His scales glistened in the sun's beam like minute gems. His claws sharp, sharper than any blade ever wielded. His hearing was so acute, that if you dared disturb his slumber, you wouldn’t live to regret it.
“This is such a bad idea.” Inen murmured, “have you heard what this dragon does to people that disturb him? If we touch that water, we are dead. Simple as that.”
“Don’t be a pessimist. We could wait for him to wake and just ask him.”
“Have you always been this stupid, Maylee? Or is this new you a recent change?”
Inen turned to look at Maylee. He hated working with her and her long, silky hair. She was a beautiful woman, so he didn’t trust her. Her hair fell to her waist in luscious, black waves and her eyes were just as dark as her hair. He had admitted to her once that he thought she was beautiful. It hadn’t ended well. He had had a broken nose and a black eye. It was worth it, though.
“We could just go back to our task master and say no?” Inen suggested. He knew it would be a waste of breath, but you never know with these women. You do occasionally get times when they admit that they don’t want to do something. He had been working with this particular woman for six years, she had never said no.
Maylee turned, only a slight shift of the head and glared at him.
“It was only a suggestion.”
“A stupid one.” Maylee loved working with Inen, they always argued and she always enjoyed it. She also enjoyed hitting him and beating him at anything she could. She never knew if he liked that part or not. She was thinking it was probably not. She did like him, even if she had a stupid way of showing it.
“I have an idea, and you have to promise not to hate me for it,” Inen stated. An unknown courage had come from somewhere.
“That depends on how pathetic the idea is,” She replied in her usually smart and sarcastic way.
“We’ll find out,” He whispered quietly before continuing in an extremely loud voice. “Water Dragon, awake.”
“What are you doing?” Maylee whispered urgently, suddenly fearing for their lives.
“Listen and learn.”
“Who dares awake me from my slumber?” A deep booming voice spoke. The voice had seemed to sound from all around them and they couldn’t spot the source of it.
Inen glanced at Maylee, for perhaps the last time, and realised that he didn’t just like her, he may just love her.
“It is I. A man that was once lonely, but has found a woman that he wishes to spend the rest of his life with. All I wish to have is a pearl from your water, so I can ask her to marry me, in a truly wondrous way,” Inen’s voice had gone oddly grand and royal sounding.
Maylee was so shocked. She turned and faced completely towards Inen, forgetting about looking for the dragon and just stared.
“You awoke me, to ask for a pearl? So that you could wed someone?” The voice boomed again and the source was still not visible. “I must see this woman, if she is truly worth one of these pearls, I will let you leave unharmed. If she is not worth a pearl, I will kill her.”
“You cannot kill the only woman I love!” Inen almost yelled at the air. “You cannot.”
The water started parting, droplets pulling back until the floor of the lake were visible and it was not even wet. There led the dragon. Every tale was true. His scales did glitter like gems, his claws did look sharper than any blade and his hearing could not be commented on, for nether of them could find any ears.
“She is rather stunning, but stunning enough to part with a pearl?"
“Of course, her hair is too amazing for words. Her face and figure, like a perfect sculpture. Who would not want such a bounty?” Inen replied. Beads of sweat had begun gathering on his forehead and when he risked a glance at Maylee, she still hadn’t moved from her shocked position.
The dragon shifted lightly, and with that shift his claw dug slightly into the ground. Inen’s breath drew in sharply when he had processed what had been revealed. “I will grant you this. Take one and only one. I wish you to come back in a year and show me that you are wed and are happy.”
Inen was now the one to be stood stunned. Maylee had finally recovered and moved towards Inen and nudged him, ever so slightly. He took the hint and bravely stepped forward, placing one foot in front of the other. When he reached the sparkling and shimmering pearls, his hand hesitated ever so slightly before he reached out and took it. The pearl was smooth to the touch and the weight of it was surprising. After holding it for a few seconds further he placed it carefully in his pocket and retreated slowly back to Maylee. She was looking at him, in a way she had never looked before.
Inen regained his composure enough to ask. “Thank you for granting me this. May we now leave?”
“Yes, go. I am tiring again.” With those last words, the water began trickling back into place and the dragon was slowly hidden from sight.
“Let’s go.” Maylee said, grabbing onto Inen’s arm.
“Now,” She said vehemently. They retreated back, far away from the water. Far away from anything.
“Was that all a lie?” Maylee asked, no longer angry.
“I swear, it wasn’t a lie. Our task may have been to get a pearl, but I don’t care about that anymore. I realised that I care about you.” Inen’s words were slow and careful. He was unsure of how she was going to react.
“You love me?” Maylee asked, equally as slow.
Maylee stepped up until she was only centimetres from him and kissed him. Only a small peck of the lips, but that kiss held so much more. So much more to come.