Fantasy Fiction posted April 12, 2020 Chapters:  ...27 28 -29- 30... 


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Aaron and the dragons move to the palace

A chapter in the book Aaron's Dragons

Dragons in the Palace

by Cindy Warren



Background
Aaron and the dragons have saved the kingdom from invasion. The king has died without an heir, Aaron is made king, but his troubles are just beginning.
Aaron had not expected to sleep, but after a few minutes he found himself alone with Blue. The water dragon didn't seem surprised.

"You are not happy," he said.

"I'm not unhappy. I will do my duty. I didn't expect it to be so hard already. Pink and White both think they will be queens. They don't understand that the queen is the wife of the king. They all seem to think they're going to live in the palace and be something special."

"I do not understand the ways of humans," said Blue. "What is wife?"

"A mate, and a partner. Someone to have my children."

"That is not possible. You must tell them."

"I know. I tried. They're not listening. That's why I went back to bed. I didn't expect to fall asleep again."

"You must tell them again. Tell them in a story. They will listen," said Blue.

"That's a good idea," Aaron agreed. "I don't think they understand what a queen is. I think I can make it sound so terrible they won't want to be queens after all."

"You feel better?"

"Yes. I think I'll stay here a while, then I'll go spin them a yarn that will have them happy they're not going to be queens."

As was his habit, Aaron awoke just before sunrise. Duane had tea already made, and had fried potatoes and onions for breakfast. The dragons were out turning over logs, looking for mice. Aaron explained his plan to Duane, who burst out laughing. As they drank their tea, Duane helped him spin a tale of a king and his queens.

Aaron carried his chair outside and watched the dragons hunt. Once their bellies were full, they gathered around, wanting to know all about the palace.

"I'll be just like King Gerald with his wives," he said. "Of course, his wives were human, not dragons."

"Wives?" asked Pink.

"Of course. Everyone knows the queen is the wife of the king. She must have many children, or the kingdom will be left without an heir, just as it is now. I can't let the same thing happen again. The king is in charge of everything, you know. We can't have just anyone taking over when I die. You're going to love it."

"Children?"

"Of course. You must love our children, or they may behave like the boy you gave that lesson to. You dragons were so good at creating a lesson that wouldn't really hurt him. You're going to make great mothers."

White looked like she was about to be sick.

"I may have to find a human queen or two as well," said Aaron. "If it turns out you can't have people babies, I might need them. After all, I'm getting rather old. I can't wait too long to have children."

"I don't understand what 'wife' means," said Pink.

"Didn't the woman explain that to you? A wife is a mate, and a partner. A queen is the wife of a king. She keeps things running smoothly at the castle. She gets to tell people what to do, too, as well as looking after the children."

Pink and White stared at each other. "I think Marjorie should be queen," said White.

"Dragons must not have people babies," said Pink.

"I thought you wanted to be queens," said Aaron.

"No, said White. "I do not want to be queen."

"You must have a human wife," said Pink. "I don't want any people babies."

Both Duane and Aaron burst out laughing.

Pink puffed herself up, appeared to grow larger, and her color changed to flaming oranges, reds and yellows.

"That was mean! That was not funny!"

"I tried to tell you that you must always be dragons. You are already important, and you always will be, but you are not queens. A queen is the wife of a king. That part is true. I don't know what I'm going to do about that. Perhaps in the years ahead the princess will be ready to marry and take her place as queen.

"Marjorie should be queen," said Pink. "You like her, don't you?"

"Sure I like her. Why do you think she'd want an old man like me?"

"She likes you."

"Liking isn't the same as marrying. Anyway, I can't worry about that today. Dylan will be here soon."

"Will we go to the palace?" asked Duane.

"Yes. I've been thinking about that. I want to keep all of you close for a while."

"What about the chickens?" asked Pink.

"Marjorie will have to take them," said Aaron. "If we take them with us, they're going to end up on the dinner table."

"Can't you tell them not to?"

"I wouldn't count on it. Hungry people don't always listen, and I don't think it would be wise to have somebody guarding chickens. It's best if they don't see them. Besides, Marjorie knows a bit more about caring for them then I do."

"I want to see them."

"I don't think Marjorie would mind if you flew out to the farm to visit them. In fact, she seemed rather fond of you."

At that moment, Dylan rode up with about a dozen men.

"I hope you've decided," he said. 'We need you at the palace right now. Somebody's told the people you're not going to do it. They think the princess is going to marry the invading prince and unite the kingdoms. He's probably the one responsible for the rumor. We need you to put things right immediately."

"I was afraid of that," said Aaron. "Have one of your men get Marjorie and have her take the chickens right now. Tell him that if he can't keep their existence quiet, I'll take them to the palace and give him the job of guarding them. Duane and the dragons will be coming with us."

"You said that wouldn't be wise," said Pink.

"Hush. He won't want that job. He'll stay quiet about them," said Aaron.

"It's hard to leave this place," said Duane.

"You'll be back. In fact, I think she'd want you to have it," said Aaron. "We'll figure it out in time. For now, if our neighbors are planning anything they shouldn't be, I don't want you and the dragons here without protection. I think you'll like the palace."

Crowds had gathered in anticipation as they rode to the palace.

"All hail King Aaron!" Dylan shouted. "Aaron has decided to accept the appointment. Now, I think he has something to say to you."

Aaron had not been expecting this, but fortunately, he was never at a loss for words.

"I thank you for your confidence in me. We all know this is unusual, but we have been blessed to live in an interesting time. I will do all I can to return the kingdom to prosperity. This is not a kingdom of fools, and nobody thinks that is going to be easy. We have some special little friends here to help with the food."

The crowd cheered.

Aaron continued. "We take care of our friends. We do not eat them. We do not stand for anyone trying to harm them. Anyone caught doing so will be dealt with harshly."

There were more cheers.

The dragons stood on horses flapping their wings, showing off.

The two little Dragoyles stood together on a horse, and one managed "Aaron king. Aaron king."

This was followed by a wave of silence, then more cheers.

"Those little guys will be talking more than me pretty soon," said Aaron.

That was greeted with laughter, and more vocalizing from the Dragoyles, though nobody knew what they were saying.

As Dylan and the men escorted them to the palace, people cheered and dragons showed off. The Dragoyles soon learned to imitate the cheering, and it made for a noisy parade along the avenue. Eventually they reached the palace, and Aaron, Duane, and the dragons were escorted inside.

Eleven pairs of eyes looked around in amazement at the high walls covered in colorful tapestries, carved ceilings, and marble floors.

"What is it?" White gasped.

"This is where the king lives. Of course, other people live here too."

"Dragons live here?"

"They do now," said Aaron, as a crowd gathered around.

Black sat on top of a marble statue gaping at everything while the crowd gaped back at him. Brown peeked from inside her saddlebag gazing at her new surroundings. Red and Green flew around, exploring behind curtains and tapestries, examining each nook and cranny, until they were exhausted, and Aaron asked to be shown to the bedroom.

He had never seen the king's chamber, and he couldn't believe his eyes. Duane was stunned.

"What is that?" Pink asked, indicating the bed.

"It's the biggest bed I've ever seen," said Aaron.

"You sleep on it?"

"Yes." Aaron flipped the quilt down, and the Dragoyles scurried underneath, exploring the soft, warm mattress. "Now you guys have to get out of there before you tear the stuffing out of it."

The rest of the day passed in a blur. There was so much to palace life Aaron had given no thought to. He could see that keeping the dragons here was going to be a challenge. They were curious and excited, climbing on everything, and often forgetting to go outside when they needed to.

He flopped onto the bed and stared at the ceiling. Brown scurried under the blankets and curled up next to his neck. The rest gathered around, digging in the quilts to find a cozy spot.

When Duane found himself a soft couch, Yellow flew over beside him, intending to scratch himself a nest.

Aaron sighed. This was going to be more difficult than he'd anticipated. There's a reason dragons don't live in castles, he thought.




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