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The Exiled Dragon By Veronica Fox Chapter 21

Come Home 

Creed 

The rest of the crowd had dispersed. Adam glared down at me with such blackness in his eyes, it made me wonder how he was ever a product of our mother. Standing up, I watched his fleeting back going to the back of the stage and open the leather tarp cover the entry. Amora’s steps graced toward me only to have Adam hold her wrist.

“I need to speak with my… half-brother,” he spat. “Meet me a t home and I have a surprise for you.” Adam’s words held such love, Amora could only glance between the two of us, biting her lip, hesitating what to do.

“Adam, don’t be mean to Creed. We all grew up together. Please let me stay. It has been so long since he has visited.” Adam’s face contorted in anger and disgust.

“Have you not forgotten why he has those scars? He tried to challenge me for alpha in our early teen years. It was by the luck of the gods that they allowed me to use claws to save myself.” Adam’s hand loosened on Amora, her brows furrowed and her lips in a thin line.

“It’s amazing how much you can say a lie over and over and start to believe it to be true,”she hissed at him. “You are not upholding Kaldran’s standards as Alpha.” We both winced at the name. His father, my stepfather, was a righteous man. He

could have abandoned me, forced my other to discard me, but h e let me live among the family. Even if it hurt that I was not his biological son and took some of their precious time together in their early part of their relationship, he gave grace. That alone I would be thankful for.

Amora crossed her arms. “I’m ashamed of this,” she threw her hands at both of us. “Ondi, sweet Ondi, wanted you both to get along.”

“If Creed had come back from patrol sooner, they would both still be alive!” He yelled, causing various dragons to look on with whisper. Amora’s body slumped, clutching her chest at the enormous emerald that hung around her neck. Adam loved her, he showed her by his hoard of gold and jewels he fought

just for her. If only he could see, Amora just craved for her childhood friends to recognise this was foolish.

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“Please let me talk to him,” Amora’s anger fleeted, tears now sprung to her eyes. Adam’s stiffed body from yelling melted. Both hands rubbed up and down her arms.

“If it would please you, I can not deny my mate. I would prefer if I was present, however.” Amora nodded, her eyes glancing towards me. We both wanted to speak with each other alone, but this was all that we would get. My hand clutched the parchment in my pocket. She would have to read it on her own time and I would travel back to get my answers.

Amora rushed to me, engulfing me in an enormous hug. Her hand reached into my cloak, my hand grazed hers, and handed

my parchment to her. Luckily, Adam was scowling, throwing a hatchling temper to notice the exchange. I was not expecting a note of my own.

“Alright, Amora. That’s enough.” He pulled her away, glaring a t me like I was the one to pull her into my body. “Now please, let me speak to him. He needs to leave.” Amora’s eyes told a story. She wasn’t happy with this, but there was nothing she o r I could do. Adam’s heart was charred black, his dragon obsessed with power.

“Come,” he commanded. His alpha command didn’t work on me. He thinks it does; but my dragon was superior, much larger than his red dragon. He never transforms when I amin m y dragon form, knowing others would notice the subtile differences in our scales, size and sheer magnitude. I didn’t want to challenge for the Alpha position. I didn’t want any of i t. Why would I when they all shunned me away for so many years?

Adam led me to an empty tent. Spears, leathers and storage baskets littered the area. Adam turned, his arms crossed and eyebrows in a furious scowl. “You need to show your Alpha respect.” I stood there, continuing the hold the cloak over my head. “Especially in front of the elders. Do you want to fight me?” 

Of course you don’t. I’d crush you like a boar with the underside of my claws.

“Brother,” he growled, stepping towards me. Nose to nose, he

yelled into my face what a worthless piece of dragon I was. That my scales dampened the light source sky, my finger like claws on my wings, an abomination to the entire Toboki Tribe. That I should have died at birth. His father was weak for letting me live, that I caused nothing but trouble for everyone.

A waste of air space.

As much as I wanted to claw at his own throat so he could feel the pain I endure every day, my thoughts returned to Odessa. Her sweet voice, how her eyes light up when I come back even from just a moment to gather more wood. The soft pattering o f her feet as she takes off her shoes near the fire and hops into our nest. My dragon’s unintentionally calmed thinking of her.

“Are you even listening?” Spit ran down the side of my cheek. I blinked, returning to the present, only to see Adam’s infamous vein gorging from his neck. My finger wiped the spit away, blinking a few times to let him know I was listening.

“The Dark Fairies mentioned they are missing Duke Mortus’ aide. His name is Enoch. You are to find him, take him back to Vamparia. Do you understand? This is the duty to you mut fulfill to my tribe!”

Mother’s tribe, step father’s tribe. This tribe should have never been yours, Adam.

I nodded, agreeing to the madness. It was a good thing I didn’t have my voice, otherwise I would just tell him I swallowed the demon just days ago. I turned my back, leaving Adam in the dark tent. One for theatrics. He stormed out, throwing the

leather cloth out of the way. “And stay away from Amora! I don’t need you trying to steal my mate as well!” He yelled, taunting.

Adam wanted a rise out of me, to defy him in front of the others. To show I was a monster, that I deserved to be killed. If I tried anything, I would be swarmed by the entire tribe. No matter how strong I was, no matter how lethal my dragon could be if fifty dragons tried to kill me at once, they could succeed. My head still looked straight ahead. My head would never bow in shame and I would never show respect to Adam. Not as long as there was a fire in my beast.

“Pssst,” Amora popped out from behind a large tree. That woman was going to get herself in trouble. Her head poked out, waving me over. Looking around me, everyone was going along with their business. I continued my steady pace until I rounded the tree.

“Creed, you can write English?!” Her eyes lit up. Part of my lips curled. Her gasp had her hand cover her mouth. “Smile? Did Creed just smile?” Rubbing my forehead, I looked away. Odessa had a brighter light than Amora in her eyes, but the reaction still reminded me of her.

“Oh Creed,” Amora’s light laughter stopped. “You,.. you…” she pointed. Shaking my head, I waved my hands in front of her. She couldn’t speak it aloud, she couldn’t say anything.

“I won’t, I would never.” Amora had read my thoughts. Was I that loud?

“You are extremely loud right now. I can pick you up better than one of those TVs the werewolf’s use. You have a lot of emotion going through all that.” her finger swirled pointing t o my chest. “Especially in here,” her finger tickled to my heart.

“I can’t explain mates to you here. We need to meet somewhere. Adam will travel to the Moon Kingdom to visit with Queen Sadie and King Seth for a few days. I’m staying here. Let’s meet at our old hot spring just to the north. I can’t g o to your cave or I’ll stink of your scent.” I nodded. Amora’s eyes twinkled with mischief.

“I’ll bring some things, for, you know,” her eyes winked, knowing she was talking about my Odessa. Amora hopped from behind the tree, sauntering back to her large tent like nothing had occurred just seconds ago.

Odessa

Once Creed left, I sprung into action. I had a long to do list in m y head to keep me busy for the day and the first thing to do was start dinner. It was still early in the morning, but the dish I wanted to prepare would take hours upon hours, especially since I wasn’t sure how to adjust the temperature of the fire.

The smaller caldron that was hung up by a metal pole was quite heavy, so my job was to not even try to pick up the massive cookware. Several logs sat in the corner. I rushed over and stuck them under the small embers, making the fire come alive once more. My goal was to have it like a crock pot, where I can put the meat and few vegetables that lay on the table

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inside. Instead of having the meat chewy, I hope for it to fall apart in our mouths as we ate.

The spices in the corner had me sniffing each glass bottle as I gathered them on the kitchen table. Running to the back, Fluffy silently followed me wherever I went, intently watching the smallest of moments. A few times, I had to nudge the gigantic animal to move away so I could rummage through the massive storage room of salted and fresh meats. The far back o f the cave where the meat was held was cold, almost like an icebox. In the winter, I’m sure things froze over to keep the meat to last even longer.

Grabbing a few rabbits, the poor helpless rabbits that had huge bite marks from fluffy were flung over my shoulder. They were already skinned and gutted. Thank heavens for that. My poor stomach couldn’t handle doing it myself just yet.

After meticulously taking the meat from the rabbits, making sure no bone would be thrown in, I inspected my work. Rabbit was hard to cook. It took long hours for the meat to be broken down enough to have it as a savory dinner. This slow cooking method would be sure to capture the deliciousness of the meat all while tenderizing it.

My father did some crazy research for one of his stories, and this was an interesting fact he shared with me. Even though rabbits were cute and fluffy, their meat had to be slowly cooked to have the right tender texture you would think they would have.

All the vegetables were thrown in as well. A dusting of a few spices entered the pot and already I could smell the spices infusing with the meat. Fluffy sat by my side, trying to look inside.

“Eh no, you don’t get that,” I scolded. The poor thing looked hurt, like I told him he couldn’t have a cookie. Thinking about what I could give him instead, I saw my gigantic pile of discarded bones and pieces of the animal. “Would you eat this?” I cooed at him, pulling the larger than Earth’s rabbit from the bucket. His nose stuck up and went back sitting at the pot cooking.

Not two days ago he was gnawing on a leg and now he wants t o eat cooked food?! I rolled my eyes and laughed, getting a pan and heating it up. Once hot to the touch, I threw the rabbit leftovers in, searing it with the spices I had included in Creed and I’s dinner. Fluffy licked his chops, just watching me flip the leftover meat and bones.

Fluffy was one giant baby.

Once cooked enough, and when I mean cooked enough, I mean where Fluffy was prancing around the room, purring like a giant panther, I pulled it from the fire. Putting it on a cracked plate meant to be discarded, I laid it on the floor for him. Fluffy rubbed his giant head against my hip and began to eat.

What a little turd.

The light at the far end of the cave let me know the sun was

high in the sky. It took me all morning just to start dinner, since I wasn’t familiar with cooking in this sort of manner. I grabbed one of Creed’s old tunics and raced to the back of the cave to bathe.

As much as I enjoyed having Creed with me all the time, bathing completely naked was a treat to do alone. I didn’t have to worry about his stares that were completely innocent. I knew he worried about the wounds on my body, but now that Creed and I were really taking our roommate status to the next level, I felt more self-conscious than ever.

Staying at the shallow end of the hot spring, I dunked my head. Washing every part of my body. The oils and soap were scrubbed all over my body to the point I was rubbed raw. I had felt so much cleaner scrubbing every corner of my body. Dunking my head, I arose to find several blades on a nearby ledge. Picking one up, they were sharp and small. My finger ran across the blade, instantly cutting me.

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“Ouch,” I whispered. Of course, Fluffy came in, sniffing and whimpering, to come into the pool. “I’m fine, just a cut,” acting like he understood me. Creed must keep his beard trimmed with these. All five were lined up in perfect rows. If h e could do his beard, maybe I could do my legs?

Using the oil, I lifted my hairy leg up above the water. Creed didn’t seem bothered by hair on my legs, but I would certainly feel better to be smooth. Taking my time, I shaved my legs, armpits and trimmed up my lady area. There was no way that was going to get shaved clean, not after all the little knicks on my legs. I’d need more practice for that..

Doing the best I could to trim up, I washed the blade and set it back further from the others. Maybe he will get the hint I took that one. Laughing at myself, I hopped out, covering myself with a nearby blanket.

After doing several more chores around the cave, including washing my one set of clothes and using one of Creed’s tunics t o wear, I also swept the cave and put a fur rug next to the beds o my feet wouldn’t get cold in the middle of the night. I also begun sewing a new pair of pants and shirt from extra leather that was folded in a basket of supplies. I couldn’t wear the same set over and over. Some underwear would be nice. Luckily, my breasts weren’t overly big, so I didn’t need a bra too badly. Proud of my work, I finally sat at the table, observing the cave.

As much of a cave dweller as I had become, I really enjoyed it. I t was quiet, stress free, no vampires and best of all, it was Creeds. He let me stay here; he let me invade his home without question and most of all; he was sharing the same feelings as I was. My body melted, thinking about his soft lips.

The hot breath of his kisses, his hands encompassing my body, had me craving him like a drug. I would have kissed him all night long if I wasn’t so tired. His endless trailing of his fingers going between the dimples in my lower back had me fighting the urge to fall asleep. Creed was soothing. He made m e feel protected, wanted and gosh, I really wanted him. 2

For a man so large, so muscular and to others, frightening, he was the gentlest person I have ever known. He was better than any prince charming any girl could have imagined. Best of all, he was my Prince Charming and my dragon. My heart fluttered, feeling the excitement of him coming home. Even staying busy all day, his face came to my mind. Hoping he was alright, praying he was safe and pleading with whatever god ruled this place, he would come home soon.

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