A Short Story:
A King and a Fool
I strode out of the courtroom, a big smile on my face. The king himself had chosen me, the finest graduate of Blade Art Academy, to accompany him on his journey to the city of Ezor. I was sooo ready.
We started on the dirt path at a brisk pace. Alden, the king, told me not to do anything stupid while he was sleeping in the carriage. As if I would. The horse trotted along while I analyzed the map. It wasn't that complicated; past the Tiaw bridge, through the Valor Forest, past a large cave, a few miles down another road, and finally into the city of Ezor. Looking up, I saw that we were approaching the Tiaw bridge. Standing in the middle, as indicated on the map, was a short creature. It had a squarish face, and a large, bushy mustache that split his face in half. I slowed the horse down to a halt, and waited for the creature to start.
“STOP RIGHT THERE!” it bellowed, on cue. “YOU MAY PASS IF YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING RIDDLE CORRECTLY. “
“AHEM. WHAT HAS FOUR-”
“A man.” I interrupted. “Can we pass now?”
“INCORRECT!” he roared. “KIDS LIKE YOU NEED TO LISTEN! NOW TURN BACK AROUND OR I KILL YOU!!” He drew two short blades from his side.
Before I could draw my sword, Alden stepped out from inside the carriage.
“Please, give us another chance to answer.” said Alden.
The creature tapped his head, deciding whether or not to have mercy on us.
I gave him the best pleading look I had.
“OH ALRIGHT. YOU GUYS LOOK WEAK; WOULDN'T BE MUCH FUN TO KILL.” he said.
“AHEM. WHAT HAS FOUR WHEELS AND FLIES?” he asked.
I stared at him, dumbfounded.
Alden thought for a moment, and then started into a mirthful laugh.
“A garbage truck.” he said at last. I shook my head, certain that he blew our last chance of going anywhere.
“CORRECT! YOU MAY PROCEED!” belted the creature.
He stepped aside, and we continued forward. Alden turned toward me and said
“You almost got us killed because of your impatience. I know you want to get there as soon as possible. I do too. But you can’t risk our lives just to shave off a few minutes. I thought you were ready to handle the perils of this journey, but I guess I should head back and find someone else...”
I bowed my head. “No! Please, give me another chance! It won’t happen again sir. I promise.” My face was beet red in shame.
Alden was silent for a few seconds as he considered my plea.
“Alright. Don’t waste this chance.” he responded at last. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and urged the horse forward.
We made it through the Valor Forest without much trouble. As night approached, we decided to find a place to rest. I spotted the large cave that was shown on the map and suggested we rest there. Alden consented and we parked our carriage inside. I quickly fell asleep.
I woke to a loud noise and Alden yelling at me to get up quick. I jumped to my feet and saw two large, green, eyes staring at me.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! “ I screamed and scrambled over to Alden, who was dusting himself off near the carriage.
“ROAR” thundered the dragon, it’s nostrils flaring. A hot breath of flames grazed my pant leg as I rolled to the side.
“Where did it come from?!” I yelled to Alden.
He heaved a sigh and plopped me on the drivers seat.
“Drive quick, talk later. I don’t want to be its breakfast.” he snapped.
We quickly left the carnage behind us. Thankfully, the dragon hadn't bothered to pursue us.
I turned around to say something to Alden, but his expression cut me off.
“YOU FOOL! That was a dragon’s lair we slept in! It should've been labeled on the map!”
I squinted at the map. “I don’t see it...oh wait.”
Dragons Lair was printed in microscopic letters under the cave.
Alden started to say something, but cut himself off.
“Unbelievable.” he muttered at last.
I didn't know what to say. I almost got us killed. Twice. I messed up big time.
I handed the invitation the king received to the guard at the gate.
The guard smiled warmly and ushered us in, which totally ruined the awkward mood that hung in the air.
"Wanna get something to eat?" I asked while we were passing through the town's bazaar.
Alden slapped me with his newspaper and said, "Just hurry up."