Valeria’s mouth hung open as she watched the life returning to the area around her palace. The grass and shrubs â€“ which had looked shriveled, brown and dead after Mitakrian’s troops had drained them â€“ were plumping up and turning green and vibrant as Halia, Naria and most of the other dragons circled around in their energy forms, weaving together in a glowing, multi-coloured plait.
“That’s … unexpected,” Sonia said before Valeria could voice her own surprise. “I never knew dragons could do that.” She looked over at Alaryia and Lyrrekka.
“It’s not easy,” Alaryia said. “And it has to be done quickly or the damage is irreversable.”
“You also have to be careful not to overload the area,” Lyrrekka said. “Which is why we didn’t go. We’re actually too strong to do it safely.”
“That makes sense,” Matthias said.
“It does?” Alaryia raised an eyebrow. “I thought it was rather confusing the first time I realised the risks.”
“Oh… uh…” he said.
“Matt says that to everything,” Lyrrekka said. “Like most people say ‘I see’ or ‘what’. I think he doesn’t like to admit he doesn’t get something in case he looks stupid.”
Matthias reddened slightly but didn’t respond to that.
“Looks like you’re right about that.” Alaryia grinned briefly before sobering. “Once this is done we’d better go. But there is one other thing we need to deal with while we are here,” She turned to Elsed. “As I mentioned earlier, we need your help, Lady Elsed. We have a prisonerâ€“”
“Yes,” Elsed replied. “Matthias-idan’s message got through in spite of the attack. I would be glad to help free the young man from Xantaria. Are you going to bring him here or do you wish me to come back with you when you leave?”
Alaryia pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Either would work, though the former might make Alsia-ida happier. She wants you here and I know she doesn’t like dragons.”
Elsed chuckled and shook her head. “I can talk to you as well as I can Queen Valeria if something comes up, Alaryia-miria, and Alsia doesn’t mind. Not that it’s her call if she did. Anyway, she’s less bothered by dragons than she makes out. It would be faster for me to go with you and time is of the essence, is it not?”
“It is,” Alaryia said. “Thank you for your help.” She turned back to Valeria. “We will take our leave as soon as the area around the palace is restored.”
“I thought you would.” Valeria inclined her head. “Thank you for your help.”
“Would you mind if we gated back from here?” Matthias asked. “It would make things quicker, especially with how many prisoners we have to transport.”
Valeria felt her lips twitch as she looked at the double row of unconscious dragons. “Yes,” she said after a moment. “I think you’d better. I’ll have the throne tune you to the wards so I don’t have to relax them to allow it.”
“Thank you,” he said. “That will be helpful.”
Valeria smiled at him and turned her attention back to the throne’s projection of outside. The dragons had resumed physical form and were flying back towards the palace. “It looks like they’re done.” She cocked her head thoughtfully as she stared at the lush green vegetation. “Was it that green before?”
“Not quite,” Alaryia said. “I think they overdid it slightly… Not enough to cause any problems,” she added hastily. “But enough to make it a bit more lively out there.”
“What sort of problems would overdoing it cause?” Valeria asked curiously.
“Well I’ve seen plants become animate and mobile,” Alaryia said. “And aggressive. For some reason plants which become animated due to excess lifeforce become rather aggressive. Given how plants affect your kind it’s not good. But they stopped in time so you just have some verdant meadows instead of the heathland. It’ll return to normal in a month or so.”
“I see. Yes, that could be troublesome.” She swallowed and shook her head to clear the image of being chased by sap-dripping vines before looking at Matthias. “I’d better attune you to the wards now.”