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.
Perry D'Aur paced back and forth in front of the cage. She didn’t know what else to do. When she had let it out everything had been destroyed, including her will to live. She looked around the room, taking in the carnage everywhere. The mound of cloth and stuffing that had once been a sofa stared back at her reproachfully. Perry could barely see the floor, as all of it was covered in debris she couldn't even recognize.
Oh, no, what was she going to tell her daughter? It had all seemed so simple. Just watch the thing for a while so that Ayrium could attend to business. No problem for Perry D'Aur of the Purple Alliance, veteran of countless space battles. Or so she had thought.
“Ayrium won’t be too upset, though,” Perry said out loud to no one. “Right?”
The thing in the cage screamed its annoyance at being contained.
“Shh,” Perry told her prisoner.
Someone entered the room; Perry turned around.
“Cap,” one of her people used Perry’s moniker to address her, “Amel is here to see you.”
“Crap!” Perry said, thinking about the cage, then after a moment added, “Oh, all right then, send him in.”
The man furrowed his brow in what Perry assumed was confusion, since Perry did not normally react with dread upon Amel's arrival. Amel was one of Perry’s mekan’stan or friend lovers, and usually news of his coming was enough to put Perry into a good mood for weeks. Not this time, though. Perry saw the man hesitate and shot him her most ferocious glare. He backed out of the room and did what he was told.
Even in the midst of this carnage, Amel was truly a sight for sore eyes. His gorgeous grey eyes and brilliant smile made Perry relax and believe for a moment that it would all be okay. Then the thing shrieked again. Not so much. “Welcome to my mess,” Perry said with a frustrated sigh.
Amel looked around. “Indeed,” he said. Then Amel’s eyes fell on the cage. He looked horrified.
“How could you!” he said. That was the one thing she couldn't stand about Amel; his reproachful expression was enough to make her feel like an okal'a'ni planet breaker who should be barred from rebirth forever.
“I had no choice!” Perry defended herself. She drew breath to explain, but Amel didn’t listen; he went straight over to the cage and opened it.
The little blonde toddler jumped up out of the cage at once and landed on Amel’s shoulders.
“Don’t let it out!” Perry groaned. “She will destroy everything… again!”
“Awww, but look,” Amel said. “Look at those beautiful blue eyes. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s just a little cutie, yes she is,” Amel cooed.
“Ha!” Perry said. “You just wait!”
“But she is just a baby,” Amel said softly, while the baby in question, seemingly bored with just sitting on Amel’s shoulder, started to crawl all over him.
“Okay, so she’s just a baby, but a baby what?” Perry asked. Perry knew babies, and this thing was no baby.
Amel turned his head to look at the little girl on his back and decided.
“A baby dragon,” he said.
“And you don’t think an infant dragon should be in a cage till her mother gets back?” Of course Amel wouldn't; she had never been able to cure him of thinking everyone around him was as good as he was himself.
“No,” Amel said. “Even if she is a dragon, she is a baby dragon. You can’t hurt a baby, Perry!”
“I wasn’t hurting her,” Perry said, “just containing her.”