Y’manya stood at the mouth of the cave, her legs apart and her arms tense. She cocked her ear to side, listening to the distinct tread of someone’s feet coming up the path that led to lair. She hated visitors, especially when she didn’t have a chance to put her crown up. Impatiently she pushed back her wild length of thick wooly hair away from her face.
The footsteps drew closer and she crouched down lower. The warmth of the waning sunlight touched her roasted peanut hued skin and highlighted her dark eyes narrowed with steady purpose. As guardian of the dragon’s eggs, she stood alone between the lives of the unborn and any interlopers that stood to gain something from their capture – whether riches , food, or power. She had been taught well by her master to protect them and she would.
It was a smelly job but someone had to do it. For all the hype about dragon eggs and their value they stunk as bad as a cow wallowing in the mud pits. No wonder the mothers hatched and left their young for a hundred years before they hatched.
The footsteps came closer until the owner of them showed himself.
“Don’t come any closer.” She warned the man. He was tall and nicely built with a long shag of blond hair. Not bad at all.
“Who are you?”
The man opened his mouth and then closed it. Y’manya’s eyebrow arched into the air. “I’ll ask again, who are you?”
He lifted his hands and shook his head.
What did that mean?
“Go back the way you came.”
The man shook his head and came forward. Resolved strengthened her muscles. “Stop right there. Don’t come any closer.”
He continued on, one foot in front of the other.
“I’m done warning you.” With that she ran at him , leapt in the air and brought her foot down on his head.
At least, that’s what was supposed to happen. What did occur was that the man reached out and grabbed her ankle. He broke her momentum and she landed on the floor. Fast as a cave lynx, she kicked away and rolled back up into an upright position. He’d gotten the best of her. That wasn’t going to happen again. A snarl erupted from her lips and she ran back at him. The man stepped aside before she could reach him and she ended up sprawled on the rocky surface of the ground. She winced at the scraped hands and spat out the dirt in her mouth.
Now she was ticked off. She’d whirled back around. “I’m going to kill you!”
Even in the ever darkening sky Y’manya saw the man’s face drain of color. He shook his head side to side, waving his arm like a lunatic.
Red clouded her gaze and she ran at him once more. This time she landed a punch to his stomach. He doubled over. The sign of defeat spurred on and she laughed and gave a wild yell. Dragon guardians were known for their fighting skills. He finally understood that.
She drew her fist back to give him a nice, feminine uppercut when she heard a voice say, “For the love of green stones, what is that smell!”
The sound of his voice shocked her into stillness. “You can speak?”
“And why did you attack me like that?”
“I guard these eggs. No one is going to take them as long as I’m alive.”
“I don’t want those stinking rotten eggs. Oh!” The man grabbed his head. “Oh they smell so bad my head hurts.”
“Then why are you here?’
“Oh! Is this what I’m rescuing you from? The smell?”
Y’manya stared at the man. “Rescue me? What are you talking about?”
“Bea Brightbolt said you need to be rescued.”
Y’manya felt a whip of hot anger flush through her system at the sound of that gnome’s name. The memory of what that gnome did to her still stung as if it had happened yesterday. Now was that little ground digger up to now?
A worry pucker creased her forehead. Did Bea know about…?
“Are you Princess Y’manya?”
“I am. And you are for the fourth time?”
“I’m Chadwick. Bea sent me to rescue you.”
Y’manya stared at Chadwick, thinking quickly. If Bea had sent him, it was possible she knew what Y’manya had and wanted it for herself. But, if she could get her hands on that gnome, she’d be able to take back…
“Yes,” Y’manya said slowly. “I did need rescue. Thank you. Where are you going to take me?”
“I’ll tell you on the way. Will you come with me?”
She wouldn’t miss this opportunity for the world. “Of course.”
“What about the dragon’s eggs?”
Y’manya shrugged as she ran back to cave to gather her things. “We won’t be gone long. When a guardian is away from the cave, the smell intensifies and dries would be robbers away.”
As she came back to him, Chadwick asked, “Who want to steal smell dragon eggs.”
Y’manya smiled. “You’d be surprised.”