Welcome to the January 2018 Blog Hop. In the spirit of the new year, this story is a little different from any of the others I’ve shared, so strap on your fairy tale ten-league boots and let’s go for a hike.
Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page for all the links to the other amazing free stories!
Thunderclouds crowded together in the sky like men crowding to see a new stallion or a new whore, but I kept my eyes fixed on the trail ahead. We only had till nightfall to save the princess and kill the dragon and save the kingdom, and dusk was falling fast.
We came up the last hill together, my bestie and me, our horses neck-and-neck, hooves thundering and dust a’flying. Our damnably heavy armor creaked and rustled and clanged while we rode, then it creaked and rustled and clanged more when we slid down off the horses. I ‘bout fell in the dirt then, having not ridden enough lately, but I tightened my thighs and waited two breaths and then forced myself to pretend I’d been riding that rough-gait nag all day every day all my life so the princess wouldn’t see me cry.
The mountain loomed over us and the cave sank into it like a horse’s arsehole, I tell you. I jerked my chin toward the dark where the dragon waited, and my bestie shifted his eyes toward the princess-on-a-stick, which was fine with me, since I didn’t much care for women in general, and princesses in specific.
Give me broad shoulders and strong hands and a tight ass—er…hm.
So I clanged my way over to the cave, subtle as if the king hisself had come, blaring trumpets and heralds announcing him, but without the trumpets or heralds, see? When nothing leapt out at me, I hit the pommel of my sword on the rocks and bellowed, “Come out, Dragon!”
“Come in, knight,” something whispered, sounding way more spooky than it should, coming out o’ the dark like that, and how could words with no esses in them sound so damned slithery? It weren’t right, I tell you.
I checked on my bestie, who was cozying up to the princess, getting her to promise all sorts of stuff afore he’d cut her loose, just as we’d planned he would, and caught his eye.
Going in, I told him with the twitch of my head.
Careful, he replied with one raised eyebrow. Then he smirked just a little. I got her.
Not being as stupid as the run-o-the-mill noble knights whose heads littered the landscape ‘round here—an didn’t that stink just a little—I took a minute to cut a branch from the nearest tree and light the leafy end on fire, then tossed it inside the dark. I followed after, buttonhooking to the right ‘stead of the left so I didn’t burn myself silly and hoping the dragon wouldn’t notice me. I was holding one of them flame-resistant water-logged cloaks in front of me, the ones that the king had handed out back at the beginning of our quest. Course, he hadn’t handed one to me, but when one of the highborns dropped it for being too damned heavy with all the swords and shields and arrows he were carrying, I picked it up, and when we rode past a scummy pond I paused long enough to dunk it again, and here we were.
Huge glowy emerald eyes big as my whole head gazed at me in astonishment.
“Brains?” the thing muttered. “A torch to distract me and a magic cloak to defend from my fires? I… hesitate to kill you.”
“Not yer normal knight,” I responded automatically. Been saying it all my life, after all. “Let’s talk ‘stead of killing me.”
Amethyst claws tall as my horse scritched in the dirt. The inside of the cave smelled way better than the outside, and was lit with some kinda light I didn’t recognize, and I thought there might be scrolls on shelves just over the thing’s shoulder too. Then those claws at the ends of long sapphire-scaled fingers attached (‘ventually) to bright diamond teeth and emerald eyes relaxed. “Let’s talk,” it agreed.
She, maybe. Under all that deep voice that comes from bein’ so big, I thought it might be a she, and she might change my mind about women.
Then the betraying rat-bastard I thought was my bestie came out from behind me and stabbed the dragon so damned deep in the eyeball that it died. Right then and there. Cost me everything. The kingdom, the money, the princess, my friend, my chance at learning more magic than the bits and dribbles the king’s mages had taught me, and worst of all my wonder at speaking to a real live dragon.
Then the frou-frou princess-no-longer-on-a-stick stuck her nosy self into the cave long enough to see my ex-bestie standing there all proud with his sword in the dragon’s eye. Well, she squealed like a stuck pig and afore I knew it he was atop his horse, armor and sword and all, and she was atop my horse, ruffles and tears and all, and they were thunderin’ back down the trail toward her daddy’s castle, leaving me behind as neat as you please.
Leaving me with no money, no bestie, and no real live dragon to chat up.
Course, since they left, there weren’t nothing to stop me from speaking to a real dead dragon an’ talk about getting us both some revenge.
Powered by: Holly Lisle’s Free Flash Fiction Class
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