Feel the Burn Page 28

“Well, comrade, if it is your monthly, stuff something up there. These dragons and Abominations will have you half-eaten before you can hope to beg for your useless life.”

“It is not my . . . forget it.”

“Already done.”

They entered the main cavern and all of them stopped. And stared.

What else could they do?

In the middle of the cavern, by the big dining table, two of the girl Abominations fought. It was kind of like the wrestling the Daughters of the Steppes taught their little girls when they were still learning to walk. Only the toddlers were better at it.

On the dining table was Zoya Kolesova. She held on to the boy Abomination while he tried to get away from her without using a weapon.

He needed a weapon.

On the other side of that table was the rest of Kachka’s team. They were telling Zoya to let the boy go, which Kachka truly appreciated.

With a sigh, Kachka began to move forward, hoping to restore some semblance of order, but the old Dragonwitch yanked her back and moved with a sure-footedness that Kachka found rather shocking considering the female’s usual limping gait.

Raising her walking stick, the old witch slammed it into the ground, shaking the cave walls and shocking everyone into silence. The two girls jumped apart as if on fire, panting from . . . what exactly? Exertion? Exertion from that?

“That is enough!” the She-dragon bellowed. “I’m tired of this centaur shit!”

“She started it!” the cousins screamed in unison while the boy yelled, “Get this beast off me!”

“You want to go to the Southlands, Iron scum?” Brigida abruptly asked the king.

“Uh . . .”

“Then go you shall.”

Brigida lifted her arms, her walking staff held high, the black crystal on the head suddenly glowing.

“Shit,” Nina murmured, her hand falling on Kachka’s shoulder.

Kachka glanced at her, wondering why the bitch was touching her. But the look of fear on her face . . .

“All of you,” the Dragonwitch bellowed, “get the fuck out of my house!”

Kachka watched as a spot beyond the dining table turned dark, the air around it swirling, lightning striking the ground beneath.

“What is she doing?” Gaius demanded.

Kachka shrugged. “Cleaning house.”

Brigida watched the last pain in her ass go through the doorway. Then she shut it and let out a relieved sigh.

Silence. Wonderful, amazing silence. No arguing. No complaining. No whining. No Riders. Just silence.

Now she could focus on the oncoming war and the Abominations littering the territories around her mountain home. There was training to do. Plans to organize. Sacrifices to make.

And she knew, without doubt, that her three young kin would make their way back here. But for now . . . she would do nothing but enjoy the quiet.

Exhausted, Brigida slowly lowered her arms and rested against her walking staff.

After thinking for a moment, she realized she had made one mistake in her anger.

“Should have kept that blasted bear . . .”

Chapter Seven

Briec the Mighty, second oldest in the House of Gwalchmai fab Gwyar, fourth in line to the throne of the White Dragon Queen, Shield Hero of the Dragon Wars, Gold Shield Hero of the War of the Provinces, Former Lord Defender of the Dragon Queen’s Throne, Patient Overlord of the beautiful Talaith’s heart, and proud father of the two most perfect, perfect daughters in the world merely because they were his daughters, which—no matter how much their mother might squawk about it—Talaith had little to do with, placed his legs up on the dining table and sighed happily as he sipped his wine.

Everyone was out at the moment and the Great Hall was wonderfully silent. He loved times like these. Even those vile dogs Lady Dagmar insisted on having around didn’t bother Briec when he was this relaxed.

He glanced down at the one currently sniffing around his chair, searching for scraps to feed the never-ending hunger these mammoth beasts never seemed to satisfy.

Briec sniffed a little himself. Gods. It had been ages since he’d had dog. A quick, lovely delicacy. Like finding beef jerky buried in one’s travel pouch. He hadn’t had dog in ages, not since Dagmar found him feeding on one a few years back. Gods! The drama! And the cursing! Who knew such a polite, well-taught woman had a mouth like a nasty sewer?

Briec glanced around. He was definitely alone. And this dog was not one of Dagmar’s favorites. If it was, it would be right by her side. Not trying to get its giant body under Briec’s chair to grab a scrap of bread. If Briec didn’t know better, he’d think the dog hadn’t eaten in days. But Briec did know better. Dagmar’s dogs ate better than any of them. The finest meats butchered and braised for the dogs’ consumption as if they were royals coming to visit and not four-legged beasts that were so very yummy.

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