by, Brionadh Hassett
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived in a tower. I know what you’re thinking, ugh! Princess story. Well, this wasn’t just any princess, and this isn’t just any princess story.
On the day that this story begins the princess was hanging out in her tower bedroom doing princess things, like drawing battle plans and practicing her Kung Fu and waiting for a prince to come and rescue her.
She was practicing her spinning kick when all of a sudden, a great wind shook the tower so that everything tilted to one side. The princess landed on one knee and rose carefully. Before she could reach for her katana the roof was ripped off the tower.
Bricks crashed down, tearing through the floor like it was tissue paper. The walls crumbled like birthday cake, their sandy remains tumbling dangerously through the air.
The princess ducked a falling bookshelf and made to dive out the window with only her bedsheet as a parachute. Just as her body cleared the falling mass of bricks and mortar and the sheet billowed out to slow her fall, her body hit something solid and she was scooped up in the enormous claws of a terrible dragon!
The vice-like talons squeezed her body so her violent punches and squirms did nothing to release her. She finally gave up her struggle and watched as the world she knew passed beneath her and the constant beat of wings lulled her to sleep.
No one noticed the broken tower, or the missing princess, or the knight who was following the dragon’s trail.
The dragon flew for three days and three nights without stopping. The princess spent this time sleeping and trying to remember dragon facts that could help her defeat her kidnapper.
Dragon heart can cure cancer.
Drake dragons collect gold.
Chinese dragons guard the world of spirits.
Greek Hydra dragons have multiple heads.
If she was going to be able to fight this one, she would need to figure out what kind of beast she was fighting. She craned her neck from side-to-side peering up at the creature that held her so tightly.
It seemed to have fur instead of scales, that means it can’t be a serpent dragon. But the wings, she glimpsed through squinted eyes, were leathery. She had never heard of a furry dragon before, but she supposed that if it was warm blooded, it could be killed with a knife to the heart.
Most creatures can be killed with a knife to the heart.
Finally, at sunset on the third day, the princess awoke to a piercing pain in her ears. They were landing. With a gentle thud, and a few quick steps to right itself, the dragon came to rest on the rocky peak of a mountain. The princess felt the grip around her body release, and she dropped and rolled to a fighting stance. She faced her foe, her heart thumping in her throat. Her boot-knife flicked into her hand; it was the only weapon to have survived.
She gazed wide eyed at the mighty beast that was at that moment stretching its long neck out and shaking its body luxuriously.
For a moment she was reminded of a dog, but then it leaned back to stand on its back legs, wings batting behind it. This dragon was shaggy and had unbleached hair like a camel that curled and cascaded down its mighty chest.
The brown leathery wings had
sharp hooks poking from them, and its large horns poked out of the shaggy mane of its head.
The princess was struck by how beautiful it looked with the sun haloing the fine golden hairs around its head. Before she had time to mount her attack the dragon lowered its head and its cat-like green eyes met with her brown ones.
“It’s alright princess, you’re safe now.”
“Huh? What do you mean I’m safe! You kidnapped me!”
The dragon’s head reared back in surprise. Then its body shook as it laughed a deep, booming laugh.
“Kidnap you? Ha ha ha! Princess, I didn’t kidnap you. I rescued you. I was flying by your tower, minding my own business when I saw an army of princes riding gallant steeds toward you. So, I scooped you away to safety.”
“An army of princes? They weren’t coming to attack me! They were coming to marry me! You stupid dragon!”
“Hey now! Don’t take that tone with me princess. I was only trying to help you.”
The princess could feel her blood flowing to her cheeks and knew she had spoken to hastily.
“Of course, I am very sorry if I interfered with your plans. I was only trying to help. And I can take you right back to your prince’s if that’s what you want.” The dragon bowed its head sadly.
“I’m sorry dragon. I didn’t mean to be rude. I’ve just had a bit of a shock, and I haven’t eaten since you smashed my house. I get grumpy when I’m hungry.”
The two gazed at each other. The dragon found himself wondering whether human princesses ate flame-grilled mountain berries like dragons do and the princess couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of all those prince’s hanging around the ruined castle with no one to marry.
The princess turned to survey the view before her. They were on the highest of many mountainous peaks that rose high into the sky like craggy flowers all around them. She had never seen such a beautiful combination of rocks and sky. The light danced across the grey stone illuminating it to a soft evening glow.
“This is a beautiful place” she whispered.
“This is my home. I am a rock dragon; my people have learnt to live in these high up places. It is safer for us, to say high up, away from humans with knives.”
“I’m so sorry!” gasped the princess returning the knife to the sheath in her right boot.
“Thank you.” Rumbled the dragon. “My name is Carraig”
“Pleased to meet you Carraig. I’m Serafina.”
“Well, Princess Serafina of the Broken Tower. I offer my sincerest apologies for smashing your house. I will return you there straight away. But first, do you like mountain berries?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never had any. But I like blueberries and it’s probably similar.”
“I do not know what blueberries are, but mountain berries are very yummy. I’ll go and get some for us to eat and then we can make our way back to your country.”
The dragon hesitated for a moment, a cheeky look in his eye. “unless…”
The princess lifted an eyebrow “unless what?”
“Unless, do you want to come with me to Australia?”
Before the princess could answer, there was a mighty roar and a man landed between the dragon and princess.
“Get behind me princess! I’m hear to rescue you from this terrible beast!”
He wore shining armour and had nun chucks on his back and a katana in his hand.
Carraig reared back, his eyes wide. Seraphina noticed a warm glow emanating from the dragon’s throat.
His kind eyes were narrowed to angry slits as he glared at the knight.
Seraphina didn’t stop to think, she dropped and rolled through the knight’s legs, scooping up her knife as she went. She came up between the knight and the dragon and took her fighting stance.
She raised her knife, which was no longer than a kitchen knife, and twirled it expertly between her fingers.
“You’ll have to get through me first.” She spoke through gritted teeth.
“I wasn’t kidnapped, he’s my friend and you’d better leave now if you know what’s good for you.”
“But princess, this is no place for you. You should be in your tower, waiting for me to rescue you. It’s not fair if I come all the way from my country to yours and you’re not even there to be rescued.”
The princess backed up closer to Carriag. She could feel his breath down her neck, his power seemed to glow from out of his muscles. She knew where she wanted to be.
“I’m not coming back. I’m going to Australia with the dragon. If you want the glory of slaying this dragon, you’ll have to fight me too.”
The knight took a moment to consider, the princess, in her flowing green princess dress, her dainty little hands and her pretty hair. He shrugged and leaped forward. As he leaped, he raised his sword over her head to smash down on Seraphina’s head. But Seraphina had been trained by warrior monks, she had seen this kind of move before.
She stepped in, not back and caught him under his armpit with her knife. A soft ‘snickt’ sound and the knight tumbled to the ground with a painful cry.
Carraig’s enormous tail came sweeping around behind him and knocked him to land on his butt.
Seraphina spun and flicked his katana into her hand, feeling the weight.
“Get out of here Boris. And tell the others, I don’t need saving.”
Boris the knight scrambled to his hands and knees and bolted back into the wilderness.
Seraphina was left out of breath and holding the katana. The princess and dragon smiled at each other. Carraig lowered his huge shaggy head and Seraphina climbed up onto his back. She clung tightly to his golden fur as he launched into the night sky.
About the Author
Brionadh is an Irish-Australian children’s fiction writer and dog-walking enthusiast operating out of Melbourne, Australia. Her interests include anything written from the perspective of an animal, mineral or vegetable, and writing things never seen before.
Her literary influences include Spike Milligan, Harper Lee and the literary war stories of Snoopy the Beagle. Brionadh says:
“Smarty Pants Magazine is exactly what I was missing when I was a kid and it is a great joy for me to contribute to it.”