Melissa wondered what she should say. After all, she did not want to make a fool of herself. In a world with giant spiders, dragons and unicorns, it might be completely normal to be looked at by half-transparent, giant eyes. On the other hand, it was also possible that the other ones hadn’t noticed the eyes. Melissa tried diplomacy. “I think somebody is watching us”, she shouted against the wind.
The dragon looked to and fro, glanced below and snorted finally. His voice boomed so loud that Melissa did not have any difficulties to understand him. “I can see nothing. You probably imagined it. Man’s eyes aren’t half as good as dragon’s.”
“Who says that?” Prince Victor seemed irritated? He leaned a little to the side to look past Melissa. “I can see a bear below at the creek, and a herd of ponies further back in the clearing.”
Melissa glanced below, but she could not see a creek or a clearing. It was all black.
Obviously, the dragon saw the same as the prince because he corrected him. “They are no ponies but unicorns. Female unicorns to be precise. I must admit, for a human, your eyes aren’t half bad.” The two started to talk about the visual abilities of different creatures.
Melissa did not listen to their skirmish. Apparently, I was the only one who saw the strange eyes. I wonder what it means. The head wind blew through her light beach dress and the thin jacket, and stroked her skin with cool fingers. She shivered.
Prince Victor took off his warm coat and put it over her shoulders. “I found this one in the dragon’s cave. It is a little bit burnt, so I think that his previous owner will hardly miss it.”
“Hey”, the dragon thundered. “Don’t imply anything. Apart from you two, not a single human has entered my cave. The rag had already been there when I moved in.”
Melissa hesitated. “Won’t you get cold?” she asked the prince.
Victor shook his head. “Don’t worry. I don’t get cold easily, and we’ll be home soon, too.”
Gratefully, Melissa buttoned up the coat because the cold wind became stronger.
A gust hit the dragon and threw him several meters to the right. “Holla! It will get uncomfortable now.” He flapped his wings to win height. Melissa clasped the horn plate in front of her as tightly as she could because the wind became stronger and stronger. One gust after the other shook the dragon and threw him to and fro, up and down. Sometimes, the treetops were so close that her feet whipped against the leaves. Then, they dwindled till they merged with darkness and rain. Melissa closed her eyes and fought against nausea again. She felt like in a roller-coaster out of control.
“Hold on tight. I will land.” The voice of the dragon drowned even the roar of the storm.
Air pressed on Melissa’s ears till she could hardly bare the pain. She couldn’t guess how far it was to the ground, but she hoped urgently that the dragon would get her there unhurt. Abruptly, it was quiet around her. She opened her eyes just in time to see the dragon touch down in a clearing. Relieved, she slipped off his back, stumbled to the edge of the clearing and vomited into a bush. Not too far away, she heard the prince retch.
When she felt better, she looked around. In the sky over the wood, the inferno still raged. Innumerable lightning bolts lit threatening clouds that were piled higher and higher by strong winds. Hurricane gusts shook the crowns of the trees further away from the clearing, but there was silence around her.
“Strange”, the prince said. He had put his head back and looked up.
Melissa stood next to him and looked into the sky, too. “It is as if the storm avoids this clearing.” Silently, she stared at the thunderstorm for a moment. “There is certainly a simple explanation for this.”
“Magic, of course.” The prince looked at her. “Somebody has sent the storm. I suggest that we stand below the dragon in case a witch appears here. That monster is stronger than all my bodyguards together and magical on top of it.”
Melissa nodded and smiled at Prince Victor. “Oh, you are injured.” She extended her hand toward a wound on his cheek.
Prince Victor waved her away. “Don’t worry. It’s only a scratch.” He offered her his arm gallantly, and she reached for it gratefully because her foot hurt again. Together, they dragged themselves back to the dragon. Melissa could have sworn that he gloated.
“It’s not polite leaving, me like that”, he said.