Title: The Dragon’s Tail
Summary: Monica tells her daughter, Reina, a bedtime story that just happens to have a witch, a dragon, a dark forest, and occurs on Halloween.
Note: This is in the future under the "Cerril-verse". So Reina is the same as the one at the end of that story. I was trying to fit one fic challenge, found out I couldn’t since my story went too long, then checked to see if I fit the second one. But it seems I’m 0 for 2, so this is just something cute for ya’ll to read! But as you can see, I combined the basic ideas of both.
Inspired by NeoX’s "Bedtime Fic Challenge" and MollyRocket’s "Halloween Fic Challenge".
January 22, 2006
Monica kneeled on the foam mat sitting outside the bathtub as she dipped the blue, pink and beige washcloth in the water again. She raised it up, letting the water run down over the soft skin of the three-year-old’s back, rinsing off the few soap bubbles still clinging there.
"All clean, Reina. Me Mirlo pequeño!", Monica’s smile was bright as it was met with a matching brilliant expression on her daughter’s face. "You want to wipe your face?", she handed the washcloth over to the tiny waiting hands. "Don’t forget behind your ears."
Reina just smiled, her cute cheeks puffing out and dimples emerging. "Si, mama. Yo no me olvidaré."
Reina’s speech was still in its early stages, but clearly understandable and in both languages. More so than most children’s was at this age with only one language.
Monica watched as Reina did her best to do as she was told. Grabbing the towel, Monica let it unfurl. "Good job. El tiempo de salir."
Reina stood up out of the water and Monica immediately wrapped her in the big fluffy towel, lifting her over the lip of the tub. Had John been in the house to see that, he’d have had a fit. But since Reina wasn’t anywhere near heavy, Monica was glad he wasn’t there to fuss at nothing.
After a quick towel dry and in the middle of slipping a long cotton gown over Reina’s head, the little girl piped up. "Story, por favor mama?"
"Of course. I can’t say no to someone with dimples like that." Monica tickles the baby fat cheeks, causing Reina to giggle and squirm, which in turn makes Monica’s tickling fingers travel to armpits and ribs. Reina falls over into Monica’s arms as she is lifted up and into bed. Just as she did when Reina was much smaller, Monica cradled the still amused child to her as she got into bed with her to lay her down properly. Pulling the covers up on the full sized bed over both she and Reina, Monica stretched out and let her baby snuggle up to her.
Reina, ever the perceptive and gentle natured being, touched her mother’s slowly growing abdomen. "What story for us tonight, mama?"
"This is a story about a beautiful little girl with thick stunning black hair and the most gorgeous violet eyes."
"Y una corona?", Reina asked expectantly.
"Of course, what else would a princess wear." Monica said as sat up, with Reina following her actions, then reached for the tortoise shell set of a comb, brush and little mirror on the nightstand beside the bed. She untwisted Reina’s mass of curls from where they’d been so they wouldn’t get wet from the bath, and began to slowly pull the larger comb through them. They weren’t tangled, the little girl not yet given to reckless play as her mother had been at this age, yet Monica took great care in her work as she told the story.
The little black haired princess ran through the vast fields attached to the land on the outskirts of the kingdom. Usually she ran for play or because she was following after the royal cats as they hunted for rabbits, mice, or fowl, even maybe deer, though anything that was caught would be fed to the villagers. No one would ever be hungry in the kingdom as long as King…
"John!", Reina interrupted.
"Alright. Si, King John.", Monica agreed.
…ruled. But for right now, there was strife in the land to their south, and King John had taken the royal army to help nearby kingdoms defeat it. In his stead, Queen…
Monica waited expectantly and wasn’t disappointed when Reina supplied, "Monica!", in her glass tinkle voice.
… oversaw the comings and goings of the kingdom’s daily life while her dear husband was away.
As was said before, usually Princess Mirlo ran for play, but there was no mirth to be found today. A huge threat befell the kingdom in the form of a gigantic silver dragon. This dragon had no name as it rampaged in the forest to the east, killing travelers and traders and visitors from other kingdoms. It even, with a burst of it’s fiery breath, would sometimes turn some people into its minions. Slaves that would do its bidding and were no longer human as they kidnapped people to either make more slaves or more food to feed the evil dragon.
When Queen Monica could find no other way to be rid of the horrible dragon, she had decided to lead the royal reserve army into battle against the dragon. But Princess Mirlo had to put a stop to that plan, knowing that her mother was expecting a baby. So on the night before the queen’s attack, the brave little princess slipped out of her room determined to risk her own life in defense of her kingdom and the people living within.
Princess Mirlo wasn’t alone though. She stopped, unsheathed her father’s sword, and stepped behind a tree. Her little hands firmly gripped the jeweled hilt as she listened to the woods crunch behind her. She waited till she sensed the presence of her pursuer.
Princess Mirlo jumped from behind the tree, her sword slicing deftly through the air and stopping inches from her best friend’s neck.
"Jesse! What are you doing following me? It’s dangerous!", Princess Mirlo whispered to her friend. Unlike Mirlo’s royal clothing, Jesse wore the understated garb of a villager. But his bearing was that of the squire he was training to be, so that he could become part of the army like his father.
"That’s why I’m out here, to protect you." Jesse flicked his overgrown mop of reddish blonde hair out of his eyes. "I saw you leave and I knew what you were going to do. You’re going after the dragon."
"Yeah, and?" Princess Mirlo rolled her eyes and turned on her heel, her light blue skirt rippling and flaring out.
"Well, you can’t do it alone!"
Jesse ran to catch up to his friend, his blue eyes trying to appeal to hers. But she kept staring straight ahead, her skirts gripped in one slender hand and the sword in the other. Jesse sighed, but kept his pace with her.
Soon, they came to the edge of the Deep Forest, also known as the Witch’s Forest. Legend had it that a witch had cursed the forest so that on the night of each of the witch’s Sabbaths the forest would be shrouded in an impenetrable nighttime. No light from lamps or torches could break through so that one who dared to venture could only see 3 feet in front of their faces. And it just so happened that tonight was All Hallow’s Eve.
"Aww brother." Jesse mumbled. "I forgot what today was.
"Well the yearly reminder, the All Hallow’s Eve festival was cancelled due to the rash of deaths contributed to by the dragon.", Mirlo stated as she stared into the murky dark.
Princess Mirlo reached into a pocket on her skirt and pulled out a little leather pouch. She handed it to Jesse. "Here, you can have this."
Jesse opened the drawstring on the bag. "Wow, candy corn. My fave."
"Yeah, my nurse gave them to me."
Princess Mirlo reached back into her pocket and produced a glowing rock. "My grandmother gave me this. Called it a Moon Rock."
Jesse watched in awe, with his mouth half full of candy corn, as the silver rock in her hand glowed like moonlight. It cut through the dark like a tiny sun, the silver rays making her violet eyes glow.
"My grandmother said I’d know what to do with it one day. Come on."
Princess Mirlo started off into the forest, the moon rock paving a way. Jesse followed her too, armed only with the short dagger his father gave him for his birthday.
Entirely too soon, they came across evidence that the dragon was close by.
"Mirlo, are you sure you want to do this?"
"I have to do this.", she answered with conviction.
On they walked until men started to appear out of the dark. Men with cold eyes and hulking bodies. The men did not come into the light cast by the stone. Instead they seemed to circle around at the edges of the glow.
"Looks like they can’t come near us.", Jesse whispered and Mirlo nodded.
"You’re taller." She handed the stone to Jesse. "Hold it above your head."
Jesse did as he was told and as he took it from her, the stone flared up and the light became more intense. The rays reached farther and touched a few of the closer men who instantly started to shiver and shake violently. They could see the other’s back up, and Princess Mirlo kept her hand on Jesse’s wrist as they watched the glowing stone become a weapon against the dragon’s slaves. All of a sudden, the men in the light seemed to collapse in on themselves and crumble into piles of human rubble.
"Let’s go." Princess Mirlo felt it was all right to break contact with Jesse and the stone’s glow dimmed back to it’s original state. It seemed the minions got the message anyway and backed off into deeper night. Jesse still held the stone over his head to dispel any shadows around them as they walked further towards where the dragon had to be.
"Oh god!", Jesse whispered as the bluish silver scales of the dragon came into view. The dragon was curled up around something that looked like a book. And old leather bound book with golden etching and corners.
The stone in Jesse’s hand started to vibrate and the dragon stirred. All of sudden he roared and sat up, towering above the two children. Princess Mirlo raised her sword and the dragon took a deep breath.
"Oh no!", Jesse said and closed his eyes, still holding the stone above them. He wrapped his free arm around Mirlo’s waist and the light from the stone grew brighter again, blinding the dragon.
"Jesse, be brave!"
Princess Mirlo charged forward and sliced into the dragon with her sword. He roared again and breathed his deadly fire onto the children, but the silver light kept it away from them like a shielding dome. The dragon seemed to be confused and tried again, lowering his head this time for a closer shot. Once again the fire was stopped and Princess Mirlo took her opportunity. She swung her father’s sword in an arc and cut off the dragons’ head. Well, half of it. It took three swipes, and then the dragon was no more. His body turned into a dark goo and dried up in the light of the moon rock.
"Wow!", the princess and the would-be squire exclaimed together.
Just then, from the ground where the dragon’s body had disintegrated, a beautiful lady rose up. She had long straight black hair, the smoothest chestnut brown skin, and amazing silver eyes that glowed just like the stone.
"It’s the witch.", Jesse whispered in awe as they watched the woman float up in her midnight blue skirts with embroidered gold and a corseted waist. Her creamy chestnut shoulders were bare except for the thick ornate golden necklace she wore, and matching armbands. Once clear of the earth, her bare feet never touched the ground even as she glided towards them.
Princess Mirlo lowered her sword and stepped toward the lady, looking up at her.
"Darling Reina Mirlo.", the lady said. Barely anyone called her by her first name since it meant queen and didn’t sound right for her to be called Princess Queen. Only Mirlo’s mother called her by her first and second name at times. So in fact, putting her middle name with her title, everyone called her Princess Blackbird on account of her jet-black curls and beautiful singing voice.
The ornate lady with the brown creamy skin continued, "You have proven yourself and your blood." The lady blinked her silver eyes and looked to Jesse. "You, as well, Squire Jessup."
Jesse wondered why she called him that, since he wasn’t a squire yet. But he wasn’t going to argue, maybe she could see into the future. But as far as his blood, it was that of a commoner. Still, he didn’t argue. She was too beautiful to argue with and his mind felt her power.
"Can you do something for me, precious Reina Mirlo?", the lady reached out and caressed the little princess’s cheek.
"Anything, milady." Princess Mirlo bowed slightly, the sword still in her hand.
"I would love to hear your voice. I’m sure it will break the spell the forest is under."
"But, if I may ask, didn’t you put the spell on the forest?", Mirlo ventured, wondering if she was being too forward.
But the lady just smiled showing a glint of sharp teeth. "No, the forest missed me when the dragon imprisoned me in the book over there. He used me to create a shield for him. I couldn’t defeat him. He was more ancient than I, but I was able to curse him so that when you came along, you would have the power to vanquish the dragon. And this is how he twisted my power. Yet the forest was the fuel for my power, and it still sleeps. I can not awaken it myself. But if you sing, the forest will sing with you and return to its glory."
"What should I sing?"
"Sing what’s in your heart.", the lady answered simply.
Princess Reina Mirlo thought for a moment, then opened her mouth and a beautiful sound issued forth. The Midnight Lady and Jesse listened to Mirlo’s melodious tones and watched as the dawn broke through the tree tops and the forest floor could be seen without the aid of the glowing stone.
Later that day, as Queen Monica rode her army to the edge of what was once a darkened forest, Princess Mirlo and Jesse emerged from the now rather bright, but just as deep forest. One of the soldiers dismounted before the queen and rushed over to help her down from her horse.
Queen Monica ran over to her daughter and hugged her fiercely. She brushed the princess’s black curls away from her face. "You’re ok. I was so worried when you weren’t in your room. I thought that they’d come to…", and the Queen broke down and cried.
Princess Mirlo stroked her mother’s chocolate waves. "It’s ok, mama. I’m ok. Don’t cry."
"And all was right with the kingdom. The Queen took the Princess home for some much needed rest. King John, the valiant, returned victorious. And they all lived happily ever after." John finished the story from his post in the doorway.
Monica looked up from her sleeping daughter’s face. "How long have you been standing there?"
Monica carefully extracted herself from Reina’s bed and covered her little girl with the blue and gold embroidered quilt. Checking to see if the child would stir, Monica walked over to John and tossed her long arms around his neck.
"You’re her king, you know."
"Oh?", John replied, looking deep into his wife’s mocha eyes. "And she’s my princess." He paused and licked his lips, looking down at Monica’s. "And what am I to you, Queen Monica?"
Monica pretended to consult the ceiling as if her answer was printed there before turning out the lights in Reina’s bedroom. The nightlight provided enough light for Monica to lead John out and down the hallway to their own bedroom. The both paused and watched as Cerril and the Kuvasz puppy, Bianco, that John’s father had bought for Reina trotted down the hallway on their way to the little girl’s room
Monica pulled her husband inside and closed the door. Their bodies gravitated towards each other and the bed. John’s left hand rubbed just inside the waistband of Monica’s loose jeans, his knuckles gently grazing her slightly rounded belly. He loved the feel of her body as it went through its changes and this time, she allowed him to feel them and touch her even more.
"King John, I’ll show you what you mean to me.
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