Shaking his head, Tyron remembered he needed to get moving. “I’ll return my dragon in a few hours for cleaning.”

Derlin nodded, his green eyes bright and eager. “I’ll be here.”

“Great. Of course you’ll be here.” Tyron gave a nervous laugh. “It looks like you’re doing a good job with the red. I’m sure my dragon will look forward to the same care.”

Determined to get out of the conversation with at least a little of his dignity intact, Tyron dragged his animal out of the stables.

“You’ll have to wait to be groomed.” He admonished his dragon, “besides he has plenty of things to do before it’s your turn.”

His dragon let out a hiss of discontent. Apparently the green-eyed man already had his dragon’s interest.

 

 

Blast.

Derlin almost gave away his secret. His father had told him at a young age that it was best not to let others know of his abilities. As far as they knew no one outside of their family had that skill. Finishing up with the red dragon, Derlin headed out of the stall only to come face to face with a stern man in full armor who looked like he could rip off Derlin’s arms and beat him with him…to death.

“Um hi.”

“What are you doing in there with my dragon?”

“Grooming. I’m the new groomer.”

“Hmm. I’m Sir Lyrit. Let me see your work.”

Derlin slid out of the stall careful not to make contact with the massive man.

“Come out Deathbringer,” the knight bade his dragon.

Derlin couldn’t stop the snort at the stupid name. Knights always gave their dragons killer names while dragons would rather lie in the sun on a warm rock than go into battle.

“Did you say something?” The knight glared suspiciously at Derlin.

“No sir.”

Sir Lyrit turned back to his dragon, inspecting every scale and horn.

“Hmm.”

The man looked disconcerted for a moment.

Nerves had Derlin blurting out. “Is something wrong?”

He thought he’d groomed the large beast properly but maybe he’d missed something.

“No.” Sir Lyrit looked under the dragon. “You even got his stomach?”

“Of course, sir. Scale leeches itch horribly and tend to get through the soft scales of the underbelly.”

He was given the full force of the man’s scary black eyes. “How did you get to them?”

“He rolled over.”

“You got my dragon to roll over?” Disbelief was written plainly on the knight’s face.

“Yes sir.”

“Let me see.” The knight stepped back.

Derlin’s brow knit with confusion. “See what?”

“Make him roll over.”

Derlin focused on the dragon. Neor turned his rainbow eyes in Derlin’s direction.

Grabbing a scale brush off the wall he waved it in a circular motion while beaming the message into the dragon’s head.

Roll.

 Obediently the red dragon rolled over onto his back. To reward him Derlin climbed on top of the creature and scratched the dragon’s itchy parts.

“Shit I forgot the cream.”

Reaching into his pocket, Derlin pulled out a vial of cream he made with his own recipe. Dabbing some on his fingers he slid them beneath the scales to cover the reddened parts where the leeches had already left painful tracks. Whoever groomed the dragons before neglected their tender underbelly.

Neor let out a happy dragon sigh followed by a rolling purr.