I hear someone calling my name. It’s dark. My eyes are closed. I hear someone calling my name. I open my eyes.
There is a beautiful spirit attending me. It must be a benevolent spirit, it is so pretty. It knows my name. I start repeating my name to myself. It’s a wonderful name.
That’s not my voice. But it’s sort of a familiar voice. I should recognize it. I look at the spirit again. And now I see who it is. And I see why I didn’t recognize her. It’s Mia. Only, she looks so unearthly. “Mia,” I say. “Mia. I must be dreaming.”
She holds up something. It’s the small dragon’s head. It looks odd. It also looks dead. I am not dreaming. I sit up, and realize I’m naked. In front of Mia. I start to stand up, only to have Mia push me down firmly. “Tollon,” she says, “it’s a bit late to worry about not wearing clothes.” She gives me an odd smile. “Besides, did you ever think I might like to see you naked?”
“Ah, um, ah . . .” I am not at my most articulate. But then I’ve just come through a fight with dragons and woken up naked beside someone I have very mixed feelings for.
“Besides, it was easier to heal you when I could see all the damage. How you ever managed to have sex with Lady Gwella in that shape I don’t understand.” Mia is amused.
I’m not. “What are you talking about? Lady Gwella? She may be a dragon, but she’s not in this cave.”
“She was, Tollon, she was, but you don’t remember.” Mia gives me a tap on the head. “Now you do.”
It was just after I killed the little dragon. I heard a female voice calling me. I staggered over into a small side chamber, to find Lady Gwella bound and naked. She said something about how she’d been taken captive by the dragon and that I should free her and that she would reward me in any way she could. And just looking at her there, I knew what I wanted from her. And as I untied her, she demonstrated she was quite willing to comply with my desires. Which she did, rather vigorously.
I was exhausted when I was finished. I might have had the strength of five men, and the virility, but I’ve only the body of a small, slight man, and I was injured and wiped out. And as I lay there, all but helpless, Lady Gwella dressed herself, and then offered me some parting words, “Well, I guess it was worth sparing you some months ago. You’re good for something. Certainly that wretched little Paviara thinks so, too. Now I’m carrying your child. But it wouldn’t be convenient for you to remember that, just yet. So you’re just going to go to sleep and forget all about my being here.”
I think about it. And then I say to Mia, “My sister mentioned there were two women haunting me. She must have been one of them. She waited until I was exhausted and wouldn’t even notice that she was putting a spell on me.”
Mia explains, “That’s what alerted me. I came as soon as she bedazzled you.”
I look at her in wonderment. “Couldn’t you have stopped her?”
Mia nods. “Certainly. But why would I? You were enjoying it. It was only when she harmed you by making you forget that I decided to step in.”
I shake my head in wonder. I’m not going to try to explain to Mia why being bewitched into sex isn’t a good idea. I’m not sure I can, especially given our history together. “She said she’s carrying my child.”
“Why doesn’t she want me to remember that?” I wonder. “It must be part of some intrigue she’s planning.” And that means I have to get back to the palace as soon as possible. I look around. “Where are my clothes, Mia?”
She reached behind herself and hold out a pile of clothes that look brand new. And when I take them, she reached behind herself again and brings out a bag. “You’ll want these. Lady Gwella took half of them, but I removed the rest.”
I take the bag and look into it. Dragon’s teeth.
END PART FOUR