When we last saw our heroes, they were standing atop a scale model of the Eiffel tower, alit like a giant candle celebrating the passing of spirits from one realm to another. The air was thick with dust and sound. Yet it was not the tickle of pollen that made their mouths smile and their eyes water. Nor was it the stench of digestive fluid and the death all about them that made their stomachs flip circles within their tired bodies. And the sparks between them, those first sparks of love and hope, did not originate at the Guy's fingertips, nor from the EMP that had been attached to the top of the tower by a Bowelbear sorcerer. Wait, what? An EMP?!


I don't remember how I made it out of that tower, but I do remember the aching in my skull as the sounds from the battle subsided. For the dragon's next three digestive cycles I experienced nothing but migraines and fever dreams--waking up only long enough to see that the Guy was there and Viney was not. We were in some warm, closed area of the beast, and he had a small fire going.

But I digress.

First dates are awkward. I often find myself at a first date, drinking a cruelty-free hemp half-caff cappuccino (free-trade espresso of course) trying to figure out if he's a worshipper of the Lady of the Green Star or a Belieber without directly asking. It always starts with "so, have you heard any good songs lately? Any totally lame 'heartthrob' Canucks?" and ends with him trying to serenade me with "One Less Lonely Girl" and me casting a boiling spell on his cafe americano.

Of course, dating in a dragon is a different story entirely. I once heard of a couple who would climb dragons and fly on them during dates--so that's the closest comparison I have. They either ended up getting scorched or hitched--I can never remember.

Anyway, I was pondering all of these things while undergoing my delirious recovery, perhaps taking a little longer to awaken than I needed. We could go treasure hunting together for the third date... Maybe we will find a cask of wine and have a romantic flarynx-lit drink? Long walks are sort of dangerous, but maybe he'll be good at skipping coins across the acid pools? That would be a good second date... But the instant I wake up, there I am on my first date without a plan, a wing-man, or a Scroll of My Friend Has an Emergency and I Have to Go Now.

Oh Gods.

I opened one eye, and there he was. He was dozing near the fire, light dancing across his serene face and playing shadow-puppets on the wall.  His dirty hair curled just a little, and his nose was slightly too big for his face. He looked comical in an over sized sweatshirt from the Occult University (not accredited), and I couldn't help but giggle a little when I saw that he was holding an old helmet that contained the remains of a meal.

Oh what am I so worried about, this is the Guy I've been searching for. I slid myself up next to him and fell asleep to his steady breathing.

My final thought as I melted into his warmth was: what could possibly go wrong?

I was about to find out.

-Girl inside a dragon