The dragon was more than motionless, it was lifeless. If he hadn’t known better the hunter would have sworn it was a statue. He snapped his teeth, taunting the beast, ‘The time of your tyranny is finally over!’ he said, swishing his cape dramatically. He’d rehearsed this several times in front of a mirror and wasn’t going to let a bit of dragon glamour put him off.
In a small, lake encrusted clearing beyond the cave, a group of anxious looking people had gathered. They’d heard tell of the traveller’s quest to kill the dragon and were desperately concerned for his welfare. Some of the younger ones had also brought their phones, secretly hoping for an elicit #hellfire.
Back inside the cave, the dragon didn’t say anything. Not even when the hunter flicked a rope over its great neck and pulled it tight.
‘To be honest, I expected more,’ the man hauled himself up onto a rough ledge, securing a chain to the binding before clamping the locks shut. ‘The fearful tales were pretty fearful.’ He jumped down, scooping up an elongated weapon from his rattling caravan, ‘But then I fear that the truth of dragons always gets lost in the… fear.’ He cursed his last minute choice not to pack a thesaurus.
The dragon didn’t answer him. Not even when the Teflon clad hunter touched the tip of a surface to air missile to its sparkling belly.
‘I’m not going to lie, this will hurt you far more than it will hurt me.’
Outside in the clearing, the people were restless. It didn’t normally take this long for a fry up and the apple core of their anxiety had sprouted several saplings of curiosity. A spectacularly moustached man peeped around the cave entrance, ‘Everything okay in here?’
‘Behold!’ the hunter gestured like a late night shopping channel host, ‘Your great foe is easily subdued by my manly skill.’
‘Right…’ the man twirled his moustache because it had its own Twitter page, ‘only some of the children are asking if they can have a photo. When it’s all over… obs.’
The dragon didn’t interject with an amusing riddle. Not even when several of the increasing number of innocent bystanders gave it an encouraging thumbs up.
‘Um, sure.’ The hunter had been growing a beard since 1993, he fumbled uneasily at the wispy outcrop occupying his chin, ‘I’ll just finish this Hellspawn off and the…little dudes can take as many Selfies,’ he quietly congratulated himself, ‘as they like.’
The dragon didn’t make a sound. Not even when the tip of the rocket launcher rebounded off the cave wall and exploded like a disappointing advert for season 8 of NCIS Los Angeles.
The hunter didn’t make much noise either. Although he did make a sort of squishy, hissy sound as what was left of his underpants hit the lake outside.
The people clapped.
‘Ah, hunters and their ego,’ the dragon said, shooing away a pale curtain of smoke with one of the man’s arms before beckoning the children inside, ‘they always think you’re talking to them.’