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Her Elemental Dragons: Stroke the Flame: Chapter 11


Walking in on the woman I’d been sent to find being attacked wasn’t what I’d expected this evening, but it also wasn’t all that uncommon in my line of work.

“Are you hurt?” I asked her, while I checked the area to make sure there were no other attackers.

She rubbed the back of her head. “A little banged up, but otherwise fine. Thanks to you.”

I examined the two men on the floor—the one I’d killed, and the one with a dagger sticking out of his chest, presumably Kira’s. I yanked it out, used my magic to remove the blood from the blade, then handed it to her. “Who were they?”

“Drunken fools who enjoyed hurting women,” she muttered. “Problem is, one of them owns this place. Or he did, anyway.”

Footsteps sounded behind us and I reached for one of my swords again, but it was only a young woman in a chemise. She paused in the doorway and gasped when she saw the bodies on the floor.

“Father?” she asked, with a slight sob.

“I’m so sorry, Tash,” Kira said. “Koth and your father attacked me while I was asleep. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

Another older woman ran into the room, and she let out a strangled gasp at the sight of the dead men. The other woman, Tash, was already crying, and the two women collapsed into each other’s arms with a sob. Kira watched with sympathy, while I took the chance to admire her. Despite being forced into this against my will, I had to admit she was pretty easy on the eyes. Her red hair was lightly mussed and her cheeks were flushed from the attack. Her thin chemise hugged her body in ways that awakened parts of me I usually tried to ignore. She was obviously brave and quite capable, since she’d killed one of the men before I’d intervened. But none of that mattered, because I was getting out of this mess as quickly as possible.

Kira gestured for me to follow her while we left the sobbing women in the kitchen. We stepped into a back room with a small bed, which she sank onto as she covered her face with her hands. She took a long breath, then looked up at me again. “I’m assuming you’re here because you’re the next Azure Dragon.”

“Something like that,” I said, with obvious distaste.

“I get the feeling you’re not pleased about that.”

That was an understatement. “I’m here, aren’t I?”

“Yes, you are. And a good thing too, because it seems it’s time I left this town.” She began pulling clothes out of a wardrobe and packing them in a bag, while I crossed my arms and leaned against the doorway.

“I assume the others are already here then,” I said.

“Yes, they’re staying somewhere else. It’s a long story.” She sighed as she shoved a pair of ragged-looking slippers in the bag. “A few hours ago I led a quiet life. Now two men are dead and four men say I have to bond with them and become a Dragon. Why is this happening to me?”

I didn’t reply. It had taken me a long time to accept that the Water God had truly chosen me. I’d ignored it at first. Then I’d gotten angry. Eventually I’d tried yelling, bargaining, and even praying to get out of it. I hated the Black Dragon and her mates with every fiber of my being, but that didn’t mean I wanted to get involved in some mad quest that would only end up with all of us getting killed. But no matter how much I resisted, I couldn’t deny the tugging in my gut that got worse with every day that passed, until the need to find Kira became all-encompassing. So here I was.

But as soon as I could find a way to get out of this mess, I was gone.


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