Excerpt

     With another whooping breath, Sun filled his air sacs completely. Frank squealed and buried his face in the soft fur.
There was no room for a proper take-off. To compensate, the dragonlord reared up, nose pointed skyward, and backflipped off the trail and into space.
      Poor little human. He doesn’t realize that wings are a hindrance here. I’m not at the mercy of air currents, nor am I hampered by narrow passes. This is truly flying!
      Frank’s screech of terror was muffled by the mane. Being in the air was bad; being upside-down in the air was far worse. The dragonlord gave a sudden twist, like a cat in the midst of a fall, and righted himself; Frank’s stomach heaved dangerously.
Long and slender, Sun resembled an Oriental dragon more than a Western, and did indeed have an easier time maneuvering. Grenoble was lost to sight, but her scent and heat-trail were yet strong enough to follow.
      *Oh, I am a proper size! My powers back at their strongest, and I ride the wind! This, this is living!* Sun practically sang his joy into the human’s head.
      Frank paid no attention. He whimpered every prayer he knew into Sun’s scarlet ruff, and fought to keep the contents of his belly down.
      Living, my ass. Won’t be living if we smash into the side of the mountain.
      Luckily the ride lasted only minutes. Sun’s keen vision found the pair outside the entrance to a large cave on the opposite side of the Claw. A section of ground had been cleared of rocks to give Grenoble a landing space.
She backed into the cave to allow Sun room. Azzie loitered at the entrance.
       Sun’s landing wasn’t precisely smooth, but he’d done worse. Since Grenoble was more than four times his size, he had sufficient room, but he wasn’t used to the weight of a rider. Instead of raising his head and touching down with his front claws, he was forced to arch his neck, and his balance suffered.
      Frank oozed from his perch. Somehow he kept his feet, but his legs trembled wildly. He knew any quick movement would spell disaster.
       Grenoble wasn’t the type to appreciate an unwanted visitor barfing on her doorstep.
      Azzie smirked. He made no effort to help.
      “Human form,” Grenoble rumbled.
      Sun shrugged. He’d known it was too pleasant to last. It was the worst breach of etiquette for a dragon to enter another’s lair, and Grenoble would be within her rights to challenge him to a fight if he tried. Clearly, though, she was willing to skirt the issue: if Sun entered while in a different form, she would ignore it. He called forth his power and transformed back into the tight, awkward human form.
      “Twenty years off my life,” Frank gasped, once he knew he could open his mouth safely. “Has my hair turned white?”
      “Your face has,” Sun chuckled. “I’m sorry. I thought most mortals found flight to be an exciting experience.”

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