I have to do something! My father and step mother are having a baby boy. I can’t just wait here like an idiot while my baby brother is in danger from the Punishment from God. I need to slay at least one dragon and I know just what I’ll do to get away.

All I gotta do is at father’s dinner with the town judge pretend like I care about their plans to get on his good side. Then he’ll let me go and “train” with Austin and make sure he covers for me for a few days. Father won’t let me outside of the town, let alone in the caves of the dragons. It’s a fool-proof plan. Just as long as Austin pulls through, I’m set. Although, I really hate relying on people to make something work, especially as important as this. I haven’t had much experience with people keeping to their word.

“Are you almost ready, Dearest?” Jonathan calls from the first floor. “Yes, almost, Father. Just one more minute, please.” I really hate talking like that. Anyway, I really am ready in my huge blue-green gown, but just wanted to make sure everything was set for tonight: sleeping bag, food for several days, water, my bow, a lantern and some rope. I rigged up my archery outfit to be fire proof as well.

I scurry downstairs as fast as I can followed by my older brother, Alexander Kunningham. My father chuckles as Alex and I trip over each other to hold the door open for our expectant step mother. She’s the closest thing to a mother we got and we want to make every moment we can to show our gratitude. Our real mother died when I was only three, twelve years ago.

When we got to the dining hall everything was lovely except the food. I was planning on stuffing as much food as I could so I could leave with a full stomach, but after tasting this slop, they’re lucky I’m not puking it up.

Against everything I know about food and cooking, I forced myself to consume this disgusting piece of garbage. We didn’t really have a subject to talk about apart from business. I chimed in a couple of times and even gave a few suggestions. Father gave me an appreciative look which instantly pumped me up for tonight. I’m totally in. It’s all up to Austin now. C’mon man! Don’t let me down!

While I was walking to Austin’s with all my equipment ready to go, the strangest thing happened. This boy…he was just staring at me. He just kept right on staring at me under an old oak tree. This boy I’ve never seen before had a weird handsomeness to him. I was so captivated I almost forgot what I was doing. Thank God the turned away or I might have been trapped in his eyes forever. I saw a slight blush across his cheeks and he ran away. Just like that I let my very first crush run away from me. Hal! What’re you doing? Stay on mission!

So anyways, I made my way over to practice with Austin waiting for me. He looked especially handsome and I don’t see any bow for him to show me something new. He sauntered over to me with a rose in his hand and said an inch away from my ear, “ I know you only came to see me.” I looked at him like he was nuts, “Do you really think I’d ever be with you?! Look, I only made an excuse to come here so you could cover for me for a few days while I go kill a dragon!” With a mixture of shock, hurt, and determination, he said, “ No way I’m covering for you so you can get yourself killed! Look, I care too much about you to let you go alone.”


“Yeah, I’m coming with you.”

“Austin, you’ll just slow me down, and, plus I only brought enough food for one person for four days.”

Austin got between me and the mountains and almost screamed behind tears, “NO! YOU CAN’T LEAVE!!” I decided I would either have to seduce him or fight him. I continued with, “Austin, I don’t want to fight you. I just want to get past.” moving closer now, ”Please, just do this one favor for me. I promise I’ll be back safe and sound.” and kissed him on the cheek. He hugged me like he’d never hug me again and I felt tears on my shoulder. He said very quietly, “Hal… I love you. You know that, right?” I nodded, “And you know that if you don’t come back, that I will die inside, right?” I tried my best to sound strong, but sincere and said, “Austin, I’ll be back. There’s no way that I would let you be that way. I’ll kill the dragon and come home to you.”

He kissed me.

Just like that I was in his strong arms kissing him. I honestly could be like that for the rest of the night. And after what seemed like hours, we finally let go and he told me with loving eyes, “You don’t know how long or how many times I’ve wanted that.”

I’m sure I was blushing my head off because I swear my face was on fire. I’ve never felt that was toward Austin. He’s always just been my bow instructor that was a year older than me. Having him…us kissing like that totally made me not want to go. I wanted to stay with him; stay in his caring for all eternity. Suddenly the image of that boy under the oak tree flashed in my mind and I snapped out of Austin’s hypnotic touch.

I stepped back and commanded, “I am going to kill the dragon and there is nothing you can do to stop me. I’m not going to have my new little baby brother have to be afraid of being eaten by the punishment from God and I’m willing to die to make that happen!”

The End

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