A Transdimensional
              Portal HUZZAH!

  by Van © 2021

Chapter 8



Mac and Una were smiling and hugging—(like a couple of idiots, Mac would later admit)—when the young woman who'd dropped the jug full of Una's "face-washing water" returned, and now she was accompanied by a second tunic-clad ginger, a woman in her fifties, or possibly her very fit and spry sixties.  The older woman's eyes widened when she beheld Mac and Una, then her expression changed.  Unlike the youngster, who was still in a state of mild shock, there were no histrionics on the part of the elder.  Her response was cold, scowling anger, and it was directed at Una!

The elder proceeded to read the riot act to Una in "Gingerspeak," the language of the ginger amazons.  She pointed at Mac, repeatedly, but clearly, her words were for Una.

Meanwhile, the water-dropping youngster had scampered away, returned with a basket and a large towel, and was cleaning up the wet mess she'd caused as best she could.

Mac blinked in surprise.  Una answered the elder in Gingerspeak, now and then, telepathically, and Mac could hear a faint telepathic "echo" of whatever the elder was saying in Britannic Standard, the principal language she used to converse with Bonnie and George.  It was very weird.  She kept her head down, continued hugging her new reptilian BFF, and tried to follow the exchange.

The youngster had finished collecting the shards of the jug and moping up at least a little of the water with the towel.  Now and then she'd steal a worried glance at Mac.  Mac tried to smile back, but it didn't seem to be helping.  The youngster was still disturbed by Mac's sudden appearance.

Anyway, the gist of the elder's argument was that Mac was a strangely-dressed foreigner and clearly not from the mountain, and Una should have nothing to do with her.  Una's counterargument was that Mac was her Chosen Rider (and it was clear that meant something special) and she (Una) was Mac's Dragon Companion (another special something).  The elder dismissed Una's assertions out of hand and repeatedly ordered her to step away from the alien and be a good wyrmling.  (Apparently "wyrmling" was a reference to Uma being immature, which Mac had already suspected.)

The elder paused to lift the youngster to her feet and whisper something in her ear.  The youngster nodded, gripped the basket of shards, and scampered away.

The argument continued.  The Elder repeatedly admonished Una to develop good sense and obey.  Una refused, or rather countered that it was her right to chose her own Rider, she chose Mac, and that was all there was to it.  The elder was very disappointed in Una.  Una was defiant (but respectful).  And so it went.

Mac took the occasion to examine her surroundings.  Una's bedroom was dominated by a gigantic pile of mattresses, or rather oversized pillows, all clad in linen covers dyed various shades of rust-red and burnt-orange.  Obviously that was Una's bed.  Several oil lamps burned in niches neatly chiseled into the cave walls.  There were also a couple of very large wooden trunks, but, of course, Mac had no idea what they might contain.

Suddenly, there was a commotion behind the Elder... then a squad of eight amazon soldiers in full armor stepped around her and into the bedroom.  Four of them were armed with quarterstaffs, four with cudgels, and all eight had coils of hemp rope draped over the hilts of their sheathed short swords.

Mac and Una stared at the soldiers.  The soldiers stared back.  The elder resumed her tirade, repeatedly pointing at Mac.

Una scowled and showed her teeth.  The amazons were not going to take her Rider into custody.  No how, no way, not today, not ever, and go away!

Suddenly, there was another commotion, this time a rumbling, floor-vibrating commotion, and Mac realized it was the lumbering approach of something very large with appropriately scaled feet!

Oh no! Una sent.  It's Mother!

Both Una and Mac swallowed nervously.

The elder looked behind her, bowed, then stepped back through the human-sized door, closing it behind her.  There was a loud thunk... then the entire, much larger wooden portal pulled back into the space beyond.

The eight armored amazons stepped to either side against the walls of the bedroom and snapped to attention as a very large, very reptilian head and neck entered the space.  The beast, who Mac assumed was Una's mother, was beautiful, like her daughter, only significantly larger.  Her coloration was an attractive rust-red and olive-green mottled pattern, countershaded with pale gray.  She dominated the space in every way.  Her giant golden eyes stared at Una... then focused on Mac.

Hello, Mother. Una sent lightly (nervously).  Look.  I finally found my Rider.

Mother continued to stare at Mac.

Mac bowed.  "Uh, hello."  She'd considered curtsying, but (1) the angry 50-something elder had bowed, so that seemed to be the proper protocol, and (2) she'd look ridiculous curtsying in a dirty, smelly leather coverall.

Finally, Una's mother sent a message.  I am Mćn.  You cannot be my daughter's Rider.  You are... foreign.

She IS my Rider!
Una responded petulantly.  I chose her!  And you can't UN-choose her for me!

She is foreign.

She is my Rider. 
  Una hugged Mac even tighter for emphasis.

"Ah!" Mac gasped.

Oh, sorry, darling, Una cooed, instantly contrite.  She then swiveled her long neck and defiant face back to her mother.  "She is my Rider, so she isn't foreign anymore."

Mćn rolled her gigantic golden eyes and she sighed in exasperation.  Una...  She then refocused on Mac.

Mac managed a nervous smile as the gigantic golden orbs stared into her wide, green eyes.

You are more than foreign, you are like the others from beyond the sky... the brown-heads... Bonnie and George.

We're going to rescue them,"
Una explained helpfully.

Hush, darling,
Mćn scolded her daughter, then focused on Mac, once again.

"Bonnie and George are my friends," Mac confirmed.  "We aren't, uh, from here... and we don't know how we came to be here, wherever here is.

Mćn smiled.  And yes, dragons can smile.  Dragon faces are quite expressive.  WE know how you came to be here, but we'll discuss it later.  She turned to frown at her daughter.  Your Rider stinks... and she's hungry.  I've taught you better than that.  Take care of her.

And with that, Mćn's titanic head and neck pulled back out of the bedroom, and by the rumble of fading footfalls once again vibrating the stone floor, she was lumbering away.

Una hugged Mac tighter, again, but this time she was careful.  My Rider.  She pulled back and smiled at Mac with her beautiful dragon face.  Mother likes you.  She likes your mind.

Mac smiled back.  "Good thing, because we're a package deal.  My mind comes with the rest of me."

Una laughed, as did the guards.  You talk so funny.  I like it.

Mac grinned, then blinked and turned to the guards.  "You understand me?"  Then she realized she was speaking their language, not Britannic Standard!  "I mean, how do I suddenly speak... Dearg?"

The guards shrugged and continued smiling.

It's 'cause I'm teaching you, darling, Una explained.  I'm teaching your mind.  I'm not ACTUALLY teaching your mind.  I'm not actively doing anything.  I think, you hear me think, you learn.  Your mind learns.  It happens.

The oldest amazon guard nodded.  (Mac assumed she was the senior amazon.)  "It happens."  Her smile widened, "and it happens quick when you're smart.  I ran into a herdsman from the far plains of Talamhdearg once on a patrol sweep, and could barely understand a word out of his mouth.  Then a scout dragon landed and got involved, and the more we spoke the more his speech became clear, 'til it was clear as the sky."

Yes, yes, very nice, Una said/thought.  Now, go away!  Or better yet, bring some food for my Rider.  THEN go away.  Nice food.  Something good.  Roast bison.

The senior amazon and Mac exchanged a smile, then the amazon turned to one of her squad.  "My respects to the Captain and tell her we're taking this one to the Main Southwest Legionary Bath.  Then, respects to the Officer of the Bath and request a meal for one, something good."

"Yes, Sáirsint," the amazon responded, thumped her left chest with her right fist, the senior amazon returned what was obviously their form of salute, then the junior smartly spun on her booted heels and jogged from the bedroom.

I'm coming along, Una announced.

"I assumed as much," the senior amazon said, then turned back to Mac.  "I'm under orders to keep you under close guard, so I'm taking a chance."  She nodded at Una.  "I can tell this one trusts you, but I'll still be in trouble if you try and escape."

Mac smiled, unbuckled her belt and pulled off her dirk.  "I give you my word."  She handed the sheathed weapon to the amazon, hilt first, then re-buckled her belt.  "My name is Maeve, but I go by Mac.  I take it you are Sáirsint?"

"She was born Sáirsint," an amused amazon whispered.

"Quiet in the ranks!" the amazon barked, but she was still smiling.  "Sáirsint is my rank.  My name is Gráinne."  She tucked Mac's dirk in her belt, then offered her hand and they shook.  "I accept your parole, Mac, but I still have my orders."

"I understand," Mac answered.  Once Gráinne had explained that "Sáirsint" was a rank, "Sergeant" instantly took its place in her mind.  Dragon-mediated-language-learning might be ultra-fast, but apparently it had its shortcomings.  She realized she was probably going to be gaffe prone until she gained more experience in Dearg.

Now that you're done insulting my Rider by implying she'd run away without me, Una huffed (mentally), let's go.  Una smiled, released her embrace, then nuzzled Mac with her large, beautiful head.  You DO smell, darling, but I like it.

Gráinne and the rest of Mac's amazon guards thought this was very humorous, but managed to limit their reactions to knowing smiles.

Mac blushed but also smiled.  "Thank you, Una," she said, then kissed the scales of Una's rather large right cheek.

"Uh, the parolee and I will go first," Sergeant Gráinne announced (ordered), "then Princess Una, then the rest of you lot.  Look sharp." 

The party stepped off and exited Una's bedroom.

Mac was looking forward to a bath and a good meal—or any meal, for that matter—then she'd bring up the topic of reuniting with Bonnie and George and introducing them to Princess Una.  Wait, she thought, Princess Una?  Una's a royal?

Mother's Rider is the Dearg Queen, Una explained helpfully, so the Dearg call Mother the Dragon Queen, and since I'm her hatchling, I'm a Princess, but I'm not the CROWN Princess 'cause that's my big sister Dearbhail, who is off at North Border Mountain with the Seventh Legion, and my other big sister Reenock who's in Great Loch Harbor with the Eleventh Legion, and—

"Princess, please!" Sergeant Gráinne interrupted, "You'll give your new Rider a headache."

Oh!  Una was instantly contrite.  Sorry, darling.  I'll be more careful.

"That's okay," Mac smiled as she reached up and patted the underside of Una's neck.  Even though her new dragon/BFF was second in line, Una's long neck meant her head was bobbing more or less a step ahead of Mac and Gráinne.

"Speaking with dragons gets easier with time," Gráinne said in an aside to Mac, "especially with mature dragons."

I heard that! Una pouted.

"Good," Gráinne responded, then turned back to Mac.  "You really aren't Dearg, are you?"

"No, I'm not," Mac sighed.

"Odd," Gráinne said.  "You're the first person I've ever met who looks Dearg but isn't Dearg."

The march to the baths and Mac's promised good meal continued.

 Chapter 8

Bonnie and Hiolair the artisan (or engineer or whatever she was) had been examining the assortment of tools and weapons looted from Sky Woman for what felt like hours, and Bonnie was finding the concentration required to absorb Hiolair's language lessons while answering half-understood questions with her tiny but ever-growing "Dearg" vocabulary was becoming exhausting.

Finally, Hiolair called a halt and led Bonnie down a tunnel to a large corridor, then into an even larger corridor.  Bonnie's trio of club-equipped guard escorts followed closely behind, as did Hiolair's assistant, the ginger junior artisan who had taken notes on a clipboard during the debriefing/language-lesson.

Their ultimate destination was a large chamber holding thirty or more gingers of various age.  Most were dressed in the same sort of boots, rust-red tunics, and brown leather aprons as Hiolair and her assistant, but a few were in undyed linen tunics with belts but no aprons.  Bonnie suspected she was somewhere in Hiolair's home base.  Half the artisans were eating at tables and the rest were queued at a counter laden with various foodstuffs and loading wooden plates.  I'm in the Artisan's Lunchroom, she decided.

Bonnie, Hiolair, and her assistant joined the queue, and in a short time were selecting bread, cheese, fruit, and slices of cold meat, then making their way to a table for four and taking seats.

Bonnie noted her guards had not queued for food but were standing off to the side and still watching her closely.

Hiolair noticed Bonnie noticing at the guards, then pointed to the food table and said something to the amazons.  The lead guard shook her head and gave a brief answer.  Hiolair then turned to her assistant and gave her some sort of instructions.

The assistant left her chair (and lunch), strolled to the guards, and returned with one of their coils of hemp rope.  Then, smiling sweetly, she knelt beside Bonnie's chair, crossed Bonnie's ankles, then tied them together and to the right chair-leg.  She then passed the remaining rope under the chair, took a turn around Bonnie's waist and the chair-back, pulled out the slack with a firm jerk, then tied a knot to the left chair-leg down near the floor.  Needless to say, Bonnie was now in her chair to stay.  If Bonnie wanted to free herself she'd be able to do so, but not before the guards would be able to intervene.

Bonnie favored the grinning assistant with a wry smile.  "Tapadh leat" (thank you), she muttered.

"Tha fŕilte ort" (you're welcome), the assistant responded, resumed her seat, and continued eating.

Apparently, the guards were satisfied that they could eat lunch without Bonnie sneaking away, because they joined the queue at the food-counter.  However, Bonnie noted they were still keeping their eyes on her.

Teenage gingers in boots, rust-red tunics, and brown leather belts (but without aprons) were carrying trays with terracotta jugs and stacks of wooden cups among the tables, and soon Bonnie had a cup of the delicious fruit cider she'd enjoyed last night during dinner.  Hiolair was considerate enough to let Bonnie enjoy her food in silence and rest her mind.  Bonnie was learning, but her Dearg wasn't anywhere close to the fluency required for casual conversation.

The bread was the same as last night, the cheese was delicious, and the cold meat was probably beef... maybe.  Anyway, it was a simple and adequate lunch.

Just as Bonnie finished her last bite and washed it down with the her last gulp of cider... things changed.

A squad of ten additional armed and armored amazons arrived, and unlike Bonnie's current guards, three were armed with spears, three with quarterstaffs, and the remaining three with short swords alone.  The tenth warrior, the lead warrior, was in her fifties.  Bonnie had noted badges and patches clipped to the soldiers' breastplates and assumed they were rank insignia of some sort, but she hadn't yet been able to crack the code.  That said, the newly arriving elder amazon had fancier bling than the others and Bonnie surmised she was a senior officer of some sort.

The colonel or tribune or whatever she was barked a series of orders—only a few words of which Bonnie could understand—and both the newcomers and Bonnie's three existing guards pounced!

"Hey!" Bonnie objected, and was ignored.

There was a brief scuffle, with Bonnie resisting only a little for the sake of honor, and the final result was Bonnie, naked, box-tied, her ankles hobbled several inches apart, cleave-gagged with a knotted cloth, and with a rope leash tied around her neck with its far end in a senior NCO's hand.

While this was happening, Hiolair and the "Colonel" had engaged in an animated argument.  But again, Bonnie's Dearg vocabulary wasn't up to the task of following the details.  Eventually, just as Bonnie's change of costume was complete, the warrior won the debate, the warriors formed ranks—half in front of Bonnie and half behind—and the formation marched from the Artisan Lunchroom.

Here we go again, Bonnie thought, shaking her tousled hair from her gagged face as best she could.

 Chapter 8

Despite being naked and in chains, George had to admit her time with Dierdre and her Lighichean (Physicians) was a net positive experience.  However, she refused to even consider admitting she was actually enjoying herself.  Involuntary public nudity trumps all intellectual challenges, no matter how stimulating.  Also, while everybody was being very nice and quite friendly, George was coming to suspect that at least a few of them might actually be enjoying her reactions to her continuing total lack of modesty.

Eventually, George's fluency in Dearg (the language of her ginger-haired captors) would increase until she could determine whether or not her ginger hosts/captors had a word for "Schadenfreude," the Germanic term for deriving pleasure from another person's misfortune, but whether or not they did have such a word, George was coming to suspect they were familiar with the concept.

Now and then, George would surreptitiously notice two or three of the junior ginger faculty or staff watching her while she chatted with two or three of the senior ginger faculty or staff.  The watchers would chat among themselves for a few seconds, then share a girlish giggle or three.  It was like the cliques and hazing of Britannic Public School, all over again.  It was also like that recurring nightmare George had now and then in which she arrived late for a critical final exam she hadn't studied for wearing nothing but her birthday suit.

Anyway, George and Dierdre were enjoying a nice lunch of something very much like lintel soup, fresh-baked bread, a cheese that was something like a Stilton, miscellaneous sliced fruit, and what George was coming to think of as Dearg Cider when... it happened.

A large squad of ginger amazons, led by a fifty-something officer, marched into the school, unlocked George's chains, then proceeded to bind her folded arms behind her back in a classic box-tie, hobbled her ankles, tied a rope leash around her neck, and—"Mrrrmpfh!"—cleave-gagged her with a knotted strip of cloth.  Needless to say, George was not happy about these new developments.  In fact, she decided that simple nudity (with chains) was starting to look pretty good.

Dierdre and the senior Lighichean weren't happy about the amazon intrusion either.  They had a long, animated argument with the senior officer, but in the end, the amazons surrounded George, the officer waved an arm, and they stepped off, leaving the Healing School and Hospital behind them.

Oh-by-the-way, immediately to George's left was... Bonnie!  George's partner was naked, box-tied, hobbled, cleave-gagged, and being led on a leash, like George, but it was something George could check off her things-to-do list.  Reunite with Bonnie.  Check!  George could have wished for better circumstances, but a win is a win.

George and Bonnie shuffled down the corridor to... wherever the squad of gorgeous ginger soldiers was taking them.  They had no choice.

 Chapter 8

Mac and Una (with their armed and armored escort) marched through the busy public corridors, leaving clusters of amazed and/or amused tunic-clad gingers in their wake... and arrived at their destination: the Main Southwest Legionary Bath.  Sergeant Gráinne explained to Mac that there were other baths and washrooms used exclusively by the active armed forces, but this one was the closest that was large enough to accommodate a half-grown dragon princess.

The bath was a large, humid cavern bisected by a stream of clear water.  Several human-sized hot-tubs full of steaming water were to one side, and a single, very large steaming pool to the other.  Clearly, the cavern was geothermal, but Mac suspected, the stream, which was not steaming, had been diverted from elsewhere to run through the cavern.  There was clear evidence of masonry lining parts of the stream channel, and more close-fitting stonework buttressed the area between the stream and the closest of the side-pools.

Something like fifty amazons were present.  Most were naked, and either dripping wet or immersed in the stream or one of the hot pools.  Others were close to the entrance, busy removing their boots, armor, and weapons, hanging them from large racks leaning against the cavern wall, then removing their tunics and tossing them in what were obviously laundry-baskets.  An equal number were engaged in the reverse process, dressing in clean tunics taken from a row of large baskets near the racks, then rearming themselves.

Goody, goody, goody! Una sent, bugled a melodic, warbling call, then galloped forward and jumped into the pool, swamping the other bathers and a goodly portion of the already damp floor.

"Una!" Mac chuckled.  "Behave yourself!  You're embarrassing your Rider!"

Una was not contrite.  In fact, she swished her tail, stuck out her forked tongue, and sent a rude noise in Mac and Sergeant Gráinne's direction.  They NEVER let me bathe with the humans, and in the Dragon Bath they make me stay in the kiddie pool.  She used the tip of her tail to poke one of the naked soldiers with her in the pool in her tummy.  The amazon bathers (including the poor unfortunate who had just been gently poked) laughed and splashed Una with water.

It occured to Mac that Una was broadcasting her thoughts, as every amazon in the cavern had reacted.  I'll have to ask her if she has a privacy setting, Mac thought, so we can talk without everyone else hearing.

Of course I do, darling, Una responded.  Do you hear the difference in tone?  I can tune out any dragon or human I don't want to talk to, but I'll ALWAYS talk to YOU, darling.

I see, Mac thought, then turned to Gráinne.  "I take it I'm a guest of the bath?" she inquired.

Gráinne smiled and nodded.  "This way."  She led Mac to the racks and baskets, took an empty basket from a stack next to the clean tunics, and set it on the floor.  "Put your clothes and equipment in here."  She pointed to the cold stream.  "Bars of soap are on the rack next to the stream outfall.  Soap yourself up and get clean... make sure the soap gets back on the rack... then rinse off in the stream.  After that, feel free to join the spoiled princess in the big pool."

I heard that! Una broadcast.

Another round of ginger laughter echoed through the cavern as Mac shrugged out of her emergency survival pack and dropped it on the floor, then removed and placed her boots, socks, leather coverall, blouse, knickers, and bra in the basket.  Then, she did a full-body stretch, arching her back and reaching for the cavern's ceiling, something like fifty feet overhead.  Totally nude, Mac padded to the downstream end of the channel, stepped into the stream and wet herself—Brrrrr!—then stepped onto the large, flat rock in front of the soap rack.

"That stream is cold!" Mac said to Gráinne as she soaped her body and spread the resulting suds over her peachy-pink skin.  The soap gave off a strong scent of cedar oil.

"Straight off the glacier," Gráinne confirmed.  "Until they earn their swords, recruits get cold baths only.  It's strong motivation to pass the basic trials."

"I can imagine," Mac shivered as she stepped back into the stream and rinsed herself.  It didn't take very long, and soon Mac was padding to the large hot-pool and her languidly basking dragon-BFF.  Several naked amazons were busy scrubbing Una's body with handfuls of wet sand lifted from the bottom of the pool.  Una smiled as her Rider entered the pool.  Thank you! she broadcast as Mac approached.  Now, go away.  My Rider is here.

Una, that's rude, Mac scolded.

It is?  Really?

Very much so, Mac confirmed.

I'm sorry, Una broadcast.  Thank you all.  That was very nice of you.

The departing soldiers smiled and waved,  They hadn't really been offended by Una's discourtesy.  It was obvious Una was distracted by (meaning obsessed with) the arrival of her wonderful new Rider, and she was adorable!

I'll show you the places they missed, Una sent.

Okay.  Mac grabbed a handful of sand and started scrubbing Una's left... wing-pit?

After several seconds of companionable scrubbing of reptilian scales, soaking in hot water, and Una purring and humming melodious dragon-tunes, a tunic-clad soldier arrived with a tray laden with fruit, bread, cheese, cold meat, a terracotta jug, and a wooden cup.

"Your food is here," Gráinne announced.

Mac's stomach grumbled.  Do you mind? she asked, smiling at Una.

Of course not, darling, Una sent, then lifted her head and focused on a cluster of amazon bathers.  My Rider is hungry and needs to eat.  The rest of you may scrub me again.

Hands on hips, Mac glared at her Dragon Companion.  Manners, she thought.

Sorry, darling.  She focused her very big golden eyes on the naked gingers who weren't her Rider.  Please?  I'd very much appreciate it.

The amazon bathers laughed.  They'd already been on their way to resume scrubbing the Dragon Queen's hilariously adorable hatchling with clean sand.

Meanwhile, Mac waded to the shallows, sat on a convenient boulder at the edge of the pool, and began eating.  She managed not to wolf down the food like a starving animal, but it was a near thing.  Distracted by Una and her new role as Una's Rider, she'd forgotten how hungry she was.  The food was delicious, and the meat was... not beef.  She wasn't sure what it was, but it was delicious.

Mac was popping the last of the meal into her mouth when a senior amazon accompanied by a squad of soldiers entered the bath.
Julianne Moore!
Brigadier Caradoc

"This isn't good," Gráinne whispered, then snapped to attention.  "Brigadier Caradoc!" she announced in a loud voice, then snapped a salute and took a step back.  Every amazon in the bath instantly stood or sloshed to their feet, naked or otherwise, and snapped to attention.

Caradoc was in her early, very fit sixties.  She stared down at Mac as she climbed to her feet like the others.  Mac was still in the pool with the steaming water up to her mid-thighs.  "Brigadier," Mac said with a respectful bow.

"You are the alien who sneaked into the Labyrinth," The Brigadier said, her green eyes locked on Mac's carefully composed face.

She is my Rider, Una broadcast.  I called her here.  Leave her alone!

Caradoc ignored the agitated young dragon and remained focused on Mac.  "Among other things," she continued, "I am responsible for the security of the Dragon-Mother-Home, the Queen's Court, and the mountain in general.  I am not happy."

Like we care if—

"Una!" Mac shouted at her BFF.  "Please!"  She then turned back to the glowering Brigadier.  "I won't apologize for trying to rescue my friends, or for answering Una's call, but Sergeant Gráinne has my parole.  I won't cause any trouble."

Caradoc turned to Gráinne and the Sergeant pulled Mac's sheathed dirk from her belt and placed it in the Brigadier's outstretched hand.

"Well," Caradoc said as she tucked the dirk in her belt, "now I have your parole."  She wasn't scowling any longer, but she wasn't exactly smiling, either.  "You and your brown-haired alien companions are summoned to the Queen, but she'll be arguing with the Guild Leaders and senior dragons for at least another hour, so..."  She turned to Sergeant Gráinne.  "Dry her off, issue her a tunic, belt, and sandals, and somehow deal with her hair.  I can't take her to meet the Queen looking like a half-drowned fox."

Una shook herself—sending a million water droplets everywhere—then waded from the pool and spread her wings so they could drip dry.  I'm coming too! she broadcast.

Caradoc rolled her green eyes.  "Of course you are," she sighed, then cleared her throat.  "Carry on!"  The naked amazons sprang into action.  Several started using towels to dry Una's scales while others dried Mac, including her tousled hair.

It feels good to be clean, Mac mused.

Don't worry, darling, Una sent.  Caradoc is a sweetie when she isn't being so... military.  She used to tickle my tummy and scratch my chin when I was small... meaning smaller... meaning right after I hatched.

I see.  Apparently, Mac was finally going to link up with her partners, meaning her human partners, Bonnie and George, as opposed to her new dragon partner, Una.

Things were finally looking up for the crew of The Spirit of Skywoman... or not.

 Chapter 8


Chapter 7
֍ Chapter 9