Rare Pearl – Chapter 19

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He wobbled on his feet, the gasping wounds still bleeding, turning his fine peach color into mudded mess of red. He panted, cleaning his snout from the blood. He watched the heap of his former boss on the ground at his feet and let out a pained, but satisfied breathy whine. His father was still speechless that his weakling of a son had won and as far as Gale was concerned, he could think what the hell he wanted – he was relieved, and proud. Accark had come out of this with claw marks and few hard hits to his head and stomach, but he would live. Thank gods, he will live!

Accark’s eyes never left the ground as he took a step back and began walking their direction. He pulled his pouch open and retrieved the small dagger from there, gripping on it until he reached Gale.

“I resign you from your contract.” His voice was calm as he gave it to Gale. He sounded resigned! Gale sensed panic rising back of his neck. He hesitated, what to tell him, but by the time he figured it out, the dragon was already moving towards the door, his sister darting her eyes between the two.

“I never was under your contract!” He shouted, but he didn’t seem to hear. Salone frowned, confused. “I never signed it!” He explained to her quickly and took off, running after Accark. “Damn it!” They reached the balcony in time to see him take off and they both followed.

“Don’t you have to ask your father’s permission to leave?” He asked the female bouncing off the ground.

“He is not my alpha!”

Gale was oddly pleased of the information. She set herself on steady pace next to him as they followed Accark wherever the dragon was going. Presumably it was his castle, as they did go in that direction.

“My alpha is Kalebos, my husband.” She explained, her voice laced with worry. “Usually he comes with me for a visit, but he had business he had to attend to and I’d already made the promised to my sisters. I don’t go in the great hall when our father is there, but I know Accark hasn’t visited for couple of years, so it seemed proper.”

Gale nodded that he’d heard, but he couldn’t keep his mind on her while it was roaming around a certain dragon, who was hurt and probably thought he was alone in the world.

They saw him land and followed shortly after, but not fast enough before he disappeared into the castle. From there the blood trail led them back to their bedroom. Accark had burrowed into the pillow pile and was now sobbing there with his back to the door and pain forcing him into a big ball of fur and feathers. His tail was locked tight around him.

Salone took one look around the room and her eyes narrowed on him. Yeah, he shrugged, they were both sleeping here. “Only room available right now.” He gave her a quick explanation and went straight to Accark, saying something about heating the water and shooing her out of the room. He hadn’t touched the egg.

He knelt on the edge and slowly pushed his hand in. He touched his chest and pressed on it, hoping to open him up like that, but he didn’t budge. His heart was pounding hard against his hand and instead of pulling it away, he left it there, massaging him gently.

“Accark, we need to clean your wounds.” He tried to sound resolved, but instead he heard his voice crack and felt as desperate as he sounded. They had to fix the injuries before he lost any more blood.

“I don’t want to.” Accark whispered.

“I don’t care what you want, it’s what you need!” He insisted. “Besides, you’re wrecking the pillows.” The small attempt of a joke didn’t help, but he could feel his heart slowing. Accark’s paw moved over his fingers and stayed there, pressing them into quiet hug. He accepted the assurance and they remained like that for the next half an hour that took Salone to warm up the water.

“No…”

“Accark, I -”

“I don’t want to impress him anymore.” He said quietly.

Had he looked up, he’d see Gale shaking his head. “You don’t have to,” he assured him, “just rest for now.”

“And I can’t rip up the contract, I don’t have it.”

His lips parted to say he no longer cared, but that would have made his entire fight meaningless and he didn’t want to add to his self loathing.

“It wouldn’t have worked, would it?” Accark asked.

Gale thought for a second if he meant having Tribble as the head of his family or something else.

“Tribble? No, probably not.” The hand over his squeezed lightly, bending his hand under odd angle, but he let him.

Salone knocked quietly on the door before venturing further. She was carrying a bucket of steaming hot water, pile of towels and small closed basket from the kitchen. She set the items next to the bed. He would have helped, but his left hand was still stuck under Accark.

“There’s some ointment here and clean rags to cover the wounds.” She explained, opening the basket. “I’ll make some more later, but this should do for the first cleaning up. How is he? Do you want me to do it?” She was searching through her belt and produced a small sewing kit.

“No, I’ll do it.” He reluctantly pulled his hand away and was disappointed, when Accark let him have it. It had been years since he’d sewed someone up, but he’d seen enough to know the shoulder injury needed to be sewed. As if reading his mind, she pulled out a small oil bottle and put it in his hand next to the kit.

“It will ease the pain, but won’t completely take it away and you must be fast.” She winched. “It is temporary solution, but it’s the best I have in such short notice and Accark has nothing in the house.”

“It’ll do.” He assured her and set them nearby on a small pink pillow where the green bottle sparkled like emerald.

“I’ll make the fires up.” She sighed, gave her brother a quick pat on his hip and got up to fulfill her self appointed task. Gale didn’t like the idea of the female carrying the heavy load, but he appreciated the help. He would have done it himself if he knew where the firewood was or how to work those chimneys. Still, he offered her to wait until he was done with Accark, but she refused. “I’ve done it countless times for my family, and this place here,” she gave a small wave around, “is so much smaller than we have.”

She set herself up doing the choirs and he turned his full attention on the dragon.

Accark no longer tried to hide, but he didn’t make the cleaning task any easier. Gale used the towels to set up a temporary basin and rinsed his tail, scrubbing gently through every crevice of the tail scales he’d used as spear. After that was done, he locked it under his knee and stubbornly pulled on his paws until he turned. Accark wouldn’t look at him, squeezing his eyes shut. Gale decided to address any mental issues later and focus on his physical injuries first. He cleaned his fingers, going all the way up to his shoulders, checking every muscle and bone for breaks or bruises before moving on to his chest and sides. Salone was right about him needing stitches and for a moment he thought of asking her – females were always better with this, but she’d disappeared and he heard the clank of wood coming from the living room.

He sighed and opened the small wooden box with felted interior.

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