The room had been swiftly cleared of the technicians whose amulets Andrew had destroyed. The rest continued with their work on the throne and were joined by others who Jayden Emms had called in, after he and Huldre tied Andrew to the throne.
Now that he was sitting in it, the pressure of the throne on his mind had increased to unbearable levels, worsening his headache and filling his brain with a buzzing fog. Only the weight of Kimi’s head in his lap and the sense of her mind gave him even a tiny bit of focus. He sat there with his head hanging until Emms grabbed his hair and forced a cup against his lips. A small amount of the bitter liquid got into his mouth, making him gag. He spat it out with effort and clamped his lips shut.
â€œDrink it!â€ Emms ordered.
Andrew kept his lips pressed together and shook his head.
â€œWhat are you giving him?â€ The pretty Indian technician Emms had been arguing with earlier was still on her feet, though her turquoise blouse was stained with blood from assisting the injured after the dragon had fled. She had been fussing with a crystalline hood above the throne when Emms came over, but now she’d straightened up and was eyeing the cup narrowly.
â€œIt’s just a sedative to keep him passive.â€
â€œI don’t think that’s a good idea,â€ she said. â€œIt’ll mess up the calibration.â€
He narrowed his eyes at her but put the cup down. â€œI’ll leave it for now, then. But if he causes more trouble I’ll have to give it to him. Have you finished with the extension for the hood?â€
She nodded. â€œHe’ll be able to move from the throne for a few minutes at a time without disrupting the controls. He can’t go far, though, so we’ll have to obtain a commode. We can turn it on and start the fine tuning any time.â€
â€œAh, well let’s do it then.â€ Emms reached out and pulled the hood down on to Andrew’s head. He screamed as the world faded to white and pain and noise exploded through his head.
The two blue dragons looked very nervous when they appeared, though nowhere near as terrified as Elzaria had. From their shared coppery skin and raven hair, Daniel thought they might be brother and sister. They both immediately knelt before his father.
Matthias immediately waved them to their feet. â€œDo you know why I’ve summoned you?â€
The female dragon, Naria, who didn’t look that much older than Daniel, nodded solemnly. â€œOur mirian has told us what happened.â€ She bit her lip in a gesture that only made her look younger and more vulnerable. Daniel didn’t think it was feigned especially when she blurted. â€œWe don’t want to work for that man! He’s horrible!â€
The male dragon Halindan sighed. â€œYes, and I did try to warn you about him, dragon lord. You ordered me not to speak out of turn.â€
Matthias looked almost uncertain at that, but then he nodded. â€œYou did, didn’t you?â€ he conceded. â€œI thought that you were just trying to cause trouble.â€ He paused again. â€œAre you two okay with helping me?â€
The two dragons exchanged a surprised look at being offered a choice, then nodded.
â€œTo help you rescue your son? Of course we are!â€ Naria said. â€œEspecially since our mirian says that there’s some connection between Jayden Emms and those who enslaved us to start with.â€
â€œThere is,â€ Matthias agreed. â€œWe only just found out.â€ He sighed heavily. â€œDo I need to warn either of you how dangerous this is? If we lose and he activates that thing…â€
Naria gave a little shudder and swallowed noticeably but nodded. â€œWe know, but you need our help.â€
â€œOur mirian wants us to help, but we would help anyway. That man needs stopping,â€ Halindan added.
â€œBut if we get out of this will you let us go, please?â€ Naria said. â€œI don’t know what will happen if I hit my maturity with this thing on me, but I doubt it will be pleasant.â€
Matthias stared at her. â€œYou’re not mature? But-â€
â€œBorn dragon’s generally mature a little later than humans, Matt,â€ Lyrrekka explained. â€œShe’s about the right age.â€
Matthias scowled at her. â€œThat’s it, I’m sending you home. If you mature with the collar on it’ll probably kill you. I don’t need your help that badly.â€
â€œYes, you do,â€ Naria folded her arms. â€œI’m a controlled drainer and Halindan isn’t. I can take Emms’ troops out without killing them and more easily than anyone else you’ve got. You won’t have anywhere near as good a chance of rescuing your son without me.â€
â€œShe’s right, a controlled drainer would give us one hell of an advantage,â€ Tarian said. â€œIf you’re so worried have her do her bit then retreat.â€
Matthias’s face twisted with indecision for a moment then he looked over at Kyle and Darya. â€œWould you two please make sure she gets out of there safely?”
“Of course.” Kyle laid a hand on her shoulder. “Stay close to me, Naria-kedan.”
“Yes, Kyle-alran.” She nodded and moved to stand beside him.
“I only hope you’re right about it taking several hours to tune that thing in,” Matthias said to Alaryia, then turned Elzaria. “Would you open a gate for us, please?”