They were discussing plans over dinner when Harindan came rushing in, looking worried.
“Ystelyian-mirian, has Naria come to you? She must have woken up while I was dozing but I didn’t sense it and she’s gone from the room.”
“Calm down,” Ystelyan said firm. “If she was frenzying we’d know and I’m sure you would have sensed it if she’d woken.” He frowned thoughtfully. “And someone would have seen her if she was sleepwalking. This is strange.”
“Sleep teleporting?” Alaryia said. “I bet I know where she is.”
Ystelyan looked at her for a moment then his eyes widened. “Yes, that could be it.”
“You think she’s in Drew’s room?” Sonia asked. “It’s very possible with that bond they’ve formed.” She gave a half smile. “We’d better explain that to them once we’ve dealt with Emms, so they can decide what they want to do.” She rose to her feet. “We’d better go and check.”
They walked up to Andrew’s room and sure enough there was Naria, curled up on top of the mossy blanket covering Andrew, her head resting on his chest. Sonia cocked her head at the scene and smiled.
“They’re cute,” she said softly. “But that looks uncomfortable; she’ll crick her neck.” She jerked her head at the spare bed in the room. “She’ll probably won’t settle if you put her back in her room.”
Andrew was woken when a weight he hadn’t realised was there was removed from his bed. A slightly panicked feeling shot through him at the sensation. Whatever it was, he wanted it back.
“Hey!” he mumbled as he opened his eyes. Then stopped in shock as her saw Ystelyan tucking Naria into the other bed in his room. The weight had been Naria? “Wha?” He looked up at his parents who were with Ystelyan. “Why was Naria here?”
“She teleported to you in her sleep,” Sonia said softly. “It seems she wanted to be near you. And from the way you complained when we moved her you want the same, so we’re putting her in the spare bed. More comfortable for you both.”
“Oh.” Andrew frowned at her. “But why…”
“We have a theory about that,” Matthias said. “We’ll talk about it when we get back from dealing with Emms. Short version is you’ve formed a bond with her.” He knelt down by Andrew’s bed. “But more importantly, how are you feeling?”
Andrew considered the question. “Better. My head still hurts a little, but better. I want to help when you go after Emms.”
His father shook his head. “I know you do but you’re not fully recovered from your ordeal and the least trained of my children. You’d only get hurt.”
“Yes, but I want-”
“I know.” His father took his hands. “But it’s not worth you getting hurt for. I promise we’ll whack him a few extra times for you, okay?”
Andrew scowled but nodded reluctantly. “Okay, I guess.”
“Now since you’re awake, are you hungry? It’s dinner downstairs and I can have something brought up for you.”
Andrew’s stomach rumbled violently at the mention of food. “I guess I am.”
“It certainly sounds like it,” his father said.
Naria woke while Andrew was eating the venison and roasted root vegetables his father had brought up for him. She sat up in her bed and looked around frantically until she spotted Andrew.
“Drew! You’re all right!” she said. “Thank goodness. I was so scared I’d wake up and find out he’d still got you.”
“Hmm,” he said around a mouthful of meat. “I was worried about you too, Nari. How are you?”
“Okay, I think.” She laid a hand on her chest and frowned slightly. “But I’ll need to feed soon.” Her stomach rumbled almost as loudly as his had. “And I need some physical food as well by the sound of it.” She looked up as Matthias offered her his hand. “Dragon Lord?”
“Take what you need, Naria,” he said. “You helped my son when he needed a friend. I don’t think he would have endured half so well without you.” He looked around at Sonia and Ystelyan. “And someone get her some food as well?”
“I’ll go,” Sonia said. “Ystelyan can stay in case she loses control.”
“I won’t! I’m not that low on energy,” Naria said indignantly as she took Matthias’s hand. “Thank you. Tell me if I take too much.” She closed her eyes and laid her forehead against his hand.