They left the cave and made their way down the mountain. As they walked, he kept stealing glances at her. She looked at him with her peripherals. "Why do you keep looking at me?" He took a deep breath. "I have dreamed of the day I would see you again. I never forgot that kiss you gave me; I have carried it in my heart ever since." She put her hand on his shoulder. "Is that why you are here risking your life, you came looking for me?" He took her hands and looked into her eyes. "Yes, I came looking for you. I loved you since the day you saved me. I have been looking for you ever since, I planted flowers in the woods hoping you would find them and come looking for me. I wanted to ask you to be my wife." She quickly took her hands back. "You don't know me, Brandon. Whatever romantic fantasies you have about me, forget them. Once we save your friends, go home and never come here again." He felt his heart sink, and he felt sick to his stomach. She walked down the mountain ahead of him in silence, and he looked at the ground the whole time. She looked over at him and saw his eyes were tearing up. "Brandon... I'm sorry I hurt your feeling but." He picked his head up and wiped his eyes. "You already said everything you needed to say. Let's get my friends, and I'll never bother you again."
He led her to Ashia's house. "So, what's the plan?" She cleared her throat. "Go inside, show her the shells, if your friends are still alive try to get the teardrops into their mouths. I will come in and deal with her while you getaway." He adjusted his backpack and started walking to the house. He knocked on the door, and Ashia answered. "Oh, your back. Did you get the eggshells?" He pulled the eggshells out of his backpack, and she smiled big. "You wonderful boy! Come in; your friends are waiting." He went inside and didn’t see his friends, but he saw the giant cauldron filled to the top with a thick brown liquid. "Where are my friends?" She locked the door and walked towards him. "There are getting ready, you are just in time for dinner." He looked closer and saw a finger in the pot; he started breathing hard. She picked up a clever and a wet stone and started sharping it. "When I found the three of you in the woods, you looked the strongest, so I sent you to get the eggshells. I was hoping you were successful, but so many have failed, and I was getting hungry now give them to me, or you will suffer the same fate as your friends." He closed his backpack and held it to his chest. "You killed and cooked my friend's. I will never give you these eggshells!" She laughed maniacally. "You should have heard them scream as I cut their arms and legs off; it was musical." Tears started to run down his face as she ran at him, screaming like a banshee. The door was suddenly kicked in, and Darrina ran in. "GET AWAY FROM HIM!" Her face turned to anger as she looked at him. "You stupid boy! You led that freak here!" She raised the cleaver and went to swing at him, Darrina ran in-between them and shielded him from the blade. She kept hitting her until Darrina grabbed her wrist and squeezed hard enough to hear bones cracking, then threw her back into the wall. She screamed in pain holding her wrist, she then turned to him. "Run, go out the door, and don't look back!" He stood up and ran through the door. Darrina took a deep breath, her throat glowed, and she breathed fire on her. She screamed in pain, running around her house, her flesh melting off her bones. She ran to the cauldron, grabbed the edge, and tipped it over herself. The stew put the fire out, but then she breathed fire directly on her. She screamed until her throat burned away. She kept breathing out until her body turned to ash.
Ashia's house went up in a blaze and Brandon felt the heat and ran until he couldn't run anymore; he dropped to his knees and cried for his friends. He then felt someone behind him, and he looked up. One of the bandits robbed him; he turned to the woods and whistled. More bandits soon came out of the woods and surrounded him two men grabbed him and took his backpack. One of them looked in the bag and pulled out the eggshells. "Look at what we have here. Where did you get this boy?" He looked at the bandits in anger. "I got them from the dragon." The bandit put the eggshells back in the backpack. "You stole these from the dragon?" He then looked at the men holding him. "I think the boss would like to talk to him. Bring him." They dragged him to their camp, taking him to a tent. They forced him in, and he was face to face with the man who kidnapped him when he was a boy. The man who took his backpack walked up to the boss, handed it to him, and whispered in his ear. He opened the bag and pulled out the eggshells. He smiled at Brandon and walked towards him. "How did a silly boy like you manage to steal dragon eggshells for Tanwen?" He looked up at him in rage. "Just lucky, I guess." He put the eggshells back in the backpack. "Every single person who tries to steal from that dragon dies. How did you get these from her?" He turned away from the leader and he walked up to him and grabbed his face hard. "I feel like I have seen you before. What is your name, boy?" He paused for a moment. "Br... Bailey, my name is Bailey." He laughed. "You are not a good liar, Brandon Calder. MEN!" A group of bandits ran in. "Take Mr. Calder here and tie him to a tree, and make sure he can't get away this time. Your father is going to have to give us his whole fortune to get you back." They grabbed him, dragged him to a tree, and tied him up tightly. One man walked up to him, and he only had one arm. "Remember me, rich boy? I lost my arm because you hid behind that freak. I can't take her arm off, so I'll settle for yours." He drew his sword and approached him; Brandon looked at him with no fear. "You can cut off anything you want, but I will not let you insult the woman I love." The bandit laughed at him. "You love that thing?" He then went to swing at him when Darrina came out of nowhere and grabbed the blade with her hand. He tried to pull it back, but she wouldn't let go, he looked at her in fear and yells for his comrades. "THE FREAK IS HERE!" The bandit gang ran out, swords drawn and bows and arrows ready. The boss stepped forward and signaled the archers to ready their bows. "Hello dragon girl, what brings you down from your master?" She stared him down. "You know who I am and what I can do. You shoot, and I will kill every last of you for hurting my Brandon." He signaled for his men to back down and threw the backpack at her feet. "Take the boy and the eggshell and go. I'm not going to risk pissing off a dragon just to get some gold." The bandits backed down, and she grabbed the backpack, untied Brandon, and headed into the woods.
"Are you okay, Brandon?" She asked taking his hands, he looked into her eyes. "Physically yes, but my friends are dead, and I thought you were too." She hugged him and rubbed his back. He wrapped his arms around her and cried for his friends. "Let it all out. I'm here for you." He cried for hours, and she held him standing in the middle of the woods. The sun started to go down, and they found a cave to sleep in for the night. He laid down just staring at the cave ceiling; she laid down next to him. She put her hand on his chest, and he turned to her. They looked into each other’s eyes as he ran his fingers through her hair. “I meant it when I said I loved you and I wanted to make you, my wife; please let me show you.” He leaned in and kissed her; she massaged his tongue with hers and she put her hand on his cheek. “Brandon, before we go any further, you need to know I’m not like other girls.” He leaned up to her ear and whispered. “I know; that’s why I love you.” They made love that night, and he woke up with her wrapped in his arms the following day.