Rain By D.I. Jolly (Part 3 of 3)
Determined to get as far from his family as he could get in a single day, Jeff marched. The rain ran off his aura, and puddles parting as he stepped speaking seemingly to himself.
“I tell you, Bertie, it’s better this way. For everyone. Dad just needs to retire and close the family business and let them get on with their lives. I mean my brothers can still make a decent living as sellswords, or guards or something. It’ll be fine. I’ll write to mother when I get to a decent enough town and get my bearings. This will be fine, it’s fine, everything’s going to be just fine.”
He’d managed to resist speaking to the egg for the first half of the day, but as the rain set in and the streets cleared it seemed natural, and it had kept him occupied for hours. So much so that when they did eventually find a town, he forgot to stop and received a few strange looks from locals, but at that point, he didn’t care. In truth, he’d never really worried what people thought of him. As a child he was considered different because of the magic, then in The Magic School, he was different because he was a Warlock. The nature of Dragon hunting meant that he had moved so often that he never really got to settle and make friends. And deep down he also knew that if anyone really pushed him or tried to bully him, he could rip off their arms and legs with his mind.
“I think I can see an Inn, what say we stop for the night get some food and get you on a fire and me something to drink.”
He got them the most expensive room, lit a nice hot fire around the egg and made his way into the tavern for a beer. It didn’t take long before a sensual and somewhat familiar voice tickled his ears.
“You come here often?”
He turned to see Justine standing just behind him.
“I know you.”
Her face paled and she gasped.
“Oh don’t worry, I’m not here on business, everything’s fine.”
Jeff then frowned realising how much he’d been saying that and made a mental note to stop, while Justine calmed and sat down.
“So… how, how did it go?”
Jeff raised his hand to get some more drinks and sighed, which brought a chill to Justine.
“Work-wise f… good, but I also quit the family business.”
Somewhat relieved she tilted her head enquiringly.
“It’s a long story, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
“So what now? Wondering Wiseman? Emperors court?”
“I haven’t really thought about it to be honest. I mean, I couldn’t go into the court just yet, I’ve still got a … personal matter to attend to that might take some time.”
He handed her a drink and smiled.
“It’s nice to see a familiar face though, that doesn’t happen to me very often and I’m actually kinda flattered you even remembered me. ”
She smiled in reply and raised her glass.
“Well, it’s not everyday one meets a Warlock.”
Jeff’s eyes sparkled for a moment and his smile broadened.
In the morning when Justine woke up he was sitting cross-legged in front of the fire.
“What are you doing?”
“I don’t need as much sleep as normal people, plus I needed to make sure the temperature was right in the fire.”
“Right for what?”
“The Red Dragon egg I’m carrying around.”
Justine laughed and walked towards him, then jumped and screamed and pointed into the fire.
“Oh my god that’s a Dragon egg! That’s the personal business you have to take care of? Those things are illegal to have, to be near, raising Dragons is treason.”
Jeff smiled nervously.
“Yeah, so if it’s all the same to you… keep this between us?”
“What, what are you doing with it?”
Jeff’s face grew grave and he explained the details of his retirement from Dragon hunting. It wasn’t a long story but by the end, she looked calmer, and as though she understood.
“So what are you going to do with it?”
“Well, not all Dragons are bad, in fact, most aren’t. So I plan to head north into the great mountains where I’ve heard a very old family of red dragons live. Give it to them and hope they don’t kill me.”
“But, aren’t you afraid of Dragons?”
Justine nodded solemnly and the room fell silent for a minute.
“Mind if I come with you?”
“Well, since I met you I’ve seen you take out a ghoul with a single word, heard about you slaying Dragons, then stand up to your family to save a Dragon egg. And now you say you plan to travel into the most dangerous part of the world to give that egg to a family of the thing you are the most scared of… I think… You might just be the most interesting person alive and I want to know what happens next. Besides if I stay here all I have to look forward to is rain drench sellswords, smoked fish and sour beer.”
He smiled and she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Well then, let’s get going.”