I walked out of the little cottage and breathed in deeply. The girl was fearful, which was understandable considering how we found her. A minute later, and she would have been dead. It was I who hauled the mitts off her and threw them into trees, I who fought them and killed them, I who bought the girl from her mistress as compensation. Thats what I told myself, however, I knew I was drawn to the girl.

I headed towards the town and bought clothes, shoes, a brush, and food. When I return, Einnig was shouting at the girl while she cowered in the bathroom. ”Just talk to me! ”

A whimper came from her, and I saw she was holding the side of her face, like Einnig slapped her. ”Einnig, leave her alone, ” I sigh, giving her the clothes and pulling my brother out of the bathroom to give her privacy.

”All I wanted to do was help, but she won do or say anything! ”

”What do you expect? ” I asked. ”She was a slave who are only meant to been seen, not heard. ”

”She talked to you! ” he complained.

”No. She only moved her head. Shes scared of talking. ”

Einnig growled, ripped his shirt off and took off outside, silver wings lifting him into the air.

A thud made me hurry to the bathroom. I opened the door a little, only to have an earsplitting scream escape from the girl. I hesitated, but went in, seeing her next to the toilet, tears running down her face. At least she was dressed. I went over and knelt beside her. She shook in pure terror. ”Hey, ” I whisper. ”Let me carry you back to the couch? ”

Her eyes darted around, as if a monster was going to pop out at any moment, then flung her arms around my torso. I cupped the back of her head, feeling a lump there where she must have hit it. Gently, I lifted her up and walked back to the couch, laying her down and undoing her arms. She screamed. I let go. She clung to me harder.

Unsure of what to do, I sat there, letting her hold onto me.

An hour later, Einnig was back and looked at the girl with furrowed brows. ”What happened? ”

”She hit her head. I think shes afraid of being in trouble. I think shes afraid of going back. ”

Einnig knelt beside the couch, eyes soft on her. ”Do you want something to eat? ”

The girl sat up a little and stared at him in fear. Her body was leaning away from him, her eyes wide. I made her look at me. ”Are you hungry? ”

This time, she let go of me and hugged herself, eyes turned downward. I understood her hesitancy.

Using a finger to lift her chin to look at me, I said, ”You can tell us. We will feed you if you
e hungry. ”

She narrows her eyes at me.

I chuckle. ”I know you have no reason to trust me, but I keep my word. If you want food, Ill feed you. ”

Slowly, she nods. I brush my thumb across her cheek and give her a gentle smile, the stand. ”Einnig, why don you grab blankets and some pillows. ”

He obeys, and I see the girls body relax. Leaving her, I go and begin to make a sandwich, putting chips beside it on the plate. As I was getting water, Einnig walks in and crosses his arms. ”What do you plan on doing with her? ”

”Our king will allow her entry. His female is human. ”

”What about the dragon-mappers? ”

”We have seen nothing. We need to regroup, plan our next search. ”

”What do you think shes goi g to do when she finds out we
e not like her? ”

I thought about it, shrugged. ”Well stay here a couple days, Ill warm her up to the idea. ”

”How do you warm a female whos afraid of you up to the idea of the fact that you
e a dragon? ”

I glare at him. ”She wouldn be so afraid if she hadn woken up to you touching her. ”

”I was helping her! ”

”You hit her in the bathroom, Einnig. ”

He flinched. ”I didn mean it. ”

”You let your anger take control. I thought you were learning to control it? ”

”I was but after Allen minutes of trying to get her to communicate, I was getting frustrated. ”

I grabbed the plate and the glass of water and turned to him. ”Instead of getting frustrated, why don you learn to be patient with someone who has idea who you are! ”

With that, I walk back to the siting area and see the girl wrapped up in the large blanket, everything covered except her face. Einnig came up beside be and laughed. ”She looks like a caterpillar! ”

I smile, agreeing with him as the girl opens her eyes at my brothers voice. She doesn do anything, just stares. I set the plate on the table and go over to her, her grey eyes large and less fearful. I sit beside her and gesture to her bundled form. ”Are you cold? ”

She shrugs.

”We can start a fire if you wish? ”

Again, the girl only shrugs.

”Would you like food? ”

She glances at the plate I set on the table, then turns to me. One hand appears and a finger points at me.

”I ate already. ”

She points to Einnig.

”I ate too, ” he replied. He grabs the plate and brings it over, reaching out to give it to her. ”Go ahead and eat. Its all yours. ”

There was a look of surprise, but the girl takes the plate and picks up the sandwich, taking a bite. Chewing slowly, an expression of pure delight softens her face and she takes another bite after swallowing the first. She then tries a chips and makes a weird face, but eats most of those too.

Fifteen minutes later, shes eaten half her sandwich and all her chips, then hesitantly pushes it towards me. I take it, then bring the glass of water. She takes it and gulps it down, thirsty after her meal. When shes finished, she points to the hall with a blush. Einnig instantly understands and goes to help, but stops at her sudden fearful face.

Einnigs face falls. I lean against the wall, letting him try again. The girl shrinks into her bundle of blankets, afraid. ”I won hurt you, ” Einnig says.

The girl looks skeptical, glances at me with a questioning expression. I nod. She huffs, as if resigning herself to whatever fate that awaits her, then nods to Einnig. He carefully lifts her up and Carries her away.

I pick up her dishes and clean them. When done, I sit in a recliner and read a book. Einnig returns a bit later alone. I raise a brow at him. ”She saw a bedroom and wanted to sleep there. ”

”Tomorrow, well send the carriage back with a message. I want to inform Zargis that we need space in his castle and his mates help when we return. ”

Einnig sits on the couch and sighs. ”We both know Thelia would help anyone. Otreg too. But do you really think Zargis will after the ordeal with Unda? ”

”I don know, but I will make sure to note that she is not to be harmed or touched. ”

Einnig looks at me with a glare. ”Shes mine, Kesar! ”

I shake my head. ”What you feel towards her is a protective instinct towards the innocent. But it doesn stop you from hurting her. ”

”Zargis hurt his mate. ”

”Thats because he was jealous. He saw her kissing another. It was the only time he hurt her. He would never hurt her for not speaking to him. It would have been petty. ”

Einnig growled. ”I said I didn mean to! ”

”You would have done it again if I hadn arrived and stopped you. Zargis, no matter how jealous he might have been, would not have done it again. Once he saw the pain on Thelias face, he instantly regretted it. ”

Einnig stormed out of the house.

I sat, listening to the silence around me. ”

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