This was the first WritingPrompts I had done in 2019 on Reddit. I definitely fell in line, hook and sinker for the plot; write a story about being polite to the dragon, rather than defeating it for the goal. I decided to use an idea I ad from something I was writing in 2009, with a sort of OC based on me and a girl called Jennifer (whom you might’ve seen art for here in the past), going together through various settings like time travelers. I used the Reddit prompt to formulate a sort of “intro” story to that idea, which I’ll be springboarding off with in the future.
This is a two-part post, with the second post being published next week at the same time.
This version is also slightly edited, as I didn’t like how rough the first part was written on-demand when posting. The dragon and the warrior seemed too cardboard-cutout, and the events seemed to pre-planned.
Done in April 21, 2019.
Note: My writing for Reddit writing prompts is different for brevity. While this is a good example of my writing, I often omit backstory and several details to create a concise post. Please look at my other works if you’re looking for my more regular style of writing.
I could see the clearing up ahead. My nose already scrunched at the smell of scorched flesh and smoke. I shook my head, focused on my task at hand.
I ran through my head what the old man had said back at the zen garden. Don’t go in starting a fight. Use wit. Appeal to him as your own friend. Give him a gift of interest.
How I was supposed to approach a giant fire-breathing dragon without pointing a spear or a rocket launcher was beyond me. What guarantee did I have that he wouldn’t toast me on sight?
As I got closer, I could see someone up ahead. He had Oriental features, his hair obscured by the bronze helmet he work. He had some sort of pole weapon with a short sword on the end, legs apart as his dark red cape flowed in the wind. He almost looked my age, maybe even younger.
The dragon stood proudly near the middle of the clearing., glaring with hot white eyes at the intruder. It appeared to be the atypical one I’d expect in such a setting; tendrils on the nose, long serpentine body and two pairs of legs. It’s red and yellow color scheme was quite vibrant, almost not seeming natural. For size I supposed he was on the smaller size, but I’d say his body was at least twenty feet or longer.
Behind the dragon was an Asian woman on the ground. She was the dragon’s prize, no doubt. She has the most interesting bun on the back of her head, with lovely black hair that reflected the sunlight.
The warrior was busy shouting at the dragon, not noticing me as I approached. When I was about ten feet away, the dragon suddenly glared at me, hissing.
I blinked. The first thing I wanted to do was grab for my blaster, but I bit my tongue, sticking my thumb into my backpack straps and taking a deep breath.
“What do you want?”
I could almost hear the disdain in his voice. The dragon blinked, as if he was certainly expecting me to make demands to release the princess he was holding hostage.
I swallowed, briefly looking at the warrior who was scowling at me.
“The old man at the foot of the mountain sent me to talk to you. Word has it that you’re curious about certain things.”
The dragon made up its face, something I didn’t expect.
A small puff of smoke left its nostrils, clearly disinterested. He turned his attention back to the warrior that was trying to confront him.
“Release the Lotus Princess at once! I’ve faced hell and death to vie for her safety.”
The warrior thumped his spear weapon against the ground, as to make a demand.
The dragon snarled at him, baring its teeth.
“To what threat? You realize you will perish upon raising a hand against me?”
I finally caught on what was going on. The dude had gotten part of the memo, but was literally shaking sticks and fists at this point. The warrior looked down at the ground, whatever bravado he had deflated.
The dragon turned to me, interest piqued.
“What have you brought? I can smell it on you…it is from times of ancient past.”
I knew full well what he was talking about; the old man had given me advice about this. I fumbled around in my jacket pocket, pulling out a small chunk of jade, the size of a pebble.
“Yeah, this thing. A guy I used to know gave it to me. He vanished off the face of the Earth a few years later; never was able to give it back to him.”
At first he seemed angered I was casually remarking about the jade, but looked confused as to how I got possession of it.
“And how did this friend acquire it?”
“Dunno. Always got arrested on campus for having weed. Cell phone would always go off in class. Wore a beanie most of the time. The heck I’d know where he got it.”
I felt that I was being judged for my story. Maybe because he wanted to make sure the piece was sentimental? Or who really had this ancient jade? Maybe to actually see
“Give it to me.”
It seemed more pleading than demanding. Not hesitating I reached out my hand and dropped it into his waiting claws. He grasped it delicately, eyeing it with great interest.
The warrior looked quite upset at the developments that were happening. I swore he wanted to turn on me instead. I could see it in his face.
“May I…keep this?”
It was an odd request; I didn’t want to part with the bit of rock Josh gave me, but I honestly didn’t really care.
“Sure, go ahead. It just sits around my room anyways.”
The dragon glanced directly at me.
“Interesting. This person has left your life, yet his memento is within visual sight of your everyday life years later. That bears something on your character.”
His claw dropped, looking at both me and the warrior.
“You bear a weapon but do not harm me. You come in frankness and humility. By all means the prize is yours.”
My heart jumped. Did I actually pass this?
“…however, the princess is not yours.”
I stopped in my tracks, looking at him in confusion. The warrior also seemed puzzled by this.
I was too speechless to say anything else. The dragon was judging me again, pausing before speaking.
“The Lotus Princess requires…someone of a different standing than you. Her character can be quite difficult and demanding.”
I got it. Miss fancy pants princess was too good for me. That sounded about right. Stupid me for figuring out that I could actually work something out in the girlfriend department.
“This is for your own good and hers. You will not leave with her today.”
For a brief moment I gave a thought. Was this a test? Was I supposed to fight for her and show off some stint of bravery? The old man hadn’t said anything about the dragon actually denying someone who approached politely.
As I scrutinized the dragon for a moment, I realized he meant business. This wasn’t a test. He had said no and that was final.
I sighed and shrugged my shoulders. “Alright, sure. At least you were nice about it.”
I took a glance at the warrior, jerking my head towards the arch.
“Have at it. You’ll probably have better luck than me.”
I turned around and slowly started to walk away. Figures I’d screw up something when trying to land someone. It almost always did.
The dragon’s voice made me jump.
“Fate has something else in store for you.”
I glanced back at him, finding that he looked at me straight in the eyes. His gaze then turned back to the warrior, effectively dismissing me.
At this point I was out of his picture. I was unscathed, coming back with perhaps something of value, if his words were true. As I saw the dead bodies again, I realized that I had accomplished my goal of being alive. Anything more…had yet to be seen. I just thought it was real odd with the terminology and words he had used, not sure what to make of it.
With some weight off my shoulders, I trudged back to my Tomcat parked at the foot of the mountain. I certainly hope the old man hadn’t broken anything on it.
P.S: Josh, I DO still have that jade stone you gave me as remarkable as it sounds, and often have it on my desk in a corner. Heaven knows where you’ve gone 15 years later, but if you’re not dead and happen across this, I still have it for you.