Well it seems the romance scene was received rather well, which makes me glad. There will be quite a few more romance scenes as the story progresses, but it is nice to know this early on that they will be accepted and liked by my readers.

I should point out that updates for this story may take longer than usual. I am still trying to hammer out the plot for the rest of the first act. There is still much of this story to come, but it is only thoughts and half-formed ideas as of yet. So, if it appears I'm slowing with updates, please just have a little faith.

Also, it should be noted once again that mature language/descriptions may be seen from now on, as this story has taken its rightful place in the M-rating.

Now that our dragons are in love, its time to start throwing a few more puzzle pieces into the mix...

The indescribable comfort and peace that Saphira's mind swam in as she slept was almost overpowering enough to keep her from waking as her eyes registered the slowly brightening light shining on her eyelids. Fluttering them open, she looked out the entrance to her cave to see the sun peeking over the distant mountain tops, ushering in the early hours of the morning. She could feel the warmth of the sun's rays as they trickled into the cave, but it was nothing compared to the warmth he gave off.

Humming contentedly to herself, Saphira wriggled gently backwards into the embrace of the male holding her, the distinct and wonderful scent that clung to his scales washing over her like another blanket. She could hear Eragon's shallow, steady breathing, telling her that the male was still deep in slumber. Despite this, his tail twitched every so often with hers and the large foreleg he had draped around her would give an unconscious rub to her belly as its owner dozed on. Leaning her head back, Saphira gave him the lightest lick on the jaw, nibbling softly and purring to him, voicing her content to him as much as herself.

Shuffling slightly, Saphira chuckled to herself when she was able to move her lower body more freely than she had when they fell asleep last night. Eragon must have withdrawn from her sometime in the night as they slept, but the warmth and satisfaction in her lower belly remained, a reminder of the pleasure and bliss the night before. Their bond as mates was finally complete.

Although she would have been content to simply lay there in his embrace for the rest of the morning – or day, if she had her wish – Saphira slowly began to slide out from under his wing and foreleg, already greatly missing the warmth of his body. Rolling to her paws, the dragoness arched her back and stretched, working out the kinks and cramps that their vigorous love-making had caused. Worth it, she chuckled to herself as the last muscles stretched, and she sat on her haunches, staring down at the large blue male that had once been her Rider, and had now become her mate.

Memories and images of the past day drifted in her mind's eye, and Saphira fought the urge to wriggle back into his embrace again. For so long they had missed, ignored, and misinterpreted the signs of the growing bond between them. Saphira shuddered to think how much longer they would have gone without seeing the truth had Eragon not accepted the gift from the Eldunari as quickly as he did. But now, it did not matter. All truths and feelings had been brought to light these past few days. There had been confusion, doubt, pain and even sorrow...which had slowly given way to joy, understanding, passion and above all, love.

Worth it indeed, the dragoness hummed.

As she sat there drinking in Eragon's prone, handsome form, her mind turned to the events of last night. Saphira tried not to growl too loudly as the fading echoes that tingled through her body at the simple thought of what had transpired. More than the memory of the pleasure from the mating, Saphira concentrated on the sheer oneness they had experienced during mating, their bond deepening and forging a new connection neither had ever thought possible before. Then, even more than that, she focused on that brief moment during mating when Eragon had accepted what may come of their union. The dragoness remembered the uncertainty in his voice, only to be replaced by unwavering devotion when Saphira had assured him that she herself was ready. In that moment, both dragons had answered the unspoken question that was even more important than asking if they were ready to mate.

The question... of if they were ready to be parents.

Despite the fact that Eragon was not the first male to mate with her, Saphira knew he was the first that would be capable of making her a mother. Firnen had not be mature enough to conceive with her, no matter how many times they might have tried. The green male was barely more than five months old, just shy of when dragons were considered adolescents, and capable of producing children. Eragon, however, was a male of nearly the exact same age as Saphira, undoubtedly in thanks to the whims and magic of the Eldunari. He was mature – and certainly more than virile – enough to conceive children with her, regardless if they mated once or a dozen times.

The thought of carrying Eragon's child was such a potent euphoria that Saphira had to make sure she was still sitting upright. Yes, she had often dreamed and fantasized about the day when she would become a mother, but now, the thought that it would be her beloved Rider whom her children would call Father...it made her very scales shiver with love and delight as her wildest dreams began to come true.

As she sat there staring at him, the dragoness began to listen to and feel what her body was telling her. After mating, a female dragon would be able to know if she was to become a mother or not. They would feel a small pressure in their lower belly as an egg or eggs began to form in her womb. Not to mention the urge to eat and gorge herself – to prepare for the month-long term she would be gravid. From nearly that point on, the dragoness would not leave her nest, instead relying on her stored body weight to sustain her and her growing eggs until she could finally lay. Although not looking forward to being nest-bound for a whole month, Saphira knew that, like the build up to yesterday, every moment of waiting would be worth the end result. The day when should could look into the eyes of her first child, and know the joy of being a mother.

Sadly, Saphira knew those dreams would have to wait a bit longer to come true. Satisfied as she was from their passionate love-making, the dragoness could feel no such burden in her belly. She was not gravid.

At least, not yet, Saphira smirked to herself, her fangs gleaming in the bright morning sunlight. Looking over the handsome male before her, she knew it would not take much to convince him to a repeat of last night. Now that the initial awkwardness was over – as demonstrated by his eagerness during the second act – Saphira did not fear trying to entice Eragon into intimacy once more. Judging by his words last night, he might even surprise her by making the first move. The simple thought sent shivers up her spine, and she sheepishly fought down her growing arousal.

But then again, considering her mate was one she never dreamed to have...was it really so upsetting not to have children yet? Not to mention all those waiting eggs that the two of them would be raising together. If there was one thing that settled her mind most of all, it was the knowlege that trying to raise their adopted children alongside theirs would mean Saphira would not be able to focus her attention on her own children. As proud as she was to become the surrogate mother to all those slumbering younglings, the dragoness knew she would still place her own offspring first. And with that mindset, Saphira started to accept that - for now - her and Eragon having a child was better left for when they were truly ready.

On the other hand...Eragon was much more likely to be interested in mating, her lustfult instincts thought, casuing her to growl happily again.

Oh alright...I should at least give him one day to recover, she mused.

Then again...another thought joined the first few, and Saphira wanted to smack herself with her tail. How could I have forgotten? She looked down at Eragon again, battling with herself for a moment. Then, she sighed. I'll bring it up after breakfast. No doubt he will need it.

Then with that thought in mind, Saphira padded out onto the cliff entrance of their cave and spread her wings, launching herself into the air for a morning hunt.

A soft groan, and the large blue male cracked open a dreary eye, his body already calling him back to sleep before he had even woken up. His jaws parted in a yawn, and Eragon lazily stretched his forelegs out, waking his tired muscles, before realizing something was missing. Or rather...someone. Lifting his head, Eragon blinked through bleary eyes and looked around. Saphira? he called, instantly missing the warmth of her body and mind. For a moment, he worried that something was wrong, but his fears died as soon as they had risen as he watched a graceful form drift in the entrance of the cave, dropping several fresh kills at her feet. There you are, he whispered, giving an involuntary growl of happiness at seeing her.

Here I am, she chuckled, dropping the deer she had in her mouth and padding over to him, running her snout along his neck tenderly. Did you miss me? the dragoness teased playfully.

The dark blue male growled lecherously and rolled onto his side, trying to pull her back to the nest with his forelegs. Very much so, Eragon purred, leaning up to lick her cheek. Saphira let him pull her down, coming to lay against his chest as her own forelegs slid around his broad shoulders. The pair of them growled deep and lovingly to one another, their snouts rubbing softly together. This time I was afraid it had all been a dream.

Oh, I don't think any dream could have felt that amazing, she hummed, nuzzling his jaw. Eragon simply thrummed deep in his chest as his paw stroked her back and flanks, holding the slightly smaller female as close to him as he could. Saphira nipped and nibbled along his jaw tenderly, before her lipless mouth touched his and they shared their strange draconic kiss they had discovered. The humming from the two dragons grew in intensity until the walls of the cave seemed to vibrate from it.

After a minute or two, Eragon pulled back and stared into the beautiful sapphire eyes staring back at him. Good morning, my mate.

Good morning, mate, Saphira gurgled happily. Her tail swished and wrapped around his, squeezing tight and making both dragons shiver at the sensations.

Where did you sneak off to? Eragon asked, nuzzling under her chin. I thought you would still be sleeping in this nice warm nest...

The dragoness chuckled and licked his snout playfully. I would have loved to, but someone had to get breakfast. She nodded her head to the four fresh deer she had caught for them.

Eragon tilted his head at her. I could have gotten you breakfast...

I know, Saphira shushed him with a lick. And its very sweet of you trying to provide all the time. But I am not a hatchling, my mate. I can catch my meals just as easy. The male started to argue about "honor" or something, but she growled and nibbled on his neck, silencing him again. Eragon, after everything you gave me last night, pleasure beyond anything I could have imagined, a little hunt is the least I can do to return the favor.

Alright, he growled in defeat. Running his paws along her flanks tenderly again, he looked back up at her with the slightest hint of a blush. You...er...were satisfied? he asked sheepishly.

More than satisfied, she gurgled again, snuggling into his chest. You were amazing, Eragon. I'll not be forgetting last night any time soon.

The male simply grinned and thrummed deep in his chest again, happy that Saphira had gotten everything she wanted out of their mating. Eragon vividly remembered the wild, unrestrained passion that had flowed through them as they joined, as well as every thought and sound the two of them had made to voice their pleasure. To think about his hesitation and misgivings now, the dark blue male felt as if they had existed long ago. Now, nothing mattered but the happy bliss he and Saphira had found. And if the dragoness laying happily in his arms was content, then he was as well.

As the pair of dragons snuggled and playfully nibbled at each other, Eragon became aware of Saphira's lower belly sliding against his, and he growled lecherously. I hope you're not trying to get us started again so soon, he teased. That breakfast is looking mighty tempting...

Oh, hush you, Saphira laughed in his head as she rolled away, the male giving a last playful swat at her flanks with a paw. And here I was going to be nice and suggest we take a day off. She swished her hips teasingly back at Eragon as she padded over to the deer she had brought. Eragon simply grinned widely as his eyes drank in her figure, watching every muscle in her body flex and flow as she moved her quartet of catches from the entrance to the nest beside him. Saphira laid back next to him with a soft lick along his snout. Now eat up, she huffed, although in a mock-motherly tone. We have some things to discuss.

Oh? Eragon asked, even though he had already bitten into one of the deer given to him. He savored the warmth of the fresh kill, not even bothering to fight his latent human instincts anymore. The male gulped down his first bite and went in for another as Saphira set into her own meal.

Yes, she said simply. I want to talk to you about children.

A harsh hack, and Eragon nearly choked on the large hunk of meat in his throat. Saphira watched with a slightly amused expression as he struggled to expel the chuck on deer, utterly forgetting any manners in the process. Finally, after deciding to just swallow the meat, Eragon gulped it down and stared back at his dragoness. Ch-children? he asked in a shaky tone. Y-you mean you're...?

Saphira snorted gently and rolled her eyes. No, silly. If that was the case, it would have been the first words on my lips this morning. She leaned in and nuzzled the startled dragon beside her. But yes, children are what I wish to discuss.

Eragon paused for a heartbeat. Our children?

Well, yes and no, the dragoness sighed, taking a large bite of her own deer. I freely admit, I hope to raise a family with you, Eragon. Wild dragons our age would undoubtedly already have at least one clutch of their own. She shook her head slightly before she got too far off topic. But I digress. That's not what I want to talk about.

The dark blue male was silent for a minute, trying to follow, before his eyes brightened. The eggs. The eggs we recovered from the Vault of Souls.

Yes, Saphira rumbled. I know you and the elves had already planned the construction of the dragonhold and nursery, but what if the eggs begin to hatch before then? She cocked her head at the male beside her. Not only that, but we cannot keep them in that magic envelope forever. We need a place to keep them – a natural place.

Eragon looked around at their cave. Even though it was easily large enough for ten dragons the size of him and Saphira, he wondered if she was thinking what he thought she was thinking. You want to move them in with us? he asked quietly.

Saphira held his gaze, looking back at him with a half-grin. The thought had occurred to me...but no, there is simply not enough room. If only a few of the younglings hatched, that would still be awkward to have so many eggs in here, plus the two of us and hatchlings. Seeing the slightly dejected look on Eragon's face, she leaned in for a soft nuzzle. But you are half right, my mate. I think we should find a big enough cave where the eggs can rest.

Are you sure? Eragon asked. In the magical field, we at least have them with us at all times, and can make sure they are safe. If we rest them in a cave, we would have to keep a constant eye on them, especially if one or more should start hatching. And if they hatch, we will have to be there rather quickly. Not to mention wh-

Saphira silenced Eragon with a proverbial finger on his lips before he rambled off too far. At ease, my mate, she giggled. This is why I wanted to talk to you about it.

Right, sorry, Eragon grinned sheepishly. The busied themselves by finished their first deer, and set into their second catches before the male spoke up once more. What if we asked Blodhgarm to cast some sort of enchantment on the cave? One that would alert us or the elves to an egg or eggs about to hatch?

Mmm...that might work, Saphira said distractedly. But I, like you, am not to keen on the idea of leaving the eggs unattended. She rolled her shoulders to work out a slight kink. As a female, my instincts press me to be with my eggs at all times, as I'm sure yours will too, Eragon. Now even though none of these are our offspring, the protective instinct will still be quite potent, as we are to be surrogate parents for the new younglings.

Eragon laid his head on his paws, already staring off into space. It...is a difficult question. He started running through ideas and possibilities in his head, each one as outlandish as the last. Images of he and Saphira having to dart between caves flashed behind his eyes, and he grew tired simply thinking of it. Then, like a spark of lighting, an idea came to him. Surprising Saphira so much that she snorted, the male jumped up and half-bounded to the cliff that was the entrance to their cave.

Eragon? Saphira asked curiously. What is it?

The male was perched on the cliff, looking off to both sides and even over the edge to the next cliff below. Then, he whirled around and padded eagerly back to Saphira, his eyes shining bright. I think I have an idea, he hummed.

Oh? Do tell then.

Our cave is the only one on this cliff, he began, nodding towards the entrance. However, there are two caves nearly equal distance away to both the left and right of ours, each on a cliff of their own. His jaws parted as he grinned in excitement. They can't be more than a few dozen feet away...

What are you getting at, my mate? Saphira asked, her own features alight in curiously.

Eragon simply rumbled deep in his chest as he leaned in to nuzzle Saphira's snout with his own. How do you feel about making our cave bigger?

The midday sun sparkled off the scales of the two dragons as they wheeled about in the sky above the valley. Happy roars and mental shouts rang between them as they played, Eragon and Saphira more than happy to turn a simple flight into something fun. They dodged, dipped, twirled and dove around each other, darting across the clear sky in pursuit of each other. At times they would close and grapple with one another, before pushing away for more aerobatics. Other times, they would chase their partner through the air, nipping at their wings and tail playfully. To the dragons, this was the simple pleasure of life. Freedom, play, and happiness.

Before long, however, their play led them to the small encampment atop the plateau where the elves had set up their temporary camps. Easily spotted against the natural tones of the earth, Eragon spiralled downward to the patch of blue fur that could only be Blodhgarm, Saphira right behind him. Landing before the elf with a slight bound, the large blue dragons greeted the elf and his companions with a pair of pleasant growls. Master Blodhgarm, Eragon rumbled softly.

Shadeslayer, Brightscales, the elf inclined his head respectfully. It is joyous to see the two of you again. I take it all went well this past evening? The deliberate smile on the elf's face was impossible to ignore.

Eragon tried not to blush at the implication in the elf's voice. Having to come and practically inform the elves of his and Saphira's intents yesterday was hard enough. Now he feared just what sort of comments might arouse. Especially from-

Well, if the noise was any indication, I say things went quite well, the deep voice of Glaedr rumbled from the right of Eragon, making the male's cheeks turn a distinct darker shade. An accompaniment of chuckles and snorts from the other Eldunari, and Eragon felt like turning away right there.

Saphira, on the other hand, simply rumbled deep in her chest, clearly not caring about the small insinuations. You could say that, she laughed, answering the old ones for both her and her mate. She leaned in to tenderly nuzzle Eragon's cheek, causing the rest of the elves who had begun to gather to break out in wide eyed looks of happiness. I shall not go into details, but yes, things are very well between us.

Good to hear, Umaroth intoned, as Glaedr and the other Eldunari tried to add a few more well-wishes to the newly minted mates. But I doubt the two of you came to visit us just to say that. Why, when my mate and I were intimate, we usually spent the next day relaxing in our cave, the old dragon went on, clearly ignoring the look of discomfort on Eragon's face, or the amusement on Saphira's. Clearly there is something you wish to discuss.

Erm, yes, Eragon mumbled, before clearing his throat with a cough-like growl. Saphira and I were talking about the eggs from the Vault of Souls, and we wanted to speak to all of you about it.

"Is something wrong?"a female elf with starlight-colored hair asked.

The dark scaled male that was Eragon shook his head. No no, he rumbled. Not at all. Saphira and I simply wished to discuss the idea of placing them somewhere.

Toting them around in the magic field is fine for convenience, Saphira added. But the eggs should be somewhere more natural, where they may be allowed to rest and hatch properly.

Mmm...yes, I see your point, Umaroth said in his deep tone. Although I can tell none are ready to hatch just quite yet, you do raise an important argument, Brightscales.

"We are building a hold and nursery," another male elf interjected, his raven black hair ruffling in the slight breeze.

Indeed we are, Eragon rumbled gently. But we are all aware of how long that will take to build. Saphira and I feel that the eggs should be bed down soon, so that they may become accustomed to their new home more quickly.

A mental snort came from Glaedr, adding his approval to the words. Very well, Eragon. Do you have something in mind?

Yes, Saphira purred brightly. Eragon noticed that there are two caves next to ours along the mountain side. We investigated them, and they are quite large. Not ones I would have chosen for my nest, but still rather promising. The sapphire dragon paused, then got herself back on topic. Eragon and I want to know if it would be possible to remove the rock separating our cave and these two.

Blodhgarm looked up at the dark scaled male silently, contemplating the idea for a moment. "You wish to connect the two caves to your own? Thereby allowing you to watch over the eggs without travelling far from your nest?"

Yes, Master Blodhgarm, Eragon snorted softly. He traded a small glance with Saphira. Our protective instincts – most prominently Saphira's – will undoubtedly drive us to watch over them intently. Having them close to us will make things much easier.

Opening a private conversation with the younger male, Glaedr rumbled in a low tone, Eragon...is Saphira...?

No, the Rider-turned-dragon shook his head gently. But the fact remains that as the only mature dragons – not to mention mates - it is our instinct to protect and watch over the eggs, even though they are not our own.

Indeed, the once golden dragon sighed. I know firsthand of the shared responsibilities and protectiveness that a group of dragons can exhibit. It was very much so in Doru Araeba many years ago. Then, once again opening his voice to the rest of the gathered souls, he continued. I agree with your claims, young one. You and Saphira have raised a very valid argument and solution. A chorus of voices from the other Eldunari added to his, each of the long-dead dragons agreeing with and supporting the young mates' proposition. Saphira simply hummed in her throat, pleased that the old ones had saw her reasoning, earning a small lick of affection from Eragon.

Blodhgarm was silent for another moment, contemplating the task ahead. "I too agree with you, Shadeslayer. We shall see to the task." He gave a small bow of his head. "However, it will take us some time to prepare the necessary spells, as well as ourselves."

Of course, Master Blodhgarm, Eragon said gently, inclining his own large head as well. Tomorrow perhaps?

"That shall be appropriate." There was a moment or two of silence, then the furred elf man spoke up again. "That reminds me...Shadeslayer, do you not think it time we contacted Queens Arya and Nasuada, and informed them of our claiming of a settlement?"

Had it not been wrapped tightly around Saphira's, Eragon would have smacked himself in the head with his tail. How could he have forgotten about his friends back in Alagaesia so quickly? Then again, as a certain sapphire tail teased his own and sent shivers of pleasure up his spine, the Rider-turned-dragon realized he had been quite preoccupied these last several days. Quite right you are, Master Blodhgarm. In fact, if you would, let us contact them right now. No doubt they have been waiting all this time to hear from us.

Inclining his head once more, Blodhgarm motioned to two of his fellow elves, and the pair retrieved a large mirror from on of the tents they had set up. The mirror was easily larger than the two elven folk carrying it, which Eragon noticed with pleasure. Having such a large mirror would make communication with multiple participants much easier. With a chuckle, he remembered the time he had tried to speak to Saphira through the mirror in Nasuada's tent, and all he could see was her brilliant eye.

"I have also adapted the spell of scrying so that mental speech is also translated through the image," the blue-furred elf purred. "It will give you and Brightscales the honor of using your own voices and words in conversation."

Thank you, Blodhgarm, Saphira rumbled. Pleased as she was for others to so happily relay her words, the dragoness took pride in being able to do things herself. After all, they were her words.

Next to his mate, Eragon quickly began forming a speech in his head, hoping to explain all that Arya and Nasuada would see before them. For one, they would be more than shocked to hear his voice coming from the large blue dragon he had now become...not to mention the other details of what had befallen him and Saphira. A gentle growl came from his left, and Saphira tilted her head to nuzzle the male's jaw. Do not worry, my mate, she whispered. All will be well. This shall not be the most outrageous thing we have all seen.

I know, Eragon rumbled back privately. It will just be...awkward, what with everything that has happened between Arya and myself. I still care for her, and do not wish to cause her any pain, regardless of whether or not she ever reciprocated my feelings.

Saphira giggled softly, and surprised the male by giving his neck a tender – but very suggestive – nip. Well, she had better get in line. You are mine now.

Did I say I was complaining?

Cute, she purred, nuzzling their snouts together as the male's gentle nibbles ran across her own muzzle.

The cat-like elven man whispered the spell of scrying, and the large mirror shimmered as an image appeared on its surface. Eragon and Saphira pulled back from their loving affections in order to face the window of magic before them. On the mirror, the interior of a grand hall appeared, vines and flowers running up the walls – which upon closer inspection, Eragon noticed were made or wood. Or, more precisely, a large tree. It took all of a heartbeat to recognize the interior of Tialdari Hall, the home of the nobles and ruler of the elves in Ellesmera. Although he himself could not remember this specific chamber, Eragon guessed it was Arya's personal quarters, having inherited the rule and position of Queen after her mother's death.

It only took several moments before a figure appeared before them. The elf was older, even though the youthful nature of his skin said otherwise. His eyes showed years of great wisdom and experience, framed by the sparkling hair the color of starlight. Upon seeing who was contacting them, the man instantly bowed and greeted all those present in the ancient language. Blodhgarm responded in kind for those gathered, then asked if they may speak to Queen Arya.

"My deepest apologies, Blodhgarm-elda," the man said softly. "Apologies to all of you. I am afraid Arya Drotting is not in Ellesmera. She has gone to the kingdom of Queen Nasuada to meet with Her Majesty, in order to conference on an issue arising in the human's domain."

That sounds foreboding, Eragon growled privately to Saphira and the Eldunari. The elder dragons agreed with the young male, and spoke amongst themselves even as Blodhgarm bade farewell to the elven noble and ended the spell.

This time, he intoned the spell towards another mirror in Nasuada's chambers at her castle in Ilirea – the once former capital of Galbatorix. The familiar sight of stone walls and rich tapestry greeted their gazes as the royal chambers shimmered into view, and Eragon felt a stab of homesickness in his large stomach. Sensing his discomfort, Saphira leaned in and nuzzled the length of his neck, humming softly. The dark blue male growled his tender thanks to her, giving her a quick lick on the snout, already feeling the sensations fade.

There was a rustling sound, and a familiar visage came into view on the large mirror. Her tight, coiled hair was woven in a delicate arrangement of braids and knots atop her head, the black color framing the sparkling gold tiara wonderfully. Her large, almond shaped eyes widened slightly, seeing who was on the other side of the mirror, and Eragon could have sworn she would break into tears any moment. He could see the collar of a day-dress around her neck, its royal purple contrasting nicely with the ebony color of her skin, and the silver necklace with what appeared to be a dragon-shaped pendant flashing against the background of darker colors. Eragon felt his heart soar at the sight of her again, and became aware of his and Saphira's loud humming, both dragons very pleased to see an old friend.

"By the goddess...it is you!" Nasuada whispered, a large smile breaking out over her face. Blodhgarm bowed and greeted the Queen in royal fashion, to which the ebony skinned woman replied in kind. Clearly, Nasuada had been practising her skills in the ancient language and elven traditions now that she had become Queen. "Master Blodhgarm, it is a blessing to finally hear from you once again."

Eragon blinked as she failed to greet him or Saphira, then realized that by her vantage point, Nasuada could probably only see Blodhgarm in her mirror. Even though their mirror was quite large, the smaller size of Nasuada's mirror must limit her to what she could see. Parting his large jaws in a grin, Eragon tried to contain himself for the surprise she would get when the elf-man stepped aside.

"Greetings, Lady Nasuada," Blodhgarm purred. "May the stars rejoice that we find you well. My kinsmen in Ellemsera tell me that Arya Drotting is with you in Ilirea, and that issues have arisen in the kingdom. I trust you are safe and well?"

"We are," the woman replied, even though her shoulders slumped with a sigh. "Indeed, there have been problems arising in isolated areas of Alagaesia after Galbatorix's fall and your departure. Nothing serious as of late, but I felt it necessary for Arya and I to quell them before they got any further."

"And Arya Drotting?"

A gentle smile flashed over Nasauda's face. "Out flying with Firnen at the moment." This time, it was Saphira's stomach that did the back-flip, the simple mention of the green dragon making her buried unease come forth once more. It lasted only a moment, as Eragon's tail squeezed hers gently, and she felt the comfort and love flow across their link, soothing her wandering worries. Oblivious to the two dragon's out of her sight, Nasuada went on. "Both he and Arya expressed a desire for some time to themselves. We have spent most of this week in talks and planning, trying to deal with the problems I mentioned." Another bright grin stretched over her face. "I'm sure the two of them are looking forward to seeing Eragon and Saphira again. Are they with you?" Her look had become hopeful, clearly eager to see her old friends once again.

A rare grin appeared on the visage of the furred elf, which cased a look of surprise to fester on Nasuada. "They are indeed, My Lady. However...Eragon wishes me to make sure you are sitting down," the elf purred, having been quickly and privately contacted by Eragon himself. A chorus of chuckles passed between all the dragons, alive and Eldunari alike.

"Now you have me on edge, Blodhgarm," Nasuada muttered. "May I see them?"

With a bow, the elf stepped aside so that he revealed the pair of dragons behind him. Obviously, she was able to see both in their entirety, for Nasuada let out a soft gasp and her smile grew tenfold. "Saphira!" she laughed, staring through to the sapphire dragoness. "My stars, look at you!"

Hello, Nasuada, Saphira hummed happily, her words being altered by Blodhgarm's spell to translate through the mirror so Nasuada could hear them. It is good to see you again.

"You as well," the woman smiled. "You are a sight for sore eyes, Saphira. I have missed you and Eragon greatly." Her eyes flickered around the scene before her, clearly looking for said Rider. Then, she seemed no longer able to contain herself, as Nasuada smiled widely again, laying eyes on the dark blue male next to Saphira. "I also see you have made a new friend," she giggled.

You might say that, Saphira grinned, flashing her fangs. Leaning over, she ran her snout along the male dragon's neck, in obvious delight on Nasuada's behalf.

The young woman clearly had to restrain herself from launching into a multitude of questions, the sight of yet another dragon with Saphira joyous beyond comprehension, nearly making her forget about Eragon's apparent absence. In the end, she managed to contain herself and be civil. "Are you going to introduce us?"

Now, Saphira chuckle and grin became more pronounced. Why would I need to do that? You are already very well acquainted.

Nasuada tilted her head slightly. "Saphira, I have never met this dragon before."

Oh, sure you have, the dragoness growled gleefully, clearly enjoying the prolonging of the big surprise. He simply looked...different..last time you saw him.

Saphira...Eragon rumbled privately, although a part of him wanted to laugh at the playfulness he felt from her across their link. Stop teasing the poor woman.

Hush. I'm enjoying this, the dragoness smiled, before turning her attention back to the dumbfounded Nasuada.

"I don't understand," the woman confessed. "Is this not one of the dragons whose egg you recovered from Vroengard?"

Even if one of the younglings had hatched, he would be nowhere near this size already, Saphira said in a mock condescending tone. No...this fine male dragon is much more special.

Now the ebony skinned woman looked completely confused, her eyes lowering as she tried to figure out the cryptic dragoness' words. A few moments passed before Eragon snorted loudly. Oh for the love of...Saphira, just tell her!

Nasuada's eyes darted back up and her jaw dropped in utter shock. It was then Eragon realized he had spoken 'aloud', and rolled his eyes as Saphira lost herself to a fit of giggles, the dragoness huffing and growling deep in her throat in complete glee. "No...it-it cannot be," Nasuada whispered, inching closer to the mirror she spoke through. Her eyes went wide in wonder as the male dragon before her looked straight at her, their eyes meeting, and her brain began to feel the truth. That voice was unmistakeable, even though its source was unexpected. "E-Eragon?"

Hello, old friend, he finally rumbled, causing her to gasp and clap her hand over her mouth. It is I.

"H-how? When?" the woman stuttered, at a complete loss for words.

It is a long story, Eragon sighed, still amused by Saphira's persistent giggles. In short, this was a gift from the Eldunari. He quickly summarized the brief tale, telling his old friend about how he was now blessed with the form of a dragon, as well as the ability to change back and forth as he wished, thanks to the vast amount of magic the gathered Eldunari were capable of. It took a while before Nasuada stopped plying him with questions, the young woman wanting to know virtually every detail surrounding his gift and transformation.

"This...is unbelievable," Nasuada finally murmured, eyeing the new body of her friend carefully. "You make quite a striking dragon, Eragon."

Thank you.

"I will admit, I was a little uneasy at first. Seeing that you had become a dragon made me worry for the next generation of Riders you are supposed to train." Her smile returned. "But, I know you would never forsake your duties. That, and knowing you are able to become human again as you wish, puts all my misgivings to rest." In surprise show of friendship, Nasuada bowed and twisted her hand over his chest in a sign of respect towards the male dragon. "Good health to you, Eragon Brightscales."

The pair of dragons suddenly started laughing and huffing deep in their throats, much to the confusion of their friend. At her curious look, Eragon managed to control his chuckles long enough to explain. By giving me Saphira's name, you have implied that we are together, Nasuada.

"Oh, my apologies," she said, slightly flustered. "I didn't realize tha-"

We never said you were mistaken, Saphira growled smugly, leaning in to lick Eragon's cheek.

Seeing this, Nasuada's eyes became so wide Eragon feared they would burst from her head. The young woman worked her mouth, trying to form words through her utter shock. "Y-you mean you're...?"

Yes, Eragon growled happily, draping a wing possessively around Saphira, earning a warm gurgle.

"I...I had always thought you two were close," Nasuada marvelled, looking at them with happy tears in her eyes. "There were times when I wondered how much you two truly cared for one another." Her brilliant white teeth flashed as a large smile broke out once more. "May the goddess bless you, my friends. I am so happy for you."

Thank you, Nasuada, Saphira whispered, nuzzling her head under Eragon's chin. It has not been an easy road getting here, but now that we are together, I could not be more happy.

The young woman started to speak again, before a voice in the background drew her attention. There was a moment of garbled speech behind her, before she turned back to her friends with a sigh. "I wish I could remain and talk more with you, but urgent matters require my attention." Huffing to herself, she slapped the out-of-sight dresser that her mirror rested on. "There is so much I want to speak to you about," she whispered. "Your new home, your progress, your new life together..."

This will not be the last time we speak, Eragon rumbled in a resolute tone. Now that we have found a place to settle down and call home, I promise we will be in more constant contact. Saphira snorted and dipped her head in agreement, equally as pleased to once more see their friends back home in Alagaesia.

Nasuada nodded firmly. "I agree. Once a week, I would like to hear from you so that you can inform me of your progress, and so that we may stay touch about all the new and exciting things in your lives," she grinned, giving the two dragons a knowing wink.

Eragon and Saphira heartily agreed, and finished with informing Nasuada of their approximate location as the young woman hastily scribbled on a map nearby. With a fond farewell, Blodhgarm ended the spell and Nasuada's image faded from the large mirror. Stretching his body, Eragon noticed the rapidly sinking sun, and was surprised that they had been speaking with Nasuada for almost the entire afternoon. Even so, it didn't feel like near enough time. Already, the Rider-turned-dragon was looking forward to the next time they spoke.

Admittedly, Eragon was slightly downtrodden having not gotten the change to speak to Arya. She deserved to know all that had happend to them, especially in regards to he and Saphira becoming mates. After all that had transpired between him and the elven woman, Eragon felt it a point of honor that she knew things were now going to be very different for them. He still cared for her, yes, as she was a very dear friend. But all the bottled up passion and desire he had thought he held for her had begun to greatly diminish these past weeks.

No...not diminish, he thought with agrin. They just found a new target. His eyes wandered over to his mate's graceful form as he rubbed her back with his wing, and allowed the worries to fade away. If his and Arya's friendship meant anything, Eragon knew she would understand. As if sensing his desires for time to themselves, Saphira stretched out her wings, indcating it was time to go, a wide, fang-filled grin upon her muzzle.

Taking their leave of the elves, Saphira and Eragon took to the sky to find their evening meal, and brought their catches back to their home on the mountain side. Claws clacking on the hard stone, the pair of dragons eagerly padded over to their nest, Eragon's slightly larger form curling around Saphira. She leaned up to give his jaw a happy nuzzle, before the two of them set into their meals, cuddling all the while.

When the last remnants of their dinner vanished behind their eager jaws, Saphira yawned and leaned into Eragon's warm body. Mmm...and now for the best part of the day, she purred.

And what would that be? Eragon grinned at her, even as he automatically curled a little tighter around her form.

Sleeping with you.

The male rumbled and hummed deep in his chest, leaning down to lick across her neck. Right away, he felt Saphira's maw brush up against his own, initiating another of their unique little kisses. They nibbled and licked at each other for several minutes, happily losing themselves to the loving affections of their mate. Eragon reached down and wrapped his left foreleg around Saphira's midsection, holding her tenderly as they stretched out into a laying position.

Saphira shuffled her head over to lay against his, purring in content as he held her close. Do you think we could spend the morning together tomorrow?

Of course, why wouldn't we? Eragon tilted his head towards his mate.

Saphira parted her jaws in a gleaming grin. I meant, I want to sleep in tomorrow. I never really got the chance this morning when I went to fetch breakfast.

You didn't have to you know, the male teased, nibbling along her neck. My hunger can wait in exchange for a few more hours laying with you.

I love you, Eragon, the dragoness whispered, nuzzling back into his embrace. She felt her tail get tenderly wrapped with his own, and she shivered happily. The male laid his head atop hers gently, rumbling and purring to her.

And I you, my mate, he hummed, putting all he could behind the words. His large paw rubbed along her belly slowly, soothing her, as the pair of them felt the call of sleep beckoning them. Then, he couldn't help the little grin that touched his muzzle. Depending on how we begin to remodel our nest tomorrow...we may have to occupy ourselves for a while. Any ideas?

The dragoness was silent for a few heartbeats, before a rich growl echoed from her. Don't start, she chuckled. Otherwise I'll never get to sleep.

Just a thought, Eragon rumbled happily, laying his head down with hers once more. The dragoness gave a coughing growl in her throat as she laughed, before a pleased yelp escaped her mate's maw as her hind leg rubbed a very sensitive spot between his legs. Tease...

You started it.

Goodnight, love, Eragon snorted, hoping to end their little play before it led to something more. Saphira shuffled again, trying to hold herself as close to his muscular body as possible.

Goodnight, Eragon...my love.

(*sighs*) Ahh...it feels good to be back.

I know this one took a long time to come out, but I have been greatly sidetracked as of late. I'm starting a new series on SoFurry as an outlet for my lemon-loving side, and of course, there is my other major fic Blood of a Dragon.

I should mention that this is not an indication of frequent updates once again. I still have alot of work to do in finishing up my outlining of the first act of this story.

Ideally, I am shooting for a new update roughly once a month. Now, before I get any groaning, just remember I'm going for quality over speed. Think about that before I get 50 "Please post next chapter!" reviews.

Now, in regards to the chapter, I included a few little tidbits that allude to some upcoming events. Maybe you'll spot them, maybe you'll just have to wait and find out. As for Eragon and Saphira having children, its evident that our two dragons still have much work ahead of them in building their new home, as well as preparing to raise all these eggs. So, as Saphira said, her not falling gravid from their passionate first night is not really a big issue to her right now. After all...she has the mate she never dreamed to have. I'd say she's pretty content.

Of course, anything can happen in the future...so who knows?

Anyways, glad to be back my friends. As always...

Until next time!