The Dragon and the Wager

The Dragon and the Wager

A powerful dragon encounters a very strange girl and makes a wager with her.


With a deafening roar, the enormous reptilian creature easily soared through the air, his body held aloft by a pair of powerful leather wings. Nearly every inch of the creature was covered with thick, virtually impervious scales, and from the end of his long tail to the tip of his snout, he was a creature to be feared. If his sheer size alone weren't enough, a single glance at his long claws or vicious saber like teeth were enough to terrify any creature.

The dragon's name could never be spoken by a human, whose weak and ineffective throats were incapable of producing the necessary thunderous roar. But in his own language, the dragon's name could be translated to HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE. It was a very respectable and dragonish name, filling the owner with well deserved pride.

Just then, HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE saw his prey and chuckled to himself. A short distance ahead was the pair of smaller and weaker dragons that he had been following for a great many miles. They were a younger pair, probably beginning their first mating. This would make their courtship even more important to them, and it would make disrupting it even more enjoyable for him.

The powerful dragon charged straight at his smaller kin, letting out a thunderous roar as he did so. Just as he reached them, he belched out a massive stream of fire, not aiming to injure them but to get close enough to truly scare them. With one more pass and another blast of fire, the two younger dragons flew off in separate directions, with their tails in positions of submission. Of course, they would probably meet up again to complete their courtship later, but HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE didn't care about that. He had dominated them with his size and strength, proving his superiority.

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE gave a dragony laugh as he casually flew away. He hadn't gone far when he realized that he was hungry and need of a meal. His eyes scanned the ground for something that would make a suitable meal for him, though sadly, he saw none of those cattle or livestock which made such fine eating. But to his delight, he did see a human. The human had apparently noticed him as well as it had run under the thick cover of a tree and out of his direct sight.

"The human thinks it can hide from me," the dragon chuckled with amusement, swooping towards the ground and landing right in front of the tree. He might not be able to see the morsel from the air any longer, but he could easily snatch it up from the ground.

Once the dragon had landed, he saw the tasty morsel standing right in front of the tree. It looked like a young female human, one of their adolescents. The human girl had long blond hair and what he knew humans considered a very shapely body. But something was wrong with this particular human because she was unlike any human he had seen before. She had pointed ears, a small pair of horns on her forehead, and everything from her waist down was covered with thick blond fur and looked to be goat legs rather than those he normally saw on humans.

Then to the dragon's surprise, he realized that this strange girl wasn't afraid of him. She just stood there, blowing on her pipes and watching him with a look of amusement.

"So mister dragon," the girl gave an almost mocking bow, "What may I do for you?"

"You can fill my belly," HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE chuckled, taking a careful step towards her and preparing to properly roast her for eating.

"Why in the world would you want to eat me?" the girl asked with a frown, "And what makes you think that I would let you?"

The dragon stared at the girl in stunned surprise, hardly able to believe that she'd understood him. He was certainly no aged wyrm, but never in his experience had he encountered a human who could understand the dragons language. It was enough to make him curious, though no less hungry.

"You can not stop me from eating you," the dragon told her smugly, eager to see the familiar look of fear on the human's face before he ate her. "I am much bigger and stronger than you. That means I am far superior to a small and weak creature like you. There is nothing you can do to stop me."

The girl just laughed, still not afraid. This confused the dragon as he'd never heard of a human behaving like this before. Then again, he realized that this human must have gone mad. That would surely explain her strange behavior.

"So mister dragon," she grinned at him, "You think that being bigger and stronger automatically makes you superior and gives you the right to eat whomever you please?"

"Of course," HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE responded smugly. "This is the natural order."

"Then I shall make a deal with you," the girl exclaimed with a mischievous expression. "A wager..."

"A wager?" the dragon asked, getting curious in spite of himself. He knew that he should just eat this strange human and be done with it, but he wanted to know what she was up to. "What kind of wager?"

The goat legged girl reached behind her back and pulled out a large hourglass, which surprised the dragon since he hadn't noticed it before. "We play a game," she told him. "A game of hide and seek. If you can catch me before the time runs out, you get to eat me and you prove that you really are superior."

"Of course," the dragon laughed, knowing that this would surely be the case.

"BUT," she pointed out with a broad grin, "If the time runs out and you still haven't eaten me, then I am not only free to go, but I shall punish you as I see fit."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE roared with laughter at that. After all, the idea of this girl escaping was funny enough, but the thought of her being able to punish him? It was not only preposterous, it truly proved that she was mad. "I will be doing you a favor when I eat you," he chuckled.

Once the rules were established, the girl turned over the hourglass to start the game while HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE closed his eyes and slowly counted to ten. When he opened his eyes, there was no sign of the girl, though that didn't bother him in the least. He eagerly looked forward to catching her and winning this game of hers. At the moment, that was even more important than having his meal.

After a few minutes, he saw the girl running behind a tree. He rushed over to it, but to his surprise, there was no sign of the girl. The dragon snorted in annoyance, causing a puff of smoke to erupt from his nostrils. Somehow, she'd escaped him, even after he'd seen where she went.

"I'm over here," the girl called out. The dragon turned around to see her standing on top of a large boulder, waving to him. "Catch me if you can." And with that, she jumped off the boulder and vanished behind it.

The dragon snorted and rushed over to the boulder, tearing it out of the ground with his massive claws. But there was no girl behind it or anywhere else he could see. He snarled in frustration, only to turn and see her running behind another tree. When he went to that tree, there was again no sign of her. HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE let out a deafening roar and smashed the tree to pieces with his powerful tail.

The girl just laughed from the branch of another tree, "You'll never catch me if you keep losing your temper like that."

"I will get you!" he roared out, belching a massive blast of flame at the tree that the girl was sitting in. The whole tree was consumed with fire and quickly reduced to ashes. He laughed, sure that he'd finally caught her. Unfortunately, there was no longer enough of her left for a meal.

Suddenly, the girl stepped out from behind a fallen log, "Nice try, but you still missed."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE charged at the girl, but she climbed into a hollow under the fallen log. He roared and shattered the log to splinters, only to find her missing yet again.

"It looks like your vaunted size and strength aren't doing as well as you'd thought," the girls voice came from somewhere behind him.

Roaring in frustration, the powerful dragon belched fire at nearly every tree around him. Then he stretched his mighty wings and launched himself into the air for a better view. He caught a glimpse of her, but lost her under the cover of a tree. When he returned to the ground, he would quickly catch sight of her, only to lose her yet again. As much as HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE tried, he couldn't get close to her. The strange girl kept vanishing from one place only to appear somewhere else.

Finally, he saw her standing under the branches of a tree, making no move to run away this time. He carefully made his way towards her, surprised when she continued standing there. It wasn't until he was closer that he realized this was the very same tree their game had started from, and she was pointing at the hourglass.

"Time's up and you haven't eaten me," the girl grinned, "It looks like I've won our wager."

"I'm still going to eat you," HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE snarled at her furiously. How dare such a small and weak creature mock him? He would never let any of his kin hear of this humiliation.

But the girl still didn't look afraid. Instead, she said, "Since all that size and strength you were bragging about didn't do you any good in our game, maybe you'll do better without."

Suddenly, HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE felt a strange tingling through his entire body. Every inch of him, from the end of his tail to the tip of his snout felt strange. Even his wings felt wrong and weak. A moment later, his wings began to pull into his body, shrinking and dwindling away. At the same time, the dragon could feel his tail shrinking as well.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?" the dragon howled, feeling fear for the first time since he could remember.

The dragon was horrified as his body continued to transform. His vicious claws and teeth all pulled up into his body, shrinking and dulling as they did so. His long, graceful neck began to constrict while his iron hard scales softened and slowly vanished entirely. Then everything around him began to grow larger. It took a moment for the dragon to realize that he was in fact the one shrinking.

When the strange transformation finally finished, HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE slowly stood up, then gasped to realize that he was standing on merely two legs instead of his accustomed four. It was only then that he noticed his skin, which caused him to gasp even louder. His skin was soft and pink...just like a human.

"My scales!" he cried out in horror, "My wings! My beautiful tail..." All of it was gone. And from what he could see, it had all been replaced with a soft human body.

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE stared at himself in shock. His entire body had been reduced to the small and pitiful state of food. He frantically looked his body over, seeing that he now had long green hair, the color of his old scales, growing from his head. It seemed wrong to have this horrible hair stuff instead of his scales. Then he noticed something else. His new body was not only that of a soft and weak human, but a female human as well. And from what he could see of it, especially the big round bumps on his chest, he knew that humans would consider this female body quite attractive.

"Change me back!" HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE demanded of the girl, who just stood back with an amused expression on her face. There was no doubt that he was a LOT smaller than normal, but he was still a little bigger than this strange girl. He felt a glimmer of hope, deciding that he would force her to do as he wanted.

"We had a wager," the girl smirked, "You lost, so now you have to pay up. And this is your payment. You get to spend the rest of your life as a human woman."

"Change me back!" he demanded again, grabbing hold of the girl. But the girl suddenly vanished out of his hands and reappeared several feet away. "Magic," he gasped in realization, "You're not a human."

"I never said I was," the girl giggled, "Besides, humans don't have legs like these." She pointed down at her goat like legs with the cloven hooves.

"Magic," the dragon growled in the back of his now human throat, "You cheated."

"I don't remember anything about us agreeing to how I could and could not keep from being eaten," the girl grinned.

"It's...It's not fair," he nearly whined, thinking of how many times he would have had her otherwise.

"Fair?" she raised an eyebrow. "You were a hundred times my size, had sharp teeth, claws, could fly and spit fire... You sure didn't think it was unfair when you had all the advantages."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE looked down at his new body with disgust, thinking of everything this strange girl had taken from him. Then he froze, suddenly realizing just how weak and vulnerable he now was. If any of his own kind found him, even the smallest and weakest of them, he would stand no chance at all. There were surely a great many of his kin who would hold a grudge against him and would gladly seek the chance at revenge.

"With my sharp eyes and keen hunting instincts, you never would have escaped," he argued desperately, grabbing for the girl again, "I would have found you no matter where you hid..." Then he nearly pleaded, "You MUST give me another chance..."

For a moment, the strange girl just stood there with his hand grasping her arm, looking at him with a strange expression. Then she grinned, a mischievous look in her eyes. "Very well," she exclaimed, "We you can have another chance, double or nothing. This time we'll wager on just how good your eyes and hunting skills really are..."

"But no magic," HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE tried to growl, though it was far from menacing with his new throat.

The girl thought about it for a moment before nodding, "Very well. I shall not use magic to win this contest."

With that, the girl held her hand out and a large flat stone appeared on the ground in front of them. The rock was high enough to be perfect for sitting on. However, there were three cups sitting on top of the stone, making the former dragon realize that this was not meant as a seat.

"I shall hide this nut under one of these cups," the girl explained, holding up a nut as she did so, "Then I shall shuffle the cups as you watch. If your sharp eyes and keen hunting instincts can find the nut in one attempt, I shall return you to dragon form. But if not, I will change you as I wish."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE stared at the girl, knowing that it would be useless to try forcing her to change him back. Whatever power she possessed, it was more than his current body could handle. Besides, he looked at the cups spread out in front of her, confident that he could easily win this contest. "Agreed." Then he quickly reminded her, "But no magic."

"I agreed not to use magic for this and I won't," she responded with a look of annoyance. "Once I set the rules, I do not break them. It makes the game more interesting."

For a moment, he just stared at her, trying to judge of she was serious. He didn't know why, but for some reason he was sure that she was telling the truth. When she said she wouldn't use magic, she truly meant it. That just made him grin, pleased with the knowledge that he would soon shed this small and weak human body and return to his own form.

With that, the girl carefully placed the nut onto the flat stone, then covered it with one of the cups. A moment later, her hands were moving at amazing speed, shifting and shuffling the cups all over the stone. HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE tried his best to follow the cup that covered the nut, and he was sure that he'd accurately tracked it until she finally stopped.

Once the girl was done and the three cups were lined up on the stone, the former dragon immediately pointed to the cup in the center. "That one," he proudly announced, having noticed a faint chip on the side of that single cup before she started moving them. This was definitely the cup. "It's under there."

"Under here?" the girl asked, putting her hand on the cup. As soon as he nodded, she lifted the cup, revealing that there was nothing hidden beneath it.

"What?" he gasped in surprise. "It was there... I saw the chip in the cup..."

With a furious snarl, HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE snatched the two remaining cups, revealing that there was nothing beneath either of them too. Then the girl calmly held her hand out, showing the nut that sat in the center of her palm.

"You used magic," he accused her angrily.

"Not magic," she corrected with a faint smile, "Sleight of hand."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE snarled, "You cheated. That was the cup it was under..."

She scowled in annoyance at the accusation, "I followed the rules we agreed upon. The contest was for you to find the hidden nut, not the cup that first concealed it. If you had stated that it was hidden in my hand, you would have won. Your task was merely to locate the nut, and you have failed. Do not blame me if you misunderstood those simple rules."

"You took it out from under the cup," he argued.

But the strange girl shook her head, "Did either of us ever state that the nut must remain under that very cup at all times? Did either of us ever say that it should not leave the stone slab? If one person decides upon a rule but never mentions it, how can it be considered a rule? And If your eyes were as sharp as you claimed or your hunting instinct as strong, you should have found the nut wherever it was."

The former dragon just stared at the girl in shock. She was right. He had simply assumed there was a rule about the nut never being taken away from that cup, but neither of them had ever said a thing about it. How could it actually be a rule if it was never agreed on? But she must have known he'd make that assumption. She'd tricked him.

Suddenly, HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE felt his body beginning to change again. This time, the changes weren't nearly as obvious as when he had been transformed from dragon to human, but he could still feel them occurring. He was shrinking again, forced to watch as everything around him seemed to grow larger. He was already just a small fraction of his former size so how much smaller could he possibly get?

"Don't do this," he stared at the girl, now only half her size and still becoming smaller, "You must change me back..."

The strange girl didn't say anything though. Instead, she just stood there and silently watched him shrinking with a look of amusement.

When HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE finished changing, he was horrified to realize that he was still shaped like a weak female human, but no larger than one of the cups from the contest. In fact, the only difference he could see between what he had been a few minutes earlier and what he was now, besides the massive size difference, were the wings which now sprouted from his shoulders. They were shiny and resembled those of a dragonfly, though the former dragon would not recognize what one was.

"What did you do to me?" he cried out in desperation, staring up at the towering girl.

"I turned you into a pixie," the girl smiled down at him, "And quite a pretty one too."

"But I don't want to be a pixie," he cried out, "I want to be a dragon! Return me to normal at once!"

"I'm afraid that I can't do that," the girl responded with a cheerful smile, "We had a wager, and it would not be proper for me to release you from your payment merely because you regret the terms. No, you are as you will remain."

He gasped in horror, "But you can't leave me like this..."

"Of course I can," the girl shrugged, "I have places to go and games to play. I do wish you luck though." She turned and began to walk away, leaving the former dragon to just stand there on the flat rock.

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE watched the giantess walking away for a minute, horrified at the thought of remaining as this..THING. He was absolutely tiny, smaller and weaker than he'd ever imagined any creature could be. Then with grimace of determination, he spread his new wings and quickly flew after her.

"The other dragons," he yelled at the girl, about to explain that his kin would come looking for him.

"Oh, no need to worry about them," she answered cheerfully, not even bothering to look at him as he flew beside her. "You're so small now that something as big as a dragon would NEVER see you. You're perfectly safe from them. Now humans on the other hand... You'll have to watch out for humans...and cats...and hawks. But I'm sure you'll manage just fine."

The newly transformed pixie stared at the giant girl in horror, suddenly realizing exactly how dire his situation now was. He'd always despised weakness, and now he was one of the smallest and weakest creatures imaginable. There was no way he could defend himself against even so much as a human. If he couldn't return to normal, his life was over.

"You've got to change me back," HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE cried out in desperation. He flew after her, finally throwing away his dragonly pride and calling, "Please..." He winced, never having thought that he'd ever beg for anything. But this wasn't just anything. "Please... I'll do anything."

"Anything?" the girl finally stopped, turning to look at him.

"Anything," he repeated, sighing in defeat. "I'll do anything to be changed back."

For a moment, the girl just stood there with a thoughtful expression on her face. Then she slowly mused, "I do a great deal of traveling and it can get lonely. It would be nice to have someone to talk to." She hesitated, then told him, "I will make a deal with you. If you come with me as my companion and servant for a time, I will keep you safe and change you back into your original form afterwards, if that is still your wish."

He felt a surge of hope at that and let out a sigh of relief. Then he remembered the way she liked to twist words and cautiously asked, "You want me to be your slave?"

"Think of it more as being an indentured servant," she told him with a faint smile.

"For how long?" he asked her quietly. After his limited experience in dealing with this strange girl, he knew that he would have to be very specific with her. He'd learned his lesson about this the hard way.

"Not long," she shrugged, "Just a hundred years."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE stared at her for a moment, wondering how he could possibly spend a hundred years as a pixie, traveling with this strange girl and acting as her servant. But as he looked down at himself and his alien body, he knew that he had no choice. It was his only chance to return to his true dragon glory.

"Agreed," he finally told her.

"Very good," she grinned.

"Do you think you might change me back first?" he asked her hopefully, "Having a dragon with you would surely be useful..." But the girl just gave him a look that indicated this would not happen. He grimaced, remembering that she had specified he would be changed back AFTER his servitude. With a sigh, he muttered, "You don't know how wrong it feels to be changed like this."

He hadn't really meant for the girl to hear the last, but she did. "Have you considered that this might not be my true form?" she asked him with a strange expression.

Suddenly, the girl began to shimmer and change. She was already an enormous giantess when compared with HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE, but a moment later, she had become a hundred times larger, so massive that the sight of her overshadowed everything else. But more than that, she had also become a young female dragon, with shimmering blue scales. He gasped in awe at the sight of what had to be the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Had he been in his true form, he would have immediately tried courting her.

A few seconds later, the blue dragon vanished, only to transform back into a girl. But this time, he realized that there were some differences. The small horns were missing from her forehead and her legs had become those of a normal human girl.

"Who...what are you?" the former dragon gasped in awe, unable to clear the image of the gorgeous female dragon from his mind.

"My name is Chiff," the girl winked at the hovering pixie, "But most people call me Miss Chiff."

"Miss Chiff," the former dragon whispered, suddenly feeling very apprehensive about her future as an this strange girl's companion.

"Now come on Pip," Chiff announced, "We're off to another world where I plan on having a great deal of fun."

"Pip?" he asked in surprise.

"Your new name," Chiff explained with a grin, "It's short for Pipsqueak...which is what you are now. Of course, I could always call you Butterblossom instead... That's a very good pixie name..."

HE WHOSE BREATH MELTS STONE shuddered at the thought of being called something as flowery and silly as Butterblossom. Even being called something like Pip would be a lot better than that.

"Well Pip," the girl called back as she began walking away, "Are you coming?"

The pixie just hovered there for a moment, looking down at herself and then at her new mistress. She shook her head, wishing that she'd never accepted those wagers but knowing it was far too late for such regrets. It was too late for anything except following the strange path that fate had led her too.

Pip let out a long sigh, then flew to catch up to her new mistress, calling, "I'm coming Miss Chiff..."


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