Prompt: “The world’s tiniest dragon must defend his hoard, a single gold coin, from those who would steal it.”
Piakol wrapped up its small, scaly body upon its gold hoard. One, single gold coin. It admired its red scales which stood out amongst the gold of the coin and the dirt floor the coin was resting on. Piakol had captured this small cave from a rat who had been living here for weeks. Piakol was proud of himself that he was able to fight off the rat using its fire breath and claim the cave for himself. This is all that Piakol needed. Just a little place to live and keep his gold hoard away from those who would dare to steal it.
Piakol knew that the rats and mice were no trouble and he feasted on the small insects that would sneak into his cave. It was the giants walking about he was worried about.
He could watch them as they stomped by and shook the Earth. They were hundreds or thousands times larger than Piakol and just as obsessed with gold. They built an entire city around Piakol’s cave to just house a few of these giants. Their thirst for bloodshed and gold was too much for Piakol. He had everything he needed right there in his cave. He was happy and content.
Piakol blew a few smoke rings out of the cave’s mouth and they dissolved in the rain. Large droplets of water crashed down outside of Piakol’s cave but he and his gold was safe. A little trickle of water flowed into the cave, but Piakol didn’t mine. He dipped his snout down into the trickle and gulped up the water.
He then let out a little yawn and curled up while resting on his gold coin. He closed his eyes and began to drift off to sleep.
Piakol awoke to some kind of commotion on the outside of his cave. He heard the loud footfalls of the giants. They were jumping up and down in the water outside the cave and splashing up droplets of water and mud.
“Come on Julian,” A female giant spoke. “It’s fun.”
“Stop being so childish, Juniper,” The male giant replied.
“I am a child, Julian. And you are too.”
Piakol had picked up several languages while living here in the cave. Of course he spoke the language of the dragons, Draconic, as well as Common which was a language which many Giants spoke. These two were speaking something else. Something these Giants called Elvish.
“I don’t know why you won’t jump in the puddles with me,” Juniper said.
“I don’t want to get my robes dirty,” Julian said.
“Since when? You’ve never cared about dirt and grime before,” Juniper said.
“Well I do now,” Julian said.
Piakol stretched out his body and took another sip of water from the pool that was collecting in his cave. These giants were quite loud. Didn’t they realize that some dragons were sleeping nearby?
“I bet it’s because Poppy and her family are coming over later,” Juniper said.
“That’s not the reason,” Julian snapped.
“Yeah whatever,” Juniper said.
The female continued to splash around in the water. Piakol looked out and could see two of the giant feet going up and down. This giant was not as large as others that had walked by before. Piakol concluded that this must be some kind of youngling.
Piakol poked his head out of the cave and saw that the street was mostly empty. The female youngling was jumping around in the large lake in the middle of the street while the male youngling stood on the side of the road. He was fiddling with a blade which was about as long as Piakol. The sky above was still dreary and cloudy. A perfect day to stay inside guarding his treasure.
“Woah do you see that?” Julian pointed towards Piakol.
Piakol quickly pulled his head back into his cave and stood guard on top of the gold coin.
“What? What?” Juniper turned around to see where Julian was pointing.
“Right there! I saw something,” Julian ran through the puddle up to Piakol’s cave entrance.
“What was it? A pixie or a bug?” Juniper asked while pulling on Julian’s robes.
“I’m not sure,” Julian said swatting away Juniper’s hands.
Piakol did his best to push the coin against the back wall, away from the cave entrance. He displayed his tiny wings and started to growl. These giants were not going to take his treasure or his life.
“Why don’t you go down and see what it is?” Juniper asked.
Julian gave her a disapproving look.
“What? You don’t want to get muddy?” Juniper asked.
“Can you just see what is is?” Julian asked.
Juniper laid down in the mud so that she was eye level with the small hole in the building. She looked inside and saw Piakol guarding his coin. His bright red scales matched the burning red in his eyes.
“What is it?” Julian asked.
“I think it’s a dragon,” Juniper said.
“Be serious, sister, what is it? A mouse?” Julian asked.
“I am serious, Julain. It’s a little dragon,” Juniper said. “It looks like it has a gold coin.”
“A gold coin? Like real gold? Grab it and we can go get some pastries or something before Father and Mother come back.”
Piakol recoiled at the monstrous face that was blocking his cave. It seemed to be the female youngling. Her booming voice echoed throughout the entire cave. Piakol recoiled again at the word “grab.” Just a Elvish synonym for steal. Take. Piakol would not give up his golden hoard so easily. He was prepared to fight.
Juniper reached in her hand and fumbled around trying to grab the coin. Piakol took this opportunity to unleash a ball of fire at the giant’s hand.
Juniper recoiled and held up her hand. A tiny blister was already forming on her index finger.
“What happened?” Julian asked.
“The little dragon attacked me,” Juniper said rubbing her finger.
Piakol was victorious for the moment as the creature had drawn its hand back, but Piakol was smart and knew that these thieves would not be content until they had his coin.
Juniper laid back down and looked into the hole again.
“Hey little guy. There’s no need to be so mean,” Juniper said.
“Oh. Now you’re trying to reason with it?” Julian asked.
Juniper looked up at him and gave him the stink eye.
“It’s probably more intelligent than you are,” Juniper said.
“Whatever,” Julian rolled his eyes. “At least I’m not trying to talk to a lizard.”
“It’s a dragon,” Juniper yelled at him.
Piakol gave a slight nod from inside his cave. He definitely preferred the female youngling over the male. He even felt a little sorry for burning her with his firebreath. But he had to protect his horde at all cost.
Juniper went back to looking into the hole.
“Hello,” Juniper tried to speak to Piakol again.
Piakol growled and blew smoke at Juniper hoping it would scare off the two giants.
“Do you think it talks?” Juniper asked.
“I’ve read that some dragons are very intelligent and can speak many languages while others are more animalistic and only communicate in growls,” Julian said. “Maybe this one is just dumb.”
“I am not dumb, you foolish giant,” Piakol roared.
Both Juniper and Julian jumped back.
“It does speak,” Julian said.
Juniper spoke back in Draconic, “Hello small dragon.”
Piakol looked at Juniper with a questioning look. He had never heard any giant speaking the Dragon’s language before.
Juniper and Julian had both been forced to learn languages by their father. Both Juniper and Julian spoke Elvish, Common (the language of Humans), and Draconic. Juniper also spoke Undercommon (the language of the Drow/Dark Elves) while Julian spoke Abyssal (the language of Demons). Julian loved learning languages while Juniper hated it. She’d rather be outside playing in the woods or splashing around in mud puddles.
Piakol stretched out his wings and growled at Juniper.
“Get back giant or I will be forced to attack you again,” Piakol spoke in Draconic.
“That’s the second time he said that. Why is he calling us giants? We’re obviously Elves,” Julian said fiddling with his blade.
“Well we’re much larger than him, so we look like giants,” Juniper said.
“It’s still an insult,” Julian said.
“You’re not giants?” Piakol asked crawling a little closer to the hole.
Juniper looked into the hole again.
“No, we’re Elves. Giants are much larger than us,” Juniper explained.
“Ask him why he is so small,” Julian said.
Juniper looked up at him, “You ask him. You speak Draconic.”
“He’s your friend.”
“I am not friends with thieves like you,” Piakol growled.
“Thieves? We’re not thieves,” Julian said. “This dragon is all backwards.”
“You did say you were going to steal the gold coin,” Juniper said.
“Admitting to the crime before committing it. A foolish mistake for a young thief like yourself,” Piakol said.
Juniper and Julian exchanged looks and then Julian rolled his eyes.
“So do you live here?” Juniper asked Piakol, trying to change the subject.
“This is my cave. I fought a dark-furred vermin to capture it. And now I sit here on my hoard of gold keeping away the people who would try to take it,” Piakol said.
“Like my brother, Julian here?” Juniper asked.
“Hey!” Julian interrupted.
“You too, female youngling. You reached your hand in here trying to grab my gold,” Piakol said.
“I’m real sorry about that. I didn’t know that the coin belonged to such a strong and majestic creature like yourself,” Juniper said.
“Flattery really?” Julian groaned.
“Your words are kind, but I do not trust you,” Piakol said.
“I understand,” Juniper said. “What if I offer you something in exchange for protection?”
“Juniper, what are you doing?” Julian asked.
Piakol moved towards Juniper.
“What are you talking about, giant?”
“Elf. Actually. I want to hire you for my protection. I can provide more gold,” Juniper said.
Julian glared at Juniper wondering what she was up to. Piakol glared at her unsure what to make of the Elf.
“What is your play, Elf?” Piakol asked.
“No play. You are obviously very strong and able. I am a small, Elvish girl. I can provide you with gold and in exchange you will protect me,” Juniper said.
“Juniper what are you doing? You can’t have a dragon in the house. Mom and Dad will kill you,” Julian said.
“Shut up Julian. I’m talking to uh…uh…,” Juniper turned back to the small dragon, “I guess I never asked you your name.”
“My name is Piakol,” Piakol said.
“That kind of sounds like pickle,” Juniper said.
Piakol turned his head in confusion.
“What is ‘pickle?'” Piakol asked.
“It’s this salty vegetable that crunches when you bite it,” Juniper explained.
“Like the bones of vermits?” Piakol asked.
“Uh….yeah I guess,” Juniper laughed.
Piakol brought his tiny claws up to his face and scratched his scales behind his jaw.
“I have thought about your proposal and I will agree to it. However, there are some stipulations I want to add to our agreement,” Piakol said.
“Oh ok, yeah,” Juniper said.
“I demand that you provide for me one gold hoard every cycle of the moon as well as provide food and shelter for me. In exchange I will offer you protection from any that would seek to harm you,” Piakol said.
“So one gold coin a month? That sounds reasonable,” Juniper agreed.
“Juniper!” Julian said.
“Should I do something about this one?” Piakol asked.
“No, he will be quiet about all of this,” Juniper said. “Won’t you Julian?”
Julian stood there with his armed crossed. He glared at Juniper.
“If Mom and Dad find out about this, it was all your plan and I had nothing to do with this. But between you and me, I think this is a horrible idea,” Julian said.
“Great. So everyone’s on board,” Juniper smiled.
“I guess so,” Piakol said.
Piakol bit down on his coin and dragged it to the entrance of his cave. Juniper picked up the coin and Piakol sat on it. Piakol continued to glare at Julian and Julian returned the stare.
Their mother called in the distance as they approached the two Elvish children.
“Sorry Pickle, but I have to put you in my bag.” Juniper said sliding both the gold coin and the small, red Dragon into the satchel she was wearing across her body.
Piakol was forced into this bag before he could protest. He didn’t know how we was going to protect his new business partner from inside this uncomfortable space. He did however find a few spare coins which he decided to add his collection as an inconvenience fee.
“Juniper Duskmere! What did you do to your dress? It is filthy!” Her father yelled.
“I’m sorry Papa. I was playing in the mud,” Juniper said.
“And what about you?” Their father tuned to Julian. “You just let herself get covered in mud?”
“I told her not to, father,” Julian said. “But you know she has a mind of her own.”
Julian caught Juniper’s eyes.
“She never listens when I tell her things are bad ideas,” Julian finished.
Juniper looked away from her brother.
“It’s fine. We still have time before the Littleroot Family comes over for dinner. We can get you home and cleaned up,” Their mother said.
All four of them made their way through the streets of the city towards their home. Juniper patted her satchel and felt a little bit of heat radiate from her bag as she walked with her family.
Piakol remained quiet in the bag and sat upon his gold coin that moved ever so slightly whenever Juniper took a step. He let out a bit of smoke and then curled up upon his coin. He would continue to guard his golden hoard no matter where this Elf was taking him.
Header Image Credit to Caycowa’s DeviantArt Page.
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/Redditisimaginary