“Don’t let’im get away!”
The various calls of the gang of boys echoed after him as Draco darted down through the back alleys. Leaping over crates and ducking under loose fence boards, he tried desperately to get as much distance between those boys and himself as his legs could manage.
“Stop running scratch-face!” one of the boys called behind him.
Draco let out a yelp as a sharp pain stung the back of his head. They were throwing rocks at him! Draco turned left around a corner and skidded to an abrupt halt as he came face to face with a vine covered wall. A dead end. Draco turned to run back the other way to find his exit blocked by the boys.
“Nowhere to go now, scratch-face,” said the boy who was obviously the leader of the group. “what say we finish what you started back there, huh?”
Draco stared at the older boy for a second before darting his eyes to the other boys behind him. Nine boys in the group, all of them white haired and violet eyed. A gang of dagron kids.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” taunted the leader.
Draco backed up against the wall as the boy stepped closer, flexing his hands before balling them into tight fists with a clear meaning of what he was about to deliver. Draco felt about behind him and tugged experimentally at the vines. The boy paused with surprise as Draco grinned up at him, his dragonish teeth making his expression all the more alarming.
Then, without warning, Draco turned to the wall and leapt up as high as he could before grabbing onto the vines and scurrying upwards as quickly as he could. The boy called out in outrage and made to chase up after him, but was not able to reach far before he fell back down right on top of his gang. The vines were strong enough to hold one boy for a short period, but a second and much heavier boy proved too much for the plant. The gang made do with pelting rocks and other small hard objects at Draco as he made his way up the high wall.
When he finally managed to reach the top, Draco straddled the wall with a leg on either side and took a moment to catch his breath.
“Get back down here, you coward!” yelled the leader.
Draco couldn’t help himself and called down, “what’s the matter Talon? You afraid of heights or something? Or maybe you just don’t have enough power in those beefy arms to lift your big, fat rear-end up here!?”
Talon roared up at Draco, shouting all manners of obscenities that even made the other boys in the group blush.
Draco chuckled at the reaction he caused and swung his leg over the wall away from them, “better luck next time Talon!” he called over his shoulder as he lowered himself down.
Draco dropped himself on the other side of the wall and landed right into a flowerbed in a private garden.
“Oops,” Draco stepped off the flowers he had crushed and carefully tip-toed through the rest of the flowerbed trying not to cause any more damage. When he finally stepped over the ring of stones that lined the area, he nodded to himself with a satisfied grin then turned to face a pair of violet eyes.
Draco yelped in surprise, tripped backwards over the stone ring and fell butt first into the flowerbed.
“Are you ok?” said the girl who spooked him.
“Uh huh,” Draco grumbled with an embarrassed blush as he tried to scramble back to his feet.
He dusted himself off then looked at her again. The girl was a dagron, just like most of the people in the town. She had the feathering white hair and violet eyes that proved it. But unlike the gang of thugs that chased him a while ago, she looked more… clean. Her dress was a fancier cut unlike the other girls in town, and there was a large green gem hanging at her throat on a silk collar. She was also carrying a large stuffed dragon that looked to be made of fine fur. Realizing all this made Draco suddenly feel very conscious about his current appearance. He looked nothing more than a grungy, mud covered brat fresh from a street war. Which actually summed up how his day went so far.
“I’m Anya. What’s your name?” the girl asked him cheerfully.
Draco scratched the back of his head a bit bashfully as he mumbled his name.
“Draco,” Anya said, testing the name, “you’re one of the new dragons that moved to town recently, aren’t you?” she asked examining his yellow eyes and dark green hair with interest.
Draco nodded, “yeah, I guess.”
“What were you doing on the wall?” she asked.
Draco shrugged, “nothing, just…” he was cut off by the look of horror on Anya’s face, “what?”
Anya pointed at the hand he scratched his head with, “you’re bleeding!”
“uhhh,” before Draco could think of anything to say, Anya grabbed his non-bloody hand and dragged him behind her across the garden towards a large estate. She led him towards a smaller outlet of the building and pulled him inside right into the kitchen.
“Nanny!” Anya called to the woman who was busy chopping vegetables at a large table in the center of the kitchen.
“What is it, child? And who’s your friend?”
“Nanny, his head is bleeding, can you fix him?”
“I’m fine,” Draco tried to protest, but the moment Anya said ‘bleeding’ the older woman was on her feet and looking him over.
“Oh, mercy me, you certainly had a bit of a rough and tumble, haven’t you?” she said as she undid his head band to get a better look at the injury.
“It was just a rock…” Draco said lamely.
“Will he be ok, Nanny?” Anya asked earnestly, her eyes wide and glossy as she hugged her stuffed dragon.
“Oh, don’t you worry my dear. A little herbal poultice and a little bandage and he’ll be right as rain,” Nanny assured her while she cleaned Draco off with a wet towel and a wash basin.
When Nanny got all the mud cleaned off his face she paused for a single moment, “oh!”
“What is it, Nanny?” Anya asked curiously. She looked at Draco’s face and saw that he had two strange twig-like markings on his cheeks just beneath his eyes. “Are those tattoos?”
Draco hunched himself a bit unable to really answer when Nanny shook her head and continued as if nothing was wrong. “Yes, dear. A rare tattoo… for… rare dragons.”
“Wow,” Anya said amazed as she looked more admiringly at Draco, “did it hurt much?”
Draco nodded with his eyes cast to the ground while Nannay applied the poultice to his injury, “yeah…” he mumbled.
“How…” Anya was about to ask when Nanny cut her off, “Now, Anya, there’s no need to pester the poor boy about his personal business, especially when his head is in such a state. I’m sure he’ll tell you at another time.” She said matter-of-factly while winding a large white bandage around his head to secure her work, “there now, all fixed up and ready to go. Do try and keep that secure for a spell to do its work before you go off getting your head broken in again, won’t you?”
Draco nodded thankfully, “yes, ma’am. Thank you. Um, can someone show me the way out, please?”
“Anya, be a dear and show him to the front gate,” Nanny instructed.
“Do you really have to go?” Anya asked him.
Draco nodded, “yeah… I need to get home before dinner…”
“But it’s only a little past noon. Dinner won’t be for ages,” Anya protested.
“Lunch, I meant lunch,” Draco blurted out while hurrying towards the door, “where’s the gate?”
Anya hurried off after him, “please, can’t you stay just for a little while?”
“I can’t,” he insisted.
“Well, can you come tomorrow?” Anya asked instead.
“I don’t know.”
“Can you try?”
Anya’s eyes couldn’t go wider or wetter if she tried. Her pleading expression could melt an ice block. Before Draco knew it, he said, “ok, I’ll try.”
Anya’s face lit up with a smile that radiated happiness. She grabbed his hand and led him towards the front gate.
“G’day. Lil’ miss. ‘oo’s yer friend?” asked the gate keeper.
“This is Draco, he’ll be coming back tomorrow. Can you let him in when he does?” Anya asked sweetly.
“Well, I dun see no reason not to, since ee’s already been in’ere today,” reasoned the gate keeper.
“Oh, thank you!” Anya bounced happily and turned to Draco, “see you tomorrow then?”
Draco nodded, “I’ll try, but I can’t really promise...”
“Ok,” Anya said, and pecked him on the cheek, “see you when I see you.”
Draco was left with a blank expression at the front gates while Anya skipped off back to the garden.
“heh heh. ‘ow’s tomorrow lookin’?” chuckled the gatekeeper with a knowing smile.
“Noon,” Draco said softly with a goofy grin on his face as he touched the spot Anya kissed.
“see ya at noon then,” said the gatekeeper as he unlatched the gate and opened it wide enough for Draco to walk out.
“yeah… at noon.”