Tell me, do you have a pulse?

Ande curled tightly around her nest and the three gooey green eggs in it. Finally, since her daughter Lock was born, the chocolate cherub-patterned Ridgeback had a nest. Her beloved Lymph had finally decided on having children once again.

The shadow Skydancer had been distant for many weeks since Lock’s birth. The amount of deaths in the nest from everyone in the lair was staggering. Ande could see how her mate, so very attached to eggs, would be so deeply affected by all the losses.

Especially when Winse and Betes’ nest completely perished two weeks ago. Winse, Lymph’s best friend, his earliest companion when the lair only boasted a few dragons in it.

But now Lymph seemed to be willing to take the risk again. The gem-encrusted Skydancer was prepared to chance losing the nest to plague in pursuit of his next progeny. Perhaps the sight of his great-grandchildren, those troublesome Fae hatchlings of Ponti’s, managing to dodge the plague completely had rekindled some kind of hope buried deep in Lymph’s heart.

Whatever it was, Ande was prepared to take this gamble with him again. It was worth it, if only for the chance to bring young lives into the world.

And they were not alone. Histo and Flin had two days left until their clutch of two eggs hatched. And Safe and Zone, lair progenitors and Lymph’s adoptive parents, had a day left before they themselves attempted to have another nest. They were all taking this gamble together, for better or for worse.

Frankly, Ande hoped to gain the same luck that her granddaughter Ponti had managed to get. To have all three of these children survive would be the happiest miracle ever to her. Perhaps it would even pull Lymph from his downward spiral permanently.

She nosed the eggs gently with her elongated snout, watching them drift in the bubbling goo. The shadows within betrayed the presence of growing lives. It made her heart flutter with joy.

She hoped they would continue to live. For Lymph’s sake.

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