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Authors: JF Jenkins

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Legend of the Inero Dragon

BOOK: Legend of the Inero Dragon
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Legend of the Inero Dragon

by J.F. Jenkins

Published by Astraea Press

www.astraeapress.com

 

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2011 J.F. JENKINS

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, places,
characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any
similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are
purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names,
or named features are assumed to be the property of their
respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no
implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for
review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part,
electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright
violation.

 

LEGEND OF THE INERO DRAGON

Copyright © 2011 J.F. JENKINS

ISBN 978-1-936-852-90-1

Cover Art Designed by Elaina Lee

Edited by Chynna Laird

 

For my Jason.

Chapter
One

 

She burst through the door.
The only thing on her mind was:
I have to
get out of here before they do something worse.

"Katarina Annaleigh Reina, get back inside
now!" her mother screamed. She kept running, not once looking
back.

Kat ran down the street until she was deeper
into Inero City, then she slowed her pace. If neither of her
parents had followed her yet, she wouldn't need to keep pushing
forward. She caught her breath as she passed by the small
businesses and rundown shops along the edge of the city, not too
far from the poorer housing community where she lived. Fortunately,
she could walk anywhere she needed to go.

Inero City, though smaller in size than some
of the other metropolises of the world, was still beautiful.
Businesses were so crammed together they seemed to sit on top of
one another. Behind the buildings was Inero Castle, always present
and looming over the city like a watchful mother. No other
structure was allowed to be built taller than it was because of
some ancient law. Kat had a hard time imagining this since the
castle was seven stories high. She'd heard rumors and seen pictures
of the skyscrapers in Oceina City or Terran City rumored to be
built taller, but she wasn't sure if she believed they were real.
Could men really build something that big? It didn't feel right to
her.

For the most part, she liked the tight
quarters of the city. The community was a part of her life. Her
neighbors cared for her in the place of her real family, and it was
them she relied on.

She sent a text to her best friend of nearly
five years, Matthias. Hopefully he was free. He had a way of making
everything seem better just by smiling at her.

Are you busy?

I'll be at the spot soon.

She loved how he just knew when she needed
him. Then again, it wasn't the first time he'd been there for
her.

Kat walked three more blocks north then
entered a small park with a yellow, plastic tube slide and a swing.
She crawled up into the first curve in the slide then waited. About
ten minutes later, she heard footsteps.

"Are you in here?" Matt's voice echoed into
the slide.

"Yeah," she said.

The slide rocked as he climbed the stairs to
the top entrance. "I'm coming down."

With a lot of clunking and thudding, Matt
managed a slow enough speed so that he didn't plow into her on his
way down. He only skidded a little, his arm going over her body as
he braced himself. Then he settled beside her, holding her hand in
his.

"They didn't hurt you, did they?" he
asked.

"No, I got out of the house before they could
think about it. I've learned to bail once the yelling starts," she
said, giving him a weak smile.

"They won't when you come back?"

"No, I'm sure they'll move on with their
lives before then. If anything, they'll be mad I bothered to come
back. I wouldn't if I had another place to go."

He nudged her playfully, almost popping her
out of position. "Someday you will."

"Someday isn't soon enough." Her eyes closed
as she exhaled slowly.

He squeezed her hand, making her feel safe
again. "I bet you the Elite will come asking for you to join them
any day now."

"I hope so. Tell me about them again?" She'd
only heard rumors, but Matt seemed to have some kind of inside
source. He could have been lying to her to make her feel better but
she doubted it. Either way, it was fun for her to dream.

"About the Elite?"

She nodded.

"They're called the Elite because they are
the most beautiful and powerful women in all of Inero. Chosen at a
young age, they go on to marry important men, have great influence
on the city, and are some of the most admired creatures on the
planet. An Elite never has to worry about being safe or having
enough. She is perfection."

"You think I'm perfect?" she asked.

"I know you are," he said, glancing at
her.

"How do you know they'd pick me?"

Matt shrugged. "How could they not?"

"Hopefully it happens soon. I don't know how
much more of this I can take. Mom was about to murder me over the
laundry. She found some lacy thong and started screaming at me over
wearing naughty undies. I told her they weren't mine. They were
about three sizes too large for me. She wouldn't hear it, of
course. Dad got mad too, but I guess it's easier to blame me than
for him to fess up." She sighed, closed her eyes then put her head
on Matt's shoulder. They'd met at this exact park five years ago,
and she was so glad. He was, by far, the best thing to have ever
happened to her.

"A few more days," he whispered.

"How do you know?" she asked.

"Because if they don't come for you, I might
have to take you away myself."

"I won't complain if you
do," she said.
I'd rather be with
you.

He cupped her chin
gently, and she stared into his eyes. "I didn't think you would,
but I want you to have the best. It's what you deserve: to be
loved, cherished, and be given everything you could ever dream of.
You're a lot more beautiful than any of the Elite women I've seen,
so you have to be a shoe-in, especially now that you're considered
'of age.' If they don't come for you though, I will. Then you'll
never have to worry about being afraid again. I promise I will
always take care of you."

"Always?" she whispered.

He nodded, then his eyes focused on something
in front of him that wasn't there—that was his 'thinking face.'
Matt knew something but he wasn't sharing it, and she didn't press
him on it. He'd always been full of secrets, which she'd gotten
used. She trusted him enough to fill her in when the time was right
because he always did.

Chapter
Two

 

Whenever strangers entered Nessan Village, a
town of less than one hundred people, everyone else noticed.
Strangers stuck out like a sore thumb because they were the only
faces without a name. Everyone knew everything about each other.
They even knew everything about the citizens of the neighboring
towns. So, naturally, when three new men arrived in town, spending
a good deal of time drinking coffee in the local shop, it didn't go
unnoticed.

Gwenaelle Dolorn couldn't take her eyes off
of them as she waited to pick up a cake next door in the bakery.
They were all young and attractive men, but that wasn't what caught
her eye. What she noticed the most was the large, black tattoo each
of them had on his neck, marking him as a member of the Inero Royal
Guard. They watched her with as much interest as she did them. So
much so that Gwen started feeling uncomfortable under the weight of
their gazes. As soon as she paid for her cake, she left the bakery,
running the whole two miles home. The men didn't follow her, and
she felt silly as soon as she walked through her front door. But
she felt safer.

"Everything okay?" her mother asked from the
kitchen.

Gwen had been hoping she wouldn't be home.
Walking into the kitchen, she did her best to hide the cake behind
her back until she could stash it in the refrigerator for safe
keeping. No such luck.

"What's that?"

"Nothing," Gwen said, but she didn't bother
to hide it further. Her mother noticed everything.

Moving closer, she dried off her hands then
took the box from her daughter. She lifted the lid, and a huge
smile spread on her face. "'
Happy twenty years
.' Honey, you
didn't have to do this."

"It's a long time to be married," Gwen said
with a small shrug. "I wanted you to know it's important to me
too." She put the cake away and sighed. "I'd have made it myself if
I could bake."

"You sound like your father. Thank you. It's
beautiful." She kissed Gwen's forehead then went back to her
cooking.

Gwen washed her hands then joined her mother,
wanting to assist her in any way possible. Baking wasn't one of
Gwen's talents, but she knew how to work the stove well. Besides,
she wanted to talk, and helping out gave her an excuse to do so.
There was always something to do on their farm home. If she wasn't
working, her mother gave her a project.

"Mom, why are there Royal Guard members in
town?"

"You probably mistook them for travelers
taking a break."

"I'm positive they were guards. They each had
the mark on them."

"Then they are most likely taking a break as
they travel through the country. Why do you think I would know? I
don't have any connections with the military, and neither does your
father. I know you secretly dream of us being spies or something
greater than crop growers, but you're only going to disappoint
yourself with your wild imagination."

Gwen rolled her eyes. "I don't want you to be
spies. A little excitement would be fun. You don't need to tease me
about daydreaming. The only reason I asked is because you're best
friends with Mrs. Sudechous and everyone knows she's the biggest
gossip ever."

"She hasn't gossiped to me
yet today. And even if she had, nothing she says is any of
your
business. Neither are
the Royal Guard."

"I just want to make sure we aren't in
trouble. I know they burned down Ingland Village a couple of weeks
ago and—"

"It's not your business."

"But it is if they want to take away
our—"

"They aren't here to burn our house down. If
they were, they would have done so by now. I'm sure they'll pass on
through soon enough." Her mother's body was stiff, and Gwen knew
she was being lied to.

"Mom, please," she pressed.

"I think you should go and clean your room. I
tried dropping off your clothes this morning and I could barely
walk across the floor it was so cluttered."

With a sigh, Gwen stopped what she was doing
then left the kitchen without another word. The worry in her gut
started bubbling over. If the guard being in town wasn't a big
deal, her mother wouldn't go to such great lengths to hide it from
her.

Chapter
Three

 

Matthias was running out of time. Within
twenty-four hours, the next selection of the Elite would be chosen.
Ten girls from all across the nation of Inero would be brought back
to the castle, and each would be chosen by a different man. Not
just any man, but one of the Dragon Lords. Matt was one of these
lords…a dragon. And now he was finally of age to choose a woman to
take as his own. The problem was he only wanted a specific one:
Kat.

He knocked on his father's door, praying the
Royal Guard hadn't picked up the selection of woman for his
group.

"Matthias, I'm surprised," said his father,
Lynx, who was the Lord of the Inero. "I thought you were supposed
to be spending the day with your brother."

BOOK: Legend of the Inero Dragon
11.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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