Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda
Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.
“Why is she with you?” were the first words out of Ann’s mouth.
“And it’s nice to see you too,” Amel said. He and his Diff had arrived at Ann and Amel’s arranged meeting place for Rire. Since they socialized on so many different planets and space stations they always just had one place on each where they would meet. Otherwise they would end up searching the whole planet for each other.
On Rire it was a little outdoor café near the docks that they both used.
“We agreed that after last time—” Ann started, but Amel interrupted her.
“She is older now,” he said. “And she promised to be good.”
“Fat lot of good that’s worth,” Ann muttered under her breath, as she sat down at her favourite table.
“So,” Alivda said, jumping into the seat next to Ann, “what are we gonna do?”
“I know what we were planning on doing,” Ann said.
“Why don’t you do that?” Alivda asked.
“It’s a grownup thing.”
“I am grown up!”
“You are eight!”
“And Vrellish,” Alivda added with defiance.
“I don’t care if you are the Queen of England; you are still eight years old.”
“You don’t make any sense,” Alivda said knowledgeably.
“What do you mean by that?” Ann asked.
Amel was still standing by the table but he was staring at them both, or more accurately looking back and forth between them, completely at a loss as to what was going on.
“What is this ween and Ingand you speak of?” said Alivda.
“Old earth words,” Ann said. “You Gelacks don’t know as much about earth as the Reetions do.” She sounded proud.
“Yeah!” Alivda said. “Well, we fly better so who cares!”
“How about a change of topic?” Amel suggested tentatively.
Both women grumbled but didn’t contradict him.
“Okay,” Amel said. “Anyone up for a game?”
“What kind of game?” Alivda asked, wary. She had been tricked into a few lame games by Perry over the years; a few of which involved cleaning her room.
“A card game?”
“Boring!” Alivda said.
“Card game sounds fun,” Ann said, “I think I can get a deck from one of the shops around here.”
“No card game!” Alivda almost yelled.
“How about a word game?”
“I don’t like words,” Alivda said. “How about we wrestle?”
“How about not!”
“Okay, fine!” Amel said, giving up and sitting down next to them. “What do you want to do?”
“Not sit anymore!” Alivda said and she got up.
“But we just sat down!” Ann moaned. “We haven’t even ordered yet.”
“I don’t care!” And Alivda ran off.
“You’re going to go after her, aren’t you?” said Ann.
“I kinda have to,” Amel said, “I am responsible for her.” Then in a slightly more fun voice he added, “Unless you want her running wild on your precious Rire?”
That got Ann’s attention. She got up. Together they ran after Alivda.
They really didn’t have a hope of finding her if she didn’t want to be found. It was just lucky for them that she did.
“You guys are slow!” Alivda said. “I will race you to the next bike rack!” And off she went at full speed.
Amel ran after her right away, but Ann decided to take her time and walked to the nearest public transit terminal.
“Diff!” Amel yelled when he could finally see her. “Come back!”
Alivda could tell Amel wasn’t really that mad since he was still calling her Diff, so she ran on ahead.
Then out of nowhere, Ann jumped off a transit train ahead of Alivda and grabbed her.
“Get off!” Alivda yelled and tried to kick Ann.
“Now, girls,” Amel said, having only caught up because Alivda was no longer running.
“Women!” both girls said together.
“Fine, women,” he said, “can we just go for a nice walk together without all this…please?”
Alivda thought about it. A walk wasn’t as much fun as running, but at least it wasn’t sitting and manipulating little pieces of paper.
She nodded. Ann released her.
“There is a great little trail this way,” Ann said and pointed.
They started along the trail together, but Alivda didn’t like to just walk like other people and Ann noticed.
“Why must you skip, jog and dance instead of just walk,” Ann asked Alivda. “I am exhausted just watching you.”
“This path is too bumpy to flat out run, so this makes it more fun,” Alivda explained.
Alivda, thrilled with how she was impressing the adults, ran on ahead after that.
“So we aren’t going to get any alone time on this trip, are we?” Ann asked Amel, moving closer to him now that the blonde child was gone.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Sorry, but she is my—” he paused, trying to find the word, “—something and I want to look after her.”
“I sorta get it,” Ann said, moving up even closer and placing her arm in his. “Maybe one day when you give me a highborn baby I will really understand.”
“I can’t,” Amel said. “It’s too complicated.”
“If you weren’t on Ferni, I would have that child already,” Ann said.
“I know.” Amel smiled.
“You guys are so slow!” Alivda said as she ran back to them.
“We are sorry,” Amel said. “But we just can’t run as fast as you.”
“I knew it!” Alivda cried with joy and ran off again.
Ann laughed. “She is entertaining, though.”