The nesting cave was quiet, shimmering dragon eggs resting in twos and threes as a score of pixies flitted around them, ensuring that all was as it should be. There were no adult dragons, those were all rumbling around in the upper levels of the Eternal City or else out exploring far-away lands to bring back treasure and acclaim. Not a parental instinct in the lot of them – some even had to be convinced to mate at all.
Thus it fell to the pixies to watch the eggs. Not that they minded, the dragons were good to them. Many a pixie child had first experienced the world beyond the hollow mountain that was their home tucked safely behind a dragon’s crest. Dragons tended to have more patience for pixie children that the pixies did, so it all worked out in the end. So long as between the two races all the children were accounted for everyone was happy and life went on.
There is a kind of high-pitched squeaking that a dragon will let out when it is ready to hatch – a sound that’s so high only pixies can hear it and newborn hatchlings will deny having made it. Regardless, when one of the golden eggs in clutch twelve began squeaking and rocking back and forth, a half-dozen pixies were on hand to witness, flitting around like points of light.
Within moments, a dark muzzle broke its way through the shell – or rather the shell half melted and the dragonling tore through the sludge, a tiny scrunched-up shape that was still glowing hot enough that the rock started melting underneath him.
The pixies flitted closer, darting back at the last second to avoid the hatchling’s snapping teeth and giggling. He was the size of a medium dog to them, and terribly confused at the attention. The dragonling hiccuped and fell on his tail, damp wings almost crushed as he tried to figure out his body.
“You should take this one Elena. Listen! His sister is coming!” One of the pixies pushed another, Elena, forward as the rest spun to watch the next egg as it began rocking back and forth. Elena huffed and touched down next to the dragonling, her footstep cooling the molten rock.
“Come on little one. Let’s get you some food before you decide to eat your clutch-mates.” Elena ran her hand along the dragonling’s head and he purred, curling around her. He was terribly cute, with those big eyes and oversized feet. His color seemed to be stuck at a kind of red gold, but he’d figure out how to change that later. For now Elena picked him up and carried him out of the nesting cave, toward the hatchling hunting grounds where they could learn to hunt mice as they learned to talk and be proper dragons. Elena hummed with a kind of excitement. Ah, parenthood.