“Look at her Falco. Her hair of gold, her eyes deep crystal pools, her full cherry lips. And look at how she works that lavender gown. Her beauty is mesmerizing.”
“She truly is Lance. Give it up.”
Staring intently at her he replied, “Never. She will be mine. Or I will die trying.”
Her eyes found him as she approached with all the grace and beauty befitting a queen-to-be. Arriving she smiled wide, revealing glowing white perfect teeth.
Lance took her hand and knelt. “Gwen, I revere you.”
“I really like you too Lance. A lot.” She snickered.
Falco exhaled. “I hate to break up this enchanted moment, but you do realize that King Art’s her husband right?”
Letting her hand go, Lance stood up and turned to face Falco. “He’s only her fiancée. ”
“Yeah, but he is the King. Remember all that fanfare when he pulled that sword out of the stone?”
”Oh big deal! Who couldn’t do that?” Lance protested.
“Specifically? Um…everyone else.” Falco wryly smiled.
“Well, what does pulling a sword out of stone prove anyway?”
“Technically speaking, it proved he was the true king.”
Lance sighed. “I could have pulled that sword out.”
“No you couldn’t.”
“If I was there I would have.”
“You were there,” Falco stressed.
“But I didn’t get a chance to pull the sword out.”
“Yes you did. You tried and failed.”
“My arm hurt that day.”
“From trying to pull the sword out?”
“No. From battle.”
“From battle? Which one?”
“You know the one. Stop berating me!” Lance snapped.
“It was nice seeing you again Lance,” Gwen interjected then flashed a wide smile before turning to Falco and dryly continuing “and you as well.”
“Where are you goin’?” Lance stammered.
Turning back and locking his eyes she replied, “I have to get back to my chamber at the top of the tallest tower in the castle.” Pausing a moment she then pouted, “Where I have to stay…all alone.”
“Can we offer to escort you m’lady?” Lance eagerly inquired.
“Sorry, but no. All the King’s men are waiting for me. I have to go.” She blew Lance a kiss and walked over to join the cavalcade that was preparing to depart for the castle.
Lance’s dumbfounded staring was interrupted by the sound of Falco clearing his throat.
“I told you to give it up.”
“But you heard her. She likes me. A lot.”
“I’m afraid that since you are not the true king there isn’t anything you can do. That’s why they say ‘It’s good to be the king.’”
Quickly turning to Falco, Lance exclaimed, “I’ve got it! I may not be the true king but I can show her true love.”
“You’ve lost me,” Falco replied raising his hands in the air.
A twinkle in his eye, Lance stated, “I may not have been able to pull that sword from that stone, but I am able to ascend to the peak of Mt. Concord and sneak into that purple dragon’s lair and get that heart-shaped amethyst for her.”
“You do realize that everyone that has ever tried to do that has failed,” Falco replied.
“That’s only because none of them have succeeded,” Lance rebutted.
“Well, right. But everyone who has failed has died…horribly.”
“That’s because they weren’t doing it for true love.”
“You’re mad,” Falco stated.
“On the contrary Falco ol’ buddy.” Lance paused as he gazed up toward the jagged cliffs of Mt. Concord where a faint twinkling light at its peak could be seen. “This is the clearest moment of my life.”
“Be careful Lance.”
“It’s me Falco. I’m always careful,” Lance reassured.
“But you’ve never faced a purple dragon before.”
“I fought a green dragon once. How different can they be?”
“That was a komodo dragon,” Falco replied.
“I thought it was a kimono dragon.”
“Kimono, komodo, whatever. Those dragons don’t fly and spew fire. This one does. So be careful.”
“I’ve already got it all worked out. I am going to hide outside the lair until the dragon leaves and then run in, grab the heart, and run out.” Lance smiled.
“Where are you going to hide? It’s an exposed cliff top.”
“There’s got to be a bush or something somewhere up there. I gotta go. Burnin’ daylight.”
“I would use some other expression,” Falco muttered.
It was dusk when Falco saw Lance triumphantly crest the final plateau only to be immediately engulfed in flames.
“You really did die for her Lance. Well done.”
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