“I want it.”
“Sire, the Merowl is not a pet, nor will it be caged easily.”
“That’s what you said about the Yeti, the Wraith, and the Dragon. And I watched them all feed this morning in my menagerie.”
“Yes, of course, Sire, but…”
“Does it have the Yeti’s brute strength?”
“No, Sire, it does not, but…” But the Yeti had a weakness for chocolate, and spiking chocolate is child’s play.
“Does it have the Wraith’s ability to pass through walls and draw life from the living at a touch?”
“Of course not, Sire, but…” But the Wraith was as powerless as a newborn kitten during a new moon, and once captured, needs to feed on the blood of a princess to escape.
“Can it breathe fire, like the Dragon, or have armor none of my strongest swords can pierce?”
“Not as such, Sire, but…” But this Dragon was as dumb as dirt, and didn’t fly away simply because I told it that it couldn’t.
He didn’t speak, but just glared at me. And I nodded. There was nothing else to do.
The Merowl was easy to find. I still had the key to her apartment, after all, but I hesitated before using it. The memories of what happened the last time I’d walked through that door were too strong. I could still smell the flowers I’d brought for her that day, and hear the roaring of the Dragon coming from inside. I’d burst in, but the incantation died in my throat as I saw what the two of them had been doing. It took me months before I stopped seeing his forked tongue and where it had been every time I closed my eyes.
Trapping that god-awful stupid beast had been one of the happiest days of my life.
Sighing, I put the key back into my pocket and raised my hand to knock. The look she gave me when the door opened was smoldering – with anger or lust I couldn’t say. Probably a combination of the two, knowing her.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”
“That makes two of us.” Oh, she looked good, and I could feel myself beginning to respond, looking at her lithe tail and remembering nights wrapped in her feathers.
She drifted back into the living room and waved at me with her tail. “Well, are you coming, or aren’t you?”
I smiled, stepping in and kicking the door behind me.
The king smiled as he watched her flitting around her cage, her every word a curse for me more vindictive than the last. “And you acted like you couldn’t capture her. That was just to raise your price, wasn’t it?”
“Not at all, Sire.” I tried to stifle a yawn and failed.
“Long night?” He smirked. “Well, return to your quarters and rest. You’ve earned it.”
I bowed, and made my way down the hallway. As I passed the Dragon, I waved, flipping him off with my triple-jointed fingers.