Then Again...

November 16, 2011
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"Thank you for rescuing me,"she said.

Eventually he let go of her shoulders. Eventually he said, "You're welcome."

The moonlight glinted on his golden hair, long and loose. "So," he said in a voice that gave no clue to his thoughts, "does this mean no more revenge?"

"No more revenge."

He continued to look at her without saying anything.

"I assume it works out better for you," she asked, "When you get revenge on those who hurt you?"

His eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared. But he was the one who looked away first. He sighed, shaking his head, probably more at her that in answer to her statement. "Do you want to go back?" he asked.

She thought about it. But then said, "No. They'll never be able to forgive me."

He looked amused at the thought that she could be concerned with forgiveness. "Then," he said, "is there some other place you'd like me to take you?"

Now Alys sighed. "There were several kind of people in Griswold who were willing to take me on. I may go back there." She sighed again. "Or I could find a new place entirely. I don't think that's as impossible as I used to think it was."

"Ah," he said in that knowing way of his.

Alys rested her head against her knees.

"Or," Selendrile said, not quite looking at her, "you could stay with me."

Startled, she tried to gauge his sincerity from his bland expression. Aware of a hundred reasons why it wouldn't work, she asked, "Do you mean it?"

Selendrile paused to consider. "Perhaps," he said.

"I see," Alys answered.

The dragon-youth took a deep breath. "Yes." He said it quickly and decisively. "Yes, I mean it."

"Well, then," she said, "in that case, I will."

With that he smiled the charming smile he gave to the cook back at the inn, the smile he had given to Una. “Tell me,” his amethyst eyes hid away from the moon’s luminous glow,” why didn’t you leave me like I told you?”

“It would only be fair,” Alys retorted quickly. Maybe too quick, but she couldn’t see through his expression to distinguish if he had recognized. “I couldn’t just leave you after all you have done for me,” she added.

Of course he said nothing. Selendrile stared at her as if asking her if she was finished. Finally, he signed and stood up.

Alys kept her head down brushing her hair with her fingers. She hated how Selendrile had cut it and she had been desperate for a bath. How it would be nice just to rest a bit.

“Would you like me to fetch you something to eat?” he requested.

“No,” Alys muttered somnolently, “It’s too late at night and I’m tired. Very, very tired.” Right as she finished, Alys fell back into the bouncy hay that she had fell in many times before. She was aware that Selendrile was watching her as he always did. Her eyes closed without her saying any final words.

Alys woke to the warm morning horizon that peered through the thin strands of hay, but even greater warmth placated her back. She was suddenly aware of Selendrile sitting too close again. As she bolted up she was blocked by his face. Had she not stopped, his nose would’ve bled. If he could bleed. She couldn’t believe how close she was to touching his nose. As close as she was, she could’ve given him a small peck and even with the speed he had, he wouldn’t be able to move back in time. She was quick to look away over her shoulder. Her weary arms quivered as she struggled to support herself. They had been sore the whole week before from being tied of up and being carried by Selendrile.

Before she realized it he had snatched her one of her arms from underneath her causing her to fall back into the hay. She cherished the feeling of the softness beneath her until the dragon-youth wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her upward in a sitting position.

“I don’t like when you do that!” Alys protested making her way down the boulder of hay.

Selendrile simply sat there until she slid down and made it back on her feet. Feeling sure that he was gazing at her again she spun around almost tripping over her own feet. A deep blush rose in her cheeks as she grew frustrated with herself.

“Are you ever going to realize that staring is rude?” Selendrile was slightly amused at the thought that it would be.

Seconds afterward he slid down the hay landing perfectly on his feet without struggle, “We’re going to Fenogast up north.”

Alys furrowed her brow, “Fenogast? I’ve never heard that name before..”

Seeing Selendrile remove his boots sent the idea that it would be a long journey, if he would have to fly. She turned around digging in the dirt with her feet.

She paused a moment and asked, “How long would it take to fly?”

When he didn’t answer she figured he was already a dragon. Turning to see a huge mass standing over her, she was shocked to see that he was still a man with nothing on. Her head quickly dropped to look at her feet, “Why aren’t you a dragon?”

Of course he didn’t answer, but instead came back with a question for her, “Why is it more surprising to see a man than a dragon?”

“Because it’s-“, she bit her lip not sure how to answer that question, “ It’s just not normal, now please do whatever you need to do!”

Just as she said Selendrile turned into a dragon. Alys peered up at him to find him peering down at her as if he had become her servant waiting for commands, but before she could say anything the dragon-youth arched its neck down onto the ground. For a moment Alys stood confused questioning herself of what to do. Like an idiot she asked him knowing that he couldn’t speak in that form. Instead Selendrile scooted his neck closer to her in attempt to tell her to get on. Finally she had realized and settled herself between his wings ignoring the fact that he wanted her on his neck. She hadn’t had the time to grab onto anything before he took off and she violently tumbled onto the ground. The dragon was already fifty feet into the air before he realized Alys wasn’t where he had placed her. The pounding of his wings grew louder as he landed not too far away.

Alys clutched her head as she sat up, “You shouldn’t have taken off so fast!”

She suddenly froze when she heard Selendrile growl under his breath knowing how troublesome it would be to carry a human around. He lowered his neck willing to try again. This time she placed herself on his neck behind his head where she should’ve the first time. She grabbed onto one of his sturdy scales. It didn’t seem to bother him. He pounced of the ground giving one hard flap raising them a few feet off the ground, till he began to fly upward.

As they sailed off into the sky she asked, “I hope you don’t mind stopping so I can get fresh clothes.”

Although he did nothing to respond she was sure he heard.

Selendrile landed a good distance from the town so that he could get into his human form and quickly dress. He had gladly taken the time to steal some clothes from a shop they had passed on the way. He had gotten Alys a long white coat that reached to her boots. Although she adored the coat she didn’t understand why he had to steal something so expensive. He himself had gotten a long coat too, but his was black and it would lead people to stare at his golden hair that Alys had offered to braid and purple eyes. She was glad her hair had finally grown enough for her to look more feminine. It had only extended to the bottom of her jaw, but it was enough for her. Selendrile also managed to steal a few accessories she had been talking about before they reached the shop and not long after taking some gold and silver coins from his hoard.

They had made their way to the entrance where people stared at them both. Alys blushed when Selendrile didn’t seem to mind. He had quickly hooked his arm into hers and began searching for an inn. As they reached one Selendrile pulled out two gold coins from his pocket inside his coat. The clerk stood stiff when he saw us approaching.

“I’m Lane and this is my sister Mei” he gestured toward Alys who stared at him puzzled; “We would like two rooms.”

“Of course,” he said quietly taking the gold coins Selendrile had given him, “Nola, please escort these two to their rooms.”

A woman at least ten years older than Alys came out the back room and greeted them. She began to lead them upstairs into a long hall. It wasn’t till the clerk was out of sight for Alys to notice he had been staring at her almost the whole time. A couple steps into the hall Nola stops and addresses Selendrile to his room first. She unlocked the door and opens the door to a well decorated and candle lit room with all curtains closed.

“Meet me in front of the Inn tomorrow morning,” he said to Alys before thanking the woman and shutting the door.

About five rooms away Nola unlocked a door and led Alys inside. It was almost exactly like Selendrile’s except that the bed was against the wall with the windows that were covered with bronze curtains. It had matched the dress she was wearing underneath her white coat.

“Thank you,” Alys said before the woman silently left the room.

Alys sat at the edge of the bed thinking how Selendrile wouldn’t spend the night at the inn because of the fact that he would die if he didn’t change into a dragon by midnight. She unbuttoned and slid off her coat laying it on the bed across from her. Although the sun was just beginning to set, she was tired from the flight all the way to Fenogast.

Alys pulled on her coat and left her room on her way to the rendezvous. She smiled at the clerk who had been staring at her the night before. Selendrile had glanced over his shoulder to see her approach.

“Good morning Sel- Lane,” Alys corrected herself.

She didn’t expect him to say it back. He was a dragon, what was it to him? Selendrile offered his arm to her. Hesitantly she took it.

“Why did you decide to come here?” Alys shifted her gaze to the city.

He gave a simple answer, “It’s closer to my hoard.”

She furrowed her brow, “Nothing else?”

As he opened his mouth to answer her he was cut off by a sight that seemed to be strange to him. In front of a store full of riches there was a couple kissing. In the man’s hand Alys saw a small black box, the one that usually carries a ring. The sight caused Selendrile to completely stop.

“What are they doing?” the expression on his face made Alys laugh.

She tugged on his arm so they could move along. Selendrile looked back at her with a questioning look.

She smiled sheepishly, “They’re kissing.”

He took one last look at the couple, “Why?”

“They kiss because they’re in love. Well, that’s mostly why people kiss.”

Selendrile, still slightly puzzled, stared at Alys, “Hn...”

She chortled at his confusion as he grimaced and turned away. Her laugh faded into a smile. People glanced at them from every direction and began to whisper. Alys knew it wasn’t anything big, they were just gossiping.

The silent promenade led them back to the Inn. Alys was exhausted from walking and Selendrile had grown tired of all the loud noises. She had invited him to her room as they climbed up the stairs. He took the invitation, but afterward said he couldn’t stay long. Alys wanted to ask him why, but she figured it’d be too much to ask.

The room was filled with silence and the streams of sunlight through the window. Alys removed her coat and hung it in the closet and offered to take Selendrile’s but he refused.

“I had fun today,” she began, “but you never mentioned why you decided to stay here.”

Sitting on the bed across from her she caught a glimpse of the large black circle around his pupil as he turned to answer her, “I will be leaving soon, I thought I would find you a permanent place to live before I take my leave.”

“You’re leaving?” her eyes shot open in skepticism, but she knew Selendrile wasn’t the one to tell lies, “To where?”

“I can’t stay away from home, Alys,” when he said her name she knew he was just as concerned as she was, “I have to go back.”

She fidgeted with her coat gazing anywhere but towards him, “Why?”

Selendrile sighed heavily, “It’s none of your concern.”

When she looked up he saw her tear welled eyes. Alys saw he noticed and quickly wiped them away then stood up. She walked herself to the door staring straight ahead. Her fingers touched the knob flinching because of its icy sensation, “I-...” With that she left leaving her coat.

Alys thought long and hard of what she would do when he left. Get a job somewhere in town, maybe own a company if Selendrile gave her some of his hoard, but most of all she thought about him. What did he mean by asking her to stay?

She stood outside the town occupying the space between some pine trees. Snow drifted down from the sky and silently descended to the ground melting just as it did. Her pants came out in puffs of white from the cool air. The chill of the air caused her to shudder and begin to stroke her arms in attempt to warm her. She mused her head raised gazing up above at the white sky. Subdued footsteps that approached from behind halted a few paces back. Alys turned abruptly meeting Selendrile’s eyes once again. Below he had her coat held in front of his chest.

“Thank you,” Alys reached out having to remove her hand from the comfort of her arm. In one hasty movement he diminished the space between them. Alys, startled by the sudden movement, was caught in his gaze. The affection in his eyes was enough to make her blush deeply and look down at his chest. In all her time spent with him she never thought that he would even dare to look at a human like that ever since he had been shackled by Artherton. Selendrile having killed someone in front of her made the way she looked at him different from before. She was more afraid of him than she had ever been, but not only that. He was beginning to be more frequent with communicating with her.

“I can’t let you remember what happened over these past few days,” Selendrile raised her face up back to his with his knuckle, “but I will let you remember this.” Not even before he got through pronouncing his last word, he kissed her a bit timid at first. His arms cradled and caressed her as they both fought for authority over each other’s lips. Alys tried to speak, but her words were muffled. Selendrile was eager to go back to the inn with her. He unintentionally moaned a bit before pulling back and gasping for air. Again he leaned in this time his lips against her cold neck, “Come back to the Inn with me, Alys.”

She paused and stared at him in complete disbelief and shock, “Are you inane? You’re hundreds of years older than I am!”

“In dragon years,” he said blankly.

Alys pulled away quarrelling, “You’re a dragon for God’s sake!”

“That doesn’t mean a thing,” he hauled her back.

“It can never work! I’ll be dead when you’re still young! You’d forge-“

“Alys!” he yelled unyielding, “If we were to mate, I’d be human.”

Alys shook her head ragingly, “Would you really give up your life for me? Flying, being a dragon, being able to come and go as you please? You can’t do that when you’re human, it’s not the same!”

“So you think I should remain a dragon for the next five hundred years?”

Five hundred years was a long time she thought, but then again being human wasn’t long enough, “That’s exactly what I think.” Her voice shuddered, “You should go back home, Selendrile.” Alys began to resign back to Fenogast.

“Alys,” Selendrile called for the last time before he took his leave.

She veered around studying his face. His eyes were striving stop her, but she again declined, “I hope you make it to where you wish to be. I promise I won’t forget-“

Before she could remember her mind was suddenly blank. As she began to think again she remembered that she was on her way to Fenogast to find a job because her father died of a heart attack and she couldn’t keep the shop going.

“Are you okay, Miss?” Alys jumped at the sight of a man she didn’t even see standing a few paces back.

His purple eyes caused her to stare, which was very impolite, but she had never seen any like his, “Y-yes I’m fine. Thank you.” She smiled sincerely and started back toward the slightly large town. Something about that man’s aroma, she thought, it’s different. She was aware that he was watching her, but she stood tall until she was completely out of his sight.

Selendrile watched Alys walk away, for the first time regretting what he had done, but he knew that if he hadn’t done it then any witch would see her past and haunt him. Just then he was beginning to experience what he never experienced before. It hurt him to see her walk away knowing something memorable that she did not.

Alys who was at the gates of Fenogast rapidly turned when she heard a huge bird of prey like sound and not long after seeing an amazingly huge golden dragon emerge from the trees then disappeared into the sky as it had flown off. She remembered the man that was in the woods and ran back worrying if the dragon had already eaten him. When she returned he was gone. As if he was never there. It must have. He wasn’t there, but there wasn’t any blood either. Alys sprinted back toward the village to tell someone what she had seen.

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