SS The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper:: Chapter 15 : Tiffany and Dominik

The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper starts off as any other low brow elf seeking a real place in life.  He didn’t think the real place would be babysitter to a dragon.  Part of him wishes the dragon mother decided on eating him instead of shoving him into this new role.  What was he thinking getting involved with Linda or Hartliebe or thinking he deserved more in life than running a beer company.  Beer is his life.  Or it was.  His life now seems a lot different.  And scary.
Genres: Adventure, fantasy

[WIP: The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper]

Tiffany and Dominik

As we enter the room, we find a small child running across the house naked.  He stops when noticing us, laughs loudly, then bolts on to a new room.  Not sure what I should think of that, I focus on Tiffany and her exacerbated sigh.

“Terrance hates clothes.”  She tells me like I really needed to know about the child.  “And school.  Which caused a few problems since he was supposed to start this year.  I may need to connect him to a dorm school in the big city.”  She shakes her head.  “But the cost would be a burden to us.”

“Where are your parents?”  I ask as Cyro plops into a chair.  His eyes close.  Boredom looks to hit him and he’ll chose sleep to ignore the situation.  I am glad we stopped.  His constant going bothers me.

“Dead.  There was a skirmish with a dragon.  Everyone who went died.  Or something.”  She glances at Cyro.  Could she know?  “I don’t dislike dragons.”

“You guessed.”

“I know about dragon magic.  Allison thinks you are gods, I know you are dragons.”

“I’m not.”  I pull back touching my chest gently.  “I’m an elf.”

“You are marked.  That is like saying you’re a dragon.  Or a noble, which I should consider higher than me either way.”  She sighs carefully sitting on the edge of a chair.  “So you wish to sleep here tonight?”

“Yes.”  I nod.  “What will it cost to…?”

“Can you bring Terrance to the city?  He needs school.  I cannot handle him and Allison.  I have boys coming to tame me too.  It’s just too much.  Our parents left us in such a sorry situation.”  She rubs her arm biting her lip.  She refuses to look my way, just at the floor.

“That seems acceptable, I guess.”  Although, I thought I would pay for my room.  “And the meal?  The sheep I know Cyro will steal from you?”

She gulps in air glancing to the half asleep dragon.  “The cost for entrance.  We will deal with the next payment.”

I am not sure if that is higher or lower than the cost of sheep.  I walk over to Cyro wondering if he knows how to get that level of money.  I certainly don’t have it.  “How much?”

“A hundred.”  She purses her lips.  “Fifty would be enough if you can’t…”

“No.  A hundred.  That sounds about right for sheep.”  Elves who live as animal caretakers know how costly it is.  We do not eat meat in normal circumstances.  Sheep is for shearing not eating.  They have money from such actions.  “Where can we rest?”

“Follow me.”  She gets up walking down a hall.  Terrance pokes his head at us.  I can see his interest and annoyance.  The naked actions are meant to rile his sister, not upset the guests.  Neither worked.  “The room at the end of the hall is open.  We have not changed our parents’ room.  My sister has hope they will return from their battle.”  She frowns, shoulder drooping at the idea.  “But…”

The tears drip a little before she resets her shoulders to look at me.  “You can eat with us in a few hours.  Rest until then.  Take a bath and learn the layout of the place.  I will call you when things are ready.”

“Thank you.”  I grab her wrist before she can escape.  “I’m sorry about your family.”

“No, it’s okay.  See you in a few hours.”  She stiffly nods at me leaving me alone in the room.  It takes me a while to find the bath.  I use the wand to fill it with hot water and clean myself.  The soak helps.

Half asleep in the bathtub, I find Terrance staring at me.  I jolt a little spilling water over the edge of the tub.  “Terrance?”

“Why are you here?”  He glares at me.  The overalls make me think Tiffany managed something with him.  “And why are you going to help Tiffy?”

“Um…”  I look at myself and the bath I am currently in.  What does he see?  “This was just random.  I need rest and your house was in our path.  It’s not like we wouldn’t be headed for the city anyway.”

“Don’t help us.”  He glares at me in the tub.  Such completely different responses between the three siblings.  “I’m staying here with Tiffy.”  He about faces and runs off slamming the door.

Confused more than anything, I finish cleaning and leave the bathtub empty.  The water goes back to where it comes from.  Dragon magic has more power than I ever gave it credit for and I gave it a lot of credit.  “I should dress and find Tiffany.  If Terrance is…”

A knock on the door comes as I finish dressing.  I open it to find Tiffany frowning at the ground.  “I need your help.  Please force Terrance to the school.  I cannot do it myself.  He needs to leave.  There is nothing for him here.”  She glances up at me nervous.  Her eyes drop quickly.  “My aunt lives in the city.  I’ll give you her address.”  She turns away.  “And dinner will be only a few minutes.  Can you find your dragon before coming?”

“He won’t eat with us.  He hates elf food.”

“Tell him the sheep are in the pen.  He can let one loose to chase.”  She shivers.  “I will accept the payment in due form.”

Nodding, I let her go.  Cyro is easy to find and excited to be given his choice.  Money, he tells me, comes from Mother’s horde with only a want for it.  Dinner comes with little effort on my part.  Allison, Tiffany, and Terrance give me a lot of space to eat and a lot of food to eat.  The glares from Terrance, hope filled glances from Allison, and horror eyes from Tiffany keep me from eating as much as I probably would have.  Either way, it leaves me to sleep in their parents’ bedroom.  The door locks, which is good.  Four times I hear someone trying to enter.

By morning, Cyro stares at me in the bed from the floor.  “You sleep forever.  The girls are already up.”

“More than a week without sleep or real rest.  Constantly flying, conversing, casting will weigh on anyone.”

“A week is nothing.”  Cyro scoffs.  “We should be fine now.”

“How was your sheep?”  I get up fixing what needs to be fixed.

“I chased it down for a good hour before devouring it whole.  The terror it offered made me feel adequate.”

“Not superior?”  I look him over.

“He wasn’t that afraid of me.”  Cyro sighs standing.  “I should spend more time terrorizing places.  Even that girl wanted me to spend time with her.  These manners you show me and Cat forced me…”  He hisses.  “I hate manners.”

“It doesn’t matter too much to treat elves right.  I know that.  But what if you treated an Elder Dragon without proper due.”

Cyro stiffens looking at me.  “I…”

“What happened?”

“George was eaten.”  Cyro looks away carefully.

“George?”  I open the door.

“My old elf.”

Blanching, I try my best not to shudder.  Tiffany greets me with crepes and strawberries.  The morning meal has me calm enough to care about Terrance and his things.  He will carry it in a backpack.  His ill meaning eyes have me realize my need to control him during this.  “Cyro, if Terrance runs off, it will be your job to chase him down.  You cannot kill him though.  I’ll heal any injuries otherwise.”  The little boy shivers staring at the ground.

“I hope he runs a lot.”  Cyro snickers placing a hand on the little boy.  “How are your legs?”  A gulp.  “I’m good after the sheep yesterday.  But I still want a chase.  Run as much as you desire.”

Tiffany stares at me in shock.  What did she expect from me?  I am a dragon slave now.  He owns me.  Or technically his mother owns me.  Whatever.

“Time to go, Terrance.”  I take the backpack from him.  “To school.”  The final gulp has me wondering if he can fly anywhere near as fast as us.  Will we need to walk?

[About Cat Hartliebe] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [WIP: The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper]

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