“...Can you move?”
Phos nervously asked. He couldn’t spare much time out of his shelter. They had to be fast.
The dragoness groaned.
“Good, then quickly, follow me,” he stepped back, pointing to his cave. “There’s shelter over here... Although, I’m not sure if you can fit...”
Shit. This might be a problem. What will I do if she’s too large?
No use worrying. Phos had to try.
The dragoness followed Phos back to safety, clumsily trodding through the snow, small droplets of bight red blood peppering the ground at her paws. Phos kept pace with her, despite his limbs and core screaming for warmth. He was positively freezing. She grimaced when they arrived, then peeked her head in.
“This is the place? I think I can fit.”
“Can you really? Do it quick, please... I need to get warm, too.”
Phos waited while the dragoness, who was so much larger than him, tucked her wings as close to her body as she could, and slipped inside the cave.
Just barely. She just barely fit through the entrance like that. Luckily, the interior was spacious enough to fit the two of them, although it would be an uncomfortably tight squeeze.
Phos quickly followed her, taking care not to trip over her tail or claws. Firelight illuminated the dragoness’s scales, and they shone beautifully. She watched him silently as he plopped down next to his fire, as close as he could sit without the flames licking his feet. All the strength left his body. He had a moment to reflect on the craziness of the day, at last.
Ahhh... So warm...
I thought I was done for. Between this blizzard, that strange eruption, and now this dragon... Nothing makes sense. Just what is happening here?
He was exhausted, but his curiosity and concern outweighed that. Phos could hear the labored breathing of the great beast before him, her lips curled in pain. Despite of this, she still watched him like a hawk.
“Err... Dragon? You are a dragon, right?”
“Indeed,” She rumbled, irritation lacing her voice. It had an odd accent to it, serpentine yet filled with pride. “And you are human. That I already know. T—“ she broke off into a fit of coughing that rattled the cave.
“It’s fine, it’s fine!” Phos waved his hands. “You’re hurt, please just lay down.”
“I don’t have nearly enough, but hold still. I’ll apply some ointment to your wounds, and clean you up.”
The dragoness glared daggers at him, but made no effort to stop Phos as he took out a small jar of medicine and cloth bandage wraps from his pack.
Or perhaps she just lacks the strength to reject me. But still... I don’t think she’s a threat.
He started at her tail, rubbing small dollops of ointment on her cuts and dabbing away blood and grit with his cloth. Her scales were incredibly smooth, each moon-white and reflective, and Phos felt a little sad seeing them tarnished by blood and dirt. He moved his way slowly but surely up to her back, where he used his fingers to deftly pull splinters of chipped stone from a shallow gash on her shoulders, where the joints of her wings connected. The dragoness flinched in pain, digging her claws into the ground.
“I’m sorry, I had to get them out...”
Phos finally was at her face, after what felt like hours. He could feel her hot breath every time she exhaled.
It’s a little intimidating to be so close to her jaws...
His ointment was depleted, and his cloth bandages— which he has been using as rags, since they were far too short to wrap around a beast as large as a dragon— were disgustingly bloody and dirtied. He tossed both away.
“I don’t have anything left for your head and face, but I think it’ll be okay.”
It didn’t look as bad as the rest of her body. The dragoness looked like she was feeling somewhat better already... Or maybe she was just less tense. She curled her tail around herself, and Phos returned to his spot by the fire. Her breathing was still strained; he guessed she had inhaled dust or smoke, but he could do nothing to help with that.
“... You have my thanks. For a human, you are surprisingly helpful. Those tiny little hands of yours are useful.”
Phos grinned. “I’m glad I could help. And I’ve gotta say, it’s my first time being complimented by a dragon.”
She trilled at his quip. It was an odd sound, like the warbling of a songbird.
Is that how dragons laugh? Ah, but...
“... My name isn’t human. It’s Phos.”
The dragoness tilted her head curiously. “I am Aurelia, daughter of Veskar. Well met, hu... Phos.”
“Nice to meet you, Aurelia.”
The spark of light was once again present in his mind as he spoke to this dragoness. It twinkled, and Phos shook his head to dispel the odd sensation. Aurelia perked her ears at his antics.
“...Hm? A link?”
“What do you mean?”
Phos had snuggled into himself, using his long hair as extra insulation. The coldcoal would keep his fire going for at least a day, and he felt his eyelids drooping in sheer exhaustion. He needed rest.
“... It’s nothing. Just sleep, Phos.”
Aurelia laid her head on the floor and closed her eyes, too. The last thing Phos saw before his consciousness drifted into the realm of dreams was her crimson eyes.
How pretty... he thought.