LN Part 23: Tattoos by RedPhantom ()
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Ann and the others were taken back to Pt’this’s cave. Pt’this grabbed the bag he had brought and opened it. He pulled out a bundle of clothes and handed them to Andy. “Use my room,” he said and pointed. Then he handed the rest of the bag to Sapphire. “You two, use Kith’s room. Ann, don’t bother with the shirt yet. Wrap up in the blanket that’s there.”
“What’s going on now?” Sapphire whispered to Ann.
“Tattoos. They want to give us proof that we belong here.” Ann explained.
“Do they hurt?” Sapphire asked.
“Maybe. My shoulder hurt so bad from Lyra’s brand that you could have cut it off and I wouldn’t have known.”
“It does not hurt,” Nim insisted.
Sapphire looked at the clothes that had been picked for her. “Hey! How did you get these? They were in Thager. And my dress?”
“Oh, right, sorry. I had Fists bring them,” Pt’this said.
“How did he get them?”
“I had him go in through my rooms, and then he picked the lock, sorry. I knew you needed a dress for today. The tailor didn’t have time to make one, and I didn’t trust the dress shops without you trying it on first. So I scried Fists and ask him to bring a few from your place and some of your other clothes too.”
“How long have you known about all this?” Ann asked.
“It’s been in the works almost since you woke up, but Nim came with the official proposal the night before last. Fists had to ride quite hard to get the dress here in time.”
“Is that what you were anxious about this morning?” Sapphire asked.
“Yes. He still wasn’t here.”
Nim laughed. “I told you she’d know something was up. You can’t hide things from your bonded.”
“Oh you just wait until you have a mate and see what it’s like,” Pt’this said.
“Not me. I’m happy alone,” Nim lied. The problem was he had told that lie so many times he was starting to believe it.
“So what was the point of the formal summons to tell us to come here?” Ann asked.
“That was to make sure you were dressed properly. You’ve been running around dressed like a vagabond since you got back. Those are your dad’s words. But honestly, I don’t think you’ve worn a single dress the whole time you’ve been back.”
“I have too,” Ann insisted. “I’ve had a dress on several times.”
“Fittings for your wedding dress don’t count,” Andy called from Pt’this’s room.
“You stay out of this. I’ve had on other dresses, but I was doing it for you and for Sapphire.”
“Keep me out of this,” Sapphire said.
“I just didn’t want you to feel underdressed, where you didn’t have your own dresses here.”
“How are you doing this for me?” Andy wanted to know.
“Well, I didn’t think you’d want a maid in there every morning while you’re still asleep helping me dress. Or are you going to start getting up with me?”
“Why do you need a maid to help you dress? You did it by yourself for two years on my world.”
“I also didn’t dress up much there either.”
“What about the Winterstiens’ wedding?”
“I got dressed with Sapphire and Joanne. We helped each other. Plus that dress wasn’t half as complicated as this thing is.”
“Aren’t you done yet?” He asked. She could tell he was now in the center room.
“This thing has a gazillion buttons.”
“Want some help?” He offered.
‘Sure, if you can convince Pt’this to let you come in here a while his pledged is only half dressed.”
Pt’this let out a low growl.
“I guess we have an answer to that,” Andy said.
“You know, Pt’this, all you had to do was ask me to dress formal, and I would have.”
“Yeah, but this was more fun. Besides the council didn’t want us to tell you what you were coming here for. You would’ve had questions if we had asked you to dress up to come to Baj-tisk.”
The girls finished changing and then Nimitinas started to apply the tattoos. He was dismayed to learn Ann had totally removed her original tattoo, but when he learned the reason, to help herself out of the trance, he understood.
“Did you know that this was based on your father, Thailyn?” He asked at one point.
“It is?” Ann was surprised. She had no idea what he looked like.
“Well, it wasn’t exact. I’ll do closer this time. I didn’t want him to be instantly recognizable. When I was first asked to do this, I wasn’t sure what to do or whose likeness to use. The council had placed several restrictions on me. Mirimar was the one to suggest Thailyn.”
Pt’this came and looked. “I think this is the first time I’ve seen it when it wasn’t covered in blood. It does look quite a bit like him, except he’s purple, not blue.”
“That was also Mirimar’s idea too.”
“The council does know he’s my father, don’t they?”
“Yes, they know. We made sure of that,” Nimitinas assured her.
He did the likeness of Ann in dragon form on Andy’s forearm. He had her change to true form to get a better view of her since he’d only seen her once. Reluctantly, she did change but lay curled up on the floor. However, Nim chose to use a flying pose he had seen her in before.
Of course, he put Pt’this’s image on Sapphire. “Based on your personality,” he told the dragon, “I should put it on her inner thigh.”
“But, because she’s a lady, I’ll put it on her calf instead.”
“Why can’t you do it and then you could put it anywhere you’d like?” Sapphire asked Pt’this.
“I can’t,” Pt’this said simply.
“Only an Augmenter can do it,” Nim explained.
“So Andy could learn?” Ann asked.
“He’s not going near her thighs either,” Pt’this growled.
Sapphire turned him the best she could without moving her leg. “Sweetie, relax. It’s okay. They were just joking. Nobody’s going near my thighs except you. Are you okay?”
Pt’this sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m a little on edge today.” He heard that voice again but still had no idea where it came from. He wasn’t sure if he should say anything though.
“To answer your question, Ann, in theory, yes he could, but in practice no. With the condition his magic is in, he wouldn’t be able to,” Nim said.
“Besides, neither is the artist I am. You want these to look good don’t you?” He added with a grin.
“That reminds me, Andy. Both Ann and Pt’this said you were concerned about your magic and wanted to know if there was some way to fix it.”
Andy nodded. “I can’t say I’m interested in casting spells, but without my own magic, if I’m trying to help someone who’s in a trance or close, I need to use someone else’s magic. That practically screams Augmenter. If I’m going to keep my abilities a secret, it causes problems.”
“I have a healer friend I was talking to recently, and I mentioned your problem. He said that he’s heard of this type of thing happening and that there is a way to reverse the damage if it’s not too severe. He wasn’t very positive with the likelihood where you’ve been exposed all your life, however. I didn’t tell him who you were, just someone I met up at Dragon Castle. I also didn’t mention you were an Augmenter, but if he helps you, he’ll be able to tell. I do trust him though. He knows I am one also. If you want, I’ll talk to him.”
“It would probably be better if we did,” Andy agreed. “What do you think, Ann?”
“I think you’re right.” Ann nodded.
“Bob will here in a few minutes,” Nim said.
“Bob? Your friend’s name is Bob?” Andy asked.
Nim nodded. “Yes, it’s short for Bobizevno, why?”
“Oh, just Bob is a common name on my world. Not too many names overlap.”
A few minutes later a dragon came. Nim made introductions, and then Bob took Andy to another part of the caves.