Chapter 20

“What’s a dowry?” Vur asked while tilting his head.

“It’s a gift that someone gives you when they’ve troubled you,” Sera replied while glaring at Prika.

“Oh. She already gave me a dowry then. She gave me Lust and put a ring on me,” Vur said.

Lindyss buried her face in her hands.

“Do you have anything to say about that?” Prika asked with her eyes twinkling.

“Nothing. Nothing at all,” Lindyss mumbled with her face still in her hands. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best if I stop talking.”

Grimmy laughed and his tail thumped against the floor. “You have a never-ending fountain of water, yet you’re still this thirsty,” he said with a grin on his face.

Leila smacked his snout. “Don’t use that kind of language in front of Vur.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. He’s too young to understand anyway,” Grimmy said while rubbing his nose.

Vernon coughed. “Well, I’d like to know how Vur ended up in your care,” he said to Lindyss.

“He came into my home one day and fell asleep after scaring my basilisk to death. I found out his control over magic was just as horrendous as his manners,” Lindyss said as she shot a glare at Grimmy, “so I decided to teach him out of respect for Grimmoldesser.”

“What exactly is your relationship with Grimmy?” Leila asked.

“He was my light when everything was dark. He was the moon that lit up my night. He brought warmth to my heart when it was-“

Grimmy flicked her forehead. “Stop messing around; she’ll take you seriously,” he said.

Lindyss rubbed her forehead and clutched her chest while turning her head to the side. “Even now you reject me, my lo-. Okay, okay, I’ll stop,” Lindyss said while waving her arms in front of her, “don’t shoot.” Grimmoldesser closed his mouth and glared at her.

Lindyss sighed. “You were much more fun before you got hitched,” she said and turned to Leila. “He stole my prey and then performed unspeakable experiments on me. In the end, he became my best friend.”

“Wow. Your taste in friends is terrible,” Prika said. “Don’t worry though. You’ll become my best friend once you become my goddaughter.”

Lindyss sighed.

“Stop sidetracking her,” Sera said, “and let her finish her story.”

“I taught him how to control his mana and helped teach him new skills since he’s a blue mage,” Lindyss said.

“She shot me with lightning bolts and fire balls and ice spears and dark orbs,” Vur said while nodding.

“That’s because he drank the whole fountain!”

“Ah, such a petty reason,” Grimmy said while clicking his tongue. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”

Lindyss stamped her foot. “You!” she said and then sighed, “you’re right. He reminded me too much of you; I couldn’t help but tease him a bit.”

“Oh? So she used to tease you, dear?” Leila said as she rested her claw on Grimmy’s shoulder.

Grimmy snorted and nuzzled Leila’s cheek. “You’re the only one for me,” he said.

Lindyss stared at the two dragons who were looking into each other’s eyes. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen,” she echoed.

Prika sighed. “I wish I had a mate.”

###################################################################

“They retreated? What do you mean they retreated?” Gale asked. He was wearing a robe threaded with blue lines of refined mithril. He held a blue metal staff in his right hand and a white book in his left. The army had just arrived at the makeshift camp set up in the charred plains.

“They stopped riding and all pulled back into the forest,” Dustin replied. The two leaders of the armies stared at each other before Gale stuck out his hand. Dustin raised an eyebrow and paused before shaking it.

“I appreciate your help coming out here. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sent that letter,” Gale said.

“Please. Our lord isn’t as unyielding as your king,” Dustin said. We’re all allies in the end, he thought. Gale nodded.

“We should maintain vigilance for at least a month. That’s how long it’ll take before our mages can finish purifying the land,” Gale said and sighed.

“Why wait and defend? Why not take the fight to them?” Dustin asked with a smile.

Gale frowned. “We only need to destroy their cavalry to prevent another invasion. There shouldn’t be enough corpses for them to reanimate once they’re gone,” he said.

“And if they refuse to come out until we leave?” Dustin asked. “Destroy their source and we never have to worry about being invaded again.”

“The consequences are too large if we fail. Not only do we not wipe them out, we also increase their numbers,” Gale said. “All the SSS rankers are in Fuselage. We can’t guarantee a victory.”

Dustin sighed. “You’re right,” he said. “It would’ve been nice to have adventured with someone as level-headed as you.”

Gale nodded. “It would be nice if we could build a fortress here maintained by both our races.”

“Maybe one day in the future our people could forget their differences, but there’s too much hate right now.”

###################################################################

Lindyss stood next to Grimmy on a cliff overlooking a horde of skeletons riding into a marsh. The trees were oozing black sap and their leaves were blood-red. The ground was black and occasional bubbles would rise to the surface and pop. The skeletons dismounted and let their bodies sink into the marsh along with their steeds.

“Why’d you call them back?” Grimmy asked.

“Nothing good comes from bothering the humans,” Lindyss said. “The undead are our buffer in case they ever invade. They shouldn’t be sent out because someone got a little angry.”

Grimmy snorted. “I made them; I can do what I want with them,” he said.

“Technically, I made them. You just gave me the power,” Lindyss said with a smile.

“Same thing.”

“Just let me get the little victories, alright? You’re a dragon; stop being so petty.”

Grimmy snorted again and nuzzled his snout against her. “I missed you,” he said.

“I missed you too,” Lindyss said and sighed, “but there really was no other option.”

“Are you better now?” Grimmy asked as he crawled onto his stomach.

Lindyss sat and leaned against his neck and shoulder. “In a decade or two, I should be fully healed. It’s gotten to the point where I can stand in the sun without losing health, but I still lose my mana,” she said as she stretched her right hand toward the moon.

Grimmy fell silent.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for you,” Lindyss said as she sighed and closed her eyes.

 

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