“Hiss insstinctss are good.” She whirled. The dragon’s large head poked through her doorway; her body was still in the hall outside. Likely because her workshop didn’t have enough space for a full grown dragon. How had the dragon gotten up here?
Even out of the trance, dark violet energy swirled around the dragon like scent clung to a rose. That had interrupted her spell and made it go wrong, she realized. The sudden blast of energy had destroyed the potion.
“What do you want?” she burst out. “Get out!”
Ajani’s whimpers grew louder at the sight of his mother. He wriggled in her arms, begging to be let down, and his claws pricked her skin through her clothes. But she only held him tighter. The dragon would kill him if he got loose.
“Ssuch wordss, princessss.”
Ajani yowled into her ear and a faint ache bloomed in the back of her head. “True words.”
The dragon’s long forked tongue licked out toward her. “Come, princessss. He wantss to come to me. Let him go.”
“No.” She infused the word with as much certainty as she could.
“Princessss, you musst be reassonable -”
She raised herself to her full height. “Ajani is no longer your concern. He will live. I will make certain of it.”
“In two monthss, your potionss have not ssucceeded. He iss sstill ill, sstill dying. The cemetery -”
“- is not where he belongs!”
“Daughter.” From behind the dragon, her father picked his way forward. He stopped in front of her, resplendent in his crown and crimson silks. “Tonight. You will take it-”
“His name is Ajani!”
He continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “-to the cemetery. It will be done with all due ceremony.”
“No!” The word erupted from her, like a tree splitting from the cold.
As he walked out, she realized this was a royal decree and that she had little choice but to obey.
“You do nothing wrong here, Princess. The babe cannot -”
“Get out! Out! Out! Out!” Her voice was loud in her ears, loud enough to silence Ajani’s cries.
The dragon stared at her for a long moment, than backed out. She slammed the door shut, than sank to her knees in front of it.
Ajani stared up at her. Her tears rolled down his face and he raised a claw curiously. “Everything will be well,” she whispered to him.