Breath of Fresh Air

Opal had been anticipating maybe Tima would move closer, or tilt her head and stare at him, or even back off if she wasn't having it. But instead she set her entire tail in his hand. He stared in awe for a few moments, his mouth hanging open. He wasn't sure why, but it felt like a monumental offer of trust, and he was determined not to break it.

"Th - thank you," he said gently. He carefully tied on the pen tip to her tail, and then smiled. "Is that okay? If you don't like it, I can take it off," he offered at once.

She really was an intelligent dragon. He had to wonder where she'd come from, whether she used to have a flock, or what had led her to him. Maybe eventually he could ask her, if she did learn to write.

Soot carefully angled his wings at just the slightest nudge from Nel. They hadn't flown together long, but his rider was easy to understand, and very gentle. Soot was sure they'd be flying as if they were one very soon.

Chaital spotted the group of dragons below at the same time as Soot. Her eyes glittered, and she stretched out her neck and let out a reverberating greeting call that pleasantly bounced through the air. Her flock was resting in the field nearby.

All at once, there was a flurry of glittering scales, excited chirps and squawks, and the flutter of wings as the flock rose to greet her.

Noah gasped and forgot to focus on his core muscles when several of the dragons flew right at his eye level. A few others darted and twirled between the larger dragons. One, a sparkling garnet red dragon, landed briefly on Infernus' shoulders to sniff Lily with curious eyes.

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Tima was quiet, her musical voice gone silent as she watched Opal work. He wasn't hurting her, and he didn't move so quickly that it frightened her, even if she didn't really know what he was doing. When he'd finished he lifted the tip of her tail, giving it a little bob up and down to feel the weight of it. She didn't want to keep it forever, but it wasn't so bad that she tried to take it off. She didn't want to be in trouble.

More cautiously now, she stepped over to the ink as Opal indicated the ink bottle again, studying her tail before dipping the metal bit into it with a little too much force. The way it clinked against the glass startled her into flinching and fluffing her scales up at it, but she calmed herself quickly enough and gave the new attachment a little slap onto the paper. She gave it a head tilt when it didn't look like Opal's motions had, and after a hard stare at her tail for a long moment she finally angled it so just the tip of the metal dragged a thin line across the paper. Seeing the similarities, she gave a curious trill and looked at Opal almost hesitantly. Was she doing what he wanted her to?

"Smart girl, indeed." Jasper said with an eyebrow raised. "She caught on to that fast. If that was Naga she'd've eaten the paper already."

When Chaital called to her flock Infernus joined in, offering a low, encouraging call to show they were welcome even as he saw them taking to the air. Nel couldn't help looking around at them all as they came to form a mass of glistening scales around them. It was beautiful. He had never imagined he'd be a part of something so breathtaking.

"You're doing good, Soot," he praised, a hand pressed to the dragon's scales even as he looked around in awe. "Let's lead them in a gentle circle now." He didn't want to take them too far from where they'd decided to roost.

Lily gave a little jump when a small dragon landed in front of her, laughing softly and freeing a hand to offer for it to smell. "Well, hello there." She greeted warmly, glancing at the way Infernus turned enough to see who was touching him but didn't knock the little thing off. "Aren't you a pretty little thing. Don't feel like flying?" If it wanted to sit on her saddle while they went she didn't mind. Infernus was relaxed enough to allow it for a time.
The young man had to stifle a giggle when Tima got scared by the clinking sound; it was so cute the way her scales fluffed up - he didn't even know they could do that - but he didn't want her to think he was making fun of her. Once she calmed down he smiled normally again and nodded. "It's all right. It can be rather tricky to dip it in the ink the first try," he assured her.

He blinked and stared when she managed to angle the tip and draw lines that were very similar to Opal's. ". . . Whoa," he murmured. "Tima, that's incredible! You know, I wonder if - " He scooted a little closer and held his hand out. "Do you want me to take the pen off, and you can try it with your tail?" Her own tail would be far more accessible than a pen, and probably more comfortable to use, too. And if she could angle it like a pen, so much the better.

Spot replied with a few low, happy chuffs and leaned one wing down to start the turn of a wide circle. He found himself enjoying the company of the flock, especially since almost all of them were smaller than he was, and he glanced around and sniffed at one or two of them.

It was less that the garnet dragon didn't want to fly and more that he was curious about humans. He didn't often let himself get close. But the largest dragon in the group had allowed a human on his back, and so had Chaital, so maybe there was something to them. He stretched his neck out to sniff Lily's hand. Then he hesitantly licked it to see how she'd react.
Being praised was something Tima wasn't used to, but it gave her a warm, happy feeling she liked a lot. She listened carefully when he spoke, knowing he was speaking to her even if she made soft, questioning sounds trying to figure out what he was asking. After a pause she looked at him, then meekly held her tail out to him to have the contraption removed, eyes downcast and body language drooping as if she were preparing for a scolding. She didn't want to disappoint him or make him mad, but she didn't like having something tied to her tail. She was used to being shouted at or hit if she didn't do what she was told to.

Jasper frowned a little at the posture, though he wasn't aware of what exactly it meant. "I think it's making her a little nervous, maybe." He suggested with a shrug, thinking of how jumpy she had been to play with ink on her own but much quieter when using the pen nib. "I'm sure she'd get used to it, but for now maybe it's best to take it off." No need to upset her unnecessarily so early into their relationship.

Nel looked left and right as they swung into a slow, gentle arc, studying the dragons around them as best he could since he didn't often get to see them in flight so close. They all looked happy and healthy enough, and were calm despite flying with dragons they weren't very familiar with. He was glad the Dragorny was treating them well, even though he wasn't sure if they would stay or eventually choose to move on. "Good, good. You're leading well, Soot." He would praise the dragon more whenever they went back down to the ground.

"Gonna ride with me for a little while?" Lily asked the little dragon, and only smiled when it gave her a lick, putting her hand back on her saddles grips. "You can stay if you'd like. I don't think Fern minds." She wouldn't mind if it wanted to sit on the saddle with her, as long as it didn't get in the way of any steering or chew on her tow line. Infernus would nudge it carefully off his back if that were to happen.
"Well, yes, that too," Opal agreed. "But it occurred to me her tail is probably much more comfortable and much more accessible than a pen attachment. If she can make the same shapes and strokes with her tail, perhaps we can forgo it altogether and just use it for me. Or add it to the art piece!"

He was worried Tima's posture meant she was sad about having the pen put away, so he gently scritched her chin and then stroked her back again. "Hey, don't worry, Tima. If you want to wear it again later, you may. I'll leave it in the grass if you'd like it." He leaned aside to fill up her inkwell again and smiled. "Would you like to keep playing with the ink?"

Soot's eyes sparkled, and he gave his tail a dramatic swish. Nel sounded very pleased. And he was pleased, too! Large groups of dragons weren't scary when all they wanted to do was join in the fun. And it was such a nice day for flying. Even better, most of the dragons smelled like Chaital, so they must be from her flock.

The garnet dragon chirped and wiggled his wings. Yes, humans seemed to bring good things. They brought friends, soft voices, kind words. But Lily already had a dragon. So with another chirp, he cheerfully jumped off of Fern, broke off from the flock, and flew off to search for a human of his own.
Opal was getting more intuitive as he went along, realizing Tima would be more comfortable with just her own scales, and that she was upset in some way or another. The physical reassurance calmed her a little, though she was still nervous, and she perked up just a little when he took the pen tip away. She flexed the end of her tail up and down a bit once it was free, looking at it and then him, and after a pause looking back at the ink bottle again.

More carefully than the last time, she moved closer to dip the end of her tail in, but rather than go right to attacking the paper sat still dropping into the grass as she looked over all the splashes and located the lines Opal had made. With a soft, inquisitive warble in her throat, she touched the end of her tail very lightly to the paper and made a circular sort of motion so a thinner line was left behind rather than the uncontrolled chaos of the last time she'd touched it.

"We should get her colored paints." Jasper suggested after a moment, honestly impressed with how carefully and deliberately she had drawn that time. "Maybe she'd do better with pictures than words." After a moment, he got to his feet and brushed a few blades of grass off his clothes. "I should get to the roof. Mind if I leave Nobu next to you? He can move around a little if he wants, but otherwise holler if you need anything."

Lily gave a soft laugh as the red dragon dipped away, calling a cheerful "Bye, friend!" after it as it went. She was sure they would see it again eventually, and she was glad that the flock was beginning to feel more comfortable around people. A certain amount of wariness was all right for wild dragons, though, and she wondered how many might stay or how many would go.

Nel gave Soot a lean to get him to level out, to fly straight rather than circle, and praised him gently when he obeyed. "Where to, my friend?" He asked as they coasted along. "Do you want to rest, or do you want to go faster? We can do what you want today. You're in the lead." Just like it was strange for Nel to lead anyone, he wondered if Soot at all felt strange about being in front, or if he thought nothing of his place in their little Follow the Leader trail of dragons. He was grateful to Chaital for settling back and letting Soot have the chance for a while even though she had led the ferals before. She was a good, intuitive dragon.
When Tima glanced between her tail tip and Opal, he made sure to give her a warm smile. "Yes, that's right. Whatever's more comfortable for you. This is meant to be fun," he explained. If something came of it and the activity became useful, so much the better! But he wouldn't mind if it turned out to be nothing more than a nice enrichment activity, though that was useful in its own way.

He leaned forward and watched while Tima drew far more carefully with her tail this time. His eyebrows rose, and he stared in amazement. He couldn't help but think Jasper had a point. "Oh! Yes, colored paints would be excellent. I think I ought to pick some up at the market tomorrow."

Then Jasper asked if he could leave Nobu with him, and he was floored. Everyone knew how protective Jasper was of his dragons. And the fact he was willing to leave them with Opal -

He finally managed to nod. "Y - yes! Of course, by all means. Nobu's welcome to stay. Thank you, Jasper." He settled back on the grass, making a point to watch both Tima and Nobu carefully.

Soot blinked and craned his neck back partially at Nel's words. He got to pick where to go next? Where to lead the entire flock? He tilted his head and weighed his options. It should be close by, so the small dragons wouldn't have trouble keeping up. And it should have a variety of shady and sunny spots, maybe some water.

He knew the perfect place.

He chuffed and angled left, swooping over the trees to a nearby section of the river. There were large, flat rocks, a sandy section of beach, a grassy knoll, and quiet, shallow water for drinking and playing in.

Soot landed carefully on the grass and glanced back at Nel with a soft chirp as the flock began to settle in various places around him. Was this right? Had he picked a good place?
Jasper made a soft pff under his breath as he started to move away, Naga scurrying back to Nobu's side to sit next to him while she determined what their human was doing. "Don't get too big a head about it - I can see you from the roof." If he wanted to check on them he'd just peek over, that's all. Besides, Nobu had healed enough that he wasn't crying and miserable all the time anymore, and he had medicine Malia had given him to help with pain, so it was fine. Naga would scream for him if anything happened anyway.

As he went to get his tool belt and a ladder, Tima was focused on the paper, on making carefully thin trails across it with no particular purpose. When the ink ran out she tilted her head at her own tail, then came over to dip it again before returning to drawing aimless lines. It was much more concentrated and sedate than her previous flailing, but she was trying harder now to play with the ink in ways that Opal wanted her to. He liked to make thin, careful lines, not random splashes, and she was doing her best to imitate him.

Nel made a soft, interested sound as Soot changed course on his own, but settled in to let him lead the way just to see where it went. When Soot angled towards the ground without being told it made Nel feel proud in ways he felt deep in his chest, seeing his previously scared and skittish friend making his own decisions, and decisions for others. Soot had come so far in such a short time.

When they came to a gentle stop, Nel gave Soot a few pats and a smile even as he unhooked himself from the saddle. "What a lovely place to stop. Good job, Soot. Do you want to rest here a while?"

"It's so pretty here!" Lily declared, standing up in the saddle and leaning on Infernus' head as he too looked around. "Everyone can get some sunbathing in!"
Opal chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck, shrugging. "Well - I mean, yes, of course you can see us from the roof. But still! I know how protective you are of your dragons. This is an honor."

Eventually he glanced back to Tima. She was making row after row of thin, detailed lines - but he couldn't tell if she was quieter because she was more focused, or if it wasn't as fun. "Tima," he started slowly, "You don't have to only make lines. You're more than welcome to splash the ink, smear it around, try all sorts of things with it. This is meant to be fun," he reminded her gently.

Two compliments in a row! He must have done well. Soot trilled happily and fluffed his wings. Then he licked Nel's cheek and hair, ambled off toward a large nearby rock, and sprawled out to soak in the warm sun.

Noah and Chaital hadn't landed yet, mainly because Chaital was searching for the best spot to splash. At last she spotted a deeper section of water and craned her neck back towards Noah with a chirp.

Noah nodded and tightened his grip on the saddle handle. "Do it," he replied, grinning.

With a scream of excitement, he and Chaital dove towards the water, splashing into it with a spray that soaked anyone near enough to the beach. Noah laughed and shook his hair out once they'd fully landed and started floating around the water. "Whooo! Now that's an entrance!"
Jasper only shrugged and turned away to get to work. It wasn't so much that he trusted Opal to be able to take care of anything, given he had likely been the one being taken care of all his life, but he wasn't going to hurt Nobu. It would be fine to go up on the roof for a while. He wasn't that far away.

Tima looked up from her careful lines and s curves when Opal said her name, blinking up at him for a long moment after he'd spoken. She glanced back at her tail, looked at him again, then gave her tail an experimental pap onto the paper while maintaining eye contact. Only when she was sure it was okay did she go back to the paper, experimenting more with dragging her tail across it or using only the end to make thin lines, slapping it down when it was freshly inked or almost dry. While more focused and less jumpy than before, she did begin to walk this way and that around the piece of paper in the grass to move her tail at different angles, making small, curious sounds all the while. After a few more minutes of play, she looked at Opal again and gave a soft, almost disappointed huff. There was too much black on the paper now; she couldn't fit any more lines.

When Noah started to come in for a landing, Nel made a soft, worried sound. "What are they doing?"

"Something crazy, I bet," Sonia said with a laugh, and gave a big cheer when they came diving down, shielding herself with a laugh when the edge of the spray reached her and Infernus where they'd landed. "What an entrance! Did it hurt??" They'd come in so fast, she hoped they'd hit the water at the right angle.
Opal was relieved that Tima immediately began playing a bit more again, slapping her tail this way and that on the paper to cover it with as much ink as she could fit. He couldn't help but giggle at the disappointed huff she made when the paper was full. "Aww, don't worry, Tima!" He reached into the basket he'd brought with him from inside and rolled out a second sheet. "We've got plenty more! Here you go. I'm so glad you're having fun."

He took a sheet for himself, too. And while Tima had fun experimenting, he took his pen attachment and had fun trying to draw with it attached to his arm, eventually creating a misshapen dragon face. ". . . Hm," he said thoughtfully. He held the paper up once it dried so Tima could sniff it. "What do you think, eh?"

Noah scoffed and waved a hand. "Lily, Lily, Lily - I fell all the way from Upper Floaten to the ground. This was nothing."

Chaital snorted, smacking his leg lightly with her tail.

"Ow! - Okay, shit, maybe I bruised one leg," Noah admitted, rolling his eyes. "Worth it, though!"

Spot huffed and flicked his ear fins back. He wasn't sure making an exciting entrance was worth getting hurt, but at least Noah and Chaital seemed happy enough.
Tima gave a spirited little hop when a new paper was presented to her, dipping her tail once more to make experimental swipes, taps, and long strokes with her tail to see what kinds of lines it made. She was in the middle of circling around the paper making a long, wiggling line when Opal called for her attention.

After a little pause to stare at it, she looked up at him with an enthused warble. She wasn't sure what it was, but he seemed happy about it and he was making lines like she was. Maybe she could make shapes like that too.

"And you hurt yourself then!" Lily insisted, laughing a little still even as she got down to walk closer to him. "Are you really okay, though?" She asked with some concern, despite a lingering smile. "I hate to sound like your dad, but you maybe should've taken a little more time thinking before you divebombed." She wagged a finger at Chaital, a hand on her hip as if to mock scold the dragon. "And you should be less reckless while you're flying with a rider, missy. What do you have to say for yourself?"

Nel gave a soft, almost nervous chuckle and reached up to give Soot a little pat on the side of his neck. "Let's maybe not copy that example." He was quite sure Soot would never do reckless things while flying, but he did imitate Chaital a lot.
Opal giggled when Tima replied to his picture with an enthused warble. "You like it, huh? May I see yours?" He set his paper carefully in the grass. Then he leaned over and studied the lines Tima had made, nodding sagely. ". . . Mhm! Very creative. I like the different types of lines and shapes," he announced at last.

He smiled and ran a hand across Tima's scales. It felt nice to pet her, and comforting. Something in the motion reminded him of when his own mother used to run her hand through his hair.

Noah chuckled and unbuckled himself, carefully sliding down Chaital's wing and sloshing over through the water until he reached the dry sand. "I'm fine, I swear. But listen - we did think this through. Chaital and me, we're always training. What happens if one day we have to make a crash landing in the water?" he pointed out.

Chaital huffed wind at Lily, blowing on her hair before rumbling and turning her head away. She was always careful with Noah. Especially after losing her last rider. But she and Noah both liked to push their limits to improve, and it was necessary if he was going to one day be an official dragon rider.

Soot chuffed and gently licked Nel's cheek. He looked up to Chaital, but that stunt seemed a bit too dangerous and unsafe, and he would never put Nel at risk.
Tima moved out of the way as Opal picked up her paper, wondering if he was taking it away from her already but cooing softly in interest as he studied it. Did he like it? His tone sounded like praise even if she wasn't one hundred percent sure that the words he'd spoken were good. When his voice was warm and he petted at her gently she lifted her head to push into his touch, all but purring her contentment. If he liked that she'd done what he wanted with the ink and paper, she would gladly keep playing.

Nobu had been watching them interact for a while but hadn't quite gotten up to look any closer, mostly content where he sat. On the other hand, Naga had crept quietly around them a while ago and was bold enough to steal a piece of paper while no one was looking - a blank one, thankfully, as the ink had enough of a scent that she had rejected it immediately. The telltale crumpling and first long riiiip from a few feet behind where Opal sat was telltale enough to let him know she was busy tearing it to bits which she may or may not then consume. When she was idle too long she got destructive, and with Nobu hurt and vulnerable she hadn't left his side very often since the incident had occurred.

Lily was really not so sure that Noah really needed to practice falling into water, but she was rather certain that trying to fight him about it wasn't going to do anything. All she could really do was try to make sure he was as safe as he could be, and if she really started to worry about it later on she was sure they would talk about it. For now, if Noah wanted to get a few bruises to try and prepare for every contingency rather than safer versions of training, she would try to stay out of it.

"Oh, don't be like that," she cooed to Chaital, holding her hands out to the dragon as if asking for a hug. "I know you take good care of him, I just worry about him, too." The two things were not mutually exclusive, but that was a hard concept to explain to a dragon.

Infernus gave her a not entirely pleased chuff at Chaital for turning her nose up at Lily, but had no real feelings about the crash landing. If she and her rider wanted to do things that were dangerous, that was how they would be. It had no bearing on how he treated his Lily.

Rather than try to weigh in any further, Nel simply slid off the saddle onto his feet and gave Soot a smile, reassuring him that he wouldn't want to do those dangerous things. "Come lay out in the grass," he urged instead, a soft undercurrent of amusement filtering through the worry. "You're all soaked now; you're lucky the sun is out today."
Once he was done looking the paper over, Opal set it back down carefully. Then he heard ripping behind him. And when he turned to find Naga ripping paper, he giggled and smiled. "Are you making decorations?" he asked.

He glanced up at the roof and waved to get his attention. "Ah, Jasper? Is it safe for Naga to eat paper? She's having fun ripping it, but odds are it's going to get in her mouth at some point."

Chaital chuffed back at Infernus and flicked her tail, the dragon equivalent of rolling her eyes. Being ignored for two seconds wasn't going to hurt Lily. But when the young woman reached her arms out, Chaital couldn't help but crane her neck back around, settle her chin carefully in Lily's hands, and rumble a soft apology.

Noah smiled gently and wrung the water out of his shirt. "If you worry about me now, you should've seen me in Upper Floaten before I met Chaital. Got a little bit of a thrill seeking streak. And I know for sure she has one, too." He waved a hand. "But I promise, we won't involve anyone else in our crazy stunts unless they want to join us on their own terms. Right, Chaital?"

Chaital chirped happily and folded her wings, relaxing in the shallow water for a bit of a soak.

Soot was more than happy to follow his rider. He ambled out onto the grass, shook the remaining water off his scales, and sniffed around at the ground to find the perfect spot. Then he gave a deeply contented rumble and spread all of his limbs out, splooting like he was a cat.

"Awww," Noah murmured. "I've never seen Soot that relaxed. He must really like grass!"
Naga went still and stared at Opal in the middle of carefully tearing a long strip off of the piece of paper pinned by her paws, as if caught red handed, then immediately pulled it the rest of the way off and started to chomp as if to prevent him from stopping her. Jasper, still on his feet as he inspected the roof rather than crouched beyond the crest of it, looked down when Opal called him and just shook his head.

"She's eaten a lot worse," he called back with a big shrug, waving the worry off with one hand after. "Just let her have that one and keep the rest closer to you, that shit costs money."

Naga had ripped into shirts, shoes, furniture, even wooden table legs before; paper wasn't going to do much to her iron stomach. Jasper was more concerned with property damage and how much money he'd spent over the years replacing the things she destroyed. If she weren't so possessive or if someone other than Opal had been around to watch her, he might've given her something to chew on before walking away. As long as Opal kept the rest away from her she would probably just resort to eating grass as she grew bored.

Infernu's only huffed a hot breath through his nose, unimpressed with Chaital's attitude but not so bothered that he would do anything about it. Ignoring his Lily was one thing, but snubbing her entirely when she wasn't being unreasonable was another. Thankfully, the golden dragon came around in the end.

Lily gave Chaital a delicate little kiss on the end of her nose, petting a hand over her muzzle a few times with a warm smile and a soft voice. "Keep him safe, okay? You're a good girl."

Dragon's often did share personality traits with their riders, though Lily and Infernus were very different in energy levels. The fact that Chaital and Noah both did dangerous things of their own volition was, unfortunately, not entirely surprising.

"I think grass is his favorite," Nel said, watching Soot settle in with a content smile before turning to look at the others again with a small, almost nonchalant shrug. "After being kept in chains for so long, rolling freely in the grass will probably be a novelty for a long time." There was never a moment that he was unaware his dragon companion had been kept and abused, indoors for most of his life where he couldn't fly, and could hardly spread his wings at all. But Soot was free and happy now, so he did his best not to be sad about it or avoid speaking about it.
Opal's eyes widened. That's right. He didn't have access to his parents' fortune at the moment - and he might not for a while depending how things played out. He'd have to be extra careful not to waste resources. Who knew how expensive things were here in Lower Floaten? "Right. I will," he replied, pulling the other papers close by.

Then he went back to watching what Tima was up to, enjoying the different ways she interacted with the ink and the paper. She was such a fascinating dragon. And he'd never seen one like her before. He had to wonder whether she was connected to the dragon breeding program his parents had mentioned once or twice . . .

After a few more quiet rumbles, Chaital gently licked Lily's hands. Of course she'd keep Noah safe. Even before she'd met him, she and her previous rider trained hard to make sure they were prepared for anything.

The two things she would never risk again were flying in the rain or letting Noah ride without a harness.

Noah's smile turned sad for a moment when he mentioned Soot's past. ". . . Oh. Yeah, I guess you're right," he realized softly. "Hey, um - when you guys found him, the people responsible got arrested, right?"
"Don't worry about it much," Jasper called down with a shrug as he settled back in to keep inspecting the rooftop, unaware of where Opal's thoughts had gone. "By now I'm pretty used to her wrecking things." He'd gotten better at mitigating the damage and guiding her into destroying only the things he wanted her to, but Naga was very much known for causing damage.

She was chomping happily away at the paper even though she'd given Opal an irritable snort for taking the rest out of reach. When she'd finished her snack she trotted back to Nobu to sit down at his side, watching as Tima played with the ink. Tima, for her part, paid them little attention as she studied the ways her tail could make marks. As the black lines began to fade she looked at it with a confused tilt of her head, but after a pause looked at the ink bottle and moved over to dip her tail back inside. After a look to see it dripping again, she gave a little coo and went back to drawing.

Lily smiled and let Chaital go to float in the water, walking over to flop down in the grass next to where Soot's head lay and give him affectionate pets once she was sure she wouldn't surprise him. He was such a good dragon, learning quickly and warming up to people fast now that he felt safe. She wanted to shower him with good things just as all the others.

"Umm. . ." Nel rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, hesitant to tell the truth. "Protection laws around dragons aren't as good as they could be, I think, since usually they're very good at taking care of themselves, but . . . I wasn't there when they found him. Malia went, so she would know, but I don't think they went to prison."

Lily frowned, propping herself up on her elbows to look at him. "Did they at least tell everyone what those people did?"

"Um . . . yes." He was not quite happy with answering, his eyes staying more on his knees than either of them, and she thought she could speculate what it meant. If there were any living nearby that had an appreciation for dragons, the perpetrators had likely suffered in one way or another.