Fifteen
Flights of Fancy

It was about a week before Amber felt completely okay. Jackson informed them all that the witch would be delayed in coming home, by a month. Amber had no idea how she was going to occupy herself for three more weeks. She didn't feel like baking and she didn't want to study. Her mind went back to the whole mystery of Cayden's species and she decided to go visit the art room again. She had been doing a bit of reading in an attempt to figure it out and she thought she had a guess. It just seemed strange. Then again, what was normal in this place? Pretty much nothing. Not even the house.

He walked into the room about two minutes after her, but at least she had been expecting it this time. For once, he didn't scare the hell out of her. She grinned at him. He smiled back.

"I take it you think you know." It wasn't really a question. It was an assumption, no confirmation needed.

She nodded, confirming it anyways. She had ruled out several things during her reading. Banshees were all female. They reproduced with any magical species. If they had a son, he was the father's species. A daughter created another banshee. Pixies, elves, and imps were a lot more mischievous than Cayden seemed to be. He was too caring to be a demon. He wasn't dead either, so not an angel.

"A dragon."

He gave her a surprised look before nodding. "I'm impressed. How'd you figure it out?"

"Research. I've been bored." She learned a lot of things through boredom. She had discovered how to both pick and pop a lock because of that. Back in Nevermore, her algebra homework had been done during periods of boredom. Recently, she had even begun to take up Spanish in the interest of making spell casting easier.

"Still bored?" he wondered. She was thrown by the question, but gave an honest answer.

"Yeah. Now that that mystery is solved, I don't really have anything to do."

He grinned and she realized she was a little wrong about him not being mischievous, because that was the only word to describe that smile. He walked over to the window wall and opened one of the panes, about the size of a door. "Let's do something adventurous."

He made a 'come here' gesture with his finger and she obeyed, interested.

"Climb on my back."

"Are you sure?"

He nodded and she went with it, wondering what he was up to. When she had a good grip on him, riding piggyback style, he took a running leap out of the window. Her heart skipped a beat and she closed her eyes, clinging to him tighter as they plummeted. Suddenly, she felt the air rushing up around them stop and she opened her eyes. He had shifted and suddenly she was riding a dragon. He didn't look like the dragons from English lore, more like the ones from Chinese tales. His scales were the same emerald green as his eyes. He had a mane, which she thought was odd. It was black like his hair. His wingspan was a good four and a half feet. She sat just above them, right below his front legs, which ended in sharp talons. Not including the tail, he was probably about two feet taller. About five when the tail was included in the calculations. He was breathtaking, simply amazing.

"Cool," she whispered, loosening her death grip just the slightest.

"Thanks. You were kind of choking me."

"Sorry," she apologized, taking the whole talking dragon thing in stride. Why not? Anything seemed possible from up here. Anything was possible in this nation. It was a fact that was growing on her.

"Hang on," he unnecessarily advised and then he took off, going up in a spiral so fast that she had to tighten her grip again. She giggled as the house became a speck on the horizon. He went forward, maintaining the mile height or so. She didn't know where he was going, but she didn't care either. This was incredible, something she couldn't have even imagined. Figuring out what he was had definitely been worth the wait. She didn't know if she would have been able to fully appreciate this if they had done it sooner. She would have had too many questions. The science part of her mind would have over analyzed all of it. At this point though, questioning things just seemed pointless. Magic didn't have to make sense; it just had to work.

They stayed out for several hours, until the sun went down. He had taken her high and low, over rivers and under some trees. She didn't know where they had gone or how far. It didn't matter. The ride had been wonderful. He dropped her off on her balcony and Tori let her in. She saw him fly back into the art studio and shut the open window.

"That very well might have been the best day I've had here," she said to no one in particular. It might have been one of the best days she had had, ever. It had been…magical. There was no other word to describe it.

She headed downstairs and changed into warmer, drier clothes. He had flown through a cloud and she had learned first hand that they were made of water. She hadn't really needed that information confirmed, but she supposed it had been a neat experience. Except now she was freezing.

There was a knock at her door seconds after she had changed, while she was wringing some of the moisture from her hair. She opened it to find Cayden standing there, wearing different clothes than he had been before they'd taken off. Well, that explained why he had dropped her off in her own room and headed off on his own. She hadn't thought about whether or not his clothes shifted with him. She wondered if Jackson had the same issue…

"Did you have fun?"

She nodded, opening the door a little wider and gesturing for him to go ahead and come on in. "You've been holding out on me."

"You're the one who took forever to figure it out," he teased, shaking his head and staying right there in the hall.

"You could have just told me," she answered, leaning against the doorway since he refused to come in.

"That would have ruined the fun. You know you enjoyed the puzzle."

She couldn't argue with that. It had kept her entertained for quite some time. "It was totally worth it."

"I'm glad. It was nice. It's been a long time since I've just gone out and flown. I haven't gone since that councilor got killed. Mom was too worried to let me. Jackson hasn't gone hunting either, which is probably why he's been so cranky lately. Mom can't keep us all stuck here, we're going to kill each other. I get why she's doing it, but I wish she wouldn't."

"Maybe things will change when she gets back."

"Or she'll be even more worried and even more protective. I hope Mason knows that she's not going to let him leave if he's still here when she comes home."

"He does," she informed him, remembering that he had mentioned it that day they had been brushing the unicorns out in the barn. That had been a relatively good day.

Cayden frowned at her sentence. She didn't like seeing him look upset. It made her sad, but she wasn't really sure why. "Do me a favor?"

"Depends on what you're asking," she answered.

"Just…be careful around Mason. I don't exactly trust him and I really don't think you should either. He does what's best for him, even if it means someone else gets hurt in the process. Keep that in mind."

She frowned. She hadn't really picked up on that vibe. Then again, it seemed like she wasn't the best judge of character these days. "I'll be careful," she consented.

"Thank you," he replied, clearly relieved by her agreement. He yawned. "Alright, well, I'm going to bed. G'night, Amber."

"Night, Cayden," she responded, watching him walk down the hallway. After a moment, she shut the door. Going to bed would have been a good idea, except that she wasn't tired. The day had been simply exhilarating. She went up to the library, which was dark. A smile crept up on her face as she muttered, "Yo quiero hacer un fuego." The candles that were scattered around the room instantly lit and the room was no longer dark. She was getting good at that.

She roamed the aisles until she came across some Shakespeare. While it was hard to understand, thanks to the older English, she was still a sucker for a good romance. Romeo and Juliet was one of the best romances of all times. She practically knew the story by heart. Even so, she grabbed the book and sat out on her balcony.

Reading out there, under the gorgeous night sky, all she could think was, Could today possibly get any better than this?

She thought about it, cast a quick spell, and then smiled. Now that she had hot cocoa, her day was absolutely perfect.


A/N: I almost forgot that it was Apprenticed Saturday! My apologies for the late update.

This is a really short chapter, but one of my favorites. And we finally know what Cayden is! Yaaay. :D