Belle and the Dragon, p.4Tony Myers
Gideon ran to where Belle was lying among the edge of the woods. She was obviously in pain, clutching her side. “Princess, are you ok?”
Her eyes were closed and she was wincing in pain. She spoke quietly, “Yes… I’ll be fine. I think I might’ve broken a rib when I fell.”
Gideon crouched beside her on one knee. “Well, it looks like you were ready for a dragon hunt after all.”
“Thanks, don’t mention it,” Belle said, trying to catch her breath. Belle always found Gideon’s presence comforting. He had a father-like demeanor, and his thick mustache always brought a smile to Belle.
Michael walked over to join them. “Gideon, how is she?” Michael asked.
Gideon rose to his feet, “Oh, she’ll be fine. A little banged up, but in a couple days, she’ll be back on her feet.”
The other knights were attending to a few men who were injured from the swipe of the dragon’s tail. Michael spoke up, “Gideon, check on the men. I want a full assessment of our injuries. There is still work that needs to be done.”
“Yes sir,” Gideon said, nodding his head and walking toward the men.
Michael’s attention was now turned to Belle. He was so proud of her, and impressed by her bravery. She had never even seen a dragon before, and to jump on his back from a cliff required a large amount of courage. With a little more training, he knew she was going to be a great warrior.
Dropping to one knee, he put his hand on her head as he spoke, “Belle? Are you okay?”
“Michael… yes, I’m fine,” she said, slightly opening her eyes.
Michael spoke softly, “You showed much courage and bravery today. I know I speak for the men in this brigade in saying we are forever in your gratitude.”
“Thank you Michael,” she said, grabbing his arm. “I guess all those stories about dragon battles weren’t exaggerated after all.” They had been through a lot and they couldn’t help but smile at each other. Never did Belle ever think that she would be in a situation where she would have to save Michael de Bolbec. People in Mendolon were always talking about the strength of the realm’s chief knight, and for the king’s daughter to save him in a battle was truly ironic.
Gideon and the other knights gathered by Michael and Belle. Belle slowly released his arm as Michael rose to his feet. “Gideon, what’s your assessment?”
“A couple of broken arms, brushes, cuts, and a few massive headaches, but nothing that should hinder us.”
“Good. I want you to escort Belle and the injured men back to the castle. Upon arrival, be sure to alert Hector that we will need nurses to help with the injuries.” Gideon shook his head in approval. Michael continued, “Bernard, I want you to release the lion in the cave.”
Bernard’s eyes got wide, “The lion? Are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean… lions can bite people.”
“Thank you, Bernard. I’m well aware of that,” Michael responded. “I will remind you that we did just fight a dragon. Take another man with you, and just get this done. This lion has suffered enough.”
Michael took a deep breath as he contemplated what to do next. The men could tell he had something on his mind. He looked out into the woods to the east. He knew that this was the last step in the mission. “Whoever’s left, follow me into the eastern woods.”
Michael turned and walked toward the east. Two of his men abruptly followed him. One of them spoke up, “Sir, may I ask what are we doing? The mission is accomplished. Why aren’t we going back?”
Not breaking stride, Michael responded, “The mission is not done… There is a mystery yet unsolved. We need to find out what provoked this dragon.”
It had been a long day for Michael and his men. Michael had warned them the day before that they might be engaging in a dragon hunt today, so they all had woken up early to prepare. Michael, particularly, had only slept a couple hours as he was anticipating the mission. But even with the lack of sleep, fatigue had not yet set in. His adrenaline was still going strong as they sought to solve this present mystery.
The three men trekked farther into the woods. They were headed east. The terrain was a little different on this side of Dragon Waste. The trees and their branches were thicker, and covered most of the overhead light. Every few feet there seemed to be a large rock that jutted from the ground, oftentimes covered with moss. They all knew that the more one traveled toward the eastern kingdom, the rockier the ground became.
The men traveled slowly with Michael in the lead. No one said a word. They all felt a little strange traveling in this territory unabated. For the past twenty years it was left uninhabited, except for the dragon. And even before the creature took over this region, none of the men had journeyed this far east. They couldn’t help but visually explore their surroundings as Michael led them.
The men had not gone far when Michael stopped them. “What is it?” one of the men asked. Michael pointed ahead to an area about thirty yards in front of them. Nothing looked different to the men. There were a few large trees with a couple large rocks lying beside them. It didn’t look much different from every other spot in this area of the woods.
“I don’t see anything,” one of the knights stated.
“Look closely,” Michael replied, slowly walking forward.
All three men continued closer to the spot where Michael was focused. The two knights reached for their weapons. As they got closer to the spot, all three men could clearly see a figure seated comfortably with his back to a tree. He had a small knife in hand and was casually slicing an apple. There was a book by his side. About twenty feet from his spot a tent rested. It was obvious he had been lodging there for a few days.
“Lovely day for a walk in the woods,” the individual said, not breaking focus from his task.
All three were stunned by his candor. The knights’ eyes were wide, wondering what Michael’s next move would be. He was relaxed, not fearing any harm from this trespasser.
The individual continued, “May I interest you fellows in a slice of a Grimdolon apple. You won’t find them in your kingdom, and they are a rare delicacy even in mine. I need to be sure…”
“What are you doing here?” Michael said sternly.
“Well, currently I’m taking a break from my book to satisfy my hunger. Reading modern philosophy surely makes one’s head spin, and can make one work up quite an appetite.”
“No, what are you doing in the dragon’s territory?” Michael said, staying focused.
“I think you actually mean former dragon’s territory. I assume you boys took care of it.” Michael’s soldiers just looked at each other. They were obviously confused by everything transpiring.
“We took care of him,” Michael replied. “Now tell us what you are doing here?”
“Well, then let me first introduce myself, I am…”
“Yes, I know who you are, or rather what you are… Beast!” Michael replied. He was in fact a beast from the eastern Kingdom of Grimdolon, the land of beasts. Like his kind, he was mostly a mixture of man and lion, with a few scattered characteristics of a wolf. He was dressed properly, in a red jacket and slacks. On his face was an affluent pair of eyeglasses. It appeared that he was either a beast of nobility or worked in an important role for the king of his realm.
“And I know who you are, Michael de Bolbec, chief knight for King Sebastian, and fiercest protector of Mendolon.”
“Why are you here? Do you know how dangerous it is for you to be here? Our king has an order of immediate death to anyone who crosses into this territory.”
“Yes, I am familiar with all the laws and edicts from your kingdom and they weren’t going to stop me.”
“But you provoked a dragon!” Michael said angrily. “Do you know what you could have done? He’s been burning fields on the edge of our kingdom and killing livestock. You could have cost us the lives of innocent people. And my men today have been badly wounded by that creature.”
“Yes, Michael, I know and for that I am
Michael ran his fingers through his hair. “Listen, you could have started a war. Our king is going to be furious when he finds out that a beast from Grimdolon provoked this dragon.”
The beast took a deep breath and stood to his feet, “I don’t know if you are going to believe me, but in the long run I am actually trying to prevent a war from happening.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m saying that I had to provoke the dragon. I needed to talk to you. I needed to get your attention, and this is the only option I had.”
Michael rubbed his chin as he paced to his side. The knights had heard everything but still wondered what was transpiring. The beast did not take his eyes off Michael as he bit into a slice of apple.
A few moments passed before Michael interrupted the silence. “Beast, you are speaking in riddles. Please tell me plainly what you are inferring.”
“Michael de Bolbec,” he paused for a moment, “I’m trying to tell you that something is coming.” He spoke seriously, looking directly at Michael. “And it will strike fear into the hearts of your people and put into motion events that could reshape every kingdom of this world.”
Michael was taken off guard by the sudden seriousness of the beast. “How sure are you of all this?”
The beast took off his eyeglasses. “Oh, believe me when I speak. I am risking my life trying to get you this information.”
Michael wondered what his next move would be. He knew that he just couldn’t let this beast go free. He had broken one of the king’s strictest laws. All neighboring kingdoms knew of this law. The king would be swift in his punishment, and this beast would surely face death.
Michael breathed deeply as he looked back at his guards. “Lock him up… be sure the king does not see him. Bring him to my lower chambers and chain him there.” The men went to grab the beast, who willingly submitted himself to the knights.
Michael added one last admonition. He spoke softly, “And for now… do not mention this to anyone.”
The story continues in “The Beauty of a Beast” by Tony Myers.
About the Author
Tony Myers is a high school youth pastor and fiction author. He enjoys finding creative ways to illustrate and communicate truth. He and his wife, Charity, currently live in Waterloo, Iowa with their three children. He can be contacted through his website, www.tonymyers.net, or through Twitter @tony1myers.
Also, check out Tony’s first two works of fiction, Singleton and Stealing the Magic. Both are available at most online book distributers.
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Stealing the Magic
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Belle and the Dragon by Tony Myers / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure have rating 3.2 out of 5 / Based on19 votes