Snowdrift was on a mission. “Take this straight to Blaze,” Queen Glacier had said, “and make sure she reads it.” So she had set off towards Blaze’s fortress on the outskirts of the ice kingdom, letter in claw.
When Snowdrift arrived a guard had opened the door. He was one of the SandWings Blaze had brought with her this far north. He smiled and asked, “What does Glacier want this time?”
And she almost laughed, because the queen was always sending messengers down here, and answered, “It’s a message for Blaze. I’m told I have to make sure she reads it, so I’ll be handing it to her personally.”
”Ah, IceWings, always so full of themselves,” he said, smirking. “Right this way, then,” he gestured inside with a mocking bow, “and would her Highness have a name?”
How DARE he. “Snowdrift, First Circle,” she said automatically, snout in the air. “You would not do well to mock me, SandWing. Show me to Blaze.”
“Very well,” he said, laughing, and ducked inside the fortress, leaving her to scramble after him.
A few minutes later Snowdrift gave Blaze the letter, and the princess was reading it in front of her. “Another meeting?” Blaze groaned. “But what if Cactus gets back with those emeralds I told him to find while the meeting’s happening?! I have to try it on as soon as it gets here! Glacier...”
Snowdrift rolled her eyes, and as she did she caught her SandWing guard doing the exact same thing. He felt her eyes on him and met her gaze with an amused smile.
“I’ll be leaving, then,” Snowdrift proclaimed, and turned to leave as Blaze yelped.
“Wait! Tell Glacier to change the meeting day! I can’t have it anytime in the next three months, tell her that. Not until Cactus gets back!”
Snowdrift sniffed. “I don’t give orders to my queen, Blaze, and neither do you.” And she had whirled around and left the fortress to be filled with Blaze’s protests.
“Wait,” said a voice from behind her, as she was about to lift off into the air. It was the guard, from before, with a slightly embarrassed expression. “Um. Will you, like, maybe be coming back here ever?”
Just fly away, she told herself, you don’t need to talk to some random SandWing right now, just go. But Snowdrift didn’t leave. Somehow, there was some part of her that wanted to keep talking to this arrogant, idiotic excuse for a dragon. “Probably not,” she said, possibly sounding the stupidest she had in her life.
He smiled. “Well, if you do... the name’s Nile.”
“And I would care why?” Snowdrift snorted.
“You’re stalling,” he pointed out. “Doesn’t the queen need you amazing First-Ring dragon or whatever you are back at the palace?”
“First Circle,” she growled, but she kind of did see the truth of his words. “Is there anything else you wanted to waste my time with?”
“No, actually,” Nile laughed. “Continue on with your life. Enjoy yourself. Etcetera, etcetera.”
Snowdrift gave him a final, haughty sniff and launched into the air.
Two months later...
“But Cactus hasn’t gotten back yet!” Blaze crowed. “I told you to waaait!!”
“I know,” Glacier calmly told her, “but we need to discuss the casualties of that last battle. And I’ve heard that Blister’s about to lose the MudWings...”
Snowdrift rolled her eyes. Being a part of the royal guard was an honor, but of course one would have to put up with Blaze’s empty-headed complaints.
“But...” Blaze protested weakly, shaking her head. “I NEED those emeralds!”
Glacier sighed. “Anyway. Burn’s getting in position to ally with the MudWings, once they break off from Blister. We can’t give Burn any more numbers, it’s likely we’d be crushed. So I’ve drawn up some strategies to get the MudWings on our side, or at least keep them away from Burn...”
The land we’re going to get better be worth it, Snowdrift thought, after putting up with THIS-
“Hey,” a voice whispered, sidling up next to her. It was that SandWing guard from a few months ago, Nile. “Miss me?” he asked with that same annoying smile.
“Who are you again?” Snowdrift asked.
“So you do remember me,” he said, watching Snowdrift’s face carefully as she almost jumped in surprise. “It’s all right, I’m not like a NightWing mind reader or anything,” he added hurriedly, “just every emotion you have shows up on your face.” Snowdrift was about to reply, outraged, when he said, “It’s adorable, actually.”
Snowdrift looked at him quizzically. He shot her a smile and went back to watching Blaze and Glacier.
Snowdrift was following her queen out of the fortress when Nile caught up to her. “You- you are coming back, right?”
Snowdrift gave him a curious glance. “Why do you keep asking me that?”
He ducked his head. “No reason,” he mumbled- Oh, Snowdrift realized, hen- “Well? Are you?”
Snowdrift studied him intently, his shivering, sand-colored scales, his idiotic knowing smile. “I.. I think I will.” If I can figure out how not to sound so stupid when I talk to you.
He grinned. “Um... thanks,” was all he said, but it was enough.
Snowdrift nodded to him, and turned to catch up with Glacier when Nile whispered, “Wait.”
“Snowdrift... um... I’ll be waiting here. Whenever you decide to come. I’ll be here.” He smiled shyly at her.
“NILE!” yelled a voice. “QUIT FLIRTING WITH THAT ICEWING AND GET OVER HERE!”
“Coming, Ocotillo!” he shouted back. “Well... bye, then,” he said to Snowdrift, and she realized she wasn’t the only one who felt stupid.
She finally returned his smile. “Bye. Um... see you soon?”
He bowed. “Whenever your Highness wishes.” And then he was gone, darting down the hall.
Snowdrift blinked, staring at the place where Nile had left.
“Snowdrift!” snapped Flurry, another of Queen Glacier’s guards. “What are you doing over here? The queen’s waiting!”
“I’m fine, Flurry, let’s go.” Snowdrift moved to follow her out.
Flurry snorted. “Took you long enough.”
A few moments later as she rose into the sky, Snowdrift looked back at the fortress, and she thought she saw a SandWing face smiling back at her.
Oh, yes, you idiotic sand snorter, I WILL be back.
She smiled to herself. You just wait.