(Author’s Note: This story came about in a unique way. I was in chat on another site and chat was a bit slow at the moment although there were 20+ people there. A friend asked for a story. So, I typed this story one line at a time with no idea if it was even going anywhere. – Dean)
Long ago in a faraway kingdom, there lived a fierce and formidable dragon. It was considered to be the most terrible dragon in the entire history of time. The king of the small kingdom in which the dragon lived did not want this terrible dragon living there. People fled the kingdom and they never got tourists. So, the king sent heralds far and wide to find some brave adventurers to rid him of the fierce and formidable dragon.
One day, a standard issue group of very brave adventurers arrived. There was a fighter in battle worn armor, a thief in less than silent boots of silence that had holes in the soles, a wizard in tattered robes, and a cleric with a holy symbol that was bent and burnt from all the turning of undead. They were also all women.
The king looked at them and wasn’t at all impressed. He asked them how the four of them could possibly defeat a fierce and terrible dragon. They explained how they stopped the Goblin Horde That Never Was, faced down the Non-existent Lich, and survived the Battle That Never Happened. Hearing this, the king promised the four adventurers untold riches and unnamed rewards if they rid the kingdom of the fierce and formidable dragon.
The adventurers traveled a full day and a full night to the dragon’s lair. They arrived at dawn just as the dragon was waking. Through sleepy eyes, the fierce and formidable dragon looked at the four adventurers. First was the fighter in the battle worn armor who was trying to look menacing. Next, the thief in the less than silent boots of silence that had holes in the soles and was less than silently trying to sneak past him. Then, the wizard in tattered robes who seemed to be trying to think of what spell to cast. Finally, the cleric with a holy symbol that was bent and burnt from all the turning of undead and who just realized that it is completely useless against a fierce and formidable dragon.
“Why are you here?” asked the fierce and formidable dragon.
The fighter, looking rather menacing, said, “We have come all this way to destroy you.”
“What have I done to you?” the dragon asked.
The wizard, who seemed to have decided on a spell, said, “You have ravaged the countryside, devoured the livestock, and demanded virgins.”
“But, I am a dragon and that’s what we dragons do. Except the virgins. I never even asked for them. They just keep sending them.”
The cleric, deciding that her mace would work better than the bent and burnt holy symbol, speaks up. “Be that as it may, vile creature, you must still be smitten (smited?).”
“I am really not looking for a fight this morning as I haven’t even had breakfast. But, if we must, we must.” The fierce and formidable dragon said as he puffed up his chest and unleashed his claws and prepared to blast them all with a very fierce and formidable ball of fire.
The thief stepped suddenly and less than silently from the shadows and said, “Wait. Let’s think this through first. You are a fierce and formidable dragon. Of this, there is no question. We four are a somewhat less fierce and somewhat less formidable group of brave adventurers. You do not seem eager for a fight nor are any of us eager to die. Perhaps we can all come to some agreement.”
The fierce and formidable dragon looked frighteningly at the four brave adventurers and they, in turn, did their best to look frighteningly back at him.
Three long days and three long nights passed without word of either the four brave adventurers or the fierce and formidable dragon. At long last, on the fourth day, the four brave and very tired adventurers returned to the castle where the king was waiting.
“We have dealt with the fierce and formidable dragon.” said the fighter in her battle worn armor.
“We fought for three long days and three long nights in the dragon’s lair.” said the wizard in her tattered robes.
“In the end, we smitted (smited?) the terrible beast.” said the cleric with her burnt and broken holy symbol.
“We have come for our reward.” said the thief in her less than silent boots of silence.
The king, having just heard what he considered the most wonderful of news, laughed and danced a very strange and awkward looking dance. When he finished the strange and awkward looking dance, the king breathlessly said to the four brave and tired adventurers, “I promised you untold riches. Since you were never told what they were, you get none. I promised you unnamed rewards. Since no rewards were named, you get none. Now leave my kingdom and never return.”
“That’s what we thought. I know a dishonest person when I meet them.” said the thief as she and the other adventurers quickly stepped away from the king.
There was a great and terrible scream from the sky and everyone looked up. The fierce and terrible dragon who had not been smitten (smitted? Smited?) after all swooped down and with a great and terrible breath unleashed a fierce and formidable ball of fire upon the king. The dragon then quickly devoured the now quite well done king.
The four brave adventurers had their own kingdom and all the people were happy as the king had been a bit of an ass. The fierce and formidable dragon became the greatest tourist attraction in the entire kingdom.