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The Dreadful Shepherdess (standard:fantasy, 1441 words)
Author: moyaAdded: May 17 2002Views/Reads: 1737/1178Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The dragon scam was going well until the shepherdess got involved. 2nd in Dragontails series.

Sir Eustace Curdylion (Professional Dragonkiller) and his friend the
dragon were camped for the night on the hillside above the village of 
Upper Twitching. 

“You know, it's just struck me,” said Sir Eustace, “You've never told me
your name.” 

“Actually, I'd rather not,” said the dragon. 

Sir Eustace thought for a moment. “Some sort of dragon thing?” 

“No. It's just a bit embarrassing.” 

“Suit yourself. Now, are you quite clear about what to do tomorrow?” 

“I should think so, it's simple enough,” said the dragon. “A few low
passes over the village, breathe fire, chase everything that moves - ” 

“Don't hurt anyone, mind.” 

“ - then back here for lunch.” 

“I'll stroll in during the afternoon to offer my services. If they
haven't agreed a fee by sunset, you can fly down and give them another 
dose, but I don't anticipate any problems." 

"You're sure this is going to work?" asked the dragon. 

"Of course it will," said Sir Eustace, with more confidence than he
felt. This was a new venture for both of them. There was little call 
for a dragon-slayer, now that wild dragons were all but extinct, so it 
made sense to bring his own. And the peasants of Upper Twitching 
deserved all they got. It still rankled, how they had done him out of 
his fee for killing that escaped pig. 

"Better get some sleep, it'll be a heavy day tomorrow." 

Not long after, the hills were alive with the sound of snoring. 

* * * 

The dragon was enjoying himself. He skimmed over the rooftops, fire
spouting from his nostrils, then chased the scurrying figures up and 
down the village street. He gained altitude with a few flaps of his 
powerful wings, then stooped in a screaming dive on the village green. 
Geese flew up cackling in alarm as his fiery breath turned the duckpond 
to steam. All the children had come out of school and were pointing up 
in excitement, so he performed a victory roll for their benefit before 
streaking for the hills.  On his way back to where he had left Sir 
Eustace he noticed a flock of sheep on the hillside. 

‘Hmm,' he thought, ‘roast lamb for dinner?' 

The sheep scattered in every direction at his approach. He picked out
one fat ewe and was just giving chase when a stunning blow to the side 
of his head brought him tumbling from the sky. 

“W -What?” he croaked. 

As the stars cleared from his sight he squinted up. The figure which
loomed over him would have caused the stoutest heart to quail. She was 
fully six foot tall and clad in black leather. With one hand she was 
tucking her sling back in her belt, while in the other she brandished a 
stout cudgel. 

“Who are you? 

“I'm the shepherdess, of course. What do I look like?” 

“Not like a shepherdess,” said the dragon. “I've seen pictures. Dainty
little things in flowered dresses, with ribbons on their crooks.” 

“Huh!” snorted the shepherdess. “Fat lot of good they'd be, hauling
sheep out of crevasses, or seeing off thieving dragons!” 

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