Business Add-Venture

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


It is death or a deal!" Calvin thought as he approached the Castle. He could see the Dragon peering at him from its rooftop lookout.

Chapter 8 (v.1) - Meeting the Dragon

Submitted: April 26, 2018

Reads: 127

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Submitted: April 26, 2018

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After much time Calvin finally reached Gravel's Castle, with one Brawny-bull in tow.

As soon as the Fire-dragon smelled the bull it flew down to the road and confronted Calvin by asking, "Are you trying to drive me insane, bringing a Brawny-Bull within my nostrils smelling range while I am in my feeding cycle?" 

Calvin was so terrified by the Fire-Dragon's that he didn't hear one word that the Dragon said. Calvin also forgot the rehearsed speech that he planned to say to the Dragon.

Shaking in his saddle, Calvin whimpered and pleaded with the Dragon, "Oh --- please --- Dragon, don't eat me!"

The Dragon replied with a medley of laughter and these words, "Eat You? Not in a thousand ferrules would I eat a Cloverton. That is forbidden by my Master!

I usually eat Brawny-bulls and cows, but if they are scarce and I am extremely hungry, then I might be forced to swallow a Karryme; for survivals sake.

Without Calvin's prompting him, Doolittle moved to a position right behind the Brawny-bull and stood there trembling.

Calvin finally found his voice and said, "I have brought you an offering of friendship and goodwill, the Brawny-bull is yours."

The Fire-dragon was pacing, from side to side, in front of the totally clueless Brawny-bull. The bull was happily munching on some grass and had no idea what was happening.

The Dragon replied, "Nothing on this planet is free and no gift is without cost. What do you want?"

Calvin took a quick drink from his traveling flask, cleared his throat, then stated, "I wish for you to enter into an agreement with me, but the bull is yours no matter the outcome of the proposed agreement. So after you have eaten perhaps you would be so kind as to hear my idea."

Suddenly, the Fire-Dragon snatched the bull, tossed it in the air, blasted it with a billowing flame, then swallowed it as it came back down.

In just a few moments the Dragon burped loudly and another billowing flame ejected the bull carcase in a down-wind direction.

I must admit, for its size the carcase traveled surprisingly far.

Calvin was in shock, he had never seen anything eaten, or digested, that fast before!

And poor Doolittle, he just passed out and didn't fully recover for some time, which left Calvin standing alone on the ground.

"Oh that is so much better," stated the Dragon. "I was really hungry! When you eat in cycles, as I do, you are either starving, or you are not hungry at all.

Now, tell me your name and explain your proposition. I am all ears!"

Calvin told the Dragon, "The farmers in this area are weary of your attacks on their Brawny. They are going to ask the King to send some Beast-Bonkers to kill you."

This was not a true statement, but Calvin thought that it might happen so he said it as if it were fact; I think they call this "Alternate Facts."

After hearing this, the Dragon smiled and replied, "If they do that then who will protect them from the Pirates?"

Calvin looked puzzled so the Dragon said, "By the look on your face I would guess that you have no idea what I am talking about; so let me tell you a story.

Many years ago a Wizard, by the name of Gravel, reached across the great divide and plucked me from my home. It was a hot and unforgiving place, and food was scarce.

The Wizard gave me a steady supply of food to eat and built me a place to dwell a-top his castle. In return he asked only that I protect the island's north shores from invaders, like those known as Boat-Pirates.

From my perch, on top of the castle, I could see the pirates approaching, even when they were still far from shore. Each time I saw them I would fly out to their boats and spit fire into a sail, or two. And when a sail would catch fire they would flee. They grew very afraid of me and sailed further south, but I could see them trying to sail past so I set fire to their sails even then. After awhile the pirates stopped coming, altogether.

But if I were dead the pirates would hear of it and would return to plunder the same farmers that are complaining about me and the occasional missing Brawny.

If they had not taken my Master's Brawny, then I would not need to eat the cows that they have. I would still be feeding upon the Wizard's livestock."

Calvin stopped the Dragon by asking, "Who took the Wizard's livestock?"

The Dragon looked sad as it stated, "The Clovertons began taking them after my Master did not return from an ocean voyage; maybe they thought that he perished in a shipwreck. But I know that he lives, I can feel it.

At first, just a few of the Brawny were taken by local farmers, but as word spread more farmers came to take what they could afford to feed.

I don't know if the farmers took all of them away, some of the brawny may have wandered off, I suppose. After all, they are always looking for the thicker clover. 

I could not stop the Clovertons because they were aware that I am forbidden to hurt them. So, they just ignored me when I would fly at them.

Over time all that remained was one Brawny-Bull; my last meal, provided my Gravel. "

Calvin thought for some duration, then replied, "You know what this means?" 

"Yes," replied the Dragon, "I am without food and have to resort to thievery to survive."

"No, no, it means that many of the farmer's Brawny belong to the Wizard. And all baby-Brawny born to, or conceived because of a Wizard's Brawny, belong to the Wizard too," Calvin explained. "It is the King's law. It is called the Right of the Benefactor."

"So?" the Dragon stated in confusion.

Calvin shot right back with, "So, you are not taking what doesn't belong to you. The Wizard left you Brawny to eat and the farmers took the Brawny, so you have every right to take them back whenever the need arises. It is not your fault that you can’t tell a farmer Brawny from a Wizard Brawny! Is It?"

Listen, I know how you can take the Brawny back without the farmers complaining, or the King sending troops to kill you!"

"You do? How?" asked the Dragon, now overcome with curiosity.

"I have traveled much of the Kingdom and I know the whereabouts of many more farms that have Brawny.

I could draw a map," Calvin stated, "Do you know how to read a map? --- Never mind, I'll show you," 

Calvin took a deep breath and then he excitedly continued speaking, by saying, "If you will fly to the farm that I point out on the map, take a Brawny from among that farmer's herd, and then return home after you have eaten, you will be safe from harm. But you must leave the carcass there, do not bring it back here.

If you follow my guidance then no farmer will complain, I promise.

Do you see, it will be just like when the Wizard was here? You can continue guarding the Island's coast and living a-top that marvelous castle. --- Is it a deal?"

 

The dragon agreed and worked very hard at map reading; he got the basics after awhile.

In the mean time Calvin was busy mapping more areas and selling Fire-Dragon insurance to those farmers.

Calvin would visit each farm sector right after the Fire-Dragon would attack.

After a sale Calvin marked each farmhouse or barn with painted numbers on the roof. Calvin told the farmer that the numbers were an insurance policy number. But the numbers served as map references and a way for the Dragon to know what farm to snatch a Brawny from. It was all very orderly and well planned by Calvin.

When Calvin's business was up and running he was replacing ten Brawny every ferrule, there are ten Dragon feeding cycle in every Ferrule so those Brawny had to be replaced.

But Calvin was receiving the price of 22 Brawny, a tad more than 100% profit. And even after the King’s taxes, local business taxes, permits, and traveling expenses, Calvin was still doing quite well; he was becoming a wealthy Cloverton.

***

After several Ferrules passed by, all seemed right on the Island; the Dragon was happy, the farmer's were happy, and Calvin was very happy.

To serve as Calvin’s northern business office, and sometimes home, Calvin had moved into some of the lower rooms of the empty castle. He only stayed there during the warmer seasons, and besides, no-one was using it.

***

 

During one spring-time Calvin and Doolittle were staying at their cottage, with stable, in the western sector.

Calvin was seated in his garden having a flask of Glug when the Dragon landed nearby.

“My Master has returned home and he wants to have a talk with you, now,” the Dragon stated. “Come, climb of my back and I will take you to him.”

Calvin started trembling, he was sure that the Wizard was never coming back; after all, he had been gone for so long.

“Does the Wizard seem upset?” Calvin questioned.

The Dragon growled a response, “It is hard to tell when Gravel is angry. So I would suggest that you do not keep him waiting; so let’s go.”

So away they went, north, to a fate uncertain.

 

 

JEF

04-26-2018


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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