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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2321514
Rago the dragon decides on a diet to lose a few pounds.
Rago’s Diet

This is what is called a dilemma, thought Ragobimini del Marnoc Carabindiay the Fourth. Since I don’t fancy writing all that again, I had better explain that dragons have exceedingly long names and that it is common practice for other dragons to shorten them into something more practical for everyday use. Ragobimini was known to his friends as Rago and that is how I shall refer to him from now on.

As I was saying, Rago was musing on the matter of a dilemma. His dragon doctor had advised him that his pump was in such a bad condition that, if he did not do something about his weight soon, he would lose the ability to fly. You should know that dragons have both a heart and a pump. The heart functions pretty much in the same way as ours, pushing the rather turgid dragon blood around the body to visit all stations and deliver the mail. The pump, however, takes the methane produced by the dragon’s digestive processes and pumps it into enormous sacks within its torso to keep them inflated and, as a result, lighter than air.

This is why dragons always look rather fat, as though they have just eaten a monstrous meal (they probably have but it’s not what causes the huge bellies). Without this balance against their weight, dragons would not be able to fly. They are really living blimps whose wings do provide some lift, but are much more important for steering, directing, and braking their forward momentum through the air.

The methane does give the dragon a secondary bonus in that it is the fuel for the flames it is able to shoot out at will. And knights with other names as well.

Anyway, it seems that Rago’s pump was being damaged by his diet of too much ogre and not enough troll. Damsel would have been a fine substitute for the ogre, but they were so hard to find in this day and age. And fairies were hardly a decent source of the fibre needed to stimulate methane production.

No, the dilemma for Rago was that his only option, apart from swearing off ogres, was a rigorous exercise regime to reduce his weight. And ogres were his favourite food. Cheap, plentiful and endlessly amenable to a variety of cooking methods, Rago could not see his managing without them.

So exercise it must be. And with that came another problem. To exercise, he needed to leave his cave under the mountain to spend several hours flying around and generally burning off the excess fat. Which would leave his hoard unguarded.

The very thought was anathema to Rago. You don’t live next door to a colony of thieving dwarves and not know that they are just waiting their chance to nip in and steal as much treasure as their little bodies could carry. If anything likes a bit of shiny metal more than does a dragon, it’s a dwarf.

The dilemma gnawed away at Rago, keeping him awake at nights and ruining his enjoyment of his meals. But, no dragon can stand the notion of being flightless. They are ridiculously vulnerable on the ground, being clumsy, slow to move, and an easy target for a knight with a sharp point to deflate one’s methane bags.

The decision would have to be made and Rago was the dragon to make it. The hoard must go, he decided. He set a date for his departure into the big, wide world.

When it came to it, he could not bear to leave everything. First he slipped a few crowns around his neck, then followed that with a golden torque or two. Then some necklaces set with the largest jewels in his collection. When the stash reached from his shoulders to his muzzle, he stopped.

It would have to do, he thought.

He staggered with rolling gait and swinging neck toward the entrance to his cave. Once outside, he flapped his wings a little to test the muscles. Then he held his breath, filled his sacks, and tried to take off.

His rear quarters left the ground and began to rise into the air. But his front quarters remained solidly on the earth, refusing to move. No matter how he struggled, his front feet (well, they’re hardly paws, are they?) stayed resolutely on the earth, as though glued in place.

When he became aware of how undignified a sight he must be, flapping his wings and sticking his rear end way up in the air, he stopped trying and considered his position. He knew that the jewellery was the problem. But, if he were to fly, it had to go.

Sadly, he lowered his head and allowed each item to slide down his neck and fall to the ground. Too ashamed at his sudden reduction to penury, he turned his head away and leapt into the air.

This time he succeeded and, almost before he knew it, he was gaining speed and starting a series of zigzag curves in space out of sheer delight. He had forgotten how much fun it was to fly.

In a field near the village, he spied a flock of sheep with attendant shepherd boy leaning against a rock as he played the panpipes. Rago swooped down to scare the living daylights out of him and the sheep. As the boy dived for cover, Rago grabbed a sheep for lunch later.

And, as he flew off looking for more fun and mischief, Rago felt not a pang for his lost hoard and all its treasures. He had discovered that a life of freedom is worth more than all the treasure in the world.

House Martell

Word count: 950
For "Game of Thrones The North Remembers, Fantasy & Fairy Tale Prompt 23
Prompt: Write about a dragon who doesn’t know what to do with their hoard anymore.
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