Greetings Draconic scholars!
This week’s question comes from another large, scaled antagonist, though this brute is admittedly much more amicable than we dragons are.
Ah, my fellow fire-breather! A very good question and one that brings back memories of the most infuriating mortal I have ever had the displeasure of knowing…
I had been pillaging the countryside of a wealthy kingdom one fine summer’s day when I came upon the fortified castle of the king himself. From the dying, feeble shrieks of the knights I had been snacking on, I had gathered that I was about to loot the treasury of one “King Ferivald the Glorious.” Based on the wealth I had collected from the lowliest peasants, I had also concluded that the king’s vault would surely be a collection worth raiding. The castle itself was no problem—there were only a few hundred guards wielding simple swords and bows between me and the stockpile of riches that were surely inside.
After a few hours of “Begone, foul beast!” and “Ye shall not prevail against the king’s men!” (followed immediately by the shrieks and crunches of their quick consumption), I had prevailed. Every mortal that stood in my way was either fearfully fleeing or becoming a conglomeration of reddish paste in my gut. All I had left to do was find the king’s coffers and claim it for myself. A short search of the castle found me burrowing under the throne room, the most likely place for the king’s wealth to be kept. (Human kings always like to keep their most precious items close at hand. They must be so used to losing it, considering how short their lives are.)
Though the stone was made of tough material, it was no match for my claws and might, and after only a few minutes, I tore my way into the treasure room. The size of the space led me to conclude that it could hold millions of coins and, considering again how rich (and tasty) the average citizen had been, the king must have had multitudes of wealth. But to my dismay, the room contained only a single copper coin and a note.
I only read the words “foresaw,” “moved treasure,” and “vile creature!” before I burned the note to ashes in my rage. I had not come all this way, made all this effort, and eaten all of these adversaries for a single copper coin! I flew back out of the vault, tossing stones and mortar in my wake, racing through the ruined castle in search of… something! A second treasure room? Hidden sacks filled with coins? Maybe the king himself, hiding among his undeserved wealth? After clambering through the narrow halls of the keep, I finally came upon a locked door, high at the top of the tallest tower.
Blasting the door off its hinges, I found in the little room not my missing fortune, but instead, a single human girl dressed all in pink, sitting on a luxurious four-poster bed. She wore the most contemptuous scowl on her frigid face, her arms crossed, her foot tapping rapidly on the floor. She looked as if the fact that the most powerful creature that had ever existed was somehow little more than an annoyance to her. To be honest, the glare she was giving me was impressively unnerving, even to my imposing self. I almost congratulated her on her furious presence, but the frustration from the missing treasure came back into my mind and I opened my jaws for a quick, pink, angry snack.
However, right before the indignant young woman was consumed, she let out not a scream as was the norm, but a threat.
“Like, WOW! If you just eat me,” she retorted, “you will SO never find my daddy’s treasure, you stupid brute.”
Was she afraid? She didn’t sound afraid. That was annoying. I like my food to be at least aware that they are in the presence of magnificent ferocity before I eat them. At this moment, I realized who this was. The princess! Though princesses usually taste like raspberry pies (though a bit spoiled), if this little irritation had information on the fortune, then dessert would have to wait.
“And WHERE is the king’s treasure, then, little human?” I hissed.
“…Yes. I gathered that,” I replied. The disdain in her voice rivaled that of the most furious red dragons I had met. Had I known any better, I would have guessed she was yet another dragon in human form.
I continued, “But where did the treasure get to, then?”
“Daddy took it with him.”
Great, I thought. Now I’ll have to track down a king somewhere.
“And where, my infuriating friend, did your father go?” I replied. My patience was as thin as a ladybug’s shadow, but I needed to know.
“Away. He heard you had been spotted in the area. Your fat butt is hard to miss. So, he, like, packed everything up and left. I’m sure he’s hiding in one of his usual spots. I’ll totally tell on him though. IF you do whatever I say.”
For a second, I wondered if millions of gold pieces were even worth dealing with this spoiled, unpleasant imp, but I quickly weighed the options and decided to play along for now. Finding a king that didn’t want to be found could prove to be tiresome, and with the wealth I had already been carrying, I needed to get back to my lair sooner rather than later. On top of this, I imagined that most princesses had everything they could ever need—what more could she want?
“Fine!” I reluctantly agreed. “What would you possibly like me to do, my liege?”
“First, they, like, totally forgot to send me up my meal this morning with all the super annoying sieging of the castle your stupid self was doing. Go down to the kitchens and bring me my breakfast.”
“I believe I destroyed the kitchens during my ‘super annoying sieging.’ Your breakfast may be in there, but I doubt it would be in any state to consume for a fragile being such as yourself.”
“Like, SERIOUSLY, you are the worst!” she whined. “Ok, fine then. You’ll just have to go find some food for me in town. Unless you already destroyed that too with your big butt.”
I nearly immolated her right then and there. Never had I been disrespected so much in such a short time. However, I stayed my breath and reminded myself of the vast riches in my near future. Plus, I could simply throw her off her tower when this was all done. A long life like mine demands at least a mote of patience.
“Alright. Breakfast. Should be easy enough. Anything special dietary needs, your majesty?” I asked. I figured she would be the type to be unbelievably picky. I was right.
“Yeah, obviously,” she hissed, standing up and gesturing to her gaunt figure. “I’m, like, SUPER into this really hot diet right now where you only have one cup of lemon juice per meal. How ELSE could I look this good?”
My own swollen gut, filled with the half-digested populace of the castle, gurgled at the thought of surviving on nothing but a cup of lemon juice. The princess looked like a mouse’s fart could knock her over, but the health of this mortal was unimportant. One lemon delivered, then I would be that much closer to my goal.
“Oh, and make sure it’s a ripe lemon, obviously!” she cried as I shoved the door back onto its hinges. I placed a few bits of furniture from the hall outside her door to keep her in place while I squeezed back out of the castle and flew to the town below.
Editor’s note: Geldrin here! We gnomes rarely have anything like a princess ourselves. We tend to be a hidden people, with no kingdom or country to speak of, thus, I have yet to meet a princess in my travels. However, if Grendel’s impersonation of this royal individual is any bit accurate, I cannot imagine allowing one with such a grating cadence to their voice to ever be in a position of rulership. Maybe not all princesses have such a tone. Either way, to hear what sounds like a young human woman’s voice being nearly-perfectly mimicked by my dragon friend is a rather odd experience, and one I wish you could hear in person! The absolute contempt in Grendel’s voice for this woman is rather amusing.
At this point, though, I’m going to cut off Grendel and make this story into another cliffhanger. The carrier phoenix nearly nipped off my finger last week when I tried to tie too many parchments to her leg. In order to keep my digits this time, I will have to leave it here. Next week, we will conclude this story, I assure you! Will Grendel ever find this lemon? Will he learn of the king’s whereabouts? Find out next week, my fine scholars!
[…] of this mortal was unimportant. One lemon delivered, then I would be that much closer to my goal. Storytime With Grendel: As You Wish – Part 1 I was on the search for a simple lemon—an endeavor that should have been a quick task, yet […]