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Leon, the Dragon Slayer

by S.D. Kang 9 months ago in Short Story · updated 6 months ago
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Facing Facts

Leon pulled his leather gloves off and touched the giant pile of feces with his bare fingers. It wasn’t crusty and hard yet. He dug his fingers further in and felt that it was still hot.

He quickly wiped his fingers on the grass and looked around.

It was just here.

He put his gloves back on and put his hand on the handle of his sheathed sword. This wyvern had terrorized the lands west of Mount Konmentus for over eight years. He had been hired by the Guild to slay it over a season ago, but the monster proved elusive. This was the closest he had ever gotten to it, he couldn’t let it get away. That said, he would need to be just as careful as usual, for all draconids were cunning.

It was true that despite his title being The Dragon Slayer, he had never actually fought a wyvern before, much less a real dragon. He had slayed countless lesser draconids, namely drakes and even the occasional wyrm. Killing a wyvern, though, would be a real test to his skills. Not to mention a sizable increase on his fees in the future. Thinking about it got him excited, but he quickly shook these thoughts out of his head.

He needed to be 100% there, or the wyvern would surely get the better of him. It took him a while to realize that the tracks were there, these were much bigger than anything he had ever hunted. He followed the tracks and eventually got to an underground cave. He wondered if it was normal for a wyvern to be this big, seeing as he had never actually seen one before. He started to set barrels of explosives near the entrance of the cave. It was going to be his insurance, just in case the wyvern was too much for him inside of the cave.

He lit a torch and made his way down into the cave. He didn’t think it was likely that the Guild was unaware of the existence of such a big cave, but then why hadn’t they told him about it? All they told him was that there was an orange forest wyvern wreaking havoc west of the mountain. It wasn’t much to go off of, and for more than a month he had thought that he had lost track of it.

He hoped it didn’t go down too much deeper. The farther he went, the more scratches and scrapes he could see on the stone walls and floor. He stopped at one of the bigger gashes. It was four pronged, probably the beast’s claws. He put his hand up to one of the claw marks and shuddered. It would seem a single claw of this monstrosity was much wider than his entire hand.

He began to wonder if this was a good idea, but what was he going to do? Go back to the Guild after all this time and say he couldn’t do it? His career would be over! Plus, he hadn’t received the title of Dragon Slayer without facing what seemed to be certain death a few times. He would just have to lure it towards the explosives at the entrance. This too, he would overcome or his name wasn’t Leon the Dragon Slayer.

As the tunnel came to a turn, he realized there was some kind of dim orange light coming from around the bend. Was it getting hotter in there? And what was that horrible grinding noise? He quickly dropped the torch and took a peak around the bend, fully expecting to see a huge orange wyvern.

Chills ran down his spine as he saw the orange wyvern sprawled on the ground with its chest ripped open, while a much bigger red wyvern ate away at the orange one’s body. The orange light that Leon had seen earlier was from the liquid flames that seeped out of the orange wyvern’s open chest cavity.

Were wyverns cannibalistic? He had no time to be lost in thought, this red one was even bigger than he had imagined from the claw marks. It was possibly the size of an entire castle, he had to get out and warn the Guild. There was nothing he could do here, they were going to need siege wea-

“You must be wondering, human.” a very deep voice that reminded Leon of an avalanche, boomed through the walls of the cave. “Why did I ever set foot into this cave?”

It can talk. Leon thought as fear took over every inch of his mind, as its verbal prowess meant it was not a wyvern.

“Find comfort, little one, in knowing that it was your fate.” It stated as it lifted its head up from the carcass, straightening its body, showing that it had four legs in addition to its mighty wings. “It is the fate of the feeble, to be sustenance for the mighty.”

It’s a fucking red dragon! He yelled inside of his own head, barely breaking himself out of the fear trance he had found himself in.

He quickly turned and started sprinting. He could barely see the ground and wasn’t completely sure that he was headed the right way, but getting as far away from the dragon was the only priority he could focus on. He let go of his kite shield and took off his helmet. These were weighing him down, and he needed to get away.

“You may have entered by your own accord.” The dragon’s voice seemed somehow nearer than before.

He looked back and suddenly realized that the ground wasn’t shaking from its booming voice, but from its slow yet mighty steps.

“But you do not have my permission to leave.” The dragon stated, sounding like an earthquake and somehow still stoic.

As he ran, Leon heard a sound as if the skies were ripping apart and felt the most intense heat he had ever felt thus far. Suddenly there was a wall of fire, preventing him from leaving the cave. He turned to face the dragon as his legs and chest trembled. His breathing was ragged as he felt the certainty of his looming demise.

Yet, he still drew his trusty longsword. What other choice did he have?

“The spirit of a fighter.” The dragon stated as it stopped about 50 meters from Leon. “No spice is as sweet as that.”

Leon readied his sword and charged as the dragon opened its colossal mouth, showing a green fire brewing within its throat.

Green light?

The dragon breathed, the green flames came forth, enveloping Leon’s world in green light.

He suddenly woke up screaming, as if yanked into reality. Everything was dark, he couldn’t see anything, but he could feel that there was some kind of liquid all around him. He suddenly imagined having been swallowed whole by the dragon before someone yanked the visor off of his head.

Scared and confused, Leon backed away from his perpetrator as his eyes took in his surroundings.

“Dude, that’s the third time this month that you spent over ten hours consecutively linked in. Your brain waves almost melded with the system’s this time. We had to use the green light to pull you out.” The person said, while holding and looking at some kind of tablet.

Leon could see that this man was wearing a shirt with the letters I, R, and G.

Immersive Reality Gaming. He thought as things slowly started coming back to him.

“If you keep that up, we might have to suspend you or maybe even ban you.” The man kept talking. “We could get shut down if something happens to you, man- Hello? Hey, guy! Ah, shit. Are you gone? What’s your name?”

“Huh? Le- Leon.” He answered, blinking hard a few times.

“Hm, it says here that your name is Leonard. Are you all there?”

“Ye- yeah. I’m fine.” He answered as he started to remember. Green light, they had said they use green light during emergencies to trigger forced wake ups for their customers, in case something goes wrong. “Why green?”

“Excuse me?” The man seemed confused.

“Why green light?” He specified, realizing he might sound detached as if in shock, but perhaps he really was.

“Oh, well, you were in our medieval fantasy world. There are no natural green lights there, so it makes your brain think there is something wrong, and that initial doubt is what we need to pull you out.” The man answered, seemingly proud that he knew the answer to that one.

Leonard breathed heavily as he looked at his trembling hands.

“Well, you should probably go, Leonard.” The man said, his expression changing to that of worry. “Should I order an Uber? Or is there anyone I can call for you?”

“No. I got it.” Leonard stated as he grabbed the towel that was placed next to him and made his way out of the immersive reality pod.

As Leonard drove home, he was stopped at a red light while thinking about how much he hated the real world. He was a nobody, a paper pusher. Ever since he had found IRG, he felt like he had found where he truly belonged.

The light turned green and he stared at it.

Green.

He kept staring at it, hoping it would wake him up in a fantastical world where he would realize that this boring and mundane life was a fake one after all. He stared at that green light, begging it to do its thing.

Suddenly, the honk of the car behind him broke him out of his thoughts. This world was as real as it was miserable. He was 38 this year, and had nothing to show for it in his life.

When he arrived home, he realized that it was already late. He knew he probably should eat something, but he wasn’t hungry. Perhaps because he had just been eaten by a dragon, or maybe because he realized that his real fate was to simply suffer this tiresome existence. Either way, it was Monday tomorrow, and he had to get some rest before going to work yet again.

He took a quick shower in hopes of washing away the thoughts of the dragon and the image of it feeding on the orange wyvern’s carcass. But it seemed that memory had been seared into his brain.

He turned off all the lights and laid down in bed. He had to live through another week of work, it felt endless. But next weekend, surely he would be able to kill the dragon.

The thought made him smile. He turned to sleep in a more comfortable position, but saw a strange pink light coming from the other side of his room.

Pink light?

Short Story

About the author

S.D. Kang

Dreamer by birth, Writer by choice.

https://sdkangbooks.wordpress.com/

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