A princess on her way to learning how to become a dragon. Digital work | 2014.

dragon, –n
1. a mythical monster usually represented as breathing fire and having a scaly reptilian body, wings, claws, and a long tail
2. a fierce or intractable person, esp. a woman

*  *  *

Fear widened the eyes of the princess as she stared at the dragon, but a small spark of defiance lifted her chin. “Why have you captured me?”

“Captured?” The dragon’s scoff sent two puffs of smoke steaming from her nostrils. “I’ve set you free.”

“Set me free?” said the princess. “You took me as a toll!”

“I took you from the kinds of people who would sacrifice their princess to a dragon in order to save their own lives,” the dragon shot back. The princess fell silent as the memory sent anger boiling through her veins.

“Now you have a choice,” the dragon went on. “You can sit and wait for that royal idiot to brave the danger and rescue you. Or…” She drew nearer, and this time the princess did not shrink back in fear. “Or I can teach you how to become like me, and you will never be at the mercy of others again.”

The princess frowned. “I am not a dragon.”

“How do you think dragons came to be? Once, we were nightmares, a fear of shadow and flame. The one thing everyone fears. The one thing that could keep those who would harm a defenceless, innocent girl at bay. So she took it for her own, she became it, and she passed on what she knew to others who needed it. Just like I will now pass it onto you, if you want.”

The princess thought back to the sacrifice, and beyond that, to all the times she had been ordered around, passed over, leered at, talked about as if she wasn’t there. She thought about the prince who might come to save her, and take her for his own as if she were a prize at a tournament. And she smiled.

He would come, and she would be ready.

“Show me,” she said.

*  *  *

Inspired by a post I saw on Tumblr a while ago about how dragons are not born, but taught. Who ever said that when the dragon takes you, you need saving?

Digital work | 2014.