I could always tell when Smeg was miffed at someone, or something. She’d let these tendrils of smoke escape from her nostrils, just like she’d done that day. If she had been a full sized dragon it’d be intimidating but since she was little more then the size of a mouse, it was just plain cute. Which was kinda creating this loop. The more she blew smoke, the more the kid squealed that irritating, ear bursting high pitched noise of delight which annoyed Smeg, so Smeg blew more smoke, thus more squealing, and more smoke and… yeah you get the idea.
I held my hand real steady as the kid approached, trying not to laugh outright at the way Smeg wiggled her shoulders like some cat preparing to pounce on its prey. Her feet tickled the palm of my hand a little as she shifted her weight around. I never realised how fast little kids could move when they wanted to. I thought I’d be able to pull Smeg away real quick as soon as I saw the kid reach for her, but no. That tiny pudgy hand shot forth as quick as lightning and Smeg pounced!
The squeals turned pain and fright as tiny teeth dug into soft pliable flesh. With that sound came a world of grief. I didn’t know what they were all yelping about. If you ask me, the kid just learnt himself a really valuable lesson, don’t try to touch a smoking dragonett, they bite. That’s not how they saw it though. Adults, especially those surrounding royal brats, are so ready to spring into action with reprimands and finger waving, blame thrown left and right and never at the kid, ‘cause the royal chit is never to be blamed.
The result of this display was that all of a sudden I found myself kicked down to the kitchen and some stupid bane against dragonetts in the castle was being announced.
I’d roll my eyes at the whole stupid affair except that now I was in a bit of a bind. You see, once you’ve bonded with a dragonett, just like it’s giant cousins, you were stuck with it. Most people didn’t give a hoot about the damn decree ‘cause most people don’t have dragonetts, in fact, as far as I knew, there was only two other dragonetts, aside from Smeg, in the whole city, and they lived outside the castle grounds.
I lived in the castle grounds, I worked in the castle. Smeg was too young to leave her alone all day, and she needed to eat constantly while she was growing but she couldn’t hunt on her own. None of this had mattered before, no one cared that I caught the mice and bugs lurking around the library while I worked. Most folks liked to spend at least a few minutes of their visit watching the baby dragonett learn to fly, or attempt to catch a bug or just marvel at her curled up asleep in the sunshine on the windowsill.
I’d never get away with trying to hide her in my clothes or anything, she was too curious to stay put and there was no chance I was going to put her in a cage! Damn. There was really only one choice I could make, a choice I’d been putting off for about a year now. Surrendering to fate, I tucked Smeg into the inside pocket of my vest with a fat bug to keep her quite, and crept up the servants stairs, making my way to the library.
“Master James?” The old scholar was sitting cross legged in a far corner of the library, a tomb of a book cradled in his lap.
“Its time,” I didn’t need to elaborate. He and I both knew it was past time for a journeyman of my age to have left home and seek my way in the world. It was just so hard to leave. How did you go from being an apprentice in the largest library in the kingdom, under the master of all scholarly masters, to wondering the country side seeking, what exactly? But that was tradition and you couldn’t be a journeyman if you didn’t journey.