Drecor crouched low, watching a large fawn graze at the edge of the heard. Deer are so strange, he thought. They never protect their young. Oh well, all the more for me. Drecor swooped in from his tree roost, scattering the heard. The fawn dropped into the grass, terrified, but Drecor landed heavily on its back and snapped its neck. Once satisfied, he flew lazily back to his human on a full stomach.

Drecor came back just a little after Sophie dozed off and, sensing her sleepy turmoil, lay down by her side. He dreamed of fierce battles and a shiny, star-metal sword. At the center of these dreams was another dragon-human pair, but they were much older. The she-dragon, though, was quite breathtaking, her sapphire hide shimmering in the sunlight.

Drecor started, sensing something was off. He stayed still so he wouldn't wake his companion, but quickly realized his mistake. Sophie was thrashing around and had already kicked him in the belly and wing. He carefully nudged her, worried that she would hurt herself.

Finally, Sophie woke up and Drecor asked her, what was troubling you so? You were thrashing around so much I was afraid you would hurt yourself.

Confused, Sophie said I was having the worst nightmares. They were even worse than my dot dream series and please don't ask about that. I can only remember the last one, and that is too horrible to remember after those dreams. Drecor also understood and realized that the pointy-eared elves were also up, but minding their own business.

Well, they can be sure that was the right choice. Drecor thought, being careful to hide that from Sophie, whom he knew was turning into something like an elf.

Do you know why this place seemed like a safe haven for us? Drecor asked the elves directly.

The elves talked to themselves so quietly even Drecor could only catch a few words. Finally, it seemed they had reached a decision. Ashta responded, "I think I can answer that. There are certain spells protecting this forest set up during the Dragon Wars." Drecor shivered, knowing that during those wars many dragons and elves had been killed, eggs destroyed, and the landscape ravaged. He nodded to affirm the elf should continue. "These spells prevent anyone from entering the forest through the use of magic. These might have attracted you to prevent one of the last pairs of dragon riders from being brought under Rancor's control. You need to start your training as soon as possible, and you should wait to leave this forest until the danger has passed. The best thing to do right now is to go to our capital where Queen Islanzadí can protect you."

What do you think? Sophie asked Drecor. He pondered this for a while, weighing all of the possibilities. He knew it could still prove to be dangerous and he was not large enough to handle all of the elves at once. He could spit gobbles fire, but if the elves wanted to hurt them, they would have done so already.

All right, but we need to set conditions so that we can escape if they turn hostile once we get to their capital. Sophie nodded and lifted her chin, "All right, but we will make our own, separate camp space. We will have full access to your records and training facilities. If provoked, we will aim to kill." The elves merely nodded and accepted the conditions, and Drecor rumbled in satisfaction.