“___________, did you know in the nature of dragons, there does exist an act of courtship?” Emil brought up one day while on a typical day of travelling.
Really? I thought you dragons weren’t into stuff like love, you responded.
“While we may not start out knowing what love is, such an element isn’t necessary when it comes to reproduction,” Emil responded. “You don’t really think mere pests such as mice think about love when it comes to bearing young, do you?”
You made a face. Hmm. You have a point there. Well, know that you’ve piqued my curiosity, what’s the courtship process like?
“As you know,” Emil began to explain, “dragons are prideful creatures. It is actually the males and females who go about conducting in their own practices to finding out who is the best partner suitable for mating together. The males fight amongst each other, and the females judge their physical appearance such as the luster of their scales and their wing patterns. When the winners are chosen, they conduct a particular flight pattern and put on a fire show.”
Oh, that sounds nice. So…in a way, only the best male and female get a chance to…you know…have an offspring together?
“That’s pretty much how it goes, but from there, the tiers go down: the best mate with the best, the secondary partners mate with each other, and the weak mate with the weak. It’s done like this so not only do we ensure the continuation of the strong, but the continuation of our species as a whole—that is…until the dragons started disappearing, of course.”
This is me just being more curious, but what rank would you say your parents were? you asked.
“The best, naturally,” Emil answered with a bit of pride in his voice. “My brother doesn’t have an empty reason to feel so highly of himself, after all.”
You couldn’t help but roll your eyes when you heard the dragon’s answer. Of course, you two would be. That aside, in the case that two dragons really loved each other, how would that work out?
There was a strange feeling tugging in your heart that gave you the strange impression that Emil was shrugging.
“It makes the experience more satisfying, I guess? In contrast to humans, the process of mating isn’t very enjoyable to us dragons, so I’ve heard. Our human bodies, on the other hand, are supposed to experience the same feelings of pleasure as you are supposed to. That being said, I personally never experienced either form of mating.”
At this, your face grew steamy and red. “That doesn’t mean I’ve actually experienced that myself, either.”
“Did you say something, human?”
Your heart nearly burst out of your chest when you heard Lukas speak up. It wasn’t until you saw his face in full view that you realized you had spoken aloud.
“I-It was nothing…” you bashfully answered the dragon and kept your eyes to the ground.
The Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames blinked. “Sometimes I wonder what sorts of lies and balderdash you’re feeding my brother.”
“I’m not feeding him any lies!” you protested. “I—He—We were talking about—!” You stopped.
Lukas raised an eyebrow. “About what?”
I don’t know! Emil, what am I supposed to say?
“Simple,” Emil replied. “We were talking about the act in which dragons go about courting one another.”
It’s not that simple to say!
Now, the dragon was getting impatient.
“Just what exactly are you talking to my brother about? Why is it so hard to tell me? Unless you have something to hide from me?”
“Ggh—! Fine, fine! Emil brought up how dragons go about courting one another! Happy?”
Lukas blinked again. “So that’s what you were talking about? Did you know that mating is considered to be very uncomfortable for dragons? You’re a little on the small side, but I’d be happy to try it on you just for the pure pleasure of watching you suffer.”
You could only stare at the dragon in shock.
Emil, he’s not serious, is he?
“Why don’t you find out for yourself?”
“Uh, Lukas, are you—”
Lukas brushed back some of his blonde bangs, narrowed his eyes at you, and pursed his lips together like he was trying to hold himself from bursting into laughter. Now that would have been a real treat to see and hear.
“Y-You are?” you stupidly asked with a dumbfounded expression.
Lukas rolled his sapphire eyes. “Do you honestly believe I’d give you the privilege of being my first partner? Not to mention it wouldn’t exactly be the best experience for my brother considering he’d have a front-row seat.”
“R-Right…” was all you managed to say.
Then, the dragon scoffed. “Come on. We’ve lost precious time, human.”
It took a few seconds, but you managed to get your feet moving again and your head thinking straight. All the while, you kept your thoughts to yourself wondering why in the world Emil’s brother would say such things to you. It wasn’t just the thought of reproduction that made “mating” important to humans; it was also supposed to be a special bond shared by two people who loved one another.
Hearing your thoughts, Emil thought to respond.
“You know something interesting, ____________? When I was a hatchling, I used to hear tales of dragons falling in love with humans.”
Were they true? you asked.
“I don’t know. None of the elders back at the mountain ever said anything about knowing a dragon like that. We always thought they were just stories to make sure dragons never fell in love with humans.”
Can you tell me one of the stories?
“My brother tells them better. You should ask him, instead,” Emil suggested.
You wrinkled your nose. “I’d rather mate with a dragon than hear a love story from your foul-tongued snob of a brother.”
“What’s that about mating and love stories?” Lukas asked stopping in his tracks.
“Nothing!” you lied again mentally cursing yourself for speaking aloud once more. “Just pretend you didn’t hear anything!”
Lukas remained unmoved. “I bet you’re saying something about how wonderful it is for humans to mate with one another, aren’t you?”
“Why do you say it like it’s nothing?!” you burst out. “How could you be so calm about saying that word?!”
“What word?” Lukas innocently asked.
“You mean ‘mate?’ What’s wrong with saying that word?”
“Now might not be a good time to ask him about that story,” Emil then brought up.
You clenched your teeth together and hissed. You know, what, Emil? I think you’re right.
“Shut your mouth, have you?” Lukas noticed. “What ill conversations are you having with my brother now?”
“None,” you growled. “I can honestly say that much.”
“Is that all?”
“What do you think?” you snapped.
For a moment, you were expecting Lukas to give you a scolding with his sharp tongue, but instead, he snorted and turned around once again.
“You know something, human?” he said while continuing on his way. “Sometimes I feel as though there’s a higher force trying to make something more of our fragile relationship than there needs to be.”
“I’m afraid I don’t follow,” you frowned.
“It’s too difficult to explain to someone with a limited amount of intelligence such as yourself,” Lukas said dismissively. “Pretend you didn’t hear what I just said.”
Feeling like there was nothing more to touch upon on the matter, you simply listened to the dragon and kept your mouth shut letting the entire conversation completely drop. You would have to remind yourself to ask Lukas about the love story another time.