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Thursday, April 5, 2012

March short story contest 4th place

The  Dragon  Prince  By  Sarah Munro

I stared the dark dragon in his eye. It was glowing amber, bright and appealing compared to my dull blue irises. I could see his dark blue and purple, almost black, scales glinting in the moonlight, along with the saliva the clung to his razor fangs.

"Mai," the dragon whispered, a curl of black smoke escaping his mouth with the word. I shivered at the mention of my name, the hot summer night suddenly feeling colder than raindrops in winter.

"Kona Willdore," I managed to whisper back and bow my head, acknowledging the dragon in the polite way of my people.

The dragon huffed. "Just call me Kona, no formalities."

And then Kona began to change. His long, winding dragon body shrunk and closed in on itself until a tall, handsome young man stood in its place. Kona as a human was as regal as his dragon-self. He still had the luminescent amber eyes, pale skin, and his wavy hair was black, but shimmered with purple and blue in the light. Kona held himself with the air of a dangerous prince. Which, I knew, he was.

I was the princess of the Griffin Realm, and Kona the prince of the Dragon Realm. The two creatures of flight had been at war for centuries, until the Kings, our fathers, had made a treaty. To ensure the peace, their children would be married.

Kona was my fiancé.

At first I’d desired him – he was physically gorgeous. But he lacked beauty on the inside, too. In fact, he lacked anything remotely decent on the inside. Kona and his people could  shift into dragons. The same goes for me and my people, except we shift into griffins. A griffin slayed the prince’s mother, and he’s held a grudge against my people ever since. But the Queen’s death also left him with only two emotions: anger and pride. And over the years, he mastered the ability to get what he wanted with fake charm.

But this time, even his phony charisma wouldn’t get him out of marriage with me.

The dragon prince sauntered over to where I stood, and picked up a piece of my long, golden hair, which looked darker in the dull light of the moon. He twisted it between his thumb and forefinger, casually examining the strands. I could smell the scent of pine needles on him, along with something musky. He took a step closer and I held my breath.

"Pretty," he murmured. Kona dropped my hair and reached his hand out to cup my cheek instead. I felt his slender but calloused thumb run back and forth across my skin. It tingled where he touched it. "Too bad you’re one of them."

He jerked his hand away and took a step back, so I let out the breath I’d been holding. I wanted to avoid Kona’s critical gaze, so I stared at the trees instead. They were tall pines, planted loosely to let in light. Animals didn’t like us, so there were none that could be heard or seen. I felt colder than before, like I’d fallen through the ice of a frozen pond, but I only had on my summer nightgown to keep me warm. I wished Kona hadn’t asked me to meet him there, or that I didn’t agree to it. Why did I do such a careless thing? I knew meeting Kona alone at night was dangerous. I had to leave.

I sighed to myself, turning so I could walk back to my castle. But a sharp pain stopped me. A long arrow protruded from my chest, right above my heart. And then the pain came searing through my body, first locking all my muscles, and then making me feel so weak. With all my remaining energy, I glared accusingly at Kona, but he stared back in horror. It wasn’t him, so who was it?

Distantly, I felt my body hit the ground. It hurt, but not as much as the agonizing pain in my chest. I heard a loud thump, a dragon’s growl, and then the shriek of some creature that cut off abruptly. I closed my eyes for a few moments, and when I opened them, I saw a beautiful face staring down at me, concern etched in the features.

"K-Kona," I choked out. It was becoming hard to breathe through all the agony. "What h-happened…?"

The prince’s hand came down and stroked my hair, trying to soothe me. It mildly helped.

"The satyrs have been angry about the treaty our fathers made, and one shot you. He probably hoped that we would be at war again. But don’t worry, my love, I took care of him, and nobody will ever harm you again!"

Was I delirious? Was the pain making me hallucinate? Kona had never shown any care for my wellbeing, nor had he shown any sort of kindness towards me at all. Maybe I was dead, and the afterlife showed you what you wanted to see. A caring Kona would be every girls’ dream.

"Why’d you call me ‘my love’?" I’d slurred it out without thinking. If I didn’t have an arrow in my chest, I probably would’ve blushed at my idiocy.

"I’ll get to that…" Kona said. He gently slid my body onto his lap, and began pulling the arrow out. To distract me from the wood sliding out of my flesh, he began talking. "I wanted you to meet me here because I have something to tell you. But once I’d worked up the courage, I got angry again. I don’t know why I get angry so much, but since mother’s death, that’s just the way it is…

"I decided that I didn’t care much for you after all, until that damn satyr shot you. That’s when I realised that I can’t let you die, no matter what. I need you, Mai, and I don’t have too much pride to tell you that. And, to be honest, I can’t wait until we’re wed."

I looked up at the prince, tears of joy in my eyes. The arrow was out now, and still clutching it, he leant down and kissed me. The touch of his lips on mine was bliss. I didn’t want it to ever end, but I knew it would, sooner or later. When Kona pulled back, there was an odd glint in his glowing eyes.  His face held a light smile that it pulled back into a mocking grin.

"Just kidding," Kona said playfully. And then he stabbed the arrow back into my chest, this time straight in my heart.


Find information about my next writing contest, interviews, book news and more on my website.

In bookstores 6-5-2012

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