Dennis was tired of walking through the dirty, cold marshes. His clothes were wet, his pack was heavy, and his sword was becoming even more rusty than it already was.
Dennis was around 20 years old (he guessed- no one knew his birthday for sure). He had been searching for months for the one thing that would bring him fame and fortune: a dragon. For, you see, Dennis was a knight. Well, he wasn't exactly a knight yet, but he was sure he could become one if only he could find a dragon and kill it. That was always the thing knights did in all the stories. It them famous and showed everyone how brave and important they were. Unfortunately, no one had seen any dragons for many, many years.
The problem was that Dennis was living in the late Dark Ages, a time filled with chaos, disorder, corruption, and all kinds of other problems. Worst of all, people had lost faith -- they neither believed in real heroes (like King Arthur & his knights) nor in the idea of true evil (like dragons). Instead, all anyone ever seemed to care about was money.
And Dennis had no money. The only thing of value he owned was a sword, and that was an old one he had found at the bottom of the marsh when he tripped over it and fell into the water.
Dennis was sure that if he kept looking long enough, in the most isolated, awful places he could find, that he would eventually find a dragon. Then, he would have to slay it. How? He would figure that out once he found one. And, after he had killed the dragon, he would cut its head off and bring it back with him to the city. Any noble lord or King would have to be impressed with that, and he would make Dennis a knight. He would have fame and prestige, just like the knights of the round table in the old stories. He would travel the kingdom, helping to fix all the problems in the land. He just needed to find a dragon first.
When Dennis had crossed the marshes and swamps, he came to a forest with an old, wooden sign at the edge of the trees. The sign pointed in two different directions:
<---BEWARE of the Killer Rabbit| |BEWARE of the Dragon! --->
Dennis didn't understand why anyone in their right mind would need to beware of a rabbit, and he gladly chose the direction with the dragon.
After several hours on the path, he emerged out of the trees into a small open area next to a large, rocky place with a cave. There were some old bones scattered around that looked human. And a smell of smoke and decay. This was certainly the place to find a dragon. Dennis gathered his courage, and walked to the opening of the cave. He could hear rumblings inside.
“I-I know you’re in there-- come out and fight, dragon!” he said, in as brave a voice as he could. “Who daress to dissssturb my resssst?” a voice hissed from inside.
“I do. I’m Den-- I mean, Sir Dennis. I’m a knight, a real one. And I’m here to slay you, dragon. So, come out of there, or I’ll.... I’ll pull you out by your tail!”
“Alright, you assssssked for it,” the voice hissed again, and the dragon came out of the cave. Dennis jumped back, and raised his sword to do battle, but he stopped in mid swing.
It was a lot smaller than Dennis had been expecting. It was not much taller than Dennis. And it was.... pink. Yes, a PINK dragon. Dennis could scarcely contain his disappointment.
“ That’s it? That’s the dragon? Aren’t dragons supposed to be bigger? And really, a pink one? I suppose all the other knights got here first and killed all the scary ones. All I get is a pint-sized pink lizard....Can you even breath fire or anything?”
“Of course I can!” the dragon snapped, and sent a blast of flame shooting of its mouth. The fireball hit a nearby tree, which burst into flames.
“Ha! You missed me!” he said, trying to not seem nervous.
“ I wasssn’t trying to hit you—that wasss a warning ssshot.” the dragon replied, and shot another fireball close to Dennis’s feet.
Dennis jumped up, trying to not let his shoes catch fire. He began to wonder if he should have gone to look for the killer rabbit instead...
“Nice try dragon, but next one better be better than that, or your head is mine!” “Going to kill the lassssst dragon left in the world, hmm?” hissed the dragon.
“Are you really the last one?” Dennis asked, thinking maybe he was lucky after all.
“I’m ssso ssssick of all these knightsssssshowing up here trying to kill me and getting roassssted instead. It’ssss sssso boring...” the dragon yawned, “How about a game instead?”
“What sort of game, dragon?”
“Answer the question I assssk correctly and you can have my head. If you loossse, I can asssssk for anything I want from you. Deal?”
Dennis considered the idea—he could always attack the dragon again, even if he lost the bet. And if he won he’d have the head the easy way.
“Deal. Ask your question dragon.”
“What is the airssssspeed velosssssity of an unladen sssswallow?”
“How would I know a dumb thing like that? It doesn’t even make any sense!” Dennis protested. “Give up?” sneered the dragon.
At that moment, Dennis was about to attack the dragon again, but before he could raise his sword, the dragon shot a burst of flame directly at it. The sword became red hot in his hand, and Dennis dropped it, cursing violently. The dragon blasted the sword again as it lay on the ground, and the metal turned white-hot and melted into a shapeless lump on the ground.
Dennis stared in shock at the melted sword. “You- You ruined it! That was the only sword I ever had!”
“You looossse.” The dragon smirked.
Dennis hung his head. “Very well dragon, what do you want? Should I cover myself in sauce before you eat me, or what?”
“Jussst one thing: a kisssssss.” the dragon replied.
“A KISS! You’ve got to be joking! Wouldn’t you rather just eat me instead?”
“You don’t know what you’re missssssing,” the dragon hissed.
“I’m not really a dragon at all, you know. I’m princessssss Alonwin, of the Kingdom of Mercia, daughter of King Arthur and Queen Guinivere. An enchantressssss cassst a sssspell on me.”
“You’re pulling my leg. Arthur lived a long time ago—at least several centuries I think.”
“Dragonsssss are immortal, sssssstupid! They can never die, they can only be killed. And only the kisssss of a true hero can break the sssssspell, but I sssssuppose you will have to do because I’m sssssick of waiting.”
“You’re sure that you're really a princess?” Dennis asked.
“Yesssss, and very rich too. I promissssse to marry you, and all the wealth of Camelot is yours if you break the sssspell.”
Dennis hesitated. If it were true, and he married a beautiful princess from Camelot, he would be more famous (and rich) than he had ever dreamed of. Besides, if it wasn’t true, the dragon would probably just eat him anyway immediately afterwards.
Dennis approached the dragon’s head, looking very nervous. The closer he got, the more unpleasant the dragon looked. It was bright pink, but covered in little red spots under its scales. It smelled like meat left to rot in the sun, with a touch of floral perfume added to it. Its teeth were yellow and crooked. One of it’s eyes had a slight squint, and it’s upper lip pulled away from it’s mouth, giving it a lop-sided grin. Dennis supposed the dragon was trying to smile.
He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and gave the dragon a kiss on the lips.
Immediately the forest was filled with an intense, white-pink light. Wind started blowing in all directions. Dennis couldn’t see, and put his hands over his eyes to cover them from the intense light. There was a rumbling sound and the earth trembled. When the light and sound stopped, Dennis took his hands away from his eyes.
Standing there, facing away from him, was a woman wearing a beautiful pink silk dress, sparkling with jewels sewn onto it with gold thread. Then she turned around to look at him.
Dennis couldn’t believe his eyes.
She was the ugliest woman he had ever seen! One of her legs was slightly shorter than the other, making her stand crooked and walk with a limp. One of her eyes was blue, the other was brown, and the blue one was smaller and lower than the other. Her red hair was thin, oily, and crawling with lice. Her skin was scarred and covered with acne sores. Her nose was huge, and she had a harelip showing her teeth, which were yellow, rotten, and pointed. And she still smelled like a horrible mixture of rotting meat and flowery perfume.
“My hero! How can I ever thank you? When sssssssshall we be married?”
About the Creator
Eternal Student: literature, poetry, history, art, and philosophy. English Teacher. Writer & painter. Traveller & skier (when there's $$$). I'm young enough to be foolish, yet old enough to know better. Lover of dark & beautiful things.