She thought it was thunder, at first, but when it came with no lightning, she knew better. The trees were dancing on the mountainside, and the clouds were billowing from the mouth of a certain cave. Another roar swept down from the dragon’s abode, and she shivered at the sound. He had been silent up till now, keeping to himself deep within his cave, but this tantrum was unexpected.
“Edmond,” she stood from her seat on the balcony and moved back into her office, the butler appearing at her shoulder. “Please get some food ready for our guest, he must be hungry.”
“As you wish, Madam.” Edmond vanished again, and Mizuki made her way down to the back patio.
She looked up toward the peak of the mountain, and the plume of dark smoke that was still streaming from the cavern. Another roar, louder than before, preceded the emergence of a pale streak of scales. His wings seemed to swallow up the sky, the thin membrane stretching between thick spears of bone that glimmered in the sunlight. The jewels embedded in his pale arms caught the light and nearly blinded her as his wings fanned up what felt like a hurricane.
She shuddered as he roared again, covering her ears as the windows behind her shook in their frames and her whole body vibrated. His teeth were like spears, and his eyes were visibly slitted even from his distance. His horns, still black, had multiplied and ran like a wave down his back and tail. He swooped down the mountain, just above the tree line, and slithered through the air toward the house.
“Edmond!” Mizuki yelled above the wind, and her butler appeared beside her, steadying her with both hands on her shoulders. “Get everyone out! Now!”
He vanished again to carry out her orders, and the sound of her dragon landing feet from her made her jump. She spun around, eyes wide as his face loomed closer, eyes narrowed as he sniffed the air around her.
She half-expected him to eat her, right there, and set the house ablaze for good measure.
She raised her right hand, shaking slightly as she held her ground, and looked him in the eye. The light reflected by his scales and stones were nearly blinding from this distance, but she didn’t move.
He touched his nose to the palm of her hand, eyes meeting hers, and a low hum filled the air between them. The scales under her hand were silken to the touch, and the warm breath that enveloped her was comforting.
Slowly, shimmering scales rattling with soft music, he started to change. His scales smoothed into skin, his horns shrank and softened into hair, and his hulking frame quickly shrank down to his human size. He took her hand and gently kissed the back of it.
“I apologize if I startled you, Madam. I merely wished to pay my respects.”
His voice still sounded like thunder, and the windows vibrated in their frames behind her.
“You are forgiven, Drayce. I appreciate you coming by.”
He hummed, inclining his head at the name she now used, having only recently informed her of it. He paused, then raised his head, inhaling deeply. “Do I smell lamb?”
Mizuki turned back to the house, chuckling. “I asked Edmond to fix us some food… Would you like to eat inside or out here?”
“Out here,” Drayce looked out over the gardens, smiling slightly. “I enjoy the view, and the kitchen leaves me feeling too enclosed.”
“Out here it is, then,” Mizuki took his arm and led him toward the table and chairs set to one side of patio. “I’ll let Edmond know you aren’t planning to burn the house down.”
“Or eat you, as it happens,” he smiled at her surprised expression. “I am not the sort of dragon you are used to, am I?”
“You certainly aren’t.”