|When Knights were Bold (standard:fantasy, 1480 words)|
|Author: moya||Added: May 16 2002||Views/Reads: 2062/1284||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The beautiful princess waits for her knight to rescue her from the dragon - but what if the wrong knight turns up? 1st in Dragontails series.|
The hillside basked in the noonday sun, a smooth lawn of green turf studded with flowers. The beautiful young virgin sat under an oak tree, to which she was attached by several lengths of rope. She had obviously expected a long wait, as she had brought her embroidery. She looked up eagerly as the Black Knight approached. "Kevin!" she cried. Then the smile froze on her face as she took in his appearance. The knight's armour was not black by design; it was blistered and blackened by fire, and badly dented. "You're not Sir Kevin Dandiprat!" "No," admitted the knight. "Sir Eustace Curdylion, professional dragon-slayer. At your service, miss. And you would be the Princess Maremma?" "I am," she said, "but what are you doing here? Sir Kevin's supposed to be rescuing me." "I don't know anything about that. I just heard the proclamation, thought I'd try for the reward. There is a reward, I take it?" "Of course there is! Me. And half the kingdom." "I usually go for cash-in-hand, but I'm not as young as I was, and with dragons getting so scarce, I thought, why not settle down?" "But I don't want to marry you," wailed the princess. "I want to marry Kevin!" "Um. This Dandiprat feller. Young, is he? Nice shiny armour, green plume on his helmet?" "Yes! You've seen him then?" "Silly twerp wouldn't give way at the ford. Had to knock him arse-over- tit into the water. Sorry." The princess stared aghast. "You - you stupid oaf," she spluttered. "You've ruined everything!" "Well, how was I to know? It's supposed to be an open competition." "You couldn't just go away? Let Kevin do it?" "Oh no," he said, shocked. "Not after I've put my name down. That would be unprofessional. I've got my reputation to consider. Anyway, I doubt if your Kevin would get here in time. Horse ran away. And the dragon's due at noon. In fact, isn't that it coming now?" She looked up. In the sky, a black dot was rapidly growing larger. "Looks like you're stuck with me, unless you want to be ate." "Bugger," said the princess. Sir Eustace drew his sword and cut the ropes which bound her to the tree. "Get behind those rocks out of the way. It's going to get a bit dodgy round here in the next few minutes." "No, wait!" cried the princess. "You don't understand." Ignoring her protests, Sir Eustace picked her up and dumped her behind a nearby rock. He was only just in time. The dragon was upon them. It circled once, then dived on Sir Eustace, hissing like a hundred saucepans boiling over and spouting flame like a blowlamp. Sir Eustace held his ground. You could see he had done this sort of thing before. He waited until the flaming breath was almost upon him then sidestepped , catching the dragon a smart blow with his sword on the nearest wing. "Ow!" The dragon skittered to a halt. "That hurt!" "It was supposed to," said Sir Eustace. "That's the idea." He stepped Click here to read the rest of this story (143 more lines)
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