Drawful the Awful is the ongoing series/novel in progress following the pursuits of the dragon, Drawful, who is awful at being a dragon, and his “kidnapee” the Princess Brooke. The full series can be found here.
Princess Brooke had taken the waiter’s recommendation of the eggs benedict and Drawful had ordered the protein heavy roast ham, as a dragon is wont to do, but accompanied it with a salmon and goat cheese crepe. Both the Princess and dragon had taken full advantage of the bistro’s offer for bottomless mimosas with their brunch.
It was by the time that the duo had finished their meals and had each lost count of how many of the mimosas they had drained, that Brooke finally felt courageous enough to broach the topic that had been on her mind all morning.
Despite her courage being mounted, Drawful was still running absently over possible plans for the rest of the day. “It seems to me the best thing we can do is to keep moving, but I don’t want to tax you with endless, aimless walking.
“I know the classic move of my forebears would be to hole up somewhere, in a cave or in some mountain aerie, but once more I think it is to our benefit to buck tradition, or cliche as it were.” Drawful finished the mimosa before him, as he had all the others, in a single gulp. After he set the glass down, his serpentine tongue whipped out over his leathery lips and he smiled contentedly.
“However I’d prefer not to stay at home,” Drawful added, before he sighed pleasantly and settled into his chair comfortably.
“I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t want more creeps like Alistair showing up at my doorstep,” Brooke swirled the drink in her flute, and looked out on the avenue that was bustling with late morning activity.
Drawful gave a mild chuckle so genuine that a tongue of flame darted out the corners of his mouth. “I can deal with the moron nobility, Princess. It was more so that it is another very nice day today.”
Princess Brooke looked at Drawful, whose catlike eyes glinted at her. She turned back to the avenue and finally took in the warm sunshine, the crisp air that summoned a breeze almost in response to her turning her attention to it. Drawful was right, it was a very nice day, much too nice to spend inside waiting on questionable nobility to come her way.
“So what ideas do you have?” Brooke asked the dragon.
“I thought we could take a hike.” looked to his left over the row of cottages to the east. “There is a love wooded trail just outside the village. It comes upon some vales and thickets, and eventually runs along a river to a small waterfall and pond.”
“A waterfall and pond?” Brooke nodded to herself and finally found the steel to try to steer the conversation more aggressively. “You know, if it’s shallow enough, that would be quite the picturesque setting for face offs against valiant knights?”
Drawful regarded the Princess ambivalently for a moment then glanced back in the direction of the gate where they had last seen Cristiano toting Trevor away. “Such as they are, yes.” Drawful murmured.
“Drawful, I wanted to ask. You’re not much one for fighting, are you?” Brooke gave a look of respectful concern for Drawful’s ego.
The dragon chuckled, causing the flames to once more. He shook his head. “You are right. As you said yesterday, Dragonry does not come as naturally to me.”
Brooke shook her head and smirked. “I still can’t believe that’s the word.” The pair shared a laugh and Brooke twirled her flute lazily, then drained it. “So, I wanted to talk to you about the arrangement you have with the Alabaster Kingdom.”
“With your father,” Drawful posed carefully.
Brooke was resolute and her eyes fixed stonily on Drawful. “My father signed off on the agreement, but it was on behalf of the Kingdom, and finding my suitor and the Kingdom’s next ruler.”
“An astute legal analysis.”
“Thank you. So I want to discuss that arrangement. You promised to help with finding a worthy suitor for me, no?” Drawful nodded and Brooke continued. “Seems to me, my father may have assumed that meant a lot of swords, fire and fighting, but he never explicitly said so, did he?”
Drawful looked up thoughtfully at the sky and thanked the waiter quickly who took their empty flutes for refills. “I never received a response to my query from him, only that you were being sent off with me upon my arrival.”
“And did you explicitly state anything about fighting in your letter to him?” Brooke asked.
Drawful finally gave a wide eyed look of surprise. “He didn’t share the letter with you?”
Brooke twisted her mouth as she remembered her father’s telling her of the arrangement. “The letter had already been passed to his cabinet for their review. He didn’t wait on their approval though. I would have asked the media guy about it, he’s really clever.”
“He’s this wizard, really nice guy, but super shy, always really busy, but I’m sure he’d have had time for me if it was work related,” Brooke reasoned to herself, but she shook her head and looked warily at Drawful following her mention of the wizard at the castle she wished she could have spoken with.
Drawful, for his part, did the Princess a favor by showing no significant reaction to her mention of the wizard. Brooke shook her head and recovered her train of thought. “So, no, I only got the word that my dad had come up with another means of fixing my suitor problem, which I thought was weird because he’d only just passed the bill saying I could consider people other than royals and nobility.”
“That’s a very progressive bill.”
“Isn’t it? Barely passed a month ago, and boom,” the Princess sat up and her head bobbed side to side with an exaggerated impression of the good King’s voice, “You’ll be taken by a dragon. The adventure and exposure will be good for you, and I think the dragon will be able to help draw out the more talented suitors the kingdom has to offer and weed out the morons.”
Drawful thanked the waiter who returned with full glasses. He gave the glass a little swirl, in the manner Brooke did hers and then gulped it down in a single throw. “Well, I said nothing of fighting and battle in my letter. I know better than to lie on a job application.”
Brooke started and her eyes were wide with excitement. Drawful waited for her to take a sip of her glass and she continued. “So then, this isn’t so much asking you to change your arrangement with the Alabaster Kingdom, more a clarification of it.”
Drawful set his glass down and clasped his taloned hands over his belly. He bowed a head for the Princess to continue. “What if you were not my kidnapper, but my defender?”
Drawful’s brows raised and the Princess spoke quickly to get in front of whatever objection the dragon might pose. “I mean simply that you say yourself you’re not much for fighting, and that you never promised to be a fighter anyway. So what if we clarified the arrangement now? What if instead of helping me pick a suitor from the idiot boys around this kingdom, you protected me from them?”
Drawful’s right brow crept up in mild confusion. “As I already have, you mean?”
“Well, yes. I just want this made clear. More explicit an arrangement,” the Princess looked at her refilled glass and held the stem tightly between her fingertips before she lifted it for another drink.
Drawful leaned forward and grinned, which the Princess was surprised was actually not as threatening as smile comprised of a couple dozen sharp fangs might have sounded. “Princess, I have made that my mission since your delightful rhyme in the park endeared you to me, and since everything about the Prince Chauncey reviled me of him.”
Brooke’s eyes were wide and began shining. “So you’ll,”
“Serve as your defender, and be proud to see you someday take the throne.” Drawful lifted his empty glass in a toast to the Princess. The waiter took notice and hustled over. Brooke gulped down the last of her mimosa and offered the glass clumsily to the waiter who accepted it graciously.
Brooke nodded happily to herself. Her eyes were shining and Drawful was feeling a warmth in his chest other than his fire breath for a change. “When I’m someday Queen,” she mused, “I’ll very much want someone like you beside me, Drawful.” The Princess’ eyes looked over the avenue and Drawful noted the melancholy that took her. “And hopefully a decent King.”
Drawful took in a deep breath and shrugged. “If I can help with that I will, and who knows? I’m sure you’d be a legendary queen even without a King by your side.”
“Tell that to my father.” Brooke did not turn back to Drawful, but he couldn’t miss her daubing at her eye with the cuff of her sleeve.
“Your father rules without a queen since your mother’s passing, and he seems an intelligent man and ruler. Why shouldn’t he see that a Queen could rule without a King?” Brooke turned to Drawful at his reasoning and he smiled at her encouragingly, which made her issue a noise bred of both laugh and sob. “We should consult Borrachor, but perhaps this adventure might end up proving that?”
The Princess snorted and covered her mouth with the back of her hand, her eyes still shining with tears threatening to spill over. “Oh that lush. I would love to get his take on it.” Brooke blurted laughter and looked up at Drawful curiously. “I wonder where he is?”
Drawful accepted another round of mimosas and shrugged. “My guess is getting over the last of his hangover.”
“Hopefully, going to counseling for his drinking after,” the Princess added. They clinked glasses once more and the Princess did her best to chug her glass in one go as Drawful tossed his flute back as a single sip.
“I think we should instead go on that hike,” Drawful suggested as he began counting out the coin to cover their bill and a generous tip for the attentive waiter.
“I think that’s a much better option for us,” Brooke looked at the empty flute appraisingly, “you don’t think they have travel mugs for drinks like the tavern did, do you?”