This must be fate, or pure luck to find someone who knows where Melsy is so quickly. Or maybe the Goddess intervened? Does she do that?
“How do you know Melusine?” It seems this dragonfolk who is guiding us is a female, I guess? I suppose I shouldn’t assume this time. They all look so much alike. The women don’t really have breasts like mammal type creatures, and the men don’t have dangly bits. Now that I think about it, how do I know Sunshine is female? She’s bird-ish, maybe she’s similar to Melsy.
This is a bit frustrating. I should ask Melsy when I see her. “Ah, well, Melsy is very important to me; since we got in a bit of a fight though, I’m here to apologize.” I’m really trying hard to not insinuate that I see Melsy as a female. The fact that these people reference her as “him” probably has some meaning. Or maybe they’re testing me? Grrrr. Who knows.
“I see. Just so you know, bringing an avian to the Dragonlands is a bad idea. They are a most delectable snack.” She licks her lips.
Sunshine hugs my arm and I can feel her body quaking. Putting a hand on her head to comfort her, I respond back to the dragonfolk. “I’ll keep that in mind. Since I have experience battling dragonfolk, and Gaia is under orders to leave me to my own devices, I’d appreciate if you keep your hands off my companions.”
I think I need to approach this like a nuclear deterrent. Sure they could kill me, but they aren’t aren’t going to get out of it unscathed either. Mutually assured misery at its finest.
“Fair enough.” She smiles at my reply. “Your runes are scary, although the raw power is less than that of a dragonfolk.” She thinks for a moment before responding further. “From watching the fight above, you seem adept at wielding them. More so than most dragonfolk who have slept away much of their lives.”
“That reminds me.” If she’s going to start a conversation, I have some questions. “You called the big ones whelps, but the way I know it, it takes a long time to grow those bodies.”
“Yes, that happens to youngsters. Having a large body allows you to wield the immense power of a dragonfolk without much control or training.” She seems to enjoy pointing this out. I feel like there is a bit of spite or superiority in the way she emphasises “youngsters”, and plenty of sarcasm in her statement of “immense power”. It reminds me of talking to fellow parents about my daughters in my past life, and their perpetual impatience with their whether their children were actually getting better at sports from their practice. “Eventually, the young ones get bored with sleeping, and dreams, and being tired all the time. Then they grow up.”
I guess that makes sense? I feel like Melsy just likes to sleep though, and it has nothing to do with not being interested in learning to control her abilities. Wait. No. Being lazy encompasses both of those.
The dragonfolk leading us snickers.
I’m not sure what she’s inferring, but let’s change the subject. “So how do you know Melsy?”
“Oh, I’m his mother.” She’s grinning like a maniac.
Uh. This is suddenly very very awkward. Does that make her my mother in law? It does, right? Let’s discuss this with Melsy.
“I, I see.”
There is a palatable silence. I guess I don’t have much else I want to ask right now; I’m a bit unsure of what to say. I feel like anything I say will be used as fodder against me. Meeting the in-laws for the first time… Is hard.
“So!” She keeps smiling. “What has Melusine been up to lately? It seems he shed his body, and had been living ‘small’ for a year or two now, but I’ve not heard a peep from him about what he’s been doing.”
Tread carefully, Tristain. Mine fields ahead. “Oh, you know, living on the frontier. Making friends. Loving life.”
“Friends?” Her smile changes from mocking to interested.
“Yeah, like me, Lillia, Dubhe, Mika, Otsu, Ceres, my children. We’ve been playing, having fun, eating together. Friends.” Should be harmless enough at that.
“Eating?” She tilts her head, and her smile grows cloudy with concern.
“Yeah, she makes a killer mushroom soup. But we eat orckin sometimes. Often it’s just Lillia fruit though. Uh.” I pause. No one is going to know what Lillia fruit is. Wait! I still have a piece left over. “One second.” I rifle through my bag, and pull out the remaining piece of Lillia fruit wrapped in a large Gaia Tree leaf. “Lillia fruit.” I present it to her. We have plenty of other food for the time being, and I don’t see this type of Gaia Tree fruit often. It must be rare. Will it make a good gift for a mother in-law?
She takes the fruit, and her eyes widen after unwrapping it. “This is an enclave fruit. You eat this? Melsy eats this?”
“Yeah, we do, all of us, most days,” I confirm. I didn’t know that they are called enclave fruit. (Editor’s Note: Enclave Nuts, too?)
“I must apologize. I assumed that he was living a destitute life with a bunch of uncivilized humes or other races. I smelled his scent on you and was looking for a reason to make you leave.” She pauses. “This may be hard for you, and I apologize in advance. Well, nothing can be done about it now though. Either way, if he is happy, and eating enclave fruit. I didn’t know. I guess I have no reason to complain. He must have a good life. I assumed the worst when he came home sobbing.”
“Uh, yeah?” I’m not following, but she’s looking at me like I should be saying something. Also, I feel a bit crestfallen. I understand that she was very upset when she flew off, but I’m still not really comprehending the direction the conversation just took. I should apologize extra to Melsy when I see her.
“Well, meeting you now, Tristain, things make more sense. Although, again, I’m sorry.” Wait, what? She knows my name?
“We are here, at my den. Melusine should be inside in the room just to the left.” She guides us in. I have questions now. Lots of them.
Why does she know my name? What makes sense now? Why is she apologizing?
We stop at a small mountain; as we get closer, I see a cave carved into its side. Sure enough, after entering Melsy is inside a room to left with another dragonfolk. They’re mating.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading and all the support! Melsy, what the hell.