It was well past midnight when the lady of the house slipped out of her room and sneaked out of the Mansion. Her long cloak whispered behind her as she picked her way carefully down the hallways, through the conservatory, and out into the night, practically holding her breath in case one of her Residents sprang up unexpectedly and asked what she was doing out and about at this hour.
Smoke was rising in a thin, steady stream from the cave in the mountains that housed her dragon, and despite the late hour (or perhaps because of it), she thought it was time she paid him a visit in person.
The interior of the cave was illuminated by an eerie, cool light, and Mizuki followed the light until she found the dragon she was looking for. He was curled up in the very back of the cave, arms folded under him, head and tail wrapped around himself like a cat.
She was used to seeing him in his larger form, now, but she had never seen him at night, always catching him swooping over the mountains as his scales reflected the sunlight. In the dark, they glowed with an internal light. She stepped closer, carefully, and saw that the light came from the jewels in his arms as well as his scales.
“If you are wondering about my appearance, there is nothing I can equate it to, in your world.”
The words rattled her rib-cage as they rumbled through the cave, one slitted eye cracking open to look at her.
“Am I disturbing you?” She asked, taking a few steps closer.
He stretched, again like a cat, and rearranged himself into a more regal pose. He kept his head low to the ground, so he could be at the same level as her, and rumbled out a chuckle.
“I usually enjoy maidens entering my domain in the middle of the night–why should you be any exception?”
She smiled, realizing suddenly that despite the tremor his voice put into her spine, this was not his full volume. He was whispering, and still she could feel it rattling her bones.
“May I stay?”
He seemed surprised for a moment, but then shifted some more, beckoning her closer with a wave of wickedly curved claws. She hurried closer, tucking herself into the crook of his forearm, and settled against his soft scales. She could feel a hum emanating from him, and wondered what it was.
Before she could ask, he had rested his head back on the ground, one eye trained on her, and whispered again. “Sleep. I will keep you safe.”
The hum grew louder, like a wave of white noise crashing over her, and she let her eyes close, drifting into sleep as the hum filled her mind and warmth enveloped her from glowing scales.