The Dragon's Rogue/C5 Chapter 4
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The Dragon's Rogue/C5 Chapter 4
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C5 Chapter 4

“Pig-headed rock licker?” Amusement tinged the Dragon Lord's words, despite the seriousness of the situation. “I'm not sure whether to be insulted or concerned for your sanity.”

“How about grateful, and willing to provide service?” she sighed. This had gone nothing like she had hoped. He was her last chance, the only way she had to do something for Adda, and she could feel his cooperation, along with any power she had to act, slipping through her fingers. Adda was alive somewhere, Lis could feel it. She would be counting on Lis to feel it, to never give up hope. She couldn't let her sister down.

A breeze chose that moment to press against the canvas, fluttering the material and sending the lanterns swaying back and forth on

their supports.

“Where am I?” the Lord demanded.

Lis looked past his left shoulder, hoping to gauge his features without meeting his eyes directly. “Deep in the forest, hidden.”

“One of the free packs, then,” he frowned.

“Not by choice. My pack was sent from the Onyx Aerie when the Lords there decided that they did not need Shifters any longer.”

And she remembered that bitter night. It had been sudden, and violent. None had lost their lives, but only because of the quick capitulation of the pack's homes and everything they loved to the dragons. And then they fled into the dark, armed with the knowledge that if they could not escape the Quatori who lurked within the trees they would be their fodder, for they had no way to harm them. The pack had at last found the valley, untouched by Quatori scent, and settled, constructing the best defenses they could, ensuring plenty of light was available within the camp during the day by cutting the forest back and keeping the brightest of lanterns burning within their shelters at night. The only thing safer would be setting the bright burning lanterns about the camp, a barrier to the beasts. But pack members started to go missing while gathering food or scouting the forest and it was deemed dangerous to highlight the position of the camp. Something other than Quatori was attacking her people, and her sister had been one of them.

“You are the Onyx Aerie pack?”

“We were the Onyx Aerie pack.” Was he even listening to her?

“And you knew nothing of the plot involving my people?”

She raised a skeptical brow. Until he woke, she wasn't even sure who his people were. He could easily have been an Onyx Aerie dragon she had somehow never come across. She did try to avoid them whenever possible and, while in the Aerie, she spent most of her time sequestered in her apartment fiddling with things that made more sense than people. He could have been from the Jade Aerie, or the Amethyst. Hells, there were probably Dragon lines she had never even heard of.

“Alright, I see that you did not...what, then, is this service you require?”

Shrewd man. Did he think she did not hear the calculation in his words?

“My sister is missing. She is in danger, and every second I am here is another moment of her life that could be her last.”

“Oh? And what does a Shifter runaway have to do with me?”

“She didn't run away,” Lis glared at his feet. “Adda wouldn't do that. She was taken, just like the others.”


“Six of the pack have gone missing since we were expelled.”

“The forest is a dangerous place, what is it you think I can do about that? I might be a dragon, but even I do not have the power to temper its nature.”

Of all the arrogance. Were all Lords so ridiculous? “I do not wish you to temper its nature. I need you to come with me, to be my physical protection from the Quatori so that I can get my sister back.”

“You make it sound as though she lives, and you know where she is. I thought you said she was missing.”

“She is, and I have an idea of where. I've done some calculations...”

“I will make you a deal, Shifter,” he interrupted. “It is too much of a coincidence that the Onyx Aerie Shifters are removed from the Aerie just as our delegation is invited. Whatever happens...or has happened there, I believe our troubles are related.”

“Yes, but..”

“You will return with me first to the Amber Aerie. My people need to know I have survived and I have a feeling your information will be of interest, as well.”

Lis shook her head. “I will not go anywhere, I need to find my sister,” she managed. She corked the revival herbs and replaced the dagger loose beneath her belt. She had no sheaths, normally she had no blade. Why would she need weapons? She sighed.

She tried not to let the swell of disappointment surface. Her only chance and it was over. He was definitely too alert to consider subduing now. It was a foolish chance to begin with. She should stick to predictions of experiments; she utterly failed at estimating the results of anything else.

He chuckled. She was lost in her own emotions, but the sound pulled her free.

“You seem to think you have a choice,” he said.

If she didn't struggle to read his actions, she would have seen it coming. The self-assured way he stalked up to her should have been hint enough. Before she could register the problem, he snatched her close, lifting her physically from the ground.

She didn't jump to conclusions often. Her counterbalance tended toward the logical side of events, but there was nothing logical about being captured and restrained by a new found enemy. Her heart thrashed out a rhythm of surprise and, on first instinct, she pulled back wildly. At the same time, her left hand flew to her satchel, desperate for some course of action. Her mind froze, she didn't even remember the blade at her waist until she smashed against him and the hilt jabbed her hip. Fortunately for her, the blade did not pierce skin.

She sucked in a deep breath. She had deeply miscalculated. So deeply. She needed the help of the pack, before he did...whatever it was he was going to do.

Her muscles clenched, her body naturally trying to revert to wolf. It was the best form of defense. She couldn't scream as a wolf, though, and as the idea formed in her head she opened her mouth.

A big warm hand clasped against the side of her head, drawing her ear against his hard chest. The beat of a heart thundered.

“Sleep,” he commanded.

Without Lis' permission, her systems started to shut down, beginning with her balance and ending with conscious thought.

Huh, she thought, dragons can perform minor hypnosis...fascinating.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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