Jordan: In Which A Dragon (Prince) Invites Me To Breakfast
My head felt like it had been cut in half by an axe. My entire body felt like it had been run over by a carriage. I was groggy, in pain, and still incredibly tired. But that’s not the weirdest part. The weird part was that I felt really comfortable and really warm. I was lying on something soft underneath a heavy something that was even warmer and softer than what I was laying on. They were blankets, I realized, but they were better than any blanket I’d ever slept under in my entire life. There was a really delicious smell that, even though it was faint, I could still make out if I concentrated. But concentrating made my head hurt, so I rolled over and buried deeper under the warm heavy blankets and tried to go back to sleep. The pillows were pretty nice too. They were fluffy and soft, but had just the right level of firmness so--
Pillows. Blankets. Warm. Where the hell am I?
My eyes flew open and I sat up quickly to get a better look at my surroundings. I got up too fast though, and my head throbbed so painfully that I think I almost passed out. I quickly flopped back against the pillows and squeezed my eyes shut while I tried to get the pain under control. When I finally managed to get it to a level I could tolerate, I slowly opened my eyes and sat up again, making sure to take it extra slow so as not to split my skull again. Rubbing the tense muscles in the back of my neck, I glanced around and took stock of the room I was in.
It was fairly small, though richly furnished. The walls were made out of stone, from what I could see, but there were elegant golden drapes hung all around the room to hide the ugly stone. The massive window on the right side of the room was covered by heavy-looking curtains, made with a deep red cloth covered in golden embroidery. The curtains turned the sunlight filtering through into a warm reddish color that seemed to make everything look softer. It made entire room feel a little cozier and comfortable, though I was personally feeling far from comfy in my current state.
There was a humongous wardrobe in one corner, a desk and chair somewhere off to my right, and a really comfortable looking couch and armchair on the opposite side of the room, with a really tall bookcase in between them. There were tons of books on the shelves, and I could make out the titles of a few of them. Most of them were fairy tales or had titles in different languages, but I spotted a few history books as well. All the furniture was made out of this really nice-looking wood, and they all looked like they had intricate carvings of...something...on them. I wanted to say they were snakes, or just really overly-detailed curls and swirls, but from this distance I couldn’t tell. Once I got out of bed I’d be able to see them better.
Speaking of my bed, it was absolutely huge, with enough room to fit at least three more people next to me. Well, three more people larger than me, at least. I could fit about four more ‘me’s’ in here and still have room for a small dog or something. The covers were made out of the same material as the curtains, and upon further investigation I saw that the embroidery made patters of flowers, wings, and more spiralling things. The sheets were incredibly soft, colored gold with no other adornments, and the pillows were just as soft as the covers. I didn’t know what they were made of, but it was making it really difficult for me to find the willpower to get out bed.
Alright Jordan, up you go, I thought to myself, shoving the covers back with a groan. Everything hurt now, not just my head. I hadn’t realized just how sore I was until I started moving more. Gotta find out where the hell you are, yeah? Don’t be a baby, you’ve been in worse shape than this before. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and placed my feet on the floor. And then immediately pulled them back up onto the bed after coming in contact with even more stone. “Bloody hell that’s cold!” I hissed irritably, very slowly putting my feet back down on the ground. I took a second to let my feet get used to the uncomfortable temperature before standing up and stretching painfully. My lower back popped loudly, and I let out a very pleased sigh. Cracking my neck for good measure, I made my way over to the bedroom door and pulled it open before marching out into the hallway
And promptly smacking into someone’s chest.
I shoved myself away from them, my hands flying up into an ‘on guard’ position in front of my body. I took a few precious seconds to observe the owner of the chest while he gathered his bearings. I noticed right away that he had an incredibly...expressive face. I had obviously startled him, and I didn’t think he’d been expecting me to suddenly come barrelling out of the room straight into his chest. Which, I noted, would have been completely bare were it not for the ornate golden robe draped over him. The top was open fairly wide, exposing a good portion of his torso, and the sash was tied loosely around his waist. I snapped my gaze back up to his face just as he batted a strand of his wavy golden hair out of his eyes. His blue eyes were as bright as the sky and as warm as a summer afternoon, and they had lit up upon actually getting a good look at me.
“Ah, you’re awake!” he said cheerfully. “I didn’t think you’d be up for another hour or so!” He blinked at my defensive stance before glancing back up at my eyes. His own pair was filled with innocent curiosity as he regarded me. “Are you alright?” he asked gently, cocking his head to the side like an intrigued puppy. “You look a little tense. Did I startle you? I’m terribly sorry if I did, it wasn’t intentional.” His voice was smooth and warm, wrapping around me like the blankets I’d crawled out from under just a minute or two ago. But there was something familiar about his voice too, something that brought back a general feeling of terror and surprise.
“My name is Nicholas. Dragon Prince, and owner of this humble cave. It’s a pleasure to meet you...?”
My eyes widened and I stepped back a couple more paces. “You’re that guy,” I said slowly, trying to keep my voice even. “The guy from last night.” I kept shifting my stance, inching my way into the hallway and farther away from any walls that I could be trapped against. “The guy that used to be the enormous Dragon.” The enormous Dragon that’s apparently supposed to eat me as my death sentence, I thought to myself, though my inner voice was definitely not as calm as my speaking one. I made sure to keep my body relaxed and keep the fear out of my voice, but on the inside I was absolutely terrified. He was going to turn back into the Dragon at any minute, pounce on me, and eat me for breakfast. If I have anything to do with it, there will be absolutely no way in hell that this damn lizard is going to make a meal out of me.
The Dragon raised an eyebrow, and he had the audacity to give me a cheeky smile. “Why yes,” he said, amusement coloring every syllable he spoke, “I am the guy from last night who used to be the enormous Dragon.” Irritation suddenly flared up--was he mocking me?! His cheeky smile turned into an even more annoying smirk. “At least, I was the last time I checked,” he quipped. He sounded incredibly pleased with himself, and that just made me even more irritated with him. What was with this guy?! Did he get some sick pleasure from playing with his food or something? His smile suddenly slipped, and a worried frown replaced it. “You look upset,” he said quietly. “Did I say something wrong?”
I probably could have answered him, but seeing as I had finally inched out into the middle of the hallway, I thought the best thing to do was to get the hell out of there. Angry retorts and insults could be saved for another asshole who was trying to kill me. So, I spun on the balls of my feet and booked it down the hallway. He called after me to wait, but come on--who listens to hungry dragons when they tell you to stop? I could see light coming from the bend at the end of the hallway, and I put on a burst of speed. I took the turn fast and hard, which resulted in me running into a half-open door and then tumbling head over heels. I landed on my ass right in the middle of a small kitchen. This was definitely not the place I had wanted to end up.
I scrambled to my feet as the dragon man stepped into the room. EIther he’d walked really fast or he’d been jogging behind me after I’d started running. He’d lost his confident air from before, and he looked genuinely concerned and, to my shock, a little hurt. “I gather from your hasty retreat that you’re still quite terrified of me,” he murmured, gnawing on his bottom lip anxiously. “You have no reason to be, I promise. I’m not going to hurt you.” He was making direct eye contact with me and speaking in a low, fervent voice. “I can guess why that is,” he muttered, and there was pain in the way he said it, “and I can understand your fear.” He was standing a foot away from me now, not quite towering over me but nearly tall enough to do so, and I held my ground. “But I promise you,” he murmured insistently, “I will not hurt you.”
His gaze didn’t waver, and his expression didn’t flicker. The only change at all that I could see was that his eyes would sort of shift back and forth between blue and a really soft shade of gold. Everything about this guy was gold, I noticed. His robes were gold, his hair was gold, his eyes, even his skin had a slight golden hint to it. I had a brief recollection of how I’d first seen him, as the mighty winged Dragon with scales of the same color as that precious metal. And then I remembered screaming. And then fainting, something that, up until that point, I had never done in my whole life. And, hopefully, would never ever do again.
My irritation and fear was very rapidly becoming replaced by embarrassment and I looked down at my bare feet so I wouldn’t have to look at him. Then I suddenly felt a wave of guilt and shame wash over me, which was quite a surprise to me. I hardly ever feel guilty over anything, and yet here I was getting upset with myself for making him think that he’d said or done something to offend me. I’d probably scared him more than he’d scared me with my little display of screaming, fainting, and now running away from him after barely saying a few sentences to him. Most of me still didn’t trust the guy as far as I could throw him, but there was a part of me, somewhere very deep down, that seemed to know he was telling the truth.
And unfortunately, that little part deep inside of me was the part that I’d learned to listen to over the years because it was hardly ever wrong.
“I believe you,” I finally said through gritted teeth, wiggling my toes and shuffling my feet awkwardly. “Don’t ask me why, but I do.” I chanced a glance up at him again and was greeted by an excited smile that could have lit the entire kingdom for a whole year. He looked absolutely thrilled to have gained my trust. His eyes were literally sparkling, flecks of gold dancing merrily with the blue. My heart ka-thumped strangely in my chest, and I looked back down at my feet again. “You’d better not make me regret this, you damn lizard,” I growled, “or I’ll stake you and stick you over your own fire.” I gestured vaguely towards the fireplace off to my left, where an enticing smell was wafting up from the pot cooking over the open flames.
The dragon laughed merrily, as if I’d just told him the funniest joke in the world. “I’ll keep that in mind, don’t worry,” he chortled, and he nudged my shoulder as he brushed by me towards the fireplace in question. “Though I must say,” he went on as he grabbed a long ladle and began stirring the contents of the pot, “I highly doubt you could take me in a skirmish. I’m much stronger than I appear.” He turned back towards me and waved a hand towards the table and four chairs in the middle of the room. “Have a seat, my bold friend,” he said cheerfully. “Breakfast will be served in just a moment.”