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Her Elemental Dragons: Ride the Wave: Chapter 39

JASIN

ONE YEAR LATER

The sounds of combat rang out all around me. Swords clashing together. Fists hitting flesh. Shouts and muttered curses. I couldn’t help but smile as I gazed across the courtyard. Dozens of men and women fought in pairs, practicing and sparring while sweating under the hot sun. Once they had been bandits, Resistance fighters, assassins, or Onyx Army soldiers. Now they were mine.

The Silver Guard, I’d called them. The most loyal and dedicated soldiers, sworn to serve the Silver Dragon as her soldiers now that the Onyx Army had disbanded. Each Realm was transitioning to governing itself with its own military, since Kira had no interest in ruling. Our plan was to work as mediators and guardians of the world, and as part of that I would lead this elite fighting force, which suited me well. As for Kira’s other mates, Auric was handling diplomacy with the leaders of the four Realms, Reven was working with the elementals while also managing a team of spies and scouts, while Slade was acting as Kira’s right hand man and personal guard. In the end, they weren’t that different from the roles Nysa’s men held, except our goals were a lot different. We didn’t want power or domination, we wanted harmony and peace. Gods knew the world needed it right now.

Other sounds caught my attention, drawing my gaze up toward the hammering, pounding, and yelling. Renovations on Soulspire palace had recently begun to transform it from the run-down, dark, imposing fortress it had been under the Black Dragon’s rule to the new home of the Silver Dragon. We’d all been surprised when Kira said she wanted to live here after being imprisoned inside it, but she’d argued that the central location between the four Realms and the long history of housing the Dragons made it the perfect place for us to reside. It just needed some work to make it home.

Cadock walked past the sparring soldiers and made his way toward me. His knee had been injured during the battle at the Spirit Temple and he’d walked with a slight limp ever since, although it hadn’t slowed him down much. He wore the bright armor of the Silver Guard and acted as my second in command.

“Training is coming along nicely,” I said to him.

“Yes, I think the new recruits will be ready soon.”

“How are things with Faya?” I asked. Cadock had become smitten with the former Resistance leader, but after she’d lost her husband to the Dragons she’d been hesitant to start a relationship again, especially while taking care of a baby boy.

He rubbed the back of his neck. “One step forward, two steps back. I love her, and little Parin too. I asked her to marry me and she said maybe someday.”

I clasped his shoulder. “You’re a good man. She sees that. She just needs time.”

“I know. I told her I’d wait as long as it takes. I’m not going anywhere.” He drew in a breath. “That’s not why I’m here though. There are some people asking to see you.”

“Who?”

“They say they’re your parents.”

My spine stiffened. I hadn’t seen or heard from my parents since my father had betrayed me by turning us in to the Onyx Army for helping the Resistance. I’d tried to block them from my memory ever since, too hurt by the knowledge that he was more loyal to the Black Dragon than his own son. What were they doing here now?

I considered sending them away, but I did miss my mother, and I had nothing to fear from my father anymore. The least I could do was see why they had traveled all the way from their home in the Fire Realm to visit me.

“Send them to my office,” I said.

Cadock nodded and walked away, while I watched my recruits a little longer, letting their rhythmic fighting movements calm me. I’d never wanted to be a soldier in the Onyx Army, but my parents had made it clear that was my one path, and I’d been damn good at it even though I’d hated it. When I’d met Kira, I’d been ashamed of my past and the things I’d been forced to do, but at her side I was finally able to accept my destiny. I was a protector, and when I fought for something I believed in, I was proud of this work.

I reluctantly turned away from my soldiers and headed for the nearby barracks, where I’d claimed a large room for my office. I’d chosen it because it had windows that looked out at the training grounds and the palace, allowing me to keep an eye on everything. I also liked the lighting in the room—it was good for painting.

My parents were already waiting inside when I arrived. They sat in the two chairs across from my desk but jumped to their feet when I shut the door behind me.

“Mom, Dad,” I said. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, Jasin,” my mother said, clasping her hands to her chest. “It’s so good to see you.”

“Your mother has been worried about you,” my father said.

I took her hands in mine and gave them a squeeze. My mother was the only reason I’d escaped when my father had betrayed me, and I’d missed her also. “Please sit down.”

I walked around the table as they sat down again. I noticed their eyes drifting to the painting behind me, which depicted the Silver Dragon flying in front of the ruined Spirit Temple, with her other Dragons flanking her. A memory of the day we’d won.

“That’s beautiful,” Mom said, as I sat across from her. “Did you paint it?”

“I did.” Although we’d had a lot to do after the battle at the Spirit Temple, Kira had insisted we take some time for ourselves too. Once the world had settled down a bit, we’d spent two weeks in the middle of nowhere, relaxing and recovering from our ordeals. I’d done that painting then, along with many others, including some I definitely wouldn’t want my parents to see.

“It’s beautiful,” my mother said. “I’m so happy you’re painting again.”

“Why are you here?” I asked again, pinning my father with a steely gaze.

He shifted in his seat uncomfortably. He looked a lot older than I remembered. “I’ve come to tell you I deeply regret what I did that day, and I’m sorry. I thought I was helping you.”

My eyes narrowed at him. “You turned me in to the Onyx Army. You effectively sealed my death sentence. How is that helping me?”

“General Voor promised you wouldn’t be killed, only brought back into the Onyx Army and punished. I hoped you would realize the error of your ways.” He shook his head, staring down at his hands. “I see now that I was wrong. About a lot of things. I only hope that one day you’ll be able to forgive me.”

“We’re moving to Soulspire,” Mom said, surprising me. “The Fire Realm has nothing left for us except bad memories. We’d like a fresh start somewhere near you.”

I crossed my arms, leaning back in my chair. “You think that by moving closer and saying you’re sorry I’ll forgive your betrayal?”

“No,” Dad said. “I only hope that you’ll give me a chance to try to mend things between us. I love you, son, and I’m proud of you. Really damn proud.”

I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. I disliked my father, but I loved him too, and I missed my mother. In the past, I would have gone into an angry rage and told them to get out of my office, but I’d changed since meeting Kira and the others. Maybe my father could change too.

“I’m not sure forgiveness is possible, but it would be good to see you more often,” I said.

My mother’s smile made it worthwhile, while my father nodded eagerly. Our relationship might never be what it was, but this was a start in the right direction at least.

After they left, I felt Kira’s presence draw near. I stood and walked to the door to greet her with a kiss. She had a blank canvas under her arm.

“Everything all right?” she asked.

“It is now,” I said. “What did you bring me?”

She held out the canvas. “I thought a few hours of painting might do you good. You seemed stressed, and that guest room in the west wing of the palace needs an artist’s touch.”

I chuckled softly as I set the canvas aside and drew her close. “That’s very thoughtful of you. But I think I need some inspiration from my muse first.”

I pulled her into the room and shut the door with a wry grin. As my lips found her neck and my hands slid down her body, she let out a husky laugh filled with desire. I would never grow tired of that sound—or of loving Kira.


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