The town was built on the shores of the Ocean, bridging a group of islands to the east with the mainland to the west. Each island had a bridge connecting it to the main town of Bridgewater. From the air, the town reminded Dally of Suddene. I must reach out to Soc and make sure he's ok, she thought, scolding herself.
Bridgewater had two large dragon stables at the northern and southern ends. On Reginald's suggestion, Dally housed Kaze in the northern stable while Reginald and Raijani walked the short distance to his office. Dally saw that Kaze was settled, tipped the stablehand very well and walked slowly out of the stable. She stopped at a plaque that read:
"This stall once housed the Great Dragon Lusian, who saved Atlas from The Void and Kharnyx at the cost of his own sanity. May we never forget his sacrifice."
Dally blinked back tears as she read. "Poor thing," she whispered, "I hope Kharnyx knows what she's done." She swallowed the anger welling within her and leisurely strolled down the quaint streets of Bridgewater to Reginald's office.
The sign above the door read, "Reginald Masterson, Private Investigator and Dragon Authority." Dally slowly opened the door, which caused a bell to ring. There was a desk with two sitting chairs in the center of the office. The walls to the left and behind the desk were lined with book cases filled with volumes of books on dragons, legends, historical pieces on the various towns throughout Atlas, and subjects Dally didn't understand. To the right a doorway led to what looked like a sitting room. Lining the wall between the doorway and the wall behind the desk was a large glass case with several small dragon skeletons and various weapons displayed in museum-like fashion. A woman dressed in a long grey dress entered from a sitting room to the left. She wore her salt and pepper hair in a loose bun on top of her head, tied with dark blue ribbon. Her pretty round face was flushed and her violet eyes were damp with tears. "Oh, you must be Dallyah! I'm Metis. Forgive me, I'm a bit of a mess. I've gotten Raijani all riled up by scolding her like a child. Deservedly so, too! Getting involved in black magic! My goodness! She knows better!" Metis sighed. "But, she went to change her clothes, and I hope her attitude. Come, I'll show you to the library. Reggie is waiting."
Dally followed Metis to the library. Reginald sat in a chair by a fireplace sipping a cup of tea. On the table in front of him was a cup for her. She sat in the chair opposite him and picked up her cup. The tea smelled wonderfully of lavender and black tea. She looked around the room at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that lined the walls and chuckled.
"Just how many books do you have, Reginald?"
Reginald smiled. "At last count, about forty thousand all told. There are two rooms full upstairs yet. Although, some of them you may want. I have been collecting books from black markets all over Atlas that were in your parents' library."
Dally was quiet for a moment. "Thank you, I know you are doing that from the kindness of your heart for my parents. If you can get a list of them for me when this is over, the books can remain here. You will care for them better than I can."
Reginald smiled. "Thank you. That means the world to me. I will ask Metis to start on that list when we leave. It will give her something to do besides minding the office."
Raijani entered the library, dressed in brown pants, knee high brown boots and a green tunic. Her hair was piled on her head in a loose bun like Metis'. "Alright then," she said, "let's take a walk!"
They walked north out of the town into a patch of woods. Ten minutes later, they reached a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a crater easily the size of her base island. Reginald walked a few yards to the left and stopped. "That's odd," he said.
Dally and Raijani joined him and he pointed to the ground in front of him. The prints were huge, almost dragon-like, but not like any dragon foot print Dally had ever seen. "These footprints washed away years ago. Now they're back?"
"Are you sure they're not fresh?" Raijani asked.
Dally bent over to take a closer look. "No, they look almost fossilized. What kind of creature made these?"
"I have no idea," Reginald replied, "but the tracks seem to be heading toward the Ridge."
Dally smiled. "Good thing I know some people there!"