8.The Actions of Dragons.8
By the time it was around supper, my headache was raging. After signing the contract that bound me to the Queen, promising that once I was trained and my brother safe and sound I'd give her my services for the rest of my life, I was exhausted and worn out. Maids dressed in simple white clothes escorted me to a new bedroom, one located in a hallway branched off from the foyer on the first floor, accessible for Kai. It was big enough for the dragon to sit in a cleared corner of the room while also housing a giant bed, vanity, closet and chaise lounge, as well as scattered useful or decorative items. Another door led to my own bathroom smaller than the one in the guest room upstairs but still luxurious.
They treat you well, Storm-Cloud, Kai pointed out, carefully sniffing the furniture so that he didn't knock anything over. I nodded, disappearing into the bathroom to shed my dress and step into a matching cloth tunic and pants. Slippers warmed my toes as I hung the dress in the closet, turning to the giant oaf of a dragon that sat in front of the door to my room.
"Are you really going to sleep here? Don't you have stables here for you and Kyra?" I asked, crossing my arms in front of my chest.
Kyra is mean to me because I am a pet. I haven't been able to tell Elijah because she threatens me into silence, but she hasn't been able to stop me from telling you because no one else knows who you are beside me and the two royals, Kai blurted, his words flowing over my mind. It took me a while to process before I frowned, hugging his leg in sympathy.
"She sounds like a brat," I said, referring to Kyra. Kai nodded, lowering his head and wrapping himself around my smaller form.
"I could fall asleep on you," I murmured, yawning. I missed the noise that was constant in the Rose household, and the smiles other common people would give me on the streets. It was the polar opposite of the castle I was in, and of the tricky balance that was making deals and trying to follow through with them. Hell, I hadn't even ridden anything larger than a horse before today, and now I was cuddling up to a dragon.
Life changes quickly, Storm-Cloud. But I think this will be good for you.
"I just hope Terrance is alright," I muttered under my breath, pouting as I hugged the dragon's leg tighter. Kai nestled into my smaller body, letting himself settle on the floor, blocking the door successfully.
Your brother will be waiting for you, dear. He hasn't perished, Kai thought, sighing. A puff of smoke left his nostrils, and I began to wonder about how much I had to learn. With my own drawn out sigh, I leaned back against Kai until I was comfortable, and shut my eyes. It was almost as if I was trying to sleep standing up.
Trying, and succeeding.
In the morning, I woke up to many different things. First was the feeling of a plush pillow against my cheek, squishing the extra skin in an unflattering manner. Another was the warmth from several blankets wrapped around my legs, and the realization that I was in my new bed. After that thought came the memories from yesterday, and the gasp that escaped my lungs as I looked around the luxurious castle room. Not only that, but the room was without dragon.
The second I realized Kai was gone, I shot out of bed and ran through my morning routine. I finished with throwing my hair up into a ponytail, the waves causing a giant fuzzy mess, before running outside the room, dressed in new leather clothes, expertly made and obviously ones that weren't mine. While running around the hallways, frantically searching for my dragon -- at least I thought of him as mine -- I also reached out with my mind.
Kai! Kai, where are you?!
Minutes passed, my breath coming out in huffs, of me running around. There were no guards or maids in sight, no one to point me in the right direction.
Eventually I stopped in the foyer, panting and sweaty. The front doors to the castle were wide open, and I could see guards outdoors. A flash of fire appeared, urging me to run out.
But I didn't see what I expected to see.
High in the air was a bright red dragon, its eyes golden and cunning. Below it, soldiers were sparring and practicing. Maids scuttled back and forth to perform first aid or deliver water, and a familiar blond head stood watching it all. It seemed as if most of the castle inhabitants were outdoors, as if it was a normal thing for them to spend their mornings here.
Perhaps it was, but I didn't have time to ponder that as the red dragon spotted me, sticking out like a sore thumb. I already looked nervous, sweating from my search for Kai, and I was unfamiliar to the dragon. It looked from me to the Prince, who stood not too far away, and screeched in a pitch so high everyone covered their ears. It dove, barreling toward me. Fear took control of my limbs, and I watched as fire began to spew from the dragon's mouth. I braced myself for the sizzling of my flesh, eyes squeezed shut, but it never came.
Instead, I felt someone's breath on my face. Opening my eyes, I saw that I was standing an inch away from a dark-haired man, a shield on his back. The shield was metal and wood, but every wood part of it had been burned away. The dragon had stopped its attack, confused as to why I had been shielded. My protector was panting, staring down at me.
"Are you alright?" He snapped, tone at war with his words. The sentence sounded like it was meant to be concerned, but the way he said it made me feel like I was an idiotic child.
"Y-Yes," I stuttered, noticing the silence around us. Everyone had turned to watch the attack, trying to see what had stirred the dragon into diving for me.
My protector narrowed his eyes and dropped the shield to the ground, turning away as it thumped against the hard dirt. I watched as he stomped back to a sparring match, egging his partner back into battle. As he continued his fight, everyone else followed suit. Gradually, the eyes focused on me forgot all about it.
Shaking, I turned to look at the Prince. His eyes were wide as he stared at me, the red dragon hovering above him.
"Forgive Kyra, Cloud. Please, she didn't mean to attack you, she thought you were a spy," Elijah said as he approached, his second dragon following behind him.
Ignoring his pleas, I glared at nothing, looking away. "Where's Kai?"
Stupid Kai, a woman's voice echoed in my mind. I wanted to respond, to scold Kyra, but held back from revealing myself.
"I think he went out to play in the forest again," Elijah answered, glancing around at the soldiers, "but you should start your training here with these men."
Several warriors stopped to look over at me, sizing me up the second the Prince proposed me fighting against them. It embarrassed me as several of them scoffed.
"I'm going to find Kai," I decided, turning away from the two of them. Elijah didn't stop me as I left, but Kyra, thinking she was unheard, gave me a few words to mull over.
She'll get herself killed trying to protect that cripple.