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“A Dragon’s Tale” by Evan Drake

In the fantasy land, Geolga, humans and dragons live together in a fragile peace while they fight for dominance from the shadows.

Today’s story is “A Dragon’s Tale” by Evan Drake, who writes the fantasy series, Where Dragons Rule, and you can find more of his stories on SoFurry, Booksie, DeviantArt, and World Anvil.

Read for you by Khaki, your faithful fireside companion.

Transcript
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You're listening to the voice of dog.

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I'm Khaki, your faithful fireside companion, and Today’s story is “A

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Dragon’s Tale” by Evan Drake, who writes the fantasy series, Where

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Dragons Rule, and you can find more of his stories on SoFurry,

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Booksie, DeviantArt, and World Anvil.

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Please enjoy

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“A Dragon’s Tale” by Evan Drake

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Quinn smiled as he lined the dough in the tray, carefully using his tail to

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flatten it against the sides and bottom.

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He then carefully grabbed the large pot filled with the meat,

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vegetables, and broth between his large forepaws and waddled to the counter.

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Pouring the filling into the pot was difficult, but years of

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practice had taught him how to make use of his quadruped form.

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Using the claws of his wings to hold the pot handles, he used

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his paws to carefully tilt empty the contents into the pie crust.

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Lastly, he placed the final piece of dough over the top, humming to

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himself as he finished the pie.

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After placing the pie in the oven and dropping the used dishes in the wash bin,

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he turned his attention to the other pot on the stove where the stew was simmering.

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The utensils were specially designed with a wide base so he could

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grip them easily with his paws.

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He picked up the spoon and began stirring the pot.

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A contented sigh escaped as the scent of the herbs and spices filled his nose.

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“Quinn, you better get out here,” Alyse said, poking her round,

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flushed face through the doorway.

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Her brown hair hung around her head as if she had just gotten out of bed

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and her breaths came in hard starts.

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“There’re two idiots out here making a mess.

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I tried to break it up, but they’re not listening.”

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There came a loud crash and the clattering of dishes from the main dining area.

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Quinn sighed and turned away from the steaming pot on the stove.

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“Watch that, and make sure it doesn’t burn,” he told the middle-aged woman

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before stomping out of the kitchen.

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Just as expected, two silver horntails were arguing.

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Already, one of the tables had been flipped over and the other

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customers had formed a semi-ring around them, keeping their distance.

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The large drakes circled each other and waving their spiked tails in the air.

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They were completely oblivious to the food and drink caught under their paws.

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With an angry snort, Quinn approached the two drakes before

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they could do more damage.

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They didn’t notice until he was practically on top of them.

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First, he slammed his shoulder into the first drake, sending

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the silver dragon reeling.

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Then Quinn spun, striking the other drake on the chin with his tail.

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As a green-crested genial, his tail didn’t have the same

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deadliness as his silver cousins.

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In this case, he supposed it was a blessing as the blow only knocked

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the drake on his ass instead of putting a new hole in his head.

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“What is the one rule I have in this place?!” Quinn thundered still striking

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the downed drake with his tail.

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“You.

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Don’t.

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Waste.

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Food!”

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“Quinn!

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Stop!” Alyse cried.

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She began pushing him away from the drake.

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He stopped and turned to her.

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She and the surrounding customers stared at him in horror.

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He looked down and saw the second horntail barely conscious on the floor, one eye

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was swollen and face bleeding profusely.

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Quinn sighed and took the dragon’s tail in his jaws and dragged him towards the door.

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After kicking the door open and tossing the drake out, Quinn

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returned inside the restaurant.

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The other horntail remained rooted to the spot, shaking

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like a newly hatched dragonling.

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“Pay for your food and the mess then get out,” Quinn said threateningly.

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He jabbed his tail at the smashed food on the floor.

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“Before I make you eat it.”

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The horntail quickly snatched off the pouch tied around his neck and

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dropped it on the floor, the sound of the coins inside barely audible

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over his hurrying out of the door.

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“A’ight, everyone, show’s over,” Alyse said.

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“You can get back to your meals, now.”

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The remaining humans and dragons looked at each other nervously before

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slowly going back to their tables.

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A few paid for their meals and left.

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Everyone avoided looking in Quinn’s direction.

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Quinn sighed, gave the pouch of coins to Alyse, then got cleaning

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up the mess the drakes had made.

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He righted the tables that had been knocked over, but

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one of them had been broken.

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He dragged it into the back room where he would have the carpenter, Neil, repair it.

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Next, he used a rag to clean up the mess of food and drink.

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As he worked, Alyse continued to tend to the customers’ orders.

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Several customers even offered to help clean up, but he politely thanked them

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and said he would handle it alone.

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When the mess was finally cleaned up, he returned to the kitchen.

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The pot had been moved from the stove so the stew wasn’t ruined.

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He checked on the pie in the oven.

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After confirming it wasn’t ready or burning, he took the

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large spoon and stirred it.

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“You shouldn’t’ve done that, hon,” Alyse said from behind him.

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Quinn sighed but didn’t turn around.

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“You don’t waste food in my restaurant.

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Everyone knows that.

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What were they fighting about anyway?”

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“Tark was annoyed that someone was getting their food before him.

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I tried to tell him you were back here working on it, but he wouldn’t listen.”

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“Tark…” Quinn pondered on the name for a moment as he began pouring stew into

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smaller bowls and lining them on a tray.

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“Isn’t that the drake who gave you a hard time last week?”

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“That’s the one.”

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“Then I’m really glad I put him in his place.”

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“You shouldn’t, hon.

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He’s Ragenta’s chosen.”

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“So?”

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“So, you can’t just attack the Matriarch’s chosen.

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Think of it as hitting someone else’s spouse.”

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Quinn whirled around.

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“You’re joking.”

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“I wouldn’t make that up, hon.

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I know dragon life is still a little hard for you to follow, but a good rule

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to remember is that anything belonging to the Matriarch, you don’t touch.”

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He swore under his breath and walked over to the wash bin.

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“This is the last thing I need.

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The last shop owner who pissed her off had his store burned down.” He grabbed

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the special scrub brush designed for his paws and laid the large pot on

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the counter so he could clean it.

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“What if she does that to me?

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I finally got the place my papa dreamed of.”

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“Hey, I’m sure she won’t be too hard on you.

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Everyone knows Tark is an ass.”

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“That doesn’t make me feel better about losing this place.”

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“You’re not losing the restaurant.

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If you want, I can look after the place for a few hours while you go talk to her.”

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“I appreciate that, but we’re short-staffed as it is.

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She’ll come by sooner or later, so I’ll deal with her then.

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What other orders do we need to take care of?”

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“I need two bowls of the stew and the pie when it’s ready.

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And we got an order for three more cups of ale which reminds me we

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need to order some more casks, hun.”

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“All right, I’ll take care of it.

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Can you keep an eye on the dining area for me?”

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Alyse nodded and left the kitchen.

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Quinn finished washing the dishes before going to fill out the order.

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The pie wasn’t ready, so he poured some stew into bowls, placed them on a tray,

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and then carried it out to the guests.

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The fight from earlier had been seemingly forgotten as the dining area was filled

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with jovial laughter and grinning faces.

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Quinn wished he could join the guests for a drink when they asked,

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but there was too much work to do.

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He headed back into the kitchen to pour the cups of ale that was requested.

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The last cask of mead only had enough for one cup so he was forced to head into

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the storage area downstairs for more.

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The moment he reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard a noise from the back.

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He swore under his breath and hoped it was just a rat.

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But he also wasn’t in the mood to have to kill it, dispose of the body,

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and then have to wash the blood off.

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He heard the noise again and stiffened.

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It sounded much larger than a rodent and seemed to be coming

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from the back near the ale casks.

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He crouched low and moved slowly so his claws didn’t click on the floor.

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The intruder had stopped moving, but as he got closer, he caught a whiff of something

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that reminded him of garbage that had been left in the sun for too long.

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He almost gagged.

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Once Quinn was just out of striking range, he leaped over the casks.

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The human on the other side raised his head, icy-blue eyes widening

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in horror and a soundless scream peeling from his pale, dry lips.

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Quinn pinned the intruder to the floor with a single paw.

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The human’s body felt so frail, Quinn felt as if his weight alone would shatter it.

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Upon closer inspection, the human was just approaching adulthood.

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The boy’s face was smudged with dirt and he looked so

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pale he was nearly transparent.

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Greasy, brown hair clung to the sides of his panic-stricken face.

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“Please, please d-don’t hurt me!” the boy cried.

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“If I wanted to hurt you, I’d have done it.

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Who are you and what are you doing here?”

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“Can ya let up first?

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Can’t breathe.”

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Quinn acquiesced.

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The boy slowly sat up and rubbed his chest.

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“Thought ya were goin’ to kill me.”

“I already told you:

you would already be dead if that was what I wanted.

“I already told you:

Now answer my question.”

“I already told you:

“Just lookin’ fer a place ta sleep.

“I already told you:

Slipped through the window.” The boy’s stomach growled loudly and

“I already told you:

his cheeks immediately turned red.

“I already told you:

Quinn chuckled.

“I already told you:

“Sounds like you wanted more than just a place to sleep.

“I already told you:

But that’s an easy enough fix.

“I already told you:

Come on, I got some stew upstairs.”

“I already told you:

“Just like that?”

“I already told you:

Quinn stopped and glanced over his shoulder at the boy.

“I already told you:

“You might be a trespasser, but no one goes hungry in my restaurant.

“I already told you:

Unless you’d rather I kick you out now?”

“I already told you:

The boy quickly shook his head, greasy hair flying in a storm around his

“I already told you:

face, and followed Quinn upstairs.

“I already told you:

Once back in the kitchen, Quinn poured the last of the stew into a bowl for the boy.

“I already told you:

The human nearly buried his face in it as he shoveled spoonfuls into his mouth.

“I already told you:

He ate so quickly, Quinn couldn’t tell if the boy closed

“I already told you:

his mouth before swallowing.

“I already told you:

As the human ate, Quinn looked him over.

“I already told you:

The boy’s clothes were so filthy, the original color couldn’t be

“I already told you:

determined and was badly torn.

“I already told you:

Every exposed part of his body was smudged with dirt and his fingernails were black.

“I already told you:

Then his stench overpowered the smell of the stew.

“I already told you:

Quinn fought to keep from wrinkling his muzzle in disgust.

“I already told you:

Quinn waited until the boy had finished eating to ask, “I’m Quinn.

“I already told you:

What’s your name?”

“I already told you:

“Harold.”

“I already told you:

“Okay, Harold, I’m assuming you have no place to go since you broke into

“I already told you:

my basement for a nap.” Harold opened his mouth but was quickly cut off.

“I already told you:

“You’re appearance gives it away.

“I already told you:

I know dragons who sleep outside and are still less dirty than you.”

“I already told you:

“Just fergot ta wash this mornin’.”

“I already told you:

“I can smell that you forgot yesterday, too.

“I already told you:

And the week before that.”

“I already told you:

Harold’s face flushed deep crimson.

“I already told you:

“I’m not trying to make you feel bad.

“I already told you:

Come on, I have a bathtub upstairs.

“I already told you:

It’s a little big for you, but you can get washed up.

“I already told you:

And change outta those.” He pointed to the boy’s ratty shirt.

“I already told you:

He didn’t think the boy’s blush could deepen, but somehow it did as

“I already told you:

Harold looked down at his clothes.

“I already told you:

He then snorted and raised his head, wearing a skeptical frown.

“I already told you:

“An’ whaddya get outta this?”

“I already told you:

“Out of what?”

“I already told you:

“Helpin’.

“I already told you:

Nuttin comes free.

“I already told you:

An’ I broke inta yer place.”

“I already told you:

“Not really the best time to be bringing that up.” Quinn got up

“I already told you:

and checked on the pie again.

“I already told you:

It smelled delicious and its crust had turned a lovely golden brown.

“I already told you:

He grabbed the tray in his jaws and sat it on the counter.

“I already told you:

He then turned back to Harold.

“I already told you:

“I don’t want anything.

“I already told you:

I’m just trying to be nice and help you.”

“I already told you:

Harold frowned.

“I already told you:

“Last man who said that tried ta fuck me.”

“I already told you:

“Well, I’m not him,” Quinn replied, holding his anger in check.

“I already told you:

“And I don’t trade favors for sex.”

“I already told you:

“An’ the last derg who wanted ta ‘help’ tried ta eat me.”

“I already told you:

“And you can see that I can feed myself.”

“I already told you:

“Still ain’t buyin’ it.”

“I already told you:

“Well, maybe you should’ve thought of that before eating

“I already told you:

my food,” Quinn said irritably.

“I already told you:

“And I’m getting tired of telling you that I would’ve killed you

“I already told you:

by now if I wanted you dead.”

“I already told you:

Harold glared at him and shoved the bowl away, but he also

“I already told you:

couldn’t take his eyes off of it.

“I already told you:

“Tell you what, Harold, in return for helping you, I want you to promise

“I already told you:

you’ll never break in here again.”

“I already told you:

He saw the wheels turning in the boy’s head.

“I already told you:

Harold played with his hands and his eyes kept flitting back to the empty bowl

“I already told you:

with bits of broth clinging to its side.

“I already told you:

Alyse walked into the kitchen, a rifle in her hands.

“I already told you:

“Hey, Quinn, is everything—” she froze at the sight of Harold

“I already told you:

who scrambled into the corner.

“I already told you:

“Well, hello, hon.

“I already told you:

What’s your name?”

“I already told you:

“That’s Harold,” Quinn said, smiling at the boy’s reaction.

“I already told you:

“Why do you have a gun?”

“I already told you:

“Well, you’ve been gone for a while and it was quiet, so I got worried.”

“I already told you:

He chuckled again.

“I already told you:

“I’m fine.

“I already told you:

Just talking to Harold here.” He tossed the bowl into the

“I already told you:

washbin and turned back to her.

“I already told you:

“Are you okay closing up on your own?

“I already told you:

I want to take him in the back and get him cleaned up.” Alyse nodded in response.

“I already told you:

“Don’t need a bath,” Harold grumbled.

“I already told you:

“Don’t need yer help neither.”

“I already told you:

“You’re getting one if you’re going to be in my kitchen.

“I already told you:

I won’t have you getting people sick.

“I already told you:

Now follow me.”

“I already told you:

The boy grumbled under his breath as he followed Quinn through another door on

“I already told you:

the other side of the kitchen to the hall.

“I already told you:

But there was no denying the relief in his eyes when Quinn mentioned getting clean.

“I already told you:

The bathroom had been refitted for a dragon so it was more of

“I already told you:

a walk-in shower than a tub.

“I already told you:

The shower had been customized for dragon use with large brass levers to better

“I already told you:

work with a dragon’s paws and a special shower head to better wash their scales.

“I already told you:

Quinn suspected it was a good thing.

“I already told you:

The extra water pressure should make getting clean a lot easier.

“I already told you:

“Soap and washcloths are right there on the shelf,” Quinn said,

“I already told you:

pointing at the shelf in the corner.

“I already told you:

“Leave your clothes by the door and get cleaned up.

“I already told you:

I’ll have something clean waiting for you when you’re done.” He didn’t wait for a

“I already told you:

reply before closing the door and going down the hall to the unused bedroom.

“I already told you:

The unused room had been set aside for Alyse in the event she needed

“I already told you:

a place to rest which was often since they were understaffed.

“I already told you:

It had also become the storage room for old clothes.

“I already told you:

It consisted mostly of coats customers left behind and never returned for, but

“I already told you:

Alyse also dropped off a lot of clothing after her last husband divorced her.

“I already told you:

Quinn had no use for them, but they made good rags in a pinch.

“I already told you:

All of the clothes in the closet appeared too large for the boy, but

“I already told you:

he eventually found a pair of pants that were small enough to stop at the

“I already told you:

boy’s chest, a belt that would need some extra notches in it, and a shirt

“I already told you:

that should only reach to his knees.

“I already told you:

He returned to the bathroom.

“I already told you:

“Whoa!

“I already told you:

What’re ya doing?!” Harold cried.

“I already told you:

“I’m still in here!”

“I already told you:

“Relax, I’m just bringing you your clothes.” Quinn placed

“I already told you:

the shirt and trousers on the nearby chair but kept the belt.

“I already told you:

He then left, kicking the filthy clothes on the floor into the hall

“I already told you:

as he went but left the door ajar.

“I already told you:

Laying the belt flat and using a single claw, he carefully

“I already told you:

cut new notches into the belt.

“I already told you:

“So what happened to your parents?” Quinn asked.

“I already told you:

There was a brief silence before Harold replied.

“I already told you:

“Never had any.”

“I already told you:

“Someone must’ve looked after you when you were a baby or you wouldn’t be here.”

“I already told you:

“If ya mean put up wit my ass until they could put me out, then yeah,

“I already told you:

there was someone lookin’ after me.”

“I already told you:

Quinn hung his head.

“I already told you:

“All right.

“I already told you:

Sore subject.

“I already told you:

What about Ragenta?

“I already told you:

Sure, she’s a bit…aggressive, but she would’ve given you a place to stay.”

“I already told you:

“Who?”

“I already told you:

“The Matriarch.

“I already told you:

You know, the dragon who rules over this area.”

“I already told you:

“Oh.

“I already told you:

Don’t know ‘er.”

“I already told you:

Quinn tilted his head.

“I already told you:

“How do you not know about her?

“I already told you:

Everyone knows who she is.”

“I already told you:

“Didn’t have a lotta people to tell me shit.”

“I already told you:

Another long silence.

“I already told you:

Quinn found it hard to believe the boy hadn’t heard of the Matriarch

“I already told you:

but considering his condition, he was likely living in the woods.

“I already told you:

There wouldn’t be many sources of information out there.

“I already told you:

Also, knowing Ragenta, she never would have let the kid go homeless.

“I already told you:

He decided to keep the conversation going before Harold shut down.

“I already told you:

“You’ve never lived around other people, have you?”

“I already told you:

“Whaddya care anyway?” the boy spat.

“I already told you:

Quinn inspected the belt.

“I already told you:

It wasn’t the neatest upgrade, but it should fit better now.

“I already told you:

“Force of habit.

“I already told you:

My papa always helped those in need.”

“I already told you:

“I ain’t ask fer yer pity.”

“I already told you:

Quinn said nothing, knowing he had upset the boy.

“I already told you:

He left the belt with the rest of the clothes, eliciting another angry outburst

“I already told you:

from Harold about his privacy, and then headed down the hall to help Alyse.

“I already told you:

The customers had already left, and the older woman was hard at

“I already told you:

work, wiping down the tables but several still had dishes on them.

“I already told you:

Quinn started gathering the remaining dishes and piling them on a single table.

“I already told you:

“You’re hard at work, I see.

“I already told you:

How’d we do?”

“I already told you:

“Pretty well.

“I already told you:

I haven’t counted yet, but your meat pie was a big hit.”

“I already told you:

Quinn smiled.

“I already told you:

“Glad they liked it.” His smile faded.

“I already told you:

“Too bad it might be the last one I make in a long time.”

“I already told you:

“What do you mean, hon?”

“I already told you:

“I mean Ragenta is coming to burn the place down.

“I already told you:

I’m gonna have to rebuild from scratch.”

“I already told you:

“You don’t know that,” Alyse said firmly.

“I already told you:

“I hope you’re right.

“I already told you:

This place was my papa’s dream.

“I already told you:

I can’t let something happen to it.”

“I already told you:

“I know, hon.

“I already told you:

Now, Ragenta’s got a temper, but she’s not unreasonable.”

“I already told you:

Quinn said nothing as he carefully balanced the pile of dishes on his

“I already told you:

back and carried them into the kitchen.

“I already told you:

He wished he had never done it.

“I already told you:

But whenever someone wasted food around him, he saw red.

“I already told you:

He tried to push the thoughts away as he washed the dishes, but the stain of

“I already told you:

fear lingered and wouldn’t wash out.

“I already told you:

His paws trembled and it was hard to hold the plates and bowls

“I already told you:

in place as he scrubbed them.

“I already told you:

Twice, he knocked one to the floor, but thankfully, the dishes were made

“I already told you:

sturdier than most so they didn’t shatter.

“I already told you:

He was washing out the mugs when he heard footsteps coming from down the hall.

“I already told you:

Harold soon appeared in the doorway.

“I already told you:

The clothes fit him better than Quinn expected, but it was still obvious

“I already told you:

they weren’t for someone his size.

“I already told you:

The sleeves were folded several times and still reached beyond his wrists, and he

“I already told you:

had to hold the pants up to keep them on.

“I already told you:

Quinn fought the urge to laugh.

“I already told you:

“Those clothes look nice on you.”

“I already told you:

Harold snorted.

“I already told you:

“Feels like I’m swimmin’ in ‘em.”

“I already told you:

“Sorry about that.

“I already told you:

It was the best I could find.” He turned back to the dishes.

“I already told you:

“You haven’t been eating too well, so it’s hard to find anything in your size.”

“I already told you:

“So, this yer family’s place?”

“I already told you:

The change in subject wasn’t lost on Quinn.

“I already told you:

“No.

“I already told you:

It wasn’t built until after my papa died.”

“I already told you:

“Sorry.”

“I already told you:

“It’s fine.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

reading, math, cooking.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He always wanted a restaurant where humans and dragons could eat, but he

My papa taught me a lot:

:

never had the chance to see it happen.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold’s brow rose.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Dergs do that kind of stuff?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Huh?

My papa taught me a lot:

:

No, my papa was a human.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“What?!”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn roared with laughter.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I was ‘adopted’ by a human.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I don’t remember what happened to my parents, but my papa

My papa taught me a lot:

:

took me in when I was young.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Why would he do that?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I don’t know.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Pity, kindness, guilt.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I never asked him.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Anyway, my papa only had two rules: Never let anyone go

My papa taught me a lot:

:

hungry and don’t waste food.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold nodded and played with his hands.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“So, what happens now?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Well, if you started trusting me, I wouldn’t mind if—”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Quinn!” A voice shouted.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

It was Ragenta, the Matriarch of the area.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“We need to talk!”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn’s heart leaped into his throat.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Stay here.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I’ll be right back.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He hurried back into the large dining area.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Alyse stood in the middle of the room, playing with the hem of her apron.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Sitting at one of the tables near the middle of the room

My papa taught me a lot:

:

was a large Nightstalker.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Her black scales reminded him of the night sky, including the

My papa taught me a lot:

:

double pair of curved horns.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

The only difference was her yellow eyes which stood out even

My papa taught me a lot:

:

more thanks to her ebony form.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Behind her was who he assumed to be one of her Sentinels.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He didn’t recognize this one, but it was a Nightstalker, same as she.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn stood next to Alyse and bowed low.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“My Matriarch, what can I do for you?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Sorry, Quinn, but I’m not here to eat,” Ragenta replied.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“You attacked my chosen today.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn dropped his head lower.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I’m sorry, but he—”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I know.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He acts like a hatchling that hasn’t been raised right.” She sighed and

My papa taught me a lot:

:

rose from her seat, approaching him.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn fixed his gaze on the floor and gave Alyse a gentle nudge with

My papa taught me a lot:

:

his tail, moving her behind him.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“But you know I can’t just let that go.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I know that, but—”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“No, no.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

You’re done talking.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Now you listen.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn snapped his muzzle closed.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I know dragon laws are hard for you to understand, so I’ll spell it out for you.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Just because you were offered to become my chosen, doesn’t give

My papa taught me a lot:

:

you any special privileges.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn swallowed, his tail quivering.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Ragenta—”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Did I say you could speak?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Who do ya think ya are?!” Harold shouted.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn snatched his head up in horror.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

The human stood in the doorway and pointed an angry finger at Ragenta.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Ya gonna punish him knowin’ yer friend is—”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn bolted towards the boy and slammed into him, knocking

My papa taught me a lot:

:

him back into the kitchen.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

The sound of pots and trays falling carried easily into the dining area.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Please forgive my newest employee,” Quinn said quickly.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He bowed again, touching his snout to the floor.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“He’s new here and doesn’t know how things work around here yet.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“That boy works for you?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Yes, he does.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Really?

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I don’t remember seeing him last time I was here.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Like I said, he’s new.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I just hired him two days--”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Tell me the truth.” The voice spoke in his mind, soothing and

My papa taught me a lot:

:

gentle but also with authority as a parent addresses a child.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“And look at me when you talk to me.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

The words poured out of him without hesitation or warning.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“He doesn’t work here.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I just met him today.” He was horrified as his body continued its defiance.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“He has no one to look after him, and I want to help him.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Was that so hard?” Ragenta asked, smiling sweetly.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

She crossed the room to where Quinn stood.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He could no longer hide his fear and trembled in place.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“So you take responsibility for the boy?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He slowly nodded.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Her amiable smile returned before struck him hard across the muzzle with her paw.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He staggered into a pair of tables, scattering them

My papa taught me a lot:

:

and the surrounding chairs.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Ragenta spun and headed for the door.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“That is for smacking around my chosen.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I don’t want to hurt you, but it had to be done.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I’ll ignore the boy, but when I come back here, he better know some manners.” She

My papa taught me a lot:

:

shot one last look over her shoulder.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Or I’ll punish both of you.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Once she disappeared out the door, Alyse hurried to Quinn’s side.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Are you all right, hon?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I’m fine.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

She didn’t even use her claws.” He slowly stood and ran his tongue across his teeth.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

They were still there, but he tasted blood.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Well, you still got cut pretty good.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Hold still.” She gently dabbed at the side of his face with her

My papa taught me a lot:

:

apron, but he still hissed in pain.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I can’t believe I just spilled everything to her like that.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“That’s a Matriarch’s Call, You’re lucky all she did was make you tell the truth.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I heard some of the nastier ones make dragons attack people.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He hissed again when she touched another part of his face.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“If that’s the case, why doesn’t she tell her chosen to behave?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“If I remember right, the Call doesn’t last that long.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Come on, hon, we’re gonna need to clean it.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I think she’s still bitter about being turned down,” Quinn said.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He groaned as he stood to follow Alyse towards the kitchen.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“It was a year ago.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Well, dragons like to hold grudges.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

When they entered the kitchen, Harold was just picking himself up off the floor.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Several pots had fallen around him, but it didn’t appear that any serious

My papa taught me a lot:

:

damage had been done to the boy.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He glared at Quinn when he entered.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I’m sorry for running into you like that,” Quinn said.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold snorted in response.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“You should be sorry,” Alyse admonished, slapping Quinn on the shoulder.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

It was more surprising than painful.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Did you have to run into him that hard?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“It was either that or Ragenta slap him like she slapped me.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

You see how thin he is.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

She’d take his head off.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Bitch can try,” Harold grumbled.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Alyse whirled on the boy with an icy glare.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“You watch your mouth.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

If she or one of her sentinels heard you talking like that, they’ll do worse

My papa taught me a lot:

:

than leave you with a few bruises.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“What she said,” Quinn added.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“She’s fair, but Matriarch's don’t like being insulted.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

If you don’t hold your tongue she will feed it to you.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold’s eyes widened as he nervously reached for his neck.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Anyway, you come along, too,” Alyse said.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“I need to make sure Quinn didn’t break anything.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn and Harold followed Alyse into the back hall to the spare bedroom.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

She grabbed a small box from the dresser emptied its contents, some bandages

My papa taught me a lot:

:

and medicinal ointment, on the bed.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Without a word, Quinn sat down in front of her so she could tend to his injury.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“There was something I wanted to say to you before we were

My papa taught me a lot:

:

interrupted,” Quinn said to Harold.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“If you’re not too bitter about me running into you, I’m hoping you

My papa taught me a lot:

:

wouldn’t mind having a job here.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“A job?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Yeah.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

This place gets pretty packed around this time of year.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I spend most of my time in the kitchen so poor Alyse has to manage

My papa taught me a lot:

:

everything else on her own.” He flinched again as she put the bandage on.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Oh, stop, you,” Alyse said.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“You’ve taken far worse and never made a peep.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“It still hurts.” He turned back to Harold.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Anyway, we could use the help.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I’ll pay you and you can sleep here.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

I have the room.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold stared in silence.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Alyse finished bandaging Quinn and it came Harold’s turn for inspection.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

To Quinn’s surprise, the boy didn’t object.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Other than a few bruises, the boy was fine.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Quinn pointed out that they still needed to finish cleaning up for

My papa taught me a lot:

:

the night before they could turn in, so they returned to the kitchen.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

He was surprised to find the boy following them.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Figured ya could use the help.”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Well, I definitely won’t say no,” Quinn said.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Why don’t you go help Alyse in the dining area?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Harold nodded and headed for the door.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Once he reached the portal, he stopped and turned around.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Back there, ya lied to that derg fer me.

My papa taught me a lot:

:

Why’d ya do that?”

My papa taught me a lot:

:

“Because I knew she would do worse to you than she would to me.

Just so it’s clear:

I don’t expect you to work for me just because I helped you out.

Just so it’s clear:

You’re free to say no.”

Just so it’s clear:

Harold stared at his clothes for a moment then looked up.

Just so it’s clear:

“When do I start?”

Just so it’s clear:

Quinn smiled.

Just so it’s clear:

“Right now.

Just so it’s clear:

Finish helping Alyse clean up and you’ll be done for the night.”

Just so it’s clear:

This was “A Dragon’s Tale” by Evan Drake, read for you by Khaki,

Just so it’s clear:

your faithful fireside companion.

Just so it’s clear:

You can find more stories on the web at thevoice.dog, or find the

Just so it’s clear:

show wherever you get your podcasts.

Just so it’s clear:

Thank you for listening.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for The Voice of Dog
The Voice of Dog
Furry stories to warm the ol' cockles, read for you by Khaki, your faithful fireside companion. If you have a story that would suit the show, you can get in touch with @khakidoggy on Twitter and Telegram, and khakidoggy@me.com by e-mail.

About your host

Profile picture for Khaki

Khaki