I want to mention that originally, Dwings the Dragon wasn’t going to make an appearance in this story, but my friend liked him so much that I decided to rework some things (basically, the entire story) to include him.
Now, without further ado… Part 2! *cheesy grin*
I awoke early the next morning, not a finger of anxiety creeping into my stomach. However, there were several pressing matters to consider, and they weighed heavily upon my mind and stomach. For one thing, Lamilda Lou said we needed a dragon to un-purplify Crumby Blots’ cows. That was all well and splendid, but the particular dragon I had the misfortune of being acquainted with suffered severe humiliation at my hands (I wrangled him, you know), and I didn’t imagine he would be very pleased to see me again.
Plus, he’s large and ugly and quite capable of eating people. I didn’t have any fear for myself—I’m quite an able lad, you know—but Lamilda Lou was another matter entirely, and I’m far too much a gentleman to desire her imminent devouring.
The second problem was Lamilda Lou. I was not particularly overjoyed at the prospect of her aid, as she… well, she has a reputation, you know. Even you, Gambergain, must have heard the stories of her antics around Weeble and her total want of propriety—for mercy’s sake, she eats sandwiches on the kitchen roof. I have a reputation myself, and wasn’t interested in sullying it by association. However, if Lamilda Lou was the only way to un-purplify Crumby’s cows, then I would have to swallow my dubiety about her. It’s the honorable thing to do, you know.
The sun had barely hauled itself over the horizon when I found her. She was on her knees by the well, poking at a fat grub with one paper-pale finger. Her hair looked like someone’s knitting gone wrong. I gave the courtyard a quick glance over, making sure no one—namely, Dougal—was in the near vicinity before I slunk over to her and crouched behind the well. Her face melted into a sunbeam.
“Hello,” she said. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
Even if it was only Lamilda Lou, I found this a little offensive. After all, I am the most promising squire Weeble has to offer, and a Dragon Slayer at that, among other various and noble titles. I sniffed, crouching a little straighter. “I am Sylvestrus Livingstone Clarencourt the 13th.”
She squinted. Then, to my utmost chagrin, burst into a peel of silvery-gold giggles. “Oh, I didn’t mean you. I know who you are—you’re that funny looking squire who’s always getting into trouble.”
Let it be known that I take offense at this comment.
She nodded her frazzled head at the grub. “I was talking to him.”
I sniffed. “Shall we just go?”
“If you want. Where are we going?”
The girl is ridiculous. I didn’t answer, because at that moment, I saw Dougal enter the courtyard, head perked like a dog on the hunt. I began to formulate all the ways I could smuggle Lamilda Lou out of Weeble without anyone noticing, when Dougal’s thick head whipped toward us, and a slow, ugly grin spread across his slow, ugly face.
“H’llo, Sylvestrus,” he called, striding toward us. “Going somewhere?” Then he pretended to notice who I was with. “Why, Lamilda, I didn’t know you and Sylvestrus were friends!”
She smiled. “It’s Lamilda Lou, actually. Just plain Lamilda sounds so horribly inelegant.”
I thought they both sounded horribly inelegant, but I was too polite to say that out loud. “My dear Dougal,” I said instead, “kindly remove yourself from my presence.”
He didn’t. “You have to watch Sylvestrus,” he said to Lamilda Lou. “Sometimes he decides to go rogue, and then all manner of nasty things happen. Once, a dragon picked him up by the seat of his pants and dumped him in a mud puddle.”
False. That didn’t happen.
Lamilda Lou smiled for what must have been the hundredth time. Honestly, that girl has enough smiles to roast a sunbeam. “Actually, we were just now going to meet a dragon. Sylvestrus says he’s friends with one. But if I see any mud-puddling dragons, I’ll be sure to warn him.” She patted Dougal on the arm. “In fact, I think I see one now.” Taking me by the sleeve, she tootled away.
My respect for Lamilda Lou may have gone up in that moment.
I took her to Flimmerwood Forest, where I had last seen the dragon. It’s a horribly dark, dank, dreary place, full of dark, dank, and dreary creatures. Anyone less than a prize-winning squire would have been frightened, but I am both a prize-winning squire and a terribly courageous person to boot. I had faced this forest once before, and it certainly wasn’t going to scare me now. However, it does carry a certain toxin in the air that I am allergic to, and presently, my knees began to quake and my heart beat picked up its pace.
Lamilda Lou, on the other hand, was terrified. She gazed up at the dark dank dreary treetops, her face a mystery of subtle smiles and sparkly eyes. She held her arms a slight ways away from her sides, as though she were a bird about to spring off the ground into flight. I noticed for the first time that she was only wearing a pair of mismatched socks on her feet.
“Now,” I said, wrapping my fingers around the sword I had taken as a precaution, “dragons are a violent, volatile lot, so we have to proceed with caution. Do what I tell you to, be sharp about it, and for pity sake, don’t ask questions.”
I cleared my throat, which was tightening. “Because I said so. Remember, they can smell fear. And they’re also very good at camouflage, so one has to be alert.”
“Are they purple?” she asked curiously.
“Purple? Oh, la! Whatever gave you that idea?”
She ignored the question. “Are they particularly flabby?”
“Flabby? My dear girl, dragons are covered in hideous spikes and teeth and scales.”
“Oh.” She wrinkled her nose, puzzled.
“Lamilda Lou, it is a very good thing you are here with me, and not on you own. I dare say you would have been eaten by now.”
Her face broke into a crooked grin. “Probably. You’re certainly keeping that one away.”
My innards did not freeze. “What one?”
She pointed. “That one.”
I whirled. There, laying in the bracken with his head propped on one flabby, purple leg, was Dwings the Uninterested, Chiefest and Greatest Yawners of this Age.
I was so happy to see him that I promptly dove behind a tree.
Lamilda Lou watched me curiously. “Dragon tradition,” I explained.
Dwings regarded us through huge, half-lidded eyes. “Well, well,” he purred. “Young Clarendork has returned.”
His gaze swiveled to Lamilda Lou, who stood in plain sight, grinning like a simpleton. “And he’s brought a friend!” Dwings crowed. “How thoughtful. I don’t get many visitors, you know. They seem to think I’m frightening.” He yawned, revealing a pink mouth lined with stabbingly sharp teeth. “Can’t imagine where they get that idea from.”
“I can’t either,” said Lamilda Lou sincerely. “You poor thing; you must be so lonely!”
He snorted. “Lonely for Clarendorks? Please, don’t insult my intelligence.” His tail whipped out from behind him and slithered behind my tree like a snake, twining itself around my ankle and yanking me to the ground.
“I beg your pardon,” I cried, crawling out from behind the tree.
“Oh, one hundred apologies. I forgot you were there.”
Lamilda grabbed my arm, hauling me to my feet and turning to Dwings. “Isn’t he wonderful?”
Well. This was a different story. I puffed out my chest, standing a little straighter, despite the purple tail still fastened to my ankle. “Well, I admit, I am rather.”
She blinked. Then Lamilda Lou let loose a peal of twinkling laughter. “Oh, goodness, not you. I mean, I suppose you could be wonderful on rare occasions, if you tried really hard, but I was talking about the dragon.”
Dwings mouth stretched into a long, lopsided smile. “How about that? The girl has sense. Tell me, dear, what are you doing in the company of Plerp’s greatest imbecile?”
(It pains me, Gambergain, to record such slander. I have omitted the greater portion of it, but unfortunately, Dwings couldn’t open his mouth without saying something heinously untrue and injurious to my dignity. Therefore, as much as I don’t like it, I have to include some of it, so that you can follow the story properly.)
Lamilda Lou put on the first frown I’d ever seen her wear. “You really shouldn’t call him names, Mr. Dragon. He’s trying his hardest to be clever, and we shouldn’t discourage him.”
I have mixed feelings about this statement.
Dwings raised the skin on his face where eyebrows ought to have been, had he any hair. “You’re an optimistic one.”
This had gone on long enough. I cleared my throat, hacking several times into my fist before continuing. “I don’t want to be rude, but we have much more important things to do than stand around chatting with a overgrown lizard.”
Dwings swiped my legs out from under me with one taloned foot. His lower lip stuck out in a pout as he settled himself on top of me. “Oh, don’t go yet. We’re having such fun.”
I would have said something, except I was too busy having all the air expelled from my lungs.
Lamilda Lou spoke up instead. “Unfortunately, Mr. Dragon, he’s right. You see, the reputation of a pair of very respectable cows is in danger, unless you help us.”
“Cows? I love cows. What can I do for you, Clarendork and Friend?”
“Well you see,” said she, “they’ve accidentally been turned purple by a powder from Shazaar, and the only way to un-purplify them is to mix dragon snot with horbwart and make them drink it.”
“But why would you want to un-purplify them?” he asked. “It’s such a lovely color.”
“Maybe for you,” I wheezed, crawling out from under him, “but nothing, not even a cow, should be subjected to sharing the same color as you.”
“I suppose so.” He inspected a wicked talon, whapping me in the head with his tail. It was really getting tedious. “Very well, Clarendork, I shall help you.” And with that, he sneezed.
All over me.
Lamilda Lou had the nerve to giggle.
Dwings sat back on his haunches, looking immensely pleased with himself. “Alright, children, you have your snot, and I’m officially bored. Now be on your way. I’m a busy dragon.” Flopping down on his side, he began to snore.
Lamilda Lou gazed at him, completely star-struck. She disgusts me sometimes. I wiped at the sticky stuff smearing my clothes.
“You can’t do that, Sylvestrus,” she cried. “We need that.”
Dwings eyes popped open. “Are you still here? I told you to scram.” He gave a great dragony sigh, hoisting himself to his feet. “No matter. I suppose you’re lost and need a ride home.”
I was in no mood to have a dragon carry me back to Weeble castle again. Once is quite enough, thank you very much. But Lamilda Lou, being the poor simple creature that she is, wiggled in delight and scrambled onto Dwings’ back. “You’re such a nice dragon,” she crowed. “I don’t know why Sylvestrus doesn’t like you.”
“Believe me, girl, I would be doing something wrong if he did.”
I’d had enough of those two. “I’ve had enough of you two,” I declared, marching toward the dragon and plastering the sternest look I could manage across my face.
Dwings was unimpressed.
The rest is not important, Gambergain. Dwings took us back to Weeble, and he was so cowed by my many displays of stern knightley-ness that he gave me the best seat on his back. I was not—and I repeat, was NOT—carried in his taloned feet while Lamilda Lou rode up top, simpering and smiling like a simple simpleton. Dougal was not waiting at the gate for us, and he certainly didn’t ridicule me for my manner of entrance. In fact, he was rather awed. After all, it was the second time I’d wrangled a dragon.
Lamilda Lou took me into the kitchen, where she wiped the dragon snot off me as best she could. Fortunately, Zira wasn’t anywhere to be seen, and didn’t witness me in my… lowered state. Lamilda Lou dumped the snot in a copper pot and heated it over the fire, mixing a smidgeon of horbart into it.
“Come on,” she said, pulling me by my sticky sleeve out of the kitchen and toward Crumby’s cows. The poor pathetic creatures were more purple than ever. Lamilda Lou set the pot down next to them, dumping some carrots into the mixture to make it look appetizing. After a bit of sniffing and snuffling (if I were a cow, I certainly wouldn’t want to eat Dwings’ snot), they shoved their noses into the pot. I am not a squeamish lad, but something was wrong with my eyesight, and most of what followed I couldn’t see.
Lamilda Lou notified me when the disturbing affair was over with. I opened my eyes and looked at the cows. Purple. Bright purple. Worse than purple, actually. They looked painted. “Well?” I said. “What’s wrong? Why aren’t they normal?”
She sighed. “I was afraid of this, actually. Because the dragon snot came from a purple dragon, it won’t work. It actually worsens the affects.” She turned to me, her face as sorrowful as a weeping raindrop. “I’m sorry, Sylvestrus. I don’t know what else to do.”
It was at this moment that Crumby made his entrance.
It was a pitiful entrance.
Needless to say, there were more tears, but through them, Crumby managed to give me a soggy, half-drowned puppy dog look. Thus it was that I officially lost a friend. (If you can call Crumby Blots a friend.) I looked to Lamilda Lou, but she was already glitzing away, her eyes fastened to a cloud and her fingers playing a waltz on invisible harpsichord keys. There was nothing left to be done. No one left to turn to. (Excepting yourself, Gambergain, but forgive me if I found that option less than desirable.)
With a deep breath, I sauntered up to Crumby, gave him a caring slap on the back, and said, “Look here, old chap. Don’t take it personally.”
Crumby sobbed louder.
A little more desperate, I patted his shoulder. “They’re rather remarkable cows, really. I don’t think I’ve ever seen livestock this color before.”
Crumby’s sobbing turned to wailing.
“Alright!” I finally cried. “I’m sorry. Crumby Blots, of the Blot household, please except my sincerest apology for turning your cows purple. I won’t do it again.”
Crumby stopped crying.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Zira leaning against the kitchen wall. She was smiling.
“I forgive you,” Crumby sniffled, like the fine fellow that he is. Then, “Do you really think they’re remarkable?”
“Remarkablest I’ve ever beheld.”
“Well,” he said slowly, wiping his nose on his sleeve, “I suppose they can be happy being purple. They always wanted to be different from the other cows.”
“My dear Crumby,” I said, “while they are purple, they will always stand out.”
He smiled. Then squinted at me. “Why are you wet, Sylvestrus?”
It was at this moment that Dougal jumped out from behind a hay bale, which caused Crumby to jump several feet and launch himself at me. I fell over backwards, ramming into the cows, who mooed hysterically and kicked the copper pot, thoroughly denting it. Upon closer inspection, it was found to be your copper pot, which explains why Zira was polishing it the other night.
So, Gambergain, the point of this letter is to explain why your favorite copper pot is dented, in case you were wondering. Crumby would like to add that if you don’t turn us into hairy toads, we will be your most humble servants forever more.
Also, the Purple Powder of
Shaazar Shazzar SHAZAAR bottle in your study is empty.
Your Humble Squire,
Sylvestrus Livingstone Clarencourt, XIII, Two-Time Dragon Slayer, etc.
and Crumby and Dougal
Hey hey, look at that line! After six months of blogging, I just figured out how to do that. Am I cool or what?
Ahem. So there you have it, folks.
Until next time!
Or, more popularly—Go away.
PS. I think I need to be nicer to my Readers…