Just Another Wall — Crown

“It’s been quite a long time,” the helmeted commander saluted, “I wish I could say we came looking but…”

“I’m glad you didn’t.”

“Why is that?” he asked, his curiosity betrayed by the volume of his question. “Tell me of your grand adventures.”

“Well, first a question of my own” You hesitated, motioning towards the familiar-looking bones hanging overhead, “Those are talking to you, aren’t they?”

“Positively screaming!” he declared. “Sometimes I can’t even hear my own thoughts.”

“Do you…” you continued, “Do you listen?”

“Every single word,” he answered succinctly. “Without that accursed magic she is usually pleasant company.”

“I’ve been listening to one as well,” you admitted, “except not from bones.”

“Have you crafted something from its hide? Fascinating, although that hardly explains why you’ve been absent for longer than I care to count.”

“No, not hide either. And, well, it does explain why I never came back,” you tried to explain. “Well, you see I couldn’t come back, not with a live one.”

“Careful. Choose your next words wisely.”

“Oh, I’ve had plenty of time to think about them,” you explained. “This is no different than you hanging one from the rafters.”

“No different? No different!”

“Save your indignation. Your hunt all but destroyed a species because you and that dead-eyed queen couldn’t control yourselves. And what did you do with all the power you harvested? You abused it. Turning living, breathing creatures into toolbound shells of their former selves. You wanted a lump sum withdrawal of the wish magic they held so you could use it for even more destruction.”

“You’ve had a lot of time to think about this, haven’t you?”

“I would have had a lot longer, but it’s pretty clear humanity’s in trouble,” you explained, “That’s why I came back. And I’ll leave just as quick if there’s not room for both of us.”

“You always were one for charting your own path,” the scarlet showman laughed, “I suppose I should have known that if anyone was able to control a living wish, it was you.”

“Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. He’s much more like your mounted skull than the creatures we were taught to be terrified of.”

“I don’t follow.”

“It’s complicated, but to put it simply, he wished away his wishes. He has no more power than those gauntlets I see everyone wearing.”

“And you put up with that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Well as often as she regales me with detailed accounts of what she’d do if she could get her claws on me, I fear for whether I could survive her in the flesh.”

“Still full of animosity?”

“Oh no, quite the opposite. Without going into lurid detail, she delights in getting a rise out of me, in more ways than one.”

“I can’t say that’s unfamiliar. And they may talk a big game, but they tend to realize pretty quickly that wish-granting dragons don’t have a monopoly on fulfilling desires. There’s nothing quite like having a big, cocksure dragon turn to putty in your hands.”

“You make a compelling point. I’ll have to think of how I can turn the tables myself.”

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