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Dares & Dragons

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Not for the first time, Tor wondered why they hadn't just turned in the whole lot of them for the bounty back when they'd had the chance. It would have made their life so much easier if they had. They'd be a much richer dwarf, and their blood pressure would probably be significantly lower.

"In my defense, I didn't expect her to turn into a dragon," Rylien said sheepishly, peeking out of the entrance to the small cave the two of them were currently hiding in. "How was I supposed to know that would happen?"

A blast of fire from somewhere above sent him quickly moving backwards again, ducking back down beside the dwarf who was currently glaring at him.

Tor reached up to rub the bridge of their nose. "I hate you."

Rylien shot them a hurt look. "It's not my fault!" he protested, his long ears drooping slightly. "Deina dared me to do it. What was I supposed to do, tell her ‘no?'"

"Yes!" Tor snapped back. "That's exactly what you should have done when a drunk gnome dared you to break into the private vault of a magic user!"

Rylien opened his mouth. Then he closed it, a sheepish look appearing on his face. "I suppose that's fair," he agreed with some reluctance. "There's, uh, a chance that I'd been drinking too."

Tor rolled their eyes. "Really?" they asked, the sarcasm dripping from their voice so thick that it was almost visible. "I couldn't tell."

Before Rylien could say anything else, Tor held up their hand. "Stay here," they said, shooting him a stern look. "I'm going to see if I can figure out how to get us out of this mess."

"What are you going to—"

Before Rylien could finish asking his question, Tor grabbed the edges of their dark cloak and flew straight upwards, heading for the small crack in the stone a good twenty feet above their heads that they'd noticed earlier. There was a good chance that it would turn out to be nothing, but they figured it was worth checking out – especially since getting out the same way they'd come in was out of the question.

Tor knew the others would come looking for them eventually. Felix would eventually realize that his husband was missing, Bren would figure out Tor wasn't simply hiding in their room, and when Deina mentioned that she'd dared Rylien to go rob a local dignitary, they'd immediately know what had happened.

Considering there was an angry dragon flying around trying to toast them, though, Tor wasn't entirely certain whether the two of them had that much time. If the two of them survived this mess, Tor swore to themself that Deina and Rylien wouldn't be allowed anywhere alone together without proper supervision for the foreseeable future.

Sometimes they felt more like a damn babysitter than a rogue and former bounty hunter.

As they reached the crack they'd seen, Tor focused on slowing their flight. They hadn't had many reasons to put their newly enchanted cloak to use since they'd gotten the magic added to it a month or so earlier, but they were definitely appreciative of its existence just then. If it got them and Rylien out of there, it would have been well worth every bit of gold it had cost.

Down below, Rylien yelped and moved a bit further back from the entrance to the cave as a small burst of flames blasted the outside of it. Luckily, the angle the cave was at prevented the dragon from simply planting itself in front of the opening and burning them alive, but Tor suspected their luck would shift at some point.

If nothing else, they expected the dragon would eventually remember that she could shift back into a humanoid woman and walk right in. And they would be screwed once that happened.

Shaking their head, Tor landed on a thin outcropping sticking out from the wall just beside the crack. Carefully planting their feet, they took a closer look. The crack was even larger than they'd thought, almost a small cave in itself, more than big enough for them to fit in. It would probably be a bit more awkward for Rylien, considering how much taller the elf was, but he was also a lot skinner than Tor. If they could fit, he could too.

The question was whether or not it led outside.

"Tor! Whatever you're doing, hurry it up!"

Doing their best to ignore Rylien's yells from below, Tor closed their eyes and focused for a moment. There was a faint whistling sound coming from the crack and they were almost certain that they felt a hint of much colder air hitting their face. Which seemed to imply there was a decent chance that it led outside of the cave eventually.

And, well, they'd take those odds over staying where they were

Without saying a word, Tor grabbed the edges of their cloak and started back down towards the ground. Rylien had moved even further away from the cave entrance and was looking up at them with an expression on his face that seemed torn between worry and hope.

"What did you—"

"Grab hold of my waist," Tor said, cutting him off as they landed just beside him.

Rylien's eyebrows went up. "I'll have you know that I'm a married man."

Tor rolled their eyes. "Good for you," they snapped. "Now grab my waist so we can get out of here before the dragon that's trying to kill us remembers she can turn into a person."

The levity faded from Rylien's face almost instantly, and he quickly reached out to wrap his arms around Tor's waist. "I hate heights," he said. "You do remember th—"

There was a chance that Tor found a bit too much amusement in the terrified sound that came out of Rylien's mouth as they suddenly went flying upwards. Considering the circumstances, though, they felt as if it was justified.