Chapter 37: Newborn Friend

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Two more weeks had gone by without any further disruptions of our daily routines. Cain hadn't said anything about intruders in the Tower of the Honored, so I guessed that Elijah had kept his promise. He and Rowan still trained together every morning and he had told us that Commander Ryden had been rather embarrassed when Elijah confronted him with the missing guards. He had also mentioned a large bruise on the commander's jaw which the man had refused to talk about.

A few days later, we found out that Olive had punched Commander Ryden in the face for having whipped her son. I guessed that her "deal" with him was officially over.

Preparations for the Blue Fire's Fair had started as well and the entire personnel of the Onyx Tower was busy with building wooden stalls, cooking all kinds of delicacies and many other things. A party of twelve Dark Sorcerers left the city every day for a ceremonial hunt. The game would be used for the grand meal that concluded a week of festivities. Unable to control myself, I had sneaked into the kitchens several times to steal some cupcakes or a piece of chocolate cake, and although all of it had tasted delicious, the quality was still nowhere near as good as that of Sister Elma's pastry.

I was watching Rowan and Elijah as they sparred from my usual spot by the fence when Larry bumped into the woodwork next to me, panting. I was immediately all ears, knowing what news he would likely bring. "Kenna," he breathed, excited and frantic at the same time. "Kenna, you must come. The egg is hatching."

Since the egg had been nearing the end of the hatching phase, I had asked Larry and Ellie to look after it when I was with Cain or Rowan. They had taken the job very seriously, although nothing had happened so far. Until now.

My fingers tingled with the thrill of the Dragon's impending birth. I jumped off the fence and yelled at Rowan that my baby Dragon was on its way and that he had to come this instant. A few passersby gave me startled looks upon hearing the word "Dragon", but I ignored them as I ran back to the Onyx Tower, not even looking back to see whether Rowan was actually following.

I almost flew up the stairs to the floor where our rooms were, barely out of breath when I reached the landing. Proud of myself, I noted that my physical condition had improved fast now that I climbed over twenty staircases on a daily basis. Dashing into my room, I found Ellie in front of the fireplace, her face radiating pure fascination while she peered into the flames. I knelt down beside her and picked up the fireplace utensils to grab the egg.

The egg squirmed and twisted whilst the creature inside tried to break out. A piece of sharp-edged scale broke off and missed my face by a hair's breadth. I sensed Larry's and Rowan's presence behind me and the four of us held our breaths as the Dragon fought its way into life.

First came one of its wings, black as night and with a sharp claw at the finger joint. The wing folded and disappeared back into the egg, only for a head as big as my thumb to be stuck out of the hole a second later. The Dragon's yellow eyes with cat-like pupils fixed on me, wide and curious. It cocked its head to the side without breaking my gaze and I noticed the lack of horns on top of its head and on its spine—according to my books, those would only start to grow in puberty.

Careful not to scare it off, I held out a finger. The Dragon bent forward to sniff at it and squealed softly. With its hind legs, it kicked at the egg's scale until the crack was big enough to crawl out. Still a bit unstable on its four legs, it dragged itself to me and reached up to wrap its claws around my extended finger. My heart fluttered with sudden adoration when the Dragon bared its teeth into something that looked an awful lot like a smile.

Something shifted in the very core of my being then, a permanent change in the way I viewed the world. During my years at the Monastery, I had seen many babies being born when the Sisters had been summoned as midwives. I had assisted at quite a few births myself, yet none of those moments could be compared to this one, to witnessing the rebirth of a species long believed extinct. A lump formed in my throat while the Dragon and I continued to stare at each other. Primal instinct had already created a mutual bond, one that both the Dragon and I were aware of.

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