Gale physically felt the eerie stare, when Accark’s father turned his sharp eyes on his peach fluff. His skin heated up and he had to remind himself not to step back. Accark let go of his sister’s arm and shrunk, turning his snout away, but still keeping an eye on the dragon pair before them.
Gale didn’t realize he was revealing his fangs before his eyes fell back on his dragon and he saw them mirror back from his terrified eyes. He was staring at him over his shoulder, pleading him to stop. He quickly tailored his grimace to less hostile, but he couldn’t help it. His inside boiled, when he realized he wanted to step forward and push the dragon behind him, but he had to stay put unless he wanted to humiliate him in front of his father. Accark’s eyes fell to the ground, when a low rumble like sound came from the brown dragon. He was trembling from fear, but Gale knew there wasn’t anything he could do without breaking god knows how many dragon rules. He was certain only in one thing – he did not like Accark’s father. He couldn’t imagine the monstrous looking alpha fathering anyone with temperament of a flower.
“Father.” Accark did the greeting bow, but he still wouldn’t meet his eyes nor would go any closer. They stood there, close to fifteen feet away, but he seemed frozen on his spot.
His big tail snapped on the floor and Accark’s began curling around his feet. Without thinking, Gale slipped his foot closer and locked the pink scales under his toe, stopping it. He regretted not having the who-you-should-bow-to conversation earlier. This dragon, despite being his father, shouldn’t be on the list.
Gale didn’t keep his eyes down like Accark and thus he saw how Tribble turned around slowly and focused his eyes on the pair. He smiled, and although the second the elder turned his attention to him, he faked concern, there was no doubt he was enjoying Accark’s misery. He was showing respect to the alpha next to him and he was soaking it up, drunk from the attention the mighty youth was offering. Probably hoping he’d pick one of his daughters to accompany him.
“How did he get here before us?” he wondered half-loud, but shut up when Accark yanked his tail away.
“Do you have anything to say to explain your behavior?” The old dragon demanded, his voice menacingly low. Although he was speaking with Accark, his eyes were on Gale. He dared him to lower his eyes, but he wouldn’t. There might not be an actual contract, but no way in hell would he let them attack Accark and stand by.
Accark didn’t respond. His hands climbed to his chest where the lower edge of his pouch was, and hovered over it for a moment before he forcefully lowered them and balled them up over his stomach.
His father let out a long disappointed sigh. “How can a dragon from my household shame his position like so? You walked out of your job, boy!”
Tribble leaned back on the green pillows.
“Had this kind friend not informed me of your misconduct before the owners discovered it, I would be a fool of a father with shameful son, who abandons his post. I had to use my contacts to get you the post, boy! How can I look them in their eyes now that you have dishonored me so?”
Gale turned his eyes on Accark.
“I hoped to protect my treasure.” He whispered.
A blatant lie, as far as Gale was concerned, but he wasn’t correcting him in front of Tribble. He hadn’t liked the cobalt eyed dragon from the start, despite him treating others openly and seemingly kindly. There was just something about him that irked him and made him wish Accark would see reason each time he saw him approach the alpha. He frowned, caught on his own thought – Tribble was alpha. Maybe he’d been drawn to it? Aside Berta, who was already coupled, Tribble would be indeed the best choice for someone, who needed a strong presence to balance his… Puffy excuse of a brain, he finished, suddenly very irritated by the thought.
“Ah yes, the egg. Does this excuse you abandoning your post after I went through such trouble to secure my weakest boy a well-paying job?”
Accark’s tail climbed higher and Gale’s right hand tracked calmly behind him, where his gun was sitting against his side. He wouldn’t shoot Accark’s father, but he had no problem putting bullet through Tribble to get them heads start.
“No, father.” He whispered. It was quiet, but clearly audible in the room.
He stepped forward, coming shoulder to shoulder with the dragon. “We left, because Accark was attacked at our home.” He left out it was Tribble, guessing they were in disadvantage here. Tribble’s eyes darted at Accark’s father.
The brown dragon pushed up much faster than he’d anticipated. “Your home? Do you two live together?”
“We lived in the same apartment building.” Gale saw no reason to hide the fact.
“You live in a apartment?” His voice climbed higher. “My son, the sixth son of my second hatching lives in a apartment! Alone? Have you not found yourself a mate yet? Have you not carried out your promise to carry on my line?”
Gale knew he hadn’t done any of it through the years he’d been cooing over his egg. That aside, he had never seen the dragon try secure a female mate either. Gale looked at the two sitting before them with clearer idea why all the males he’d invested his interests in had been larger, far stronger than him. Tribble was larger than his father, younger and muscular. Quite the type Accark hanged around most. Also, quite who his father would approve of by how well they seemed to get along. So, it wasn’t only about finding someone he cared about, but it had to be someone, who could make the old dragon understand his partner would never be a female.
All eyes turned on the dragon, who’d gone quiet as a mouse on his side. He was still trembling and Gale fought the urge to reach out for him and comfort him a little. Why was he so afraid?
He turned fully to face his peach fluff, ignoring the two, and positioned his wings so the other two wouldn’t see behind them.
“What the hell is going on?” He asked quietly. Accark’s eyes were immediately up on him and they were pleading him.
“I told Tribble I had the egg.” His voice drawled away.
“I already know that. Why did you offer it to him?”
He felt Accark’s fingers scrape his belt line, seeking physical contact. He allowed it as it seemed to calm him, even if only a little.
“I wanted him to see I’m valuable.”
Gale frowned. “Why?” He really didn’t understand. There was nothing desirable in the blue dragon that he could see – he was good to fellow man, but it had never been from the need to do good. It was always calculated, always fixed to those whom he could profit form. He was arrogant bastard with need to be worshiped and very little space aside his ego to somebody else. Thinking Accark would have settled to that small space made him squirm and he reached his hands behind him. “Do you really think offering yourself to someone, whose pride is as big as this castle would make you happy if you offered him my brother?”
“Gale, please, I -”
“I should demand you fight!” He hissed at the fluffy peach, popping the rivets holding his jacket in place under his wings. He turned, facing the two dragons on the pillow piles. “Which one of you I need to fight for Accark’s right to make his own nest? His current alpha or his future alpha?”
Tribble gave them a confused look before his eyes darted to Accark.
“I don’t want him, all I want is his pearl! It is rare and valuable and I want to challenge him for it!”
“It isn’t his pearl, so -”
“Accark is owner of the pearl.”
Gale couldn’t understand if he was playing dumb or really was confused. Tribble searched out a crumbled paper from his pocket and opened it. “See?” he turned the page around, presenting it to Gale.
He couldn’t make out much, but he recognized the contract used by his parents and letters A-c-c familiar shape.
He snapped his eyes on the horrified dragon standing next to him.
“You’re lying!” Gale demanded from Tribble, his eyes never leaving Accark. “My brother was not sold!”
“Oh! But I’m not! I talked to your parents! They confirmed me they got an offer they couldn’t refuse, so they chose the smallest egg and took it to a goblin. I had my servant fetch the copy of the contract from them.”
Suddenly, he remembered their little conversation by the waterfall and it shined in a whole new light. When Accark had asked about the kidnappers being from another kind, he hadn’t meant the lizards at all – he’d meant himself! Buying his little brother!