A Comedy of Dragons

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends with a character asking a question.... view prompt

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General

Are you sure you want to go through with this?

    The sky was glowing with the last traces of sunset, and light was gently bouncing off of the rose-tinted dragon outside the castle window. Princess Elizabeth pouted.

    “Well, how else am I supposed to see if Sir Hotstuff likes me? It’s the only reasonable way to find out. As a princess, I should know.”

    The dragon just cocked an eyebrow, as Elizabeth looked very pleased and was complimenting herself on her intelligence.

    “You do realize that this plan has holes in it, don’t you?,” the dragon asked. “What if the knight doesn’t come? Or what if they don’t believe that I took you? Dragons don’t usually want princesses wandering around their caves: princesses never clean, they just moan about being asked to.”

    Elizabeth was getting very annoyed. Dragons clearly weren’t as smart as her.

    “Okay, whatever, just remember the plan: come at around 10 am, when I’m nice and prepared. I’ll be in my pearly dress, and you can torch some of the peasant houses for added effect. You’ll take me to your cave, and then Sir Hotstuff will save me, and we’ll get married!”

    By the next morning, the dragon had flown back to her home to enjoy her last moments of peace and quiet. Elizabeth had gotten her dress on, bouncy brown curls combed, flowers braided into her hair, and makeup applied to her big blue eyes.

    She looked at herself in a mirror, and decided that she looked good. She’d even practiced wailing in terror. She’d be heard, alright: she was a world-class screamer, and could wail for an entire ten minutes. She grinned and looked out the window.

    There was a dragon, torching the peasant homes and sweeping through the skies. But something seemed off. Then Elizabeth gasped as the castle was enveloped in flames.

.    .    .

    “Escape is futile.

    The black dragon eyeballed Elizabeth as she stomped and groaned. She was just about to try and run out of the cave. She’d only succeeded once, and then the dragon had simply strolled out and grabbed her. 

    “Well, what about the deal we made, hm?,” she demanded.

    “For the last time, I am not the dragon you made a deal with. Also, we have names. I am called Kharek.”

    “Bless you. Now, even if you won’t tell me your name, dragon, I at least expect you to forget the deal we made and let me out!”

    Kharek sighed and closed his eyes. This was going to be a very long month.

.    .    .

“What do you mean, ‘I have to rescue her’?” Sir Hotstuff demanded.

    The king’s messenger whimpered, his cap practically falling off from shivering. Sir Hotstuff was the greatest knight in the land and was quite terrifying to go up against. 

    “Well, sire, the King thinks you to be quite worthy to rescue the princess from the dread wyrm that has enslaved her.”

    Sir Hotstuff glowered and chuckled. “Been captured by a worm, has she? Well, then, little messenger, you should stop your jests before I do.” He put a hand on his sword for effect, and then strolled away with a glorious hair flip.

    The messenger looked around hopelessly. He was about to start the journey back when there was a tapping on his shoulder.

    “Hello? I heard that there was a princess who needed rescuing.”

.    .    .

    The king tried to suppress his laughter. Before him stood a young man, maybe sixteen, dressed like a peasant, who was gangly and still had straw in his hair.

    “Well, good Sir… Erik, was it? Are you the herald of Sir Hotstuff?”

    Erik smiled and looked the king in the eye. “Well, my king, I have come to rescue the Fair Princess Elizabeth. When shall I be off?”

    When the king saw that the young man was serious, he broke.

    “You? Oh, that’s hilarious! Do you have armour under your rags?” 

    The court was barely containing their laughter themselves.

    Erik tut-tutted and wagged his finger at the king. 

    “Now, now, my king. You mustn’t assume I am but a peasant. If I was in a suit of armour, would you believe me a knight? No? Then let it be known that even if I am not girded in steel, that I have a soul mightier than any knight, and I will succeed where they would fail.”

    The king’s eyes teared up. The handmaidens swooned. The heralds cheered. Then Erik scratched his rear and sighed.

.    .    .

    Erik had been given a sword and some leather armor. He was about to head into the Forest when one of the ladies-in-waiting marched out with her sleeves rolled up and her dark hair trailing from her bun while holding a slightly terrifying axe. She looked at him and smirked.

    “I’m coming with you, if you don’t mind,” she stated.

    “Um, I do mind, and no. This is a hero’s quest,” Erik started.

    “Glad to hear you don’t mind. My name’s Beatrice. I’m coming along to make sure that you and Lizzie don’t get in danger. The Completely Normal Forest is full of hazards; there are tales of wild dogs, questionnaires that never end, and even fairies. I rather doubt that you could handle that,” she said. She looked him over and laughed.

    “Just listen to me and do what I tell you, ok? ‘Cause the Forest will chew you up, spit you out, and then make you fill out a survey.”

    Eric pursed his lips, and was about to tell her no when he realized that Beatrice had already grabbed the reins of his mule and was heading off into the Forest. 

    “Wait, come back!” Erik shouted.

    Beatrice turned around and cocked an eyebrow. “Come and make me, pipsqueak.”

.    .    .

The Completely Normal Forest was a world of its own; after around ten feet, the trees twisted together to make a living cave. There were phosphorescent plants and fungi in glowing blues and greens, and things lurking in the distant shadow, things that were ferocious and would tear a person apart, things that were afraid of no Man. 

    But a Woman might do the trick.

    Beatrice had finally given the mule back to Erik after they’d gotten to the forest. They had passed five salesmen, three “quick surveys”, and one incredibly annoyed unicorn. Beatrice was swinging the ax around nonchalantly, scaring off most creatures and glaring down any that stuck around. They wandered quietly for a while, then Erik gasped and pointed.

    “Look over there!”

    Laying by a stream was a beautiful young woman, with long scarlet hair, bright blue eyes, fair skin, and a pale, creamy dress. She looked at them and sniffled. Beatrice waved and marched over. Erik rolled his eyes and followed. Beatrice sat the girl up.

    “Is something wrong?”

    The girl nodded.

    “Are you gonna tell me?”

    She burst into tears and shook her head no. Beatrice glowered.

    “I’m not going to keep playing yes-or-no, kid. Now, tell me what’s going on!

    The girl freaked out and let it slip. 

    “Stop it, you’re scaring me!

    Erik stared for a moment and descended into laughter. 

    “Oh… my… gosh! She- she sounds like an ogre!”

    Beatrice whipped around and glared him down. She went back to being the sweet handmaiden. She hugged the girl.

    “So, what’s your name, darling?”

    “Melody…

    Erik was about to start guffawing when an axe flew dangerously close to his face. He got the message and shut up. Beatrice returned to her conversation.

    “Why are you out here by yourself, Melody?”

    Melody sighed and cleared her throat.

    “Well…

.    .    .

    Elizabeth was very bored. It had been two entire hours. She turned towards the dragon.

    “So, do you know how to play MASH?”

    He almost cried.

.    .    .

    “So, what you’re saying is that you’re a princess (nod)… who was supposed to be kidnapped by a dragon (nod)… but he failed to show up (nod)… so you were embarrassed and ran in here?”

    Beatrice stood up and started to pace around.

    “So, would that mean that you’re from the kingdom right next to us?” Melody nodded.

    Erik groaned and tried to sit up. They had been in the same spot for about an hour, listening to Melody and her “tale of woe”, so he had attempted to lay down, which was almost impossible to do in armor. 

    “Why does this matter?,” he growled “We still need to get Elizabeth back from the dragon.”

    Beatrice just grinned and hoisted Erik up.

    “Alright, we’re going to the dragon’s cave. I think I know what happened.”

.    .    .

    Elizabeth giggled. “Ok, Kharek, you live in an apartment, you’re married to a beautiful, witty dragon, you’re a doctor, and you have five kids!”

    The dragon tried to disguise some giggling as “coughing”. 

    “Alright, princess, your turn.”

    They heard heavy, clanking steps coming towards them. Kharek turned to the mouth of the cave.

    “Who comes to my lair?”

    Elizabeth heard someone clearing their throat.

    “It is I, Sir Dashing, here to rescue milady!”

    Sir Dashing charged in and looked at Elizabeth. He looked disappointed.

    “… You’re not Melody.”

    Elizabeth looked him over: he was very handsome, with thick dark hair, chiseled features, a muscular build, and deep hazel eyes. He looked to be around twenty. Elizabeth started questioning him. “Who’s Melody?”

    Kharek just turned over and went to sleep. Sir Dashing sighed and sat down.

    “Well, she’s a beautiful princess from my kingdom. She’s probably out of my league; she’s lovely, she’s witty, and her voice is like music to my ears.” He started to sniffle.

    Elizabeth started to cradle him like a child. “It’s alright, Dashing; just let it all out.”

    Dashing flopped onto her lap and started sobbing. Elizabeth patted his back while he started to explain everything to her.

    “It’s just that she- (hic, sob) she’s always so kind to me. I’m part of the Royal Guard, and every time she sees me, she’ll smile, and (hic, sob) she has the prettiest voice.”

    Then they heard clip-clopping outside the cave.

.    .    .

Beatrice led the mule to the edge of the cave. She looked around and looked very pleased with herself. 

    “Alright, I think we’re here. You wanna head in, Erik?”

    Erik cocked an eyebrow and gestured to the cave.

    “What’s the catch?”

    Beatrice looked him in the eye and nonchalantly shrugged her shoulders.

    “Well, if it turns out that something in there is hostile, you’ll get eaten and I can formulate a plan. Got it? Now, go in.

    Erik groaned and stomped in. Melody turned to Beatrice.

    “Is he going to be ok?

    Beatrice tilted her head to the side.

    “I’m sure he’ll be ok.”

.    .    .

    “AAAAAAGGH!!!!!”

    Elizabeth just looked at Erik and made a face.

    “You know, you don’t have to scream your head off. It’s just a dragon.”

    Erik’s eyes bugged out and he started to twitch.

    “It’s just a dragon? JUST A DRAGON?! Oh, nothing serious, it’s just a DRAGON!”

    Elizabeth glared at him.

    “Oh, do shut up. If you wake Kharek up, he’ll just be annoyed. And besides, poor Sir Dashing has had the hardest day.”

    Erik just sat on the ground. The only issue was, it wasn’t the ground. Erik looked down at either side of him and realized that there were two giant yellow eyes looking up at him. The dragon started to growl, and then he boomed:

    “I can handle chatty princesses. I can handle sobbing knights. But I REFUSE to let some snot-nosed BRAT walk all over me!”

    Kharek whipped his head up and let Erik fall. The dragon glared down at him.

    “For this, you must pay…”

.    .    .

    Melody whimpered. She could hear screaming and sobbing and growling coming from inside the cave. She looked at Beatrice. Beatrice looked back and rolled her eyes.

    “See? Everything’s fine.”

.    .    .

    Kharek was leisurely holding Erik down under his claw as Elizabeth and Sir Dashing were talking. Sir Dashing sniffled and looked at Erik.

    “So, why are you here?”

    Erik was looking extremely annoyed.

    “Well,” he drawled. “We originally came to save Ms. Let’sMakeFriendsWithDragons here, but we ran into this princess; totally cute, but sounds like an ogre. Anyway, we finally came to the cave, and here I am now, being held captive by a dragon.”

    Erik struggled against Kharek’s grip. Kharek grinned menacingly at him.

    “Oh, but I’m following the story; aren’t I supposed to keep a fair maiden captive?”

    Kharek cackled while Elizabeth snorted. Sir Dashing went closer to Erik.

    “Wait,” Dashing said. “This princess, was her name Melody?”

    Erik raised his eyebrows.

    “Yeah, I think so.”

    Dashing’s eyes lit up. “And that means…”

    “Dashing!

    Melody raced into the cave. Dashing grinned. Melody grabbed Dashing, dipped him, and started kissing him. Elizabeth cheered.

    “Woooo! Go, Melody!”

    Beatrice walked into the cave and smiled. 

    “So, Melody, I assume you two are acquainted?”

    Melody straightened back up and smiled.

    “Yes; this is Sir Dashing, from our royal court.”

    Beatrice looked at the dragon and then at Erik.

    “Well, what’s your issue? Are you in trouble for being an idiot?”

    Erik glowered and looked away.

    “No, actually; everything’s just fine.”

    Beatrice cackled and looked up at Kharek.

    “What’s he in for?”

    Kharek smiled and looked down at her.

    “Using a being more intelligent and powerful than any other living creature as a chair.”

    Beatrice seemed to consider this. 

    “Well, I’m not sure what I can do to help with that. But what about some recompense?”

.    .    .

    Erik threw his hands up in the air.

    “So, we have an epic quest and people captured, and it ends with you making cake?”

    Beatrice shrugged and added some eggs to the batter.

    “Well, when you don’t have dragon sized baking supplies, it can be very difficult to make a decent cake. But our kingdom got access to Kharek’s library. With the addition of Elizabeth being able to hang out with someone, plus Melody and Dashing’s wedding, I think that the quest turned out quite nicely.”

    Erik groaned.

    “And what about me? Not much happened to me.”

    Beatrice looked at him and took on a philosophic tone.

    “Well, everyone will find happiness and adventure in their lives if they simply look for it. Just as you’ll be looking for some vanilla.”

    Erik pouted and looked in the pantry.

    “Uh, Beatrice?”

    “Yes?”

    “Is there always prophetic writing on the wall?”



May 15, 2020 18:00

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2 comments

Margaret Gaffney
05:07 May 31, 2020

This had me laughing from beginning to end. Well done.

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Eve Chrysalo
20:22 May 31, 2020

Thank you!

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