I don’t actually hate my fiancés, or even my rival. Once in a while I manage to be pleasant to one or another of them.
Nrararn was sitting on a cloud, having a fight with a sylph. Not a breath-and-claws kind of fight, though, just an emotional sort of fight. Nrararn had promised the sylph one hyargique-qua if the sylph would warn him about attacks through the air for so many days, but the sylph had failed him twice in a Caramelle with Csirnis, so Nrararn was adding half again as many days before the sylph would get paid. The sylph, for its part, wanted to make a wind garden for its birthday celebration, which would come before that time, so it wanted the hyargique-qua sooner.
I circled around — Nrararn is the only one I know who can actually sit on a cloud — and watched the argument. Nrararn, being a nice sort of monster, agreed to pay the sylph today, but put a binding-spell on it constraining it to extended obedience. Nrararn built the hyargique-qua with a heavy crash of his thezô, and had to wait for a full heartbeat to have the strength for the binding.
When the sylph had fled, presumably to build its wind-garden, I asked him, “Didn’t that take much longer than just paying the sylph to start with?”
“Yes, and took twice as much magic too. It’s important to keep one’s prices fixed and one’s standards high, though, or one may find onesself having that sort of negotiation in the middle of a battle or something. Here, have a cloud!” He did something sky-magey to the cloud, and I landed on it and didn’t fall though.
“Good trick, that,” I said. “An excellent lurking-spot, if you ever feel like lurking.”
“A bit less expected than, oh, behind a melted ridge, that day you were spying on us,” he said with a fangy grin.
“You utterly deserved every bit of spying I did,” I said. “You personally. You were trying to get my fiancés to say awful things about me.”
“Back in the days when we somehow had persuaded ourselves we were having a mating flight,” he said.
“We still are! It’s better for you this way, with only three drakes, isn’t it?”
He considered. “Mathematically better. There’s a lot to worry about now.” I peered at him with my ears spread, so he went on, “For one thing: if you pick me, say, what sort of a territory will we get? Back on Mhel, I don’t think my parents are expecting to give me any; they don’t realistically expect to need to. I’m sure they would, mind, but they’ll be surprised and have to do it in a hurry. And it won’t be very much of one.”
“Well, maybe my parents will. It’s a bit nonstandard, but they might. Again, not such a big territory. But that’s maybe just as well: I don’t think you and I are really strong enough to defend a big territory.”
He nodded. “Exactly. That’s my second worry. You and I couldn’t really keep a Llredh-type from raiding our small people, say. We’d need allies. Osoth would be an ally, if things fall out that way.” He scratched at the cloud with a forepaw. “But that depends on you, well, continuing to be nice to him after the mating flight. And me pretending not to notice.”
He looked so serious that I didn’t even try to bite him. “It’ll look just as bad for you, Nrararn. Everyone will think you’re Osoth’s lover also.” Which wouldn’t have occurred to me before Day 63. This has been a very educational trip.
“Likely so.” Nrararn twisted some cloud-stuff in his talons. “So, if you marry me, or if you marry Osoth, would you be willing to stay on Hove? It’s big enough so there shouldn’t be any troublesome neighbors for a while.”
“Not going home would be a bit of a sorrow,” I said. “Though living too close to my parents would be, too.”
“If Arilash stays on Hove too, and I think she will, you can always get home to visit now and then,” he said. “Or whichever of the newcomers is their travel expert.”
“Or learn the Cyclonette myself, if I don’t mind spending another year or two stretching on travel spells instead of doing anything interesting,” I said. Nrararn’s claws were getting all tangled in the cloud, so I asked him, “What are you being so nervous about?”
“Thinking about the long term, like this. And thinking about the short term, even: this afternoon, say.”
Drakes always come back to that one point. Dragonesses too, when we’re not broken. “Oh! I’ll bet you brought some oil!”
He stopped clawing the cloud. “I usually carry some, these days.”
“Optimist!” I hooted at him, and his mane drooped. “Justified optimist!” I added, and he fluffed up again. “But kiss me first. With lightning.”
So we breathed lightning into each other’s whefôs for a while. It’s trickier than with fire, since lightning is faster and sharper. And of course Nrararn doesn’t have Csirnis’ polished elegance about kissing, or anything else. Neither do I. So it was a lot more like two real people breathing lightning into each others’ mouths, and a lot less like a fairytale.
So, Nrararn was holding way more lightning than he usually can, about five breaths’ worth, and our lower bodies were all oiled and busy too.. He slipped a bit, distracted by an orgasm I think, and blasted a huge hole from the inside of my cheek. He looked so apologetic, all huge eyes and spread ears, and trying to pretend that his hindquarters weren’t being quite happy with mine. So I stuck my tongue through the hole and waved the tips at him, and got him to giggle before I healed it closed. Another unsuspected advantage of not being able to feel!
Afterwards, we lay on the cloud together, tails tangled up together, and watched zeppelins drift around half a world away. The actual act of mating still doesn’t provide a bit of fun, but a good drake can still make it worth my time.