Top Five Reasons Dragons Are Better Than Cats
In her room in the northwest tower, Angelica stood up from her oaken writing desk and crossed to the window. She brushed the vanes of her quill against her cheek and stared out at the gray and green scene, castle and clouds against grass and trees. She was happy, she supposed, that her parents had hired a Tiremish tutor for her; they were supposed to be the best, and Philomena had been positively chartreuse with jealousy. Still, he gave her such inane assignments. What did he mean “Compare and contrast the characteristics of two noble beasts of which she had personal knowledge”?
Below, near the copse of trees that stood to the north, she saw Smoke, her mist cat, fade in and out of shadows, stalking something hidden within — one of her father’s deer, no doubt. That was one difference, right? Dragons didn’t play with their prey. Except . . . there, on the northernmost tower, Drake curled in the sun in front of a chessboard, facing the son of the neighboring barony. Well, at least Drake talked to his potential prey, so he was polite about it!
Drake noticed her watching — his keen sight was a little scary — and nodded an acknowledgment. Definitely polite. Smoke had no idea Angelica was watching her and wouldn’t have cared if she had.
What else? Smoke could travel outside the castle, but she was the guardian spirit of the hill, so she couldn’t go very far. Drake’s wings, in theory, could take him to the corners of the world — except he had given his word to Angelica’s father, which meant he was as trapped as Smoke.
The sun came out from behind the clouds, and gold glinted from beneath Drake. Not his full hoard, of course, just enough to keep him comfortable. Smoke didn’t keep such pretty trophies; Angelica glanced over her shoulder to the corner of her room where the mist cat had left spools of thread stolen from the weavers, broken arrows from the fletchers, and bones that Angelica didn’t want to know any more about.
Drat the tutor, anyway! Angelica couldn’t leave her room until she’d written something, and Drake had promised to teach her wind-song. She crossed back to her desk and glared down at the blank parchment. If only she could think of something to write.
— The End —
My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.