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When Knights were Bold (standard:fantasy, 1480 words)
Author: moyaAdded: May 16 2002Views/Reads: 2062/1284Story 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 

"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

"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

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