Just wanted to let you all know that I’m almost done with revisions. I’m at that stage where I’m tweaking prose trying to make it cleaner, prettier, and flow better. These were actual sentences that have made it through until last night:
Her fingers ran through them, feeling the life pulsing through them. Once she found the green and black strands, she pushed through them and stepped into Khan’s control center.
Yep, I used the words ‘through them’ three times in two sentences. And only noticed it after about the sixth round of revisions.
The problem with this sort of tweaking is that it can be endless.
Anyway, it won’t be long now. Here’s chapter 9
Long after his brother left the room, Aaron’s gaze flicked to the doorway. Had Dirk gone up to their father’s room to try and convince him that Aaron was in league with the Slayers? Dirk was getting too close to the truth, and if he was able to convince their father about any of it, Aaron was likely to find himself locked in a room for a very long time. Or worse.
His father wouldn’t actually kill him, would he?
Hopefully not. After all, Dirk had helped the Slayers kill Tamerlane, and their father had forgiven him for it.
Then again, Tamerlane had been one dragon and Dirk had acted in self-defense. Aaron had given the Slayers information that allowed them to kill five dragon eggs. Five. And his father had been enraged about that. The table was short several chairs because he’d taken out his frustration in the kitchen.
Dirk should’ve been a little understanding about Aaron helping the Slayers since he’d done it enough times himself. But no. Dirk had suddenly chosen to become loyal to their father’s insane plans. Dirk was all intent on outing Aaron, and now that they were all back living in the same house, Dirk would try and turn their father against him. How long would it take until he succeeded? Aaron would have to be careful, have to make sure he didn’t say anything around the dragons that sounded like a message to Tori.
Aaron picked up the remote and turned on the TV so he would at least look like he was watching a show. Stay calm he told himself. Their father had no way to distinguish whether Aaron was telling the truth or whether Dirk was. Overdrake had no Slayer genes or counterpart abilities. As long as Aaron didn’t give him reasons to suspect he was lying, he’d be fine.
Part of him wanted to bolt out the door and take his chances on escape anyway. He couldn’t do that, though. He’d come here to protect his little brother. Jacob had only inherited Slayer genes from their mother—a flyer, no less. If Overdrake found out about him, if Jacob was drawn into the fight against dragons, well, there were a lot of ways his brother could end up dead.
A few minutes passed and then Overdrake’s voice called from the top of the stairs. “Aaron, come here. I need to talk to you.”
Over the last few days, Aaron had gotten used to judging his father’s requests from the tone of his voice. Was guilt freaking him out or was there an edge, a sharpness to his father’s words? Aaron put the remote down and noticed his hands were trembling.
“Coming,” he called back.
He trudged up the stairs, doing his best to look unconcerned and not guilty. His father stood at the top still dressed in his pajamas. Blue silk. The sort of thing a sultan would wear. He was staring at his phone screen so Aaron couldn’t read his expression. Was it the sort of icy glare he reserved for his enemies?
His father looked up, his eyes calculating. “I have something to discuss with you.”
Oh no. Dirk had told him stuff, and now Aaron was going to need to deny everything.
“I want you to feed Jupiter, put his Kevlar shield on, then cover him with protectant. I’ll be busy for the next few hours, so I won’t have time to remind you.”
Aaron had been so worried about being questioned, he wasn’t sure he’d heard the name of the dragon right. “You’re using Jupiter?” His father had never used one of the fledglings to attack. With their smaller size, they weren’t as strong or powerful as Minerva and Khan.
“Yes, Jupiter. Sometimes being the youngest has its advantages.” His father delivered that line with half a smile. It was only then that Aaron relaxed. Dirk hadn’t said anything to their father. At least not yet.
“Do you want me to saddle him?” Aaron asked because he hadn’t listened to that part in his instructions.
“No saddle. Just the Kevlar and protectant.”
Protectant was a non-flammable oil they used to repel any sort of sticky grenades that Slayers might throw. And no saddle meant his father would control the dragon, but not ride him. Aaron nodded. “When do you want him ready? Midnight?”
“Get him ready as soon as he’s finished eating.” Overdrake slid his phone into a pocket and then his attention turned to Aaron with the patience of a teacher explaining a point to a student. “Every war needs its quota of drama and spectacle. The citizens won’t be convinced they need to come to the bargaining table until they see some from me. I have to send a message that I’m done playing games with the so-called leaders of this nation.”
He put his hand on Aaron’s shoulder. “After I leave, watch the news. Jupiter will attack when Senator Ethington gives his speech. The performance should make for good footage: DC burning.” He dropped his hand and started down the stairs. “Oh, and while you’re at the enclosure make sure the other dragons have been fed and watered too.”
So that Dirk wouldn’t be bothered with the boring tasks. His father had claimed he needed sons to help with the revolution, but so far Aaron’s only contribution had been as a glorified pet sitter. Well, Aaron wouldn’t complain about the extra chores today. It gave him a chance to pass on information to Tori.
“Do a good job,” Overdrake said. “Those dragons are the most valuable thing I own.”
It was not just an instruction, it was a warning.
All the way to the enclosure, Aaron thought of the way his father had smashed the kitchen chairs. He needed to find a way to leave this place.