I am so proud of my twin, Lex. His wings are powerful and long as he steadily brings me back to the Requiem Mountains. He flies high, easily gliding down onto the ledge that leads to my bedchambers.
You know why I have taken you here, Luvenia? He asks as he lands gracefully and lowers his head, so once I return you to your normal form, you may not go back out into the forest where those idiots dwell.
You think you are smart that you learnt how to transform? I squeak up at him and whack my tail into his nose as I jump off his snout and turn to face him.
Lex pauses with a tilt to his head.
Yes, he answers quickly.
Transform, Lex, I ask of him, before Hael and Lochness see you on this ledge and approach to find me a mouse, I don’t want them seeing me as a mouse, I add in a sudden panic.
Madeline was a mouse to them.
I didn’t want to be seen as one either.
I will not transform until my slave brings me my pants at least, Luvenia –
What scar are you hiding now? I cut him off, standing back on my back paws, two other paws on my hips.
Don’t assume –
You always hide your scars and refuse to transform in front of anyone if you’ve been hurt, I snap, what wound has been inflicted on you this time?
Lex is silent, which is uncommon for him. However, his tail swipes and his claw taps like his finger use to tap when he was nervous.
You must tell me, I squeak again, I will not tell a soul. Don’t make me dig into your mind to find out –
Don’t, he snaps, I will tell you willingly before you rip it out of my mind with no manners, you are lucky our fathers are easy on you compared to...never mind...so....uh, the slave girl? Jules, she is highly... annoying... and... I think I’d rather spare you the details.
Don’t stop there, Lex, I sit back now, whiskers perked up like my ears, despite the mental conversation, ...are you telling me the girl, a human girl, hurt you?
She got lucky, Lex snarls, she was resisting my attempts at conversation –
You probably told her to scrub the floors harder and you didn’t realize she wouldn’t find that appropriate conversation –
I told you not to dig into my mind! He snarls.
I didn’t, I guessed right, I smile with my two front mouse teeth and Lex thwacks his tail so hard down onto the cave floor, it trembles and I fall right over in fright.
I hate you sometimes, Lex snarls at me, Anyway, I was trying to tease her, okay? But she took it seriously and started throwing things at me. I couldn’t believe the audacity. I soon realised it is because her parents gave her up willingly as a slave for money a couple of months back. The only job she agreed to do was assisting guests in the mountain. She refused to mine, to guard, to sew, to weave, to cook –
Get to the part where she kicked your ass, I snap.
...I lost my temper, Lex admits guiltily, I wanted to teach her a lesson. So I grabbed a branding stick while she was having her afternoon wash, naked and alone in a private spring bath. She was bent over, scrubbing her ankles while standing in the shallows. I went to brand her ass and remind her of her place, while she didn’t see me coming.
What the hell? I ask, breathless, Why? She was simply defensive because she hates being a slave.
I didn’t brand her, Lex snaps, let me finish the story... she pretended she didn’t see me coming, she had a wash bucket with soap with her and when I least suspected it she picked it up and tossed it, soap and all at my feet. I slipped onto my ass, dropped the red hot branding stick and she picked it up. As I turned to... I can’t believe I’m telling you this, Lex thumps his tail again and he keeps tapping his claw nervously.
Go on, I was nervous for the answer, excited too.
As I turn to get to my feet, I didn’t expect her to stick the red hot brand onto my ass, Lex growls quickly, ...I have a brand on my bloody ass... because of a slave... a brand on me! On me! Can you believe it? It’s permanent, Luvenia.
What did you do then? I ask, a giggle in my mental tone, I was barely holding back my full blown laughter.
What else was I to do? I was humiliated. I was hurt and my skin scarred instantly...don’t laugh... I ran from her, he admits in defeat and now I do not hold it in any longer.
I fall onto my mouse side and squeak repeatedly and uncontrollably, over and over.
Enough of this mouse business, he snarls, breathing white fire out and over me.
It tickles but it has the desired effect.
White-burn; a magic solvent.
I could read minds.
Lex could reverse magic; an extremely rare talent for a Dragon. Apparently only Dragon’s born of Dragon Slayers could have this ability. Which made it even more rare for Lex, because Madeline clearly wasn’t a Dragon Slayer.
I had heard her only talent was singing... but I had never heard her sing.
It couldn’t be that good, I knew my father Lochness didn’t like her singing. He often told her that she shouldn’t dare open that mouth and chant... so perhaps Hael just lied to make her feel she was useful at least slightly.
In my eyes? She was nothing but useless.
What qualities did she have that I wanted?
I didn’t want any of her submissive nature.
None of it.
I’m angry just thinking about it.
I can feel my mist coming back to me, perhaps my natural easy-anger was also returning as I transform. However, before I change to a human, I decide last minute to change to a Dragon instead.
I wanted to show Lex he wasn’t alone.
Once I am ready, black scales in place and displayed with pride, I sit back on my black haunches with my lithe tail and narrow head. I grin at Lex, his eyes so wide I feel like the green orbs will pop out onto the cave floor.
Since when? He asks, shocked.
A long time before you knew how to, I retort.
Lex can not handle this news, he gets up and turns.
Does my embarrassment never end? He growls to himself, still in shock. He turns and jumps off my cliff, leaving me alone. I watch him glide off around the mountain side, I told Jules to bring me my pants, tell her to forget about it.
Okay, I respond mockingly with a fake high pitched tone, perfected from copying my father, Lochness.
I turn around to the sound of my bedroom door opening and I stalk my way in further to see a small, curly blonde head on the girl with nervous light blue eyes.
Jules, I speak to her and eye the leather pants she is holding, Lex is off flying away his embarrassment at failing to beat his twin sister at transforming and failing to beat his slave at quick reflexes... I suppose you are scared he will hurt you?
“I am not sacred of him!” Jules throws the leather pants on the ground aggressively before me. I even flinch back away from her, after trying to humor her I didn’t expect her to be so ferocious or full of hate, “And I am not scared of you, either.”
How old are you? I ask, in a growl. I felt she was acting like a child, so I try to hold onto my temper longer.
“Fourteen summers – more like winters, I hate Summer,” she spits, already tears seem to form in her eyes. She seems – triggered by something.
You have a hell of a temper for someone so young, is that why your parents left you here to be a slave? Are you not afraid Dragons will eat you up for being so disrespectful?
“I know Dragons,” Jules shrugs her shoulders, eyeing me suspiciously, “Black Dragons are the cruelest, did you know?”
I am taken back by what she says. Both because of the insult and her random knowledge. I pause and then tilt my head, she was intriguing... in an infuriating kind of way.
Why do you say that, curly mouse? I ask her, confused.
She gulps, scared she has said too much but at the same time she seems angry that I have called her a mouse.
“I just wanted to explore and play and talk to boys,” she shrugs, angry, “I wanted to ride wild horses and talk to the forest people. I kept running away despite my parent’s warnings. They said lone girls running about got picked up by slave traders. Then one day, I thought I’d bring mint back to my home and put it in the soup for everyone. I didn’t know it was poison. Nearly all the Dragon’s died; but my father thought I –”
Did you say Dragons? I ask, Are you from a Horde?
She bites her lip and does not speak any more.
She turns to run out of the room but I quickly transform into my human, by the door, so she cannot escape.
“Tell me,” I order, glaring at her, “I’m not letting you run.”
She backs up, tears again in her eyes.
“I am being punished,” she whispers, “My father sent me here to learn lessons about responsibility... he abandoned me here. My mother even agreed; I thought she loved me. But Goldy nearly died and... and...”
"Goldy?" I gasp, “You’re Princess Summer’s daughter, aren’t you? Oh, I know now... I bet you’re upset because you’re a half-blood slave... that’s unheard of,” I don’t mean to sound so condescending but I do, she had pissed me off, despite this new interesting twist of events.
“I am not a slave,” Jules snaps, “I am not a bad person, either, I didn’t want to hurt anyone... now I’m here, scrubbing floors and folding clothes and emptying buckets of shit.”
“Too bad for you. You’re like my distant cousin,” I add slowly, “You know that your mother is my mother’s cousin?”
“So?” she asks, shrugging, “Let me go, I don’t want to talk to you. No one likes you, you know. Everyone says you’re cold, emotionless... they say you have no heart. The Black Haired Bitch; that’s what they call you.”
“If you are to be so rude, curly mouse... you are tiny, you know that, right? You can leave before I make you,” I snap, standing aside I slam open my door and hold it aside for her, ”Go.”
She doesn’t hesitate, she runs.
I watch her disappear down the hall and I slam the door on her way out.
No wonder Lex wanted to brand her.
Now I wanted to as well.
She might be from the Dusk Horde, but she was a little shit! Were all half-bloods this infuriating? For a fourteen year old, her words hurt me, regardless.
Did I really appear as if I had no heart? Perhaps I did.
Your love is fourtneen years old, I sing-song to Lex as I flop down on my bed, and I feel the shock run through his veins.
She can’t be. She’s older, Lex snarls.
Nope, I rub it in and he floods with embarrassment.
So I was branded by a fourteen year old?
Yep, and you wanted to fuck her, too. Did you know she was a half-blood?
Whatever helps you sleep at night, I find myself consumed with sarcasm and dark thoughts as I lie there.
That little girl had really creeped her way into my head and made me angry.
Perhaps I could tell my fathers to return her.
Distantly related or no, she was a pain in my ass –
More like a permanent pain in Lex’s ass!