Clara came running into the clearing.
“Nadia? Come quick Ruloth and Hirador are at it again. I think they might hurt each other. I can’t get them to stop.”
“That’s what we get for having two male dragons instead of a mated pair,” Nadia huffed as she got to her feet.
“Hurry please,” Clara said anxiously.
Nadia looked down at Duurun. It had taken a lot of effort on his part to get out to this meadow. It had been slow going.
“Clara, can you bring Duurun along?” she asked.
“Sure, just hurry. They were at it tooth and claw when I left,” Clara said with a frown.
Clara offered him a hand up. She was anxious to get back to the dragons too.
They could hear the angry roar of the dragon’s way before they made it to the edge of the road across from camp. Clara hurried as fast as she could with Duurun dragging along beside her. He was exhausted.
The whole camp must have been observing the confrontation between the dragons, because it appeared to be deserted.
They barely got across the road before Duurun collapsed. Clara caught him as he fell. She threw his arm over her shoulder and helped him over to his cage.
“Please don’t,” he begged.
Clara looked over his shoulder toward the dragon area. “I won’t close the door. I know you can’t run now. I just have to go help Nadia. This sounds worse than it’s ever been before,” Clara explained as she sat him down in the doorway. She lifted his legs and set them up in the cage. “As soon as we get those two hot heads calmed down I will send Nadia to you.” Clara looked toward Warren’s wagon. The door stood open and there was no sign of him or Geeser. “Warren must be with the dragons. He’s not there,” she indicated with a nod of her head.
There was a ferocious roar and they both were startled by a burst of dragon fire over the tops of the tents between them and the dragon area.
“Go,” Duurun said. “I’ll be fine.”
Clara patted his knee and headed off at a run.
Duurun must have passed out. He came to with the sound of the cage door being closed. Warren was standing on the other side.
“Nadia and Angel are patching up the dragons,” Warren grinned. “Let’s play until they return. You can show me what you and Nadia have been practicing for the show.”
Duurun couldn’t have done a successful shift if he wanted to and he didn’t want to, but that left Warren with a lot more time to be creative with his punishment. He cornered Duurun with a piece of wood he slipped in through the bars. It crammed him up against the bars where the werewolf could reach him with his claws. He raked Duurun’s back until it bled.
One minute Duurun saw Warren through a fuzzy half conscious haze, the next the werewolf had disappeared with a heavy grunt. Nadia had returned and found the wolf torturing Duurun. She flew at him like a dragoness protecting her hatchlings. Duurun shook his head to clear it and watch the confrontation through the bars. Warren was much taller and stronger then Nadia. He threw her off and came to his feet.
“You’re fired!” he shouted at Nadia. “Pack up your things and get out!”
“Fine!” Nadia shouted back. “I’m taking Duurun with me.”
“No way,” Warren countered. “I paid good money for him.”
By now a crowd was collecting around the two combatants. Goblins, elves, other werewolves, even the dragons were looking on and listening to the argument.
“How much did you pay?” Nadia asked.
“Fifty gold pieces,” Warren said smugly.
“He didn’t pay anything for the Turlow,” Geeser said from his place by the corner of the cage. “He paid for the collar. Xellist threw the shifter in for free.”
Warren shot the little goblin a look that said he intended to get even with him as soon as they were alone.
“Fine,” Nadia said. She stepped to the cage to open the door.
When Warren started to stop her Ruloth placed his huge bandaged dragon paw in the manager’s path and growled deep in his throat. No one liked the way Warren treated the shifter. They had all seen how he treated Geeser, but let that go because it seemed Geeser stayed of his own free will. The boy was obviously a captive.
Nadia opened the door of the cage and motioned for Duurun to come to her. When he got close enough she reached up and snapped off the collar. She walked over to Warren.
“Take your collar,” she said and tossed it at him. She pulled the ball out of the pouch at her waist. She held it between two fingers and a thumb. “Ruloth, could you take this and dispose of it?” She asked the dragon.
Ruloth reached out one massive red paw and took the ball. He held it in his palm for a moment in contemplation. Then let go a burst of dragon fire that turned the ball into ash. He huffed at the ash, which sent it drifting down over the werewolf’s head.
Nadia smiled. “Thank you, Ruloth.”
“You will never work in another circus again,” Warren snarled as he glared at Nadia.
“You know, I think I have had my fill of circuses,” Nadia said. “You are so hateful, Warren. I am surprised I lasted this long in your company.”
She reached over and put her arm around Duurun’s shoulder. He shifted into his winged lion form and roared threateningly at Warren. There was no bar between them now. No collar to keep him under control. Warren backed up right into the legs of the second dragon.
“We think it is time you left, Wolf,” Ruloth countered. “We will all be better off without you.” He huffed smoke in Warren’s face, which sent the wolf into a fit of coughing. “We are keeping Nadia and Duurun. You are leaving.”
“This is my circus,” Warren choked out. “You can’t just take it.”
“Who says?” Ruloth asked. “I see no one here objecting except you.”
Warren was surrounded by all the circus folks.
“You need to leave before we release the Chimea. I know for a fact you used to terrorize him like you did Geeser and Duurun. You wouldn’t want him after you,” Clara said.
Duurun roared and the rest of the animals, all the animals, in the circus roared with him.
“You better leave, now” Nadia warned. “While you still can.”
Warren backed up slowly around the feet of Hirador behind him. When he broke through the crowd he started to trot toward his wagon.
“No,” Hirador flung a wing out in his face between the wolf and the wagon. “You leave as you came, with nothing.”
Warren grabbed the reins of his hippogriff and sprung up on the beast. He kicked it and the creature launched into the air.
“And don’t come back,” Ruloth roared, “or I should enjoy roasted wolf for dinner.”
“Do you think we should have made him leave Montee,” Nadia asked, referring to Warren’s hippogriff mount.
“Not to worry,” Ruloth said, “Once Montee gets Warren far enough away I am sure he will dump him and return to us. He is a smart hippogriff.”
Geeser came bounding out of the werewolf’s wagon with a huge red leather bound book in his hands. He ran up to Nadia and handed it to her.
“I vote for Nadia as the new manager of The Realms’ Incredible Traveling Circus,” he beamed.
Duurun roared his approval and the rest of the circus performers joined in. This was going to be the best life a shifter would ever lead.
Want to read more paranormal like this?
Check out the link to The Shifting Books of the Twin Cities Series