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   Chapter 19 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11999

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:28

Chapter 19

As expected, morning came far too early. For Elena the one saving grace was that everyone else was slow to get started, leaving her the first leisurely morning in a long time. Eating, drinking, and dancing until nearly dawn meant that no one was in shape for an early morning meeting. She sipped her morning coffee quietly while Benjamin and Thompson still slept.

Her dreams changed in the night and she found herself thinking over the details. The dream began as it always had, with her running through a hedge maze while dragons fought overhead. She still had the absolute certainty that once they were finished with their fight, they would turn their attention to her. This time however, she made it to the end of the maze.

She stepped from the confines of the hedges and into a cleared area. A few steps away there was a small table with a glass of champagne bubbling merrily in the center of the table. There was a card attached to the glass by a ribbon and Elena stepped forward, curious as to what the card would tell her. She picked up the glass and looked at the card. In fancy black script that could only have been written by the flattened nip of a fountain pen, Elena read the words written.

'Councilor Calabrese, congratulations.' As she read the ink turned liquid and ran off the card, dripping to the ground below. Elena closed her eyes and dropped the glass of champagne. She heard the shattering of the glass on the stones beneath her feet and opened her eyes. When they were opened she realized that she had been turned into a large gold dragon; she was now the same color as the champagne had been, thankfully without the bubbles. The fighting dragons turned in her direction and she could hear them snarl and snap. She trumpeted her defiance, her voice roaring into the sky as she prepared to take flight to defend what was hers.

She woke as her dream self in dragon form took flight and despite the hour found herself unwilling, as well as unable to return to sleep. She nearly sighed with relief when Benjamin rose to join her. She was more than ready to focus attention externally.

"That was some party last night, " Benjamin said, pouring a cup of coffee and joining her in the living room.

"It certainly was, " Elena agreed. "I think it was one of Rene's better efforts."

"Did you see him last night?" Benjamin asked.

"No, " she confessed. "I looked for him to tell him what a wonderful job he did, but I couldn't find him."

"Well I did. He looked full to bursting with pride. I told him that everything was fabulous and as he thinks of me as your aide he assumed the praise came from you."

"Ah, " Elena said. "Should I apologize or thank you for that?"

"As long as you agree then you can thank me, " Benjamin said. "And remind me that I need to check my public opinions with you before making them unless I state they are only from me."

"True. Of course if you state they are only from you then they might think that I hold an opposite opinion and react accordingly." She told him.

"I hadn't thought of that." Benjamin said. "This aide business is tricky stuff."

"Let me know if you want to give it up and return to the peaceful world of fight promotion. And if you could do that before the season opens it would be best."

"Oh?" Benjamin said. He lifted an eyebrow. "Oh, " he repeated slowly. "You plan to say yes to the Council when they return."

"I won't trust them with Haven, " Elena said softly. She stood and refilled her coffee cup, heating the cooling remains of the previous one.

"Then thi

ssing, the burden fell heavily on Elena. She was more than ready to hand it back.

"Or most of it back, " Elena thought as the couple returned and resumed their duties. Mateo was back for only a day before he and his crew shipped out on the Crazy Chicken with Maria. The Crazy Chicken's hold was filled with the separate pieces of the first part of the way station as well as the equipment to put it together on site. The Dolphin's Friend would follow two days later with the additional parts needed to expand the way station to its full size. Elena asked Maria to take Jennifer with her, knowing her apprentice spent too long in port and needed the experience.

"I wish I was going, " Elena confessed to Kiera the night after Mateo shipped out. Knowing she would be alone and worrying about Mateo, Elena invited Kiera to eat dinner with them. Benjamin passed around a vegetable dish that vaguely resembled green beans, but tasted a bit like fresh peas crossed with basil.

"If it helps any, " Kiera told her, taking a serving of the dish before passing it. "He would have liked it better if you were going too." Elena saw worry lines appear on Kiera's forehead. "He trusts your ability to deal with the unexpected. The others, he isn't so sure about."

"I'm sure they will be fine, " Elena assured her realizing that Kiera was genuinely worried. "In addition to Maria, there are two other apprentice pilots on the Crazy Chicken. If anything goes wrong they would just re open the channel and come home. I wouldn't have let them take him if I didn't trust them."

"I know, " Kiera said. "It's just the whole in space, building a space station that seems just too crazy to be safe. I just keep thinking of all of the things that could happen."

"They are good pilots. It's just my desire to set sail rather than my safety concerns that make me want to take charge." She confessed. "And anytime you start to dwell on things, just come on over here. God knows we've got plenty to keep you occupied, " Elena said.

"And having you here keeps her from obsessing about things too, " Benjamin told Kiera gesturing to Elena.

"I don't obsess, " Elena said. Benjamin and Thompson just laughed and shook their heads. "Much."

"Then I won't feel so bad about stopping by for dinner, " Kiera told them.

"You are always welcome, " Elena told her. "After all, you're family now."

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