Eira clung to Feng as he flew into the cave. Once he had placed Eira on the ground, Feng returned to his human form. He wrinkled his nose with disgust at the other dragon’s lair.
Eira led the way down the tunnel until it opened up into the cavern where Fyrenus had made his home. Bonfires along the walls burned to provide light and warmth. Surprisingly, though, there was no gold, just bones, piles of furs, and various trophies, from swords and shields to stag antlers.
The duo strode around the perimeter of the cave until they found the gem-studded door.
“Blue, red, green,” Eira murmured to herself as she brushed each gem in turn.
The gems glowed, and slowly, the door swung open.
Eira stepped inside to the smaller cave. Gems embedded in the walls, ceiling, and even the floor of the room glowed in many colors. The light fell upon mountains of gold. It was enough to fund entire kingdoms! Lennox was such a small country. Her father could use this wealth…
“Remember your purpose,” Feng said, his voice edged with disdain.
He was right; this gold couldn’t buy a cure for Eira’s people, and Lennox wouldn’t exist to use this money if she didn’t get her dragon-prize.
“Who goes there?” a haughty voice cried from within the cave.
Eira rounded a pile of coins to find Sir Garrett, his surcoat now torn, brandishing a solid gold sword.
“Y-you’re the girl from the mountains,” he said when he saw the princess.
Eira rested her hand on the pommel of her sword. “We’re here to rescue you. Fyrenus the dragon is dead.”
Garrett gaped. “You killed the dragon?” he cried in disbelief.
Eira didn’t tell him that technically she hadn’t killed the dragon; she let him be impressed. Feng smirked behind her.
“We’re going to Lennox, and then you’re free,” Eira told Garrett as they exited the cavern.
“Lennox?” he scoffed. “You’re going to take us to that disease-ridden place?”
“Lennox won’t be disease-ridden for long. Right, Feng?” Eira eyed the dragon-man, who flashed a grin.
“Of course not, milady,” he said. “You have fulfilled our bargain. I already have your prize.”
He produced a delicate wildflower he must have picked earlier. He held it and said, “I imbue this flower with my magical essence, giving it the ability to heal sickness, disease, infirmity, and injury.” He breathed on the flower, which glowed golden for a moment.
“A flower?” Eira asked, looking at the swords, goblets, and gems around them. Any of those things would make a better relic than a flower.
“I gave you a flower so that you may heal your plague. Then it will wither, and the magic will be gone. If I had given you a sword or a stone, it would last forever, and humans would fight many wars over that kind of power. Your request is fulfilled, and you should be grateful, as I am grateful that you have saved me from the knight and the knight from an evil dragon.” He bowed low.
Eira understood Feng’s logic, whether she liked it or not, but how was she going to get back to Lennox before the flower died?
When they reached the entrance, Feng answered her question. He became a dragon and invited them to step onto his back.
Garrett drew his sword and shouted, “That man was an unholy monster this whole time!”
“I am the reason you are spared, Sir Knight. Have you learned nothing from the experience?” Feng roared.
Pale, Garrett sheathed his sword. “My apologies, noble beast.”
“What about the horses?” asked Eira, looking down on Senna from the lip of the cave.
“A simple matter of magic,” Feng said. He swooped down and when he returned, he held two mice in his paw: one white, one brown. Eira placed them in her knapsack.
They mounted the dragon and flew into the night sky. Eira sat behind Feng’s horns, enjoying the nighttime view of the mountains. Garrett sat behind her and prattled in her ear about his knightly feats. She wanted to push him off of the dragon, but he was only talking because he was terrified of heights.
When they arrived at Castle Lennox, the sun was rising. Feng landed in the courtyard, and Eira ignored the shocked citizens and sprinted into the castle.
Queen Valia jumped from the king’s side when Eira burst into their room. Green bruises already rimmed King Aethel’s eyes, and he was too weak to sit up.
“I got the dragon’s favor, Father,” Eira said. She placed the flower in the king’s hand, and it began to glow. The light traveled up Aethel’s arm until all of his skin was glowing, and then, like snuffed flame, it stopped. But when it was gone, so were the emerald bruises. The scourge had been cured!
King Aethel rasped, “I’m proud of you, Eira. Now go save my people.”
The Crown Princess travelled all over the city healing the sick. When she had vanquished every trace of the emerald scourge, the magical flower died.
King Aethel found the strength to emerge and thank Feng himself, and he was very surprised to find the handsome Sir Garrett standing at the dragon’s side. “I should have known she would bring a boy home,” he grunted.
The people of Lennox celebrated the dragon, and Feng—despite his affinity for mystery and respect—seemed to enjoy the attention, especially from the children. Eventually, though, he had to leave.
Eira stayed outside to watch him go. “Thank you for having the heart to save your people,” Feng rumbled. “The world needs many humans like you. And you,” he swung his head toward Sir Garrett, “be a heroic man, but a wise one.”
“I will,” said the knight, and Eira thought that the youthful zeal in his eyes had changed to a patient passion.
With that, the dragon flew to the west, back into those magical mountains.
You’ve made it to the end! Thank you for reading my Storybook; I truly hope you enjoyed it. This was a very fun project to work on. I feel that I’ve grown as a writer and a storyteller, and I love that I have this website to document that growth.
The ending of my project does not bring in any new stories, but it does wrap up some of the ones I’ve incorporated.
Firstly, Eira finds Sir Garrett and saves him from the dragon’s den. This is the end of “The Dragon and the Prince” from Slavic folklore. After killing the dragon, the prince saves his family and many other people from the dragon’s lair.
Eira also receives the item imbued with the dragon’s essence, which was inspired by the Chinese “Boy Blue” story, in which a herbologist finds a magical flower that he uses to save the emperor’s daughter from a sickness. I wanted to still use a flower, like the original story, but I also wanted to provide a reason for that particular object, since I’ve previously implied that the object could be anything. I think my reasoning, that a permanent relic would be far too powerful, is pretty compelling.
As I was bringing the story to a close, I wanted to demonstrate a change in Sir Garrett’s character. I think learning that a princess defeated a dragon and that a dragon helped saved his life turned his worldview on its end enough for him to rethink his overzealous heroism.
If you have any comments or thoughts about my story, please scroll up to the header and click through to my Comment Wall! I would love to hear your feedback!
Thanks again for reading!
Myths of China and Japan by Donald Mackenzie. Web source.
"The Dragon and the Prince" from Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources, by A.H. Wratislaw, 1890. Web source.
Image: Neuschwanstein Castle. Source - Pxhere.