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A MIXTURE OF ANNOYANCE and confusion swept through Ravenna as she stared sullenly out the window

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A MIXTURE OF ANNOYANCE and confusion swept through Ravenna as she stared sullenly out the window. The brown-leaved branches swayed in front of the glass, holding her attention. Her fingers started to fiddle with the shredded remains of her garment as her thoughts strayed.

The image of the dragon appeared in the reflection of the window. His inky hair curled over his shoulder and framed his unnaturally perfect face, which was twisted with concern. Concern for her.

Her annoyance grew tenfold. Ice followed her feet as she marched over to the cupboard. She yanked the doors open and started to search for the wash bucket, muttering irritably to herself. "Don't be so foolish, Ravenna. He doesn't care about you. Not like that. He's a dragon. He doesn't care about anything. He just didn't want your blood to stain his stupid floor."

She continued to mutter under her breath as she found the wash bucket and started for the water pump. It didn't take long to peel her garments from her body, as the fabric had been mostly shredded. She quickly bathed, careful to avoid the magical goop that covered her wounds. When she was finished, she emptied the wash bucket and set it aside. She sauntered toward the bed, plucking the garment that had been left out for her. She held it up and scowled.

The dress was unlike anything she'd ever seen before. A shapely bodice with a high collar and long, billowy sleeves. The skirt hung straight down, with two slits on either side, leaving little to the imagination. As she pulled it over her head, dismay washed through her. The dress was skin tight.

"I look like a whore," she announced to no one in particular. Her fingertips pulled at the skirt, at the slits that revealed the sides of her thighs. Her expression soured.

"I don't think so," a voice answered.

Ravenna whirled around. The dragon stood in the doorway, a burlap sack slung over his shoulder. He stepped further into the cabin and lowered the sack to the ground. It slumped forward, opening its mouth to reveal a mound of clustered flowers and weeds. He kept his expression void of emotion as she stepped closer, glaring accusingly at him. "How long have you been standing here?" she snapped and jabbed a finger at him.

The dragon withdrew a handful of dirt encrusted flowers and stepped toward his desk. His hands worked the plants into an unlabeled jar. "Long enough. How do you feel?"

"Angry," she seethed. Her annoyance magnified tenfold as she tugged harder on her skirt. This was the second strike against her integrity. "Why were you spying on me, you pervert?"

An eyebrow arched, he glanced back over his shoulder. She froze in her spot. His dark gaze pierced right through her. "Now, now," he warned, voice low. "Petty insults will get you nowhere."

Her hands clenched into tight fists. Ice swirled across her skin. It cracked and sharpened into dangerous shards. "Don't change the subject," she growled. "You watched me change. What kind of person are you, intruding on a woman's privacy like that?"

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