Once Upon A Time (Part Four)

August 12, 2008, 10:30 am; posted by
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Read part one, part two, and part three!

For three days longer, the prince and his steed traveled. On the third day, when the prince began to despair of ever returning home, he came upon a boneyard, stretching on for miles beyond the horizon. In the center of the carnage was a dragon, massive and black, and curled up asleep.

The prince and his cautious steed crept quietly amongst the refuse until they were close enough for the dragon\’s breath to singe their eyebrows. As the prince raised his lance to plunge it into the dragon\’s stone heart, it opened one eye and said, “You\’ll be lost for all eternity if you do that.”

Now, the young prince did not normally hesitate at the empty threats of his enemies. But he had been laughed at by both an ogre and a kraken, and his self-assurance was flagging. “Why?” he asked, a little bit whiny, lance still at the ready.

“You\’re the bloke means to round up all the women and take them back to their husbands?”

“How did you know?”

“News travels. You took a wrong turn few miles back.”

“And why will vanquishing you to the depths of Hades cause me to be lost for all eternity, wretched beast?”

“No, no. You\’re already lost. I know the way to where you\’re going, and I ate everyone else who knows. Knew.”

“Foul beast! You seek to lead me astray!” And the prince hefted his lance once again, to his wise steed\’s alarm.

“Before you kill me,” drawled the dragon, “may I offer you two pieces of wisdom?”

The brave prince, thrown off guard by this small generosity, assented. “First,” said the dragon, stretching leisurely, claws clicking on bone. “Stop calling people names. It\’s not nice. Second, ask for directions.”

“Is that all?” the prince asked, hefting his lance a third time.

“Oh, yes, and — ” The dragon released a colossally smoky guffaw. “That was in reference to your quest,” he said, and curled up to go back to sleep.

The prince, now almost completely at his wit’s end, could no longer find it in himself to kill the dragon. In all honesty, he was almost sure the lance would glance off the thick black scales and the dragon would laugh at him again.

He simply could not bear that.

And so he tapped the dragon\’s shoulder with the tip of his lance and said politely, “If you please, which way to the evil sorceress\’s lair?”

To be continued!


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