Adventure Fantasy Friendship

           I never wanted to be a thief, but I had no other choice. At the age of ten, I lost both my parents and ended up on my own. My parents barely had any money, but at least they had something. Without them, I had nothing. Therefore, I did what I needed to for money. It’s not a unique story, but this story isn’t about me anyway.

           In desperate need of something to eat, I snatched the purse of a wealthy woman who carelessly flung it around while flirting with some man. I didn’t pay much attention to them because my eyes focused on that swinging purple leather purse with the diamond buckle. I chose the wrong woman. As I fled with the purse held tightly at my chest, I felt a sharp claw clutch the back of my soot-covered dress and drag me into the air. The claw pulled me to the face of the woman who owned the purse. Glacier blue flames danced in her glowing eyes. My eyes widened and I couldn’t breathe.

           “Filthy little mutt,” the woman snarled and yanked her purse out of my hands. “I can scarcely tell the difference between you and these mangy pests.”

           Her head nodded towards a group of stray dogs. Tears blurred my eyes.

           “She’s just a kid, Miranda,” the man pleaded for my sake.

           “Oh, you think because she’s a kid she deserves some sympathy. Well, if being a kid is her only problem, let me fix that.” Miranda pointed a finger at me, and what looked like a bolt of purple lightning left the tip of her finger and buzzed through my veins. Then she dropped me. I felt so small and needed to look up to see her knees. I stared down and saw that instead of hands I had brown furry paws.

           “You turned her to a dog!” The man gasped. Clearly, he didn’t know she had magic powers, because this realization caused him to turn and run as far and fast as his pudgy legs could go.

           The woman knelt and used her fingertip lightning to create a mirror so I could see my filthy dog face. My spotted fur looked as tangled as my long blonde hair had been.

           “Now, maybe you’ll learn to hunt for rats like you should’ve been doing all along.”

           I scampered away, still starving. I whimpered and howled openly. Behavior that would be frowned upon for a child, but who cared now? Finding a safe spot to sleep and maybe a morsel from the dumpster were my priorities at that moment.

           On my quest for these things, I spotted a boy sitting on a bench. He was eating something and shaking his head, while watching a brawl between several drunk men. I hurried over to him, unable to notice anything but that food in his hand. Once by his feet, I looked up with my best puppy eyes, and whimpered. He looked at me and a smile spread across his face.

           “Are you hungry?” He asked.

           I wagged my tail.

           He reached down with a piece of turkey between his fingers, which I eagerly gobbled up. Then he gave me more and more until the pains of hunger slowly subsided. When his hands were empty, he gently stroked my head. I licked his hand because that’s all I could do. It felt weird, but I knew dogs did it and that’s what I was now. Even weirder, I liked the salty taste of his hands and kept licking. A bit of the sandwich sauces remained on them too.

           With a loving look in his eyes, he scooped me into his arms, and said, “How about I take you home with me?”

           I didn’t know where his home would be, but anything was safer than the streets, so I wagged my tail and licked his face. This made him laugh. As he carried me along, I decided he was a cute boy who seemed about the same age as I was. Maybe a little older. His skin wasn’t dirty like mine, and his black hair seemed untangled and washed. What I liked most was the kindness that sparkled in his hazel eyes.

           My assumption was he’d bring me to a small house where a mom would scream in horror at the sight of me and insist that he keep me in the barn. This wouldn’t bother me, for I’d curl up in some hay and sleep soundly.

           Instead, he carried me up the long, windy cobblestone path to a large stone wall with an iron gate. Two guards in armor waited and opened the door when they saw him. We walked through and continued the path, then waited patiently for a drawbridge to lower. Then we crossed the bridge and stood before the palace door. I had never been this close to the palace and my heart raced. The guards let the boy in without hesitation. He carried me up spiral staircases. Everything grabbed my attention. Beautiful carpets lined the halls, artwork hung from the walls, statues were plentiful, and the whole place felt warm. He carried me into a large bathroom that was bigger than my old house and ran a warm bath for me.

           The warm water felt incredible. On occasion I bathed, but mostly in cool rivers. He rubbed soap into my fur and delicately worked out some of the tangles. Others he cut off with scissors. Then I was embraced with soft towels. After all my pampering, he left me on a soft rug beside a cozy fireplace. When he returned, he had a plate full of beef roast and gravy. I think Miranda believed being a dog would make my life harder, but as it turns out, being a dog may be easier.

           The boy introduced me to his father, and they bickered over whether I could stay. Luckily, the boy won in the end. I did notice something. The boy’s father wore a golden crown and a long fur robe. In other words, his father was King Richard. Meaning, my sweet savior was a prince. The King reminded the boy of something he needed to do the following day, and I sensed this request made the prince unhappy. Then they said goodnight. The prince picked me up and placed me on a bed that felt like a cloud. My eyelids grew heavy the moment I touched it. He curled up next to me, wrapped his arms around me, and trembled slightly. I could tell he was worried in the way he held me like a child holds a doll for protection against the monster under the bed. What on earth did a prince have to worry about? All his doors and windows were guarded by strong men, the sturdy stone walls kept out storms, the fire kept him warm, and food seemed in abundance. As far as I knew, there were no worries to be had here.

           “I think I’ll name you Keva,” he whispered.

           I wagged my tail and licked his face. This seemed to calm him a little. Having a new name was fine with me because I didn’t really remember the one my parents gave me. It had been so long since anyone referred to me as anything that wasn’t an insult. I snuggled closely to the prince and fell into a peaceful sleep. 

           In the morning, my nose woke up first to the smell of fresh bacon, honey ham, and scrambled eggs. They were given to me in the prince’s room, and I ate them greedily by the warm fire. While I had slept in, something I never had the luxury of doing before, the prince had made me a beautiful leather color with a silver heart dangling from it. How does one handle being so loved? It was a concept I couldn’t understand, but I wanted to understand the prince.

           I learned his name was Edmund. Everyone called him that, and while I couldn’t talk, I wanted to call him that too. Prince Edmund wanted me to follow him everywhere, and so I did.

We walked into a field where a man waited. The man had the same glowing eyes as the woman who turned me into a dog. For a moment, I grew shaky in his presence and bared my teeth, but I quickly regained confidence. Attentive Prince Edmund noticed my discomfort and handled the situation.

           “I don’t think Keva likes you,” he said confidently.

           This left the man at a loss for words, so he chuckled nervously instead.

           “Perhaps you could win her favor with some gesture of kindness,” Edmund said while lifting a sword from a bench beside the man.

           “Of course, Your Royal Highness.” Blue lightning left his fingertips and formed a large bone before me. A bone that I was apprehensive about touching. Eventually, my desire for it overcame my nervousness. I chewed while they began the lesson and it felt so good against my teeth. The man used his lightning to create a simulation dragon. Edmund fought this dragon skillfully. When he finished, the man congratulated him, and I wagged my tail with admiration. Edmund didn’t look happy though. In fact, something about this fight left him moody almost all day. I wanted to understand him and played the fight over and over in my mind trying to. Nothing went awry as far as I could tell. Still, Edmund sulked around the palace yard. I found a stick by the stone wall and carried it to him. He took it from me and threw it. I chased after it, picked it up in my mouth and hurried it back. Finally, a smile broke through the gloom.

           Later that night, Edmund read me a bedtime story. In the story, a prince journeyed through the wilderness to the cave of a dragon. His travels were strenuous and involved many unexpected dangers. When the prince finally reached the cave, he fought a red dragon as tall as the palace. He dodged flames and fought despite deep slashes and wounds. When all hope seemed lost, he managed to jump on the back of the beast, run up the spine, and drive the sword into the dragon’s throat. As the dragon struggled to breath, the prince found a weak spot and pierced the heart. To celebrate his victory, the prince collected the gold and jewels the dragon protected. He also took a golden talon as proof of his accomplishment. When he returned, the princess fell madly in love with him, and the treasure went to their lavish wedding. This seemed like a happy ending to me. I’m not sure why a woman fell so in love with a golden talon, but this is what people wanted, right? The prince seemed sullen. I licked his face sympathetically, but I had no idea why this story irritated him.

           “It’s so stupid,” he said. “How do we even know dragons are bad? In all these stories, the dragons never attack. They simply hoard their treasure. Yet we call them bad. People kill them all for a stupid wedding. It makes no sense.”

           This thought wedged in my head. Edmund patted my belly, kissed my nose, and wrapped his arms around me. As the warmth of his body soothed me, my mind grew restless. Wealthy people went through all the struggle of killing dragons for a measly wedding. Perhaps the prince was right, and dragons didn’t deserve their slaughter, but if people must slay dragons, couldn’t they at least put the gold to better use? They could give it to the village, and little girls like me wouldn’t need to suffer from famine and disease. Anger burned within me. These royal weddings could feed us all for days. Perhaps even months.

           A few days later, I watched this story play out in real life. Edmund’s older brother had slayed a dragon and returned triumphant with a golden eye larger than himself. The princess he liked agreed to marry him, but the following nights I watched other princesses sneak into his room to sway him to their side, I presumed. Though I sometimes caught him kissing these other princesses when I snuck down for more food in the night, he continued his plan to marry the first. The thought that one day, Edmund might marry a princess created a strange pang of agony in my heart. I didn’t want to share his love.

           The night of the wedding, Edmund had a mischievous grin on his face. “They have more than enough food. Do you want to feed some of the dogs with me?”

           I wagged excitedly. We snuck into the kitchen and he filled a sack with lamb, chicken, duck, and beef roast. He put it in a cart and told me to guard it. Then he came back with trays of pasta and a large cake. A horse pulled the cart into town. He found a group of dogs and fed them the tasty meat. Then he went to the village center and called over the people for a feast. Poor, starving children like me were treated to pasta, vegetables, and cake. They all looked delighted. As I watched them quickly shoving food down their throats like they feared the prince might change his mind and snatch it all away, my heart swelled. I knew then for certain that I loved Edmund. I also felt like I was beginning to understand him. He truly cared for the world around him. No one ever noticed the missing food.

           He continued practicing dragon fights, and the man continued bringing treats to appease me.

           One day while chumping on a meaty bone, I overheard Edmund ask the man for a magic spell. He wanted to understand beings that couldn’t talk. The man agreed to help, but while Edmund fought, I heard him mutter, “Probably to talk to that stupid dog.”

           I bit down hard on my bone while imagining it was the man’s leg.

           A few weeks later, Edmund told me he needed to begin his quest and he wanted to take me with him. While leaving the comforts of the palace saddened me, I knew I didn’t want to be without him. He meant more to me than all the food and softness. Was I changing?

           He packed extra food for me, and we began our journey through the woods. At night we slept curled together in small stone caves, and during the day we hiked. My little legs ached, but Edmund carried me whenever he could. Days later, we reached the large dragon’s cave. My heart quickened and my paws trembled. I didn’t want him to fight a real dragon with real fire breath.

           Edmund strutted into the cave. The dragon’s eyes peeled open slowly at the sound of our entrance. I hid behind Edmund’s legs. The dragon was a stunning light blue with a vibrant white chest. Edmund recited some sort of chant and a golden lightning bolt shot from his fingers into the neck of the dragon.

           “I mean you no harm,” Edmund said.

           The dragon tilted its head and appeared perplexed. “That’s not what I’ve heard.”

           “I know your kind has been hurt by mine, and you have no reason to trust me, but I hope you will.” Edmund placed his sword on the ground and removed his backpack. “People know of your weaknesses, so I thought maybe I could make an armor to protect you as a gesture of good will.”

           “You’re a peculiar one,” the dragon said.

           “My name’s Edmund.”

           “Call me Finley,” the dragon hissed.

           “It’s nice to meet you.”

           “Likewise, I think.”

           I laid in a sandy spot gnawing on a lamb bone while they conversed. Gold and jewels shimmered in the spots where light shone through holes in the cave wall. Finley explained the love of shiny things that dragons have and how it attracted mates. They didn’t mean harm to humans, but they loved to collect. Since the treasure held no actual meaning to the dragons beyond appearance, Edmund suggested they could replace it for something less valuable to humans.

           Over the next month, Finley and Edmund plotted. They created armor for dragons, they found new sources of beautiful, shiny objects, and Edmund crafted a story to fool people into believing all the dragons were gone. If people didn’t believe there were dragons, they’d live in peace. According to Edmund, people were particularly gullible to prophets, so he was going to spin a story of coming near death and encountering a message from God about the dragon’s leaving earth. Since the prince had always been honest, people would have no reason to doubt him.

           In the end, the dragon offered Edmund some of the gold and jewels for his help. Edmund agreed, which surprised me and packed a heaping portion. I thought I had understood him, but I didn’t understand this.

           When we got back to the village, Edmund followed through on his plans. He regaled crowds in the palace with awe inspiring tales of his conversations with God and all he had been instructed. People were skeptical, but he prepared for this and brought things he crafted with Finley as evidence. King Richard disapproved and made clear his disappointment his son could never be king now. He failed to conquer a dragon or gain the wealth needed for marriage. None of these things worried Edmund. 

He didn’t tell anyone of his treasures, but he used them, in secret, to help fund farms, schools and better housing for the village. He paid the seamstress to make clothes for villagers and paid the cooks to feed the people each day. Edmund was the king we needed but would never get. I understood though. Being king was a certain type of trap, and he had bigger plans than that. 

August 02, 2021 17:38

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Eve Y
15:32 Aug 09, 2021

This was such a cute story to read! I haven't read many fantasy themed stories on the Reedsy platform, but I will say I found this one very pleasant and fun to read! I like how you wrote it from the perspective of an animal, and I think it really showed another perspective of conventional fairytales that are usually told from a humans point of view. Great job!


Annalisa D.
16:45 Aug 09, 2021

Thank you so much! I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. I'm so glad you liked it!


Eve Y
18:58 Aug 09, 2021

Of course! If you're ever looking for a read I'd appreciate it if you could check out some of my stories. Thanks!


Annalisa D.
19:38 Aug 09, 2021

Sure, I'd be happy to!


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21:02 Aug 04, 2021

Wow, Annalisa! This was very sweet and nice and super creative! I would've never thought to do the perspective from an animal! I love fantasy, so this was perfect for me. And the start gets you hooked right away!! Happy writing, Annalisa!


Annalisa D.
21:31 Aug 04, 2021

Thank you so much for reading and for the nice comments. I'm glad you liked it and its exciting to hear you are a fantasy fan and liked it! Thank you! I appreciate it!


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Eric D.
02:10 Aug 03, 2021

Some teeny tiny errors "When (they) prince finally reached the cave, he fought a red dragon as tall as the palace. " and also the word "tilted" when he met the dragon and he tilted his head. Anyways wow I really enjoyed this one, built the fantasy world really well, the witch was very scary along with the sorcerer that the King employed. The prince was really wholesome, not your typical ending to a fantasy story that's usually cliche, this is the ending that should have been lol so kudos for making something different and just painting a s...


Annalisa D.
02:13 Aug 03, 2021

Thank you! I'll fix those errors. Appreciate you catching them. Also thank you for the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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Danny G
23:05 Aug 02, 2021

I liked this story, it was very sweet and I liked having the perspective from a dog and getting to know how kind and caring the prince is. Good work Annalisa!


Annalisa D.
23:16 Aug 02, 2021

Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it.


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