Walking through the forest without worrying that someone in the village is following me is nice.
Most everyone keeps out of there unless they are in dragon form or hunting. They are still afraid that the enemy nest will find us. Too bad for them. The woods are a stunning sight.
The strange scent gets stronger as I continue to walk, my dragon stirring inside me. How odd. She usually only surfaces when threatened or when I call on her to shift.
This person must fascinate her.
They fascinate me as well.
Suddenly, I see that something, or rather someone, is caught in the net of one of our animal traps, which is lifted off the ground. They are wiggling around like a worm, and it's quite humorous.
"Hello?" I circle the net, trying to find their face.
"Please don't kill me!" a male voice whisper-yells. "I got lost."
I raise a brow, "Why would I kill you?"
"Because I'm a human."
"Aren't we all?"
"No, you're a dragon."
I pause briefly, "How do you know I'm a dragon?"
I still can't see his face, but I smell his fear and confusion. "I see dragons fly up from the valley from my town."
"Well, I'm not gonna kill you, but I will cut you free from the trap."
"Uh, okay." He doesn't sound too sure.
But summoning my wings, I fly up anyways. "Be still so I don't cut you by accident."
Then I extend my claws and cut the ropes, catching him before he can fall.
That's when I finally see his face.
He has light skin, blond hair, and green eyes. He's also thin for a human male. But overall, he's pretty handsome.
And my dragon becomes restless, wiggling around inside me.
"You're strong," The human glances down at the ground, "and you smell like firewood smoke."
"Thank you." Smiling, I slowly lower us to the ground, setting him on his feet. "What's your name?"
"Why do you want to know that?"
"Just tell me, please."
"It's William. And yours?"
"Bronwyn." I study him some more, "Are you hungry?"
"Follow me," I beckon him forward as I start walking. "I'll get you some food."
I hear his steps behind me as I lead him on a trapless path back to my village, or more specifically, where we store our food for later consumption.
I don't want the rest of my nest to find out I have a human with me, at least not yet. That would be a mixed response.
"When we get down to the food cellars," I stop to face him, "please do your best not to let someone else see you."
William nods, arms crossed as we resume our walk.
While I do sense some apprehension on his end, I no longer smell fear on him. That's good. My nest members will have a much harder time finding him.
It doesn't take long to reach the edge of my village, spotting the food cellars. The hunters should be gone now, so I usher William to follow me closely.
It's strange being near someone who isn't a dragon, though. Not wrong or bad. Just different. But he seems to be a good person, which is all I care about at this point.
My dragon stirs inside me again. Ugh, this is getting annoying.
Reaching one of the cellars, I quietly open the door and watch as he hurries in, ensuring no one is following us. Then I close the door, seeing him standing there with wide eyes.
"Wow," William stares at everything we have, "This would be enough to feed both of our towns with plenty left over."
I smile, "Is that so?"
"Yeah, we don't have a lot of food since the kingdom started taking most of our spare rations for their soldiers."
I suppress a growl, not wanting to frighten him and reveal him to the others, "Well, that isn't right."
He moved his head, "I agree."
"I wish I could help your people, but I don't have any say." Grabbing a bag, I put small pieces of food in it until it's full, tie it up, then fill a plate for him, "Eat."
He does, rather ravenously, which makes me giggle. It reminds me of us and other shifters. I think he would fit in quite well here. And so does my dragon.
I grab a pouch of water, handing it to him, "It's clean water."
"We boil our water from the river, then strain it before storing it in waterproof pounces and barrels."
"Do you have ale?"
"And wine, but those are for celebrations, not for daily consumption."
"I wish I lived here now," William sighs, drinking water from the pouch.
I sit next to him, unsure what to say or do. I pull my knees to my chest as my dragon gets stir crazy again.
"But thanks for the food and water."
I smile, "You are welcome." Smoke starts filling the air, "I should take you back now. Dinner will begin soon."
Grabbing the bag of food, I sneak us out of the food cellar, looking out for any prying eyes until we get behind the trees. I then hand him the food.
As I turn away, he asks, "Will I see you again?"
I look at him, a smirk forming on my lips, "Maybe."
William runs deeper into the woods, and I turn back toward my village, feeling the heat of the massive fire on my skin.
I effortlessly blend into a group of my nestmates, greeting them as I make my way toward the banquet table. They are used to me disappearing for hours at a time. And none of them try to stop me anymore.
I can't stop myself from thinking about how we have so much and how that human town barely has anything at all. It makes my body feel hot and shaky.
But I hide it as I socialize and eat with everyone, figuring out how I could help them without hurting us.
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