Crossbreeds Part 2: Chapter 21 Meeting Jaidu by RedPhantom ()
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“Would you check her eyes, please?” Andy asked Shunati. “Every time she reads, she gets headaches.”
“It’s not my eyes. It’s the treaties. It’s tension from trying to figure these things out,” Ann insisted.
“Even when you read your spellbooks?” Andy asked.
“Ann, it won’t hurt to check. It’s quick, and it’s better if I get any problems early rather than when you can barely see,” Shunati told her.
“Okay, fine.” Ann sighed.
“Give me your hand.” Shunati reached for her.
“Now?” Ann looked up from where she sat on the bottom step of the dais.
“I said it was quick. I won’t heal them now, but at least you’ll know.” Shunati smiled. Ann took his hand. He released it a moment later.
“Your eyes are just starting to deteriorate. You also have a lot of tension. I can fix the eyes later when one of the dragons can take Vaila. Maybe try a little sex for the tension.” He winked. Sinta just shook her head. She was still getting used to the way these people joked all the time.
“It doesn’t help,” Ann grunted. “Too much pressure for a baby.”
“I don’t understand it. I don’t see any reason why you haven’t gotten pregnant yet. We’ll look into that more too.”
Sinta elbowed her husband. This was not the place for that. They were waiting on the delegation from Yarba. The king was coming to oversee the finalization of the treaty, namely his daughter marrying Remtani.
It was the one change to the treaty Ann had felt was a mistake. Most of the things were fine, but this didn’t feel right. It was something she defiantly would have fought. But she hadn’t been there because their ambassadors had poisoned her just before they were supposed to meet.
Ann wondered if that had been the plan, get her out of the way to push this. But it was just a suspicion and Remtani was okay with it, or he said he was. Ann had gotten to know her brother a little better in the past couple of years. He felt terrible for what he had done to Sapphire. He felt he didn’t deserve to have a wife after that. He also wasn’t sure he wouldn’t hurt her like he had Sapphire. But, he had agreed and accepted the choice. He referred to her as his pledged. He had asked Ann to scry her once but that had not gone well. She had scried a mirror in a public area so it would not seem like they were spying. They asked to speak to the woman but were not allowed to do so.
So, tonight, he would marry a woman he’d never met, never spoken to, never seen. Shunati assured him it would be fine. His parents had arranged his marriage to Sinta and they got along nicely.
A page came running in. “They’re at the palace gate,” he told them and hurried out.
They made ready. Soon, the delegation entered. They made their formal greetings. The portion of the delegation that had come to the throne room included the king, several guards, and presumably the princess. The servants they had brought went to make sure their quarters were acceptable. The guards all clustered together so Andy couldn’t see the princess who was to marry Remtani. He, like Ann, had a bad feeling about this. To him, the biggest red flag was that nobody had seen her. They had gotten quite irate when Ann and Remtani had tried to scry her. They were hiding something.
King Emeton made introductions.
“Emissary Nimitinas sends his regrets that he could not be with us today. He has pressing matters in Baj-tisk. In his place, I’d like to introduce Sir Tominptarthisbur, ambassador for the Dragon High Council and my court advisor, Lady Sapphire, our liaison between Menthanla and Baj-tisk.” He had made that up. He wanted an excuse to have as many women there as possible to help Remtani’s pledged feel more comfortable. Queen Tylan was in Grywell with the dwarves until Ann transported her down for the ceremony. Irkali and Piena were overseeing the last-minute details of the wedding. “This is Lady Sinta and Lord Shunati, ambassadors of Erilu.” Unofficial ambassadors. Queen Deyama had said she might use them in such a capacity if the need arose when they had arranged for Shunati to become a permanent healer at the palace rather than just an apprentice. “This is my daughter, Princess Annlonna and her husband, Prince Andrew Stephen, our ambassadors, and my son, Prince Remtani, prince-general and the crown prince of Menthanla.” Each bowed or curtsied as their name was stated except Shunati. He was still acting as an incubator for Vaila and couldn’t bend well because of it. He simply nodded instead.
King Kamlia stepped forward and bowed. “It is an honor to meet all of you,” he said, though his eyes flickered to Pt’this and Sapphire. The Yarbs were not fond of dragons and he wouldn’t be happy there were two there. He was just assuming the wrong woman was a dragon. “I would like to present you with my daughter, Princess Jaidu.” The guards parted and Jaidu came forward. She was small, about the same size as Ann. But that was probably because she was young. She looked like she’d just hit adolescence. Everyone stared a moment. Finally, Ann spoke.
“I thought you said she was of age.”
“She is,” King Kamlia insisted. “She has been for a year.”
“How old is she?” Emeton asked.
“She’s fourteen,” Kamlia said.
Remtani half walked, half ran from the room. Sapphire fainted. Pt’this, not seeing this, took on dragon form, growling as if he’d attack. Ann also took dragon form and put herself between Pt’this and the princess. Shunati handed Sinta the baby and went to help Sapphire. Jaidu stood cowering.
“Back off,” Ann told Pt’this. She growled. He stared at her a moment and then relaxed some. She must have said something telepathically. “See to your wife.”
Pt’this turned in alarm and saw Sapphire on the ground. He reverted to elf form and knelt by her. Ann then took human form again.
Andy, being the closest to the door Remtani had used, could hear a faint retching sound. He slipped out to check on the prince.
Remtani had made it ten feet from the door before he had gotten sick. Andy gave him a chance to finish before approaching. Already, a servant was waiting to clean it up.
“I’m so sorry,” he told the servant.
“It’s quite all right, my lord,” the servant said.
He turned to Andy. “I didn’t know. I swear. They told me she was of age. I never would’ve agreed otherwise. I swear, I didn’t know.”
“I know,” Andy said. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” He led the way to Remtani’s room.
“Shades, fourteen, she’s just a kid. I can’t. Andy, what am I going to do? She’s fourteen.”
Andy understood the significance of the number. Sapphire had been fourteen when Remtani had attacked her. It was the spell on him that had led him to do it. He was a victim too, but he had done it, and he felt responsible. This wasn’t much different.
“Well, like I said, first you’re going to get cleaned up. You stink. Then, we’ll go back, talk with them. This isn’t just your decision. It should be, but it’s not. You agreed to this without knowing all the facts.”
“I never thought of asking what the age of consent was,” Remtani said as he changed.
“No one did,” Andy pointed out.
“Ann would have,” Remtani said.
“But she wasn’t there.”
“Thanks to their ambassadors.”
“She’s there now and we should be too. We’ll work this out.”
“But they won’t sign the treaty unless I marry her.”
“So we don’t get the treaty. It’s not like they’re going to attack us around the trolls. And the trolls won’t ally with them any more than they will with us.”
“But we need the treaty to control the trolls.”
“Then marry her and cloister her until she’s of age.”
“Put her in seclusion. Or at least don’t sleep with her. The palace is half empty. She could have her own rooms until she’s of age.”
“That’s rocky. It’s five years.”
“They used to do it on my world for longer. They used to marry babies and then keep them at home until they were old enough.”
“We used to do that. The dragon treaties don’t allow it now.”
“What do the dragon treaties say about fourteen-year-olds?”
Remtani looked at him. “I don’t know.”
Remtani nodded. “Or Elos.”
“Nim would. He’s read all the treaties since he got back.”
“Nim’s not here.”
“Ann and Pt’this are telepathic. They can ask him,” Andy pointed out.
“True. Let’s go back.”
When Ann and Pt’this changed to dragons, Sinta saw the look of terror on Jaidu’s face. She had clearly been scared before but now she looked like she would pass out.
Shunati handed her Vaila so he could help Sapphire. She took the child and went to Jaidu.
“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt you,” she told the girl.
“Why is he upset?”
“Dragons have strong feelings about protecting children.”
“I’m not a child.”
“In his mind, you are.”
“What about Prince Remtani?” Jaidu asked, glancing at the door. She was clearly afraid to take her eyes off the dragons.
“Prince Andy went to talk with him. It sounded like he might have gotten sick. If it’s serious, my husband is a healer. He’ll take care of him,” Sinta assured the girl.
“How is Sapphire?” Ann asked.
“She’s fine,” Shunati reported.
“That’s debatable,” Sapphire said.
“Physically,” Shunati amended.
“Let’s all calm down and talk about this,” Ann said. “Obviously, there were things we should have discussed earlier.”
“What about the prince?” King Kamlia asked.
“I’m sure he’ll be back shortly,” Emeton said.
“Why don’t we move this to a meeting room so we can all sit down?” Ann suggested.
“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Emeton agreed. “We can have some food brought in.” He was thinking the same thing Ann was. A smaller room would keep Pt’this in his elf form.
“I don’t think the women need to be present any longer,” Kamlia said.
“Apparently, we do,” Ann responded. “If I’d been present in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Kamlia bristled. “You let this dragon speak to you this way in your court?” He asked Emeton.
“My daughter is right,” Emeton said.
“Daughter? This creature? You deliberately hid this for me.”
“My daughter’s heritage is no secret. You’ve been working with her for months. I find it hard to believe you didn’t know, considering your ambassadors tried to poison her.”
“We had nothing to do with that. If she had told us she was a dragon, we would’ve never sent those flowers.”
“Did you tell her you’re human?”
“I think it’s obvious I am.”
“And it’s obvious Annlonna isn’t.”
“My bloodline isn’t the issue here,” Ann insisted. “We are all going to go next-door and discuss the problem. The two princes will be back shortly. They will join us then.”
Image Comments (5)
zaqxsw () 8:40AM | Tue, 09 March 2021
Outstanding! Surprises all around! Talk about robbing the cradle... 14! Fantastic chapter.
Leije () 10:35AM | Tue, 09 March 2021
What an impressive scene with the two dragons, outstanding work !