Chapter 8

"Mani, come on. Wake up already." I woke up to blond hair floating above me. Tanith smiled and stepped back. "You drooled all over my brother's pillow. You are my new best friend." I gave a small smile and stretched, wiping my mouth to make sure I didn't actually drool. I stared at my hand in horror. I can't believe there was drool all over the side of my face. I hurried outside to wash off.

"Where did Ladon sleep last night if I took his bed?"

"Don't worry about that. He went to help the dragons so he just slept in there." Tanith grabbed her head and swayed. I hurried over and caught her just as she fell.

"Are you alright?" She nodded and walked over to a rock.

"I have just been really busy. Running back and forth all the time is really tiring." I made her eat an apple and drink some water from the river. As she was leaving, the memory of our first meeting came to me.

"When we first met, you said that you only worked for dragons because you were forced. It was a lie, wasn't it? Both you and Ladon look really happy here."

She paused, "it wasn't exactly a lie. We were originally forced to work for dragons, not by the dragons themselves, about the same way you were forced. These three dragons are nice though. I am happy here. And I am sure Ladon is too." Staring at the water, I tried to piece my thoughts together. I was happy here too, but I also missed my family. I was also still scared of the dragons, not as much as I was before though. It was surprising that only a week had passed. I remembered Ryuu's promise to tell me more about dragons. I walked over to the castle; I wasn't in any hurry and stopped to look at the plants on my way. There were so many species I didn’t know here. We were close enough to the village that I should have seen most of them before. Maybe the Healer knows about them.

Gently knocking on the giant door, I opened it and peered through. It was pitch black. I hoped I didn't wake Ryuu up, he seemed so tired lately. The dragons would always fly out of the grounds around midnight and head to the forest. He must have had to switch his time frame around again.

"Come on in Amani, I have been waiting on you to visit me again. I was getting lonely."

"How did you know it was me?"

I heard a. chuckle from the dark, "it wasn't too hard, you are the only one who knocks. Were you hoping to hear more about dragons?" I nodded before wondering if he could see me. After all, it was so dark. If dragons were nocturnal by nature they should see fine in the dark.

"How about you tell me about your life some first? I am very curious about your past." I sat down beside him, after tripping over everything I could possibly trip over in the room to find him. I told him the first things that came to mind about my life.

I told him about Peter and me pretending to be knights. I always made him play the damsel because I thought it was boring to sit around screaming for help. If I did play the damsel, I would rescue myself before he was even close to saving me. Sometimes we would even trick one of the younger children into playing.

I also talked about the one time Peter and I pretended a dragon attacked me. We stole some of the red die and put slashes on my dress. Our parents scolded us, mine more than Peter's. That was one of my best dresses that I had gotten dirty. Not to mention how scared the villagers were.

I told him how we rarely had any visitors. I could name them all, and their occupation. One stood out the most for me. It was a man who had asked my hand in marriage. My parents turned him down. He refused to state his name, occupation, or anything about himself. He wasn't from a nearby village either. After a week of persistent asking, he suddenly disappeared.

I even told him that we tried to come here once. We were going to find the dragons and spy to help the village. We were halfway up the hill before a giant roar made us scramble back to our house, crying. We refused to walk anywhere near the hill for a
month.

"Now that I think about it, I think it might have been Coda." Ryuu chuckled at that. I blushed at the thought of bring scared by the bear. He asked me to keep talking.

"Well let's see. Something interesting about me." I thought about it before a good story resurfaced. It was the time when Peter and I hurried through the town early in the morning and stole all of the chicken eggs. We were planning to make a giant omelet. However, most of the eggs fell and cracked. We had to help take care of the pigs for a month to pay back the eggs. Not to mention stale bread for breakfast. The bread was probably- no, definitely- the worst part of the whole thing. My mom deliberately burned it. Burnt and stale bread was the worst taste ever.

"I don't know. I think food tastes better burnt."

"That is because you are a fire-breathing giant. Your taste buds are probably better suited for it than mine are." He agreed and told me to continue, stifling a yawn.
I shook my head, "no more, you look exhausted. I can tell you more. Tomorrow."

"Very well. good night Amani, I will, see you tomorrow." I whispered a goodbye as I closed. The door behind me. I heard his giant snores before I walked back to the house.

I looked up to see it was around midday. I debated what to do, everyone was asleep. I decided to look around the castle again. It was so big I still haven't seen it all. I followed a trail of pink flowers around the grass. The trail suddenly ended and I looked up. I was in a new area. It was an open field with flashes of color in the middle. On the opposite side was a forest. the temperature was slowly climbing so I decided to go in the forest. I would only stay near the edge, just enough to be shaded. I slipped off my shoes and ran to the forest. I was almost there when a giant gust of wind knocked me down. I looked up to see two dragons soaring over me. One landed behind me and the other settled in front. I was still sitting down when the green dragon growled.

"You are not allowed to leave our territory. Why are you not there?" I looked around, confused. He must have misunderstood my look because he growled and grabbed me, lifting me onto his back. I quickly grabbed a scale as he lifted off the ground. I looked down and realized I had indeed crossed the fence, and strayed pretty far away too. No wonder he was so mad.

***

Explaining what happened was harder than it sounded. The dragons took me back to the castle where Ryuu was waiting. As soon as I slid off the dragon, he bombarded me with questions. Why was I outside the gate? Didn't I promise I wouldn’t leave? Every time I opened my mouth, he would interrupt me. I was starting to become angry. In the middle if one of Ryuu’s verbal attacks, I finally exploded.

"I wasn't trying to escape. I didn't even realize I had walked outside the gate. I was just looking around. Will you calm down?" I was taken back by my outburst as much as Ryuu was. I didn't mean to do that, it just sort of slipped out. As I was apologizing, Ryuu started to laugh. I looked up at him.

"You caught me off guard; there is no need to apologize. You are right. I should ask what happened before umping to conclusions. I ask your forgiveness." I smiled smugly, maybe all it took was an outburst or. Two. Ryuu decided. To go back to bed, only this. Time I had to stay in the castle with him. He didn't want to be woken again because. I wandered off. to. Far. I lay down beside the red. Dragon and felt myself becoming sleepy as well. I closed my eyes and let the string heartbeat lure me into dreams.

The End

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