Travelling underground is one of the most difficult ways to have to travel. Mary fluffs her dress and tries to pull her top up to cover her girls. "They never put enough material up here do they?"
Lyn turns her huge feet sideways to see if she can’t keep them under her dress and out of sight. While Patsy pulls on her too tight sleeves.
“She always looks so good in these fluffy dresses.” Lyn points at Sharon as she strolls in with Oliver on her arm.
“Well look at that.” Mary eyes the tables full of wild game. Nuts, fruits and dates compete with luscious Chocolate cake and pudding. “Big stuffed birds. What are they?”
“Wild perminogen.” Lyn smiles.
“Oh brother.” Patsy rolls her eyes. “There is no such thing. It’s ptermageno.”
“What parmesan? That’s cheese. This thing looks like a peacock and it’s moving. AAAHHH!” Mary screams and points to a stuffed chicken.
She’s hallucinating Lyn sighs, “Grab her by the arms Patsy. We’re gonna get her a drink. When she finds out about the dragon, she’s gonna freak.”
“Drrraagon!” Mary’s eyes bulge out. Patsy drags Mary over, shoves a glass of something into her hand and Mary slugs it down. Immediately overcome by a coughing fit. Patsy whacks her on the back and she flies into one of the huge bowls of pudding. Licking pudding off herself she smiles when she tastes it.
“Mmmmm. Good! Got that over with. Any whipped cream?” Mary groans. “What was in that drink?”
Lyn grabs her and drags her into a side room and tosses her one of the extra outfits the girls always bring along just in case. “Change and then come back.” Lyn tosses dagger eyes at Mary who sticks her tongue out at Lyn.
Mary reappeares in the clean gown. Suddenly a huge plume of smoke fills the air. Mary runs out of the room with Lyn behind her to see what the noise is.
“We’re gonna need animal power for this one I think. Animal power!” Mary shouts and Hampy pops up in a decorative vase. Nibby appears from a side door. The trumpet of a charging unicorn heralds Cuddles’ arrival! Hampy jumps on Nibby’s back, squeals and as the dragon faces them, runs back to Patsy.
Patsy sticks the huge creature in the behind. The dragon turns its head, with a haughty stare at the crazed female and the three animals behind her. Patsy runs, and the other hostesses are about to follow her, when Melissa slides down the dragon's side from behind its neck, and leaps to the ground.
"Don't worry," she laughs, looking stunning in her electric blue gown, "this is a Naezzi. He won't hurt you - not if you don't go pricking him with a sword again, anyway!"
“What a sight.” Lyn laughs. “Well, just another roast. Let’s welcome Melissa again, as she is one of our faves!” Melissa curtsies and proceeds to sign her latest release for her guests.
“Save some wine for Patsy,” Mary grins, “she’s gonna need it."
Excerpt (The Firelight of Maalda, page 234):
The statue began to move. Radiating a myriad of colors, its outer shell rippled like the surface of a dark pond disturbed by a strong wind. It was slow at first and then faster and faster until the statue was no longer a statue but a living, fire-breathing creature that rose slowly from the ground and towered over her menacingly. Its fiery eyes threatened her and it’s breath created a fierce, blistering gale as flames shot from its snout. It stood almost as high as the outer wall of the fortress and gleamed in its own firelight, it’s dark, smooth, obsidian skin reflecting a pale cast over everything near it.
It had a long neck and body with strong, bulging legs and arms ending in black, razor-sharp claws that could cut through anything. Sharply pointed horns protruded from its forehead, snout, and tail as well as decorating the ridge line of its back. It had two sets of wings that stretched so far out that its wingspan blocked much of the night sky above her. Opening its mouth in a savage snarl, it positioned itself to strike.
Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working with the Army Corps of Engineers on another government project. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background.
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