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 Category:  Fantasy Fiction
  Posted: October 14, 2019      Views: 390
Chapters:
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Chapter 12 of the book Aaron's Dragons
more eggs hatch
"The White Dragon" by Cindy Warren

Background
Aaron has rescued the dragon eggs. One hatchling has turned out to be quite a problem. He wants to eat everything he sees, including his siblings, and was seriously injured attacking a horse.


With the dragons gathered around, the gold egg cracked open. Even wet from the egg, she was beautiful. The gold spikes along her spine sparkled in the sunrise. She shook herself free of the egg and looked around at her siblings. She struggled to her feet almost immediately, flapping her wings for balance.

Pink leaned in toward her and helped her out of the sink. White stretched and looked around the cabin.

"Where is the other one?" she asked.

Black had crouched between the logs in the woodpile. He was clearly scared, and in no condition to attack his sister.

"He's scared," said Pink. "It hurts him a lot to move, and he's decided to hide. He's in that pile of sticks over there."

"Good. Maybe the animal he attacked scared some sense into him," said White.

Duane hurried to offer the new dragon food and water, then carried Purple back to her 'cave.' The others were getting anxious to get outside an catch some breakfast.

"What about Black?" asked Duane.

"He won't like it, but I'm going to take him out where we can keep an eye on him," said Aaron. He pulled Black off the woodpile as gently as he could, and put him back on the branch from yesterday.

Duane carried White out and put her on the log next to Pink. She watched Pink for a minute, then stretched and flapped her wings, jumped of the log and hit the ground. She recovered quickly and used her talons to climb back up.

"It takes some time," said Pink.

Aaron watched Pink. He could see she had grown, and her wings had developed since she had hatched. She'd soon be flying.

Black sat unmoving, watching them all, but Pink and White in particular.

"He's confused," said Pink. "He doesn't know why we didn't kill him."

"I guess we're all hoping that by the time he heals up he'll have a little more sense," said Aaron.

White spoke her mind. "Being smarter could make him more dangerous, not less. He won't attack the Demon animal again. He's going to grow, and if he sees everything as potential food, we have a problem."

"That's a possibility," Aaron admitted. In fact, it had been nagging at the back of his mind since Blue had suggested he eat Black. "We'll all have to keep an eye on him. If that turns out to be the case, we'll do what we have to. Until then, I don't want to talk about it any more. Hearing this kind of talk isn't going to help him."

Aaron took his sword and swung at the air. He knew he was out of practice. He flipped it from hand to hand, and his muscles seemed to remember what to do. He picked up the shield and practiced switching hands in a hurry. The exercise eased some of the tension.

Green chased a juicy fly to the open window, then stopped on the windowsill and let out a screech. It was the first sound Aaron had heard from him, and he ran to the cabin. There were four eggs left in the sink. One was hatching.

Aaron carried Black back to the woodpile and the rest gathered around again. While they waited, Aaron turned to Green.

"I have an important job for you. We need to know if people are coming. You can see them from the tops of the trees. Don't let them see you. If you see any people, come as fast as you can and holler like you just did. Can you do that?"

Green chirped.

"He can do it," said Pink.

Red let out a blood curdling screech.

"She wants to be important too," said Pink.

Aaron smiled. "Of course. We can't have too much help. Just stay out of sight."

They returned their attention to the small brown egg. It cracked open, as the others had, and a little tan colored dragon with multiple rows of dark brown leopard-like spots tumbled out. She immediately put her head under her wing and fell over. Her legs were longer than those of the other dragons ending in small feet and sharp claws.

"She's a forest dragon," said Pink. "They're nocturnal. She won't like the light either."

"We can put her in with Purple," said Duane. "I'll go talk to her."

As soon as Duane had the new hatchling settled with Purple, picked up his bow and arrow and called the others, except Black, outside.

"I have something to tell you guys," he said. "You see that pine cone up there?" Aaron pointed at a large cone a good distance away.

"I'm going to shoot it right out of that tree."

"Why?" White asked.

"You'll understand in a minute," said Aaron.

The dragons watched as Aaron drew his bow and sent an arrow into the pine cone. The cone flew off the tree and landed on the ground, pierced by the arrow. Aaron assassinated a few more cones at different heights and distances and sent Duane to retrieve the arrows.

Duane brought back the arrows, each piercing a very dead pine cone.

"What do we need these for?" he asked.

"We don't need them. We need our lookouts to know what can happen. There's not a man alive that could get up in a tree and catch one of them, and they know it. They need to understand why it's still important to stay out of sight."

"I understand now," said White. "My sister and I will make sure they all do."

"Now, I have a story for you. When I was a lad, a bit younger than Duane, there was a boy who was a little different. He walked with a bit of a gimp, and he couldn't always get his words out quite right."

"What happened to him?" asked Duane.

"Nothing good. Instead of helping him out, the other boys laughed at him. Sometimes they threw stones. He learned to stay out of sight, but he listened to everything. Later, we found out he'd hide and listen to things he shouldn't. Anyway, years went by and nobody gave much thought to him. Then the war came."

"Did he fight in the war?"

"No. He'd spent most of his life staying hidden, and he'd found pretty much every secret passage in the castle. He sold the information, and a lot of people died because of it. He thought with the money he'd
have a better life elsewhere."

"Did he?"

"No. Nobody keeps a traitor alive. Had he not always been an outcast, he'd have known that. Now, some people are going to be outlaws and traitors. The only thing for them is hanging. I don't think he was one of those people. I never forgot him."

"Are you telling us this because of Black?" asked Duane.

"Yes. You know, even when they lost their own kin later on, none of the men who had jeered and thrown stones as boys thought they'd done anything wrong. Truth is, they'd made an outcast, and that's what they got."

"So it was their fault."

"Maybe, a little bit," said Aaron. "There's no excuse to turn traitor, and that's on his soul forever, but if he'd had friends to be loyal to, he probably wouldn't have done it. Now, I don't know if Black is following an ill nature, or if his brains just haven't caught up with his stomach."

"Most of what he's done was pretty dumb," said Duane.

"Right now he's crouched in the woodpile scared half to death. What he's overheard has him terrified. What are you going to do about it?"

They all looked at Aaron for an answer.

"You get back to catching your bugs. That's one thing we have plenty of around here. I want you all to think on it," said Aaron.

Aaron went back to the cabin to check on Black and the three remaining eggs. "I hope the rest of you get yourselves hatched pretty soon," he said. He was becoming concerned, imagining the cabin being surrounded, and all of them trapped inside.

He was surprised to see Mountain coming in the door with a huge grub in his mouth. He took it to the woodpile where he dropped it in front of Black. Black looked uneasily at Mountain, and the multi-colored dragon backed off, leaving the grub in front of Black.

Black flicked his tongue at it, looked warily at Mountain, and gobbled it up.

A few minutes later Yellow followed Mountain's lead, and brought food to his injured brother.

Aaron remembered seeing a shovel in the root cellar, and he had an idea. In the bush next to the clearing, he rolled a heavy log out of the way, dug a small trench, and rolled the log back in place. Starting tomorrow morning, Purple and Brown would have a safe cave during the day, where they would not be found if the cabin was searched.

The day passed. Pink and White made no effort to help Black, but didn't threaten him either. Black relaxed a little. They talked of dinner and of the new outdoor cave. Mountain found a leaf covered in caterpillars and brought it in to Black.

Black was puzzled, if a bit less anxious, but he happily accepted the food.

"Around here we do not eat each other," Aaron told him. "We look out for each other."


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