How about a deleted scene from Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon. On the Nature of Fairy Dragons.
Late in the evening, Elizabeth made her way back upstairs to her room. She pulled the door closed and turned the lock. The candle she carried cast just enough light to make shadows dance along the walls. April did not like so many unpredictable shadows, though. So, Elizabeth lit three candles from the one she carried and placed that one on the small table beside the ‘bird cage’. April peeked at her from her perch inside her cage, big eyes blinking sweetly.
Cheeky little creature. Such an affectation of innocence.
Elizabeth parked her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her hands. “Why did you not tell me my young cousins could hear you?”
“How can you say that? I just old all of you.” April stretched out a wing and began to preen.
“You know very well what I mean. It would have been nice to know before I told the children that bedtime story.” Elizabeth sat beside the cage.
“What would you have done differently? Besides, I was only certain when I sang to them tonight.” April hopped out of the cage and perched on the table near Elizabeth’s hand.
The tiny fair dragon’s shadow flickered large and fierce on the far wall, more like the fabled Japanese hai-riyo than a humble little fairy dragon.
“I envy Aunt and Uncle that their whole family can hear! I have often wondered how different things would be if we did not have to keep so much from Mama, Jane, Kitty and Lydia.”
“It is a good thing that I am so persuasive or you would have a serious problem.” April picked at something between her toes. “In all likelihood, your father would have to send them all to live in London, safely away from the Longbourn Keep.”
“Perhaps that is why Mama resents you so. She has always wanted to live in London.” Elizabeth opened her hand to April.
She hopped on Elizabeth’s finger and cocked her head for a scratch.
Elizabeth obliged. April cooed and twisted almost into a complete ball trying to guide Elizabeth to all the itchy patches.
Dragons were always itchy. The Blue Order never mentioned it in any of their lore, but she had never met one that was not. April rolled over, wing outstretched, exposing her belly. Elizabeth bit her tongue. Tempting though it was, laughing at April’s antics usually resulted in a nipped ear.
April flipped back to her feet and fluttered all her feather-scales back into place. “The children will be asking about me soon. What will you tell them?”
“That you are a fairy dragon, not a bird, and that they must keep that a secret. I expect you will assist me in persuading them the secrecy is a most urgent matter.”
April snorted. “I know that. I meant what will you tell them about fairy dragons?”
Elizabeth shrugged and removed her commonplace book from the table drawer. “Papa would insist I teach them what is in the Blue Order’s Master Book of Dragons, faithfully copied in my own hand.”
“I have heard that it is not as wholly reliable a source as your father thinks it is.”
“Who would dare say such a thing?” She held her breath.
This was too easy. And she should not be having such fun with it.
“Rumblethumples, the local tatzelwurm.” April turned up her nose.
“You mean Rumblkins, I believe.” Of course she did, there was no other local tatzelwurm.
“Yes, yes, him. All extra toes and stomach, his kind is. He says the Blue Order barely knows what a dragon looks like.”
April did not much like tatzelwurms in general. They were far too much like cats.
Elizabeh opened her commonplace book. “Well, let us take a look then and see what the Blue Order has to say about your kind.” She traced her finger down a page. “Ah here, they say: Fairy dragons are also called fly-dragons, humming dragons, European hai-riyo, Lesser hai-riyo.”
“Fly-dragons! Fly-dragons? How insulting. If you ever teach the children that I shall… I shall…”
“What shall you do my little friend?”
Fairy dragon threats were always amusing. Genuine, but amusing.
“I shall fill your room with dragonflies to make sure you know the difference between us.” April stomped her scratchy little feet on Elizabeth’s hand.
Perhaps it would be best not to mention that they were also often called flutterbobs, fluffle bits, flutter-tufts, flitter jibbits, ear-nips and other similar nonsense.
“They go on to say fairy dragons are one of the smallest of dragon species. The largest is no larger than a man’s hand; usually they are the size of a small songbird or humming bird. To the dragon deaf, they usually appear as hummingbirds.”
“Only when we want them to think that,” April muttered. “They would think us falcons if we wanted them to.”
“Humming birds are a very convenient persuasion; at least I think it so.” She stroked the back of April’s head. “The do a good job describing you and your kind. Listen: the fairy dragon has a birdlike body, wings and legs. The tail may be bird-like or more reptilian. Their heads are distinctly draconic with sharp toothed beaks. They are covered in bright feather-scales that range from iridescent blues and greens to purple and red tones. Their bright plumage makes it difficult to conceal themselves from predators.”
“Which we have little need to do as we cleverly avoid them.” April pecked at the book.
Which was why the local fairy dragon population was effectively kept in check by the local barn cats. Definitely should not mention that.
She turned the page. “See, here is a little sketch I have done of you.”
April turned her head this way and that. “It is a fair enough likeness, I suppose. What do the rest of those words say?”
“They talk of what you eat—you are the only dragons known for liking sweets you know?”
“Have you ever tasted a dragonfly or a grasshopper? Bleh! They are crunchy and leggy and dry. And gushy, their innards are gushy.” April stuck out her forked tongue. “Would you not rather sip nectar instead?”
“When you put it that way, I suppose I have to agree.”
“Of course you do. I am right.” April hopped to her shoulder and rubbed the top of her head against Elizabeth’s cheek.
So soft and sweet—when she wanted to be. No matter what the Blue order said about fairy dragons’ lack of logical thought or critical thinking, their fits of temper and annoying bites and scratches, they were the finest of companions.
Who would not want a friend who was unfailingly honest and forthright, not to mention loyal to a fault? In all fairness, perhaps many would not find that as appealing as she did, but for Elizabeth it was exactly right.
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