Caught (Dragonfire 5)
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Copyright ©2014 B.J. McCall
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"Race me to the river?" Adatha Krytt fluttered her golden wings. "I've shaved five minutes off my time."
Dressed in his dragon warrior uniform, Trynt Andrak sat on the spread wing of the headless dragon statue that graced the roof of the Wyryk Temple. The wind generated by her wings ruffled Trynt's sun-streaked brown hair. Just looking at Trynt made Adatha's heart flutter faster than her wings.
He grinned. "You know I can beat you without working up a sweat."
Trynt was the fastest flyer in the Wyryk Mountains. "That's why I want to race you," Adatha said. "The warrior training tryouts are next week, and I've got to be ready. Shift already and let's fly."
Adatha whipped her long tail and flapped her wings. She executed a four-point turn, banked her right wing and flew a tight pattern around the temple, coming within inches of the tall columns, then swooped over the headless statue without touching a hair on Trynt's head. Flapping her gossamer wings, she circled around and hovered before the statue. Only accessible from the air, the Greek style temple was built on the top of a mountain. Far below a river snaked through a wide, fertile valley. The dragon clans of the Wyryk Mountains had worshiped here for over ten thousand years.
Trynt clapped his hands together. "Well done."
Daily, she'd performed the precision maneuvers Trynt had taught her. "Thanks. I've been practicing," Adatha said.
He gave her an approving smile. "I can see you have."
She'd flown the length of the valley looking for him. Rarely home now that he was a warrior, Trynt was usually surrounded by family and friends. Adatha wondered why he was alone and hanging around the temple.
"Teach me something new," she said, eager to spend time with him.
"Sorry, I don't have the time."
"I miss flying with you."
Trynt's smile faded. "It's almost time for the bell game. Relax and have a little fun. You have a fine nose for gold. Use it."
The traditional bell game had originated in the Fire Mountains. Gold bells were hidden in the forest and the dragon that found the most bells won. The games were very popular. "My friends don't want me to compete," she said, snorting smoke. "I always win."
"Find something to track. Tracking is a good skill for a warrior."
"How about if I track you? I know I can find you."
Trynt's gaze met hers. "Not where I'm going."
"You're leaving? Already? You promised to evaluate my progress."
"You're ready, Adatha. You don't need me."
She needed him. He didn't know how her heart longed for him. "You just came home yesterday. Why are you leaving so soon? Is your unit being called into action?"
"I'm resigning from the dragon warriors."
"Resigning? I don't believe you." Snapping her wings, she executed a head-over-tail roll and did a pinpoint landing on the roof of the temple. "We were going to serve together. I don't understand."
"I can't explain."
Adatha lowered her horned head and looked into Trynt's brilliant green eyes. "You know I'm good at keeping secrets. Why are you resigning from the warriors?"
Trynt looked at the sheared neck of the statue.
Adatha gasped. "You're taking up the quest?"
"I have to leave. I'm sorry about the tryouts. I wanted to be there, but I can't."
She'd counted on Trynt's support. He had to be there. Once she was accepted into warrior training, Trynt would have to accept her as an equal. Adatha was tired of being treated like a friend. She wanted Trynt to see her as a woman. She loved him. She knew in her heart that Trynt was her destined mate. If Trynt took up his clan's quest, she might never see him again. "I don't care about the tryouts."
Trynt grabbed her by the horns and drew her whiskered muzzle close to his handsome face. "I care, and you'd better do me proud. Commander Aurumon needs warriors, and you have much required skills. Don't you dare say you don't care!"