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~ Previous Chapter ~
*flops* I sleep now…
You, have some Yullik. And don’t say I never give you anything XD
YULLIK GRIMACED AND flexed his hand as he slipped from the shadows of Mhysra’s room, leaving the Wingborn and her charges sleeping. The whole right side of his body was cold, but as he began walking briskly down the hall, heat from the left spread out to replace it. Such was the price he paid for healing, especially so hard and grave an injury as this one.
He’d left it too long, he knew that and wasn’t pleased with himself about it. Neither was his magic, which was why it kept punishing him with coldness and aches inside his own bones. He might have kept his stride fast and even, but there was no denying the pain shooting down his spine, spreading out to both legs. He was lucky. After the first two days of healing, he’d not been able to walk at all for a good long while. Fortunately for him, he’d been able to hold both the Wingborn and the kaz-naghkt asleep long enough to recover and take himself away.
Not that he should have to creep in and out of her room like a thief in the night, but it was easier to heal the girl if she wasn’t conscious enough to fight him. And she would fight him, of that he was certain. Which would only make him angry, because Wingborn should stick together, yet she continually turned her back on him.
The other thing that made him angry was the way the wretched little kaz-naghkt attacked every time he got near the Wingborn. Blast their little hides. They were his creation, his creatures, their loyalty should be his and his alone. But they’d hatched beside the Wingborn and tasted her blood first. They trusted her, and for now he would let them. There were plenty of other babies in the kaz-naghkt nursery in need of his attention, although these five were growing the fastest of the lot. Whatever the Wingborn was doing, he wanted her to keep doing it. So he left them with her for now and tolerated their disloyalty by sending them to sleep alongside her whenever he stopped by.
It wouldn’t last. One day soon, when he felt the time was right, he would feed her kaz-naghkt his blood and they would know the truth. The human was nothing to them; he was everything. They would come back to his side and join him in the next stage of his plans.
Until then, it amused him to let her raise them. Soft-hearted human. Didn’t she know kaz-naghkt were her enemies? Was it because they were young? Was that why she chose to care for them rather than kill them?
Not a typical human trait in his experience. Nor a dragon one.
Fire raced through his body, flooding him with heat and licking away the last of his pain as his power surged, ready to defend. Except there was nothing to fight here. Only memories. Shaking them away, he flexed his fingers and smiled as he trotted up a flight of winding stairs, climbing higher inside his mountain fortress. He tapped the wall every five paces or so as he went, dabbing with his power and spreading his senses through the stone. He’d always had an affinity for such things, but World’s End was different. This mountain belonged to him. These mountains were home. Dragons could destroy his fortress as many times as they liked, but they would never defeat him. Not until they reduced the whole range to dust, and not even all the dragons in the Cleansed Lands could do that.
Smiling, he reached the top of the stairs and flattened both palms against the rock. Barely big enough for him to turn around in, the upper chamber looked like nothing more than solid stone, with a stairway ending in a wall, but Yullik knew better. Pressing with his palms and his power, he let golden light gather around his hands and grinned as the rock around him turned clear.
The sun was rising in the distant east, turning the white sea red and gold. Directly below Yullik, the mountain plunged into a gorge so deep and narrow the bottom never saw daylight, but on the edge nearest the mountainside, where a frothing waterfall sliced down into the darkness, a small cluster of trees clung to the rocks.
Hidden amongst those trees, invisible in the dawn shadows, a great miryhl nested. Yullik had been watching him for days.
Huge and golden-tipped, Yullik had rarely seen so fine a specimen. The miryhl was exceedingly fine and tugged at something Yullik had long suppressed.
Nisha. A name he only ever heard in dreams, when he was vulnerable and unable to stop it from surfacing. This miryhl looked nothing like her – and yet, at the same time, he was perfect for Yullik.
“Perfect for my plans,” he corrected his thoughts with a frown, even as the first rays of sunlight stole through the branches to bring out the golden highlights on the Wingborn’s feathers.
Yullik looked at the golden flickers of his magic where he touched the walls, and slowly withdrew his hands.
“I have no need of miryhls,” he reminded himself, curling his fingers into his palms and running his claws across the base of each hand.
He had no need of a new Wingborn. Not even this one. That wasn’t why he’d drawn him here.
Yullik looked down at his hands, near invisible in the dark stone chamber, and shook his head sharply.
“No.” He had plans. Big plans. Ferocious plans. Difficult, deadly, dangerous plans, and the Wingborn pair were just a small part of it. One he planned to play with to ease the tedium of waiting.
Yes, that was why they were here. To be played with. As others had once played with him, long, long ago. In games that were difficult and dangerous and had left his Wingborn dead.
He shook his head sharply again, refusing to acknowledge her name, refusing to feel the ache and emptiness in his heart. They hadn’t broken him then. They hadn’t. He was whole. He was strong. He would succeed.
“The Wingborn needs more healing,” he muttered, and trotted back down the stairs, stopping at the door and pausing to ensure his power sent all inside to sleep. Only then did he step inside and complete his task.
~ Next Chapter ~
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