A massive roar filled the sky near Eragon and Saphira. It was an all too familiar sound. Suddenly, a voice reached into their minds.
Land, it said.
Where is he? Eragon asked Saphira after putting barriers around his consciousness so that Murtagh couldn't talk to them.
I don't know, Saphira replied. He must be above or behind us.
We'd better not take any risks. Land.
A moment later, they were on the ground. Eragon hopped off his dragon, and pulled out Brisingr. Thorn and Murtagh touched down in front of them right afterward.
"Brisingr," Eragon muttered. His sword erupted into a terrific patch of blue fire that matched Saphira's scales perfectly.
"Long time, no see Eragon," Murtagh said as he hopped off Thorn. They had both gotten bigger, Thorn especially. The red dragon was bigger that Saphira now, and he was still a hatchling.
"What do you want?" Eragon asked with hostility in his voice.
"I just want to talk," Murtagh replied. "Thorn does too."
Saphira, Thorn said.
Thorn, Saphira replied.
"I don't want either of you anywhere near us," Eragon said. "Last time we met, you tried to kill us. And I thought you were with Galbatorix?"
"Pfft. Forget him," Murtagh said.
Shurikan bit me three times, Thorn said.
Typical male, Saphira said. Toughen up. Grow a backbone.
Mind if I take yours? Thorn threatened angrily. Eragon's sword flared, and the dragon backed away a bit.
"Don't tell me you're scared of him," Murtagh asked Thorn.
Swords shouldn't burn like that, the dragon replied.
"It's a Rider sword. It's supposed to have a gimmick."
"So, what do you really want?" Eragon asked.
"Food, water, maybe some shelter, all that basic stuff," Murtagh replied. "Like Thorn said, Shurikan attacked him for no reason whatsoever a few days ago. We've been on the run ever since."
And what makes you think we'll give it to you? Saphira asked.
"There's a certain word I heard recently. It's called 'brother'" Murtagh said.
That unofficially makes me your brother, Thorn said to Saphira.
Saphira, Eragon called his dragon back a few feet. Can we trust them?
Murtagh is tough to read, but Thorn is serious about needing food. He may be large in appearance, but I can tell that he hasn't eaten in a while.
Eragon pondered the decision for a moment, and then announced his verdict.
"Come with me," Eragon said to Murtagh. "Saphira can show Thorn around, but mark my words, if either of us get hurt, you will both die."
"Thanks," Murtagh said sarcastically.
Be very quiet, Saphira said to Thorn. The two of them were circling in the air over a small clearing in the woods, spying on a herd of deer. If you make the slightest noise, they'll all run.
Without warning, Thorn dived several meters down, and torched the entire pack. They were all smoldering and burning within seconds.
THORN! Saphira screamed. Why did you do that?
More food? He shrugged. The red dragon descended onto the massacre, and started chewing down like a rabid animal. Seeing him eat like that caused Saphira to pity him horribly.
Shurikan must have really hurt him, she thought to herself.
Well, don't leave me to eat everything, Thorn said. I won't even be able to fly if you do.
Saphira descended into the clearing. As soon as she landed, she noticed a huge scar caked with blood circling Thorn's right hind leg.
Where'd that scar come from? She asked.
Thorn looked at it quickly, and then replied, Shurikan.
So, is Galbatorix really as nasty as people say? Saphira asked.
I can barely be in the same room as either of them, Shurikan especially, Thorn replied. I almost peed myself once.
I really didn't need to know that…
Saphira chose the least charred deer she could find. As if by fate, Thorn chose the same one. They both calmly went for it, and their noses touched. They looked at each other for a long time, taking in each other's beauty. That one touches and look was the beginning of a long affair of love, hate and revenge.
Two days later, Murtagh and Thorn went on their way with some excess food, faelnirv, clothes, and a new saddle. They had been very serious about needing new things, and Thorn was really shaken about Shurikan. The both of them were very grateful for what Eragon and Saphira had done for them. They were still sworn enemies, but the barrier between them had loosened a bit.
Eragon, I need to talk to you about something, Saphira said.
Of course. What do you need? Eragon replied.
Please don't be angry with me.
There's no reason to be. You can tell me anything. I will never be mad at you.
Well then…um…I'm pregnant, she admitted
A wave of total shock swept over Eragon. 10 Durzas were as if he had punched it in the face all at the same time.
W-w-what? He asked.
You heard me, Saphira said.
When did this happen? How? There aren't even any male dragons…THORN!
Yes, it was he.
Why, Saphira? Why would you do that?
I don't know! We were eating together, and our noses touched, then we got talking, and it just…happened!
Eragon put his hands on the top of his head. I cannot believe this is happening right now.
Well, wake up and smell the eggs, because it is, Saphira said. I thought you weren't going to be mad at me.
I'm not, Eragon replied. I'm just surprised. This is the only bomb I thought would never drop. Does Thorn know?
No, he doesn't.
Next time we see them, we have to tell them.
Maybe we should just follow them and tell them, Saphira suggested.
That's not a bad idea. The problem is, I have no idea what to do with a pregnant dragon. Should you even be flying?
It's early enough for me to still be able to. Glaedr told me about stuff like this.
How long will it last?
Pregnancy lasts about three months for dragons. I have no clue how many eggs I'm going to have. That's what frightens me. He never told me the limit.
Maybe we should go after Murtagh. He might know some answers. Suddenly, Eragon realized something. He could just call Murtagh back to where he was.
Yes, do that, Saphira said. I need to know.
Eragon nodded, then searched for Murtagh's consciousness. He was a bit worried about what his reaction might entail. Either way, he was in for a big surprise…