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Authors: Sasha L. Miller

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Dragon Scales

BOOK: Dragon Scales
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Table of Contents

Dragon Scales

Book Details

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

About the Author

DRAGON
SCALES
SASHA L. MILLER

Amantea is in need of a dragon. If he doesn't capture the dragon, the wizard threatening his family and home will make good on those threats, and as usual Amantea's family is too busy bickering about what should be done to actually do anything.

So he'll just have to capture the dragon himself, which should be a simple enough matter—until the dragon breaks out of his trap like its nothing and promptly kidnaps Amantea so he'll stay out of the way. Amantea isn't certain which is worse: the evil wizard out to destroy his home or the insufferable dragon who can't keep his clothes on. The only thing he does know is that they're all going to be sorry the moment he escapes.

BOOK DETAILS

Dragon Scales

By Sasha L. Miller

Published by Sasha L. Miller

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher, except for the purpose of reviews.

Edited by Samantha M. Derr

Cover designed by Megan Derr

This book is a work of fiction and all names, characters, places, and incidents are fictional or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is coincidental.

First Edition September 2015

Copyright © 2015 by Sasha L. Miller

Printed in the United States of America

 

 

 

 

For Megan, for being my rock.

CHAPTER ONE

Amantea caressed the top of the last mushroom completing the circle, then skipped back a few steps, surveying what he could see of the trap. It was barely noticeable, the mushroom tops hidden among the tall grass of the clearing. The dragon, by all reports, was huge, so it likely wouldn't see any of them until it was too late and had already been dumped into the pocket world.

It was reportedly almost seven kiren tall, with blood red scales and three—
three—
horns. Catching the dragon would net Amantea enough money to solve all his problems. The scales alone would earn him a king's bounty, and the horns would get him half that again, if he could figure out where to sell them.

Amantea tried to ignore the part where he'd have to eventually kill the dragon after it was trapped. He'd deal with that problem after he had the dragon in hand. Drawing out the small glass jar that would contain the dragon, Amantea squelched the guilt over the eventual killing of the dragon as he surveyed the blue glass prison.

He had to do it. He
needed
the money. Dragons were just beasts—

—and faeries weren't seen as much better in the eyes of the humans. Amantea tugged down the edges of his cap, hiding his pointed ears. It didn't matter. He'd deal with the humans for this one thing, and then go back home with enough money to pay the ransom.

A loud
thump
nearby made Amantea's heart jump into his throat. He scrambled back, clutching the jar, until he was hidden in the shadow of a small, scraggly tree. He sank down to his knees, folding himself even further out of view behind the tall grass. There was a large pond—a small lake?—that the dragon was said to visit frequently. The easiest landing spot for a creature its size was to the south, and it would have to travel through the clearing where Amantea had laid his trap to get there.

Just one foot in the circle, and Amantea would have it.

Several agonizing seconds later, Amantea's stomach flipping nervously with every thunderous step, the dragon came into view. It was red as promised, though more of a shining, shimmering red; the way the sun hit the dragon's scales reminded Amantea of the sun hitting dew-touched flowers, not blood. There were only two horns, not three, and Amantea thought maybe the dragon was six kirens, but he'd never been good at estimating such things. He was maybe a quarter of a kiren in his largest form, and much, much smaller in his normal form.

The dragon continued across the clearing without pause. It was bulky and large, with no wings but a long, spiked tail that bobbed as it walked. Amantea frowned. Was this the right dragon? The one the witch had wanted was supposed to be able to fly.

Amantea hesitated, but a dragon was a dragon, right? Surely this one would be worth something, even if not to the witch who'd wanted it. Hopefully that would be enough. The dragon stepped into the circle, and Amantea tensed, gripping the jar tighter.

The dragon didn't seem to notice the circle. Just to be on the safe side, Amantea waited until its fourth foot landed inside the circle, and then reached out to the mushrooms. Whispering softly to them, he
pulled
... and immediately dropped the jar when the dragon's full weight landed in it.

Wincing, Amantea shook out his fingers and stared at the jar. He hadn't expected that. Granted, he'd never created a portal to a pocket world he could hold before. For some reason, he'd expected the dragon to weigh what it would if it were the size it was in the jar. The dragon looked purple inside the blue glass jar. It also looked pissed, thrashing around and baring its teeth. It could be roaring, but Amantea couldn't hear a thing from the pocket world.

How in the world was he supposed to get the dragon to the witch—or the dragon's parts, and his stomach flipped queasily at that thought—if it weighed the same as it did in the real world?

Amantea tugged at the edge of his cap, staring down at the jar pensively. What was he going to do now?

The dragon abruptly stopped thrashing, and Amantea watched curiously as it blurred and started to shift, twisting and compressing and changing. So dragons had multiple forms, too. Amantea hadn't known that. So maybe it was the dragon the witch wanted? Amantea blinked, startled, when he realized the dragon had settled into a humanoid form. He hadn't known they could do that.

He peered closer, surveying the claw-tipped fingers and the dotting of scales across the dragon's head in place of hair. The dragon reached his hands out to the sides—and the glass jar exploded, sending shards flying.

Amantea yelped, flinging his hands up to cover his face. He fell backwards, landing hard on his ass.

"You're going to regret that," a deep, menacing voice growled, and Amantea's breath caught in his chest. He lowered his arms slowly, staring wide-eyed up at the dragon. The dragon who was free. The dragon who was free and looming over him, his claws looking wickedly sharp.

Amantea swallowed. He was going to die. How had a dragon broken his pocket world? Swallowing hard, Amantea hunched down and shut his eyes. Hopefully the dragon would make it quick and no one would hold his failure against him.

No, they'd probably assume he ran off and abandoned them. They probably assumed that already. Amantea wilted further.

The dragon growled, low and deep and sounding frustrated. Amantea peeked at him. Why wasn't he dead yet? The dragon was staring at him, his eyes as red as his scales, a scowl shaping his mouth and what definitely looked like a murderous look on his face. "How old are you?"

"What?" Amantea asked, willfully ignoring the faint tremble to his voice.

The dragon heaved a great, exasperated sigh. "Twenty, if a day. Depths take you, what are you even doing away from your fucking nest?"

"I'm not twenty!" Amantea burst out before he could think the better of it. He was twenty-two and three-quarters of the way to twenty-three. That was more than old enough to be out on his own, no matter what his entire clan said. "Are you going to kill me or not?"

The dragon snorted, scratching at the scales on the top of his head. There were tiny scales making up his 'eyebrows', and a thin line of them traveled down the dragon's neck and sides. His naked cock was larger than most of the cocks Amantea had seen, but Amantea was
not
noticing that.

And then he was really not noticing that, as the dragon reached out and grabbed the front of his shirt, hauling him to his feet. Amantea winced, bracing himself for the bite of claws slicing through his neck—and promptly fell back to the ground when the dragon let him go without hurting him.

"Ow," Amantea muttered, staring up at the dragon's exasperated face in confusion. "You're not going to kill me?"

"Oh for—" The dragon threw his hands up and then pointed at him. "Stand. Walk. Or you'll regret it."

Amantea scrambled to his feet, adjusting the cap on his head that had come slightly askew. He stopped once he was up, staring at the dragon helplessly. Where did the dragon want him to walk to?

"That way. Go." The dragon pointed toward the lake, and Amantea nodded jerkily, following his instructions. Maybe the dragon planned to drown him. Like most fairies, Amantea had no idea how to swim, so it wouldn't be difficult.

Maybe he could escape? Would the dragon be able to catch him if he changed to his smallest form? He could hide among the grasses—and very likely ran the chance of being trampled if the dragon shifted. Amantea would save shifting until he had no other choice. His magic was useless; it required too much setup. Amantea's stomach shifted unhappily as they approached the lake. Its calm surface seemed so serene, but Amantea could only think about being thrown into the water, slowly suffocating as water filled his lungs.

The lake was closer than he'd remembered, and as soon as they reached the edge, the dragon stopped. He glared at Amantea, as though all the world's problems were Amantea's fault, and then snapped out the word, "Stay."

Amantea nodded, crossing his arms and hunching back from the dragon. The lake shore was rocky, the pebbles and small stones slick with moss. The dragon stalked along the edge of the shore, growling softly to himself as he surveyed the rocks. He didn't shift, and he kept shooting glances at Amantea to double check that he was still there.

What he was looking for, Amantea didn't know. The dragon snarled softly, several yards away now, and Amantea took his chance when the dragon bent to look at something on the shore more closely.

Shifting was second nature. He was the best in his clan at it, and the quickest of anyone he knew. It took him seconds to shift himself and his clothes down to his smallest size. He headed for the tall grass immediately. He'd been one step away from it in his larger size, but several more in his smaller form. He'd also been stupid enough to shrink his clothes, trapping his wings against his back.

Still, he ran for it. If he could make the grass, he might be long lost before the dragon could get there. Amantea bolted for cover, his heart racing as he stumbled over small stones and pebbles that now seemed more like boulders and large rocks. The moss did nothing to aid him, slipping out from under his soft shoes and sliding away when he tried to steady himself with his hands.

He could hear the thumping steps of the dragon, as well as something that sounded like thunder but was probably the dragon's growls, but he only scrambled faster. The grass was within reach, he was nearly there—and then suddenly he was airborne, and not in a pleasant way.

BOOK: Dragon Scales
9.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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