Chapter 14 - The Dragons' Secret

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Chapter 14 – The Dragons' Secret

Sylara continued checking the map as they rode along the cliff face keeping the blue-green waves within view. The map was exactly as it had been the last time she checked just minutes before but it felt like a lifetime ago. She was certain she'd open it to have the flashing 'X' disappear leaving her back in the same predicament as earlier today. She stuffed the rolled parchment back into the bag hanging from her saddle.

Thinking of earlier today caused her eyes to wander involuntarily towards the golden haired prince riding ahead of her. She took in the broad shoulders and well-muscled arms bulging in the tight linen shirt. Gulping, she wondered if she'd been wrong wanting him to dress casual for this trip. Without the surcoat, she was afforded a very intriguing view each time she looked over which was something she tried her best to pull her mind away from. She'd never had trouble controlling her emotions or thoughts before. By Thragorn's name, she wasn't about to turn into a blushing maid because an arrogant prince kissed her. At least that's what she kept telling herself every time she felt the flush flooding her face at the thought of that kiss.

"Wanna talk about it?" Sylara looked over to see Nomi hovering near her shoulder. The elf-maid shook her head in negation.

"Who told you?"

"Who told me what? I just thought ya'd like to talk," Nomi said with a wink.

"I should have known he'd blab to Dov. And of course the big bear couldn't keep anything from you the way he's sweet on you," Sylara said with a sigh. Nomi's tinkling laughter rang out around them but she didn't deny what Sylara said. Maybe she cared for the mortal knight as well, Sylara thought.

"Ya have to remember, while it's us women who get the reputation of being gossipmongers, in reality it's the men who can't keep a secret," Nomi replied. Sylara's lips turned up at the ends at the pixie's words. They traveled on in silence for another minute before she spoke up.

"He kissed me. Can you believe he had the nerve to kiss me? I mean... who does he think he is..." Sylara's frustrations poured out to the pixie who was hovering so close she didn't even have to raise her voice.

"Did ya kiss him back?" Nomi asked, not taking it easy on her friend whose mouth now hung open. Sylara closed and opened her mouth a couple times before answering.

"Yes, but..."

"No, buts. Something inside ya returned his kiss. So why are ya so angry? Is it because he kissed ya? Because ya kissed him back? Because ya enjoyed it?" Nomi asked, one brow raised to stress the last question. Sylara's stomach flip-flopped listening to Nomi's questions. Inside, deep within the recesses of her heart, she knew why she was angry. But was she ready to admit it? Shaking her head in answer to her internal question, she deflected instead.

"Why does it sound as if you're defending him when the last I heard you'd been angry with him for the upward part of three decades?" Nomi gave Sylara a patient smile.

"Aye, I was angry with him. But never in all that time did I stop caring for him. He was my friend... is my friend. We just needed a break to work that out. And when he apologized, I couldn't keep holding something against him that I'll be the first to admit wasn't truly his fault," Nomi answered truthfully.

"You've known him a long time," Sylara pondered aloud.

"Yes, I have. I've seen all his good and bad moments and that hasn't stopped me from still wanting to call him friend. He will be a great ruler one day. He's come a long way since his youth."

"I have no doubts he will be a great king," Sylara whispered.

"Why do you sound sad?" Nomi's lips turned down as her head tilted slightly to one side. She stared at Sylara as if trying to draw the answer from her by just a gaze.

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