Friday, December 29, 2017
Flash Fiction # 283 -- Dusty & Friends/28 (End)
"Dusty! Dusty!" a little voice shouted at her ear. "Wake up! They're here!"
Dusty sat up, grabbing at anything she could use as a weapon. How had the orcs gotten so close? Where were they? Where was she?
Blue stood on her pillow leaping up and down. She looked around in fear --
"Mama! I can hear mama!"
Well, that woke her from her rest. Mama. Big dragon and she would be looking for her lost son. Dusty threw herself out of bed, almost tangling in the blankets and began looking frantically around. A knock on the door startled her, but her grandmother's servant, Mistress Paulina rushed into the room with clothing in hand.
"Oh good, you are awake. We just got a signal --"
"Dragons are coming. Oh dear. I don't have time --"
Mistress Paulina was expert at getting people ready for events. With the help of two other maids, she had Dusty dressed and her hair fixed as quickly as possible. By then, Blue could see the dragons -- three of them -- in the window. He jumped so much that Dusty had trouble getting hold of him. He laughed and giggled and bounced more as they hurried down the stairs and out into the courtyard.
The guards had cleared everything they could out of the way, but Dusty could tell that still didn't leave enough room for the three enormous dragons who were circling lower in the sky. Fox stood to the right of the door and smiled brightly. She wanted to grab and hug him but now was not the time. Dusty had beat grandmother and her guards out to the grand stairs leading into the building, but the Queen arrived only moments later.
"Oh my," the queen said. "I do hope --"
"Mama!" Blue shouted.
One of the dragons swept out of the formation and straight down at them. Dusty gasped but hadn't even time to back away before the vast, aqua-colored creature landed with a thump against the courtyard -- she saw stones crack -- and everything trembled.
Blue squealed and leapt from Dusty and to his mother's long snout as the dragon's head came closer. Dusty bowed her head while Blue talked so fast that even she couldn't follow him, though every time Blue said 'orcs' his mother growled.
Then the larger dragon's head turned and focused unerringly on Dusty. "Where are the orcs?" she growled, the angry sound sending the ground trembling.
"They're running back for their lairs," Dusty said, fighting to keep her voice steady while she looked into the enormous eyes -- and tried very hard not to see the big teeth.
"You let them go?" she answered, her eyes narrowing.
"I thought it most important to get Blue to safety," Dusty replied. "I didn't have the ability to fight the orcs --"
"Blue?" She blinked and then her lips curled back in what was not a smile. "You have named my son?"
"I -- Just to call him. Not a real name, of course. It hardly seemed proper for me to call such a fine creature baby."
Blue, who had settled on her leg, preened. Dusty saw the mama dragon's eyes turn back to her son and blink. The anger that had been there a moment before seemed to melt away.
"You did quite well, Princess of the humans. And may I say you seem quite accomplished in understanding dragons for one so young. Even those born with the gift are usually not so adept until far later in life, which is a shame for such a short-lived race."
"Thank you, Lady Dragon," she said and hoped that title worked.
The dragon had looked at her son again and gave a little nod. "Blue is a good name. We shall keep it."
"Oh, thank you, thank you, mama! I so wanted a name. And I will be wiser now! I'll do much better. I won't be a problem again!"
"Somehow, I find that rather doubtful."
Dusty smiled, but she was trying not to sniff. She could tell by the way the older dragon moved that she was preparing to leave and Dusty would not see Blue again. She had been trying to prepare herself for this moment, but it was all she could do to keep from crying aloud.
Lady Dragon turned her head and gave an unexpected nod to Queen Olivia. "This one has done well. I apologize for the misunderstanding about where my young one -- where Blue had gone. I will send funds to help rebuild and replace livestock."
"That is most generous," Queen Olivia answered and barely concealed her surprise. Dusty couldn't remember a time when dragons had paid humans for the trouble they created. This marked a considerable change in their relationship.
"You will not, I hope, mind if we chase the orcs back to their caves?" Lady Dragon asked.
"Not at all."
Both of them grinned, which was a rather odd sight.
"Also, I think it time we have an ambassador," Lady Dragon said and gave a sideways nod to Dusty.
"I thought the same thing," Queen Olivia agreed, and Dusty felt her heart do a double thump. "We shall give her some training and send her to visit with you -- and Blue -- in a few months if that suits you and her."
"Yes, that will work well," Lady Dragon said, and both of them looked entirely at Dusty this time.
"I would be honored," she said, despite her fear at the idea of such responsibility. On the other hand, she would see Blue again.
"I think, then, that my granddaughter has found her choosing and her future."
Dusty grinned agreement, watching as Lady Dragon backed away and then lifted into the air with a few flaps of her wings and a lot of magic. She soon couldn't see Blue as they sailed up so high, but it didn't matter. In a few months, they would meet again.
And she had the feeling that it was going to be an adventure.