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Belle and the Dragon

 

 

 

 

 

Belle and the Dragon

A short novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by

Tony Myers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belle and the Dragon

 

 

Copyright 2016 by Tony Myers

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission from the author. The only exception is in the case of brief quotations.

 

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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To all the fans of my first books, Singleton, and Stealing the Magic,

Thank you for all your encouragement.

It kept me writing on the hard days.

<>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Belle awoke and sat up in her bed. She was breathing heavily. It was early, still dark out. Her dreams had awakened her again. This was a common occurrence. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and looked around the room. Looking to her right, she could see rain beating against the window.

Pulling the covers off, she quickly slid out of bed and walked toward the window. She looked out to the mountains in the distance, admiring them from afar. Belle enjoyed being in a room far above the tree line. For as long as she could remember, she had lived in this tower. It was the highest spot in the castle. Being the only daughter of the king definitely came with its perks. Everyone in the villages greatly admired King Sebastian’s twenty-year-old beautiful daughter, and this quiet tower provided the great peace she needed in her world of fame.

She tried to think of her dream. She so deeply wished she could remember it. Only bits and pieces would come to her. What was it? she thought to herself. It was a strange feeling. Intuitively Belle knew this was the same recurring dream she was having every week. The strange thing, too, was that something was not right with the dream. She just couldn’t place what it was, but she knew something was wrong. A piece of it was troubling. The desire to remember was growing every week. She would have given a lot of gold to help figure out the nature of her dream.

The lightning continued to strike in the distance. She wondered if she could go back to sleep. She walked back to her bed and climbed under the covers. She looked over at the lantern on the table beside her bed. Her medicine was sitting next to the lantern. The nursemaid must have come in and left it while she was sleeping. Picking up the small cup, Belle drank it down quickly. It tasted terrible, but she had become immune to the taste a long time ago.

For as long as she could remember she had taken medicine. The nursemaid would routinely bring it in at night, and she would take it first thing when she woke up. Belle wasn’t totally sure what it was for, but her father always said it was for her demeanor and anxiety. Many times she had asked her father if she would ever be cured. He would always tell her that their doctors could retest in a few years and see if it was helping. She knew it would never happen.

Belle gathered her brown hair in a ponytail and tied it back. She readjusted her pillow before lying down. Shutting her eyes, she tried to relax. She could hear more than just the rain on the window pane. At first she thought it was her imagination, but after a while she knew that it wasn’t. She heard voices coming from downstairs.

What’s going on? she thought to herself. It’s too early for Father to be engaging in matters of business. She quickly got back out of bed and headed for the door. Turning the handle, she opened the door slowly. The voices became louder. She could hear shouting and arguing.

Belle quickly walked to her bed and grabbed the lantern. Lighting the lantern, she walked back toward the opened door. She slowly crept down the spiral steps of the tower. The voices grew louder with every step. Her father’s voice was clear, but many of the other voices she did not immediately recognize.

Reaching the bottom, she peeked around the corner into the meeting room. She could see a large round table and her father, the king, on one end arguing his point. He was dressed in a dark red robe with his crown sitting on the table. His long curly, brown hair could be clearly seen. His advisor, Hector de Serpent, was close to his side, gritting his teeth angrily as a few strands of dark black hair covered his face. On the other side of the table were about a dozen fully-armed knights, who were ready for battle. It looked as if her father, King Sebastian, was angrily arguing and pleading with them. Belle tried to listen in on what was he was saying but struggled to grasp the full context of their conversation. Across the table from the king, the chief knight of the realm, Michael, was arguing on behalf of his men. Belle couldn’t hear him very clearly but could tell he was trying to make a case against what King Sebastian was saying.

Belle knew that Michael de Bolbec was the only person in the whole kingdom who could argue with the king in such a fiery tone. He had proven himself in various battles in defense of the kingdom and had accomplished much, even at the age of 25. He was strong, brave and handsome and, though it was never said, Belle knew that her father was trying to groom him to one day be her husband. It seemed that everyone in the kingdom knew of this fact, which always made conversation with Michael a little awkward.

“Listen, I’m not into the game of appeasement,” Michael said, jamming his index finger on the table. His voice was strong and could be recognized anywhere. “This creature has oppressed us long enough. I say it’s time to strike and time to strike hard.”

The King shook his head, “Michael, what are you talking about? He has left us in peace for years. The people barely remember the last victim.”

Michael hit the table hard with his fist. His blond hair partially covered his face as he shouted angrily, “Peace, you think this is peace? The people live in fear of him. He sits there day after day on our border, waiting for someone from our land to come close.”

“Hold your tongue, Michael!” Hector responded, pausing a moment to lick his lips. His voice reminded Michael of what a human snake would sound like. “You ought to know better than to talk to the king in this way. You ought to be bowing before him, not talking to him in his manner.” Hector quickly pulled a dagger from his side. Michael remained unfazed, not in the least bit scared of Hector.

“Quiet down, Hector. I can handle this,” King Sebastian spoke. Hector lowered his dagger, giving Michael an angry look. Belle despised Hector. He always dressed himself in dark green clothing and seemed to linger in the shadows. She often objected to the advice and opinions he seemed to plant in her father’s mind. She wished he would listen to her warnings, but it was always to no avail.

“Ok, listen, King,” Michael said, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “This creature needs to be shown strength. I’m not sure if my men and I will be able to quietly hunt him down and destroy him, but I’d say at least let’s come to him with swords drawn ready to fight. Some of these creatures are conscious enough to detect emotions like fear and courage. Let’s show him the latter. Let’s show him the strength of the kingdom.”

Though no one directly said it, Belle knew the creature they were referring to… a dragon; a cave dwelling dragon that caused the people of Mendolon to live in fear. On his own, he had created a forbidden territory east of the kingdom that the people stayed away from. His cave sat in the middle of this ten-mile territory. The townspeople refused to enter the area. In the past some of the new travelers to the kingdom thought the dragon was a myth, but five years ago any talk of a myth was put to silence. A merchant was eaten when he tried to take a shortcut by journeying through the area. His bones were later found at the edge of the territory. The dragon left them as a warning for the people.

The king continued, “Michael, we don’t cross into his border and he stays out of ours. This dragon has shown reserve and respect for our kingdom.”

“Respect… respect?” Michael countered, “You think living at our border and threatening to kill our people is a sign of respect? And answer me this, why has he suddenly decided to dwell at the edge of the border and blow fire into the surrounding fields?”

The king shook his head, “You are not listening to me. The proper way to go about this is not through a fight with a dragon. How many soldiers would we lose? Are you willing to sacrifice a few men from your band of knights just to kill a rather small dragon that lives, not in our towns, but outside our border?”

Michael couldn’t help but smile in sarcasm at the king’s use of the word small. Though compared to other dragons he was quite small, this one was no less intimidating. He would still rival the size of an elephant, and his sharp teeth and massive tail would leave anyone cowering before him. “My king, also think about this… if this beast was sent away, the trade routes to the east would be opened. Our neighbors would see it as a sign of goodwill.”

The king rubbed his forehead out of frustration. He spoke a little quieter, “Michael… my knight, you are not even thinking rationally now. Those to the east of us are savages. They would have nothing but war from us.” His voice was rising at this point, “Please, will you just let me explain my solution before you keep objecting.”

Michael took a deep breath and looked back at his knights. They seemed to be waiting patiently while he made his opinion known to the king. Michael had argued his point mightily and, so far, wasn’t getting through. He decided to yield to the king. He spoke in a calm voice, “Ok, King, tell me, what do you have in mind for this creature?”

King Sebastian bowed his head gently in a sign of appreciation, “Thank you for seeing the light. I will proceed.” He turned now to his advisor, “Hector, please bring in the statue.” Hector quickly retreated to a set of large double doors behind the king.

A puzzled look spread across Michael’s face as Hector opened the doors. He beheld the statue that two royal servants brought in on a cart. Hector helped guide it into place by the table. Michael couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing. It was a wooden statue of a dragon. It was about five feet in height, beautifully designed, and very well detailed. Hector was a master craftsman, and seemed to have spent hours on this fixture under the king’s orders. The teeth and the claws were each uniquely crafted, and even each individual scale looked to be crafted with great detail. Hector spoke up, “We plan to overlay it with gold before setting it on the border of the dragon’s territory.”

Michael’s mouth dropped open as he searched for words. On one hand the structure was a beauty to behold. It was possibly Hector’s greatest work. The detail was incredible. But on the other hand, he couldn’t believe what the king was proposing. Offering some type of idol to the dragon was not the road Michael wanted to venture down. “No…. no!” he said shaking his head. “This is definitely not the side of the kingdom we want to show the dragon.”

“Michael,” the king stuck his hand out, trying to calm him, “Hear me out, the dragon will see the time we spent on this and its beauty and he will look on us with favor.”

“He will definitely look on us with favor,” Michael shouted, “because he will think he is a god to us!”

“Listen, my knight. We just need to leave it at the edge of the territory and let him think what he wants.”

“King, you are my king, but in all due respect for you and the kingdom… I will not bring this piece of wickedness before him. This idea is most shameful, and definitely below your dignity.”

Hector could not contain his rage any longer. Before anyone could react, he quickly pulled his dagger again and lunged over the round table toward Michael. “How dare you speak to the king in this manner!” he shouted as he passed over the table.

Taking a step back, Michael quickly picked up his shield to intercept the approaching dagger. The dagger hit hard against the shield. The blade snapped in half upon impact. Hector landed on his feet and tried to gather himself quickly. Turning around, he wasn’t able to react in time to see Michael’s shield being driven into his face. Everyone could hear the crack of Hector’s nose breaking.

Hector fell to the floor. Blood was already starting to flow from his nostrils. Michael walked calmly over to where Hector was lying on the ground face up. An expression of terror was clearly visible. Michael slowly unsheathed his sword and held the tip toward Hector’s throat. “What were you saying, Snake?” he spoke quietly. Everyone watched in amazement at Michael’s poise.

Hector hissed as he spoke, “You’re not man enough to drive me through anyway. Go ahead and do it if you choose. I bet you…”

“Men, stop this non-sense,” King Sebastian said, rolling his eyes. “Hector, get off the floor and get back over here before you hurt yourself.” Pushing Michael’s sword aside, Hector quickly got up and ran toward the king’s side. The blood from his nose stained his mouth and chin. Michael sheathed his sword as his enemy retreated.

The king continued, “Well, like it or not, we are delivering this statue to the edge of the woods. You can either support me as your king or you can…”

Crash! The king turned to see the statue lying flat on the ground, knocked off the cart. A few of the wooden claws and teeth had broken off during the fall, and there were other large cracks in the body of the structure. A mixture of anger and confusion could be seen on the king’s face because beside the fallen statue, he was looking into the face of his only daughter, Belle.

With all the commotion with Michael and Hector, they had failed to see Belle pick up a javelin mounted on the wall and approach the statue. Swinging the javelin as hard as she could, she had knocked the statue off the cart and onto the floor. She now stood beside the broken structure, still in her nightgown, but looking more like a warrior with the javelin in her hand.

“Belle, what do you think you are doing?” her father spoke, a little more confused than angry.

Belle was a little scared as she spoke, “Father, I want to know what is happening. And please,” she paused, just for a moment, “I want to know how I can help.” Though she tried to look and sound tough, her voice was naturally soft and pleasant. It was always inviting to all who heard it.

The room had gone silent for a moment. Tensions had been rising all morning, and it was as if Belle’s presence had brought everything back down to a calm level. All the knights had grand respect for the king’s daughter. She was always kind to the townspeople and sought to befriend them when she could. She truly represented the best of the kingdom of Mendolon.

Michael took a deep breath and spoke quietly, “Belle, the dragon has been coming out of his cave the last two days and traveling to the edge of his border, sometimes into our territory.”

“You can’t prove that,” the king countered.

Michael continued, “Regardless, he is burning the fields on the edge of our border, destroying crops and killing a few livestock. I’m sure you’ve also heard the rumors that he growls at night, giving off a warning to those nearby.”

“Belle, we are debating what is the proper procedure to deal with these current developments,” her father added.

Everyone stood in silence for a few seconds trying to process everything that had happened and everything they had discussed. The mood had become noticeably less tense. Michael and his knights took seats at the table. Belle quietly sat down before speaking up, “Father, I think we should follow Michael’s plan. This dragon has been pestering us for years now, and maybe in the past the people were content to let him live on as long as he left us unbothered… but, Father, now is the time to fight back. He is again bringing fear to the townspeople and threatening us. He is one of the smallest dragons we know of; surely men with half the skill and courage of Michael have slain dragons greater than the one we face. I’d say let’s take up arms and confront him at once.” Michael couldn’t help but smile slightly at Belle’s confidence in him.

The king gently sat down at the table. He shook his head in exhaustion. He was angry at Michael. If it weren’t for his loyalty and valor in battle, the king would have surely demoted him a long time ago. He rubbed his hands through his thick brown beard as a plan formulated through his mind. He wanted a way to turn this situation around for his own glory and fame… or better yet, for the glory and fame of his lineage.

Standing up, the king grabbed for his crown and placed it on his head. He was ready to issue a decree. “Ok, this is what I propose. Today, we lead a procession through the town with Michael and his knights on the way to fight the dragon. Let the people see we are going to strike.”

“I agree, my king,” Michael responded.

“But let me say this,” the king continued with a smile on his face, “At the front of the procession beside Michael will be my daughter leading the way.”

This caught Michael off guard. He did not like the sound of this. “With all due respect, Sire, I do not agree with this decision. Yes, your daughter is skilled with the sword and will be a knight in her time, but I don’t think she is quite ready to face a dragon. I know you want…”

“Let me finish,” the king responded, “Belle will accompany you on this journey in full battle attire, but she will only go with you so far. Let the people see you ride through town and into the territory, but right before you are to do battle with the dragon in his lair, find a safe haven for Belle. Let her see the battle and claim the victory for it in the end. It will unite the people under my throne, and confirm my lineage against rebellion for a generation.”

Michael thought about this proposal from the king. He didn’t like the idea of bringing Belle along, but he liked it a lot more than any plan of appeasement the king had offered. Standing up from the table, he cracked his knuckles as he looked sharply at the king. “We will prepare at once, and leave as soon as the townsfolk begin to enter the markets.” The king nodded in approval.

Belle stood shocked. She couldn’t believe she was about to go on a dragon hunt.

 

2

Belle led the way on horseback through the center of town, dressed in her own armor. It was a beautiful purple and white pattern. It looked quite fitting for a princess, yet still ready for battle. A small sword was bouncing gently off her side with every step of the horse. She wore no helmet, just a simple crown on her head. Michael and his men were following close behind Belle. Michael chose his eight best men to accompany them on this expedition. He didn’t want any trouble from the dragon. The knights were in their traditional battle armor, whereas Michael was dressed in his unique warrior-like armor. It consisted of a grey fabric material with a metal vest covering his chest and traditional metal gloves to cover his hands. He wanted the protection yet valued the ability to be mobile during a battle. Unlike the other knights, he wore a helmet that left his face exposed. The king wanted the people to see the face of the realm’s chief knight.

It was prime time for the merchants. The streets were busy with people buying and selling in vast array. Many had stopped their transactions to watch the brigade of knights pass through the streets. Some of the young girls ran in excitement to see the king’s beautiful daughter pass through their midst. They clapped and cheered at the sight of the princess. Belle smiled and waved to the crowds as they showed their affection. A part of her felt deceptive leading knights through town like this, knowing that she was not going to engage in battle. In her mind she reassured herself that this was bringing the people hope, giving them something to rejoice about. Her father’s presence often brought dissension among the people. She was thankful that she could bring unity.

A young girl ran up toward Belle’s horse in a full sprint. She couldn’t have been older than nine. She was bouncing with excitement. “Whoa, hold up!” Michael said, holding out his hand to slow the girl. She stopped in her tracks.

“It’s all right… let her come,” Belle said, motioning with her hand for the girl to come closer. As she approached the horse, Belle could see that the girl held up a flower to her. Belle couldn’t help but smile as she gently took it from the girl’s hand. It was a daisy. The petals were nearly perfect. Stopping her horse in place, she put the flower in her hair, right by her ear. Giving the girl a small wink, she gave her horse a light kick as they continued on. The young girl waved as she ran back to her mother.

“It seems the townspeople are quite fond of you, Your Highness,” Michael said, riding alongside Belle.

“Maybe they’re cheering for you, the king’s chief knight,” Belle said, still waving to the people.

Michael laughed slightly, “I can assure you they’re not. The princess of the land is the one they want to see.”

“Michael, you know the people love you and appreciate your services to the kingdom.”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know they see me favorably, but you know as well as I that their true affection rests with you and you alone.”

Belle kept smiling and waving to the people. She genuinely loved them. More than anything she wanted them to feel safe and at peace in the kingdom. She was happy that after many years the threat of the dragon that lived at their borders was finally going to be eliminated.

<>

It had taken them most of the day to reach the southeastern edge of the kingdom. They were currently on the outskirts to the kingdom’s border close to the dragon’s territory. A few small villages were located in this region of rolling hills. They were simple farming communities. Occasionally the king would send guards through the area for collecting taxes or for the issuing of new decrees, but for the most part these villages governed themselves.

Michael, Belle, and the knights passed through the center of a small village located in a wooded area. A few houses lined the side of the road. On any other occasion, the people would have only given a slight notice to knights passing through their village, but as of late, the people were anxious to see the kingdom deal with the threats from the dragon. The group of knights was definitely a positive sign for the people, and seeing the king’s daughter riding with them was also a joyous sight.

A few times each year, Belle would travel to these outlining towns, usually with a couple of knights by her side. She wanted to see the people’s faces. In her heart of hearts she truly loved them and wanted them to experience lives of peace and tranquility within the kingdom of Mendolon. She worked hard at learning names and remembering the occupations of the people she saw more regularly. She knew that one day she was going to be their queen, and they would be her people.

Coming to the end of the line of houses, Michael instructed the men. “This road should take us right into the dragon’s territory. We have about another mile to travel and then we will stop for food before proceeding into the territory.” No one responded. The men were loyal and followed his orders without question. They trusted him.

Belle spoke up, “Michael, I’m surprised we are entering on the south side. The dragon has been spotted more by the villages on the northwestern side of the territory.”

Michael nodded without making eye contact. “I figure that is where the dragon might be spending most of his time. He may not expect anyone to approach his cave from the southern route.”

“I’m surprised that we would need to take such precautions with a group of eight men and this small of a dragon.”

Michael smiled as he turned to look at Belle, “Your confidence in me and my men is quite flattering, but I’m trying to eliminate any chance of an incident. This dragon has shown quite a bit of intelligence and I don’t want to underestimate him in any way.” Michael paused for a moment, “Even though he is small, he is still a fire-breathing dragon.”

Most of the women in the kingdom admired Michael for his strength and good looks. He was truly a symbol for the kingdom and King Sebastian would not hesitate to parade him around the villages with a brigade of troops. Belle, on the other hand, admired him for his bravery and humility. She wished more people could see that side of him.

They trotted along in silence for a minute or two. Belle and Michael were about ten feet in front of the others. The sound of the horses’ hooves was soothing as they traveled closer to the dragon’s territory. None of the men seemed scared. They found their confidence in their leader.

Belle broke the silence, “At times you really surprise me, Michael.”

“Oh, how so?”

“You often fall in line with many of my father’s wishes and desires. Why are you so loyal to him and give him so much respect?”

Michael spoke calmly, “Belle, I don’t know how much you heard this morning, but we were arguing for quite a while about what to do with this dragon.”

“Yes, I know, but even still, you are here doing my father’s bidding… even bringing me along. You know my father can be a harsh man at times. Why do you have such an allegiance to him?”

Michael waited just a moment before speaking. His mind seemed to be elsewhere. “My allegiance is to freedom, justice, and peace. Yes, your father is harsh at times, but he has provided a stable realm for the people of his kingdom. I will seek to maintain that. I will honor him as our king… for the sake of the people.”

Belle was happy for these few minutes alone to talk with Michael. She wanted to speak with him more in depth. All morning she had suspected that something was on his mind. It may have been a simple inflection in his voice, or possibly the way he was not making eye contact, but somehow Belle knew Michael was hiding something. He was truly a man filled with honor and truth, and most of the time he would easily give himself away if he wasn’t being completely honest.

“Michael, I know this dragon needs to be dealt with, but he has been here for years and not crossed our borders. Why the urgency? Couldn’t this dragon just be making us aware of his presence? Reminding us of his territory.”

“Isn’t ridding our border of a fire breathing dragon enough motivation?”

Though Belle often came across as sweet and soft spoken, she did have a determined side to her personality that wouldn’t give up till she got the answer she was looking for. “Michael, please,” she said reaching over and grabbing his arm, “You give yourself away so easily. What is really going on?”

Looking down at Belle’s hand holding his arm seemed to soften him. Though at times he tried not to think about it, he knew the rumors among the townspeople that one day they would wed. He looked up at her eyes as they were fixed on his. He knew there was no need in hiding anything, especially since she was accompanying them on this journey. He looked back at his men before speaking, “Belle, something does not add up with this dragon.”

“What do you mean?” she said, releasing his arm.

“I mean the whole situation. It’s always disturbed me. For one, have you ever heard of a dragon positioning itself directly between two kingdoms, and marking off its boundary? Usually they live far off, hoarding and protecting whatever gold they have accumulated. I have never heard of a dragon dwelling this close to such a populated region, much less two vast kingdoms.”

“Michael, that was about twenty years ago when he marked off his territory. You would have been young. Do you even remember that time?”

“I do. I was five at the time. People were filled with fear, wondering what the implications of having a dragon at our borders would mean.”

“I can imagine that was a hard time to grow up,” Belle said softly.

“For a time it was. I remember as a boy hearing about how the dragon had marked the border of his territory with fire. Among the townspeople they nicknamed the area Dragon Waste. Quickly, stories began to grow about the size of the dragon and if this would somehow incite a war with our neighbors to the east. I believe at that time, every boy in the kingdom had visions of growing up to become a dragon hunter.”

Belle was anxious to hear more as her father never talked much about it. “What happened, Michael?” she inquired. “Do you remember why the kingdom did nothing about it at the time?”

Michael shrugged his shoulders, “Life moved on. After he marked his territory the people knew to stay out of it. We didn’t cross his border and he stayed out of our villages. Other matters then concerned us as a people. King Sebastian, your father, heard rumors of war to the north. We thought we might be headed into it. Our attention was turned there. One day turned to another and the dragon was slowly forgotten.”

“You know, when you put it like that, it is strange that we, as a kingdom, have just come to accept a dragon living this close to our border.”

“Precisely. The whole situation is odd.” Michael paused for a moment as if he was in deep thought, “But at the moment there is something else that has brought even more curiosity to me,” he said, brushing his blond hair out of his eyes.

“Oh, and what’s that?” Belle said, puzzled.

“The king is right on one thing… for years this dragon has lived at our border in solitude. The only incident was the passing merchant that went into his area. But still, he has never directly threatened us like he is doing now.”

Belle thought for a moment about what Michael was implying. She figured she would ask directly, “So what’s your point? What do you think is happening?”

“This dragon is being provoked. He would not act like this unless something was making him angry.” Michael stared hard into the distance. “And maybe not necessarily something… but possibly someone.”

<>

They reached the border of the dragon’s territory in the middle of the afternoon. They stopped for a quick meal and to check supplies before heading into the area. A wooden sign stood at the border warning all travelers, “Dragon Waste: KEEP OUT! Enter under no circumstance.” Michael gave it only a passing glance as they proceeded forward.

The day grew dreary as they traveled through the territory. Belle wondered if it was going to rain. She figured rain would actually be an advantage in battling a fire breathing dragon. Soon the trail faded away. Plant life had overtaken it. Michael’s top soldier, Gideon, directed them according to a map of the area. Gideon was in his late forties, and he had been in the territory a couple of times before the dragon had settled. The dragon’s cave was nearly in the center of the territory, and it would be at least an hour before they arrived.

Belle had felt a little anxiety when they first entered the territory, but as the journey dragged on, the anxiety slowly faded. Occasionally glancing at the knights, she saw no fear in their eyes. She gleaned much confidence from their demeanor. They followed their captain whom they trusted. He was focused. From their earlier talk, Belle knew that Michael had questions about this dragon. There was a mystery with this dragon, and Michael was ready to explore.

Besides the overgrowth of plant life, the territory did not look much different from the outskirts of Mendolon: a thick forest followed by a small open plain, followed by a cluster of trees. Belle’s mind went to the battle that would be fought. She wondered how close she would be. She wondered how much she would be able to see. Or how long would it last? Surely a dragon this small would be a quick victory for Michael, especially with the amount of men that were brought along.

A rustle in the woods startled the company. Everyone stopped and looked to their left. Every man’s hand instantly went to the hilt of their sword, except for Michael who went for one of his daggers attached to his belt. For a distant enemy he would not hesitate to throw a small dagger. The men watched closely as a rabbit bounced from a small bush on a hill. The tension eased and the men continued on.

Since they entered the territory, no one had said a word. Gideon and Michael led the way, and Belle was surrounded by knights on both sides. She longed for conversation. She wanted her questions answered. Her mind slowly drifted to her recurring dream. She had a faint hope that something on this journey would jog her memory and help her remember it. Belle felt as if it was on the edge of her mind, just waiting to be grasped. Oh, how I wish I could remember it, she thought.

Without warning, Michael stopped the company. They were on the edge of a clearing of trees. A small hill lay just before them. “We’re here, men,” Michael said in a quiet voice. Belle thought this was odd as she couldn’t see the cave from where her horse stood. The men quickly dismounted from their horses and tied them to nearby trees. Belle followed suit.

Michael continued, “Gideon, you take the men around to the front of the cave and wait for me. I will make sure Belle is situated before joining you.”

“We will wait,” Gideon responded obediently. Michael and Belle watched as the knights walked around the hill, swords drawn, ready to fight. It was obvious the entrance to the cave was on the opposite side of the hill. Belle hoped she would be positioned where she could see the battle transpire.

“Belle, I’m going to position you here at the top of the hill among those two small trees,” Michael said, pointing to the top of the small hill. “Common to most dragons, at this time he should be sleeping.” Michael began leading her up the hill. She was a little disappointed as a part of her wished that somehow Michael would have allowed her to engage in the fight.

Michael further explained the plan. “Our strategy is simple. We attack the dragon while he is sleeping. If he awakes, he will have nowhere to go. Our numbers should overwhelm him pretty easily.”

“What if he decides to breathe fire on you?” Belle said bluntly.

“Highly unlikely. If the dragon is trapped, most of the time they won’t breathe fire, knowing that in a confined space the fire might lead to their own demise.”

Reaching the trees on the top of the hill, Belle could see there was a steep cliff on the side where the opening of the cave was. Looking over the cliff, she could see she was about twenty feet off the ground. She could also see the knights at the base. Michael gave a small wave, indicating he would be ready soon.

“I’d advise you to lay low among the trees. If the dragon seems to somehow get past us, he will probably head for the horses. Up here you will be completely out of the battle.”

Michael looked off into the distance when he spoke. He did not face her. Belle could tell his mind was occupied. In the past she had seen Michael before small battles, and this was completely unlike him. “Michael… is everything ok?”

“You can take my shield,” Michael said, completely ignoring the question. “You can use it to cover yourself, just in case the dragon is not in the cave. As soon as the battle is done, I will come for you. Remember to stay here.”

Michael turned to leave. “Michael,” Belle said, reaching out and trying to grab his hand. Failing to grasp his hand, her fingernails tore the cloth around his forearm, just above his gloves. Her grip was tight. Michael stopped. Looking down, Michael could see the torn cloth around his forearm. He looked up at Belle, making direct eye contact.

She continued, “Michael, I’m sorry, but is everything ok? Do you need me in this battle? I can help you guys. I’ve…”

“Belle,” Michael said, placing his hand on her shoulder. “I know you are a capable warrior, and have shown valor, but… I will follow your father’s wishes. You will be safe here.”

He tried to turn away again, but she held tight. “Tell me, is everything all right? You don’t seem yourself. What is it?”

Michael took a deep breath as he looked off into the distance. It seemed as if he was trying to choose his words carefully. “I keep thinking about our earlier conversation about this dragon.”

“Do you still have questions about this whole situation?”

Michael looked right at her, “I do and the more I think about it… the more questions I have. Something is going on, and I want to get to the bottom of it.”

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

Michael came off the hill and walked toward the front of the cave. Forced by habit, he found himself checking the daggers on his belt. He made sure they were all in their proper place and ready to be used if need be. He carried his sword on his back. As opposed to a typical knight’s sword, he preferred a shorter one. His current one was about a foot and a half in length. It was light-weight and could easily be pulled in the midst of combat.

He found his knights at the mouth of the cave looking into the entrance. Many of them already had their swords drawn. A couple of them looked worried. Seeing Michael approach, Gideon took a few steps toward him with news. “Sir, we believe the creature is awake,” Gideon said quietly.

“Oh, what makes you say that?”

“We can hear his faint growls. He sounds to be about fifty to seven-five yards in.” Gideon had always been blessed with a keen sense of hearing. It had proven to be a great asset in battle.

“Well, I guess there is not a moment to lose,” Michael said, placing his helmet on his head and drawing his sword. “Follow me, men.” With both hands on his sword, Michael proceeded to enter the cave. The knights did the same and followed behind their captain.

The knights were as quiet as they could be as they entered. They had all gone through immense training and knew how to sneak up on an enemy. Every drop of water and every slight kick of a rock seemed to be exaggerated in their minds. With every step, Michael went further into the darkness of the cave and closer to the growling of the creature. Sweat beads formed on his forehead. He was waiting for the right moment to charge the creature. One of his men had the assignment to light the torch just as he sprang into battle.

Michael’s mind quickly flashed back to the time of his youth. He remembered as a boy hearing about the dragon coming to their borders. He remembered the fear in the eyes of townspeople. He remembered the desire to one day slay this dragon and bring peace to the realm. The feelings from his youth came back. He was truly ready to put an end to this dragon… to put an end to fear.

Michael quickly looked back at his men, making sure they were still in step with him. He could see them clearly against the light coming from the opening of the cave. Turning toward the back of the cave, he could see nothing, only hear the growling.

The growling became louder with every step. It sounded irregular—in fact, it sounded as if the creature might be hurt. As he stepped closer and closer, he noticed that the growling was a lot less robust than what he had anticipated. In fact, he wouldn’t characterize this as growling at all, more like moaning. Something wasn’t right, he could sense it… he could almost feel it.

Michael stood for a moment and listened to the growling. It was constant. He studied it carefully. It sounded somewhat familiar. It was a sound he had heard before. He tried to remember where and when. He knew it hadn’t been that long ago. Michael closed his eyes to think, to try to remember. Searching his mind, he knew it was from one of his journeys a few years ago. He was traveling abroad on a mission. It was at a time when… he remembered what it was.

Standing at ease, he looked back at his men. “Bernard, light the torch,” he said, not bothering to be quiet.

There were a few seconds of silence before Bernard responded timidly. “But Sir, this was not in our plans. I don’t think…”

“Bernard, just do it,” Michael said unafraid. The torch was quickly lit, piercing the darkness. The men gazed with fear to see a creature by the back of the cave. Two small piles of gold lay around him. The creature was obviously in pain and not at all what they were expecting.

They will never forget the sight they saw. There was no dragon. A lion had been caught and placed at the back of the cave in the midst of the dragon’s gold. He was stuck in a large pile of rocks that covered his back hind legs. He was unable to move. His front legs and face were covered in scratches and blood. The lion longed to be released.

Confusion clouded the face of every man. Gideon was the first to speak, “Sir, what is going on? This is definitely unlike a dragon keeping his prey alive. Or is this the trick of some man?”

“Oh, most assuredly this is the work of the dragon. No man could be in here long enough to catch a lion in the midst of the dragon’s gold.”

Michael and Gideon both took off their helmets in frustration. They desperately wanted answers. Gideon spoke, “Well, why is there a lion caught in the back of his cave? What does all of this mean?”

Michael looked back at Gideon. He wasn’t sure what to say. There was a mixture of fear and wonder in his eyes. He remembered something he had said to Belle earlier that morning, This dragon has shown quite a bit of intelligence and I don’t want to underestimate him in any way.

After a few moments of contemplation, Michael broke the silence with an answer to Gideon’s question. “It means it’s a trap. We have to get out of here right now! Hurry!”

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Belle lay on the hill under a bush, wondering how long this dragon hunt would take. She wondered what it would be like to battle a dragon. The castle library had a book with various tales of dragon hunts through the last hundred years. She had read it many times. Some of the tales were extravagant, where full armies were needed to protect cities and keep the creatures at bay. Others were minor where a single brave warrior would institute some sort of plan of trickery, in order to slay the dragon and claim the gold for himself. She wondered if some of those stories were slightly exaggerated as there weren’t any eyewitnesses besides the actual dragon slayers.

She heard thunder in the distance. She had hoped that the storms of the day had passed in the early morning. The ground was cold and gave her a slight chill. A butterfly came flying past her eyes and landed right in front of her. It was close, and she could see his pattern clearly. Its wings were a beautiful green and blue pattern. Streaks of black lines ran through the colors, reminding Belle of a church’s stained glass windows. She lay perfectly still as she didn’t want to disturb this beautiful sight. He was gently flapping his wings, exploring some of the wet leaves on the hill. Belle couldn’t help but smile, thankful she could see this simple wonderful sight.

The butterfly suddenly flew away as the thunder grew louder. In fact, it was terribly loud and seemed to be steady. Turning her head slightly to the side and listening closely, she realized this wasn’t thunder at all. It was the sound of the air being pushed by the wings of a large flying creature… the wings of a dragon.

Looking up high she could see him. He was a dull red color. And though one would still consider him a small dragon, he was slightly bigger than she had imagined. He looked angry as he flew over her head. His eyes looked intent with evil as he snarled. She could see his razor sharp teeth and the spikes running down his back. She was thankful that Michael had brought as many men as did.

Flying close to Belle, he lowered himself near the front of the cave. Belle crawled from her hiding position and crept quietly to the edge of the small cliff in front of her. Peering over the edge, she could see the dragon was blocking the entryway to the cave. He let out a loud shrieking roar as his mouth opened wide. He was ready to kill.

It was a trap, Belle thought to herself. This dragon had somehow manipulated the men into entering the cave, and now they were trapped inside with no way out except through the dragon. All he would have to do would be to fill the cave with a constant stream of fire until every man was killed. The plan was diabolically ingenious.

Belle began to panic at the thought of the men inside. Fear gripped her.

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Michael ran toward the front of the cave just in time to see the dragon descend right on the opening. His men were right behind him. They were trapped with no way of escape. The dragon let out a loud roar. “Steady men!” Michael yelled, as he quickly tried to think of a plan.

Before the knights could react, the dragon pivoted himself to his side and swiped the front of the cave with his tail, knocking the men against the side wall of the cave. Michael was the only one to escape from the tail’s swipe. He had quickly dropped his sword and dived over the sweeping tail as it approached him. Dirt and mud covered his face.

Quickly gathering himself, Michael wiped his face and checked his bearings. His men lay against the side of the cave moaning in pain. They had hit hard against the side wall. Turning to face the dragon, Michael could see the creature standing tall and his neck starting to glow. He knew the fire was coming soon. His men were defenseless and would be killed in an instant.

He spotted a round shield lying right next to him. One of his men had dropped it when he was hit by the dragon. With great speed Michael picked it up and ran toward the dragon. “Dragon!” he yelled as he ran, looking to redirect the creature’s attention.

The dragon turned to face Michael, and let out a steady stream of fire. Within twelve feet of the creature, Michael crouched low and held the shield in front of his body. He felt the impact of the fire against the shield. It was extremely hot, and the metal from the shield was heating up quickly. He knew eventually his arm would start to burn. He wondered how long he could hold it. Fire was also coming off the edges of the shield as it was deflected. The cave was also heating up rapidly, turning it into an oven. Michael wondered if this would be his end.

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Belle watched from the edge of the cliff as the dragon breathed fire into the cave. It was a horrible scene. She knew the men were in there suffering. She wondered what she could do. Trying to think of something, she frantically looked around the hill. A large rock caught her attention. Quickly picking it up with both hands, she lifted it high above her head and threw it down toward the dragon. She watched as the stone grazed the side of his body and fell to the ground. The creature was unfazed by it.

Starting to panic more, she searched for something else to throw: a larger stone, a log… Something caught her eye. It was under the bush where she was lying. Running over to it, she picked it up and gripped it tightly. She had had a fair amount of training with the sword and it was time to put it to use. Running back to the edge of the cliff, she looked over to see the dragon still breathing fire into the cave. She knew this was her moment… and it was now or never.

She gathered all the courage she could find, and with all her strength she jumped off the cliff, her sword pointed downward toward the dragon’s body.

<>

Just when Michael thought he could hold the shield no longer, the dragon stopped. He let out a loud shrieking groan. Michael quickly threw down the shield that was blazing hot. He grabbed his arm.

Looking up, Michael saw a very curious sight. Belle was on the top of the dragon with her sword planted firmly in him. A dark green substance oozed from the dragon’s body. Shaking in pain, the creature threw Belle off of himself. She rolled off the side of him and onto the ground. She hit hard and cried out in pain.

The dragon turned to face the princess lying on the ground. He was angry. He put his foot over her and pressed her gently against the ground. His neck started to glow. Belle’s eyes grew big as she knew the fire was coming soon. Her life flashed before her eyes. Curious thoughts filled her mind. She remembered portions of her dream.

Michael, seeing what was transpiring, quickly reached onto his belt and grabbed one of his daggers. As fast as he could, he threw it with all his might toward the face of the dragon. The dagger soared through the air and implanted itself squarely in the right eye of the creature. It went in deep.

The dragon groaned in pain as never before. He reared back and lifted his leg. Belle rolled free to safety. The dark green blood started to flow from the eye of the creature. He took a few steps backward and tried to grasp the dagger with his front legs. His efforts were in vain.

A few of Michael’s men had gathered themselves and were now at his side. They now had the upper hand. Assessing his situation, he knew he had to get the dragon out of the entryway of the cave.

“Shields up,” he said to the five men at his side. They quickly held up their shields and stood in battle stance. “Get ready, men… charge!” Michael yelled as the men ran toward the dragon with their shields held high covering their chest. As they got close to the dragon, each man lunged forward hitting the dragon with the force of their shield and bodies. The dragon fell back a few feet, catching himself on his left side. The front of the cave was now open.

The dragon was now moving erratically and seemed to be in a lot of pain. He could not see clearly after being blinded in his right eye. He took a swipe toward the men with one of his legs and knocked them all toward the ground. The dragon continued to frantically groan in pain from the sword and dagger planted in him.

Michael was angry. He was angry at this dragon for hurting his men. He was angry at this dragon for threatening Belle’s life. He was angry at this dragon for tricking them, luring them into the cave. And he was angry at this dragon for the fear he caused the people of Mendolon over the years. He had had enough.

Slowly rising to his feet, he looked confidently at the dragon… he was unafraid. He was ready to put an end to this dragon. A few moments passed before Michael picked up one of the shields his men dropped and held it in his hand. Motivated by his anger, he threw the shield with all of his might. It soared through the air and struck hard against Belle’s sword implanted in the dragon’s side. The sword twisted, opening up the wound even more. A fresh stream of dragon blood flowed from his side. The dragon shuddered in pain as he screamed profusely.

Michael’s men regrouped and gathered to his side as they watched the dragon. He scratched against the soil, searching for comfort from his pain. The shrieks grew more irritating to the men. Gideon was the first to speak, “Sir, what is your next move? Should we attack?”

“No,” Michael said quietly. “Let him now feel the fear that he implanted in our people all these years.”

The dragon had obviously given up. He was no longer worried about killing his intruders. He was in grave pain. His wings began to flap, and before anyone could realize what was happening, the dragon took off and flew into the distance. He was going north, far away from the kingdom. Michael stood watching the dragon until he could see him no more. He was thankful this dragon was gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

Gideon ran to where Belle was lying among the edge of the woods. She was obviously in pain, clutching her side. “Princess, are you ok?”

Her eyes were closed and she was wincing in pain. She spoke quietly, “Yes… I’ll be fine. I think I might’ve broken a rib when I fell.”

Gideon crouched beside her on one knee. “Well, it looks like you were ready for a dragon hunt after all.”

“Thanks, don’t mention it,” Belle said, trying to catch her breath. Belle always found Gideon’s presence comforting. He had a father-like demeanor, and his thick mustache always brought a smile to Belle.

Michael walked over to join them. “Gideon, how is she?” Michael asked.

Gideon rose to his feet, “Oh, she’ll be fine. A little banged up, but in a couple days, she’ll be back on her feet.”

The other knights were attending to a few men who were injured from the swipe of the dragon’s tail. Michael spoke up, “Gideon, check on the men. I want a full assessment of our injuries. There is still work that needs to be done.”

“Yes sir,” Gideon said, nodding his head and walking toward the men.

Michael’s attention was now turned to Belle. He was so proud of her, and impressed by her bravery. She had never even seen a dragon before, and to jump on his back from a cliff required a large amount of courage. With a little more training, he knew she was going to be a great warrior.

Dropping to one knee, he put his hand on her head as he spoke, “Belle? Are you okay?”

“Michael… yes, I’m fine,” she said, slightly opening her eyes.

Michael spoke softly, “You showed much courage and bravery today. I know I speak for the men in this brigade in saying we are forever in your gratitude.”

“Thank you Michael,” she said, grabbing his arm. “I guess all those stories about dragon battles weren’t exaggerated after all.” They had been through a lot and they couldn’t help but smile at each other. Never did Belle ever think that she would be in a situation where she would have to save Michael de Bolbec. People in Mendolon were always talking about the strength of the realm’s chief knight, and for the king’s daughter to save him in a battle was truly ironic.

Gideon and the other knights gathered by Michael and Belle. Belle slowly released his arm as Michael rose to his feet. “Gideon, what’s your assessment?”

“A couple of broken arms, brushes, cuts, and a few massive headaches, but nothing that should hinder us.”

“Good. I want you to escort Belle and the injured men back to the castle. Upon arrival, be sure to alert Hector that we will need nurses to help with the injuries.” Gideon shook his head in approval. Michael continued, “Bernard, I want you to release the lion in the cave.”

Bernard’s eyes got wide, “The lion? Are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean… lions can bite people.”

“Thank you, Bernard. I’m well aware of that,” Michael responded. “I will remind you that we did just fight a dragon. Take another man with you, and just get this done. This lion has suffered enough.”

Michael took a deep breath as he contemplated what to do next. The men could tell he had something on his mind. He looked out into the woods to the east. He knew that this was the last step in the mission. “Whoever’s left, follow me into the eastern woods.”

Michael turned and walked toward the east. Two of his men abruptly followed him. One of them spoke up, “Sir, may I ask what are we doing? The mission is accomplished. Why aren’t we going back?”

Not breaking stride, Michael responded, “The mission is not done… There is a mystery yet unsolved. We need to find out what provoked this dragon.”

<>

It had been a long day for Michael and his men. Michael had warned them the day before that they might be engaging in a dragon hunt today, so they all had woken up early to prepare. Michael, particularly, had only slept a couple hours as he was anticipating the mission. But even with the lack of sleep, fatigue had not yet set in. His adrenaline was still going strong as they sought to solve this present mystery.

The three men trekked farther into the woods. They were headed east. The terrain was a little different on this side of Dragon Waste. The trees and their branches were thicker, and covered most of the overhead light. Every few feet there seemed to be a large rock that jutted from the ground, oftentimes covered with moss. They all knew that the more one traveled toward the eastern kingdom, the rockier the ground became.

The men traveled slowly with Michael in the lead. No one said a word. They all felt a little strange traveling in this territory unabated. For the past twenty years it was left uninhabited, except for the dragon. And even before the creature took over this region, none of the men had journeyed this far east. They couldn’t help but visually explore their surroundings as Michael led them.

The men had not gone far when Michael stopped them. “What is it?” one of the men asked. Michael pointed ahead to an area about thirty yards in front of them. Nothing looked different to the men. There were a few large trees with a couple large rocks lying beside them. It didn’t look much different from every other spot in this area of the woods.

“I don’t see anything,” one of the knights stated.

“Look closely,” Michael replied, slowly walking forward.

All three men continued closer to the spot where Michael was focused. The two knights reached for their weapons. As they got closer to the spot, all three men could clearly see a figure seated comfortably with his back to a tree. He had a small knife in hand and was casually slicing an apple. There was a book by his side. About twenty feet from his spot a tent rested. It was obvious he had been lodging there for a few days.

“Lovely day for a walk in the woods,” the individual said, not breaking focus from his task.

All three were stunned by his candor. The knights’ eyes were wide, wondering what Michael’s next move would be. He was relaxed, not fearing any harm from this trespasser.

The individual continued, “May I interest you fellows in a slice of a Grimdolon apple. You won’t find them in your kingdom, and they are a rare delicacy even in mine. I need to be sure…”

“What are you doing here?” Michael said sternly.

“Well, currently I’m taking a break from my book to satisfy my hunger. Reading modern philosophy surely makes one’s head spin, and can make one work up quite an appetite.”

“No, what are you doing in the dragon’s territory?” Michael said, staying focused.

“I think you actually mean former dragon’s territory. I assume you boys took care of it.” Michael’s soldiers just looked at each other. They were obviously confused by everything transpiring.

“We took care of him,” Michael replied. “Now tell us what you are doing here?”

“Well, then let me first introduce myself, I am…”

“Yes, I know who you are, or rather what you are… Beast!” Michael replied. He was in fact a beast from the eastern Kingdom of Grimdolon, the land of beasts. Like his kind, he was mostly a mixture of man and lion, with a few scattered characteristics of a wolf. He was dressed properly, in a red jacket and slacks. On his face was an affluent pair of eyeglasses. It appeared that he was either a beast of nobility or worked in an important role for the king of his realm.

“And I know who you are, Michael de Bolbec, chief knight for King Sebastian, and fiercest protector of Mendolon.”

“Why are you here? Do you know how dangerous it is for you to be here? Our king has an order of immediate death to anyone who crosses into this territory.”

“Yes, I am familiar with all the laws and edicts from your kingdom and they weren’t going to stop me.”

“But you provoked a dragon!” Michael said angrily. “Do you know what you could have done? He’s been burning fields on the edge of our kingdom and killing livestock. You could have cost us the lives of innocent people. And my men today have been badly wounded by that creature.”

“Yes, Michael, I know and for that I am very sorry, but I know what I had to do. It was a necessity. Truly, it will all become clear soon,” the beast spoke calmly.

Michael ran his fingers through his hair. “Listen, you could have started a war. Our king is going to be furious when he finds out that a beast from Grimdolon provoked this dragon.”

The beast took a deep breath and stood to his feet, “I don’t know if you are going to believe me, but in the long run I am actually trying to prevent a war from happening.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m saying that I had to provoke the dragon. I needed to talk to you. I needed to get your attention, and this is the only option I had.”

Michael rubbed his chin as he paced to his side. The knights had heard everything but still wondered what was transpiring. The beast did not take his eyes off Michael as he bit into a slice of apple.

A few moments passed before Michael interrupted the silence. “Beast, you are speaking in riddles. Please tell me plainly what you are inferring.”

“Michael de Bolbec,” he paused for a moment, “I’m trying to tell you that something is coming.” He spoke seriously, looking directly at Michael. “And it will strike fear into the hearts of your people and put into motion events that could reshape every kingdom of this world.”

Michael was taken off guard by the sudden seriousness of the beast. “How sure are you of all this?”

The beast took off his eyeglasses. “Oh, believe me when I speak. I am risking my life trying to get you this information.”

Michael wondered what his next move would be. He knew that he just couldn’t let this beast go free. He had broken one of the king’s strictest laws. All neighboring kingdoms knew of this law. The king would be swift in his punishment, and this beast would surely face death.

Michael breathed deeply as he looked back at his guards. “Lock him up… be sure the king does not see him. Bring him to my lower chambers and chain him there.” The men went to grab the beast, who willingly submitted himself to the knights.

Michael added one last admonition. He spoke softly, “And for now… do not mention this to anyone.”

The story continues in “The Beauty of a Beast” by Tony Myers.

About the Author

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Tony Myers is a high school youth pastor and fiction author. He enjoys finding creative ways to illustrate and communicate truth. He and his wife, Charity, currently live in Waterloo, Iowa with their three children. He can be contacted through his website, www.tonymyers.net , or through Twitter @tony1myers.

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Also, check out Tony’s first two works of fiction, Singleton and Stealing the Magic. Both are available at most online book distributers.

Singleton

“From the moment I opened up the book I was unable to close it and I read it one day. I was intrigued and involved with each detailed description of the characters and was able to picture the story playing out in my head the whole time. It is a great mystery with plot twists and I can’t wait for the movie version.”

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p>{color:#000;}. Fafo Sardiña

Stealing the Magic

“Myers delivers a page-turning mystery that grips the reader with its relatable characters and compelling plot.”

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p>{color:#000;}. Pamela Crane, suspense writer

“Stealing the Magic is a thrilling story about a group of college kids who get involved with a strange and mysterious magician. The story is compelling, intense, exciting and keeps you guessing till the very end! Besides being a gripping, action-filled tale; the book communicates good morals and life lessons such as loving your family and being strong in your convictions even when people are telling you otherwise. The book was fun to read and extremely hard to put down! Stealing the Magic captivates readers with excitement and suspense.”

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p>{color:#111;}. Allisa Gartin

 


Belle and the Dragon

For years the kingdom of Mendolon has had a dragon living at its border, guarding his territory. He has tended to live quietly and not directly threaten anyone… until now. As of late the dragon has been breathing fire into the edges of the kingdom and striking fear into the hearts of the people. The realm’s chief knight, Michael de Bolbec, wants to lead a brigade of knights into the dragon’s territory to hunt down the creature and destroy him. Mendolon’s king, Sebastian, is hesitant with the plan, but will only agree to it on one condition… his prized daughter, Belle, must accompany the brigade of knights and claim the victory for the dragon’s death. The plan seems simple, but things are not always as they appear… Join the adventure in this short suspense novel. It serves as a prequel to Tony Myers’ next full length adventure novel.

  • Author: TonyMyers
  • Published: 2017-02-22 07:05:10
  • Words: 11485
Belle and the Dragon Belle and the Dragon