Chapter 28: Distant

Dia stared at the dark ceiling long after night had fallen. She had never had an entire room to herself and she hated it. The space only served as a reminder of the things left behind. The blue moonlight through the window made her feel trapped in time. No one would come. Like the princess in tales of old she would be left to sleep until some fateful day, but as she turned her head towards the door she knew it not to be true. 

She pushed the covers back and slid her legs over the edge of the bed, cherishing the cold of the stone beneath her feet. Cold feet and cold heart. Not knowing why, she stood up and slipped out into the corridor, following the wall in a direction that felt right. Lamplight flicked along the wall so she saw well enough. It wasn’t until she reached a well-lit room with double doors that she stopped. She peered through a crack and saw Clide sitting with two unknown gentlemen at a dining room table as they poured wine. 

“Have you decided to join the royal army?” one asked.

“No,” Clide responded.

Though a glass had been set before him, Clide had not touched it and he did not seem to be pleased to be in their company. Had they also come without his wanting?

“Then how do you expect to pay back Renaldo for letting you stay here?” the same man asked.

Clide closed his eyes against the sight of them. He was still posing as a young adult who may have been her brother, but the shadows and the tinge of wine made her recall how dissimilar they were. After all, he was not human, but a dragon. He didn’t care about people. He had made that clear when he let Keenin get kidnapped. 

“Don’t worry about me gentlemen,” Clide responded.

He reached out and knocked over the glass given to him, letting red soak into the tablecloth and flood over the table.

“Hey!” the other man said jumping up to avoid the spill before it dripped down onto his seat. 

“And I will not worry you,” Clide continued. “I’m sure you don’t what to know how a dragon treats perceived threats.”

“Humph,” the first guy said, “You must tell us when you change your mind.”

“Come on,” the other gentleman said, grabbing his friend’s sleeve and pulling him to the door.

Dia ducked to the side as the doors burst open and the men wandered back down the hall. When the doors shut she waited in the dark before she put her back to the wall and slid down. Here she would wait a while longer.

“Dia,” he called gently. 

She was hardly listening. 

“I think Keenin tried to tell me he was in trouble, but I didn’t understand.”

The door opened, but she was already asleep.


Chapter 27: Unspoken

Chapter 29: Imagine a Place