(Link to Part 33)
It may not have seemed as though anything was settled, but for some reason I felt better as I followed Edmond out of the area. Yes, that was probably a sign of insanity, that I let the crazed cat lead the way. However, it did have one good side: I didn't have to make a decision. Neither did anyone else. Even Lord Snow had started to look shell-shocked.
I couldn't keep my mind turned off, though. After we had gone down a couple more alleys and past more fountains, I began to wonder what Edmond had seen and if he was leading us to trouble or if he could somehow foresee enough of the trouble that we might avoid it.
"Well damn," Edmond muttered and stopped.
Light flared ahead of us; bright and golden against the darkening sky. I hadn't noticed that night was coming on. I saw stars brighten and blink -- and I realized little fairies were darting through the sky like over-sized lightning bugs. I would have been delighted, except there was something far stronger in the air, too. I felt the warmth of magic like the rolls of ocean waves, growing stronger as something came closer.
"Dragon," Maggie said. She looked up into the sky and her wings fluttered slightly. "The Great Lord of Fire. I didn't expect him to come this far into the city. Edmond, maybe you ought to --"
"I'm not going to hide," Edmond said. "If Lord Fire is still angry with me, then we might as well find out now."
I thought to argue; a cat didn't stand much of a chance against an angry dragon. However, I still didn't understand the dynamics of the situation and since Maggie didn't say more to Edmond, neither did I.
Something streaked across the darkening sky, like a meteorite flinging off streaks of red fire. A roar filled the air and the world around us went silent in awe and fear. This was not the ponderous movements of Lord Ice, with the snow and north winds preceding him. Lord Fire came with a flash of bright light and a warmth that took the breath away. I feared the fire at first, but my newly found magical senses told me this was magic, not real -- at least not real in the sense I would have understood it not so long ago. This fire could burn, but only at the wish of its dragon master.
Apparently, for the moment, Lord Fire was not seeking destruction. I had no doubt he could level this entire town with little more than a thought and a wave of his huge wings.
When he came down we knelt. I felt as though you could not stand in the view of such majesty and not do something to acknowledge that you knew you were not equal. Maybe the realization came from my magic again; I had not felt quite the same way before Lord Ice -- but then I hadn't seen the full splendor of the Dragon of the North, since the winds and snows hid most of him.
Lord Fire was magnificent as he came to ground; magnificent and frightening.
Edmond sat at my side. I saw the dragon's head turn and lower towards the cat, the tongue flicker out as though he saw a particularly tasty treat. Edmond's fur rippled in a slight shudder, but he made no sound.
"Lord Fire," I said, drawing the creature's attention. This was probably not wise, but I simply could not stand by and do nothing to protect Edmond.
I couldn't. I was beginning to feel out my job as a Protector.
"You," the Dragon said, the word a hot breath against my face. "You are not what you pretend."
"I pretend to nothing," I replied, though something told me arguing with dragons was unwise at any level. "I am only learning my place."
"Human, not human. Fae, not fae. Shall you be Lord Ice's toy to send out among us?"
"I'm not a toy. I'm not playing a game."
"The dragons have each our own place. We know what is expected of us; we know to keep the balance. Where is your place, half-thing."
"Wherever I'm needed."
The dragon's golden eyes narrowed and I suspected I had angered him. I prepared to take a step away from the others and face whatever might happen. How could I feel such a chill in the face of such warmth?
But then I realized that was not a look of anger; it was contemplation this time.
"You gave a fae, not a human, answer."
"I gave my answer," I said and tried not to sound too pretentious. "I can't tell what is fae and what is human in me, you know. Except for the feel of magic, but that's so new and alien that I can't really understand it yet."
"Go to the council. I'm told by my friends that is the best course, and I trust them."
The dragon's eyes turned to the others, measuring them, and back to Edmond for a longer time.
"I am no longer a smart ass kitten who thinks he rules the world," Edmond said and bowed his head. "I apologize."
Okay, this time I did see surprise. The dragon's head lowered and he considered Edmond for more than a minute of silence before he gave a slight nod. "Dragons do not bear well with being laughed at."
Edmond nodded. I thought he might be keeping his mouth clamped shut to keep from saying anything to make matters worse. I suspected that much of what would happen now depended on Edmond. The cat had apologized. What more did he want?
The dragon opened his mouth and reached for Edmond.
"No!" I dropped down, grabbed Edmond and rolled away. I felt the dragon's hot breath on the back of my neck and I heard the others give shouts of dismay.
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:
And don't miss out on
for more fantastic quick reads
for more fantastic quick reads