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Aranhil had spent the week doing nothing but searching. He'd barely gotten more than three hours of sleep each night. Some magic was hiding his wife, he was sure. It was pissing him off, too. He has four different sets of men with their own cycles out searching, along with every bounty hunter and mercenary he could trust to keep their mouths shut.

It was one of these mercenaries that found the correct door to knock on. As soon as it had been opened, his eyes fell on Sylvia. There was his payment. "I've come to take you home, little queen."

~~~~

Emera smiled at River. Her bags were all packed. She'd waisted no time that week. "I hope you are ready, dear. The king has refused to send with us a detachment of soldiers, so we will be traveling alone, I'm afraid."

She hadn't been expecting her request to be filled. "It won't matter, though. It will only take us a week to reach the vampires this way."
Aranhil felt lost. They'd searched the woods completely. Over the night they had passed a few small houses, but he doubted his timid wife would be brave enough to enter one looking for help. "Search the woods for one more day. If she is not found by tomorrow, we will start knocking on doors." He announced.

With a heavy sigh, he raised tired wings and took to the air. Time to go home, and check in on his other projects.

~~~~

Emera blushed deeply at her beloved's words. She knew he meant well, but in his hate to protect her, he only made it worse. "River-" she tried to cut him off, too correct him, but it wad to late. She saw the woman's eyes light up.

"Rape? Far from it! The lustful woman never raped was raped! She seduced the gentleman, and tricked him into her bed. When she became with child, and he refused to leave his wife for her, she accused him of impropriety. She lied, claiming she never knew he was married, claiming he said that she, of all people, would be his wife!"

Emera lowered her eyes, unable to deny it. She remembered very well her mother's anger. The warnings, the accusations, even the blame. No, it had not been rape. That was well known.

"River, sweet, please, we should go." She whispered, hoping to save her dignity just a little.

Too late. "Go? The Nobel girl laughed. "Where, to bed with him? I know you, Emera. Dragons are not known to be kind here. I know what you want to do. You might be able to claim rape, unlike your mother. But when you ruin your princess's sacrifice, I only hope you get what you deserve."
Aranhil smiled at his guards. A grim, tight smile. "Well, we know she want eaten. The lack of bones attests to that." He didn't feel very encouraged, though. "Let's keep going." He continued searching through the night.

~~~~

Emera blushed. "I'm sorry, my love." She replied. "I'll be more careful in the future." She was a little embarrass by his display of affection in such a public place, but at the same time, she really liked it. It made her feel special.

She offered him her latest handy work, offering a smile. "Do you like it?" He'd be finding it on his pillow later today. She'd gotten pretty good at sneaking in to leave him handkerchiefs on his pillow.

The other elf lady followed him over, looking displeased. "Excuse me, I'm not sure you're aware. Princes can't have that one. Her mother was unmarried."
Aranhil was not enjoying the silence. All he wanted was to find his wife. And then remind her in a not so nice way that she was completely out of line. And all over some dumb rabbit. He could kill her.

With his guards in tow, he systematically made his way through the forest. Leaves crunched under his foot, and twigs snapped against his arms. Eventually he would find her.

~~~~

The young woman pressed herself tight into his bosom. Her own strained against the confines of her dress. Outfits lately were starting to gain a style with a much tighter, sexier look. "Oh, yes, I do believe you can." Giggling, she wrapped her arms around him.

"I," she declared, "have heard some interesting rumors." He voice dropped, murmuring got him alone. "Supposedly, Dragon men are larger than elves. In all ways. As I have had experience with our own Prince, I think it only best that I investigate this rumor myself, and find out which ruler has a bigger staff."
"A SMALL search party!?" Aranhil roared. "I want to know who authorized the number of searchers! And I want their head on my desk!" He did not have the authority to order that himself, and he knew it would not be carried out, but he wanted to voice his displeasure. "You send out a small party for when someone's favorite dancer went missing. Not when your future queen disappears!" Growling to himself, he turned away from the maid and stalked back the way he had just come from.

Tonight it seemed he would be getting no sleep. He was still steaming when he found his parents. His bow was short, and crisp. "What is word on my wife?"

The queen smiled politely at her son. "I have sent most of a dozen men after her-"

"How many?" Aranhil hissed. It was not like him to interrupt.

The queen paused, considering scolding him. She let that one slid. "Ten."

"That is not nearly enough!"

"Shush. I have made the decisions. I have sent ten men out to look for her. She's an elf, she won't have gone far. They'll find her crying on some stump within an hour, I am most certain."

~~~~

Emera sat next to several young women. She was sewing another handkerchief. This one had a bright green flame licking the edges, with a little E in one corner, and an R beside it. She hummed softly, enjoying watching her handiwork come together.

"I think he's very cute." One of the maids giggled. "Maybe I'll see if I can steal a kiss from him. He looks like the kind of guy who would give out kisses."

Emera tried not to be bothered about the fact she knew they were talking about River.

"After all," The girl continued, "I won a kiss from OUR prince. How hard can it be to take one from the dragon prince?"

Emera stuck herself with the needle. "Ouch!" She stuck her slender digit into her mouth, sucking at the blood. "I'm sorry." She turned towards her companion, "You said...you've kissed our prince?"

The girl smirked at her. "Yes. I have. I know how harrrrd you tried to win his fancy, but he'd never look twice at a whore's daughter. Now, excuse me while I flirt with royalty." She stood up and flounced over to the dragon prince.
crap, I'm so sorry. Things have been rough around here, finally remembered this, though!

Slowly, the sun sank down beyond the horizon. With the mountains there to block it out, the sunsets were fast. He'd always liked the sunsets here. They weren't drawn out, and they weren't colorful, but they were usually beautiful, and usually golden. Today, he flew through the darkening sky, watching it set as he headed for home. By the time he reached the castle, the moon was the brightest object in the sky.

Touching down upon the ground, the young prince gave a nod to his companion. "Well done today. Get some rest. I will excuse you for tomorrow, spend the day off. Go to the bars or dancers or something." He informed the boy. He smiled at him, watching the kid's eyes light up. If he remembered right, this boy had only passed into adulthood recently. A few months ago, he thought.

Aranhil stretched lightly, his spine popping gently, before he rolled his shoulders, shook his head, and went inside. He should find his wife, to wish her good night before bed. Stopping a maid in the hall, he asked, "Did my wife retire for the night?"
Aranhil circled over the small village town one more time. Things looked normal to him. The construction was going well. A few months back, a strong storm had washed out their main bridge. So far, the shepherds had just been flying their sheep across the river, one at a time. But that was tedious, and annoying. The bridge they were working on building was going to be even bigger, and stronger. They had decided that, rather than driving the sheep twenty miles up the river, and crossing at the usual point, then twenty miles back down to the grazing fields, they would just build one beside the town.

The problem with this was that the river had cut a huge gorge in the mountain. Where they usually crossed, the river was level with the ground. But from that point on, the banks got steadily deeper and deeper, until it cut a huge ravine in the side of the mountain. They had agreed that it would be easier to make a bridge across the gorge. Unfortunately this was taking time. Right now, Aranhil was glad that it was. It gave him time to check out the progress and get away from his confounded wife.

With his young soldier by his side, he surveyed the progress with a critical eye. A flap of his wings, and he was sailing away from the bridge, and towards the town. He landed in the town center. Gently, his wings folded to his sides. Most people barely gave him a second glance. As amazing as it was that the future king was in town, they didn't have time to take from their busy lives to gawk.

He shifted into his human form and glanced at the boy beside him. Once that solider had changed as well, he started towards the office of the appointed Mayer. He wanted to talk about the bridge to waste a little more time. He was not looking forwards to going home to his wife.
The back of Aranhil's hand caught Sylvia's cheek before he could prevent it. He watched a small trickle of blood as it pooled up, and ran down her gentle cheek. His ring must have cut her. The bright red liquid dripped into her lap. He watched the single spot spread and soak in. Once it had done, so, though, he snapped out of his silence.

"YOU DID WHAT?" He roared, absolutely furious. "You never do anything of the sort without my permission, and my consent! How dare you act on your own without discussing with me something of this importance!" He was on his feet, almost shaking with anger. He couldn't believe she'd go so far against their customs, against her duty. This was his wife, she reflected him. If she acted without talking to him, what would the country think was alright? She had to be put into her place, and controlled, before his whole country fell apart around him. If his people didn't love her, they'd revolt. If they saw he had no way to control her, they would know they, too, could not be controlled. He had to reign her in before she ruined him.

"You will go immediately to fix your mistakes!" He demanded of her. He lowered his voice, realizing he had no desire for the whole castle to hear their fight. Better she finish up what she had to do and repair her mistakes in silence. It would be easier if less people knew. "I will not tolerate my wife taking such actions into her own hands. I am your husband. If you wish to change decisions such as this, you come to me and discuss it first, you do not change it of your own account. Go. Now. Fix what you have done. Do not return to me until it has been repaired."

Having lost his appetite, Aranhil could only sigh. He turned away from the table as he shook his head. "I am going out for a flight." he muttered, not having the time for his emotions right now. "There are things I must check on. I will be back in the evening. I expect everything to be back to normal by the time I return."

With that, he turned on his heel and exited. His boots clicked angrily against the stone floor as he made his way outside. Approaching the barracks, he pointed to a young dragon, a man he knew had the reputation of being a fast, competent flyer. "You, with me. I have places I must go, and things I must check. You will come with me." With that, he shifted instantly and took to the sky, expecting the man to follow without question.
Aranhil made a face. His wife looked different today, but he wasn't sure why. He didn't like it. He preferred his wife the way he was use to. This looked wrong. "Hello, wife." He answered in kind. "Thank you for coming to get me. Yes, let's go eat." He led the way into the castle, silent as some. He was busy trying to place what was different about her. He Couldn't Decide, Though. They entered the dining room, still without Aranhil having said anything. He sat down and nodded to a servant to bring them their food. He was hungry. "Sit, wife. Eat with me. What have you done today? And what do you plan to do?"
Aranhil was up with the sun the next day. He was also out with it. in the field, he fought any opponents willing to face him. Men, women, children, adults, he didn't care. He liked practicing and training. Everyone had something that he could learn from. "Heh." He grinned at his last opponent and rubbed his jaw. "Nice punch. My teeth still hurt." He glanced up at his wife's window, wondering when she would wake, and come our to see him. He didn't want her to learn to fight, he didn't like the idea of good wife being hurt. She was too little and delicate. This was a wife better suited to staying inside and taking care of children. "How long now until breakfast is served? That usually wakes my wife."
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