Lulu hummed as she threw a green tree into a massive pool of water. She was in her corner of the cavern, a layer of miscellaneous materials scattered amongst her paws. By the pool of liquid, there was a hole in the ground which she blew fire into until the water started boiling.
“Mom,” her brother called out from across the cavern. He was bathing in a patch of moonlight, watching his little sister throw things into the water. “Lulu’s making weird things again.”
“Shut up, Luke!”
Kondra opened one eye and peered at her daughter. Lulu was glaring at her brother, ready to throw the massive ingot in her claw for ratting her out. Kondra sighed. “Just don’t blow up the living room again.”
“That only happened because Dad knocked over my stuff!” Lulu said. She puffed her cheeks out and narrowed her eyes at her father.
“If you weren’t so messy, I wouldn’t have knocked anything over,” her father said, rolling his eyes. “Besides—”
“Hush,” Kondra said and covered her mate’s snout with her claw. “Did you feel that?”
Lulu’s brow furrowed. A fluctuation of mana washed over her, causing her to raise her head. Two dragons flew overhead, blotting out the moon as they descended towards the transparent ceiling. “It’s Leila!”
The ceiling shimmered as the two dragons passed through and landed heavily in the center of the cavern. A black dragon flared his wings outwards and roared, causing Lulu to flinch and drop the ingot in her paw into the pool of bubbling water. But she didn’t seem to care about the lost material or ruined formula. Her eyes were glued on the black dragon by Leila’s side. Did her sister really…?
“My name is Grimmoldesser!” Grimmy leaned back and sat on his haunches, crossing his arms over his chest. His voice echoed through the chamber. “Leila is my mate!”
Kondra’s eyes widened as she climbed to her feet. She snarled and bared her teeth at Grimmy, taking a step forward while raising her head into the air, looking down on the black dragon. She was a little bit bigger than him due to her being older, but Grimmy didn’t back down as he glared back at her.
“Hi, Mom,” Leila said, stepping in between the two dragons. “This is the mate I’ve been telling you about.”
“A dragon of darkness?” Leila’s brother asked from his patch of moonlight. “Oh boy, you’ve done it now.” He rose to his feet and slinked away, fleeing from the cavern.
Kondra glared at her daughter. “Leila…,” she said. “This is the gallant dragon you’ve been telling me about? Grimmoldesser!?” She roared the last word, white fire spewing from her mouth.
“I’m very gallant, thank you very much,” Grimmy said with a nod as he snuffed the flames with his tail. “You haven’t even gotten to know me yet; why do you sound so angry?”
“Grimmy is actually very sweet, Mom,” Leila said, blocking her mother’s view by spreading her wings. “He’s not the one who forced the dwarves to leave. Probably. And look—he even has a holy warrior as a mascot.”
Lindyss’ eye twitched at the term mascot. She appeared from behind Grimmy’s wing and waved at Kondra, a white halo above her head. “This lowly warrior greets the matriarch of the land,” Lindyss said and lowered her head.
Kondra blinked at Lindyss before squinting her eyes. “You’re following someone like him?” she asked, gesturing towards Grimmy. “He’s a dragon of darkness, you know?”
“He’s actually very virtuous despite his outer appearance,” Lindyss said, her face cramping. “I admire him greatly. He has saved my life before and helped me overcome many of my tribulations.” Sweat rolled down Lindyss’ back. Before, she wasn’t sure why Leila and Grimmy had insisted on bringing her along to meet the family, but now she knew they needed someone to vouch for Grimmy.
Kondra sat on her haunches and pursed her lips, staring at Grimmy.
“I’m taken, lady,” Grimmy said and snorted. “Don’t look at me like that.”
A vein bulged on Kondra’s forehead. “Crass,” she said. “What method did you use to fool my daughter and that holy warrior?”
“Method?” Grimmy asked, tilting his head. “The only method is my overwhelming charisma. The fact that I’m handsome doesn’t hurt either.”
“Arrogant too,” Kondra said with a snort. “As expected from a cursed dragon.”
Lindyss shivered as proverbial sparks flew between Grimmy’s and Kondra’s eyes. I’m really starting to hate dragons. She pursed her lips and tried to climb down from Grimmy’s wing, but he stopped her and held her in his claw. Grimmy waved her in front of Kondra like a child would wave a toy. “Aren’t holy dragons supposed to have great respect for blessed warriors of light?” Grimmy asked. “Do you think they’d be corrupted by a cursed dragon? Of course not. You don’t believe her when she says I’m a virtuous dragon?”
Kondra’s brow furrowed. “Well…,” she said and scratched her chin. “I distrust cursed dragons more than I trust holy warriors. And I doubt she’ll continue vouching for you if you keep waving her around like that.”
“She’s sturdy, don’t worry,” Grimmy said as he stopped moving his claw. Lindyss’ face was green.
“Mom,” Leila said before Kondra could say anything. “I’ve already accepted Grimmy as my mate. Anything you say now won’t change that. In fact, I actually have an egg waiting at home, ready to hatch after a year.”
Kondra froze. Her brow furrowed as her head lowered. Lindyss could almost see the gears turning in the dragon matriarch’s head through her eyes. The surrounding dragons waited in silence as smoke drifted out of Kondra’s nostrils. Finally, she managed to ask a single word, “R-really?”
Grimmy stared at Leila with an expression that was similar to Kondra’s. Leila puffed her chest out. “That’s right,” she said with a nod. “You’re going to be a grandmother.”
Tears formed in Kondra’s eyes, and she wiped at them with the backs of her paws. “I’m really going to be a grandmother?” She pounced on her mate who hadn’t spoken a single word since Grimmy and Leila arrived. “Did you hear that? I never thought I’d see the day! I was worried our children would live in our basement for the rest of their lives.” She sobbed as she hugged her mate who patted her back and stroked her wings.
Lindyss exchanged a glance with Grimmy. She mouthed, ‘You’re going to be a father!?’
Grimmy mouthed back, ‘I’m going to be a father!?’
Leila nodded, a smug expression on her face.