“Let’s try this again.” The dragon lord smiled mischievously. “Welcome to my home, Rodric Belavue. I hear you are looking for help. Perhaps, we can be of assistance.”
Rodric narrowed his eyes at the Dragon Lord’s mocking tone. This was not boding well. Sighing, he braced himself to reveal all. While bathing and redressing, he’d been allowed a moment of solitude. In the end, he’d decided that he had nothing to lose by telling the dragon the truth. His only options were to be eaten or to reveal all.
“I am looking for a friend and I need help to get to another plane.” He sipped at the red wine served to him.
The Dragon Lord’s eyebrows shot up. He pursed his mouth and stared at him for an instant before taking a bite out of the salad served to them.
“A friend? You’re doing all this for a friend?” He shook his head. “I am impressed.” He pointed his fork at him. “Why is he so valuable to you?”
“That is personal.” Rodric replied. He scowled at the young man, who in turn laughed.
“Very well. I’ll allow you that secret, for now.” He took several bites of his food before plunging on. “You must understand, we don’t normally work as transportation for mortals. We have other interests.”
“What is your price?”
“You can’t pay it.”
“Then why am I still sitting here? Why am I still alive?” Rodric slammed his fist on the table, frustrated.
The Dragon Lord shrugged. “I was curious to know you. Rumors abound about you, Belavue.” The boy smiled. “To be honest, they exaggerate a lot. You’re not as handsome, tall, strong and brave as I was told.”
“What do you want from me?”
“Why, some good company.”
“You’re toying with me.”
“Of course.” The Dragon Lord sighed and focused his gaze on him. A shiver ran down Rodric’s spine, a feeling of foreboding settling in his gut. “There is one thing that would compensate the price of our service.”
Rodric took another sip from his drink, bracing himself for the worst.
“What about her?”
“Give us the Unicorn princess and we’ll serve as your personal mode of transport to Devil’s Land.”
“What? I can’t do that.”
“Why not?” The Dragon Lord cocked his head, watching him as if he really didn’t understand. “You save the friend you lust after. We keep the girl that annoys you. I don’t see the problem.”
“She’s a friend too.”
“Well, you can’t have it all, Belavue. Either you keep the girl and lose your friend to the Demon’s or you give us the girl and find your friend.” The Dragon Lord smirked. “Or what’s left of him.”
“Why do you want her?”
“We have old business.”
“With that Raskard snake.”
The Dragon Lord’s eyes narrowed into yellow slits. “We are not snakes, Belavue, and it would do you well to remember that in the future.”
Rodric swallowed and nodded. They’d given him back his clothes but not his weapons. He’d do anything for the feel of his sword at this side right now. His thoughts strayed to Arjä. What did they want from her?
“Where is Arjä? I would like to speak to her before deciding anything.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
“Have you killed her already?”
The Dragon Lord burst out laughing. “You really think we are barbarians, eh? I told you earlier she was with Raskard and he was taking care of her needs. Your decision however has to be your own. You two together could plot anything and I won’t allow it. I’ll give you until tomorrow to come to a decision, Belavue. It’s not that hard. Keep the girl and lose your friend, or lose the girl and find your friend.” The young man shrugged and snapped his fingers. A pretty servant hurried to fill his goblet of wine. “It’s really not that hard.”
To be continued... maybe.
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