There is a young lady who goes to your library every day. She is most obviously a golden dragon, although she doesn’t know how bad her disguise is from up close. You decide to help her hide better. The next day you get visited by visitors angry that their “quarry” had disappeared.
“Hey,” Gwen said, leaning in. The little girl looked up in surprise. Gwen reached out into the weave of the dragon’s disguised, tugged at a few strings, and the golden highlights still left behind in her hair, the tell-tale maker’s mark of a drake who hadn’t quite figured out disguising yet, melted away into coppery brown strands.
Gwen gave the kid a smile. “There you go, now you won’t be so obvious.”
The kid looked up, tugged her hair in front of her face, and her eyes went wide. “Th-thank you!”
Gwen thought about it for a moment, and smoothed over her features. Gone were the sharp eastern european edges, and in their place were rounded features from another border entirely. You couldn’t be too careful in a city like this, not when they were cracking down on dragons like the two of them.
“There you go. Just summon that weave when you need it,” Gwen said, smiling.
The little girl flicked her eyes to the front door, then back to Gwen. Gwen did the same, looking at the door.
Nobody was standing there.
The little dragonlet nodded once, and then went out the backdoor. Gwen shrugged, figuring she was heading towards the parking lot, and went back to the attached Starbucks. Coffee and books were never a bad combination.
When she got home later that night, her princess was glued to the television screen. Her cheeks were smeared where sweat had made her makeup run, and she tossed a cloth at her as she passed. Almost without thinking, her princess started wiping it off, piece by piece, getting it wet with a squirt bottle next to her.
“You don’t have to wear that here,” Gwen reminded.
“I wear it too much,” The princess said. “It’s like a second skin.”
It reminded her of the little drake, but she couldn’t throw a weave of the princess’s skin, not quite so easily.
“Well, you can be whoever you want to be here,” Gwen smiled.
“Just like you,” The princess agreed, looking up from the news.
Gwen looked over the scrolling bar. “They’re still looking for you?”
“They’ll give it up, I expect,” her princess said, smiling. It wasn’t a real smile, but she admired her for trying nonetheless. “After all, there’s my cousins to consider; they were looking for the throne anyway.”
“I could burn them.” Gwen bared her teeth, showing off her glossy white canines. Her princess looked over her teeth, and then sprayed her with the water bottle.
Gwen hissed. “What?”
“No no, we’re making a clean break,” Her princess said. “No terrorizing anyone, even if we don’t like them. You work in a starbucks.”
“I enjoy the smells,” Gwen said. “I don’t enjoy how your cousins smell.”
“You’re in my house,” Gwen said, knowingly. Her princess looked away.
Really, she was cute when she was acting obstinate.
The news changed abruptly. Another kidnapping of a supposed royal. Even with all the king’s men and helicopters, they were dropping like flies.
All the better for her princess to be in her home instead of in the castle. She couldn’t help but think it was best she left when she had.
She slid in next to her princess, helped her with her makeup, and then the two of them watched a bloody horror movie about a skinshaper that stole people’s shapes because it didn’t have one for itself.
To be honest, Gwen had always figured that there would be guns pointed at her at some point.
She just hadn’t expected it at Starbucks. She blinked at them, tilting her head to the side, hands full of steamed milk and vanilla syrup. “…Can I help you?”
“Yes,” The lead guard said. She didn’t know the make and model of his gun, but it looked very pointy and painful, and possibly even deadly.
Was this on the news? Did her princess see this?! She couldn’t look weak for her. Slowly, she put down the hot stuff.
“How can I help you, Majesty’s finest?”
The guns slowly slid down. “There’s a little girl who frequents here. Have you seen her lately?”
Gwen cocked her head to the other side. There were three of them. If she just… well, there was a chair over there, and too many cameras, and she’d promised…
No, it wasn’t worth it.
“Ah,” Gwen shrugged lazily, wishing she had a tail to swish nonchalantly. “She went out the back. “Maybe check the cameras?”
“We’ll do just that, thank you,” The head guard said. Slowly, the guards slid down.
The wonders of working at a Starbucks.
Still, this was… interesting.
But more importantly, the guards bristling around her put her princess in danger. She didn’t like that.
Heads would roll before she was hurt.