Caught by the dragon mai.., p.15
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       Caught By the Dragon, p.15

           Mac Flynn
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The room was vacated. I caught a smiling glance from Stephanie. The girl was getting bolder by the hour. When the door closed behind the last person I turned to Xander.

  He stared at me with equal curiosity. "Did I imagine your falling into the Portal?" he wondered.

  I shook my head. "Nope. I went back to my own world, but this-" I tapped my shoulder where my shirt hid my mark, "-told me something was wrong, so I came back."

  He clasped one of my hands in his and pursed his lips. "Then it appears you have somehow overcome a Maiden's greatest enticement to remain with her dragon lord. You have managed to survive the Portal after the Marking." His hand fell away from mine and turned his head away from me. "Under the circumstances, I cannot in good faith keep you with me. You. . .you may return to your home."

  I smiled and shrugged. "Why would I want to do that? I am home."

  He whipped his head up and studied my face with flitting eyes. "Do you speak in earnest, or do you humor me in my recuperation?"

  "You think I'd lie to you after I just saved your scaly skin?" I teased.

  A grin brightened his face. He leaned forward and captured my lips in a searing kiss that spoke his happiness louder than any words. We broke apart so I could get some air. At this rate he was going to suffocate me. Even he was a little short as he studied me with his teasing smile.

  I looked around the room and shrugged. "I mean, this isn't exactly a nice apartment, but it'll work."

  He chuckled. "If I might tell the truth, the High Castle is not my home."

  I stopped my perusing and curtain measurements to frown at him. "So this isn't your place?"

  He shook his head. "No. It is only a gathering place for we dragon lords, a place of compromise that sits at the point where our five kingdoms come together."

  My mind imagined a stone hovel in some distant land. I cringed. "So where is your kingdom?"

  "A moment and I will show you." He leaned back and pulled on the cord. The door soon opened and Darda stood in the doorway. "The map of the lands, if you will." She bowed her head and retreated, shutting the door behind her. He turned to me. "There is an excellent library here managed by those in the adjacent village. Within its collection are maps of the known world, and then some."

  Darda soon returned with a roll of paper. I sat on the edge of the bed with my legs dangling over as she handed the paper to Xander. He unfurled the paper across his lap. A large, browned map spread out before him. The rough leather was covered from corner-to-corner with seas, mountains, oceans, lakes, and so much more.

  Xander tapped on the center of the map where was scrawled the name High Castle. "This is where we are, and this-" he drew his finger across the map in a southwesterly direction, "-is my kingdom."

  His kingdom was a large plain that abutted a large bay. A large dot sat on the bay, and the name on the map read 'Alexandria.'

  He studied my expression. "Do you still wish to see my home?"

  I looked up at him and grinned. "Why not? But-" I slid off the bed, "-first you need to obey the doctor's orders and get some rest."

  Xander grabbed my arm. "Stay with me. I fear your return is but a dream, and I would not awaken without you at my side."

  "Only if you're going to rest," I warned him.

  He chuckled. "As you wish, My Maiden."

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