After the fight with my dad, I flew south over the Imperial Mountains, taking little with me except some silver and spices in my neck pack. Itís a frozen spectacle, white everywhere, and very cold. The sun reflected off the snow, so I wore my sunglasses.
It took only a few hours to find a cave large enough for a dragon like myself. The cave, in the side of a mountain overlooking a food city, was kind of icky, with lots of algae and probably spiders, so I flamed it. A couple of bears ran past me, their fur on fire. I moved in.
Dad may be king of the Central Kingdom, but heís a clueless bonk. He thinks the way to end the food wars with the North Kingdom is to marry me to that frog-ugly Princess, Swell Head from the North Kingdom, even though he knows how I feel about the lovely Food Grabber. There just isnít enough food for all the dragons in the kingdoms, and treaties and arranged marriages wonít solve that.
And because of my dadís delusions Iím supposed to spend the rest of my life with Swell Head? I wonít do it.
Thereís supposed to be lots of food south of the mountains, in what used to be the South Kingdom. But everyoneís afraid of the great wizard, Maximo Ontoya, the one that cleaned out all the dragons there.
Iím a prince, and Iím going to take charge and solve the problem, wizard or no wizard. Iím going to re-establish the South Kingdom, solve the food problem, earn my name, and then come back for Food Grabber... fat, lovely Food Grabber... how I love her!
I mean, a wizard is just food with magic. How bad can it be?
* * *
I visited the local food city the following morning. The food had little wooden homes throughout a valley next to my mountain, plus a very large stone building in the middle. I left the stone one alone and only took what food I needed. Dad taught me never to overgraze or you scare the food away. There were a number of other food cities nearby, enough to feed a kingdom of dragons.
The food back home has pointy sticks they jab you with. These ones shot tiny pointed sticks at me out of some contraption. But they just bounced off me. My sunglasses protected my eyes.
I ate three of the food (sprinkled with nutmeg from my neck pack) and grabbed two live ones for later. They wriggled and made loud gibbering sounds in my mouth on the way back. I spit them out in the back of the cave.
This Southern food has a nice flavor to it, spicier than the bland stuff from back home. Northern food is even spicier, which Dad likes, so he sometimes sends out for it. Iíd always found Central food bland and Eastern food just plain yucky, even though Food Grabber likes it.
I explored the cave that afternoon. Itís much larger than I thought. I could smell bear and yucky frogs all through it, a mixture of dungy and slimy, not very pleasant. I flamed any area where the smell was too strong. The cave soon smelled of burnt rock and smoke, much better. It was pretty damp toward the back, where the frogs were before I flamed it, but it should dry out. Frogs are even yuckier than spiders, so Iím glad theyíre gone.
I mapped out where Iíll have the various rooms someday: throne room, feasting room, bedroom, bathrooms, and so on. Later on I would cut new passageways and rooms with my flame. The mountainside leaves plenty of room for expansion. Someday the mountain will be crisscrossed with dragon caves. And there are other mountains nearby for even more expansion.
This will be my capital. But first I must destroy Ontoya and earn my name.
Dad is Dragon Thrasher, the scourge of all other dragons. Someday I will have a name as great as his. Maybe I can be ďClear Thinker,Ē since Iím the only one who sees Swell Head as she really is, with the ugly purple eyeliner and yellow painted nails. She has no fashion sense! And what a silly name she earned!
Oh how I miss Food Grabber! My future queen. Her fat hips, green eyes, dry lips....
I ate the last two foods and huddled in my cave, wondering how Iíd find Ontoya.
* * *
I was sleeping soundly when there was a crash like thunder. The cave began shaking and I thought the roof was about to cave in. I went to the entrance and looked out.
The food standing outside was dressed in orange, with long, white hair coming out of its head in all directions from under an orange pointy hat. Its face was a mass of wrinkles. In its extremely thin arms it held a long, crooked wooden stick. Each time it lowered the stick to the ground the crashing sound came, and the ground shook. It hurt my ears. Bits of rock fell from the caveís roof.
Then the food spoke! Instead of the gibbering sounds food made, it spoke perfect Dragon in a loud commanding voice. Mom once told me of magical food that could do that, but Iíd thought that was just a fairy tale.
ďI am the Wizard O -- [End of Preview.]