“Why do you keep trying, little one?” the creature asked. It slid slowly back and forth along the floor, its scales rasping on the uneven stone.

“Really? That’s what we’re going with?” Aurora replied. “The whole ‘demoralize the opponent’ routine?” She wriggled in the ropes to make a point. “You’re twenty feet tall, we’re in your cave, and I’m tied up. I don’t really see why you’re so worried about my motivations here.”

The thing bent down to level its slitted eyes with hers. “I just want to understand. Why someone so small would come here. My minions took you easily. Yet you still smirk at me. You struggle against steel bonds. I sense no magic in you. So the question remains – why?” At a gesture, the thug to Aurora’s left jerked her off balance and down to her knees.

“Well,” Aurora said. “The primary reason is that we want you alive, for some reason. I’m not so good at that part. We just needed to find out where you were.” She shrugged.

Suddenly, the cavern shook all around them. Rocks fell from the ceiling. Small ones, fortunately.