Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(41) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
To help them come to terms with who and what they were, Seraphina had taken them to the cave that had belonged to Maxis. Her hopes had been to put them in touch with their noble father.
Hadyn had pulled up short as soon as they reached the entrance. “What’s that scent?”
“Your father. This was his lair while he lived with me.”
That had changed both their attitudes. They entered the cave and looked around as if seeking some kind of connection to the dragonswain they’d never met.
Edena had scowled at her. “Why did you bring us here?”
“So that you could change into a dragon and not fear what you are.”
Hadyn’s grimace made a mockery of his sister’s. “Ragna says that we should never unleash the beast inside us. Once it’s free, it’s hard to suppress.”
“And they are born Arcadians. You two aren’t. Your father was a fierce, proud dragonswain and you should never be ashamed of that part of yourselves. Because you’re mixed, I’m thinking you might have special abilities as a dragon that the others lack. You might even be able to hold that form longer. The very least, you should try it and see.”
Edena had screwed her face up. “I don’t know.”
“I’ll do it.” Hadyn had stepped deeper into the cave, making sure to put plenty of room between them. He flashed them a bright smile. “Watch this!” An instant later, he’d taken his dragon form.
Fear had stolen Sera’s breath, but she quickly hid it from her son.
He’d stumbled about, much the same way Max and Illarion had when they’d first been transformed into humans. He couldn’t quite seem to get the hang of his huge dragon body. “Oh, this is so weird.” Then he’d slapped his tail into the wall. “Ow! Have to watch that.” He jerked it back and smacked himself in the head with the barbed end.
Instantly, he’d returned to being human so he could rub the unintended injury he’d done himself. “Oh my God! Is that blood?” He’d held his hand out to his mother. “Look at that. I’m bleeding!”
Trying not to laugh, Sera ran to him while Edena had mocked her brave brother.
“Oh my God! Only my idiot twin could knock himself out with his own tail. How stupid are you?”
“You do it and see how hard that thing is to control. I swear it has a mind of its own.”
“No, sugar, that’s your front tail.”
“Edena!” Seraphina had gasped. “I can’t believe you said that to your brother! Where did you even hear that?”
“Good grief, Matera! I’m almost thirty years old. I’m the last of my friends who hasn’t had a lover yet. And if that’s what concerns you, then you need to talk to your son about where he’s been planting that shorter front tail lately.”
Growling, Hadyn had rushed at his sister, but Sera had caught him. “Stop! Both of you! And just who have you been courting, young man?”
Before he could answer, Edena spoke for him. “Wouldn’t call it courting.”
He’d gaped at her.
“Hadyn? Look at me and answer my question. Why didn’t you tell me?”
He’d lifted his chin defiantly. “It’s not a discussion a man wants to have with his mother.”
“And it’s not his fault. They crawl all over him whenever you leave us.”
“Is this true?”
He’d nodded bashfully. “They say that my father had incredible stamina because he was a dragon and they want to know if I take after him.”
Horrified, she’d stared at her son. “And you allow them to test you?”
Unabashed, he’d grinned at her. “Every chance I get.”
“You are so grounded. Go on and stand over there, and bleed.”
“I mean it, Hadyn. Go over there before I do you more harm.”
Pouting, he obeyed.
She turned back to her daughter. “All right, Deenie. Your turn.”
Edena moved back and shook her arms out to her sides. With a deep breath for courage, she changed forms and immediately smacked her head into the ceiling. “Ow!”
“Hah!” Hadyn had teased in his deep, raspy voice. “Told you!”
“Hush, Hadyn. Or I’ll step on you.”
“Like to see you try.”
Seraphina growled at them. Why did they always have to fight, all the time? It made no sense to her and she wanted to choke them both. “Kids, stop!”
Satisfied they were quelled for a minute, she walked to Edena. “How do you feel?”
“Hadyn was right. It’s strange. Did you feel like this the first time you changed?”
Sera had smiled at the question. “Want to know a secret?”
“I’ve never shifted.”
Both of them had gaped at her.
“Never?” Hadyn gasped.
“Never. My parents didn’t believe in it for Arcadians. And since I’ve never been shocked… I’ve always been human.”
Edena had returned to being human. “Then why did you make us do this?”
She’d brushed the hair back from her baby’s beautiful eyes that reminded her so much of Maxis’s. “Because your father was a beautiful, proud dragon. And I wanted you to share this part of him. No one should take that from you. Don’t ever let them.”
Frowning, Hadyn had moved closer to them. “You loved our father?”
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