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Here's another slightly older story that I actually wrote in Finnish first and then translated to English as a sort of exercise. It's funny though, because I'm not sure you can call it a proper translation when I translated it myself. Basically I more rewrote it in English, I suppose... But, yeah, anyway. A short story of the fantasy variety this time! I've been touching up my older stuff, so you may see more of it here. Or not. We'll see.

Title: The Girl and the Dragon (Original)
Genre: Fantasy
Summary: A small-town girl is relaxing on the beach after a long day when suddenly a gust of wind blows her hat away. She finds out that said gust originated from a huge, black dragon. Instead of eating her, it says "hello". What can a polite girl do but return the greeting?
Rating: G
Word Count: 2160 or thereabouts


A girl was sitting on the beach, watching the sun gradually set to the waves. The sand around her was covered in half-dried seaweed, seashells, driftwood, and other debris after the storm that had hit the island last night. All day long the girl had been on the beach, looking for the best seashells for her father, and by evening she had gathered enough of them to fill four great baskets and leave some over for her to carry in her apron. She would take them to her home, where her family would make them into jewelry and beautiful little items and trinkets. The rich tourists who often visited her island paid well for such items, and it was a very good business indeed. It kept her family well fed and clothed, as was apparent from her tidy red dress and frilly apron, not to mention her plump build. Of course, her father wasn't the only one to have discovered the tourists' weakness for things made out of seashells, but he was the most skilled, so many a visitor chose his shop above the others. It was his daughter's responsibility to pick the best seashells from the shore, and she did her best to live up to everyone's expectations. Others had left the beach hours ago, but she had only just stopped searching and sat down to rest her aching feet before walking back to the town with her baskets filled with shells.

Seagulls were making noise far above her head as she sat on the sand and watched the waves wash ashore. The sunset was especially spectacular tonight; it almost looked as the sun had caught fire, dyeing the entire view with warm shades of yellow and orange. The aftermath of the strom last night came from the sea as a strong wind, and gently it brushed back her loosely braided blond hair. It was very pleasant. The air is always so fresh after a storm, she thought, and started to get up to get her hat. She had set it on the ground and put a rock on the rim to stop the wind from taking it. As she leaned to her side to take it, a stronger gust suddenly blew from behind her back and threw the hat away from her reach.

"Hey!" the girl yelped, leaped up, and ran to chase the hat along the beach. As she caught it, it suddenly occurred to her that the gust had been parallel to the beach, even though the wind was coming from the sea. Not knowing what to expect, she turned around to see what could have caused such a peculiar thing to happen.

"Hello," said the culprit. It was a black dragon, sleek in build but massive in size, and it sat casually on its hind legs, its front claws digging into the debris lying on the sand. The girl stood barely as tall as the dragon's sizeable front leg, and she thought that the creature must have been even greater than the house she lived in. With the massive black wings folded neatly along its back, the dragon bent its neck down and looked at the girl with great yellow eyes.

"Hello," the girl responded, too taken aback to come up with any other answer. Her voice was wavering slightly, but she did her best to hide this and be polite to the sudden visitor, as scary as it appeared to her. "Where did you appear from?" Then, hastily, she added: "Sir?" She was unsure how to address the dragon, but it was better to be too polite than to be too rude. She also did not know its gender, or even if dragons had a gender at all, but it did sound rather like a male, so she settled with 'sir'.

The dragon let out an entertained snort at the addition of her last word, and narrow streaks of white smoke rose from its norstrils. "From elsewhere," the dragon replied vaguely, a hint of amusement in the yellow eyes. "I seem to be lost, however. The storm from last night threw me off my course. Pray tell what place this is!"

The girl glanced around somewhat confusedly. "The island of Weld, near the town of Cramshy, sir," she replied slowly, encouraged by its reaction to how she addressed it. Still, she hoped dearly that the dragon would not ask for the name of the kingdom or its king, for she did not remember either of those. They never really talked about any other kingdoms than their own on the island so that there was never any need to mention its actual name, and it had once again eluded her mind. As for the king, the name Angus did pop into her mind, but she had no idea if it was the name of the current king or the previous one or maybe one of the even older ones mentioned in school.

After a short contemplative but clearly amused silence, the dragon's eyes lit up. "Ah!" it exclaimed. "A popular travel destination, is it not? Quite scenic, so I hear, and especially known for the pure white cliffs." It looked around excitedly, seemingly looking for the cliffs it had heard about.

"I'm afraid the cliffs are on the other side of the island, sir," the girl said warily, genuinely sorry. "If you'd like to see them, though, I can show you; it's not at all a long walk from here, and I often go to show them for the tourists who pay me to do that." She motioned towards the direction of the cliffs, but of course they were not visible from the beach.

"No, thank you, I believe I can find them myself," the dragon said, but sounded a little disappointed regardless. It stretched, bending its back in a rather cat-like manner and spreading the massive wings a bit before settling down again. "But, tell me, how do the people of this island view us dragons? I am curious." The amused, mischievous spark lit its eyes up again.

The girl blushed furiously and nervously fiddled with her apron as she replied. "I don't know," she said, her ears turning red in embarrasment. "Dragons- you, I mean, are rather thought of as something only found in fairy tales and such, and I don't think anyone truly considers the possibility you might be real anymore." She glanced at the dragon's increasingly amused expression. "But of course I see that we are wrong now!" she added hastily. "You do look quite real, I think. Sir."

The black dragon made a sound that was somewhere between laughter and snorting, rustling its wings a little as another pair of thin lines of white smoke erupted from its nose. "That's what we get for not visiting our lands for such a long time," it muttered, with a tone that sounded like a mix between a dissatisfied grumble and some sort of chuckle. "I'll have to mention that to the others."

"I beg your pardon?" the girl said politely, even though she was quite sure the dragon would not elaborate. Even if it had been more specific, it was likely that she would not have understood its meaning entirely.

The dragon, still very amused at her politeness, did not immediately reply. Instead, it gave her a long, contemplative look. Its yellow eyes studied her face, her attire, her posture, all in a way that started to make her very uncomfortable after a few moments had passed. She wondered if maybe the massive black creature was going to eat her or abduct her or something of the sort. In the stories she had heard, dragons did not consider people to be any more special than cattle or other edible animals since they were so superior in all abilities themselves, so it was not unheard of that one would eat a person. However, in this case, it seemed rather unlikely, with it being so pleasant and polite to her. It would be a terrible waste to be so nice to someone if you knew you were going to eat them, she thought.

After a few awkward moments had passed, the dragon, this time less amused and more genuinely curious, spoke again. "Tell me," it said, "why are you not afraid? Are you perhaps a little stupid?"

It sounded more like an honest question than an insult, but the girl blushed regardless. "Well, I did think you were perhaps here to eat me, sir," she muttered, looking at the tips of her shoes rather intently with her ears a much brighter red now. "And then I thought that I didn't have much of a choice. I've got nothing on you, sir, so to speak; you have all the advantage over me. So why should I waste the energy on being afraid and fretting when I can have a pleasant time as my last?"

The dragon left out a soft chuckle. "Aren't you obedient," it said in amusement, but clearly somewhat taken aback. "If I told you to, would you just walk into my mouth as well, then?"

"Oh, dear," the girl said, looking at the dragon in alarm as her hand flew to her mouth in shock. As the dragon seemed to expect a reply, the girl did her best to provide one. "No, I don't suppose I could do that, sir. The thought is too scary, and I imagine I would end up frozen completely and unable to walk at all. Besides, it would be a very honourless way to die, and I do still have my pride. So, I wouldn't do that, I think." Her ears and cheeks were growing redder every passing moment, and she begun to fiddle with her hat nervously, almost unraveling the straw weave of the rim.

The dragon, visibly entertained by this, crouched in closer again, so its nose was not very far from the girl now. "Then, tell me," it said, "why are you so nervous to tell me that? Unless my eyes deceive me suddenly, I am quite certain you are afraid."

The girl froze, able to feel the heat radiating from the black creature so very close to her. She looked up, and stopped her fiddling, blushing even deeper for a brief moment. "I am afraid that you would get angry at me, sir," she said quietly.

The dragon rose to its full length again. A deep sound erupted from deep within its chest as it closed its eyes, and it's entire body was nudging gently to the rhythm of the sound. It was a strange sound indeed, very appealing and slightly intimidating at once, but it was not in the least bit evil. The girl quickly realised it was laughing, and after recognising the sound, she wondered how she had not realised its meaning right away. It sounded very honest and sincere, and the girl looked at the dragon in amazement.

"What if I did? What more could I do to you than eat you, as you feared?" it asked, still laughing as it spread its massive black wings and shook them. The girl looked at it, properly speechless for the first time after meeting the strange creature. With a swift whip of its tail, the dragon begun to beat its wings and rise to the air again. "Thank you for your help," it yelled from the air with a warm tone as it ascended high into the air and started to glide to the direction of the cliffs. Its intention was to snatch a cow or a sheep from any fields it could find and go eat it on the shore near the cliffs if there was no-one there. Somehow, it knew that the girl would not tell anyone about their meeting, and the people of the island wouldn't connect the loss of an animal to a dragon when they did not believe in such creatures. The tide would wash away all signs of the meal once the dragon continued its journey, and no sign of it would remain on the island. Chuckling to itself as it went, it soared through the air with the wind on its back.

The girl, having been left alone on the shore, stood there for a moment, completely dumbstruck by the encounter. Then, her stomach reminded her of what she had been about to do when the dragon had appeared, and she turned her attention to practical things again. She emptied her shoes of the sand that had somehow wriggled its way in, put on her hat, and collected her baskets from where she had left them. Feeling more than just a little confused, she smiled to herself awkwardly as she walked back home along the dirt road, suddenly more aware of her surroundings. Eating supper would be strange tonight, she decreed. After all, she had almost ended up as supper herself.
 

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An-chan

Hello, o traveler!

You have stumbled upon the humble writings of a girl with lots of stories to tell. Whether these are stories you would like to hear I can't say, but hey, it never hurts to try! ;D

I'll try to keep updating this relatively often, but we'll see how that goes.

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