By the time Thursday rolled around, I was so full of questions I was ready to burst. I was about to start questioning Teresa as soon as I got into the car, but she got there first.
"Did you listen to the tape?" she asked.
"Yes," I answered, "Of course,"
"Did you understand it?"
"Yeah, it only took me about three hours. How does that even work? I mean, I know you can learn a language quickly by immersion, but not that quickly,"
"It's your dragon blood. You're naturally inclined to understand Draconic. By the end of today, you'll be speaking it too,"
"So is that what we're doing today?" I asked.
"One thing, yes. Recent developments mean we need to... speed up your training a bit. Is there any way you could do a second day a week?"
"Would these... developments have anything to do with Senator Walsh?" I asked.
"That's part of it,"she admitted, "So is what happened to you on Friday. But it's a lot deeper then that. I wish I could tell you more, but I don't know all that much myself. When it comes to Senator Walsh, the fewer people who know the better - if he's to have have any chance of winning the nomination. Can you get off for another day?"
"I think so," I said, "But I think my father may be getting suspicious,"
"If Walter suspected anything, he'd have let us know," said Teresa, "He knows how to get ahold of us. So let us worry about that,"
We pulled up in front of her apartment building. We got up and made our way upstairs. To my relief, there was no sign of Pat along the way.
"He's working," said Teresa, when I brought this up. "Since that news story hit the air, Thadius has insisted on some new security measures, but they take a lot of people to orchestrate,"
"Am I getting more security?" I asked.
"That would draw too much attention to you," she answered. "Don't worry. You'll be fine. We just want to get you to the point where you can defend yourself as quickly as possible. Now, let's get started,"
Teresa pulled off her shirt. Then she started pulling down her jeans. She looked up at me.
"Honestly," she said, "If you want to go to another room, that's fine. I've pretty much lost all my reservations at this point. You'll only be a naked human for a few seconds - just strip and transform.
I turned away from her, a little embarrassed, and started taking off my own clothing. I was just about to pull of my underwear, ready to change forms immediately, when I heard Teresa behind me.
"Could you help me get this?" she asked. I turned around. Her back was now to me, and I could shee that her only garment was a gold, sequined thing with arm holes that went around her chest. There were two more holes in the back. It was clearly too large for her. It was fastened in the back with five large clasps, three of which had been fastened.
"I can't usually get those clasps with hands, much less claws," she said.
I reached over and clasped the other two. Immediately, the garment filled out as she transformed from beautiful woman to gold-colored lizard monster.
On closer reflection, she actually looked more like a cat than a lizard. Her face was distinctly catlike, and what, in the heat of battle, had appeared to be a mass of tentacles, now appeared to be almost hair, although very thick strands of it, that started gold and ended up turquoise. A strange turquoise marking, like a flame, was on the top of her her head. And a rainbow pattern on her leathery wings extended onto frills that ended at her tail. She was actually still quite beautiful, in an odd sort of way.
"What are you waiting for?" she asked in the same rough tongue he'd heard on the tape.
I turned around, pulled off my boxers and focused on what it felt like to have a tail, until I could feel the tail. Then I looked down at my new, silvery body and turned around.
"Good," said Teresa, "Much faster. I think you're geting the hang of it. The first thing we're gonna work on is communication, and maybe your motor skills a little more. Everyone who lives in this building either works for the NA in some capacity or has been vouched for by someone who does, so it doesn't really matter if we're seen. Lets take a walk, shall we?"
She opened the door and stepped to the side. I walked through.
"So how does this work?" I tried to say, but all that came out was "Ror horrir urur?"
"Don't try to talk yet," said Teresa. "Your grasp of Draconic is unusual. You have pretty much all the grammar and a fair amount of vocabulary, but as far as actually making all the sounds, you're at the level of a newborn. So we're gonna start with vowels. Most of them are pretty much like they are with a human mouth, with some exceptions..."
There's no point in my going on further. Suffice it to say, about an hour later I way speaking draconic, though with what could only be described as a thick human accent.