I released Tessa's hand to turn fully toward the dragon. "How the hell? Why are you an elf?"
He beamed at me, revealing pointy white teeth. Some things apparently remained draconic. "It spooks the prey too much if I stay in my natural form."
"That makes sense. But how did you find me?" Tessa was pressed against my side, shaking. Apparently human instincts were sharp enough to recognize a dragon.
Rhaelgyr motioned me away from the lane, deeper into the stall. With a nod from thr dragon, the proprietor set three cups of his brew on a small table next to us. "Your smell stands out. And I knew you're little Chaos Lord was caught by slavers." He lifted the cup to his mouth, and I saw nail shaped like claws. Despite the nice clothes, Rhaelgyr was barely civilized.
I took a sip of my own drink, and relished the fruit drink. There was the barest kind of alcohol, and I set it aside, resolving not to finish it. I'd already learned my lesson about drinking around good looking men. Not that Rhaelgyr seemed likely to have his way with me in an open air market.
"Why are you helping me?" I asked, watching Tessa sip at her drink. Maybe the alcohol would still her nerves, make this easier for her to deal with.
"I have my reasons." He took a hearty drink.
Grinding my teeth, I glared at Rhaelgyr. "I'm not in the mood for this mystery bullshit. Tell me why you're helping, or piss off."
He started chuckling. I continued glaring as he escalated to a full bodied laugh, making heads turn toward us. "You really would refuse my assistance over a little obfuscation?"
"Yes." I tried to sound strong, but I was a little intimidated by the dragon, even in his elven form.
"You're so charming. No wonder Kurlog and Steven are smitten by you."
I rolled my eyes. "Whatever. You act like I'm someone special."
"If those two are to be believed, you are." Rhaelgyr's voice dropped to a reverential tone.
"Start talking," I demanded, tired of not knowing what was going on.
"As the lady wishes," he said, voice humorless. "Where shall I start?"
"Try the beginning." Irritated, I could barely remain civil. Rhaelgyr was too polite to bring it up.
"You and Steven made quite an entrance," the dragon started, finishing his drink. "I felt the pair of you nearly break the walls, and I thought someone else was trying to claim the place. Angered, I came to investigate. I smelled you in the area, but found only Steven.
"He was frantic, deperate to find you. He didn't fear me, and was actually quite rude when he told me to leave him alone. I suggested that Kurlog had kidnapped you, but he wouldn't listen. The humans attacked then, activating Kurlog's defenses. I protected myself, Steven was wounded and drug off, then you showed up."
"It felt like I spent hours with Kurlog." I shook my head.
"Time is funny like that around that failed Chaos Lord."
I couldn't help but laugh. "You two despise each other big time."
Rhaelgyr smiled, forked tongue poking between his teeth. Damn creepy. "I do not despise him. I just see him as a fool and an idiot, and hate the he can thwart me. I will win eventually, so that is all that matters."
"Men," I said. "All that testosterone just goes to your head."
"You're lucky it's not a female draong here," Rhaelgyr replied. "They're far more fearsome when it comes to claiming new territory."
I waved my hand, cutting off that conversation. "So what did these two say about me?"
Rhaelgyr narrowed his eyes. "I'm beginning to suspect that Lady Morgan isn't entirely herself. Don't you know that Steven loves you?"