This story is by Shalisa Erichsen and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Compared to Ancient Egyptians’ Pharaohs, Europe’s medieval Kings, and the world’s emperor’s; my kingdom ruled over all: in treasure, architectural design, and in multitude along with their strengths. The greatest part about my kingdom was that I was king. King Hati!
But before my glorious reign, I had to throw my friends off their pedestals in order to take it for myself. We can’t deny our mistakes. I can’t forget my pride for it has divided us.
The morning didn’t begin with any intention of war. Actually, the goal was quite opposite.
Our Kingdom was small, sufficient for my people and our allies. A crowd consisting of fairies, humans, and other mythical beings, sat together in harmony. They all spoke to each other as an equal, as if there was no difference between them. Their great example of peace is what gets me up in the mornings.
Today my people and our allies sat underneath the royal balcony. All I could hear was compliments and words of praise. I felt bad that I had to end it.
They went completely silent to a silvery glow entering the royal balcony. Now that they see the reflection of the king’s royal wings, they stand in unity. I await the drums and the trumpets before appearing in front of the crowd.
My wife follows behind me with our baby nestled in her arms. As I reached the end of the balcony, I took my wife’s hand, while she still held our baby, and guided her safely to my side.
I leaned against my wife and whispered, “Spread your wings out the people adore it.”
My wife opened her goddess like wings very massive compared to any fairy’s. Her flawless smile brightened up the entire kingdom, while our baby’s cooing awed everyone.
“Together as one,” I shout out to all my subjects, “there is no war or contention. We are at peace with one another.” That’s what I did. As king I declared and established a land without violence.
Yes we are prideful, but what’s bad about that?
Suddenly my kingdom darkened to a pair of devilish wings, which consumed the sky, and blocked the sun. Dragons, always had to one up me. The monster flew down to the balcony’s roof and unleashed a beastly shriek. The crowd shivered and recoiled at the sight of the dragon’s appearance.
Before landing the dragon transformed into a human with a scaled cape and gothic wear. “You all have the right to fear, for there is no more peace! This silly king has blinded you to a reality unrealistic, one that made you believe there is no war among us!”
My wife nudged me in the side. I understood. I leaned over the railing and looked upwards at the dragon on our roof. “Excuse me, Hubris,” I politely got his attention.
By now my people are distraught by the words of the dragon and it’s too late to speak. In all dimensions all creatures worshiped the dragons.
Hubris’s cape formed into wings. “You are welcome, Hati.” He swooped down, took our baby, and entered an open window.
“I’ll deal with that dragon!” My wife marched into the castle.
I turned towards the crowd in a stutter. “There is still peace. Let me talk to that guy really quick.” Afterwards, I hurried inside.
Hubris held our baby above his face. “Bridget, you would be the perfect dragon if only you had scales.”
It calmed me to see Hubris play with my baby, one not of his species. Bridget touched her tiny fingers to Hubris nose that made Hubris grin.
“When will her wings be full size?” He asked me so abruptly I didn’t hear him.
My wife stole our baby back. “Careful, Hubris. She is a fairy not a dragon.”
Bridget cried because she wanted to be with Hubris. Hubris reached his hand out, so Bridget could play with his fingers in order to get her to stop crying. “Zoe, I think you should worry more about your vanity rather than beat up a harmless dragon.”
“Queen Zoe, to you, Hubris. Husband if you will not remove this dragon then I will. Guards!” My wife exclaimed.
I stopped the guards. “Guards, instead take my wife and Bridget to the royal garden. The pixies love spoiling her. In the meantime I shall speak with Hubris,” I declared.
“Yes king Hati.”
My wife didn’t come quietly.
Hubris didn’t laugh at my wife, instead he straightened up and glanced down at all my subjects. “It is wonderful to see these creatures sit with one another. However I find it pitiful, this is all an allusion,” Hubris began.
I casually stepped behind Hubris. “An allusion?”
“In the beginning we all were given a purpose, dragons were born to protect, while fairies were born to mend which was broken, and so on. Throughout the ages humans have bestowed gifts, mostly treasures. But that has stopped, their love has turned into lust. They’re taking their treasure back and stealing what is dragon’s property.”
I looked upon the multitude with Hubris. “I’ve seen less and less subjects, but I see no rebellions.”
Hubris turned away from the window and faced me. “I guess you haven’t heard of the dragon slayers? They wear inflammable armor and wield weapons that pierce our scales.”
“I’ve heard,” I returned.
Hubris frowned, “But you ignored it?”
“But they still bestow rare treasures,” I tried to get Hubris to see the positive side of things.
“Treasures? Those treasures are all gold and gems, they’re symbolism of human greed and pride. Humans slaughter each other for such and then they give it to us; disturbing.” Hubris spat when he finished. “My clan and many others will gather tonight to discuss war.”
He jumped out the window and soared upwards into the sky in his dragon form.
Later that day, still having no intentions to start a war, I met my wife in the royal garden. Her wings were closed and concealed behind her back, meaning she wasn’t happy. Both the guards and gardeners left due to their queen’s awful mood.
She pretended to smell the rose buds as I approached her. “I heard your conversation and I must say, Hati, you are a coward. Those humans, our friends, might die because you cowardly said nothing.”
I plucked a rose from one of the rose bushes. “You know what happens to those who argue with a dragon, Zoe.”
She took the rose from my hand and mended its stem to the bush I plucked it from. “The pixies told me you would say that.”
Some of the garden pixies carried Bridget back into my wife’s arms then flew up to her crown to sit. “Oh, how we love your baby.” Their voices were high pitched and annoying. Others gathered onto my crown. “We’re you too afraid to stand up to the big lizard?”
I swatted them away. “Go get eaten by a bird, you mischievous bugs!”
They flew off my crown and managed to squish onto my wife’s crown. The pixies that didn’t fit, sat with the baby. The pixies didn’t weigh much, but it also didn’t solve any problems.
As I tried to reason with my wife and get the pixies to shut up, a human in tattered clothes found us.
My wife hurried to their aid. “What is it?”
“The dragons, they’ve pillaged and burned my village. Please help us!”
My wife and I looked at each with the same expression.
“I’ll get my guards. We will fix this mess and I will see to it the dragons will stop,” I promised.
When we got to the village, all was left smoldering and in ashes. I was disappointed to witness the destruction. After we attended all the human villagers and my guards helped rebuild homes, I snuck off to see Hubris.
I entered the dragon’s land, where it was rocky and lifeless. Anything that wasn’t of the dragons was burnt and abandoned to decay.
Their castle was much bigger and better built compared to mine, but it didn’t possess any colors. Inside the castle some of the dragons were in their human forms dressed vainly in immodest clothing consisting of gems and thread in gold. No one looked down to notice a royal fairy was among them.
Hubris sat on a throne entirely made out of humans’ and mythical beings’ skulls. It seems I came in the middle of his speech. “We were never friends with the humans. To the humans we were oversized pets which could be trained and saddled up, as if we were lower to the humans, our corpses are trophies. We are nothing more than an animal to those humans.”
The dragons snarled and growled in anger.
“Now they send knights to slay us and for that we will kill all of them!” Hubris stood up and roared like an animal consumed with pride.
The dragons roared with him. Some even blew fire or stomped their tails at the floor. “We will kill them!” They all shouted in sync.
This was getting out of hand. I needed to say something before this escalated. I found a high place, on a smashed pillar, and cried out. “There doesn’t have to be war! Just tell the humans how you feel and stop destroying their homes!”
All the dragons now noticed me. They stared at me with disgust and hatred. I knew then I couldn’t change their hearts; nothing could calm these savage beasts.
Hubris threw his hand down like a gavel. “Silence, this is our friend, our ally, and support.”
“No! I’ve seen demons act less wicked. If this is your choice. If you all will continue to pillage and burn then I can’t call you friends. Hubris, this is something I won’t support.”
They were beyond insulted.
Hubris silent them before any dragon spoke against me. “Hati, if you aren’t our friend then you’re an enemy to all dragons. For that, I must make an example of you.”
That night I learned how it felt to have teeth tear into my flesh, my body crushed by dragon’s talons, and a torture that no one in all the dimensions could recreate.
The pain was unforgivable.
Once I returned, wishing I was dead because of the humiliation, it was clear to my people what we should do next. Forever those dragons made me, an outcast to my own kind.
“Don’t blame me, Zoe. I hired killers and assassins. Tomorrow I will have blood spilt in order to make an example of these beast.”
Bridget cried in my wife’s arm as if she was being tortured. To quiet Bridget my wife stayed with the pixies. She saw me less and less. Anytime we talked it was about how I put the kingdom’s needs over her and my baby.
I always replied with, “My daughter will know to hate these monsters.”
She left me and joined Bridget with the pixies. It felt lonely on the balcony without her or my daughter.
I advanced to the dragon’s castle and slaughtered all that I saw. Instead of meeting on the usual balcony, I now met my people inside the dragon’s castle, which is now mine. As I stepped, the sound of scraping metal haunted me. Once a symbol of my beauty, was nothing more than a horrible reminder of that night.
My wings became a burden: they no longer shimmered in the sun’s radiant light or rose past my shoulders. As a part of the dragon’s torture, they melted human gold and rare metal onto my wings. Now I had to walk like a human.
Fairies feared me because of my misshapen wings and the fact I kept Hubris head mounted to my wall.
Humans stopped coming and taught their children we didn’t exist.
I replaced peace with bloodshed and feud. Howbeit, I’ve gained more than I lost. I ruled as one of the greatest kings for centuries.
As I said, I threw the dragons off their pedestals to take all of it for myself.