Sorry for the delay. Internet at the hotel is wonky.

* * * *

“Doesn’t it confuse them?”

Derlin shrugged. “Nope. He’ll still come to the name you’ve given him.”

He tried to move on but the hand kept him still. “What?” He said in frustration. “I’ve got a fifteen dragons to do in three days.” It took him two to three hours per dragon so he was on a time crunch. Once he had them at the level he liked, it would be easy to upkeep them but the initial polishing always took the most time.

A smile peeped out of the fighter’s mouth. “Two more things and I’ll let you get on with your tasks. What is your name?”

Derlin blushed. “Derlin Flameworth.”

Sir Lyrit removed his hand. “The second question is, what did you put on my dragon?”

“Mostly dragon scale polish and a little horn deflaking so when his horns molt it will be more comfortable, oh and a little gold horn paint to keep the tips sealed from damage.”

“I mean on his stomach.”

“Oh,” Shit could he get any redder. “My mother is an herbalist and she helped me develop a lotion to reduce itching and redness from leech bites. I put some on all the spots I saw red patches. They should be gone by tomorrow.”

“Thank you. You did a fine job.”

Derlin beamed. He was pleased the other knight appreciated his work. He would work anyway because he loved dragons but it was nice to get praise.

“Thanks.” Derlin tilted his head towards the next stall.

“Yeah, let him go Lyrit, he’s got my dragon next.” Shaller said with a good-natured laugh. “I want to see how our little groomer does with him.”

 

Derlin peeked into the next stall.

An enormous green dragon peered back at him with cold golden eyes.

Greetings dragon, I’m Derlin. Would you like your scales polished?

He could see the intelligence lurking in the dragon’s eyes and he didn’t want to offend it by rushing in and starting to touch it all over. This beast had the feeling of ancient wisdom unlike the bright, puppish temperament of Neor.

Curiosity lit the dragon’s eyes. The large beast stood up and walked over to Derlin.

You are not like the others. It whispered into Derlin’s mind. You can understand.

Derlin nodded.

What is your name?

You can call me Frisson

Greetings Frisson. Would you like to be groomed?

Yessss

The words whispered through his head.

Setting down his supplies Derlin opened the stall door.

“Be careful.” Shaller hissed. “I was only kidding. He ate the last groomer.”

“No that was the one before.” Lyrit corrected.

Are you going to eat me?

The dragon gave a hissing laugh. No, you are far too interesting to eat. It’s been a long time since I had conversation with a human. You may talk to me while you work.

How about a song?

The dragon tilted his head.

You may sing.

Derlin held back a laugh. “Thank you.”

Pouring more scale cleaner into the bucket, Derlin swished his brush, pleased to see the bucket had a clean water spell. The spell would clean the bucket every ten minutes. Unfortunately it would also remove the cleaner, which was why he had to keep adding scale cleaner.