Sir Barnabas and the Dragon – Six

The tale of a bold knight, a valiant steed, an innocent maiden and a cunning dragon…

Salazar laughed an unamused bark of a laugh. “We have the answer then, don’t we?”
“Do we?”
“We do. Or to put it more precisely. You do.”
Barney glowered at the horse. “What are you talking about?”
Salazar snorted. “The girl needs to not be a virgin.”
“But she is a virgin.”
“That’s fixable.”
Barney’s blank face showed that he was having trouble with the concept, but then the penny dropped. The blush started at his neck and pretty soon stained his ears bright red.
“No,” he said hoarsely. “No. There has to be another way. I won’t be party to such a thing.”
Cicero scratched at his ear knobs with one curved claw. “Are we suggesting that Sir Barnabas relieves the sacrifice of her virginity?”
“We are not suggesting any such thing. I couldn’t…”
“Why? Are you not thus equipped?”
Barney’s blush deepened. “What I am equipped to do has no bearing on the case. I could not force myself on a young woman.”
Salazar made a sound with his tongue that would have been ‘tsk’ if he was human. “Nobody said nothing about nobody forcing themselves on nobody.”
Barney looked abashed. “Sorry Salazar. Would you mind explaining your idea?”
The big horse shifted his feet uneasily. “I haven’t really thought it through. But. If our friend Cicero agrees and the girl agrees, you do have the equipment to solve the problem.”
“Maybe I do. But it’s not that simple. I mean I can’t automatically…”
“Does she need to be in season like a mare?”
“Oh. I don’t think so,” Cicero broke in helpfully, “from what I read humans are at it all the time. I think the maiden needs to be beautiful.”
Salazar squinted down the slope. “She’s too far away to see.”
Barney waved his arms distractedly. “Look you two. It just won’t work.”
“Well, my friend, it’s probably our only option. Have you actually looked at this dragon? He’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen. And I’ve run away from a few in my time.”
“Run away from?”
“Oh yeah. Sometimes with a rider aboard but more often on my own. Mostly dragons are very fond of horse meat.”
Cicero chuckled. “Indeed we are. Mostly.” Then his voice changed and he sounded as sad as a dragon can sound. “Me not so much. I’m vegetarian by inclination and at the dictate of my conscience, which makes the fact that I know I will eat that girl without some sort of intervention almost unbearable.”
Barney winced and in his mind accepted defeat. If there was one thing his former life had taught the very new knight, it was that sometimes you have to go with the flow, so he held up his hands palms outward.
“Is this really the only way to save the maiden’s life?”
Salazar showed his teeth. “Aside from defeating Cicero in battle. And I wouldn’t give much for the chances of that happening. I mean, you don’t even have armour.”
Cicero coughed. “Actually not being encased in steel gives your boss about half a chance of actually killing me. That and his crossbow.”
Salazar turned a fulminating eye on the dragon. “Boss? Whatever gave you that idea? And would you mind explaining why armour is a bad idea?”
The dragon glared back. “Of course he’s your boss, stupid. He may not make an issue of it. But. And. Armour. When a dragon flames, all that a steel suit does is cooks the human inside it. Usually medium rare.”
Barney moved quickly to head off a possible knock-down and drag-out fight.
“Hold it you pair. We don’t have time for hissy fits.”
Both had the grace to look shamefaced.
“Sorry Barney. We were getting a bit out of order.”
“A bit?”
“Okay. A lot.”
Barney looked at the dragon and the stallion. “Right then. Assuming we have to try this, we need a plan. Anybody got one?”

This adventure of Barney and Salazar will continue next week…

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