"Good morning!" Lee said to her beloved stallion, Mixer. He backed away and she noticed that his multicolored hide was still clean from the night before.
"I'm glad you decided to give me a break with the grooming today," she exclaimed with a laugh. She sat up, groaning as her muscles complained from hard riding the day before. Ignoring the pain, she continued to struggle until she stood up. Just then, the sun hit the horizon, bathing the prairie with its golden rays. Instantly, blurry gray was transformed into a palate of greens and yellows. She sighed, taking in the serene sights. Grabbing her clothes, she pulled them on; breeches, worn leather boots, and a faded out tunic. She strapped her sword and matching dagger to her side, and continued down to a nearby lake. Leaning over the edge of the bank, she splashed the cool, clear water onto her face in an attempt to get some of the dust off. That being done, she stared at her reflection, seeing a dull girl stare back. Her wavy red hair fell over her shoulder in the light breeze as she rubbed her green eyes, still trying to wake herself up.
"Oh don't I look like a princess today", she said out loud, even though there was no one to hear her. A huge eye came up to the surface of the water, startling her out of her thoughts. The eye was at least half her height and its cat-like pupil narrowed as its owner recognized her. Before she could move out of the way, the dragon lifted his head, soaking her with water. He tilted his head to look down at her, the action making him look quite elegant indeed.
He was known as Tsunami, leader of the water dragon clan. His long, snake-like body floated just below the surface, letting a long dorsal fin show. His almost transparent blue wings were folded close to his body and his neck gracefully arched to his head. A blue spiked fin lined his head like a lion's mane, leading into a fierce eye and rounded snout. Nostrils flared as he took in Lees scent, further meeting his expectations. She knelt on one knee, the proper greeting to a dragon of his rank.
"Morning Lee", his deep voice boomed. To anyone else, this would have sounded like a roar.
"Good morning Tsunami", she replied cheerfully. She then stood up, making it easier for him to see her. "What brings you here?"
"I have a favor to ask of you, young knight", he calmly stated, "A problem has arisen between our kind and yours in the south. I need your talent to see what it is." Although this really did not sound that exciting, Lee figured that it wouldn't be a good idea to refuse.
"Ok, I'll help, just give me some directions", she replied with a sigh, taking out some parchment and a quill pen.
"No need for that, Blade will accompany you; he knows that area well."
"Blade? Who's that?"
Her answer came in the form of a young dragon, his shoulder level with her head. He was beautiful, and the most unusual dragon that she have ever seen. Glossy, dark blue scales covered his body, turning to a lighter shade on his belly. He had a long tail with a scissor-like blade on the end. Then came to weirdest part, he stood on four legs. Now for a fire, wind, or earth dragon that would be normal, but his blue scaled led Lee to think that he was a water dragon. He must have seen the confusion in her eyes.
"I'm a mutt," he said in the voice that sounded much like that of a teenage boy. "I happen to be all four types mixed into one."
"Just like my horse," She replied, motioning to her multi-colored mount. Blade sat down much like a dog does, giving her a better view of his face. He had a small snout with bright blue, catlike eyes. A short horn stuck out of the top of his snout and a protective triceratops like plate surrounded his head.
"You have to be the most handsome dragon that I have ever seen," Lee whispered, then quickly covered her mouth, realizing that she had spoken out loud. Blade laughed, revealing a mouth filled with sharp teeth and a forked tongue.
"I guess I'll take that as a compliment, though I don't know how handsome I would be to others of your kind."
"I can see that I'm not going to have to worry about you two getting along or not." Interrupted Tsunami. Lee had completely for gotten that he was even there, dragons can be very quiet for their size.
"Yeah, I think I can stand her, at least for a little while," replied Blade, giving her a wink. He had to be one of the most human-acting dragons that she had ever come across. "By the way, how old are you Lee?"
"Eighteen," She replied. She had just earned my shield a few months before.
"Oh, that's just about my age in human years."
"How old are you in dragon years?" she asked, letting her curiosity get the best of her.
"Around one hundred, but I will be one hundred and one in October," he said proudly, puffing out his chest.
"Yes, Blade is the newest in our clan," Tsunami said with an exasperating sigh. "I guess you two better get going."
"Finally!" cheered Blade. "I though we were going to sit here and talk all day!"
Blade and Lee said their good-byes, blade bowing his head in the traditional dragon way. Lee untied Mixer from a nearby tree, tightened the cinch and stepped into the saddle. Blade lowered his head until he was eye level with the horse.
"Shouldn't he be afraid of me?" he questioned, seeming disappointed with the calm stallion.
"I've spent so much time with the dragons that they don't even bother him anyone," She replied, kicking Mixer into a slow lope. Blade easily kept up, his ground-covering trot looking quite graceful. They stayed in silence for an hour or two, still getting used to each others company. She took that advantage to let herself dose off, trusting Mixer to follow the path spread out for them ahead.
Mixers labored breathing snapped her out of her nap.
"Uh, Lee?" blade interrupted, "He doesn't look too good."
The dragon was right. White foam had built up around his saddle pad and his normally blotchy colored coat was a glossy black. "Stupid" she thought to herself, "You let your horse lope for two hours straight!" Mixer was so well trained that he would do whatever she wanted to the best of his ability, even if that included almost killing himself. Lee quickly jumped off, causing blade to jump sideways to avoid stepping on her. She swiped both the saddle and the pad off the horse in one fluid movement. Stuffing the sweat-soaked pad into her largest saddlebag, she picked up the saddle; balancing it on her hip as she grabbed Mixers reins. Their pace slowed dramatically, both four legged creatures having to slow down for Lee. After about an hour of walking, she thought that she heard thunder. Moving Mixer over with a touch of her hand, she craned her neck to see over Blades back. There weren't any clouds in the sky, just an endless sea of blue. Thinking she was hearing things, she returned to walking, ignoring the pain slowly growing in her legs. Then the noise came again, a low growling sound. This time it sounded like it was right next to her left ear. She snapped her head around, her vision filling with sky-blue scales; Blades stomach. She poked him with her finger, yielding no response. Then she lightly punched him, remembering that he probably couldn't feel her finger poke through his armor-like scales. He stopped and lowered his head, questioning her with his eyes.
"Hungry?" she asked.
"Yeah, actually. How did you know?"
Just at the moment, his stomach growled again.
"Oh," he said with a sheepish smile. She swore she saw him blush.
"Ok, we'll stop under that tree over there." She returned, pointing to a huge tree at least as twice as tall as Blade. Lush green grass covered the ground, and a clear blue stream softly babbled in a creek nearby. She led the way toward the tree, arms screaming in pain from carrying her heavy saddle. Blade immediately laid down in the shade, wanting a rest from the harsh sun beating on his scales, and closed his eyes in contentment. Lee unbridled Mixer, leaving the horse to his own devices. Leaning against a tree, she let herself slide down until her bottom touched the ground.
"Oh man do my arms hurt," she complained as quietly as possible. Knights weren't supposed to complain. Desperately she attempted to massage her aching shoulders, but to know avail. She let her arms fall back to her sides with a sigh. Suddenly, two hands grabbed her shoulders and jerked her back into the tree. In a flash she drew her sword, ready to face her opponent.