A/N I do not own anything created by naomi novik


"Mother," Mary started, fearing what she thought might be true; "Will Libertatis choose Elizabeth or I?"

Shocked, Victoria looked up from cleaning the afore mentioned dragon's harness, "I haven't really consulted him on it." But she had, and Victoria knew that Libertatis would choose the younger of the two sisters, Elizabeth.

"Could you talk to him about it? I would appreciate it if the suspense was off everyone's minds."

"I will talk to him tonight, but do not expect anything soon," Victoria smiled up at her daughter, "you know how he is prone to think things over and over until nobody remembers what you asked him in the first place."

"Yes, I know, but I want to know if he will choose me."

"You'll just have to wait and see." She turned back to the harness, "If you don't mind, I have to clean this." It was a clear dismissal.

"Good evening, mother." Mary left, feeling more distraught than ever.

"Mary! Wait up!" She could hear Dolan yelling after her, running to catch up. "You'll never believe this! Father said Dundee wants me as his future Captain!" Now next to her, Dolan was bent in two, trying to catch his breath.

Mary fought the tears that were now brimming in her eyes. Did he know how lucky he was to be an only child with only one of his parents in the Corps? "Congratulations, Dolan, when will you officially take over?"

When she looked over at him he had straightened and was now smiling, "I don't know, whenever father decides he needs to retire." They walked into the front hall of the Dover Covert, "I guess as long as Rankin is still in service, my Pop will be to. Seeing as…well…"

Mary nodded. She knew all to well. He father was the infamous former captain of a Winchester dragon named Levitas whom he had neglected severely. He was probably the least liked captain in all of the Dover Covert, maybe even the whole Corps.

Mary knew she couldn't hold the tears any longer, so she made a hasty excuse and rude goodbye to Dolan, walking off and leaving him gaping after her sudden sour mood. Mary knew when Dolan would take over. Exactly one year after her father retired. Just so Dolan's father could spite hers and make him seem weak and lazy by retiring before his father did. It was so obvious, she didn't know if Dolan was playing stupid for her sake or that he really didn't know.

Mary ran into the woods until she was sure nobody had a chance at finding her. She continued to climb up a mountain, hoping the exertion would clear her thoughts of dragons and sadness. Glad to be almost to the top, Mary paused, glancing around, wary of other dragons or captains, when she noticed the beginning of an opening around the bend of the mountain.

Walking cautiously, as to not disturb any creatures, dragons or otherwise that might be inside, she poked her head inside. Making sure the way was clear, she walked inside. She bent over a pond and scooped up water to pat onto her overheated skin. She gasped when the water scalded her. It was a hot pool, leaning over it with curiosity, Mary noticed a large….something. This time, more cautiously than before, she slowly slid her hand into the pool, allowing her hand to adjust to the heat. Her hand slid over a smooth hard surface.

Her eyes widened, "I must report this!" She flew out of the cave and back to the covert. She had to report it. An egg! Even if it belonged to a feral, it was one that could open a possibility for a new captain, maybe for herself as one.

The egg had been safely transported to the baths for safe keeping, Mary decided to tell Rivera, her father's dragon, about the egg.

Her response was a low growl that vibrated deep in her chest. "That egg was not meant to be found!" Even when lying down, she was quite large, even for a middle weight Yellow Reaper. "I meant to keep it from you! I do not trust you around any dragon! You are different from your mother and father! You evil embedded in your soul! I am sure of it!"

"Rivera!" Mary could hear her father's voice clearly, though she could no longer see through the tears now streaming down her face. "Rivera, you will apologize this instant. That is unacceptable behavior from a dragon under harness with a captain who has taught her better!"

"I will not apologize for something I am not in the least bit sorry for, Jeremy." She retorted sniffing lightly and turning her head away from both of them.

"Mary, leave." Her father ordered.

"Yes, sir," She said hastily, and departed. The egg had been very close to hatching, and Rivera had purposely kept it away, knowing the great possibility of Mary getting it.

By the New Year, Mary's little brother David had been appointed the new captain of Rivera. Less than six months later, her mother, Victoria, retired and Libertatis was officially under Captain Elizabeth Rankin, Mary's older sister.

After so many chances gone by with Rivera, Libertatis, and the egg, now named Zephyr, by one of Mary's friends Peter. She had given up, and then one morning when she was watching her friends with their charges in the courtyard, did hope finally come.

Stephan, captain of a small Winchester of only a year named Nuntius, came running, breathless to inform her that Captain Lenton wanted to see her, immediately.

Walking into his office, Mary was sure she would be dismissed from the Corps. "Now," began Lenton, "What are you frowning at?" As she sat down across from him where he had gestured.

"You're dismissing me from the Corps, right?" Mary bowed her head and stared at her hands in shame.

"And may I ask, where did you get that idea?" Lenton asked, genuinely shocked.

"I just assumed-"

"A few dragons choose siblings over you, I know, but that's not exactly rare."

Mary looked up, hope rising in her chest as her heart sped up, "It's not?"

Lenton pointed a finger at her, "Right, that's why I'm giving you a choice: A: leave the Corps or B: become the captain of an exceptionally special dragon"

"You'll give me another chance?" It was so much to think about! Her own dragon!

"Only if you will agree to certain guidelines that will be presented to you after the dragon has officially let you harness and name it."

Mary sat there, pondering the chances of being accepted, "What if the dragon refuses me?"

"It all depends if there are eggs that haven't been promised, or if you're willing to be a mid-wingman for the rest of your career."

It was an extremely big 'IF' if she would ever get another chance after this egg. Mary made eye contact with Lenton, "I haven't the slightest notion on how to manage any dragon bigger than a large middle weight."

He laughed, "Not to worry," As he said that Mary knew he was unsure of the dragon's official size, "It won't be any larger than Rivera."

Mary had to accept it, she would take whatever chances she could to get a dragon, not matter the size, it was still a dragon. "Might I see the egg?"

Lenton laughed and gestured for her to exit in front of him, "Ladies first, since you know your way to the baths, I assume?"