Chapter 23

“Mommy, I swear. There is a dragon in the woods. I saw it! Why don't you believe me?” Mother sighed and shook her head.

“You cannot go and make up those stories. The village will be sent into a state of panic.” I sighed and walked out of my house. Why wouldn't anyone believe me? I looked up to see Peter. He was carrying a pile of wood. I could tell him, he would believe me. With a smile, I skipped over to him.

“Petey, Petey! I found a dragon. Momma won't believe me though. Will you come with me to kind it?” Peter put the pile of wood he was carrying down beside his house. He smiled, showing off his two missing front teeth.

“Sure, that sounds like fun. It's too bad that Billy already left. He would have wanted to come too.”

I pouted, already missing my other friend, “He should just stay here.”

Peter laughed, “He can't. They are gypsies, it is what they do.” I shook my head in confusion. Why couldn't gypsies stay in one place? Was there a law? People were so confusing.

I grabbed Peter's hand and went to the woods. I had to go the long way, my father had already forbidden me to go to the forest. If he caught me I would be in trouble. We walked in a little ways before I stopped. I looked around, he was somewhere around here. Did he already leave?

I heard Peter yell. I turned around. He was spread out on the grass. He glared at a spot near his feet and sat up.

He picked up the thing that he had glared at, “Would this be your dragon?” I gasped at the dragon he had in his arms.

“You know, they are a lot smaller than I imagined. Why are we so scared of them?”

Peter laughed at me again, I scowled. I hated it when he laughed at me. “This here, Ni, is a komodo dragon. They aren't like the dragons we are scared of. These ones people use as pets. Billy's friend lost his yesterday. This 'un is probably it.”

I stepped closer, feeling safer now. “it is kind of cute. I wonder if real dragons are this cute.”

~ ~ ~

“Mira! Run!” I grabbed Mirabella's hand. With a quick tug I moved her out of the way. The statue collapsed where she had been a moment ago. I quickly turned her around so she faced me.

“Are you ok? You aren't hurt are you?” Mirabella gently pushed me away.

“I am fine, you stopped me in time. What happened?”

I shrugged, “I dunno. I just saw it falling towards you. I couldn't let it hurt you. You are my sister. I am supposed to protect you.” She stuck out her hand.


I placed my hand into hers, “Promise.”

~ ~ ~

I felt the memory disappear. “Sorry, I was trying to avoid the ones of your sister. Are you alright?”

I looked up at Ryuu, wiping my eyes. “Yeah I am fine. Let's just continue so we can find out who did it.” He nodded and placed his hand against me again.

“Relax and concentrate on the face. I think I found it this time.

~ ~ ~

“Amani, come inside and get washed up. We have a visitor.” I blinked at my mother. I had been outside playing with the gypsies. Peter had to help his father out, so I was against them this time.

“Of course, Mother.” I stood up and walked inside. She rushed me upstairs and started scrubbing off all of the mud I had caked on from my fight.

“Honestly child, how do you get so dirty?” I shrugged and glanced around my room. I wonder who would want to visit me. It had to be someone important if mother was making me get dressed. She had told me she gave up on keeping me clean a long time ago.

“There this is about as good as I am going to get, put this on.” Mother handed me one of my best dresses. This would be the first time I wore it. I stared at it blankly. She sighed and put me into the dress. It was a pale purple and flowed around the floor delicately.

Mother hurried me out of the room. I hurried down the stairs, tripping on the lest step. Someone caught me and pulled me to my feet.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes,” I replied looking out the door. The boys had peeked in to see what I was doing. They were all laughing at my outfit. I glared and resisted the urge to stick out my tongue. I was in company. My eyes widened, I was in company!

I hurried to face the man who hand lifted me up. I bowed gracefully, “Thank you for saving me.”

He chuckled, “I am sure you would have been fine had I not, maybe a few bruises but nothing more.” I nodded and gave him a hollow smile. I didn't want to be here. I would much rather be with Billy. He would only be here for a few more days. I didn't want to waste it meeting this man. Who was he anyway?

“Amani, this is...Uh...” My mom hesitated, not knowing the man's name.

“It is not important,” he said waving her off. I took in his appearance, I couldn't go back and play today anyway. His hair was a mix of silver and gray. His eyes were black, hollow looking. I flinch away from him.

“She is a little nervous, yes?”

My mother laughed, I could tell it was strained, “Yes, you would be the first person to ask for her hand in marriage.” I faced my mother in shock. Marriage? He wanted me to marry him? But he was so old.

Mother narrowed her eyes at me and tilted her head back at the man. I did what she said and faced him again.

“We would like to talk to you first. My husband has questions about what you do for a living. Dear, why don;t you go and sit outside in the garden.” She gave me a warning look, no more mud fights for me today.

I walked outside to the garden. Billy and his group were nowhere to be found.

~ ~ ~

Ryuu pulled back and looked at me. His jaw was set and his eyes were full of anger.

“You know who it is don't you?” He nodded.

“We will have to hurry.”

The End

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