A rather nice sitting room. Davern's guard went up. A squeal from behind him had him scrambling to his feel.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my room? Where’s my Mother? Why didn’t the guards stop you?
Okay, he thought so, not an enemy then, but what was she talking about?
Eek! Why don’t you have on any clothing? She covered her face and slapped out in his direction with her tail.
Why the barrage of questions? Just who was this girl, and why was she down here? And why, for the love of all that is holy, couldn't he get a word in edgewise? He thought for a split second before; he realized, oh shit, and dodged to the right, so not an enemy, but a furious woman. I think I’d prefer an enemy.
She uncovered one eye then quickly covered it again after aiming at him.
Okay, so the girl was obviously not a bad person. Davern could see that by her behavior. He could tell from her appearance that she should be a Lamia, which confused him because he thought that Lamia were all mindless monsters… he shoved that thought to the back of his mind and focused on dodging.
Davern's stomach lurched as he avoided her, he clenched his teeth as his mind spun, and another wave of dizziness hit him. He teetered for a second. Why was she here? He’d get out of here as soon as she stopped attacking, so he wouldn’t hurt her. What to do?
She squealed and lashed out at him, “mom, when are you coming back? Why are there weird people in my study?”
Weird people, Davern cocked a half-smile, so I’m weird people now, huh? This time he caught the wildly whipping appendage. If only to save time and his own sanity. He needed to talk some sense into the girl, which wasn’t going to happen while she kept trying to whip him.
He felt the thin, delicate scales run across his fingers, surprisingly pleasant to the touch. He fondled them, almost involuntarily playing along the tip while he gripped it in his hand. He looked up at the sudden absence of movement from the girl. A pleasant red color covered her cheeks, and tears glistened in the corner of her big emerald eyes, for some reason. Davern felt his palm go damp against her soft scales; his breathing picked up as he looked into her eyes; he felt like he didn’t want to let go. He swallowed and shook his head. The concussion must be affecting his mind.
“Mother said it could happen, but I didn’t believe her,” she wailed. Then jerked her tail away from his grip. He was too distracted by his dizziness and let it slip from his fingers.
She pulled back and slapped him across the face with the edge of her tail and then backed farther away from him for a moment, eying him as if deciding on what her next course of action should be.
Davern rubbed his stinging cheek and grinned wryly, “Well, I’ve got to admit I kind of deserved that.” However, he privately thought her blushing face was kind of cute.
She distracted him from his thoughts by bringing down her tail, cracking a crate near her, “leave now, or I’ll call the guards.”
“Wait? Guards? What guards?”
“The Royal Guards. Idiot!”
Somehow he was beginning to think that she didn’t have a clue about what was going on in the tunnels outside. She swung her tail at him again, either forgetting or not caring about what had just happened when he’d caught it. She’d forgone covering her face, probably so she could aim for him better.
“I said get out,” she brought her tail down again, exploding yet another crate: cups and bowls exploded from within.
He was really getting tired of this, “how long have you been here?”
“Not that I think it’s any of your business, but if it gets you to leave, I think it’s been about nine months or so. Why?”
Davern paled and caught her tail again. He gripped it a little harder than he meant to. His mind racing, he didn’t give any thought to the struggling girl.
If it had been that long, were there already hatchlings? How long did it take for them to hatch? How long did it take for hatchling Nullers to mature? Was he already too late? He glanced at his right wrist.
The guild beacon glowed faintly primed for a oneway emergency teleport. He could only use it once, and he had to be outside of the Nullers’ influence. Should he just give up on saving Evon and warn the guild? He bit his lip, not knowing what to do.
“Hey, what are you doing? Why won’t you just leave? I told you what you wanted to know. Let go of me!” She struggled a little, pulling on her tail, but he kept a grip on it this time. She bit her lip and looked at him, her eyes filling with tears.
His fingers moved involuntarily, playing along the edges of the azure scales. At the same time, his face grew grave, and he looked into her eyes.
She flushed red, puffed out her cheeks, “unhand me at once, rogue,” she demanded.
“Not until you promise not to attack me again. There is something serious I need to discuss with you.”
She wrung her hands, tears in her eyes, flustered. “Mother.” she whimpered, “I don’t want to get married right now.” big tears shimmered at the edges of her eyes, overflowed as her body deflated.
The tail in his hands went limp.
“Fine, I won’t attack you anymore. Could you please let go of my tail?”
Why does this girl keep talking about marriage? Davern wondered, rubbing her tail for a little bit more; maybe he really was a rouge; he could only blame his concussion. But he thought she was adorable.
She yelped and flushed. “Mother! Where are you?” she wailed; and brought her hands up to cover her face.
Davern decided that she wasn’t acting. She’d probably keep her word and not attack, so he let her go.
She flicked her tail up into her hands and drew away from him, “who are you? Why are you in my study?
Davern's lip quirked up at the corner. “Just what was this woman trying to pull anyway? Look, It’s not like I want to be here any more than you want me here. My brother was taken by that damned bloody Nuller, and I’m just trying to get him back.”
She seemed to relax a little, though she still held her tail between her hands like she didn’t trust it anywhere near him. “Wait, back up. You didn’t break into a Lamia Tribe?”
“No, we fell through a trap set by the Nuller, or to be more accurate, my annoying jinx of a little brother fell through. I’m just trying to save him.” He looked back at her, noticing that something seemed wrong. Where she’d been feisty and full of vigor a moment ago, she was now crushed.
“It doesn’t matter. Mother says humans are liars.” she wrung her hands, shifting up and down in front of the couch, seeming not to really be paying much attention to him.
“I’m not lying.” there was nothing more he resented than someone questions his integrity.
She spun around, with her fingers wrapped around her tail, the whites showing through the knuckles. Davern could tell that she wanted to hit him with it again but dared not. For some reason, she pulled it closer to her. “There’s no way my mother wouldn’t lose, so you have to be lying.” She choked back sobs.
He could feel that this girl was on the verge of losing it. He got it now; these tunnels didn’t belong to the Nuller. She’d taken them from another race. This girl was a part of that conquered race; apparently, she didn’t know the outcome of the battle nor what had become of her family in the aftermath.
“Um...Miss? Who are you exactly? He finally asked, after a moment’s debate on how to address her.
Her tail whipped out, ripping through another crate and sending an explosion of debris raining down around him. “Her Royal Highness Asaa Sassun, of the Azure Sun Tribe.” she hissed at him through gritted teeth.
"Davern Graves." He said, dusting off the dirt from his hair, “Look, Princess, I don’t know what happened to your family; all I know is I fought a Nuller. It’s taken my younger brother. He looked wryly down at himself and my clothes.
Then it hung me up and left me in its food storage. I’ve been looking for it for hours. Still, I haven’t made it very far because of all the traps and monsters in the tunnels, not to mention: the venom, head injury, and lack of a suitable weapon. I can’t move very fast. I will tell you that all I’ve seen since ending up down here in the pit trap are bones of fallen creatures—the Nuller.
Deeper in, a dead goblin of a-yet-to-be-determined species, a spider, after that there was a tunnel full of sand wyrms. He shivered, and right off of that tunnel, there was another branch, but it was blocked off by spider webs.
I’ve spent the last few hours clinging to a wall, so I wasn’t eaten by a bloody sand wyrm. So you can see why I’m a little annoyed; after that, there was a cavern that I didn’t explore because the darkness ran too deep, across and to the left was an alcove filled with boxes.” Davern gestured down at himself, and she looked to the side.
“I’d hoped that I could find some kind of clothing, armor, or anything that would help me out of this mess, so I could get the hell out of this hellhole, but…” he looked up at her, “no offense meant.”
“While; I was doing that,” he said through gritted teeth and bent over, picking up a box showing her a piece of armor half sticking out. “I found this," he said. "And when I pulled on this box, it set off a trap that deposited me where you find me now. So I don’t know about your family or mother, but the Nuller has my brother. I personally fought it a few hours ago, and I have another piece of bad news to inform you about."
“What's that?” Asaa huffed at him.
“I think she came here to use these caves as breeding grounds."
The girl finally dropped her tail and gave him her full attention, her face pale. “That can’t be right,” She crumpled onto the nearby couch and began to cry softly, her hands covering her face.
Meanwhile, while she was distracted, Davern took the opportunity to put the box back on the ground and find out what kind of armor it was so that he could finally put on some clothing. He’d been trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal, but he didn’t feel really comfortable being naked in front of the girl.