For Riches

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with] a clear sky and a good wind for flying. I spread my wings and lifted myself into the wide blue open. As I scanned the ground below me, I found a royal caravan, right in the middle of a field. I marveled at my luck when I razed the group and found a princess among it. For all the gold and jewels a dragon could amass, a young princess was the greatest treasure of all.

Perhaps the fact that she gave no protest to being carried off in my jaws should have hinted at what was to come. But I had thought she was in shock or unconscious. Whatever it was I thought, she made no sound or movement over the miles to my den, and when I dragged her deep into the cave and released her among my treasures, she showed no fear. She stood, brushed off her dress, smoothed her hair, and spoke in my own tongue.

“So easily tricked. I thank you for the riches.”

My laugh was a roar. “If you consider them such, all the better for you. You will never see beyond this cavern again though, if you were hoping to spend them.”

Her lips spread in a grin, and her dark eyes sparkled. “On the contrary. You’ll find nothing is yours now.”

She shifted her language, and it was words I didn’t understand. I had lived thousands of years, and heard every language. But I hadn’t heard this one.

I learned that day that there are beings older than dragons. This princess’s tiny form held a soul that stretched beyond the beginning of time. But unfortunately for me, the only thing that soul craved was gold. Her spell in those ancient words trapped me as her slave, unable to make any movement that wasn’t of her will.

No dragon has ever feared but I, for I fear and dread that she will never release me, will keep me enslaved to gather her riches for eternity.

Because dragons do not grow old, and neither does she.

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