Safe

The dragon warily eyed the man dressed in iron. “Why have you come to the mountain, to my home?” The dragon’s voice carried the weight of age and experience. It commanded an answer.

“I am here to slay you, fearsome beast.”

The dragon did not laugh, for the seriousness in the man’s words was evident. “And why do you seek my death? How have I wronged you that only my death will sate your anger and grief?”

“You have done nothing to me, fiend.”

“Yet you call me ‘beast’ and ‘fiend,’ and you propose to end my existence.”

“Just so.” 

“Are you simply another example of the cruelty of humanity? Or is there some other reason I must die?”

“You have terrorized a village just a day’s ride from here. They have implored me to end your threat.”

In spite of itself, the dragon scoffed. “I know the village of which you speak. It was founded over a hundred years ago. I have lived here for over a thousand years. They have never received harm from me. As long as they leave me alone, I am content to suffer their presence. You are misinformed.”

“Do you not breathe fire? Do you not fly on your hunt? How long before you turn your attention to their livestock? Their children?”

The furnace inside the dragon became hotter, and smoke began to spill from its nostrils. “What foolishness. They wish me dead because one day I might threaten them. And you have agreed to this plan. The depraved nature of your kind reveals itself once more. I should end you and the village. Leave now, never return, and I shall forgo my just vengeance.”

“I think not.” As he spoke, the man threw a pouch into the air. It traced an arc towards the dragon’s face, and the dragon breathed once to destroy whatever it might be. As soon as flame touched it, the pouch exploded in a blinding flash. The dragon, blinded by the searing white light, could not see the man approach. It’s vision cleared just as the man thrust his sword into the right eye and deep into the brain.

The dragon deflated where it lay. The man attempted to pull the sword free but could not move it. Looking around the piles of treasure, he found another sword, simple in its appearance, and strapped it to his waist. Now all that remained was to go back to the village to let them know they were finally safe.

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