Taulan (Dragons of Preor Book 2)(7)By: Celia Kyle & Erin Tate
“I go b’ch?” Such excitement lingered in her eyes, the Ujal princess’ joy nearly a tangible thing. She vibrated, her anticipation and wonder thrumming through him. The youngling was always anxious to go to the sea, even if she did sleep beneath its waves each night.
He raised a single brow, his attention shifting back to War Mistress Melissa. Melissa acted as the youngling’s minder while her parents ruled the Ujal on Earth, even though her own position within the Preor put her above such tasks. Her permission was necessary. At her nod, he spoke. “I will take you, but you must not stray from the dry sands. If you enter the waters, I cannot assist you and I will not take you ever again.”
“No water?” Her plump lower lip trembled. If Taulan wasn’t so familiar with Theresa’s attempts at subterfuge, he would have fallen for the expression.
“No water.” His tone brooked no argument. Theresa, looking and sounding much older than her handful of years, harrumphed and crossed her small arms over her chest. “Take it or leave it.”
It was an expression he’d learned recently from Earth television.
“Fine,” she grumbled and pouted just a little more, but he wouldn't relent. Not when her care would shift to him once they stepped from the War Master’s condo.
“Good.” He tightened his hug for a spare moment and tried to pretend he wasn’t envious and aching to have a youngling—dragonlet—of his own.
Taulan followed Melissa through the home, carefully stepping over scattered toys and overturned furniture. The youngling definitely had a wild streak.
Once they reached the front door, he waited while Melissa tugged the portal wide, but he stopped before he stepped through.
“You will notify him…”
There was no question about the him.
“Tell him? Who him?” Melissa raised her eyebrows.
He leveled a heavy stare at Melissa. “You know why I wish to speak with the War Master.”
He hated the gruffness in his tone.
“I know why you think you need to speak with him. Reality is different.” Melissa reached for him, and the wall at his back held him immobile. “You are a good and worthy—“
Taulan darted to his left and out the front door, unwilling to hear her words. He’d made his choice. He would return home to lick his wounds and then finally throw himself off a high aerie like any other male in his situation would. “We will be at the water’s edge should any wish to find us.” He stepped farther into the hallway that led to the elevators. “When we are finished, we will walk back to UST. If the prince and principessa are not in residence, I will return her.”
He would not allow anything to happen to the youngling. He might not have his own—ever—but he would forever be careful with the future of all Preors. Joyful relations between the Ujal and Preor dictated their future.
Not waiting for a reply, he strode toward the small metal boxes that would take them to the ground floor. If he had his wings, he would have simply…
But he did not have wings. So when Theresa begged to press the down button, he lowered and allowed her to stab the plastic disk with her chubby finger. His smile matched hers when she released her scream of victory. Such small things were so precious to young ones. Pressures and heartache didn’t weigh on younglings.
No, that waited until they’d gained two hundred years, when they’d attained their life goals. That was when the world pulled the sky from beneath their wings and sent their lives into an unending spin.
Taulan held his breath inside the elevator, hating his dependence on rudimentary Earth machinery. If he had his wings…
He wondered if there would ever be a day that the simple words did not cross his mind.
As though his body remembered the path while his mind was distracted, he found himself striding across the pale sand on Tampa’s shores. The waves rolled in and out, the slow tempo scraping against his nerves. It soothed both humans and Ujal alike, but the sound was simply a reminder of a Preor’s most deadly adversary. Once water touched a dragon’s wings, once it got ahold of those scales, the male would be lost. Something so innocuous yet so fatal to his kind.