But Dragons Aren't Real… Right?
By: Loretta Stradley

The queen, Her Most Royal Majesty, Bearer of the Golden Wing, Holder of the Chosen Orb, Duchess Incarnate of the Rowan Branch, or Aunt Vala as the one approaching the throne would call her, saw her favorite person approaching and shooed everyone out of the throne room. Another day of regal duties behind her, the queen watched her niece reach the bottom of the throne dais.

Theresa Maerwert Simmons bowed to her aunt and waited for the queen to tell her to come forward. The queen held both arms open wide as an invitation and the tall silvery blonde haired woman ran to the queen throwing herself into her aunt's arms. Theresa broke down and started crying. The queen held her niece close while she continued to sob. Patting her back and rocking back and forth the queen waited until Theresa cried herself out.

Theresa pulled back and swiped her arm across her eyes trying to wipe up the tears. Her aunt handed her a handkerchief and waited. Blotting her tears and blowing her nose Theresa didn't notice the royal crest in one corner of the cloth.

"Oh Auntie, what am I going to do. I think Michael is going to leave me! You should have seen the look of horror in his eyes. If he leaves me, I don't know what I'm going to do!" she said.

The queen heard her out with concern in her green eyes.

"Theresa, have your human returned to the castle and kept until he sees reason. If he really loves you, he should love you no matter what you are," said the queen.

Theresa stared at her in shock. "I can't do that! He would really hate me then."

"You might have to my dear, at least long enough to get him calmed down so he will listen to you. Thank about it and we'll talk about it later," said the queen.

The queen stood up and went to the double doors behind the throne.

"Come with me. I need a cup of tea and, I think, so do you. We have much to talk about, especially about your sons."

Theresa began to follow but stopped in shock.

"Sons? What sons?" she said.

Theresa had just laid a single egg on the laying sands a few months ago.

"Yes, sons, in the egg you laid," the queen said.

Servants opened the doors and Theresa followed her aunt into the queen's private room.

Vala took off her crown, handing it to a lady-in-waiting and ordered tea and pastries to be brought. Taking off her court robe she handed it to another lady in waiting and then told them both to leave. Walking to her desk by the big window overlooking her private gardens the queen picked up some papers then went to the sofa to sit across from where Theresa was sitting.

The tea arrived and Vala waited while the servant poured. Dismissing the servant, the queen took a sip of her green tea and sighed.

Looking at the report again the queen said, "According to the doctors your sons are both strong and doing great. DNA and tissue samples were taken from your human, while the doctors patched him up for testing."

Now Theresa was really worried. When Michael found out they were using him as a guinea pig he would be even more furious.

"I have had your egg watched ever since the laying," Queen Vala said.

"But you said sons, not son," said Theresa. "How can there be more than one baby dragon in the egg?"

Vala laughed. "Yes, we were all surprised, but according to the doctors, in humans, it is possible for twins to have different fathers in a phenomenon called heteropaternal superfecundation, which occurs when two of a human female's eggs are fertilized by sperm from two different males."

Green eyes with a question in them, the queen looked at Theresa.

"I am assuming you must have had relations with your human male. And ordinarily, a mating between human and Dracernian never produce young. Were you in human form when you had relations with your human male?"

Theresa paused before answering, mostly because she was embarrassed about the topic of the question, but because she knew that her marriage to the human male, Michael, went against everything Dracernia society expected from its people.

"Yes, of course auntie, before I came back to Dracernia for the mating ritual. Michael didn't know what I was then."

Aunt Vala sipped her tea and watched her niece. Putting the cup back on its saucer she smiled at Theresa.

"You make it sound like a bad thing that you aren't human."

Sipping her tea again, the queen placed the cup on its saucer.

"We think what happened to your egg is because of something about your human male and you must have released the egg within a week of both matings. Within that narrow time frame, the egg appears to have been fertilized by sperm from the two different males."

Vala waved a hand, "At least that is what the doctors say."

She looked at Theresa. "You know that Dracernians have human DNA, right? From the bad times?"

Theresa shook her head yes.

"When the old ones realized they could not reproduce fast enough to make up for the deaths of their people they, with their few human friends, used DNA from humans, finding the genetic markers that determine reproduction, and mixed it with the dragon DNA. In early tests there were failures, but by adding the star crystal's biological matrix, they were successful in producing the right mix and ensured a faster reproduction rate."

The queen took another sip of the hot green tea.

"The doctors and geneticists think that your human's sperm did something to the DNA mix, or something medical they tried to explain to me. That is why there are two babies in that big egg. One baby dragon and one baby human."

"Human," Theresa said?

"Yes, but that's only from the MRI they did on the egg. We won't know for certain it is human, or Dracernian, until they hatch, and samples can be taken."

Vala passed Theresa the MRI picture. Yes, there they were, her babies. The fact that one looked human didn't matter to her. She loved both of them and couldn't wait until the egg hatched.

"And they are both male?"

Vala nodded, "Most definitely, look closer and you will see evidence of their gender."

Theresa looked closer and saw the enlarged scales near the baby dragon's cloaca, and the penis on the human looking baby. Sons, she had sons!

"The Consort has been notified, of course. And as the Consort is the one who was instrumental in using the DNA mix, he is most curious about the mating of a Dracernian with a human. The fact that later generations could change into human form, and then back to dragon at will, was surprising, and a happy outcome for the old dragons; their species was saved, even if the new species of dragon was part human."

Theresa nodded but was only half listening. She stared at the picture of her sons in their egg. The dragon baby had one baby wing wrapped around the human baby as if protecting him. Her sons!

"Will the time frame for the hatching be different then? Will the egg hatch sooner?" asked Theresa?

"That we don't know, but the doctors are prepared to crack the egg open if either baby shows signs of distress and it is determined that they are healthy and strong enough."

"Oh my god, I have to tell Michael. He should know he is going to be a father," said Theresa.

"First, you and he need to see the Consort," said the queen.

"The Consort? The Consort wants to see Michael," she said?

"Michael has already been taken to the temple. I didn't want to worry you until I explained everything to you," said Queen Vala.

"No, he is going to freak out when he sees the Consort. Humans don't believe in dragons. And it was bad enough he saw me, as a smaller version of a dragon when I rescued him from the terrorist group, the Black Claws."

"The Consort has spoken and is always obeyed. I have a car waiting to take you to the temple to see him."

Theresa stared at her aunt thinking hard, but the shock of what she was told about her egg still preoccupied her mind. Then remembering the look on her husband's face when she talked to him after the rescue, she got up, bowed to her aunt, and left the room. She was worried what her husband would do when she saw the Consort. As big as the Consort was, Theresa was pretty sure seeing the dragon would scare Michael and he had enough shocks in the last few days.

On the way to the temple Theresa was trying to figure out how to tell Michael he was the father of twins and how to help him adjust to the fact that dragons do exist. She just hoped it wasn't too late to save her marriage.

THE END

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