Chapter Two, Scene Two — Genevieve of Dragon Ridge

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Chapter Two

Scene Two

The prince falls to the cavern floor like a sack of potatoes.

“Careful,” I say, chastising Cadalia without a lot of enthusiasm. “He already has a broken leg. We don’t want to shatter every bone in his body.”

The dragon gives me a reptilian shrug and scrunches her snout as if the prince tasted particularly unpleasant. “What are you going to do with him now?”

That is an excellent question.

“Tarith told me to walk to the village,” I say, “and buy human remedies.”

“That will take you most of the day.”

She’s right. It would be faster if I had a horse. Unfortunately, they don’t care to live so close to dragons. I bought a mare a few years ago after doing odd jobs in the village—paid a good deal for her too—but she escaped her paddock in the middle of the night, and I never saw her again.

Well, she escaped, or she was eaten. No one fessed up to the crime, however, and I’d like to think the best of my family.

“I’ll fly you,” Cadalia says, her voice slightly wicked.

“You know how Tarith feels about that.”

“My brother is a bore. He need not know.”

Our flight isn’t what you’d call normal. Most dragons live in groups, but they bicker and fight, someone always trying to claw their way to the top. My dragons are peaceful, mostly. They’re loud and rambunctious, and they have the table manners of drunken ogres, but they’re also warm and caring, and they are far more a family to me than my actual family ever was.

“You’re going to get me in trouble,” I say, shaking my head. Though we both know I’m going to agree. Who wants to walk when you can fly?

“Not as long as you come back whole,” the copper dragon argues. “Tarith doesn’t mind if I take you—he simply worries I’m going to drop you again.”

Yes, again.

Obviously, all ended well, seeing as how I’m alive, but that’s only because Cadalia was able to swoop down and catch me just before I fell upon the rocky ground. The experience is not one I’m eager to repeat.

I cringe at the memory. “Yes, let’s not do that.”

The female dragon ruffles her frill, preening as she all but ignores me. Above us, the dragon light glows, glinting off her scales, bringing out a slight peacock hue as she shifts.

The light magic spreads through the cavern like glowing mist, illuminating the entire area. The cavern is not a dark, damp cave. The space was transformed by gimly magic long ago, creating true rooms—gargantuan to suit the dragons’ needs—and hallways between them, with tall, arched ceilings and scrolled trim work that’s etched right into the stone. There is little furniture, except that which the dragons have hoarded.

For beds, they sleep on piles of gold. It litters the space, making a right fine mess. The dragons are constantly tracking their treasures throughout the cavern, leaving sharp little jewels for me to find when I make the mistake of walking barefoot through the hallways at night.

The prince groans, alerting me that he’s conscious once more.

“We’re going for supplies,” I inform him, turning his way. “Try not to die before we return.”

“It’s cold,” he says, his voice rough.

Frowning, I kneel by his head and place the back of my hand to his cheek to check his temperature. The moment I touch him, he recoils as if I struck him. Understandable, I suppose, considering his current state.

With a sigh, I sit back on my heels. “It’s the fever. The cavern stays a consistent temperature, regulated by dragon fire.”

He mutters something, but I can’t make out what.

“We’ll return soon.” I stand, and then to Cadalia, I ask, “Should I cover him? Or will that make the fever worse?”

The dragon sticks her neck out, peering at him. “He reeks of infection.”

“That’s not an answer.”

Cadalia’s tail whips back and forth, agitated like a cat, and she rustles her wings as she thinks.

“It seems he’s out again,” she finally says. “Leave him be.”

I nod, unsure. It would almost be a shame for him to die now that we took the trouble of bringing him inside.

The female dragon turns her attention back to me, her emerald eyes glinting with wicked humor. “Fear not—we’ll fly quickly.”

“Not too quickly,” I warn, following her from the room.

Continue to Chapter Three!

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