Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.
But when the dragon hoards a person, that’s a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker’s wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.
The Dragon of Ynys is an inclusive fairy tale for all ages.
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He had thought he would be terrified. After a lifetime of having both feet firmly on the ground, flying had not sounded appealing at all. But secretly…it was amazing! He could see all of Ynys behind him, glimpsed what was beyond the other bank of the river, saw the fields shrink into a green and brown chequered carpet.
Even as they rose into the fog and he had to look over the side of Snap’s wide back to see the jagged rock beneath them, he was quite certain that this was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
So of course the dragon had to ruin it.
“Please stay in the middle,” he said. “It’s exhausting to make adjustments for your weight all the time, and if you fall, I doubt Holly will appreciate the nosedive. That is, if we are in time to catch you at all.”
“Point taken,” Violet mumbled, centring himself once again. “It’s just— You never told me how beautiful the world is, seen from the sky.”
“You were walking on it,” Snap said. “I thought you knew.”
As Violet marvelled at the feeling of the cold air around his head and at the white landscape of ridges and crevasses to their sides, he almost forgot that they were on a quest. It might have taken almost an hour, but it felt far too soon when the dragon started his descent.
“Hold on tight,” he warned, and Violet became aware that he liked this part a lot less.
He reluctantly picked up his pace so he’d be closer to Snap. Which, of course, meant he bumped into his tail when the dragon stopped suddenly.
Once again, he landed on his back in the snow.
“Sorry about that,” Snap said. “I found it!”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Violet answered as he scrambled upright again. “Who needs dry trousers when they’re already freezing to death?”
Holly was looking at the ground between Snap’s front paws. As Violet stood beside her, he saw a small, round, silver object in the snow.
“You think that a bell will lead us to Juniper?” Holly asked, puzzled.
“Oh. No, this has nothing to do with Juniper.” The dragon frowned. “I understand why you might think so. But no. This just caught my eye as we flew over. It’s smaller than I expected from the gleam, but look.” He hooked the tip of a claw behind the ring at the top of the bell. “It’s very pretty. And it smells only a little bit of sheep.”
“Pretty?” Holly grabbed the bell and threw it as far away as she could. “You’re telling me we’re wasting time here because of such a ridiculous thing?”
“Hey!” Snap followed its flight with his eyes. “I was going to hoard that!”
“You can grow your hoard when Juniper and I are back home!” Holly took a deep, trembling breath. “Please. Until we’ve seen that she’s safe, I want no more distractions. From you or Violet.”
“Now what did I do?”
Snap’s gaze lingered in the direction where the bell had flown and he looked sadder than Violet thought was possible for a dragon. But then he seemed to pull himself together. “Fine. I’ll return for it later. We’ll just hope no one else ever comes here to hoard things, right?”
He dropped to his belly and for a moment Violet thought it was his way of mourning the lost treasure, but then Holly climbed onto Snap’s back and Violet realised he should do the same. Hopefully the warmth would dry his clothes a little faster.
Minerva Cerridwen (she/xe) is a genderqueer aromantic asexual writer and pharmacist from Belgium. She enjoys baking, drawing and handlettering.
Since 2013 she has been writing for Paranatellonta, a project combining photography and flash fiction. Her first published work was the queer fairy tale ‘Match Sticks’ in the Unburied Fables anthology (2016). Her short stories have also appeared in Atthis Arts anthologies Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove (2019) and Community of Magic Pens (2020).
For updates on her newest projects, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.