When Bri approached them again, they had taken to putting their hands in their pockets. An empty wallet filled their left hand and a full mobile phone filled the right. Their left fingers rubbed against the edges, the texture of a zipper and the newness of it all, slowly being rubbed away with the repetitive motions Malak submitted it to daily, when they remembered to hide their newly developed nervous tics.
Malak had never been nervous before in their life. At least, not when caused by what should have been nothing. These days, everything was nerve wracking.
This was how the mortals lived.
“Well? Did you find anything out?” The sheen of her eyes suggested she believed they hadn’t.
Malak’s lips twitched. “The relative peace of this small town was broken up three days ago by a person who didn’t follow the human standard for social norms – both in dress and in speech.”
“So you’re just eavesdroppin’ me. Gotcha.”
Malak rolled their eyes.
As hard as she tried, Emine still felt nervous around the dragons.
How could she not? They could crush her with a single motion. They could do so even with the strongest person. They could do so to Sanni, who she believed could probably wrestle her own father into submission. Emine still felt as though the dragons looked somewhat unnatural. Avian serpents with mammalian features. A few of them moved like spiders or centipedes. Emine’s mind swam.
As long as she kept working though, she could handle it.
“My Farris needs assistance.”
Emine tried not to squeak. She hadn’t even heard Andra approach. He didn’t even blink as she jumped and then tried to turn around as though she hadn’t been startled. “Um, I’m tending to Arvid right now while Ramar is gone.”
Andra snorted. That was a pretty consistent expression of frustration that one could say they might share with humans. “True. Well, it can’t be helped. Do you know if Sanni is free?”
No Unbonded was truly free – there were just less urgent tasks to do. “I believe so.”
“Good.” Andra scampered off, the sound of his talons in the cavern a distant echo. Emine wondered how he could be so quiet. That in mind, she returned to Arvid.