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Dragon Princess

I tossed a sideways glance toward Luke. He smiled as if he knew I was looking at him, but his eyes stayed on the fortress of the Last Warlock. Finally, he turned away from the powerful view and looked deep into my eyes. “You ready, princess?”
I felt a smile tug at the corner of my lips. “Ready,” I whispered.
He kissed me on the cheek. “Stay safe,” he said. “I would never forgive myself if you died or were seriously wounded.
“I’ll be close behind you,” I said.
He nodded. “Remember the plan.” A lopsided grin twitched on his cheeks before he turned and stood up from the bushes.
Luke strode out into the open, looking, as always, like he belonged there. The guards on top of the battlements shouted down at him, but he continued to stride, acting as if there was no one there. I watched carefully. My muscles tensed as the guards pulled out bows, but I didn’t move. He’d instructed me not to until he gave the signal. If I gave away my location, the plan would be ruined.
The guards started to shoot. Arrow after arrow bounced off of Luke’s cloak. I heaved a deep sigh of relief. His protection charm was working. The guards continued to shoot. They lit the arrows on fire. More than once, I smelt the unmistakable stench of poison. I was tempted to turn into a dragon so I could identify which arrows were poisoned, but I didn’t do anything.
Then Luke raised his fist and the guards both collapsed. That was my cue. I sprang out of the bushes, transforming into a dragon almost immediately. I charged after Luke. He started running, but his normal speed was no match for my light jog. I caught up to him quickly and transformed into a princess once more.
“Princess,” Luke hissed. “You shouldn’t be human right now. I don’t like you being unprotected.”
“I’m not unprotected,” I snarled. “Next time, get rid of the guards before they start shooting. I don’t like watching arrows fly at you.”
“It makes the entrance more dramatic,” he said. “Come on. Smash the door down.”
I chuckled. “What’s the magic word?”
He hissed something in dragon language. I laughed. “Close enough.”
I rushed forward, transforming once more into a dragon. The guards shouted and hefted their spears. I lashed out and swept them both away. I opened my mouth and channeled a spurt of flame toward the door. Just the force of the fire alone was enough to send the door flying through the castle. There were shouts from behind the door and I knew they had prepared armies to protect the fortress. They had been ready. The plan had to change.
I transformed back into a woman and stormed through the doors. I heard Luke shout in surprise behind me as I ran into the fortress and held my arms up. Immediately, all of the torches in the room blew up. Flame spilled out of the torches and onto the wooden chairs and tables that had been set up against the door to stop us.
I turned to the now burning furniture to control the flames, but a guard stepped in the way. He raised his sword. I quickly jumped to the side and his sword smacked against the ground. I drew my own sword and put the tip under his chin. “You would do well to remain silent and not move right now,” I said.
There was a clang behind me and I glanced back just long enough to see Luke fight off a group of soldiers. With a burst of magic, he sent one of his guards into the man I was cornering, effectively getting rid of them both while he finished his attack.
Luke grabbed me. “What happened to the plan?” he cried.
“The plan was made under the assumption they didn’t know we were coming,” I snapped. “I told you we should have made a backup plan.”
He shook his head. “Fine. Let’s go. I’ll lead the way.”
“Excuse you,” I said, rushing ahead of him. “Ladies first.”
“Not when you aren’t wearing a protection charm,” he shouted. “Turn back into a dragon.”
I ignored him as I rushed to the nearest torch and picked up several handfuls of flame. Several of the guards were running back, probably to get help or support a different part of the fortress. The ones charging to attack slowed a little as I turned with fire dancing on my palms. In a split second, they all seemed to realize that I was no ordinary woman, not even an ordinary dragon. Only royalty could use their elements in human form.
The fires seemed to leap out of my hands as I threw them. The guards drew back into a tight bunch, their weapons drawn. Immediately, Luke was there, racing around them so quickly that none of them could watch him. He bound them all tightly together and knocked the swords out of their hands at the same time. As soon as the knot was tied, he turned off his super speed and leaned against the wall, breathing heavily.
I moved to the guards and held up my hand with the last ball of fire. It played around my fingers a bit. The men watched my hand in terror, knowing full well that I could destroy them all with that single flame if I wished to.
“Stop playing with them and come on,” Luke said from behind me. “More guards are on the way.”
I let the fire race up my arm and rest on my shoulder as I turned to him. I frowned. “Are you okay?”
He shot a meaningful look at the men behind me. “I’m fine. Come on.”
I could see that he wasn’t fine. Luke could do a number of things with his charms, but speed usually made him sick. I couldn’t let the guards realize his weakness so I nodded and walked past him, hoping he was strong enough to keep moving.
I glanced back when I reached the shut door on the other end of the hall. Luke was close behind me, breathing heavily, but he gave me a curt nod when he noticed me looking. I tried to relax as I focused on the door. I banged on it, but I could tell that someone or something heavy was holding it shut. I would have to turn into a dragon again.
I transformed in an instant. My tail struck the door, but it still held. I turned my head to look down at Luke to warn him off. He quickly stepped back as I crouched and prepared a strong ball of fire. I released it all in one blast, feeling as if some of my anger was poured into the flame. I hated seeing Luke weakened.
Perhaps it was a little too much. The door flew down the hallway, completely blasted off its hinges. I heard a crash as it hit a window at the end of the corridor. The heat was so intense that Luke had to smother a few flames on his cloak.
More guards streamed out of the hallway to confront me, but their arrows simply bounced off my scales. I snarled a warning at them, but they didn’t back off. I didn’t like just killing humans for fun as it ruined my image as a peacemaker, but I had to get rid of them or I wouldn’t be able to turn into a human to get into the hallway.
I pushed them all to the side with my tail and picked up one of the smoldering tables from the wreckage by the front entrance. I quickly inhaled all the flames and placed the table over them, trapping them.
I turned into a human. Luke had killed the fire on his cloak and was staring up at me with a hint of annoyance. “That was my favorite cloak,” he said.
“Oh boo-hoo,” I said. “Come on. I don’t smell anymore humans in the hallway and I need to find another torch to steal flames.”
“Those chairs and tables are on fire,” Luke pointed out. “Just take some from there.”
I gave him a pointed look. He smacked his forehead. “Right. Let’s find a torch.”
I let him lead me into the next hallway. I sought out flames that hadn’t come from the dragon me, but the power in my blast had altered all the fire on the torches. A dragon couldn’t use their own fire while they were in their human form, which was annoying when I had to be constantly switching between human and dragon. I had to find natural flames or I would remain defenseless.
We hurried up the stairs to the next level. As we passed by a torch, I put my hands in the flames. These ones had been altered to be mine too. I frowned and looked up the stairs at Luke, who was approaching a door with caution. He couldn’t open the door yet. I needed fire.
“Luke,” I called.
He paused as the door started to open. His eyes flickered down at my empty hands right before a guard on the other side of the door raised his sword. He grunted as he drew his sword and tried to defend himself and keep an eye on me at the same time.
“Where are your flames,” he yelled.
“They're altered,” I shouted back. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll find some.”
Luke was breathing hard as he blocked a heavy strike. “Wait,” he shouted as I ran past.
This hall was full of guards. I hurried to the nearest torch and reached toward the flame. At that moment, something hit me and pinned me to the wall. I quickly turned into a dragon, but the damage was already done. There was an arrow in my shoulder.
I roared and lashed out with my tail, knocking several guards away. The majority of them pressed toward a door on the far end of the room. If Luke’s maps were correct, that door led to our destination. I tried to swipe them away, but they had protective spells set over them to block heavy objects. I looked down at Luke, who had fought off the guard. He was looking up at me. “Plan four,” he shouted at me.
Plan four: confusion. I put my enormous head right next to them and inhaled. There were protections against fire as well, but not smoke. I formed a ball of fire in my throat, but didn’t open my mouth. Smoke started to pour out of my nostrils and ears. The guards started to cough. I moved gently to try to get past the spell and pushed them away. I was amazed that it worked. Apparently my fore claw wasn’t a heavy object if it wasn’t swiping at high impact.
I let Luke rush past me to the door as I snorted smoke over all the guards. Luke had his nose and mouth covered, but I could see that he was still struggling as he tried to pick the lock on the door. I stepped forward, ready to transform into a human when I remembered my injury. It was little more than a scratch as a dragon, but I would have a harder time when I was a human.
I moved my scaly head back and fastened my teeth over the shaft of the arrow. As gently as I could, I pulled the arrow out. The arrowhead snapped off, but it was far out enough, that I could grasp it with my teeth and pull it out.
The door in front of Luke suddenly opened and he stumbled inside. I turned into a human as I stepped forward and managed to hold my queenly appearance before Luke shut the door.
I put my hand over my shoulder and gritted my teeth against the pain. I had to hold out long enough for us to grab the talisman and go. I stumbled forward, but the pain consumed me and I sank to my knees.
I felt Luke’s hand on my good shoulder. “Are you okay?” he asked. I couldn’t help but notice his concerned expression. I wanted to convince him I was okay, but we had a task.
“Get the talisman,” I said.
“Just focus on me for a moment,” he said gently. He put his arm around me and I found it hard to focus on anything else. “Is the wound bad?” he asked.
I closed my eyes for a moment and assessed the pain. “It’s not critical. I’ll survive.”
“Good.” He stood up and moved to the edge of the room. I frowned. The talisman was sitting in the chest in the center of the room. I could sense the magical power coming from it.
“Luke, what are you doing?” I asked weakly. “The talisman’s in the chest.”
“I know,” he said. He grabbed one of the torches from the wall and threw it to the ground, crushing the flame with his foot.
“What are you doing?” I shouted again. “Stop it. I need the fire.” I stood up slowly, wincing a little at the pain. Luke reached out toward the rest of the torches and they all immediately sprang off the wall and smashed to the floor.
I grabbed the chest and hurried toward the door. My wound burned like fire, but I reached the door and pulled on the handle. It didn’t move. Luke was now moving towards me. I yanked the chest open and pulled out the glass orb inside.
“Come on,” I said. “Let’s go.”
“Sorry princess,” Luke said with a slight smirk. “I can’t let you leave with that orb.”
I threw the box aside and hugged the orb to my chest. “But Luke, we need to create peace between humans and dragons. This has been our plan ever since we first met.”
He smiled dangerously. “I have other plans.” He stepped toward me and unsheathed his sword. At that moment, everything in my body seemed to freeze. I couldn’t hear anything, feel anything. I could only see Luke with his sword pointed at my neck. The only thing within me that didn’t seem to be frozen was my heart. It pounded harder as if it knew it was nearing its end and had to complete a few more beats.
“You see princess,” Luke said with a smirk. “I can’t let you leave with that talisman. You attacked a castle of the Last Warlock. I find that unacceptable.”
I felt my face grow hot. “You’re a spy of the Warlock?” I snarled. “I should have known.”
He snorted. “Princess, I’m not just a spy.” He removed his cloak and tore open the front of his shirt. A necklace with the Warlock’s symbol rested against his chest. His eyes gleamed dangerously. “You see, Dragon Princess,” he hissed. “I am the Warlock.”




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