Writing Prompt #81 —The Princess Within

Prompt: Legend tells of a princess guarded by a dragon, but when you arrive to save the princess, you’re confused as to why the ‘fair’ princess is viciously attacking you and why the ‘fierce’ dragon is calling for aid.

“Oh, dear God, you’ve come!” the Dragon shouted from behind the Princess, who stood before it, her fists pressed to her waist. Shackles bounded the Dragon’s arms and legs, attached to thick chains weaving into the stone walls of the castle.

“Yes, he’s come but he can now leave. We don’t need you.” The Princess said, her blue eyes glaring, her blonde hair swaying as she talked.

“I’ve been summoned,” The Knight said, “to save the Princess. Please, come and I’ll take you from this horrible place.”

“But I can’t, sweet Knight!” the Dragon said, and tried to raise its front arms up. “As you can see, I’m bound! Tied like a suckling pig!”

The Knight looked through the visor in his helmet from the Princess to the Dragon, then back to the Princess. “Are you not in peril, Princess?”

She laughed, and adjusted her shimmering green dress. “No, never. Now please, return to your kingdom and let us be.” She turned away from the Knight, to the bound Dragon who began to tremble, shaking the chains like a ghoul.

“But the Dragon—” He pointed with his sword.

She whipped around, her wide eyes blazing with emerald hellfire, as fog slithered from her now lipless mouth. “You are not needed, Knight,” she growled, “now leave.”

It took the Knight a moment, two, to realize what had happened before him. Witchcraft. Black Magic. The souls had been switched by unspeakable powers. His King had said a witch lived in the woods near the castle, but no one had ever seen her… But now, the Knight stood before the Witch’s work. He took his sword in two hands and neared the Princess.

“Please, Princess, come with me back to the kingdom. You’ll be safe there. Away from this beast.”

The air seemed to ripple as mist billowed from the back of the Princess’s gown. The hellfire within her eyes brightened and spilled out like tears, charring her flesh. “Leave Knight or pray—”

She was unable to get the last word out for the Knight sprinted past the Princess, towards the Dragon. A misty-black tail flung out from the Princess’s dress but the Knight leapt over it. He raised his sword over his head. The Dragon wailed and began crying tears that filled the crevices in the floor.

“No!” The Knight heard the Princess roar, and felt flames lick the heels of his feet. He slammed the sword onto the chain, then the other and the other, until the Dragon was free.

The Dragon flapped its massive, green wings and took flight, snatching the Knight from the ground. The Princess glared up at the Dragon. Her skin rippled and steamed, her back billowed thick smoke, a tail made from smog swung wildly behind her.

“Vanquish her!” the Knight shouted to the Dragon.

Blue fire exploded within the Dragon’s oval eyes, then the same fire erupted from its mouth. It swarmed over the castle like water, it consumed and devoured stone and tapestries and the vines climbing across the floor and walls. The Princess wailed as it ran up her legs, covered her arms, and surged down her mouth and up her nose. She shook violently. Green fire and smoke shot from her ears and eyes. The Dragon sealed her mouth and the blue fire ceased, and the Princess’s body fell to the floor.

The Dragon hovered for a few moments, then flew from the Castle out through a hole in the ceiling. The Knight watched the castle dwindle until it became hidden behind the vast forest stretching to the horizon.

In silence, they flew, until the Dragon spoke. “I thank you for your saving me, Knight. I may not have my body but I still have my mind, my soul. And, if a witch can put mine in another, then a sorcerer can do the same, in perhaps a more fitting frame than this.”

The Dragon laughed, and the Knight did, too.

Read my previous prompt, “The Gray Underneath.”

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