On the way back, Lilia started thinking about her marriage. "Marco, how did you plan for our marriage to work?"
Marco was silent for a moment, as if in thought and then said, "To be honest, I didn't really plan much of it at all. I said that I rushed you into this. I'm really sorry, dear."
"That's behind us dear don't fret about it. I was just hoping that had some kind of long term plan for our marriage to make up for our
"I'm sorry, I wish I did. I can think about it though. Would that help?"
"Yes, it would dear. Lets both think about it."
They had reached the cave, and entered into its shadowy cavern. Marco let Lilia down and lay down on his stomach with his head up. She sat down on the bed and looked back at him. There was an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes while they both thought of something to say.
Lilia was the first to speak. "So how long have you lived in this cave?" That should be a simple question to get things started.
"I'm not really sure. I know it has been a long time. A few decades, I suppose. I don't keep track of the years like papa does."
"A few decades is a long time. You're definitely quite a bit older than me."
"No, it's fine. There is no reason for you to be sorry. I doubt it makes much of a difference anyways." She paused for a moment then asked, "What did you do for all of that time?"
"Not much. I hunted for food. I slept. Once I tried collecting rocks, but it was no fun. During the recent years, I saw you singing on your balcony. So a lot of my time was spent watching you from that hole in the cave when I could."
"You watched me every day?"
"Yes. I'm really sorry. I know it's not nice to stare at people. You just looked so pretty there."
"That's fine. That's nice of you to think that way. Why did you find me attractive though? Shouldn't dragons fall in love with other dragons?"
"I'm not sure. I don't know if there are any dragons around here. I am a long ways from where I came from. But you just looked really nice and pretty there. After watching you for years, I started feeling funny whenever I thought of you."
She thought for a bit and said, "Maybe it's because you were raised by a human."
"I don't know. Maybe
"Does anybody ever see you or find this cave?"
"No. People don't come here because of the bandits."
"Do they ever find you?"
"I've never seen one try to climb a mountain before."
Another awkward moment passed, and then Lilia asked, "You didn't eat anything when we visited your father. What are you going to eat?"
"I'm not hungry. I was just going to eat something tomorrow."
This sounded odd at first. She had to inquire about this. "You didn't eat anything yesterday. You should be really hungry by now. How often do you eat?"
"Oh. I only eat every once in a while. It depends how much I eat in a meal."
"What were you planning on eating?" What did he eat if he was so big?
"I was going to catch some deer or whatever big animals I can find. I might find some fruit or something else to go with it. What did you want to eat?"
"I suppose what you are getting will be fine. I suppose we cannot buy more bread when that runs out."
"No. We can't go back to Anovea, and there are no stores outside the kingdom within range. But Papa makes his own bread. I'm sure he would be willing to share."
Another pause arose as neither knew what to say.
"I need to tell you something. I am going to be very honest, and I want you to take it calmly."
Marco whimpered a little bit, sat his head on the ground, and braced himself for whatever was about to come. "Okay. What is it?"
"I'm not entirely comfortable with you being a dragon."
"I don't blame you. I'm sorry." He said with a sigh.
"It's not your fault, but just listen. You are a really wonderful person, and I don't think your species negates that. Marriage is about finding someone you can live with for the rest of your life. I don't think I could have found a better person for that. I'm just not sure about spending my life with a dragon."
Her words hurt Marco. With every sentence she spoke, his chest felt like it was getting tighter, making it hard to breath.
She saw his eyes starting to water, so she walked over to him, placed a hand on his muzzle, and stroked it to comfort him. "I still love you. Don't worry about that. I'm staying with you. I'm just letting you know how I feel."
"I wish I was human." He whined. "Then things would be easier for us."
"I know, but it's okay. I'm just not used to it yet. We're married now, and it feels like I'm meeting you for the first time. I do admit that I find you a little bit frightening, but I know you'll never hurt me. It will just take some time to get used to the idea of being married to a dragon."
"I don't want to be a dragon." He whimpered.
"We'll be alright. There will be some challenges, but we can figure this out."
We'll never have children. I don't want to take that from you."
"I'm not going to leave you so I can have children. We can still have each other. If it makes you feel better, we can get a pet like Pomplamoose."
He sighed. "I just feel like I took your future away from you."
"Stop thinking like that. You gave me a future. It might be awkward but it's better than what I would have had."
"We just won't be able to take our marriage to a physical level."
Marco's eyes suddenly were wide open. "No no no! I can't
with you. That's
I would never
I'm sorry." He covered his head with his paws. "I'm sorry I can't provide that for you."
She sighed. "I suppose I wouldn't get much more from the prince of Engor because of his mistress."
There was a long moment of silence as Marco didn't say anything. He just kept his head on the ground looking sad. Finally Lilia said, "We can still sleep together. I'll just put my bed next to where you sleep on the ground. Would you like that?"
Marco looked up at her and thought for a moment. "Yes. That would be nice."
"Just be careful to not snore fire on me or roll over."
"I would never do that. Don't worry about that."There was a pause, and he looked down and sighed.
"What is it?"
"We're married, and I'm a dragon. I cannot even wear my wedding ring."
"Where is it?"
"I took it off and placed it on the dressing during my last night as a human. I didn't want it to break when I changed."
Lilia went over to the dresser. It was wobbly due to the uneven cave floor. She found the gold ring lying on one side and picked it up. She took it over to him, reached up, and slid the ring on his left horn.
"Problem solved. You can stop worrying about it now."
Marco felt the ring on his horn and pushed it firmly down his horn so it would stay in place. He looked back at Lilia and spoke in a soft voice, "Thank you. It means a lot to me."
"We better get some rest." Lilia began. "We have a big day tomorrow."
"What happens tomorrow?"
Lilia looked into his eyes and sighed. With hesitation she said, "The beginning of the rest of our lives."
Marco thought about it and agreed. Marco curled upon the floor and Lilia in her bed.
She heard Marco say, "Good night dear. Have a nice sleep."
"Good night to you too," She replied.
She turned on her side and tried to get comfortable. A single thought crossed her mind before she fell to sleep. What had she gotten herself into?