A CRAZY RICH DRAGONS story
- Debuts and Dragons
Though she's not much to look at, dragon Sellafield Terrormouth never worried about snagging a mate for herself.
But now that her little sister is about to debut in dragon society, Sella's got one night to go from drab to fab. If she fails, she’ll lose her entire dowry—and quite possibly doom herself to eternal spinsterhood!
Can this plain dragon get herself a date, or is her future about to go up in flames?
Contemporary fantasy fans won’t want to miss this lighthearted (and scaly) look at love, friendship, and inner beauty.
“Now, now, this won’t be all bad. You have to think positive, Sella. —You there, you missed a spot!” Flame darted from the crimson dragoness’s nostrils and the human attendant jumped to polish the scales indicated by the pointing claw.
“Sorry, Miss Chernobyl!” he squeaked.
Sella looked down at the little man, now polishing the scales beneath her grey elbow. She’d always thought herself the same drab grey as the elephants they roasted for dinner on weekends—in her opinion, she thought the portrait artist her mother had commissioned for her debut five years ago had been a little generous with the rust-and-purple undertones. She much rather would have been born the deep emerald green of her younger sister, Harrisburg, the bright carmine of her older sister, Chernobyl, or even the pure white of her mother, Hiroshima.READ MORE
“Sella, be still! He can’t get them symmetrical if you’re always gawking at things. This is important.”
Sella put her neck straight and froze. The other human attendant—whom their scale painter had insisted was the top-rated scale calligraphist in the world, so exclusive even the Empress herself was on a waiting list—leaned forward in his harness and continued tracing the ivory paint on the side of Sella’s neck. Filigree crawled up under her chin like ivy. And the scale wash stung if the paint had to be scratched off and redone. Sella wrinkled her noise, stifling an itch. Suddenly, the early morning spent sitting while the human traced the design in blue chalk didn’t seem like such a waste of time.
At least they got to be outside, and even though the canvas tent blocked her view of the Tuscan cliffs and Mediterranean sea, the sun warmed the rocks gloriously.
Sella prummed just thinking about it, which made Cherna growl and the painter’s spotters yank the counterweights to pull him away.
“What’d I do this time?”
“You’ll make the paint jagged!”
“By being happy?”
“By vibrating, pugs-for-brains.”
Sella clamped her nostrils shut so she wouldn’t be tempted to flame. She’s just trying to help.
This had been her mantra for the past three years. No one had expected Sella to attract a mate her first year, or even the year after that. But in Sella’s third year, Lady White Friday—a long-clawed old dame not prone to idle rumor—told their mother in no uncertain terms that Eiger Kaltmund, a young drake of not-inconsiderate wealth, was interested in courting Harrisburg after her debut—and that he wasn’t the only one vying for the privilege of joining his hoard with the emerald dragonette’s.
Suddenly, Sella was on a deadline, for when Harrisburg debuted, suitors would not be permitted to court her until Sella was spoken for. The years had come and gone. And now, on this, the morning of Harrisburg’s debut, Sella still wasn’t attached. And until she was, her sister—her very patient, generous (by dragon standards), and, honestly, sweet little sister was stuck. All because of Sella.
Sella closed her eyes. (Rolling them, her mother said, was uncouth). The whole “no younger sisters marrying before an older one” rule was, in her estimation, a stupid tradition—but one her parents clung to, despite their wealth.
It wasn’t that Sella didn’t want to take a mate, but she didn’t see why when she took one should affect Harris’s life. But of course, the one time Sella expressed this, her mother had taken it all wrong and accused Sella of being her little sister’s sole obstacle to happiness before reducing the Andrew Wyeth original Sella had been studying to ash. This would have been merely devastating for Sella except that that particular painting of Helga leaning on that branch looking out into the orchard had been not just one of the irreplaceable gems in the family hoard, but one of the treasures earmarked for Sella’s very own dowry; one heirloom out of just a few assigned to leave with Sella when she finally mated. Its loss from her dowry reduced Sella’s finances, and thus, her standing in the world of dragons. From that day forward, Sella kept her thoughts on the mating matter to herself.
So Sella closed her eyes and shut her nose and repeated her mantra. Religiously.
“Now really,” Sella heard a rustle of scales, didn’t need to open her eyes to see her older sister lay her tail across her claws like a cat figurine, “I was considerate enough to land a drake long before your debut. So if I were you, I’d sit stiller than marble right now, for Harris’s sake. You’re already scaring off the painters.”
Sella quirked an eyebrow at her sister. It seemed to convey what do you mean? well enough for Chernobyl to reply, “Yes, Mumsy and Da and I got you the best scale calligrapher in the world, but we wanted to have a team of the best beautifiers from all over the world working on you all at once. But they’re all turning up ‘busy’ this year. We’re lucky we got a full crew to agree to work on Harris! You’re beginning to get stale, my dear. Like old fruit. No human wants to be on the team that’s doomed to failure. They’re too afraid of the repercussions.”
Sella swallowed the uncomfortable flame brewing in her belly. Old fruit? Her? Ridiculous! And yet…
“If only we had another calligrapher, an RGB wirer, a dye master—ooh, even the dyemaster I had for my own debut would have been good! That gold ombre on my wingtips was just divine. Jessie! Make an appointment for me to see my old dye master before Solstice!”
While her human personal assistant tapped it down on her iPad’s calendar, Sella frowned to herself.
They’re getting desperate. No, worse—they’re giving up on me.COLLAPSE