A.N. I'm glad you guys liked it. ^_^ Here's the next chapter.

Girl From The Dragon's Cave

The girl growled, eyes blazing with an inhuman light.

"How do you think she got in here?" John asked nervously, eyeing the girl uneasily.

"Probably kidnapped by the beast we've just disposed of," Jerold replied with full confidence as he took a step towards the girl. "She'll be glad to be rescued."

"Hunter, I don't think that would be such a good idea," Darson ventured, but too late.

Jerold had reached for the girl's arm. Outrage burned in her emerald eyes as she lashed out at the offending hand, snarling like an angry wolf. Darson wasn't sure what happened next, everything happened to fast for the human eye to see, but the results were obvious enough. Jerold jerked back with a surprised half-scream as five, wicked claw marks tore his arm from elbow to wrist.

Jerold gave a snarl o his own and drew back his uninjured arm to strike the girl, but Darson leapt forward and caught his hand.

"Unhand me Cooper! She's obviously some sort of fiend in disguise! Letting her go unpunished will bring bad luck to the entire village!"

"I've already stood by and watched you destroy a creature who's done nothing wrong," Darson replied through gritted teeth, still not letting go of the other man's hand, "I will not stand by and watch you harm an innocent little girl as well."

"Are you blind? She's a menace!"

"Just because there's someone in the world with sense enough not to listen to your every whim doesn't give you the right to treat a child like that!"

With that, Darspm turned away from the sputtering man and crouched down to look the little girl in the eyes. She cocked her head to one side, furry replaced by curiosity, as if wondering why this strange creature had stopped the other from hurting her, which had been his obvious intention.

"Don't worry little one," he said in a soothing voice, trying his best to show her he was a friend, "I won't hurt you. Now, what's your name?"


The group headed back to village as the sun sank into the horizon, painting the sky a deep, blood red. Jerold was still sulking over the fact that he'd been overruled in the matters of the girl from the dragon's cave. Most of the group had agreed with Darson when he suggested they bring her back to the village. Darson had also volunteered to take care of her, since he and his wife, Martha, didn't have a child of their own. It would have been a problem getting her to stay with anyone else anyway, she wouldn't let anyone but Daren near her.

Now he closed the small oak gate behind him and gently pushed the girl forward. They had tried questioning her, but it turned out that the only thing she could say was her name, Songwind. It was a strange name for a human.

One of the tow dogs he kept, Race by the white paws and belly, came bounding up to them. Songwind leaned forward, eyes wide and inquisitive, it gave Darson the feeling that she'd never seen a dog before. Race, excited at meeting a new friend, gave her an enthusiastic lick on the cheek. Songwind leapt back in surprise, landing in a crouch with one hand on the ground and the other poised for action at the barest hind of danger. She snarled something at Race, who, to Darson's great surprise, immediately flopped onto his stomach and whined with his head on the ground between his paws.

"What's going on here? What's wrong with Race?" asked a familiar voice and Darson turned to see a woman with short brown hair, warm brown eyes, and an apron around her waist.

"Martha!" Darson smiled, "we found this girl a the dragon's cave. She says her name is Songwind. Do you think she could stay with us?"

He knew she'd always wanted a daughter, and he was gratified now by the broad smile on her face.

"Of course she can stay!"

Songwind, now standing again, gave a soft sound that was something between a hum and a purr.

A.N. So what do you think?