Parts four and five were all kinds of fun to write! I love writing dialogue, and all writing’s more fun when a dragon’s involved. 🙂
Part Fourth: The Lord of the Skies
“So, King of the Valley, you have come out to speak to me.”
“Yes,” King Cedric answered calmly. “What have you to say?”
“What have you to say?” snapped the dragon. “Have you made up your mind to surrender yet?”
“Surrender?” the King asked softly. “Why should I surrender when you have not yet made any threat or declaration of war?”
The dragon burst out in a long, obnoxious laugh; throwing back its great head on its eight-foot neck and ripping up long strips of turf with its front claws. “’No threat’?” it roared, craning its long neck and rearing up on its hind legs so its head was level with the Wall. “’No declaration of war’? I thought you cared a little more about that pack of goat herders! I lost count of how many sheep I had eaten somewhere after thirty! They were not really tenderer than mountain-goats—but we can’t always have everything we want, can we?” it ended with a wise and knowing expression that strongly contradicted its wild laugh.
“The fact that all you could catch was an unsuspecting, shepherd-less flock does not make me feel inclined to surrender to you, beast of fire,” the King observed.
“I do have a name, your Majesty,” the beast snarled sarcastically, dropping back to all fours. “I was christened Lord Abadalyx the Insatiably Greedy by the people in the last town.”
“’Lord’?” interjected Henry. “They were vile enough to call the likes of you lord?”
“If you must know,” said the dragon looking as if he enjoyed such conversations immensely. “It was my addition.”
“You dare call yourself lord before the King of this Valley?” Henry’s question echoed a threat.
“Fool!” Abadalyx screamed, losing his sarcastic tone. “Your little King is lord of a valley, you say? I am lord of the skies!” He lifted his great wings so that they arched their full seventeen feet into the air. “Had you not realized what these were for? The last midgets were quicker thinkers—they came up with that great title in just three days before I flattened their village.” What might pass for a smile flashed across his face when he saw the Princess’s eyes widen. “I had planned the same for you. But greedy is hardly a desirable title.”
The King gave his son a warning glance before observing, “If you were worried about your reputation you would not eat other people’s sheep.”
“Do no bring me complaints!” the dragon snarled. “Be grateful I have not destroyed you already! Now—I have an offer to make you.”
Penelope fiddled with the blue satin ribbon on her french-braid. “Nervous?” Henry asked under his breath.
“Oh! Just scared to death—that’s all!” she whispered back.
“Don’t be, Penny. It’s just a dragon. People have dealt with them before quite successfully.”
“And not-so-successfully, Henry! What—”
“Talking secrets?” Abadalyx interrupted mockingly.
“What is your offer?” demanded the King, ignoring his children. Henry slipped his arm around Penelope’s shoulders, but said no more.
“I will promise not to destroy your city, if you will surrender one person to me,” the dragon growled, glancing at the Prince and Princess with a wild, greedy look. “A certain person—mind you.”
“What person?” King Cedric asked, his face turning pale.
“A certain kind of person, rather,” the dragon hinted, with a slow smile.
“What sort of person?” the King demanded. “Tell me quickly and stop riddling.”
“As you wish, my lord,” Abadalyx sneered. “I want. . . a princess.”