Salia was woken by Karilya bouncing on her bed. “Wake up! Mummy says that we can have a day off from classes to show Coromel around the wing.” She sounded happy and excited.
“Buh?” Salia blinked sleepily at her as she processed that. “I thought you liked classes?”
“I do! But I like days off as well!” She bounced some more. “Come on! Breakfast is nearly ready.”
“Okay.” Salia sat up and looked over at Coromel. The sylph was lying on her side in her own bed and watching them curiously.
Salia smiled at her. “How are you feeling?”
“Much better, I think,” Coromel replied. “But I still want to know what’s going on.”
“Yeah, me too,” Salia said. “He wants me and the other two for something. I just wish I knew what.”
Karilya frowned thoughtfully at the two of them and then climbed off Salia’s bed. “Come on then, there’s going to be bacon and eggs.” She paused and her frown deepened. “Speakers can eat eggs, can’t they?”
“Yes, they can,” Lyrrekka said from the doorway. “But they need to get washed and dressed first, so leave them in peace for a few minutes.” She looked over at Coromel. “Your clothes were a mess, so I’ve taken the liberty of having some new ones made for you to wear while they are beingÂ washed.” She placed a bundle on the dressing table. “I hope you like them.”
“Er… thank you…” Coromel looked at the bundle uncertainly.
“It’s just clothing, I promise,” Lyrrekka said and then turned to Makina, who was standing nearby with her hands folded in front of her. “Bring the girls to my chambers for breakfast once they are ready.”
“Of course, Lyrrekka-alra.” The goblin bowed respectfully.
Salia stared at the eggs and meat strips on her plate. It would be edible, certainly, but she’d never seen anything quite like it. “This is an unusual meal.” She poked at the meat – which must be the bacon Karilya had mentioned and then tried a small piece. “Oh! it’s good!”
Lyrrekka, whose plate had some sort of grilled red fruit as well as the eggs and bacon, smiled at her and nodded. “It’s not something you guys eat, even though it’s edible for you. I like it because it’s kind of nostalgic. It reminds me of home.” She dipped a slice of brown stuff into her egg yolk and ate it.
“C-can I ask a question?” Coromel said suddenly.
“Of course,” Lyrrekka said.
“Um, well, do you have to eat normal food as well as the other stuff, or do you do it because you like it?”
“That’s not a question with a simple answer, but the quick answer is that we need it, but not as much as non-dragons do. We won’t die without it but it’s uncomfortable and normal food has desirable health benefits.” Lyrrekka smiled wryly. “And we like it as well, of course.”
Salia eyed the dragon thoughtfully. She’d never failed to answer a question directly. Maybe…
“Lyrrekka, is anyone ever going to tell me why he kidnapped me?” she asked.
Lyrrekka gave a thoughtful frown and put her fork down. “I can tell you some of it, I guess. In the end this is all about Earth.”
“Earth?” Salia said. “You mean Gaia?”
“That’s right. Gerian-mirian has little use for Talonyka except as staging ground for his invasion and a food source. As a heart friend, you have a bond to a human and this gives you the ability to open a gate to them. He intends to find your human and train them too, so he can launch you against Earth.” Lyrrekka frowned and worried at her lip. “It’s really for the best: once we have Earth, we can leave your people alone.” She sounded like she was trying to convince herself of that as much as them.
“I doubt the humans will be too happy, though,” Coromel said.
“No,” Lyrrekka sighed deeply. “But at least Gerian-mirian respects humans more than he does your people-” She broke off as another imp from Valeria flew though the wall and hovered in front of Salia. “I’d be grateful if you didn’t tell your mother what I just said, though I won’t stop you if you want to.”
Salia made a non-commital grunt and help out her hand to the Imp to see what her mother was saying. After a moment she grinned at Coromel. “Mummy says that your mothers are glad you’re alive.” She looked at Lyrrekka. “And they want to know if she’ll be allowed to exchange Imps with them.
“Of course,” Lyrrekka said. “Now why don’t you finish your breakfast and show Coromel around? You can both send Imps after dinner this evening.”