The cleaning process went ahead at an incredibly fast pace. Crimson zipped between our construction site and the outskirts of the city in almost no time, only stopping to occasionally feast on some of the smaller stones laying around. By smaller stones I mean some being the size of his own head.
The passing onlookers sprouted faces of shock and surprise alike. Despite some people being obviously scared at this blatant display of power by the dragon I felt a general aura of satisfaction arise from the crowd, at seeing their former homes removed from their sight at last.
By the time most of the rubble had been cleared it was already past noon. Only the foundations of some of the houses remained, though they would need to be examined separately, in order to see how they should be dealt with.
“Alright, that’s enough,” I called out to Crimson, who had just landed at the construction site once more. “We’re going to take a break for now.”
I had not realized it, but the midday sun had slowly taken its toll on me. No doubt this dragon would have no problem with staying in the sun at all. Not to mention he’d spent the entire morning flying around anyway.
Ahhh, what I’d do for a fresh breeze.
Without properly motioning for Crimson to follow me I took a few steps away from the building site and progressed towards some unharmed building in search of a cool shadowy place to rest.
As for what I had done the entire time, besides directing Crimson towards the blocks that needed to be removed, I had to assure passersby that everything was fully under control.
“Yes, that is a dragon turned into a human. Yes, he works for me.”
Besides that, I also erected a small fence consisting of a couple wooden stakes and rope to deter people from getting too close to the ruins.
I let myself fall against the cool wall of one of the buildings and slid down towards the ground. I massaged my temples and realized how hot my face had gotten.
“Whoa there, are you alright?” Crimson squatted down next to me concernedly.
“Yeah, just seem to have gotten too much sun ...”
I tried to slowly steady my breathing while desperately seeking out a cold surface to cool off.
“You got any water with you?” he asked.
“Drank it all away already.”
“Give me your bottle then, I’ll fill it up for you. And also, I might drop by a certain witch’s house. She, without a doubt, should have something for your little sunstroke here...”
He politely reached out his hand, and as my hand hovered over the empty bottle that was tied onto my belt, I stopped for a second.
“Yeah, she has this funky little cafe, with an incredibly stupid name.”
“Yeah, that’s the one! Speaking of which, I think I can see her walking down the street towards us.”
“Huh?” I tilted my head in the direction Crimson was looking.
Before I could properly make out the shape of Jeanne down the street my sight was blocked by swaying red hair and concerned brown eyes.
“Jordan, are you okay?” my wife asked me.
Jeanne caught up to us and I acknowledged her with a slight nod.
“Jordan, darling, are you alright?”
“He seems to have gotten a sun stroke or something from working,” Crimson replied.
Zenia put her palm on my forehead, brushing my locks upward.
“Oh my, you are hot.”
“Heheh,” I replied.
“Oh, you dork,” Zenia replied in a stern manner, yet with a smile on her face. I leaned forward and gave her a small peck on the lips.
“I was about to go to your store, to ask for some medicine. You don’t have any with you, I reckon?” Crimson asked.
Jeanne looked at him a tad confused. Then she muttered: “That aura, is that you Crimson?”
“Ah, right, I look a bit different from last time! Yeah, it’s me! How do you like the look?” he asked as he stood up.
“It’s a bit...revealing, yes, but it suits you, without a doubt,” she replied. “Anyway, about that medicine. No, I don’t have any on me, but Babylonia is still at the Witcheria, she should know which one it is. She’s been helping me out with the store a bit, and lately we’ve had to produce a ton of cooling lotion.”
“Alright, I’ll be back in a few!” Crimson exclaimed as he took off.
“Ah! Now I forgot to give him his lunch ...” Jeanne said, looking at the basket she carried on one arm dejectedly.
“Don’t worry about that,” I said, “he’s had plenty of rocks to eat.”
“You’ve been giving him rocks to eat?” Zenia questioned in a confused manner. I didn’t blame her, I had the same reaction just a few hours earlier, after all.
“Well, apparently they, and I quote ‚taste much better now, than they used to before I went to sleep.‘ That being said, I wouldn’t mind a bite or two.”
“Good thing I also brought a blanket with me!” Jeanne said excitedly.
“She’s really been in the mood for a picnic as of late,” Zenia explained.
“This isn’t a fitting site for having a picnic, though, is it?” I gestured towards the ruins a few meters from us. Not to mention, I had sunken down onto the hard stone floor in search of a shadow.
“That’s true, but you also need to stay out of the sun,” Zenia responded.
“Good thing I also brought a parasol with me!” Jeanne again, said excitedly and pulled out a parasol from the basket. It was much bigger than her and she was already tall. I had no idea how she fit that thing in there. Magic. Probably.
“She brought the parasol for her vampire girlfriend,” Zenia explained.
“Right, you mentioned someone’s name just now, I didn’t really catch it though,” I responded to that, while I tried standing up. I felt a bit dizzy. I guess my bloodstream didn’t really enjoy the movement.
I stretched my hands out to both sides while I waited for the static to subside. I felt Zenia’s arm wrap around my waist and let myself comfortably lean into her.
“She’s talking about Babylonia, her girlfriend,” Zenia said mockingly.
“She’s not my girlfriend!” Jeanne said in a high-pitched squeak, so different from her usual self. An aura of maturity surrounded her usually, but now she seemed a bit like a high school girl, in denial of her crush. “We’re still...working on the logistics...” she then added.
Then something clicked into place in my head.
“Wait, did you just say, Babylonia? Vampire, tall and slender, pink hair, doesn’t do much to cover herself up?”
“That’s exactly her,” Jeanne confirmed.
“Oh, I completely forgot. When I first met her a while ago, she asked me to give you her thanks for helping her out when she first came to the city,” Zenia then told me.
“Well, I didn’t do much, except my job and giving her some pamphlets,” I deflected. “But I do remember her saying something about wanting to visit a friend. Guess that was you.”
“How do you know each other, though?” Zenia asked.
“That ... is a story for another time,” Jeanne answered cheekily. “Come on now, let’s look for a nice shadowy spot, so we can get to picnicking. Your lunch break doesn’t go on forever.”
“I am my own boss. I take breaks whenever!” I called out to her, as she excitedly skipped ahead.