Smoke filled my nostrils as I took a deep breath and looked around at the halfway burnt down town. My sword swung idly from my side as I strolled into the inn; inside soot covered villagers were yelling about a dragon destroying their town and what they should do about it. The town's elder rubbed his wrinkled forehead and finally stood saying
"Please good people please silence," and everyone did; so he continued "It is obvious that we have two options… one beg the queen to forfeit some knights to our cause or two we pack and leave."
Again chaos broke loose as the villagers heard what they thought was their only options. I pushed my way to the head of the crowd and jumped up onto the stage that the elder was sitting upon.
"OR YOU HAVE OPTION THREE," I yelled and everyone stopped to look at me. I felt pride rush through me as I stood tall in my dragon skin boots, gauntlets, tunic, and shield.
The elder looked at me and finally signaled for silence "Who are you mysterious stranger?" he asked
Chuckling I replied "I am your solution to this dragon scum that has brought destruction to your good town."
This answer brought on a wave of awed chit chat amongst the citizens and the elder once again signaled for silence.
"What do you charge for this burden," the elder quizzically asked fearing a high toll.
"My services are free," I replied watching as all of the villagers jaws dropped. The elder looked at me and sighed saying "You… fight this beast free of charge for what purpose good dragon slayer?" My cheeks turned red as I remembered that this was always the hardest part to explain "I was… cursed, one could say, by a dragon long ago I must kill at least five and twenty of these beasts to cure myself."
The crowd remained silent as it watched me now as if I carried the plague into the room. "This curse… how does it affect you?" the elder asked in wonder; I shook my head and responded "Tis does not matter to you… after tonight I will have killed the fifth and twentieth dragon… freeing me of my curse." I had to hurry this counsel up for daylight was running thin and I was going to need the sun.
"I must be going… please no one follow me for I will promise you that death will only follow." I announced as I headed for the door; the crowd parted as I walked out of the large door of the inn. The mountains which housed the dragon were at least a day away. From the looks of the sun's position in the sky I had about three hours left of daylight… after that the dreaded night would fall. I needed to escape the town as far as I could before the sun fell… then my curse would take effect.
Three hours later I was on a trail heading to the mountains through a thick forest. This trail was a favorite to goblins and bandits; my hand never left my sword as I proceeded. A sudden rustling to my right made me draw my sword and my body fell into a defensive position. "I ssssssmell a dragon… *sniff… sniff* what isssss a dragon doing here in my foresssssst?" a deep raspy voice asked; the sun was falling quick and I knew I had to get this thing out of my way before my curse took me.
"Show yourself goblin… let us see each other before night fall," I called to the goblin. The bushes parted as a gangly green skinned creature that sported red eyes hobbled out of the bushes. "How… I thought I sssssmelled a dragon… no I KNOW I sssssmell dragon." It hissed in an agitated tone; the sun had now completely disappeared and I knew I was too late. A growl escaped my throat as my sword fell to the ground. "N… no… not now," I gasped as my body started to grow and my leather armour started to meld to my skin.
A pattern that resembled scales formed on the leather armour; my teeth sharpened as a muzzle pushed out. Cracking came from my tailbone as a tail grew; the armour had become just scales as it spread everywhere on my body. The scales turned from black to a red in seconds; my hips and knees popped as I was thrown into a quadruped stance. My changes quickened and soon I was standing in the forest as a large red dragon.
The goblin screeched in terror and ran for his life; I felt the same depression that I have always felt since the first time I changed. I knew I had to find a place to hide or risk being attacked… I was after all the most hated creature on the globe. I smelt a damp cave near my location so I snatched up my sword in my jaws and moved towards it. Memories of my first dragon encounter started racing through my head…
I had been hiking with some friends of mine… I can't remember how but I had become separated from them. A freak snow storm had blown in from nowhere it seemed… all I had on was my pants, simple tunic, and boots. The cold, the terrible terrible cold; it was painful as the little shards of ice struck my bare arms. Ice had formed on the small mountain trail that hung over a thousand foot drop to shear death. My foot slipped; my body was thrown to the edge of the drop off.
Luckily I had the strength to stop myself; it seemed I was done for even though I saved myself. The ice had sunk in to my very core; my breath came out forming a mist. My eyes closed and I passed out.
The next thing I can remember is waking up, to find that I was quite warm… too warm in fact. I tried to sit up but instantly I was overcame with nausea. Moving was impossible for it felt as if my limbs were lead.
"Help… me… someone please," I choked out between labored breaths.
"Oh… he wakesssss… a future meal… or more?" A feminine voice hissed.
I groaned at the mention of becoming someone's dinner. Then suddenly without warning a warm hand stroked my face and sang in a rough, ancient language. "Do not worry… I wassss only jessssting with thee." She said giggling.
"My eyes… will not open," I rasped; again I felt her soothing touch run across my face and over my eyes. A feeling that resembled cool water running down my face; washed over me, easing my discomfort.
"My, my, my… your family was very cruel weren't they?" the voice asked in a tone that held pity along with anger. Quickly I became confused… how did she know about my family and how they raised me?
Slowly feeling was restored in my limbs and it proceeded with freeing my eyes. "What do you mean my family was cruel… who are you?" I asked as I carefully opened my eyes. From what I could see and feel; I was lying on the floor of a cave by a fire. Without much more caution I moved to see who was kneeling beside me.
What met my gaze still puts fear into my heart to this very day… A sapphire blue, anthro dragoness gazed down with both love and hatred in her eyes. I was repulsed but also drawn in by her beauty as well. "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" a shriek of terror escaped my dry throat.
"No please stay calm!!!" the dragoness commanded me; I did just the opposite of what she asked of me and I tried to stand. Again I was overcome with nausea and fell back to the ground. I vomited onto the cave's floor.
Quickly after I threw up I turned my gaze of terror back to the dragoness. She had walked even closer so she was standing over me now. "Do you expect me to clean that mess up?" she asked in a semi-joking tone.
Out of instinct I shook my head; I tried to answer her but my lips refused to work with me. The dragoness just stood shaking her head and turned walking back to the back of the cave where I could not see her.
After what seemed like an hour she returned and sat next to me. "You despise dragons and yet you seem… I don't know… different from other humans." She said to me while stroking my head; I was frozen in fear from the contact.
"Tonight I am giving you a curse… not that you did anything wrong but it is a test for you. It will test if you would kill others for your gain." The dragoness stated with a frown on her muzzle.
I started to crawl away but she stopped me by stepping on my pants. "Tonight young human you will live two lives… one human and the other dragon. Until you kill twenty and five dragons you shall live by day human and by night dragon." She spoke in a deadly serious tone.
My hair stood on end when she started growling a kind of chant and made motions over me with her paws. My insides twisted and sweat trickled off of my forehead; sickness overcame me once again and vomit rushed out of my open mouth.
Spots flashed in my line of vision and I tasted blood in my mouth. Face first I passed out on the floor; and I could hear the dragoness say "We will meet again… and I look forward to our counsel then."
From that night on I lived like I do now… but back to the present. I slowly opened my eyes and stood up in the cave I had hiked to. My sword was back at my side and my armor was once again as it should be.
"I get that dragon TODAY," I announced in a happy tone while I stretched. Then I heard something behind me chuckle and say "I bet you have waited a long time for this slayer." That voice… it sounded so familiar.
"I have… but I didn't know I was going to get to kill YOU as my twenty and fifth dragon." I replied as I turned around to face the dragoness from the mountain's cave. She was standing so she would block the exit making escape impossible.
"Oh really… I get the honor of being the dragon to free you from your curse?" she asked in a mock tone of surprise. My hand fell to the sword at my side as I nodded and smiled.
"Yes you devil… you do get the grand honor," said I as I drew my sword. She smiled and stood tall; throwing her wing's back with pride. She cleared her throat and replied "I am the one that cursed you and you have no reason to slay anymore dragons… I have seen you and I will grant you your reward."
Like last time she chanted a blood cooling chant and I fell to the ground in pain. Time seemed to pass quickly as I felt myself growing and my wings, tail, and muzzle return. I was not becoming human for good but instead I was becoming a.... DRAGON!!!
Tears fell from my eyes after I was reverted into a dragon; I looked at the dragoness and she smiled. "I warned you it was a test and you showed me that you only care for yourself… so because of your selfishness you are to become what you despise and fear… for the rest of your life." She sentenced me
"NOOOOO… you are evil… turn me back before I kill YOU!!!" I roared at her. She turned and started to leave the cave but she stopped and replied "Oh by the way if you ever feel lonely… you know where to find me… it will be nice to have a new male in the area."
Without warning she spread her majestic wings and flew off. I was stuck as a dragon… with no one. So what do you think I did? I flew after her and we spent the rest of the day flying and circling each other.