33. Think of the Children, or Else!

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A pillar of gleaming crimson flame came from above, so close, surely her face had melted. Sweat pooled between her breasts, soaking the fabric of her bodice, suctioning it to her skin. "A little faster," Ashley prompted.

"Faster! Slower! Make up your mind, lady." He called her 'lady' even though she must've looked like a half-frozen, drowned, zombified goat herder. Fortunately, the one thing she didn't look like was a princess. Who knows what he would do knowing he had a princess aboard? "And silence yourself. I'm trying to concentrate."

"No need to take your frustration out on me. Incoming!" Ashley yelped as the dragonfire blazed down, enveloping a wing of her dragon transport.

"What's your problem?" the dragon drawled.

"Your friend up there blasted you."

"Wife. Not a friend. And it's magical fire."

"Felt pretty real to me."

"That's because you're not a dragon. Dragon magic doesn't work on dragons. Can you imagine? Let me tell you, there'd be no little dragons if a little marital fireplay caused irreparable harm."

"You call that play?"

"Believe me, if she wanted to kill me, I wouldn't be alive and subjecting myself to this conversation. Are all human females this annoying?"

"I get why your wife wants to kill you," Ashley retorted, rather proud of the comeback.

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Okay, this is your friendly author stepping in to give you some "do not try this at home" advice. It's been a while since I've inserted myself into the story, but as I don't want you to make the same mistake as Ashley, I had to.

What?

I care about each of you deeply!

Okay, here it is: Never, ever, ever diss a dragon while you are on its back. You would think for most of us; this would be common sense. But in case anyone reading this book thinks, "Hey, I should try that next time I'm on dragonback, diving into an ice tunnel post-avalanche while being chased by a lunatic female dragon, the answer is no.

You may apply this helpful tip to more mundane situations - not just human-to-dragon interactions.

For example ...

When riding on the back of a motorbike whizzing down a winding, cliffside road at 90 mph, this isn't the time to break up with your boyfriend, who is driving. It's just not.

When boarding an Airbus A300, don't walk onto the plane and inform the pilot he looks like a drunken toddler. DO NOT! (Unless he really does, in which case, get off the plane and report him.)

When on water skies in shark-infested waters zipping along behind a motorboat, don't make rude gestures to the person driving said boat.

See! Did you have any idea how many practical applications you'd discover whilst reading this fairy tale? I'm pretty sure I made your lives better!

Now back to your regularly-scheduled fairy tale!***

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After Ashley's possibly rude and stupid comeback, the dragon responded by roaring, spewing fire, and diving for the bottom of the cavern at a near-vertical angle. Agggggghhhhhhh," Ashley cried, clutching folds of lizardy skin. Okay, maybe pissing him off while she was on his back was stupid. She should've waited until she was on solid ground and out of fire-disgorging distance.*

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