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Tamago Atsuyaki
Jun 24, 2022
In Short Stories
Words: 808 Desc: A young boy dreamed of becoming a knight. He finally achieves his goal only to realize that he's awful at slaying dragons. After a mysterious black knight saves him from certain doom, he uncovers the fact that the nobility had struck a corrupt deal with dragons. In other words, it's all fake -- killing dragons, saving princesses, everything. Background: I had written this for the May contest (disillusionment + dreams theme), but I just procrastinated on it and never finished it in time. It was sitting sadly in my Google Drive for the longest, so I thought to post it here. I didn't edit it either :') Think I should finish it? Outside of a rather ominous-looking cave stood a young man. He practically shook in his chainmail boots, and the rest of his armor was almost sliding off of him. A sword that was much too big clanked against his thigh as he walked over to his horse, which was tied to one of the rocks at the mouth of the cave. From its saddlebag, he grabbed what was supposed to be a helmet. In actuality, it was a metal bowl with a spoon welded at the center for a nose guard. He stared down at the amalgamation, tears welling up in his crystal blue eyes. “You can do this, Puck,” he whispered. “You can kill the dragon. You can save the princess. You weren’t just sent out here to die.” His grip on the bowl tightened before he plunked it atop his fiery locks. Puck then began his trek into the dragon’s lair. Each step he took, he found his mind wandering back to his knight training. The certain way he needed to hold his sword, the specific spot on the dragon he needed to jab. As it all came flowing back, Puck stumbled on a particularly large stone, sending him crashing into the ground. “On your feet, Cuck!” the drill sergeant yelled. A chorus of chuckles broke out among the other boys in the courtyard. “You see boys, sorry saps like this end up as dragon food!” the sergeant said, laughing along with them. “It’s Puck, sir,” he mumbled to the ground. He slightly jumped as he felt two large teardrops plink onto his hand. The laughter stopped. “What’d you just say?” Puck didn’t even have a chance to respond before he was violently yanked off his feet. He was stunned into silence, now face to face with the drill sergeant. The sergeant’s eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head. “I’ll teach you what happens when you talk back to me, you crying wuss!” After being assaulted by both bad breath and spittle, Puck felt the ground coming up to meet him once again. Puck jolted out his vivid memory. He sprung to his feet, all his chainmail clanking noisily. He slapped his cheeks to get his head back in the game. I can’t give up here, not after enduring all of that… he thought. He picked himself up and ventured deeper into the cave. The deeper he got, the hotter it became. Any fire-breathing dragon emits heat, even if it's not actively spewing flames. His stomach sank as he realized this meant that he definitely didn’t have the wrong cave. The short tunnel finally widened into a large cave. It was similar to a dome in shape. Various trinkets and glittering gold pieces littered the ground. The princess sat on a stone outcropping high above the ground level; she was unbound, her legs dangling off the side. Upon seeing Puck, she sighed and turned her head. She didn’t even call for help, he thought confusedly. A skylight shone directly onto the thing Puck avoided looking at: a fearsome black dragon. It appeared to be asleep atop its pile of gold. Its dangerous tail was curled neatly around itself and its head rested on its crossed forearms. A silver teardrop scale glittered at the corner of its closed eye -- the thing that was rumored to help the beast read minds. The glittering sparked a different memory in his mind. One sunny day in the comfort of his town, a knight came riding through. A rescued princess was with him on his horse, her smile just as bright to match that of her knight -- her future husband. Above the knight’s head, he held a single teardrop-shaped scale. One side sparkled in the afternoon sun and the other side was dull with blood. That scale was a sign that he had killed one of the most dangerous dragons in existence. Puck drew his sword. He hoped to channel that knight’s bravery through him as he spoke. "Fowl dragon!" he started. He tried to keep all his fluids inside him as the dragon flicked an ear towards him. "I, Sir Puck, have come to reclaim the fair princess from your…" he looked at its claws and gulped, "rather sharp talons!" The dragon suddenly stirred to life. Its eyelid raised, revealing a deep blue eye trained directly on him. Its tail and wings unfurled as the dragon rose to its feet. Puck’s sword shook violently as he held it in front of him; he didn’t know if holding onto it with both hands was stabilizing it or making it shake worse. His neck craned up at the dragon’s face. It looked back down at him and snorted out a cloud of soot. Only one of its teardrop scales twinkled down at him.
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Tamago Atsuyaki

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