“Shall we start a sing-along?”
I turned and gave Simon a bemused look, seeing him grinning in turn at the rest of us as he all but bounced by Luella on the path. “I’m sure singing will ruin the element of surprise that we’re going for, won’t it?” I asked.
“Aw, c’mon, we’re trying to find a dragon,” Simon said. “Don’t dragons, ya know, have noses and stuff to smell us coming? It wouldn’t matter if it heard us.”
“I’d rather not get baked by a dragon’s flames while singing a tavern song, thanks,” Brom said dryly.
“Maybe we can sing the dragon to sleep,” Luella said with a small, teasing smile.
“Don’t encourage him,” Brom muttered.
“Aw, c’mon, singing’s fun—”
I interrupted Simon by saying, “I vote we keep quiet on the path. Not only do we not want to invoke the dragon before we’re ready, we don’t know how many people, friendly or otherwise, are around this area.”
“Yeah, keep your mouth shut so bandits don’t find us,” Brom translated for Simon.
Simon huffed but he listened and honestly didn’t say much at all for the remainder of the walk. The village was a mere dot on the horizon at the base of the hill below us when we first smelled the stench of smoke.
Luella sneezed. “That’s… not just a campfire.”
“It’s burned corpses,” Brom said grimly.
I took a deep breath to steel myself, immediately coughed due to the stench, then straightened up. “I think we found our dragon…”
“Why are we going after a dragon again?” Simon asked. “Is this for gold?”
“It’s stealing maidens from the village,” Luella said. “I think this is more important than gold!”
“Although gold would be nice,” Brom mused, “our main goal is to be nice people and try to slay the dragon—”
A screech echoed as overhead leathery wings beat through the air, carrying the reptile north. I stared at the creature’s underbelly, marveling at the glint of the gray scales from the midday sun.
Instead of slaying the creature, perhaps we could tame it…