Chapter 29

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Chapter Twenty-nine

Sliding from Nala's shoulders, Ella put her hands on her hips and stretched her back. She looked around the cove they had found on an island off of the eastern shore of Drak'ar with a pleased smile.

"So? What do you think?" Ella asked Jaxx. She glanced at his expression and rolled her eyes. "What's your list of complaints with this place?" They had already stopped at four potential camp sites and Jaxx had found something wrong with all of them.

Jaxx scanned the area critically. On the surface, it looked like a perfect paradise with lush vegetation and a tall waterfall that flowed into a lagoon. He could see fish darting between rocks and plants in the clear, blue water. Birds sang from trees that were heavy with a variety of fruits. The ground was thick with vegetation that would attract the plant-eating creatures his dragon liked to eat. So why did he feel hesitant about making this his new home?

"Something doesn't feel right," Jaxx said.

Ella groaned and crossed her arms. "Do you want to know what I think?"

Not really, Jaxx thought, but he nodded his head, knowing she would tell him anyway.

"I think you are just looking for excuses. You don't really want to leave Drak'ar."

Jaxx scowled at her, irritated. "That's silly," he said. "You know as well as I do that none of the other places would work. The first one was too close to the keep. The second was too thick with plants higher than my head. I couldn't even move."

"Ciarran could have burned as much of that away as you wanted," Ella said.

"Yes, she could," said Jaxx, "and then there would have been a great, big, burned out spot pointing right to where we were hiding. Maybe she could have made it into the shape of an arrow to make it even more obvious. I'm trying to disappear, not let everyone know where I am. The third place didn't have water and the last one didn't have any shelter."

"Fine, you win," said Ella, "but from now on I'm going to call you Goldenhair."

"Who is Goldenhair?" Jaxx said, sighing. He knew he would probably regret asking.

"You never heard of Goldenhair?" Ella asked, surprised. "I thought everyone knew that story. Goldenhair is a little girl who got lost wandering in the woods. She came upon a house owned by a mother dragon, a father dragon, and a baby dragon. No one was home, so she walked inside. She found three chairs. The first one was too big, the second one was too small, and the third was just right, but when she sat in it, she broke it. Next, she found three bowls of soup on the table. The first one was too hot. The second one was too cold. The third one was just right, so she ate it all. Then she felt sleepy and found three beds. The first was too hard. The second was too soft. The third was just right and she fell asleep in it."

Jaxx snorted. "Great story. Sounds just like me." He picked up a long piece of grass from the ground and began toying with it.

Ella waited.

"So...what happened to Goldenhair?" Jaxx asked when Ella did not say anything more.

"The dragons came home and ate her," Ella said. "They don't like it when strangers eat their soup."

Jaxx shot her a dirty look and threw the grass at her. "You are very funny."

He turned his attention back to the task at hand and walked around, studying their surroundings. This spot had everything he needed, and it was far enough from Drak'ar that searching for him would be inconvenient. Still, he had a strange feeling about the place. There was not anything wrong that he could see, but something about it made the little hairs on his neck stand up. He chewed his lip. Maybe Ella was right about him not really wanting to leave Drak'ar. Or maybe he was looking for excuses to keep Ella around a little longer. It was going to be very lonely once she was gone.

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