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What just happened?

*****Hatty goes to Elysia with Dove and Libby before the others board the ship****

Hatty and Fallon, one on each side, helped Brenzel to midship and down to the galley to bandage up her leg. 3 stared at the small drops of blood on the deck, calculated furiously in his mind, fingers moving at his side.

Tane walked up and said, grinning, “You’re a handy one, gave that old dragon a real beating. Thank you, I’d have been really annoyed if I lost another ship.”

“Yes..yes…we were fortunate,” 3 replied, replaying what had just happened over and over in his mind.

Derek stood with his spyglass, finally lowering it, “The beast’s gone.” He turned abruptly to Tane. “No one said nothin’ about no dragons.”

“Well, dragons are just an occupational hazard out there in the Dune Sea,” Tane said, trying to put a good face on it all, “you can avoid them easily enough, although I am not sure why this one came so near the city, hasn’t happened in a long time.”

“I’s don’ts like it.” The scout said. He turned to 3, “You injured it, so its can be killed.”

“Yes, if you hit it in the right place,” 3 said, “on the lower right near its heart, or in the eye, but it’s difficult.”

“I’s seen wings likes yours before.” Derek said, pointing to 3’s wings, still extended, “On Brenzel and her Injun friend. ‘Cept they had more.”

“What did you say?” 3 looked at him intensely.

“I’s says, I’s seen wings like yours on Brenzel and her friend, in Lakota.”

“How?”

“Spied them,” he said, showing the archangel his spy glass.

May I?

“May I?” 3 asked, eyeing the glass.

Derek nodded, handing it over.

3 examined it as Tane looked on, too. Extending it, 3 peered at the city. “It’s just a spyglass,” he concluded, handing it back to Derek. “What did you see in Lakota territory? As much as you can remember, Derek, it’s important.”

Derek, carefully wrapping his glass in the rag explained, “I was gettin’ a size of the injun village when I saws them walkin’ the riverbank. Brenzel had six white wings like yours, but the injun, her wings were black with patches of whites.” He shrugged, “I just thoughts I’s got a touch too much sun that day.”

“Okay, I’m missing something here,” Tane said, looking back and forth at Derek and 3. “What’s going on? Anyone care to fill me in?”

“Derek here has second sight,” 3 said, matter-of-factly, as he kept his gaze on Derek. “He sees the spirit world when he looks through his telescope. Very rare, especially in men. But, it may come in handy where we’re going.”

“By Hades,” Tane said, “the High Priestesses do that in Hader territory.”

“A form of it, yes,” 3 agreed.

Stepping near, putting his right hand on Derek’s broad shoulder, Tane said, “Do me a favor, don’t mention that little trick you do to anyone while were down there.”

“Why’s?”

“Well, they have this thing that only females are supposed to have that power.”

“So’s?”

“They have a ceremony around a big fire,” Tane explained.

“Ands?”

“Okay, suit yourself,” Tane said, measuring Derek, “I’ve never been to an exorcism myself, but I hear any male found with second sight is slowly flayed from the chest and stomach as an offering to their goddess. You see, they believe the spirit within can be forced out of the body through pain, and taken to themselves. Once you’re mostly dead, they cut out your liver and eat it.”

Derek bit his dry lips, eyes widening.

“Oh,” Tane continued, “and they throw what’s left of you alive into the fire as a sacrifice to their goddess.” With a wave of his hand, Tane concluded, “But hey…it’s just a rumor… right?”

3 rolled his eyes.

***

Retracting his wings, 3 made his way down the wooden stairs to the galley where he saw Hatty and Brenzel sitting together, talking. Some bloodied towels in a basket sat on the table. Fallon was holding Brenzel’s hand on the opposite side.

“She’s all right, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed,” Hatty said as she watched 3 duck in through the doorway.

“I’m glad to hear it, ” 3 said, looking over at Brenzel, who seemed less shaken than he anticipated. “Fallon, could you give us a moment, I want to talk with Brenzel a little.” Fallon nodded, took the basket and left.

As 3 studied Brenzel, she met his gaze without flinching. Hatty stood, looking first at 3 then at Brenzel.

“You know what I’m about to say don’t you?” he asked Brenzel.

Brenzel said nothing, but continued to look at him, sending a shiver down his spine.

“Did you make the dragon go away, Brenzel, or…did you call it.”

Mouth dropping open, her brows furrowed in surprise and shock. He could see hurt creeping into the corners of her eyes. Thank God, 3 thought, it wasn’t her. “Why did it not attack you, then?” he asked.

“I…I don’t exactly know,” Brenzel looked down into her lap, “It just stopped, I think it wanted to attack me, but couldn’t.” Then looking up at 3, she offered, “When you attacked it with your spear, I felt it, too.” She shifted herself on the chair, wincing at the pain in her thigh. “What is wrong with me?” Brenzel asked, looking down again, on the verge of tears, seeming afraid of a real answer.

Can’t we talk later?

“Darling, please, Brenzel’s been through a lot,” Hatty said, her worried eyes looking up at him. “Can’t we talk later after she’s rested, calmed down?”

3 sighed sharply, pacing the room for a few moments, fingers at his side moving fast. He stopped and turned toward Brenzel, “Is there anything else?”

Brenzel grabbed Hatty’s arm tightly as her friend slid closer to her side. “No….I….don’t think so.”

Scrunching his face, his jaw setting, 3 said, “Okay, rest. Hatty will keep you company. I have to figure some things out anyway. We’ll talk later,” he said, turning to leave.

At the door he hesitated, then continued through and up the wooden stairs to the deck, wondering, why would she lie?

Long Lost Friend by Rest Heart

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