“I want to cry,” the elf who wielded the spear said. “He’s a devil. An absolute devil.”
“How so, Celia?” her grandmother asked. She was an elder of the tribe who had silver hair and green eyes with crow’s feet around the edges. “I doubt he can be as bad as you when you were growing up,” she said and chuckled.
“Did I destroy the tree of knowledge? Did I pin people down and force them to eat food? Did I ever make you feel like food?! Did I ever breathe fire!?” Celia started to sob. “He doesn’t listen and we can’t punish him. He almost killed Mary for trying to put clothes on him and he caused an earthquake when we tried to feed him vegetables. We need your help, Grandma.”
Her grandmother nodded. So that’s what caused the earthquake. “Where is he now?” she asked.
“After incinerating the vegetables, he said he was going to hunt some bears for proper food. I saw him eat once. He eats his meat raw and slurps on it,” Celia said as she shivered.
Her grandmother sighed. “Imagine what all those adventurers you scared away would think if they saw you like this,” she said with a smile.
“I’d rather fight a hundred adventurers with a toothpick than try to tame that devil,” Celia said with tears in her eyes, “at least adventurers bleed.”
Celia jumped up and wiped her tears. “How did a behemoth get so close without us noticing its aura?” she asked.
Her grandmother stood up and picked up a wooden staff in the corner of the room. “Let’s find out,” she said.
The two exited the hollow tree trunk they were staying in and headed towards the commotion.
“FALSE ALARM! THERE’S NO BEAR!”
The two looked at each other and hurried towards the noise. When they arrived at the entryway, they saw a towering bear in the distance slowly floating towards the gate.
“Is he carrying that?” an elf whispered.
“Oh my Aeris, he is,” another responded.
“Is that Vur?” Celia asked. She was behind the crowd and couldn’t see the lower half of the bear.
“Yes. It is,” the sentry at the gate said. The surrounding crowd turned to look at Celia with looks of undisguised pity. You don’t have to look at me like that, Celia thought, but didn’t say anything. She sighed and walked out of the gate as the crowd parted to let her through. Her grandmother followed behind.
Celia walked up to the bear and put her hands on her hips. “Vur, you can’t bring that into the village,” Celia said. “We don’t kill for food here.” The bear stopped moving. A few seconds later, Vur crawled out from underneath the corpse.
“Why not?” Vur asked. “It tastes much better than plants.”
“We bond with these animals. They give us strength through imprints and we keep the humans and demons out,” Celia’s grandmother replied. She pointed at the bear. “This is one less bear that can help our tribe now that you killed it.”
“I didn’t kill it,” Vur said. “Snuffles did.” Snuffles oinked and his bloody rump wiggled.
“That doesn’t matter. The point is, these beasts are to be respected,” she said.
“But Grimmy says these bears are just walking sacks of meat waiting to be plucked,” Vur said, “and dragons don’t lie.”
“You’re not a dragon though,” the elder said. “You’re a human. Grimmoldesser’s words don’t apply to you.”
“You’ve done it now, Grandma,” Celia said as she covered her ears. She noticed all the elves behind her doing the same.
“I’m a dragon!” Vur yelled. “Why does everyone keep calling me a filthy human?” His eyes glowed and everyone felt an oppressive force weighing down on them.
“Silence.” The pressure disappeared and a figure walked out of the woods. She had the shape of a woman, but her body was green and covered with vines and leaves. Her hair was made of fine strands of wooden branches that flowed to the ground. Vur glared at her and tried to talk, but no sounds came out. He started to dash at her, but fell over when she waved her arm and said, “Bind.”
“Sleep,” she said and Vur’s eyelids drooped before he started to snore.
“Many thanks, High Dryad Juliana,” Celia’s grandmother said as she cupped her hands together.
The dryad shook her head. “He’s been keeping me up for days with his roaring. What is he?” she asked.
“He’s a hu-“
“Dragon,” Vur said in his sleep.
“It’s best if you come inside so we can explain the situation,” Celia said.
“What should we do about the behemoth?” the sentry asked. Snuffles looked at Vur who was being carried into the village by the dryad and then looked at the bear. His eyes started to glow and a dome of ice encased the bear. He had seen Sera freeze the leftover bears multiple times and could use her magic since he had her lineage. Snuffles snorted then followed after Vur, ignoring the shocked looks of the elves.
“Do you think the elves are treating him well?” Sera asked Vernon. “What if they forget to feed him? What if he gets hurt?”
“You worry too much. Vur is strong and the elves wouldn’t dare to mistreat him,” Vernon said with a yawn.
“If anything, he’d be mistreating the elves,” Grimmy said with a laugh. “I taught him a little something before he left.”
Leila glared at him. “What did you teach him?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing. Just the principles of a dragon,” Grimmy said with a grin, “pride, arrogance, greed, gluttony, stubbornness, you know, the usual.”
Leila smacked his snout. “That is what I love about you though,” she said. Grimmy chuckled.
“Put some clothes on,” Juliana said.
“No,” Vur replied. His hands, feet and neck were adorned with black runes and he was plastered to the floor by a boulder on his back.
“Put some clothes on and I’ll remove the curse,” Juliana said as she turned a page of her book.
“No,” Vur said. “Dragons don’t wear clothes.”
“Put some clothes on or I won’t feed you,” Juliana said as she continued to read.
“No,” Vur said. “A dragon should die before they put their life in a stranger’s hands.”
“Put some clothes on or I’ll kill you and Snuffles,” Juliana said as she snapped the book shut.
“No. Just kill me. My parents will avenge me; it’s a dragon’s duty,” Vur said.
“Who is teaching you this nonsense?” Juliana asked with her hands rubbing her temples.
“It’s not nonsense. Dragons don’t lie,” Vur said. Juliana stood up and made her way to the door.
“I’ll leave you here for a week, let’s see how much of a dragon you really are,” Juliana said as she shut the door behind her.
“How is he?” Celia asked. She had been sitting outside waiting for results.
“He’s an absolute brat. I’ll check up on him in a week. Mark my words; I’ll have him behaving properly in a month,” Juliana nodded.