Part 7

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[[ I'm hungry. ]]

Missa opened her eyes and saw an emerald green muzzle looking down on her. Her exhausted, sore body protested her trying to sit up. Her arms were sore, her back was sore, her butt was sore, even her ears were sore. The last few days had been spent working twice as hard as her clutchmates to do everything J'gol asked them to do. Her least favorite task was mucking. It also happened to be the easiest since she'd done that for Nosey when she lived with Da.

Da. She missed him. She wondered if G'dran or Silel had let him know what happened to her. She figured the pain of their separation would be eased somewhat if he knew she had Apeth now.

[[ Ok, sweet girl, let's go get you bathed and oiled first before we get you some food ]] Missa thought.

[[ Ok, let's do that. I love to bathe. ]]

Missa was quite aware of how much Apeth loved bathing. Bathing was something that most other weyrlings loved to do, scrubbing sand into their baby dragon's hide, oiling it to make it soft and pliable. She hated it. Every day Apeth got bigger and bigger and so there was more of her to try and get around. Missa also knew that if she fed Apeth before she had her bath, her hide would get itchy patches and she'd have to be bathed and oiled all over again.

Apeth ran ahead of Missa, squealing her delight at the calm waters of Southern's lake. She jumped into the air and landed with a huge splash. Missa laughed. Apeth was going to be a great jumper, which Missa thought would mean she'll be a great flyer. The more height your jump, the less energy you'd have to use to get into the air. She'd watched other dragons and dragonets getting up into the air enough to know.

Missa had to scoot the last few feet to the lake's edge since her wheeled board didn't do well in the rocky sand. Apeth came up out of the water and lay on her side in front of Missa.

[[ Sand! Sand! ]] Apeth said.

Missa scooped up some sand from the beach and scrubbed vigorously into Apeth as J'gol taught.

[[ Oh, that feels so wonderful ]] she said.

[[ Any itchy spots? ]] Missa asked.

[[ Right above my left wing ]] Apeth said. Missa moved down towards her wing and scrubbed extra hard where she saw Apeth had started to peel.

Apeth let out a little grumble from deep within her.

[[ Have you suddenly turned into a feline? ]] Missa said, giggling.

[[ No, I am a dragon. I can't be anything else ]] Apeth said.

Dawn appeared in the air above Missa. She landed on Missa's shoulder and watched Missa work Apeth's hid. Dawn hadn't been around much since Apeth had hatched. The most she'd do was snuggle into Missa when she was sleeping. Dawn hopped off of Missa's shoulder and landed on Apeth. With her front legs, Dawn started to mimic Missa. The girl watched in awe as Dawn started to help Missa with the scrubbing. Then in the air above them, two browns popped in. Dawn raised her head and squawked at the two others. They did not wear the colored bands that all firelizards at the weyr were supposed to wear. They were wild firelizards. Dawn had called them. She chittered at them and then they, too, started to scrub into Apeth. Much sooner than Missa expected Apeth had been thoroughly scrubbed. Missa clapped her hands.

"You guys were amazing, Dawn!" she said. "Thank you!"

After Apeth had rinsed the sand off in the lake, Missa started to oil her. Missa watched to see what the firelizards would do. They watched her curiously as she worked. She lay the oil pot out onto the sand and once again resumed oiling Apeth's leg. Dawn chirped. She then hopped over to the pot and inspected it. She dipped her little muzzle into it and brought it back out, a drop hanging off the end. She brought her front legs up and groomed her head with it. She cheeped and put her front legs into the pot and brought them out dripping. She flew up to the top of Apeth's head and started spreading the oil as Missa had. But the oil only covered a small spot. Missa thought as she oiled. How could the firelizards help with the oiling if their legs were too small to cover much hide?

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