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The skulls weren't going to fit on the walls, and it wasn't Leroy's fault.

 

"Dio! What is this, a prison?! Behold how cramped and mean our abode!"

 

Covering the entire bed and part of the floor, the green dragon stretched luxuriously and gave no apparent reply. From behind the headboard, a long, forked red tongue flicked out, then vanished.

 

"At least the barracks of the worlds liberated by my sisters, those had some rude charm!"  

 

Sighing a long-suffering sigh, Leroy sat down in a swirl of colored silk as his robes billowed. Surveying the shelves piled with bits and bobs, posters, maps, trophies, book stacks and carefully-positioned feather duster, Leroy ran a hand over his new hair. He still missed the masses of curls he'd grown up with, but the close-cut geometry of the Caesar was at least fun to skim your fingers over. 

 

He frowned, the pupils of his golden eyes narrowing to slits as he pondered the riddle of interior design logistics. He turned his eyes back to the lounging dragon "What if I just piled them at the foot and head of the bed, then I can just take them out when I want and during the day they can go over the covers?"

 

"And where will I sssleep, O Dragon Prinsssce?" His face was draped behind the headboard, and a dragon's physiognomy is hard to read anyway, but Dio's voice carried the wry note of sarcasm perfectly.

 

"Under that tree." Leroy pointed unthinkingly at the tall, spreading oak visible from the window. "Neither rain nor frost nor burning sun discomfort you, and I'm the one who needs sleep the more!"

 

Dio started to reply, when his tongue, flicking out again, paused. It darted out again, for longer. "I sssmell sssomeone...your bunkmate, arrange yourssself!"

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Kamerons portion of the room for the moment remained untouched.  The large rolling case he pulled behind him still held most of what he'd brought to the school the remainder having been shipped and sitting a few boxes on the bed.  Letting himself in the hidden prince scanned the room with a steady eye taking in the ostentatious dress of his roommate and the large reptilian he apparently kept as a pet if the disclosure and release form about reptile related phobias and allergies had been any clue.  He'd expected an iguana perhaps or maybe a roomate with a reptilian appearance himself.  This was unexpected, which drew a small smile from the boys lips, surprise was unusual for the Dakanan royal and welcome.

 

He widened his smile in perhaps overcompensation for his normally reserved demeanor, or perhaps playing into stereotypes though his fellow student did not appear to be from around here.  "You must be Leroy."  he greeted warmly and extended his free hand, "I'm Kameron."  he laughed lightly as he'd let himself in, "Obviously."  He took in the decorating in progress with casual interest as he tried to place the artifacts and style with some curiosity.  

 

"So long trip?"  he asked casually, "It was a lengthy flight but smooth myself."  he offered conversationally as he shut the door behind himself and began to examine his space opening the wardrobe and drawers to map out where he'd stow his possessions.

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Snorting at the 'long trip' comment, the dragon snaked their head out of the crevice, the sleek arching neck holding it well above the heads of the two boys as he started to reposition into a Sphinx-like pose on the bed. The broad, frilled tail whisked off the floor and dangled in the air, describing figure-eights endlessly.

 

Clasping the hand of the other boy, Leroy grinned even broader than Kam "Correct! I am Leroy Conte, that is my dragon, Dio, good to meet you, Kameron Kingdom! You must show me your workout routine, it is clearly quite effective!". His grip wasn't as strong as Kamau's, but it matched his tall, powerful frame as Kam's did his more condensed body. "No, though you are kind to ask, it was a very short journey..."

 

"It is reward enough to hear those words." The dragon idly preened one of his wings.

 

"...by Dio's standards!"

 

 Dio's golden eyes shone with betrayal.

 

"But here we are, and no worse for wear!" Leroy nodded at his overflowing wall of knick-knacks, masks, books and posters "Though this is a puzzle. I envy you your refined minimalism, Mr. Kingdom, it is such a simpler way of life." Reaching down, he hefted up a long, horned skull that bore an uncanny resemblance to the dragon on his bed "but even if I can unravel this mystery, I still have to arrange my Dragon's Daughter Ultimate Conqueror of Blood-Hellwreacker collected volume with all the author commentary from Ms. Georges. Have you read those books, Mr. Kingdom?" 

 

He paused, seeing the look on the other boy's face. Hastening to reassure him, Leroy said "If not, I well understand. There are only 44 of them after all."

Edited by Ari

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Kam perked a brow at the 'dragon' introduction bt he did not come to Freedom nor Claremont expecting the simple life.  "A pleasure Dio."  he greeted as well now that it was clear the creature was capable of communication.  Glancing at his own side of the room he smiled wide, "Ah yes well I had to pack light for the plane."  he lied readily.  In truth his parents had wanted to send both he and his sister with all the comforts of home.  Which most certainly would not have fit in the dorm rooms confines.  

 

"I should unpack though you are not wrong."  he readily admitted.  Slinging his messenger bag to over the back of his desk chair he shook his head in reply, "I can't say that I have but they sound most evocative."  he replied and hefted his case onto the bed to pop it open and begin neatly stowing the contents in the wardrobe and drawers with practiced efficiency.  "I have heard the Gym here is very well apportioned."  the prince explained between filing drawers.  "I'd be happy to have a workout partner, I met another student on the way up with similar interests.  I imagine they'll be happy to join as well."

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"Another disciple of the bodily arts?" Leroy looked as if all his dreams were coming true at once as he rummaged through the pile of braincases. Picking one from the pile, he hefted it in one hand, eyeing a corner between two shelves all but groaning under crystal spires glittering inside with motes of light. 

 

"I should be glad to accept your proposal, Mr. Kingdom! Alas, I am pitiably weak, and of but slender talents," as he spoke the taller boy gently maneuvered the skull, an elongated one bristling with horns, onto the narrow corner, "if I am to win my spurs and not perish in some misadventure that must be corrected. I believe I saw you in the assembly. Tell me, was one of those students you were sitting with this pinnacle of potential?"

 

"Scientia Potentia Est. It was on that plaque you made me read." Dio chided gently, having rolled into a comfortable sprawl once more. The green dragon's gold eyes were fixed on the pair. "Remember, your authority over gravity has no notion of muscles. Mental fortitude is what you need."

 

Leroy stepped gingerly back from the wall. The skull was balanced. Waiting a moment to be just a hair more sure, he turned and faced his dragon.

 

"Are you playing matchmaker, Dio? Every time I ask where I am to obtain this 'mental fortitude' you suggest Ms. Whitfield-Hall."

 

"Who better?"

 

"The Dangers. That psychic upstairs. The tortoise girl. We know none of them, as you don't know Nicole, any of them could be helpful."

 

The dragon yawned, revealing two crescent plates jutting into their mouth, a serpentine tongue and a bright red palate. "Perhaps. But Whitfield-Hall surpasses them in a few relevant particulars."

 

Leroy snorted "Such as?"

 

"Modesty forbids me to elaborate."

 

"He has been like this for days, Kam," Leroy grumbled, pulling out a gigantic book thicker than his head out of a suitcase,  one showing a teenaged girl with white hair walking through a field of broken spears and arrows, with dragons circling overhead, "I envy you." 

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Kam smiled lightly at his new roommates grandiloquent manner. "Indeed."  he agreed readily, "Janus Danger suggested we work together on some of the combat arts."  he explained with a shrug, "I imagine both they and their cousin are accustomed a more physical regime than standard here."  he opined with a shrug as he finished stowing the last of his supplies in his desk and moved on to unpacking the large parcel on the bed.

 

He glanced with a small laugh at Dio's commentary, "The mind must live in the body, if one fails  the other is soon to follow." he pointed out in what sounded like an awkwardly translated parable perhaps.  "I'm sure he has not but your best interests at heart in his efforts."  the dakanan suggested with quick wink to the dragon.  Turning back to his own decorating he pulled a neatly folded and laminated map of the city and began affixing it to the wall followed by a paired whiteboard board and corkboard at this time both clean and empty.

 

Finally from the depths of the box he pulled a large colorful bundle of a brightly patterned duvet win rich reds and deep purples.  Laying it out across the bed with a flick of his wrists he smoothed it with a slightly neurotic attention to detail before retreating to his desk once more and pulling his laptop and the small collection of orientation materials from his bag and setting them on the otherwise bare surface in a neat pile pulling the top sheet to begin cataloging the state of the room upon their move in.

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"I'd hope so, Mr. Kingdom." The lighter air of Leroy's voice faded, and he frowned at a skull of twisting horn and one great eye socket that could have held the boy's entire head. The people here...I am counted small for my age back home, but here it is as if everyone was shrunken. As if they have had their life drained from them. My father's neighbors seem so...listless, directionless. Only a few seem to have truly tasted life, or become aware of their infinite potential."

 

Dio loudly cleared his throat, casting an apologetic look at Kameron "Are you and Leroy likely to be on the same sports teams?"

 

"Oh! Yes!" Skull forgotten, Leroy spun on his heels to beam at the other boy  "That would be splendid! What do you play? There is nothing like a good game of football!"

Edited by Ari

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Studying the suddenly morose turn in his roomate for a moment Kam offered a gentle smile, "It is not easy to be far from home, and far from what you know."  he offered comfortingly.  "But I think in time you will discover the nuance to the people here while different is still just as varied."  he assured the other teen.

 

He raised a brow at the mentions of teams, "I am not sure if I'll be participating in any but the casual nature."  he replied with a small shrug and easy smile, "I enjoy a match now and then though."  he admitted with a smile, "I usually focus on more solitary sporting endeavors."  because intramural sports were not as easy to arrange when a royal retinue became involved.  "Gymnastics, track and field, though I admit not being a match to my si-imilarly enthusiastic brethren at the team sports."  he corrected mid sentence somewhat awkwardly, "So American football or the more global phenomenon?"  he added quickly hoping to glide over the misspoke words.

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"What...oh, gridiron! No, no that is more my big sister Oluko's interest. Proper football is something I was playing before I could walk! Now I recall, I even have pictures!" Scrabbling through the luggage, Leroy muttered and squinted until, with a shout of triumph he retrieved an old-fashioned photo album, beaten and weathered with clear water stains. It was also thicker around Leroy was, and made a loud *THUMP* as the boy set it down on Kam's bed, flipping briskly through the pages as he kept up a running commentary. "These are from my mother's first wedding, before the Atlanteans had excavated out all the rubble and got rid of those skeletons. That is my eldest sister, taming her first dragon. Here is the founding of New Atlantis, they still have those pyramids, we use them for slides...ah! And here it is! My first football game!"

 

It was a perfect reproduction of five adorable babies scrabbling across a gigantic courtyard, chasing a ball being pushed around by a tiny, puppy-like black dragon.

 

Leroy scratched his head, frowning deeply "I...remember it somewhat differently? I thought there were more children."

 

The dragon craned their head across the room. "That was another game, Leroy, you were always a favorite of the other heirs, just an off day."

 

"Ah! Of course! How silly of me, one day is not all days!" Nodding in satisfaction, Leroy began flipping through the book, animatedly talking and pointing out bits of trivia caught by the camera lens.

 

Behind his back, Dio caught Kam's eye and winked.

Edited by Ari

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Well if there was any doubt to just how not from around here Leroy was this certainly put them to rest.  Looking over his roomate shoulder as the energetic youth flipped through the book Kam tried to piece together how that realm differed from prime.  Mostly he deduced 'greatly' to be the answer.  When the picture was found he smiled at the scene strange as it was, "Well I've always put quality before quantity with such things."  he  assured his roomate, "It looks like a good time for all."  he really did not know what more to say on that.

 

Catching the look at Dio's 'correction' as it was Kam briefly looked to Leroy with a mix of sympathy and concern.  But focused his attention on what the boy had to share.  It was certainly going to be an interesting year.

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"A splendid way to see things, Mr. Kingdom. Oh!" Leroy suddenly winced "I had forgotten entirely! I beseech you for your pardon, Mr. Kingdom, but it always slips my mind: are you betrothed?"

 

"Most of my siblings are, if they are not married already. I am an unusual case, no sons were expected, so the regular plan failed to account for my existence. Dio has a similar situation, not much room or future for a thousandth-son of the Red Rage!"

 

Dio snorted on the bed, rolling extravagantly into a shape that could have passed at a glance for a piece of abstract art instead of a living creature. "My Prince forgets himself, Kameron Kingdom, before I was sworn to Ghorummaz I was a newborn, only a few years old. Both of us are the same age, and arranged marriages do not exist on Earth-2, he conflates an agreement between his sisters and their husbands in younger years with the formal plan to dissolve family bounds. Understandably, as the celebrations coincided, but still incorrect.

 

Leroy laughed aloud, flipping to another page of the photo album, this one showing a towering, brutal-looking woman in high-tech armor engraved with symbols of death and war. The right half of her face looked like it had been burnt, her hair braided and draped to the opposite side, and the eye on the right was a golden orb carved with a sunburst. The other eye was hooded, seeming to pierce Kam's very soul in a golden glare. Beside her stood a slim, smiling young man with hauntingly-beautiful brown eyes and obvious cyborg augmentation on his arms, neck and torso. "This is my dear sister Olaore and her beloved, Tajj. She is the one so afire for sports and manages the Dragonlands. Tajj helps care for the elderly and sick new arrivals to New Atlantis."

 

Olaore cleared Tajj by several heads and what appeared to be at least two hundred pounds. She positively loomed over the man holding her in a (for him) gigantic hug which she returned with one arm and far more dramatic results.

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Kam stared blankly at Leroy for a long moment and shook his head lightly, "I am not."  he assured his roommate and smirked slightly, "Interested?"  he teased with a friendly grin.  The hidden prince glanced to Dio now out of habit for translation and nodded understanding.  "Such is not the habit of my homeland or most of prime at this time."  he assured Leroy.  

 

Peering over the other teen shoulder at the photon Kam smiled, "They seem quite smitten."  he agreed readily not as offput as some by the power dynamic.  Given the royal guard of Dakana he was not unfamiliar with women taking a more combative  role nor men taking a more nurturing one.  Looking back to Leroy he raised a brow, "I don't mean to pry but your home seems very uniquely positioned to see to your training."  he suggested carefully, "What special quality earned you the position to come here to train instead?"

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