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A Dragon's Apology

Bio: K.G. Jewell lives and writes in Austin, Texas. He can juggle, but is not a juggalo. His website, which is rarely updated, is lit.kgjewell.com.

Gry didn't mean to eat the knight. Things like that just happen, though, when someone wakes you up with a pokey stick. She reflexively thrashed her tail, sweeping the irritant into her yawning maw. By the time she was fully awake, the human was already halfway down her gullet, plate mail scratching her throat, a shield stuck awkwardly in her back teeth.
She burped, a fiery gas ball that smelled vaguely of leather and beard. A decade of dust swirled into the long-still air, tickling her nose.
The urge to sneeze was unstoppable, and when it emerged, the shockwave shook the room. Something heavy, solid, and metal crashed to the ground with a clang.
Gry blinked, her crystalline eyes flooding the lair with pale blue light. A horse reared at the entrance, a second, smaller, human at its side, desperately gripping a knot of tangled reins. A giant golden idol lay across the door, blocking their escape. Gry had always thought the idol was one of the uglier tributes she'd received, and kept it near the door, hoping someone would steal it and take it off her hands.
"You there!" said Gry. "Sorry about that." Or that's what Gry intended to say, but the jammed shield distorted her annunciation, and the words came out more as a vowel-infused growl.
The human threw itself down on the ground, releasing the reins and cowering behind a treasure chest overflowing with diamonds. The horse promptly leapt over the golden idol and disappeared out into the world.
Gry cleared her throat, then made an unsuccessful attempt to work the offending metal splinter free with her forked tongue and the index talon of her right leg.
"Can you give me a hand, here?" Gry whispered. This utterance was understandable to a human ear, and brought a pair of eyes peering over the chest.
"How can I, but a humble squire, help a great beast such as Gry the destroyer?" asked the human.
Gry rolled her eyes. Five hundred years after one little incident, and she was still "the destroyer." Human bards blew the smallest thing out of proportion. She supposed it was hard to go on tour with an epic song about the day Gry accidently stepped on the king, but still. She had been a little drunk after dinner with a neighboring wyrm, a multi-round meal of oxen stewed in a barrel of fermented griffin milk, and totally hadn't seen the king or his massed legions laying siege outside her lair. But by the time she'd slept off the hangover, her legend had spread across the land. No one had every bothered to get her side of the story. She hadn't had a thief in years, and that ugly idol still ruined the ambiance of her bedroom.
"I've got something stuck in my teeth." She drew back her armored lips, revealing her gleaming, razor teeth and the poor knight's shield.
The squire ducked again.
"Come on." Gry said. "Really? Grab that spear and give me a hand. I'll send you home with some loot. You want that golden idol? Melt it down, you'll have some change. You do a good job, and I'll throw in a couple of genuine Ice Diamonds from Ceyi, hoarded here for two hundred years."
The squire peeked out, squinted, and then strode forward to pick up the spear. He bowed. "Droll Derek at your service."
Gry leaned forward, opening her mouth. Derek pried free the metal disc, and it clanged to the floor. Gry's tongue flicked out and flipped open the chest of diamonds.
"Take all you can fit in your bag," she said, running her tongue across the new sore in her mouth. With her metabolism, that would take a year to heal--near immortality had its downsides.
Derek bowed again, then started stuffing his pockets and a small backpack with diamonds.
"Thank you, your destroyerness! With no horse, I cannot carry the idol, but I thank you for these diamonds. In return, I shall tell all of your stunning defeat of the Mighty Victor the Third. The tale will be sung across the land for decades to come!"
Gry flicked her tail and yawned. The squire's leather tunic barely irritated the sore in her mouth, and her burp was small and polite.
She wasn't going through that again.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, December 7th, 2015

Author Comments

When I announced the sale of this piece to some fellow writers, one responded "Dragons don't apologize!" But au contraire, say I. Dragons apologize all the time--just not many live to tell about it.

- K.G. Jewell
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