In Medias Restitution;
Being an Account of the Noble, Refined and Courtly Love of a Dragon for his Horde
The knight and the princess glanced around the bejeweled cavern and the dragon’s gleaming horde. It looked like a museum, with swords and cups and shiny bits of broken glass lovingly arranged on fire-scarred antique tables, set into alcoves in the rock, or stacked in tottering piles.
To the knight it meant just one thing: treasure.
“Well,” the knight declared, “I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it.” He didn’t add and cart away all the gold
, because it didn’t do to talk of crude matters like money and treasure in front of a high-born lady, even one who sounded like she’d swallowed several books of etiquette and was still waiting for them to stop blocking her insides. “I mean, if I wasn’t busy saving you from the dragon,” he amended gallantly, because she was after all a princess, and her father was richer than Croseus.
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will bee held by anybody else, these pages must show,” the princess declared, rather dramatically given that she was wearing a crooked crown and her skirts were singed to the knee, “For that matter, though I thank you for the attempt, it’s really not worth your while. I am perfectly content here.”
“In a dragon’s den,” the knight replied, incredulous.
“Prejudices,” lectured the princess, “it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. I do not fault you on your lack of enlightenment, as it is clear by your mode of speech that you have not been fortunate enough to receive a good education, and now make your way by common thievery even from our bescaled brethren.”
The knight rolled his eyes at her, princess or no. “Look, sweetheart,” he said, “I’ll put it to you this way: there’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours. And that dragon has claws that would go right through your body like a knife through butter, and it doesn’t care for your fancy manners or your pretty face. It’s an animal.”
“The dragon is far better spoken than you, churl!” the princess replied, blushing furiously, “Was that remark intended to be romantic? It came off as rather lewd.”
“Well, excuse me, princess,” said the knight, “and my lack of education. If you’re coming with me, I’m leaving now before the dragon wakes up, so you have two minutes to decide.” He then deliberately turned his back on her and began stuffing his pockets (there was no use facing off against a dragon in plate armor unless you wanted to be a pre-cooked can of spam) with the highest denomination coins he could find. Call it insurance
, just in case he wasn’t getting paid for a princess rescue after all.
“Well, I do miss my mother,” said the princess, “and regular baths.”
The knight tuned out her soliloquy on the virtues of personal hygiene as they headed out through the tunnels. In his personal opinion, the princess talked entirely too much and if she expected this to be some sort of romantic entanglement born of a heroic rescue and instant chemistry, he’d take the cash please.
In the heart of the mountain, the dragon awoke, though the knight and princess had all but forgotten him.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession, and Smaug was no exception. In addition, he was possessed of a keen sense of smell and knew that there was an additional human, species Chevalier Errant, in his perfectly climate-controlled catacombs. Except for the Princess, who had been shaping up to be an excellent assistant archivist, it was only logical to assume that humans only had one thing in mind: theft.
That was why, when Smaug came roaring out of the tunnels, he did not flame at the mouth – he’d lost precious renaissance paintings that way in the past, and he still had heart palpitations at the thought of what could have been, were he less careless – but he did smoke enough to give the knight a fright. After all, if the man dropped the treasure Smaug could get his new archivist to polish it (one of the advantages of having opposable thumbs) and then file it away, and not even bother chasing the theif.
The thief fled like a mouse. Smaug pounced like a twenty ton cat.Author's note
: This was produced as a quote-based writing prompt, wherein a love story (in this case, between a dragon and his treasure,) was produced by incorporating randomly selected quotes. The quotes used are, in order:"I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it." As You Like It, by William Shakespeare.
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will bee held by anybody else, these pages must show." David Copperfeild, by Charles Dickens.
"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones." - Charlotte Bronte
"There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours." The Princess Bride, written by William Goldman.
"Well, excuse me, princess." The Legend of Zelda
"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession, and Smaug was no exception." The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien