarer still was that he breathed fire. He seemed confused by this, and growing so quickly he had not had time to control the fire breath and normal breath seperately, which meant he was almost constantly on fire. From his legs, face, back, everywhere.
Lóng er kept him out of sight from the palace, behind the plum and cherry trees, beyond the iris fields, beside a lake where he could cool his fiery limbs. He had grown to love her, and she him. She let him fly behind the mountains as the snowy peaks gave sight-shelter to such a fiery beacon. He had taken 7 Yuè (months or moon-cycles) to grow, and in this time a war and begun to emerge. Her father, Emperor Wu, had died and passed his throne to his son, the new Emperor Shoa of Liu Song.
The fighting had begun when Emperor Mingyuan of Northern Wei, hearing of Emperor Wu's death, launched an attack on Liu Song and crossed the Yellow River. Shoa defeated his forces, with only minor losses. Now, word had spread that a second attack was due, and all of the dynasty was in danger and panic.
Lóng er knew she had to do something. But being only female, she could not fight. It wasn't allowed. So she sat often with her Dragon, who she had named Huǒ qìxí (fire breath) and thought of how to help the war, and to swim in the pools and forget about it.
It was at this time that Zhu, who had planted the dragon's egg, decided to step in.