Sorry for the wait everyone, hope you enjoy this one... I have a feeling y'all will like it. Thanks to:

ajaliebe

Dar

LOTRfan86

Nicole H

and Mord Sith

for their reviews and encouragement, I apologize for this taking for long, but I was having difficulties with part ten and parts of 8 and 9 had to be fixed, but so you know I have a pretty good idea of where this story's going (finally). But, any ideas and encouragement you have will be MOST appreciated!

Satori B

Part Eight

False Alarm? Also entitled, Of Dragon's High IQ

I pull the sword out of the scabbard still attached to my back; the sword fit there so well, as if it belonged with me, that I had almost forgotten I had it. The sword was every bit as magnificent as I remembered. I swing it around, getting a feel for the weight and balance, something I had no time for when I was running from the dull-witted guards. It was not heavy at all, it felt as light as air, though from the look of it, you would never have believed it to be so. I think that the blade must be enchanted somehow, there was no way that I was that strong. It was amazing too, that I could handle it so well, as I had never had a lesson in my life. I highly doubt that teaching the servants weapon handling was on the Lord's to-do list…

Yeah, he might have been stupid, but not that stupid.

I slid off Blackhurricane and take a defensive position near his hindquarters. I scan the trail behind me for any signs of oncoming foes.

There was nothing.

Maybe someone is just thinking evil things about me, but if that were the case you would think that the blasted thing would have been singing for the entire duration of my flight. And even if it could not have heard Lord Arcturo (which seems an impossible thing in itself) I'm sure Tag wasn't thinking all too pleasant thoughts when he tried to get me out of the hole.

So someone evil must be coming.

Great.

Let's get this party started.

What? I needed SOMETHING cool to say before facing my utter and complete defeat at the hands of some enemy I had probably never heard of before… And yes, that was as good as the witty comebacks were going to get, being scared out of your mind makes it hard for the regular thought process to go on and you have to settle for whatever you come up with.

Suddenly, the leaves on the tree next to me start to shift and tremble violently.

"Come out, whoever you are, there's no use hiding, I'm armed."

Well that at least sounded threatening.

"Articana? Is that you?"

"Tag? What in the nine hells are you doing skulking through the bushes like some sort of thief? Don't tell me that you got lost."

Tag appeared looking sheepish, "Okay then, I won't tell you."

I roll my eyes at him.

"Uh, Kana?"

"Yeah Tag?"

"Where'd that sword come from?"

Men.

I sigh, then notice something.

"Where's Sye?"

He gives me a look, complete with one raised eyebrow. I could just feel him thinking, 'how stupid are you?'

"Oh."

He must have reverted back to his full form, and I must say that it was something to look at. Remember how I said before that his eyes looked somewhat animal? Well there was no mistaking it now; they were a deep golden color with a vertical slit in them for pupils instead of the circle that humans are cursed with. It was an interesting sight to be sure. His skin even had a bestial tinge to it; in some places it looks more like shimmering scales than human flesh.

Tag notices my slack-jawed staring and his smile disappears and his golden eyes find a place to look at on the ground.

"If you don't like it then I can always let him out for the entire trip…"

"No, I like it this way…" I say, picking his chin up so he will look me in the eyes, " makes me wish I had a Talent that I could show off to people."

He smiles and we start walking again.

In the somewhat, almost lovey-dovey heat of the moment I forgot entirely about the hauntingly beautiful music tat the mirror was making.

Or at least I did until Tag, with his superhuman hearing, asked what the noise was coming from my saddlebag.

"Damn it… It's still playing, someone's still out there."

Tag is confused, so I explain what the mirror was.

"Oh, so someone is after you? That sounds like an adventure."

I stare at him, men; they were all the same, all obsesses with battles and fighting wars they could only hope to be the hero of.

"What do you call traversing the entire expanse of Xanth to see a Neo-Sorceress about a Talent that, more than likely, doesn't exist?"

"That's a Quest, Adventures come within the Quests." Tag replies a matter-of-factly.

I grumble, "Shut up Tag."