Draekon Abduction(4)By: Lili Zander & Lee Savino
However, when you are being groomed to be the next Spymaster of the High Empire, you’re privy to secrets hidden from the rest of the population, hidden even from the High Emperor and his children.
The first fact: There are only four known species that can mate with Draekons. Zorahn, of course. In addition, women from Maarish and from the lost planet of Joram are capable of forming a mating bond with the soldier race.
The fourth species? Humans, from the primitive planet of Earth, located in the heart of the neutral zone.
The second fact: Contact with a neutral zone planet is strictly forbidden. The Triumvirate polices the area with ruthless competence, and they shoot on sight.
The third fact: Human genes were used in the creation of the Draekons.
All of which leads to one inescapable conclusion. These women are important. So important that they’re being accompanied by one of the White Ones, the only daughter of Brunox, head of the Council of Scientists. Raiht’vi.
I make these connections as Liorax and I open the stasis pods and free their inhabitants. The ship has obviously crashed. Brunox’s daughter is bleeding, and one of the human women is cradling her right hand in her left, her face etched with pain.
Then we pull another woman out, one whose hair is the color of a warm fire on a cold winter night. One who collapses on the floor as soon as her feet touch the ground, red blood soaking through her clothing.
When I see her, the noise of the jungle mutes to a hush. The air becomes thick and heavy with possibility. A golden thread appears to connect her to me, and to Liorax, and the dragon inside me, long dormant, roars to life.
So the records are true. When a pair of Draekons sights their mate, they transform for the first time.
“Outside!” I barely have time to grab Liorax and clamber out of the spaceship before the transformation takes over. The dragon trapped inside me breaks the bindings that keep him leashed with a roar of joy.
My body changes. Green-gold scales cover my skin. Spikes erupt from my back, as do two graceful, close-set wings. My tail swishes around my body, uprooting small bushes as it lashes to and fro.
Our mate is hurt. Badly.
But you don’t rise to be one of Surax’s hand-picked assistants by taking anything at face value. Everyone I meet is a potential enemy. I trust nobody. Especially not this ship of human women.
Take her to safety, my dragon roars, its anger blanketing my suspicions.
Back at camp, Dariux has a med-kit. Its use will come at a cost—Dariux never does anything without extracting a price—but it’s one I have to pay.
I reach inside the ship, marveling at the agility of my dragon’s paw, and pluck out one woman after another. Brunox’s daughter fights my attempt to rescue her, as I knew she would.
Liorax, also in dragon-form, bellows in irritation. Leave her. Dariux can come back for her.
I look at the small company of human women, huddled together, fear etched into their faces. My mate is on the ground again, her hands curled into fists, her knuckles white. I feel her agony as if it were mine, and it forces me to act.
At any moment, the transformation will snap back. We will become men again, and we will remain in that form until the mating bond is complete. I can’t risk that happening. It will take us many days of hard walking to reach our camp, and the woman is in no condition to walk.
Lio is right. Dariux has a skimmer. He can rescue the two scientists.
I pick one of the women up and place her on Liorax’s back. The woman immediately settles herself between two spikes, calling out something to her companions. They’re taking this very well, I think approvingly. Only a few screams and a little panic. Maybe they’re in shock.
Once the women are loaded—the three uninjured women on Liorax’s back, my mate and the human with a broken arm on mine—we take flight.
We’re headed to the treacherous lorithian-pit that is our camp. And when we get there, the exiles of our batch will fall on the women like rabid animals.
I am not looking forward to it.
I do not want a mate.
As my midnight-blue wings flap steadily over the mountain range that separates the Lowlands from the desert on the other side, my thoughts return to her.
Kat’vi. My once-bondmate from the homeworld. The woman who betrayed me by bedding my father instead, who made a laughing stock of me when she dissolved our union , too impatient to be the ruling Lady of Laris to wait for my father’s death.