LN Part 33: The Flight Back by RedPhantom ()
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The first thing Ann did once they return to Torthoc was check Nim’s magic. It would be bad for him to go into a trance here. His levels were low but not dangerously so. Chances were his Augmenter abilities were helping.
The bond came back then, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Andy was still sleeping so he would feel her when he woke up.
She turned to Andy’s parents. “Welcome to the kingdom of Menthanla on the world of Torthoc,” she said with a broad smile.
She and Nim did their best to explain magic to Steve and Carla. Despite having been transported and the earlier scrying, they were still both skeptical but neither wanted to debate.
“You’re not afraid of heights are you?” Ann asked.
“No why?” Steve said looking cautiously at them.
“Neither Nim or I are strong enough to transport us back to the palace from here right now. We don’t have cars and to walk from here, we’d be late for the wedding. So we’re going to have to fly.”
In truth, Nim would have been capable of transporting them had he not just transported them on Andy’s world. That had drained him too much.
“You don’t have cars, but you have planes?” Steve asked.
“Not planes,” Ann said.
“Ann and I are dragons,” Nim said.
“Dragons?” Carla asked.
“Well, I’m only half dragon. My mother was human,” Ann said. “But yes, dragons.”
Nim took their bags to store in his vial and they both took dragon form, and Steve and Carla took a step back. Ann could see the fear in their eyes. She hunched down. “Shape shifting is just magic.”
Carla took a deep breath and came up to Ann. “Oh my, you look like mother-of-pearl. So beautiful,” she breathed. Cautiously, she touched Ann’s snout. Ann was glad she was in dragon form so she couldn’t blush.
‘See?’ Nim sent.
‘I’m still a freak,’ she sent back but not a sourly as in the past. She lowered herself so Carla could climb on while Steve mounted Nim.
Nim insisted they stop and rest about midday. ‘Don’t want to fall from the sky with a passenger.’
“How many people can you carry?” Steve asked. Now that they had gotten used to them, he was fascinated with flying.
“I prefer no more than two,” Nim said. “Although three is possible and I’ve actually done four, but that gets a little crowded. I’ve also carried dragons in true form before.” He eyed Ann. He’d had to help her land the first time she’d flown. He had also helped Ti when he’d been burned and Ann’s father when he’d first arrived in Menthanla because he was having health trouble.
“I’ve never done more than one, but I just started flying,” was Ann’s response. “My Uncle Pt’this does three without much difficulty.”
“Pt’this,” Carla frowned remembering. “Did I meet him when you, uh, called?”
“When we scried? No, that was his brother, Pt’bur. Pt’this is actually my uncle. He was married to my father’s sister. But I call them both uncle.”
“You said you just recently started flying. You’re in your mid-twenties. Why wait so long?” Steve asked.
“Where my mother was human, I was born in human form. I’ve only recently been able to take dragon form.” Ann explained.
“Most dragons don’t learn to fly until they are much older. Living in human form has caused Ann to develop faster than a full-blooded dragon. Dragons aren’t considered adults until there around two hundred years old,” Nim added.
“Can I ask how long do dragons live then?” Carla ventured. “I’m not getting too personal am I?”
Nim laughed. “Most things humans consider personal, dragons aren’t shy about. Although, there are things we consider personal that humans think nothing about discussing.
“Dragons can live two or three thousand years, sometimes longer,” he told them.
“Thousand?” Carla repeated.
Nim nodded. “I’m twelve hundred give or take a few years. The young ones are the only ones to keep track down to the exact year.”
“The young ones and Uncle Pt’this,” Ann corrected.
“Pt’this thinks he’s human.” Nim waved her off.
“Uncle Pt’this was raised among humans. His father was an ambassador to the humans. Uncle Pt’this is one now. He’s also my father’s advisor,” Ann explained. “He understands human customs better than most dragons.”
After a rest, they continued on, hoping to return to the palace before dark. Carla asked questions about things she saw as she flew, but Ann had trouble hearing her some, so conversation was limited.
‘Where do you want to land’ Nim asked as they neared the palace.
‘The outer courtyard would be best. I still have trouble with the balcony, and if we damage anything in the garden, we’ll never hear the end of it.’
So they landed in the court and went through the main gate. Ann sent the luggage off with some servants to put in two of her rooms. Nim excused himself to change out of Andy’s clothes.
“Would you two like to freshen up or have something to eat while I track down Andy?” Ann asked.
“I think we should freshen up first. I can’t imagine what I look like after that flight.” Carla said patting her hair.
Ann smiled. “You don’t look too bad, but I understand. I’ll take you up to your rooms, and then I’ll find Andy. I think we missed dinner, but we can have something sent up and eat it in my receiving room.”
They passed the steward on duty on the way up to Ann’s rooms, so Ann stopped and asked where Andy was. To her, it didn’t feel as though he was even at the palace.
“He and her majesty, Queen Tylan, went out riding this afternoon. I do not believe they have returned.” The steward said.
“Riding with mother?” Ann asked surprised.
“Your mother is quite the rider,” the steward reminded her as if she could have forgotten.
“Yes, I know. She just doesn’t seem to do it much anymore.”
The steward shrugged. “It’s her majesty’s prerogative.”
“Yes, it is. Please inform me when they return,” she instructed.
She showed Andy’s parents where her receiving room was and then took them to their rooms. There was a little guesswork to figure out which room was which and then she left them alone and went to change herself.
She had purposely worn a shirt that Andy had worn but hadn’t been laundered yet so she could claim she wanted at least his smell with her if he saw her in it, but there was no need to keep it on now. She put on one of her more simple, and comfortable, dresses and then went to her receiving room to wait for his parents.