Senta watched from the deck of the H.M.S. Minotaur high above, as Iolanthe Dechantagne paced back and forth on the dock, her hands clasped tightly behind her back. Senta clasped her own hands behind her back and paced back and forth across the deck, all the while keeping watch on Miss Dechantagne from the corner of her eye. Miss Dechantagne’s older brother, Captain Dechantagne, walked up to her and Miss Dechantagne stepped close to him and spoke, emphasizing whatever words she was saying by poking her index finger into his chest. Senta walked over to the small tiny steel dragon sitting near her. He had a tiny chain fastened around his ankle, attaching him to his carrier box. She poked her finger at the dragon.
“You listen to me,” she said. “I’m very important and you are only my brother, and I am the boss, and you’d better not do anything I don’t like.”
The dragon half-heartedly snapped at her finger, which she pulled out of the way.
“Don’t tease our boy, Pet,” said Zurfina, appearing behind her.
“He doesn’t want that chain on,” said Senta.
“We can’t let him loose right now,” said the sorceress. “He’s liable to fly off into the forest and not come back until well after we’re gone.”
“He can’t fly very good.”
“That’s just what he wants you to think. Now bring him inside. I have something for you.”
Senta opened the door of the animal carrier, but the little dragon just looked at her.
“Go on,” she said. “Get in.”
The dragon made a noise more like a cat yowling than a reptile. Senta reached out and rubbed the scales on its belly. The dragon bit her on the wrist, not hard, though its needle sharp teeth still drew blood.
The dragon made an apologetic noise and then crawled down into its chamber. Senta closed the carrier and then sat down. The ship was starting to spin around her. She looked down without real comprehension at her wrist and watched as the blood flowed freely down her palms, down her fingers and dripped into a puddle on the deck.
“Cheeky twonk.” said Senta, woozily.
“Oh good grief,” said Zurfina.