Book VI Chapter 26: The King of Reptiles
The Lord-Doctor's Study
"You can't help everyone. You can't save everyone. You can't make everyone happy. It's enough just trying, isn't it?"
Nefiriansighed, leaning back in his plush chair as he watched hundreds of tiny lizards scurry across the walls.
One leapt, landing neatly atop his head before burrowing into his hair, tiny sharp feet tickling at his ear.
"Every year, a new clutch... newquaggies, newhouses, newhouselords. New mouths to feed, new minds to teach, new genes to propagate. Then, the mortals and their dreams and wishes, foolish as they often are. And then, the dance to keep up appearances, to lead threats away from the nest, to survive in this flawed world, preferably with as little conflict as possible.
"I'm royalty, little one-- a lord among fae and beasts, and look at my life! Always running from place to place, working at winning people over and keeping secrets just to do what needs doing or keep from driving mortals mad just by seeing me at the wrong time or in the wrong way... keeping them from learning too much and trying to interrupt, all for their own good.
"You? You're a tiny thing, hunting for a warm place to sleep and a bite to eat, and maybe shelter from things that want to eat you.
It sounds like such a simple life from my point of view... but I'm sure you don't see it that way."
Gently, he herded the little cathedral lizard into his hand, scooping it up to tickle its nose and stroke its back fondly. "I suppose we all have our roles to play, don't we? I can live with playing doctor and father and mother and lord, if it means things like you can exist to keep me company.
"That's a worthwhile trade, don't you think?"
The tiny lizard peered at him and barked, wriggling its legs excitedly.
"Hmm, what's that? I don't look like a mother?"
He laughed, letting the little creature scurry across his desk. "You'd be surprised, little one. Perhaps I'll show you, just after the nextBall. Leupaks are a lot of work and preparation..."
He paused for a moment, exchanging a silent glance with the lizard before scooping it into his hands a second time, rising from his chair.
"You've been such pleasant company. Why don't you come to the lab with me? You'll be splendid when I've finished, and then I'll take care of you like one of my own, too...
"Well, you will be!"
Next Chapter: Book VI Chapter XXVII
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