Chapter 21

Lindyss looked up and put down her knitting needles and wool. The basilisk was whining as it rushed down the stairs. Lindyss sighed while standing and started to head towards the mini-boss room. She was wearing her usual blood-red robe and high heels. Her light-brown hair was shoulder-length and tucked behind her pointed ears. She looked inside the mini-boss room and saw Vur chasing after a bat in the air. He caught its wings and brought it to the floor.

“Can I help you?” Lindyss asked.

Vur hugged the squirming bat. “I want more books,” he said.

“Didn’t I tell you to ask the elves for books?” she asked. “You already read all of mine.”

“I read all the elves’ books too,” he said. “They told me to ask you.”

“Did you really?”

“Uh huh. I even read the boring ones too,” Vur said while making a face. “Why would they make a book on plants.”

Lindyss sighed and crossed her arms.

“I know where we can get more books, but we’ll have to ask your parents.”

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“M-milord!” a sentry burst into the dining room of the demon lord’s castle.

“Didn’t I tell you that no one may interrupt my meals?” the demon lord asked. “This is the only time I have for my family.”

“Y-yes! But this is urgent, milord,” the sentry said with his head bowed. “There’s five dragons in front of the royal capital right now and they demand to speak with you at the front gate.”

The demon lord’s face paled. All the strong soldiers were garrisoned in the south or on the border between the human and demon territories. He nodded and stood up. “They haven’t attacked?” he asked.

“No, milord, but it’s hard to say what dragons will do.”

“Mina, watch over Tafel. If anything happens, remember that I love you both,” the demon lord said as he turned towards his wife and child.

Mina nodded and held Tafel’s hand. “Be careful, Zollstock.”

Tafel’s eyes glinted. No way I’m letting this chance go, she thought.

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Sweat rolled down Zollstock’s neck as he stared into the golden pair of eyes in front of him. The blue dragon’s front claws were resting on the city walls while it sat on its haunches. Two humanoid figures stood on its head.

“How may I help you, mighty one?” Zollstock said while lowering his gaze to his feet.

Zollstock flinched as a high pitched voice that sounded like it came from a child rang through the air.

“Books! I want all your books.”

Zollstock’s face twisted and he opened his mouth to speak.

“You can’t just ask for all their books,” Prika said, interrupting him. Zollstock let out a sigh of relief.

“I don’t want to carry any duplicates,” Prika finished. Zollstock’s right eye started to twitch.

“Come again?” he asked.

“Are you deaf? Auntie, how can he be the ruler if he’s deaf?” Vur turned to Lindyss and asked. “Let’s ask her instead,” Vur said and pointed at Tafel who was hiding behind the corner.

Tafel froze.

“Tafel! What are you doing here?!” Zollstock asked.

“I wanted to see the dragons,” she whispered.

Grimmy laughed. “Aren’t you a brave child? Don’t you know dragons eat children for breakfast?”

Tafel trembled and collapsed onto her knees before shaking her head back and forth. “Y-you can’t eat me th-then. I-it’s dinner time,” she said.

Grimmy laughed even harder and the walls shook as he thumped his tail against the floor. “Maybe I should kidnap you and save you for breakfast,” he said with a grin. Tafel squeaked as she saw the rows of teeth and curled up into a ball.

“Quit teasing the little ones,” Leila said as she nudged Grimmy’s neck.

“Ahem. Sorry about that,” Lindyss said and jumped off of Sera’s head.

“We’d appreciate it if you gave us all your books. Of course we’ll provide a fair compensation,” she said to Zollstock with a smile.

“I can’t do that. The royal library is a collection of all our history and knowledge. If you take it away from us, what else will we have?” Zollstock said as sweat rolled down his back.

Lindyss smiled. “Then it’s fine if we use it like a library then, right? We’ll be sure to come back and return the books once we’re done with them,” she said as she stepped closer to Zollstock.

Zollstock took a step back. “There’s no guarantee you’ll return them,” Zollstock said while shaking his head.

Lindyss continued moving closer. Her lips glistened red in the moonlight. “I’m sure there’s some kind of agreement we can come to, right?” she asked while staring right into his eyes.

Zollstock continued stepping backwards and stumbled when his foot the edge of the wall behind him. He almost fell over, but Lindyss caught his shoulder and brought her face in front of his. Their noses almost touched.

“You should be careful,” Lindyss whispered and smiled before pulling away. Zollstock’s face was red and his heart pounded in his chest.

“I’m telling mom,” Tafel said. Lindyss giggled and walked towards Tafel.

“Such a cute child,” she said. “You should let the adults talk, okay? Here, go play with Vur.” Lindyss put her hands underneath Tafel’s arms and lifted her up. Tafel screamed as Lindyss lobbed her straight towards Sera’s head. She closed her eyes and curled up into a ball, bracing herself for the pain. Instead, she was caught by a cushion of air and landed next to Vur. Sera let go of the walls and took a few steps backwards.

“Tafel!” Zollstock yelled. “You witch! I’ll have you burned!” He turned towards Lindyss and almost fell over when she appeared right in front of him.

Lindyss smiled. “Now, now. Let the children play while we discuss the terms. Alright?”

Zollstock shivered when he saw her smile and involuntarily nodded his head.

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

“Wow, are those horns real?” Vur asked and touched Tafel’s horns.

Tafel’s face turned red and she nodded. “It’s rude to touch someone’s horns,” she whispered.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know that,” Vur said as he let go of her horns. “Why do you have horns?”

Tafel tilted her head. “I’m a demon. Demons have horns.”

“Eh? Mama said you were a human though,” Vur said, “and dragons don’t lie. Right mama?” Vur looked towards his feet.

Sera snorted which caused Tafel to fall over. “Humans and demons are the same thing to us.”

Vur nodded. “See,” he said and sat down next to Tafel.

“I’m Vur, what’s your name?”

“Tafel,” she replied as she stared into his golden slit eyes. “Are you a human? I’ve never met one before.”

“I’m a dragon,” Vur said as he stuck his chest out. “I just haven’t grown my wings and scales yet.”

“Oh, I didn’t know dragons looked like that when they were little,” Tafel said with her eyes wide.

Vur smiled. “A lot of people don’t. Do you want to be my friend?”

Tafel nodded repeatedly. “Yes. I don’t have many friends. My mom never lets me out of the house anymore,” Tafel said while looking down.

“Oooo, what’s this?” Prika asked. “It looks like Lindyss has some competition?” She hung onto Sera’s shoulders with her claws as she stared at the two children on top of her head and grinned.

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

“So it’s agreed then?” Lindyss asked Zollstock.

Zollstock nodded. “The boy can freely enter the library and borrow books from it, but no more than twenty books at a time. The dragons will stop destroying towns and Tafel will be returned safely,” he said as he admired the gleaming sword in his hands.

“Good,” Lindyss said as she leaned forward and ran her fingers down the side of his neck. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

Zollstock gulped and nodded as he watched Lindyss saunter away towards the dragons.

 

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