Chapter 8

She could understand the disbelief that made its home on Elric's face, along with how his body was now tense as if ready for fight or flight. He watched with drawn eyebrows as the little dragon ate the dried meat, his hands folded under his chin as if he was deep in thought.

She however, was more surprised by the dragon's huge appetite. So far it had eaten two meal portions- and was still going. She would need to figure out its eating habits and diet if she wanted to keep it healthy. Although there were stories of dragons, it wasn't like there was care guide for her to follow.

It had sharp teeth, so she assumed meat. But, did it eat greens? Fruit? Maybe it was omnivorous! However, she did not buy any greens. They were heavy and did not keep well. Perhaps she would forage on her way to the next town and test it out. If it didn't, she would learn one more thing about it, at least.

It. She kept calling it an it. How could she tell gender?

Female.

Again the thought popped into her head, as if pushed there. She shrugged. She could start referring to her as female, at least, until she met someone at the Valley of Moon. Hopefully they would be able to identify her further.

Well, not that it mattered. She was going to love her either way. He, or she. The dragon was hers, and she planned on taking care of her. Together, they would grow and become strong.

"You are making that face," Elric seemed to have calmed down now, his dark eyes were closed when she glanced at him. He inhaled, then exhaled deeply. "You made that same expression when you found one of my wooden swords, all those years ago." Dark eyes opened, his lips pulling into a pained grin. "You made up your mind, but for what?" His voice was low and steady, but she could feel the unease flowing from him. Why was he controlling himself around her? He had not done such a thing since they were young! He did it around everybody else, but not her. Why now? It... Hurt.

The dragon finally stopped eating and decided to hop around on the bed playfully. It pounced on her back, making her yelp and jump up. Elric jumped as well, arms up and ready to catch her. She quickly dodged him, instead taking a few strides around the room to keep from whimpering. It hurt! She could feel the wound open up again, and the blood seeping. It brought waves of pain anew, worst then what she had been suppressing. Honestly, she was surprised she was not bedridden. After such a horrible beating, she should have been fevered and unable to move for at least a week, maybe more with how savage he was. But, after what he did... And the dragon. If she was bedridden, who knows what Cross would have done.

She glanced at Elric, who was looking between her and the dragon suspiciously. Did he suspect her dragon hurt her? She smiled softly, eyes going downcast as she turned her back to him. If only it was beast that did it, not her own blood.

"It wasn't her. It was Cr-Cross, my..." She paused. "Brother." She slipped off her cloak, the fabric falling to her feet. A tad bit awkwardly, she pulled her shirt up, then untied the knot that held her scraps of dress on her wounds. Her breasts were hidden from his view, yet, she felt more exposed to him as she showed her back.

Bloodied and mangled, she showed what was left of the flesh to him. The grotesque imagery must have been too much, as she heard him choke. He had not yet been exposed to horrible wounds, not like she who watched the whipping years ago. It was with the same tool used on her, nonetheless. She could still see the horrible image as the man passed out, his bone bared to the world as the cat-o-nine-tails dripped with blood. She imagined her back looked... Very similar, and unbearable.

After all, no man would wed her before, but now such thoughts were impossible. She was damaged to a point where even if her brother ransomed her for a non existent amount, when her back was seen, she would be scorned. It was horrible for a woman to have even the slightest scratch, their beauty being their value.

Yet, marriage was never going to be for her. The scars she would have, it gave her will, and strength. She was going to topple he who hurt her, and the whole society that made it this way.

To her, she had no shame in showing her will to fight.

She would make her scars her badge as she fought.

She blinked as the decorate lines glowed on her skin, warming her to the core.

Yes... She was going to topple the society, not just her brother, not just the city, but society itself. She as a woman, would not stop.

She smiled, her dragon yipping happily as it hopped into her arms.

Even if it took her whole life, she would not stop.

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