By Sunday evening, my group had flown to Northwestern France, landing in a field by permission of Alma’s acquaintance. Finally seeing the exterior of the spacecraft, Jarod couldn’t contain his comments. Ai and Mai were little better, though they were more interested in military application of the technology. Tearing them away to visit Mont-Saint-Michel took some time, but we managed and saw the lights of the island come alive as we crossed the bridge.
Luckily, the view of the place seemed to inspire the group. This last spot for our trip had been my pick, since I really wanted to see the beautiful architecture of the island. Most of the group seemed more keen on visiting another beach when I suggested the idea, but they came around. If I could tell them how many beaches I had seen between thousands of worlds, they might understand my lack of enthusiasm, but only Alma and Dani could share in those experiences.
The group merged with others as we stepped onto Grande Rue, a street lined with restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels. Stopping periodically as members of the group spotted things they wished to purchase, Alma and I were careful to keep an eye on Dani in case her enthusiasm got the best of her.
Throughout our travels, Dani had seen a plethora of ruins dating back millennia, but she had never seen anything constructed within the past thousand years made of stone until she arrived on Earth. I had on other planets, but Dani hadn’t visited those yet.
Feeling someone trying to contact me, I allowed the telepathy to come through. Instantly I saw visions of Adelmar alone on an island. That man had the worst timing to be losing control, but I nodded to my wife. Telling the others that we would catch up later, I followed Alma to a secluded area where Aaliyah was waiting.
He noticed us immediately and screamed “NO! GET AWAY FROM HERE!”
“Don’t worry, my friend. You can’t hurt us.” I assured him.
Unfortunately, my words had the opposite effect. He lunged at me, jumping over one hundred yards with his fist aimed at my head. Grabbing his arms, I threw him to the ground and wrenched them behind his back. Spells meant to kill me appeared, but Adelmar regained enough composure to release them.
“I’m sorry.” he stated in a strained tone. “James, you should take my cousin and run. “I… argh…” The strain was building in his voice. “can’t stop… the change.”
Smiling, I said, “Don’t worry. I’ve wrestled dragons before.”
“Mother will be happy to see you. She might get rather upset that Dani isn’t with us this time, but I didn’t want my daughter to see you like this.” insisted Alma.
Adelmar’s eyes went wide as Alma showed him where we’d be going. His arms went limp in my grasp, and I felt a rippling under his skin.
Releasing him I jumped back to where my wife stood and watched as Adelmar’s form exploded out into that of a dragon with glistening, pale blue scales.
Aaliyah allowed herself to be seen, though she took the form of Death. Adelmar didn’t seem to care. His head was cocked sideways as he listened to the song of dragons calling to him.
She raised her hand and a gateway appeared over it, showing the world of dragons. His head immediately snapped toward the portal. Then, without a moment’s hesitation, Adelmar leaped through, and we followed.
“Welcome, Adelmar, to your home.” stated the dragon mother in a booming voice before lowering her enormous head to nuzzle him. Turning to the rest of the assembled dragons, she said, “The rest of you be warned: I have granted Adelina permission to coddle this child for his first month. Play nicely.”
At that, many of the dragons took to the sky leaving us behind. A few did stay to watch as Adelina swooped toward us from the East with another dragon I recognized, Arthur.
:Adelina is that really you?: questioned Adelmar telepathically.
“Yes, nephew.” she replied. “Allow me to introduce Arthur. He has volunteered to assist with your reeducation.”
:Reeducation? What do you mean?: questioned Adelmar warily.
“Your family history is chock-full of lies, so they mean to give some clarification on your family’s role on things.” I explained.
Adelmar snarled, but quickly winced as the dragon mother set her claw on top of him. He looked up pitifully as she released him.
:Alma, how have you been coming here? Why didn’t you warn me!?: he inquired.
“Sorry, but I didn’t come here until my honeymoon, during which many years passed for me.”
A vision of Dani when we first met her came to mind, sent to each of us. Then visions of her growing, playing here with the dragons.
Smiling at him, she then said, “I am much older than you now, cousin. James is even older yet.”
Aaliyah, now appearing as a child once more, called up at him “And don’t you dare get grumpy at them. I make them keep secrets. You should be used to it, given how you ran things.”
He swiped at her, but hit one of the giant claws of the dragon mother.
“Child, don’t die on your first day here. No one will bat an eye if she skins you and makes a chair from your corpse.” cautioned the dragon mother.
“Flee in terror, sure, but no eye batting.” teased Arthur with a toothy grin.
The dragon mother shoved him with the back of a claw, knocking him over. She smiled as he righted himself. Then she took a few steps away from us before flying off.
Alma and I spent several long days there, assisting Adelina and Arthur in helping Adelmar acclimate to his new life. Aaliyah messed with him constantly, but I felt she was aiding him in learning anger management. Freshly turned Slayers had years of pent-up rage to release, often taking months.
Arthur was there to ensure Adelina wouldn’t be hurt after we left. She was too close to Adelmar’s age to beat him easily were he to get aggressive, despite more experience as a dragon. Arthur, however, had hundreds of years to his advantage.
After numerous farewells and another visit from the dragon mother, Alma, Aaliyah, and I returned to France, mere minutes after we had left by Earth’s reckoning. Sadly, Adelmar’s son would be far worse for his family than Adelmar had been, but we were prepared.