Part 1: The Girl

Long ago, in a far away land, there lived a girl all alone in a tower, surrounded by a lush forest. At the base of the tower, a dragon was stationed, and every morning the girl would look out her window and hear the snores and see the curling tendrils of smoke rising from the dragon, and sigh.

All her life she had been alone, though sometimes she dreamed that she knew a man and a woman when she was very little and that they loved her very much. But whenever she awoke, the dream was so far away, and so impossible, she never entertained it for long.

The dragon hadn’t always been there. When she was younger, it was only her, in her room. She was alone, but she was never bored. There was never a shortage of things to do in her little room at the top of the tower. She sometimes thought that she was making things come to life because, one day she would wish for a piano, and the next morning it would be in the corner collecting dust, as if it had always been there and she only neglected to see it. This continued to happen, and she never questioned it, though she was always curious about it. One day, she tested this curiosity and wished to be with her family. But when she awoke the next day, beneath the canopy of the bed she’d slept in all her life, she realized not all wishes could come true. And so whenever something appeared in her room, she just deemed it a magic she would never understand and continued with her day.

On the morning that the dragon appeared, she considered the magic again, wondering if she’d wished for something by accident the night before. But nothing came to mind, save for her forever wish for a friend. Somehow this creature didn’t fit her idea of that. She looked out the window, and stared into the dark eyes of the dragon, who only snarled back. A lump was in her throat, as she backed away from the window, but the dragon made no move. It just stared, a hot wind flowing toward her from its nostrils. And then it turned around and settled itself on the ground, its body weaving around the base of her tower. She wasn’t sure how to feel, but a part of her was excited. She’d never met another being before. It wasn’t a human, which would’ve been her preference had anyone been asking her. But it was still a living, breathing being, with eyes to look into, and ears to hear her.

Things were strange at first. She sometimes forgot it was there, becoming startled every time it would grunt, or the ground would shake with its grumbles. But in time, she worked her way to actually thinking of it as her friend. When she awoke, she would send a good morning on the wind to greet it, and when the moon rose high above, she would sit by the window and recount her day. The dragon never responded in any way, but it was nice to feel that her words were not only heard by the wings of the wind, and the leaves in the trees. Part of her worried the dragon may frighten potential human friends, but as the days drug on and on, her worries seemed unnecessary.

Because in all the time she’d spent living in that room at the top of a tower in the lush forest, she had never set her eyes on another human before.

But on one particular day, the day this story begins, the sound she awoke to was not her snoring dragon, but a voice. A voice shouting words that she could understand. Throwing her blankets off her, she stumbled to the window and peered out. At first, she saw nothing amiss. The dragon was still there, smoke whirling through the air above it, and the trees swayed in the breeze just the same as they always did. But as she blinked the sleep away, squinting through the haze, she looked to the ground and her mouth dropped at the sight.

It was a boy.

A real, live, human boy.

TO BE CONTINUED

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