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July 23rd, 2014 - How to Train Your Alfred
Arthur stared at the dragon in shock and dismay. For as long as anyone could remember, all of the children in his elven village received dragons on their 16th Nameday. Arthur had been so excited he had barely slept the night before. He couldn’t wait to meet his dragon, up until the point when he had actually met his dragon. Arthur looked around at the older teenagers and eyed their dragons with jealously. Everyone else had received sleek creatures of stealth and beauty with sharp teeth and clever eyes.
And Arthur had received a tub of lard on legs.
The dragon waddled over to Arthur, his eyes bright blue and curious. He thumped his tail repeatedly on the ground, acting more like a happy dog than a companion fit for an elven warrior. Arthur sighed and shook his head, already imagining the taunts from the other teenagers about his silly puppy-dragon.
The dragon tilted his head to the side and made excited noises. He thumped his tail again and let a soft pink tongue roll out of his mouth, looking positively ridiculous.
"What sort of dragon are you?” Arthur muttered as he tried to conceal his dismay.
The dragon waddled forward a few more steps and butted his head against Arthur’s leg. He gave Arthur a beseeching look, clearly begging to be picked up and cuddled. Arthur sighed as he heaved the dragon up into the air. The creature promptly repaid his kindness by licking his cheek with a scratchy tongue.
"You are the worst dragon ever,” Arthur complained. Unfortunately, centuries of tradition meant that he had to keep this dragon. And he had to pick a name for him. Something that suited the elegance and splendor of his new companion. But as much as he tried, the only names that came to mind were insults like ‘tubbo’ and ‘flabby’.
"Ahffra? Ahffra!" the dragon chirped insistently.
"Dragons don’t normally make so many silly noises," Arthur replied, while the dragon continued to chatter. He paused a second as the dragon’s nonsensical noises gave him an idea. It wasn’t common to give dragons human names, but the usual sort of dragon names just didn’t seem to suit this dragon. "Perhaps Alfred," he mused.
The dragon continued to chatter happily, which Arthur took as assent. He just hoped that his little dragon would grow up into something slightly less pathetic.
It didn’t take long to discover that his dragon was incredibly lazy. While everyone else was training their dragons how to hunt and fight, Arthur was lucky if he could convince Alfred to play a game of fetch. Mostly Alfred ate and slept. Despite it all, Arthur found himself warming up to his sweet little dragon.
"Shall we play some fetch?" Arthur asked as they strolled together through the woods.
The dragon lifted his head and took off running deeper into the forest, moving faster than Arthur had given him credit for.
"Wait!" Arthur shouted. "I haven’t thrown anything yet!"
He shoved his way through brambles and thickets, wincing as he ripped the edge of his sleeves on a branch. After a headless dash through the forest, he spilled out into a clearing and blinked in the sunlight as he tried to spot his dragon. Arthur saw Alfred at the same time that he noticed an old woman leaning over and cooing at his dragon.
"Come here, little one," she called to the dragon, offering Alfred a piece of food. She glanced up at Arthur and gave him a measuring look.
"Thank you, but he doesn’t need more treats," Arthur said carefully, wanting her to back away from his dragon even though he knew it wasn’t wise to anger strange women in the forest. An old lady might look harmless, but many magical creatures wore disguises, and some were more dangerous than others.
She chuckled, her laugher sounding like a deep rumble in her throat. “He needs as much as he can eat. He’s a growing dragon, aren’t you!” she said, cooing at Alfred.
The dragon looked back and forth between them, confusion in its eyes. Alfred took a few steps toward the lady with the treats and Arthur felt his heart drop. He had grown fond of the tubby little dragon, but there was no chance he could convince his dragon to turn away from someone with tasty food. Feeling dejected, he bent down and wrapped his arms around his knees. Everyone had mocked him for his dragon, and now they were going to mock him for not having a dragon at all. Lost in a blue funk, it took him a second to notice the rough tongue licking his arm. “Alfred?” he asked, shocked that the dragon had come back to him.
He heard the woman sigh from across the clearing. “Very well, little one.”
A moment later she disappeared in a flash of magic and Arthur tilted his head back to stare at the largest dragon he had ever seen. For her part, the dragon curved her neck to face him, staring at him down her long snout with deep blue eyes and sending a clear message that she expected him to take good care of Alfred before she flapped enormous wings and lifted herself easily into the air.
Arthur picked his jaw off the ground, suddenly feeling much better about his dragon. Alfred was lazy and flabby because he was just a baby! The elf picked up the dragon and cradled him gently, promising to take care of him. Of course, he needn’t have worried. The next time they played fetch, Alfred decided to use an entire tree trunk as the stick.
[Credit to starvingfartist’s post for inspiration! http://starvingfartist.tumblr.com/post/85775829755/anonymous-asked-you-arthur-and-his-pet-dragon]
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