The noseless dragon who stalked in to the Great Hall after the goblin was alone and not the one in charge. Even if Kyle hadn’t been shown what that one looked like, he would have known. Not even Gerian was stupid enough to put someone with such an obviously nasty aura in charge. Valeria hissed angrily behind him in a way that suggested she recognised him. Kyle just wished he dared ask her but he needed to keep all attention on the dragon.
He attacked Salia. She bit his nose off, Valeria said mentally then shot him an image of the incident in question.
Kyle swore mentally, mostly at the horrible incident but also at himself for letting his emotions leak enough for her to pick up his curiosity.
You didn’t. My mother can sense the emotions of everyone in the forest, she told him. Watch out!
Kyle ducked just in time to avoid the dragon’s claws. Rolling to his feet, he lashed out at his assailant with his urumi. The blades struck true and tore into the dragon’s skin, who roared and leapt back.
“Out of my way, boy. We’re here for the mermaid and no one else, unfortun-” He broke off as Darya landed on his back and slashed at his throat with a knife.
“You can’t have my cousin, monster!”
The dragon stiffened, collapsed and began silently thrashing around, throwing Darya clear as he fell. He was clutching at his throat and after a moment Kyle realised that his windpipe had been severed by Darya’s blow. Darya sprang up from where he’d landed and stood over the fallen dragon, knife in hand, waiting. Inevitably the dragon began to shift into his energy form in an attempt to save himself. As soon as he did Darya struck directly at the dragon’s core, putting all of his essence behind the blow. The dragon gave a mental scream and collapsed down into his physical form, dead.
In the silence that followed Kyle realised he couldn’t hear any sounds of fighting from outside. He turned back towards the remains of the doors and saw Tarian standing there. He had an amused smile on his face as he stared at the other dragon’s body.
“I always said his arrogance would get him killed one day.” He sounded completely unconcerned and had obviously been there for quite some time. Kyle had the sudden realisation that he’d sent the other dragon in hoping for just that result.
Tarian’s smile broadened. “Well he shouldn’t have attacked Kari.” He looked around at them. “This is a pretty little trap you’ve woven for us. The girl isn’t even here, is she?”
“No,” Halia said. “Where are the rest of your troops?”
“Ah, I lost a couple of them to Estara-miria’s troops and several more of them went down to those goblins. The rest, I honestly don’t know. They were fighting, then it all went quiet.” He looked at Halia. “Perhaps your master knows. Why not ask him?”
“And take my eyes off you? Do I look stupid Tarian-kedan?” she asked.
“Well, he’s telling the truth about not knowing why everything’s gone quiet,” Shadavar said. “And we ought to find out.”
“Very well.” Halia glanced at Kyle. “Don’t take your eyes off him.” She closed her eyes. “They’re still fighting, but it’s going well. Sonia is fighting a dragon who has a sound affinity and he suspects that is why we can’t hear-” Her eyes snapped open as a thundering boom ripped through the city, breaking many of the smaller trees. “Well, she was fighting them anyway.” She closed her eyes again, then gave a relieved sigh. “She’s okay, if rather shaken by that last bang.” Opening her eyes, she looked at Tarian. “You’re losing, you know.”
“Of course we are,” he said dryly. “I already knew that. I didn’t think we stood much chance but there’s no reasoning with Gerian-mirian. That’s why we’re talking not fighting. I’d rather not end up like him.” He gestured at the dead dragon then gave a heavy sigh. “Halia-alra, would you please tell your master I surrender.”