“If you really didn’t want to kidnap me, why not just say so?” Maryn sighs, plopping down on a mossy rock.
The dragon shifts. “You were so… insistent. It’s hard to say no to an insistent princess.”
Maryn scowls, tapping her cane on the ground as little, furry sprites scurry around her feet. The dragon’s cave isn’t high up in the mountains like you’d expect with a beast who has affiliation with the weather, but rather nestled a little above the valleys of the mountain range. The caves are warm (“Always comfortable,” the dragon was eager to boast), and awfully sponge-y with moss. As far as Maryn understood, that’s how the caves got their names — “Marshmallow,” after the gooey candy that comes overseas from the east, though gooey isn’t a word she’d like to use to describe the soft layer she sits on.
One of the furry sprites pushes into Maryn’s hand, dropping something into it. It’s firm, but she can press into it a little, almost like a grape that won’t pop. “What…?”
“They like to give gifts,” the dragon practically purrs, proud of the inhabitants of its caves. “That’s a sort of toy, a ball that can bounce to extreme heights if I understand the sprites correctly. It also has magical power infused into it by… Oh. Well, maybe we’d best leave that part out.”
The little sprites chitter and move toward the dragon, putting a crown of leaves around the beast’s head, despite its protesting. The dragon would never admit it aloud, but it adores the gifts from its sprites more than any hoard of gold and diamonds.
Maryn rolls the small ball around her hand, scowling at it. Of course this dragon wouldn’t like to kidnap her. She knew this one was particularly empathetic, that’s why she started writing to it. She simply hadn’t known how empathetic. What a disaster. “I’m so sorry about this, dragon.”
“Oh, it’s fine. I just…” The beast adjusts, its toe beans brushing softly against the floor. “It’s just… after all the snow you asked for melted, well, it all flooded down into the larger valleys. And there are towns and cities down there.”
“Oh.” Maryn hadn’t even considered that outcome. She’d thought about so much, but it seems that it’s the simple details that escape her. “Well, you have an affinity with the weather, correct? Can’t you fix it?”
“I…I…” The dragon snuffles. “I’ve been having… nightmares. About losing control of my abilities, lately. A-and they seem to be coming true. The only reason I was able to keep it snowing so long is that I began the enchantment before these particular dreams started.”
“Have you had other dreams before this one, then?”
“Um, well, yes. Before this one it was about a haunted hairbrush. It sounds innocent enough, but they can be quite terrifying, I promise you.” The dragon clears its throat. “Anyway, we need to fix this, we can’t let this stand.”
“Yes, of course.” She did break out of the castle for an adventure after all.
“Perhaps we could find a magic-worker to help?” The dragon taps its claws.
“No, no.” The Princess shakes her head. “It costs a small fortune to hire a decent one, and we have none of my kingdom’s treasure at our disposal.” She didn’t mention that the dragon’s hoard of polished rocks helps much less than a regular dragon’s hoard. Unless it has some precious stones buried in there of course, but something tells her it would take a lot for the dragon to part with one of its dear rocks.
“We could use my scales? I’ve heard you humans say they look like diamonds, and they shed quite often!”
The dragon’s so excited, it pains Maryn to say, “I’m sorry, but you’d have to shed an awful lot of scales for it to be worth the price.” Normally a full dragon’s skin would fetch a good price, but not enough to hire a sorcerer or wizard to move a small ocean. And of course Maryn has no intention of killing the dragon or scaring it with that fact.
Moaning, the dragon falls to the floor with a soft thud. “Then there’s nothing to do! Perhaps I should go back to the king and let him behead me.”
“Poppycock!” The princess stands up. “I knew you could be silly, we’re all silly at times, but I didn’t think you’d be this dramatic.”
The dragon’s toe beans shuffle against the ground again as it shrinks back a little in shame.
“There is an answer. We’ll just have to find it ourselves.” Maryn taps her cane.
“Think; have you heard of any way to control or conquer nightmares? I’m sure you aren’t the first magical being to have their dreams run amuck.”
The dragon’s tail thumps against the ground as it thinks. “Well…”
Maryn raises an eyebrow as if to say, “spill.”
“Well, awhile back when I used to travel more as young dragons often do, I met a sea unicorn.”
“What? No, of course not. It was a unicorn that loved the sea, considered itself a pirate of sorts. Anyway, they mentioned an orchard to the west, over the sea and by the ocean. It grows white apples that bring peaceful sleep. It might not work, but it’s something, right?”
“Right. Let’s get going, then.”
The princess holds back a sigh. “What?”
“Well, the door outside tends to shift location. And size. So we’ll have to find that first.”
Maryn lets the sigh out, but also smiles and shakes her head. Well, it’s a sort of adventure, even if not exactly the one she planned on taking. So she wanders the extensive caves with the dragon, searching for a door that could be any size or shape as, down the mountain and in the middle of the flood they are trying to stop, a prince searches for an answer to the same question, but doesn’t exactly find the same solution…
I’M SORRY, this chapter isn’t that exciting. In retrospect, I would have written this from another POV. But, prompts stories. :’D Anyways, if you happened to like this not-best chapter, please consider sharing this and/or giving a prompt? Keep the monster aliiiiiiiive!
- Someone deals with guilt for something beyond their control. – Joy
- The princess is kind to someone. SOMEONE. – Joy
- Someone behaves in a manner dramatically uncharacteristic of them. – Joy
- The dragon tries to use its own scales as currency. – thewickedguacamole
- Toe beans are mentioned (and it would be extra hilarious if it’s the dragon who has toe beans).- thewickedguacamole
- Someone gets to wear a crown made out of leaves. – Thewickedguacamole
- Pirate unicorn! (it can also just be a seafaring unicorn. The pirate part is optional) – Rosiee
- The dragon’s dreams take physical manifestation somehow. – Rosiee
- Someone says the word, “poppycock.” – Rosiee
- A white apple. – Maha
- A powerful magical item looks remarkably ordinary-like, toaster ordinary, something no one would think about. – eveningrelics
- A door that changes sizes and never stays in one spot. – Starsandskyscrapers
- My dream was that you could turn people into tiny bouncy balls. Then you were supposed to give those balls to people you looked up to. – My dream, prompted into the story by Kayla The Rivera, “Please write this into a book somehow–PLEASE”