“Fret not, Your Majesty,” the bearded Knight Captain reassured the King. They stood on the west tower watching a black dragon carry the princess toward the sunset. The fires in the village painted the sky a brilliant shade of orange that matched the setting sun. “The Princess will be home by dawn.” The King shook his head.
“Take your knights to aid the village. It’s time my daughter learned to look after herself.” The Captain nodded.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” he bowed and excused himself. The King watched the sky until the dragon disappeared beyond the horizon. Once the dragon and his daughter were out of sight. He felt a familiar chill run down his neck and smiled to himself.
“You did well, Falrinn,” the King spoke without turning to face his royal mage. “I’d have preferred less damage to the village,” the King shrugged and chuckled.
“Apologies, Your Majesty,” a frail whisper of a voice spoke from behind the King. “Dragon summoning is complicated, but he left an excellent distraction for your knights. There’s no one to rescue your daughter if that is your command.”
“I’ve gone back and forth so many times,” the King shook his head as he looked down on the village. In the distance, he saw his knights helping to put fires out. “There’s no way her mother would approve of my methods, but if the Queen were still alive I would not need to resort to such extremes.” The King surveyed his kingdom in silence for several seconds, then he gave a firm nod as if he made up his mind. “Did you have time to prepare everything?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I gathered everything you specified myself.”
“Then there will be no rescue,” the King said with a solemn voice. “The tools and weapons you gave her should be more than enough. If my daughter cannot defeat the dragon,…” the King turned to head inside. “…then I need a new heir anyway.”