Saber ducked, covering her head, but Riley never flinched. Before the fire had even left the large mouth of the beast, she had extended her hand. As the flame neared, it veered around them.
Slowly standing, Saber watched in awe as Riley stood there, her face blank. She used the strange powers she had to manipulate dreams once again, and she was getting better at it.
Riley sensed Saber behind her, watching. Just like her friend, she was astonished as to what she could do. What was even more amazing was Riley knew she’d be able to do it.
Though it did bother her that there seemed to be something different about this fire. She blocked the flame and the heat, dissipating it to the sides and away from them. It wasn’t as hard as she had thought it would be, but it also wasn’t as hot as she had expected.
She thought back to the first flame that had been hurled toward them. At the time, she thought it had only been partially directed their way, which was why it hadn’t been that bad. This time, she knew they experienced the full force of the dragon, and it was still only a fraction of what she would have expected.
Something wasn’t right. Was the dragon even trying, or was it still just playing with them? Riley would have thought it wanted to kill them quickly, so why drag things out?
Maybe it was bored and enjoyed playing with its food. That didn’t quite fit. It did sound bored, but also tired, frustrated.
Riley thought back to when she had seen the dragon walk past the door. It hadn’t moved very quickly, and its motion had been awkward. She was sure part of that was from being a flying creature walking on legs not meant for walking, but there had been something else. She had heard a sound, thinking it was gold falling.
Riley took one step toward the dragon, then another. She was unsure, but felt she was moving in the right direction. She looked back at Saber. Their eyes met, and Saber nodded in encouragement.
Riley took another step closer to the door. She was close to the threshold, the large dragon only inches beyond that. She had to be only a foot away from its very sharp teeth now.
That was when the flame died away and she heard the beast panting.
Riley slowly lowered her arm. The dragon’s large head was so close, she reached out and touched it. She took another small step forward, then another.
The beast’s large, brown eyes flickered back and forth between her and Saber. Riley couldn’t be certain, but she could have sworn she saw a tear trickle down from those large orbs.
She nodded at the dragon, then lowered her head so it rested on the valley between its two large nostrils. She closed her eyes and ran her hand along its snout.
“It’s okay, Raz. We’re here to save you,” Riley whispered. She felt Saber move up behind her. There was a second where Riley worried she was going to do something stupid, but then she felt the other girl wrap her arms around her in such a way that she was hugging both Riley and Raz’s large snout.
“Hey, Raz. It’s good to see you.”