“The day misspent, the love misplaced, has inside it the seed of redemption. Nothing is exempt from resurrection.” ― Kay Ryan, Say Uncle
Rays of light bursting through lavender streaked skies drifted across the room, climbed the wheat colored linen wallpaper in jagged lines and disappeared. More followed in waves, like water washing over pebbles or thoughtful fingertips over sensitive skin. Domi struggled to lift her head.
She looked through the haze in her eyes at Eo-Jin’s face. He appeared asleep, washed in the waves of shadow and light. Domi struggled as her mind spoke to her from some depth she never knew before. She felt the Dragon inside her, cleansing her dark stains.
Thankful lips found his mouth. The joy he gave her seeped into the dark spaces of her mind. Freedom from her fear left her feeling drunk and sleepy. Warm breath from his nose caressed her cheek. Domi lay her head on his chest. The sound of his heartbeat became her heartbeat. Heavy eyelids fell. The room went black.
* * *
Two long shadows stretched across the bed. The tangled embrace of Eo-Jin and Domi seemed tragic and beautiful to the two women who looked over them. After a respectful silence, the chambermaid spoke. “It is as Master Yong predicted.”
“How can he know so much?” The other asked in a whisper.
Jade looked at her Dragon Brother with the girl she rescued more than a year ago. Her face was hard and expressionless. Her heart was in her throat. Jasmine could order her to kill Eo-Jin. She would. She accepted it. It was the way of the Dragon, and the Dragon never felt her pain. She felt she had failed Domi.
“It is enough that he knows.” Jasmine’s voice was flat and emotionless.
Jasmine and Jade eased Domi on her back away from Eo-Jin. The exhaustion of their spent love left them motionless and unaware. The couple looked dead so deep was their sleep.
“Are they…?” Jade halted. She couldn’t finish her question.
“Alive? Yes.” Jasmine’s voice hinted of relief.
Jasmine lowered her face to Domi’s body and took in her scent and touched her. She stood for a moment and then did the same to Eo-Jin.
“They made love to each other. Just as Master Yong predicted.” Jasmine looked at the two and wondered what to do. Eternal shame would haunt the couple. Still, she couldn’t leave them.
It was more painful because Master Yong predicted it with no sympathy to feelings or reference to their code of honor to obey. The Dragons sacrificed Eo-Jin for the girl. The young neophyte’s transition was more important than all who served the master. Jasmine mourned this assault on the Pretorian Guards. She had her orders. It was time to execute them.
Jade felt revulsion. Death was the sentence for violating the code of the Dragons. The Masters have withheld the pleasure of love and choice from the Sentinels. Only the Masters could set aside the codes of honor and bonding. The sisters never saw the code set aside, until now.
“Will the Master order us to take them across the river?” Jade’s euphemism for killing them was repulsive to Jasmine. She loved her Dragon Brother. She would prefer to commit suicide to save Eo-Jin’s honor.
“No. Eo-Jin’s pardon was given before he acted.” Jasmine’s voice rode on a sigh of quiet desperation.
“I’ll call the others for an extraction.” Jade’s tone belied the suffering in her heart for the Dragons and Domi. She loved Domi. She knew her love, her life, was nothing but air to the weight of her duty. She prayed no harm would come to the two lovers.
Jade was glad Eo-Jin would live to join her in battle again. Their bond made them fierce and loyal to each other. They fought the enemies of the Dragon together, their reward the bond of love and loyalty the Sentinels shared; a feast for a Dragon.
* * *
Eo-Jin looked at Jasmine. He held himself erect. A warrior never lowered his head except to the Masters or the Emperor. The hurt and question in Jasmine’s eyes sent shame through him. The hair on his neck stiffened as he waited for his punishment.
The Dragon Brother gazed at the Alpha warrior who walked in public disguised as a chambermaid. Her figure was an image of sculpted muscle and sinew. Her supple skin was radiant with the glow of energy that coursed through her body. The blush on her cheeks and neckline told Eo-Jin she was hiding a tempest of emotions. He felt it.
Jasmine asked her Dragon Brother to sit with her in the spacious office. She wanted to ask him a few questions. Jasmine’s strong fingers caressed Eo-Jin’s hand as she spoke.
“Why did you choose to die?”
“I have dishonored you with my weakness.” Eo-Jin’s voice was firm. “Will you grant me a proper death?” He resigned himself to die for his disobedience.
“No. You are forgiven,” Jasmine replied, looking at his hand and holding her fingertips on the back of his wrist. “You must repay your debt to Master Yong for your life,” Jasmine spoke without malice in her voice.
“You must live, but you can never touch the girl’s soul or heart again after you leave here.” Jasmine’s voice was now its usual sternness.
“You will never stray from our code of honor again, or we both must die.”
“Is Dominika okay?” Eo-Jin couldn’t hide his feelings for the girl.
“She is fine, thanks to you. Her transition is unique to all the rest. She is becoming more powerful. But, she’s untrained and dangerous to herself and others. Her mind is folding time, advancing in years every day. We don’t know how she will handle the rise of the Dragon in her blood while she is so fragile.” Jasmine explained her concern.
“Let me see her one more time to explain to her I must go to serve the Masters. Let us depart with understanding. Otherwise, I fear our shared memory will haunt us. I will live with it, but I am afraid for Domi.” Eo-Jin beseeched his Dragon superior to show them both the mercy of one last visit.
Jasmine searched the Dragon Brother’s face for the truth and found it in the agony that drained his face of color and burdened his eyes. “You and Jade go to her and tell her goodbye. Don’t tell her it is permanent. She’ll lose hope. Let her hold on to her memories and the love she felt for you and also for Jade. You may see her alone before you leave and if she accepts you, then stay with her one more time. Give her hope, Eo-Jin. She needs hope and love.” Jasmine ran her fingers through her Sentinel Brother’s hair and kissed his forehead. “Go now.” She whispered in a tone that sounded like a love sonnet to Eo-Jin’s ears.
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