Yes, I do have an idea what an erbiss looks like.
Juniper was surprised, when she came to visit Baby Smith one Saturday morning, to find the Smith house in what her mother would call an uproar, although nobody was roaring, and, indeed, there wasn’t even any shouting.
But there was a lot of tail-jerking, and Jimmy’s scales were the wrong color, and the lanky erbiss that they had instead of a dog wouldn’t stop whining. (Dogs, Cxaidin had told her, both could not be trained to deal comfortably with dragons and did not have the suitable skill set. Juniper was still trying to figure that one out, but the erbiss, in the meantime, was adorable, clever, and liked having its fur brushed.)
Both the adults were too upset to tell her what was going on, and Baby and Cthannie were snuffling and making little acid-burbles, so Juniper coaxed Tay-tay, the erbiss, over into the sun where Jimmy was trying to pretend nothing was going wrong, and started brushing Tay-tay. She’d figured out this trick recently with her own older brother; sometimes if she sat quietly doing something normal, sometimes Jin would calm down long enough to talk to her.
(To be fair, she’d figured out Jin was doing it to her, first. But it worked both ways!)
The erbiss had calmed down into the rumble-happy noise that wasn’t really a purr by the time Jimmy said something – but Jimmy’s scales had settled into a nice purple, too. “Cxaidin and Tay-tay caught a poacher last night,” the juvenile dragon muttered.
“A poacher?” Juniper had heard that word in a cartoon, but she didn’t know what it meant. Nothing to do with eggs, she was pretty sure.
“A hunter, a dragon-hunter. He was going after the kids.” Jimmy set its head woefully on its paws and looked at her. “They’re scary,” it admitted very very quietly. “One almost got me when I was a hatchling.” It tilted its head and, under the jaw, Juniper could see where the scales were solid white in a circle, like the scar she had on her knee in reverse. “I don’t want my parents to know I’m scared.”
“It’s all right.” Juniper hugged Jimmy’s long neck. “I won’t tell them.”
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