Another Train, Another Station

This story first appeared on my deviant art account. I wrote it for a contest which required a steampunk theme and a dragon. I thought it would be a great way to start off the week.

Well, another train, another station, again. Liz, when will we ever stop traveling?” Wy asked around the satchel he held in his mouth.

Go ahead and set it down,” the slender girl said with a sigh, motioning to the satchel. “It was your fault, again.”

Her dark eyes glared at him. For the thousandth time he wondered what exactly she saw. Placing the satchel down, he leaned back against the metal post of the station wall and examined himself. He wasn’t bad looking for a wyvrn. Sure, he was a bit small, but his rusty orange color compensated for that fact. Being small also made him fast and agile in flight. That had gotten them into trouble before, too.

Wipe the frown off your snout, Wy,” Liz said, setting her own satchel beside his little one and adjusting her small top hat. “You’re much more adorable without it.”

You think I’m adorable?” Wy inquired with a grin. “That may make up for blaming me for being here.”

Well, it was your fault,” she replied, her face twisting with a grimace.

Wy didn’t reply. He didn’t want to think of last night and the reason they were standing in another train station.

Where would you be without me?” he said, trying to appeal to her better side.

I’d be back on Caladyn peacefully running my linguistics consultation business.” She shot back, too quickly for Wy’s tastes.

You’d be bored, though. Admit it,” he said. “Without my help you wouldn’t have the ambassadors, politicians, and high-end clientele.”

Right, but without them and without you, I’d not be here right now,” she repeated.

Wy frowned. “It was an accident.”

I know.” Liz placed a hand on Wy’s head and began rubbing it. “Don’t mind me. I’m always in a bad mood when we have to move. Besides, I didn’t care for their stuffy attitudes. They needed some livening up.”

Wy grinned, showing his teeth. “That they did.”

The two fell into a companionable silence, as they waited for the next train. The sounds of steam emitting from the engines as they idled filled the area. Condensation covered the glass walls and ceiling, giving the building a feeling of a greenhouse more than a train station. Wy closed his eyes and soaked in the heat.

It really had been his fault this time, but he was right in saying that Liz wouldn’t be where she was today as a linguistics consultant without him either. His innate ability with languages had come in handy on more than one occasion, and Liz had been able to advertise linguistic help in any language on the planet. When he had first found her ten years ago, she was barely making ends meet. Now, she could afford the nice gray suits that she loved and as many top hats as she wanted. Of course, the constant moving, limited what she could carry, but she had the means to purchase new ones at the next stop.

They had entertained ambassadors, lowly relatives, judges, plaintiffs, and lawyers since Wy had joined up with Liz. Many were simple cases of translating legal briefs; a few were more intricate than that. Once Liz negotiated the peace treaty between two warring gangs in the city of Caladyn. Wy paused in his thoughts, picking up a stray scent. His nose wiggled. Finally, he placed it—an old sandwich dropped by an inattentive traveler. His mind traveled back to Caladyn. It was a nice place to be, but when he had disregarded the cultural norms of the Black Hawks—. He let the thought hang in mid-air. He didn’t want to remember. That was the first train station they had seen. They couldn’t find it fast enough to suit the mayor of Caladyn or the warring gangs either. The gangs found unity in kicking Liz and Wy out of town and then wrecking havoc on the mayor’s house as well.

That had been the first of many slip ups Wy had instigated. Each one leading to another train and another station. This latest fiasco had occurred just the night before. Liz had decided to welcome her clients, Ambassadors Beryl and Clark, to her home for a meal. The two ambassadors had hired Liz to help them translate some laws into the language of their constituents. The evening was going to be a straight forward work session. It would have been straight forward if it hadn’t been for Wy.

Wy sighed as he remembered.

Quit fuming.” Liz’s voice broke into his revere. “Do you want to start a fire here, as well?”

I can’t.” Wy snorted, purposefully blowing out smoke from his nostrils.

At Liz’s questioning glance, Wy tapped his foot against the post behind him. A metallic ringing filled the air as his claw scraped the pole. A spark dropped down onto the paving stones and fizzled out as if to prove his point.

Wy’s face lit up. “Now there’s an idea! Make our next home like this.”

A train station?” Liz’s voice held no enthusiasm.

No, out of metal!”

Liz snorted, a very unladylike sound, and the two fell back into their own thoughts.

It wasn’t a bad idea,” Wy thought sourly.

The idea had merit. If their home had been made out of metal, they would still be sitting there with the ambassadors. As it was, the house had been made out of wood, and they were standing in the station.

The evening had started out alright. Liz and Wy sat down with the ambassadors to work. The two men seemed a little nervous to have a wyvrn standing at their knees, but adjusted somewhat as the evening wore on. Things didn’t go south until hunger settled over the group. Liz had planned a barbecue, but hadn’t checked her fuel supply. Red juices still poured from the meat when the fuel ran out. The gas lamps had been on for about a half hour by then. Wy knew that had been the main fault, the gas lines to the house, not him. Seeing Liz’s predicament of a half cooked meal, Wy decided to help by roasting the meat for them. How was he to know that the gas lamp for the porch had let off enough gas to cause a problem. His flame met with the extra gas and created an explosive evening. The ambassadors left in a huff with singed robes. Shortly after they left, the telephone rang and the operator put the mayor on the phone saying they needed to catch the next train out of town.

A squeal of metal and a hiss of steam, brought Wy out of his revere. Liz reached down and picked up her satchel with a shrug and a smile, as if to say all was forgiven. Wy grinned back and picked up his satchel in his mouth. With a final adjustment of her top hat, Liz headed off toward the train. Wy followed, wondering if there was yet another train and another station in their future. For now, he was content to stay with Liz as long as she would have him.

What's your take?