by Tommy Mooney
Of princesses and dragons. Classic with a twist.
One day, however, she wandered too far away from her attendants, deep into the woods over the hills. She did not mind; after all, she was quite curious. She continued into the woods until she came upon the ruins of an old castle. They were jagged and menacing, and the stones were as black as night. By this time, the sun had set, and the princess decided to spend the night in the abandoned castle. She climbed the steps and entered the front hall when she heard a low rumbling that shook the entire castle. Although she was frightened, her bravery pushed her into the great hall. But as she passed through the big doors, a huge dragon lay down. The dragon’s dark grey scales reflected what little moonlight there was into the princess’ eyes, but she could still make out its malevolent crimson eyes.
The dragon saw the princess and it let out a mighty roar and said in a deep, booming voice, “What do you want with me?”
“I wish to stay the night in your castle, mighty dragon, for I am far from my home and am very tired,” the princess responded. The dragon snorted and a puff of smoke flew from his nose.
“If you come any closer, princess, I will snatch you up and eat you,” the dragon warned. But the princess caught the dragon’s eyes and saw something that she knew all too well hiding deep within them.
“It’s okay, Mighty Dragon, I know you are lonely.” At this, the dragon froze. His eyes widened. “I am lonely too. I am a princess; people only serve me because they have no choice. I have no real friends. But if you let me stay, I promise I’ll be your friend.” The dragon seemed to consider her words for a moment before responding.
“Fine then, princess. You may stay. But only for the night.” The princess hugged the dragon and sat down near him and they began to talk. They enjoyed each other’s company, and only went to sleep when too tired for anything else. The next day, the dragon found the princess still there, and she declared that she wanted to stay just a bit longer. So she did. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. The princess never returned to her palace but remained with her dragon, flying through the sky, playing in the fields, and sleeping under the stars sheltered by the mighty dragon’s wings. The dragon saw that as the years passed, she was becoming a very beautiful woman, and he began to feel powerful emotions when he was near her. He knew that he would regret it when she was gone. But he figured that day to be far off, and decided to enjoy his time with her while he could.
One fateful day, when the dragon and princess were laying together in the dragon’s castle, a handsome prince arrived, declaring that he had come to free the princess and take her back home to her mother and father. The princess cried and said that she wasn’t being held captive and didn’t need rescuing, but her claims fell on deaf ears as the prince and his army attacked the dragon. The fight was long and bloody, but at last, the dragon was defeated. The princess was lead back to the castle by the prince and his men, but she wept in sorrow the entire way; for she knew that her dragon had been killed and that she would never see him again.
When the princess returned to her palace, her parents threw a huge feast in her honor. They served the finest foods, hired the best entertainment, and yet the princess did not once smile. For she was mourning her dragon. After the feast, the prince offered his hand in marriage, and the king and queen happily accepted and arranged for their marriage to be held in one month. The princess was devastated, and she cried herself to sleep most every night, thinking about how her love belonged to a dead dragon.
One day, while the king, queen, princess, and prince were sitting on their thrones in their court, a mysterious knight arrived. He had long jet black hair, pulled back into a high ponytail, and had piercings all over his face. His armor was as dark as his hair, and his sword was made with an obsidian blade. Upon his shield there was painted a dark grey dragon with bright red eyes. The knight himself had strange red eyes that no one had ever seen before. Except for the princess. Those were the eyes of her dragon. The knight strode easily into the court, but his whole presence carried a majestic air, and commanded respect from all who saw him pass. He knelt before the king and bowed down his head. The princess thought of how much he reminded her of her dragon, but said nothing.
“What do you want with me, sir knight? Why have you come here?” the king asked. The knight, his head still bowed, replied.
“I wish to swear my fealty, O King.” His deep voice resounded throughout the chamber, and the princess knew that the knight was in fact her dragon. She stared intently at him, hoping to catch his crimson red eyes, but his head remained bowed.
“Do so then, sir knight, and I shall welcome you into my court and give you whatever you desire.”
“Alas, my lord,” the knight said, raising his head and staring right at the princess, “I have not come to pledge allegiance to you, but to my princess, whom I love.” At that moment, the princess knew that there no doubt that this was in fact her beloved dragon. With this the king and prince became outraged, and the prince stood up, drew his sword, and spoke.
“You can not have my princess, for she will never love a mere knight like you!” The prince then attacked the knight, but the knight was too quick for him and he drew his own sword and deflected the blow. The two continued fighting, and the prince soon gained the upper hand. But that was when the dragon hidden within the knight broke free with a mighty road, and the knight grew wings and his skin hardened into dragon scales.
“I have beaten you once already, dragon, and I will do so again!” the prince screamed. This time, however, the dragon was not fighting for himself, but for his love and the love of his princess. This drove him to fight like he had never fought before, and he easily beat the prince.
“She was never your princess,” the dragon said, “only mine.” The princess, after seeing this, ran to her dragon with joy and kissed him on the lips. The dragon wrapped his arms around her and drew her into loving embrace. The king, enraged, called the guards and after the dragon let the princess go, he smiled at her and took her by the hand. The two ran to the great balcony overlooking the forest where the dragon met the princess all those years ago. He looked at her, nodded, and scooped her into his arms and jumped. He glided to the ground and they ran back to their castle, where they lived happily ever after.