Curse of Dragons (Excerpt)

CurseofDragons

CHAPTER ONE

When four princes fought over who could please you more with their dragons, you knew you were the luckiest girl alive.

It was pleasant weather that day in Constanria. The skies were blue, with not a rain cloud in sight. Aereala had decided bless us with her good will, and everything was supposed to be peaceful.

‘Supposed’ was the keyword here.

Finding peace amongst the four dragon men was close to impossible, not with their sibling rivalry and constant contests which got more ridiculous each time Kael suggested something.

“Let’s see who can make Sera blush more, or laugh more, or fart more.”

I couldn’t remember how the last one came up, but that was not a good day for me.

Today, I’d decided to take the day off. The princes forced me to take one every month, because they said I needed to loosen up from work and spend time with them. I agreed with them. Work with the council never ended, and I always promised too much, letting responsibility after responsibility pile up. I was also trying to garner better impressions from others, so others stopped viewing me for my curse alone.

We stood over Gaean’s pit. Kael had chosen the location because he said he knew it well. Its jagged rocks and steep valleys did not look safe. The cliff we stood on had a sharp fall and ended with a smattering of spiked rocks. If I accidentally slipped and hit the unwelcoming bottom, I had no doubt I would die. Great idea Kael. Perfect place to go flying on the backs of dragons.

There ought to be no chance at all for me to slip and fall to my doom, not with their scaly, slippery backs. Yep, no chance at all. I could trust them completely for my safety… except for that one time Kael slipped the wrong mushrooms into my soup to make me fart, or when Kael forced me to spar with a draeox to sharpen my skills with the blade. Or that other time when Kael suggested I put rocko candy into the fissy drink and it exploded in my face, nearly blinding me. He was rolling on the floor for a good five minutes after that, grabbing his stomach and wiping tears from his eyes.

Note to self, avoid riding Kael’s dragon if I want to survive.

I was still planning my next big comeback. Kael was going to get his desserts from me, and I had to make sure it was especially sweet.

I looked at my four prices, who never failed to be gorgeous. Rylan had the side of his hair in a braid as usual; Gaius wore his constant grumpy frown that hid the fact that he had a soft side; Micah, beneath his red fringe, looked collected but encouraging, and Kael was rubbing his hands together with a devious smirk inching up his lips.

And me? I probably had the words I’m-about-to-shit-my-pants written on my face.

An eagle cawed in the distance, punctuating the ominous atmosphere of Gaean’s pit.

“Uh… guys… isn’t there someplace safer to fly?” I asked.

“Nonsense,” Kael said, pushing out his chest and waving away my comment. “This is the best place. It allows for sharp turns and large drops because of how narrow yet deep its valleys are. It’s great for being adventurous and showing off our skills.”

“How about not showing off your skills? Why not fly across a nice, serene landscape, where we can enjoy the view?”

“The view here isn’t bad,” Rylan said, completely missing my point. “Different… but not bad.”

“Somewhere grassier? With soft, bouncy hills that won’t completely skewer me should some accident happens?”

Micah reached to hold my hand. My gloves laid on the ground next to us. I didn’t see a need to have them on next to the princes, and a light tingle, the one I always got whenever I touched the princes, tickled my skin. Micah brought my hand to his lips to kiss it. I should have gotten used to their little grazes here after being with them for two months, but I hadn’t, because a blush crept up my neck. “Don’t worry, Sera-kit, I won’t let any harm come to you.” His eyelids were hooded, and his lips soft and inviting. Often when he looked at me like that, I was reminded that he wanted me. They all did. And yet they hadn’t acted on that desire, which frustrated me to no end.

My heartbeat sped. “It’s not you I’m worried about.” One day I’d get used to how blue his eyes were, but so far, that day hadn’t come.

“Right,” Gaius said, patting Micah on his shoulder. “So there’s nothing to worry about.”

No, wait. Yes there was. There was everything to worry about.

“Let’s shift, then,” Gaius continued. “And the one who Sera deems the winner will get to share her bed tonight.”

I rested my hands on my hips. “I didn’t agree to that. Although I wouldn’t mind, but you guys have been so difficult about this sleeping thing for the last few… What are you doing with your pants—”

Gaius fumbled with the hem of his pants before stripping it off, leaving his glory-thing full on display.

Out of reflex, my eyes darted away. But then curiosity returned… and why should I be look away? They were mine now, weren’t they? They said so. I should have every right to look and ogle because we were a thing, and people with relationships got to see each other naked.

Thus, shamelessly, I looked.

They all had their pants off but were walking away—except for Kael, who stood winking at me. I didn’t get to see their ahems—except for Kael’s, which was no doubt impressive—but butts were a nice consolation prize, and theirs were firm and completely pinch-able.

I am not bothered by their nudity, was what I tried to convince myself with, but of course I was. Still, I stared onward as if it was my life’s mission because I might as well get used to it.

Rylan reached back and smacked Kael over on the head. Kael scowled, but turned around to follow the others.

With his back to me, Rylan said to them, loud enough so I could hear, “There won’t be any way to talk to Sera once we shift, so lets be civil about it. She’ll take turns riding us. Once you’re done, come back here and set her down, and she’ll get on the next in line.”

“I’m first,” Kael said, raising his hand up.

“We’re going by age. Oldest to youngest.”

Amongst the brothers, Kael had the firmest butt.

Kael let his hand fall. “Hey that means you’re first.”

“Exactly.” I heard the smile in Rylan’s tone.

Or maybe it was Micah with the firm butt. Or Gaius… or Rylan. Actually all of them had firm butts, and this was impossible to decide. I had to give each of them a good grope later, just to test out the effectiveness of their firmness.

For scientific purposes, of course.

I was a scholar first, horny post-adolescent girl second.

“How about the other way around?” Micah asked. “Youngest to oldest?”

Rylan fastened his hands on his hips. “Because it makes more sense that way. I was born first into this world, so I get to go first in everything.”

“Okay now that is just horseshit—”

“I pick oldest!” I shouted. Only because that put Kael lower on the list.

Micah turned around to flash me a dejected expression.

My heart fluttered, and regretted what I said. I quickly corrected my mistake by saying, “I rode on your dragon’s back once already, better to let the others have a chance.”

His expression lightened up, and I felt relieved that my excuse appeased him. They squabbled for a bit more, until Rylan got too impatient and went ahead, shifting first. The others took that as a cue to summon their dragon forms too. I’d never seen the transition between human and dragon form before. Bones clicked and morphed into multiple times their size. I expected it to look grotesque but much of the shifting was obscured by magic which shimmered with an iridescent bright yellow. The glow continued to grow in size and brightness, until it hurt to stare at it directly and I had to glance away.

When the magic dissipated and I looked back, four dragons were in the princes’ place. Two black ones and two white dragons. Gaius’s dragon was black like Rylan’s, and was exceptionally large. He had the friendliest face, however, which was strange because his human face wasn’t the friendly at all, although undoubtedly handsome. The dragon forms of the other brothers had ridges protruding out from their faces in different patterns, which added to how menacing their dragons looked.

Their wings spanned buildings. Their forms were sinewy, every inch muscled yet graceful. Smoke rose from their nostrils. Rylan puffed out some fire, probably to show off. Kael stepped up and released a roar, which startled birds and made them flutter to the skies. I assumed that was him trying to impress me. But instead of impressing me, the force made me stumble backward. Luckily I stood far enough from the edge of the cliff, or I would have plummeted to by doom.

Rylan was up first, so he stepped forward, his form rippling as he moved. He neared me. Up close, his eyes were a gorgeous, shocking yellow.

“You know,” I said. “The four of you are scarier in dragon form, but also more quiet. You guys losing the ability to talk makes life a lot more peaceful.”

He snorted at my remark and shrugged. He swung his tail in front of him and allowed me to hop on. I hoisted myself over his frame and steadied myself on his back, gripping one of his protruding scales to use it as a handle. His hide emanated heat which was a comforting lukewarm temperature. It seeped through my pants—yes, pants, because robes were too impractical to go dragon-riding in—and sent a comforting sensation through my body. I leaned over and rested my torso over his frame, because it gave me better balance, and also because it felt nice.

Rylan growled, which I assumed was his way of asking if I was ready.

“Fly away, big guy,” I said.

He lifted his wings from the ground, and beat them against the cool winds of Gaean’s pit. As he lifted, my heart dropped. My breathing quickened, and I couldn’t decide if this sensation was exhilarating or terrifying. I’d been on Micah’s back before, but that had been a while ago, and I had to adjust to the experience again.

Then I remembered I actually enjoyed riding on Micah’s dragon, and that helped to calm me down. Still, Micah did take me a much nicer place, with pretty vines, trees and soft grass.

I tried to ignore how this landscape looked like a death trap.

Think pretty things. Que sera sera—as they liked to say in ancient dragon tongue.

Rylan’s back did feel safe enough, as long as he didn’t do anything too abrup—

He dived toward the sharp rocks, dropping at least a castles’ length in one instance. I lost my breath and a scream ripped from my throat. I liked it when Micah did the same maneuver but this was way faster, and I believed Rylan had dived too close to the rocks on purpose, because I heard the crunch of them as they crashed into Rylan’s feet. I pulled my face from his scales and opened one eye. Still alive.

But… I had to admit—that was pretty fun. “Not fun at all,” I said to Rylan. I gave away my lie through a giggle.

And, because him and the boys were so gratingly adventurous, he took my laughter as permission to do whatever in Constanria he wanted.

In the next few minutes we swept past all sorts of cliffs. Steep cliffs, rounded cliffs, cliffs with caves in them. I thought it was inadvisable to try and squeeze through all of them but Rylan did anyway, nearly beheading me at one point. There wasn’t much to see in Gaean’s pit but rocks, and maybe some fanciful, colorful birds, but I had no time to take a closer look because Rylan went by so quickly, they blurred.

I was nauseous by the time were done. We reached the plateau we started on, where three other dragons perched and lumbered, waiting for us.  “I think… I think you could have slowed down.”

Rylan’s wings glided against the air. When he halted, his feet made a loud thud and the ground shook. I slipped off his back. When my boots touched the ground, my legs wobbled beneath me. I rested on his frame for support. Pressing my hand to my forehead, I sighed. “Now that’s done and over with.” I was ready to go home.

But three other sets of dragon eyes fell on me. They shone with eagerness, and I knew they weren’t going to let me go until I rode on their backs. The day was only beginning.

I shook my head. “Why does everything have to be a competition?”

Gaius lunged forward and pushed Rylan aside. He swayed his back side to side, and a low rumble vibrated from his throat to travel through my bones.

I palmed my hand over my face. This had to be a competition. There was always one when it came to these four.

 

Don’t miss the next installation of Sera’s Curse on August 14th!