By: Ashlyn Rodrigues
Last Updated on: November 28, 2021
Photo by: Conscious Design / Unsplash
An ear-splitting roar cut through the city, sending people running for their lives. The dragon was back once again. About a week ago, a dragon had wandered out from deep inside the woods and stumbled upon the city of Estonia. Ever since then, the large creature would pay the city a visit everyday and wreak havoc; stomping around and smashing buildings, uprooting trees, breathing fire, and basically causing mass panic. After a while it would get bored or tired and lumber back into the woods.
The strange thing about this dragon though, was that it had no wings. Its long, serpent-like body was lined with hard plate-like scales. Its skin was a midnight blue and it had two horns, but no wings.
Today was no different from the other days. Orion sighed and muttered, “Not again. This is getting out of hand.”
His friend Ronan looked at him with that wild grin of his. “Come on, we can totally take on this thing!” he said, rushing forward. Orion shot out and pulled him back.
“Ronan. We have gone over this at least a hundred times since the dragon first appeared. No.” He started pulling his stubborn friend away from the dragon, heading back to the castle. Orion and Ronan were both part of the king’s guard. Estonia was the capital of their country, where the king and queen lived at the palace. Orion risked a glance back at the dragon and saw it uproot another tree. He looked at Ronan and they started running faster. After what seemed like forever, they reached the palace gates and rushed in.
Orion climbed to the top of one of the watchtowers so he could get a good view. The dragon was getting closer to the palace now. It was walking slowly and sniffing around in every direction. Orion hoped everyone had gotten to safety by now. But almost immediately he saw that not everyone had; a young lady was crouching down behind a large boulder. The dragon hadn’t actually attacked any of the people yet, and Orion wanted it to stay that way. As the dragon got closer to the lady, both he and Ronan tensed, their hands flying to their swords.
Then, before any of them could react, the dragon knocked aside the boulder and the lady let out a little squeak of terror. Orion and Ronan hesitated. The dragon had never bothered to go for any of the people so far, though it had had many chances to; so why would it now? The lady started slowly backing away. The dragon stepped closer, but it merely looked at her almost quizzically, and then turned away and started making its way back to the woods. Both the men let out a sigh of relief as the lady got up and ran back home.
“Well, that was strange,” Ronan said, lifting up an eyebrow. “Not complaining though.”
Orion shrugged as they made their way to their posts to stand guard. Their break was over, and he was angry at the dragon for interrupting it. They hadn’t even finished their lunch.
A few hours later, their shift had ended. They headed back out to get something to eat. Orion was exhausted and very hungry, meaning he was very grumpy too. He was dimly aware of Ronan rambling on beside him, but he couldn’t bring himself to pay attention. Then he realized that his friend had stopped talking.
“Ronan?” He turned around and saw Ronan standing a few feet behind, gawking at a poster on the wall of a building. Orion hadn’t realized, but now that he looked around, he saw many posters on all the buildings around him. He went up to Ronan and read the poster. Ronan turned around and gave him a pointed look. Orion shook his head. The poster was from the king, offering 500 golden drachmas for anyone who could capture or defeat the dragon once and for all.
“No,” he told Ronan. The latter huffed indignantly.
“Come on, Orion. 500 golden drachmas! You do realize how much that is right? It would be so worth it.”
Orion started walking again. “All I want is some food.” He sighed. “And besides, that thing is absolutely huge. How are we supposed to defeat it? And not to mention it can just roast us with one breath.”
“We have to at least try,” Ronan stated stubbornly. He kept pestering Orion for the rest of the evening until they parted ways to go home. He continued the next day while they were on duty, and after their work for the day was done. Finally, Orion gave in. He supposed there was no harm in trying after all; the dragon had visited them that day as always. Besides, he wanted Ronan to shut up.
The next day, as the dragon was leaving, Orion and Ronan followed the dragon instead of going back to their posts. They had sent a message to the king the previous night that they wanted to try their luck with the dragon. They followed the dragon from a safe distance as it sauntered back into the woods. They didn’t have to worry about losing sight of it since it was so large; it was at least 10 feet tall and twice as long. In about 15 minutes they reached the edge of the woods. They stopped for a moment and took a deep breath, then glanced at each other.
“Here we go,” Ronan whispered. And they plunged into the woods.
The deeper they went, the taller the trees got. They could barely see the sky anymore.
“So,” Orion started, “do you have a plan?”
“Not really. I didn’t… think of that,” Ronan replied sheepishly. “Don’t you?”
“What? This was your idea! You’re the one who wanted to try and get the dragon and you don’t even have a plan?”
“Alright, alright, I get it. I’ll, uh, think of something. Now shush or you’ll give us away.”
Orion rolled his eyes as they continued walking. Was this dragon ever going to tire? How long was it going to keep walking? Then, not even two minutes later, they saw a clearing up ahead. Orion grabbed Ronan’s shoulder and pulled him into the shadows as the dragon entered the clearing. It lay down and curled up, the late evening sun shining on its back. Was it taking a nap?
“Okay,” said Ronan, pulling out his sword, “I’ll attack from behind it, and you… go to its left.”
Orion sighed and drew his own sword as Ronan crept closer to the dragon. Orion tip-toed a bit farther to the left, then started advancing on the dragon as well. To his right, he saw Ronan raise his sword above his head to attack. And then, from what Orion thought was above them, there was a blinding flash of light.
“What do you think you’re doing,” said a booming voice. The light faded, and a tall woman was standing next to the dragon, glowering at Ronan. She had to have been at least seven feet tall, with long and silky black hair. She was wearing a long, shimmering white gown. She had a large bow and a quiver full of arrows strapped to her back. The dragon let out a mighty roar and nuzzled the lady as she petted it. What was going on?
“There, there, I’m here now,” she said softly to the dragon.
“Um, sorry miss, but your dragon was causing a lot of trouble in our city,” Orion told the mysterious woman.
“This isn’t a dragon, fool. It’s a drakon.” She looked at them disdainfully. “Dragons have wings.”
Ah, that explains it.
“Well, your drakon has been causing a lot of trouble for us,” Orion amended. Ronan, who had been standing frozen in the same spot, finally moved and stood next to Orion.
She regarded them, then said, “Well, sorry about that I suppose. He must’ve been bored. And wondering where I was.” She somehow climbed onto the dragon’s back. “We’ll be leaving now.”
“Wait, what?” Ronan spoke for the first time since she arrived. “Who even are you? Don’t we get an explanation?”
“That is none of your concern. Oh, and no one hears a word about any of this. You hear me?” She gave them a stern look.
“Yes ma’am,” both the men said together. Orion had a feeling this woman was not someone they should mess with.
“Come on, boy,” the woman said to the drakon. It got up and started walking away from them. Orion and Ronan looked at each other, and when they looked away again, the lady and her dragon were gone. Or rather, the lady and her drakon.
“She can say whatever she wants,” Ronan stated as they began their journey back. “That was a dragon. It just had no wings.”
Orion snorted. When they returned, they told the king that they had simply scared away the dragon, and they promised it wouldn’t come back again. The king was skeptical at first, which was understandable. But what were they supposed to say? The strange lady had made it clear that they were not to tell anyone the truth, and they really didn't feel like disobeying her. When the dragon didn’t return for a few days though, the king believed them. Orion and Ronan got their 500 golden drachmas and split it between themselves.
“Told you it was worth a try didn’t I?” Ronan smirked at Orion as they walked out of the castle.
“Shut up,” he replied, shoving him.
Orion had no idea what had happened or who that lady was, but he wasn’t really complaining. He had a bag full of money after all. The lady and her dragon would forever be a mystery.