Reds, blues and greens
Arched across the sky
Illuminate the heavens in
Numerous brilliant hues.
Beauty in a spectrum
Of seven vivid colors is a
Wonder of nature’s perfection.
Reds, blues and greens
Welcome to the conclusion of “The Silver Queen”. If you haven’t yet, read Part 1 here. Otherwise, enjoy!
The night was dimly lit by the full moon Faye knew was hiding behind the clouds coating the sky. The drake followed the marks she’d left in the trees, pondering her wish all the way to the clearing. New colors were insufficient; she should definitely wish for a different form too. Her gossamer wings were just as pathetic as her dull scales. She much preferred leathery ones, or feathered ones, or even fins. Why couldn’t she have been born with any of those? Instead, she looked like an oversized butterfly. Hopefully after tonight, she never would again.
The clearing was even more beautiful than she’d remembered it in the daylight. There was the pool, just as the dwarf had described. All she had to do now was close her eyes and make a wish. Simple enough, right? Right?
No room for doubt, Faye. Believe.
Faye took one last look down at her plain scales before turning up to the thinning clouds. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
She paused. What was it, again? To be red and gold? To have feathered wings? To have more magic than all the other drakes combined?
Don’t overthink, Faye. Wish for what’s in your heart.
“I wish to be a new me.”
A soft breeze blew through the clearing. Had it worked? Was she here? Faye dared to lift her eyelids a tiny crack, but nothing seemed different. Unable to stand the suspense, the drake opened her eyes and looked down.
She thought she’d be prepared for disappointment. She was wrong. The sight of those same old white scales seemed to pierce her heart like a sword. Maybe she didn’t believe hard enough. Or worse, maybe the dwarf was right, and there really was no witch.
No, there has to be a chance.
She wanted to believe there was still hope, but several more tries yielded no results. Heartbroken, Faye approached the pool to stare at the plain dragon in the water, doomed to be ordinary forever.
I’ll never be special, she thought, her tear rippling the water. I’ll never be anything but me.
The white dragon turned away, ready to head back home in defeat, when a sudden noise prompted her to look back in alarm. As the clouds shifted, the moonlight revealed a small figure standing across the clearing…
Terror overtook Faye the second she spotted the human child. It was a dark-haired female, six years old at most, and she wore a long dress that was torn at the knee. She too had tears in her eyes.
The drake didn’t have time to hide from the girl before their gazes locked. What now? Humans were dangerous, even little ones. Dragons were taught to scare them away with magic, but that advice wouldn’t help an Achromatic. She’d have to run and hope the creature wouldn’t believe ever having seen her in the first place.
Before she could move an inch, however, the girl’s small voice broke the minute-long silence.
Whatever fear the drake felt vanished instantly. Fairy queen? Only a child could reach such an outlandish conclusion. She wasn’t a fairy, much less a queen. She was a dragon! A small one, yes, but a dragon nonetheless.
“Fairy queen! Fairy queen!”
Suddenly annoyed, Faye decided to react, to prove that she was no fairy, that she was something far greater than those tiny creatures who wasted their time floating among flowers. But upon turning away to prepare the scariest roar she could manage, the young dragon suddenly froze at the sight that met her pale blue eyes.
The image in the water was so magnificent that it took Faye a full minute to recognize it as her own reflection. The moonlight had illuminated her scales to a shimmering silver, and her translucent wings had come to life in an opalescent display such as never had been seen on the back of any beast. It was a sight that took her breath away.
With fresh tears in her eyes, this time of joy, the dragon only returned to her senses when she felt a tiny hand on her right front leg. Looking down into her eyes, Faye noticed the child’s tears had been replaced by a smile.
No longer afraid, the silver drake glanced at the child’s torn dress, and somehow she knew what she had to do. The moon’s magic in her veins guided her to lower her head and exhale a soft breath over Flora’s injured leg. The human’s gratitude for healing her knee warmed Faye’s heart, and she felt unexpectedly calm as the girl placed a hand on her head and looked into her eyes.
“I wish to go home.”
The dragon smiled. Normally she would never consider helping a lost human, but the moonlight on her scales had given her much more than the magical color she’d always wanted. Now she had a purpose. Faye stepped back and bowed to let Flora climb onto her back, then spread her multicolored wings and took off toward the village south of the forest.
Try as she might, Faye never remembered everything that happened after that. She recalled standing in the shadows at the forest’s edge while Flora hugged her and promised to meet her every full moon, and she recalled watching the girl wave one last time before running into the village. The next thing she knew, she was back in her clan’s cave, still beaming in disbelief that her wish had come true. She was a new her.
A week later, the white drake watched the magic competition from a high rock in the fields, a smile on her face at all times. Faye had no desire to join the solar dragons anymore, nor did she bother to reveal she was a lunar dragon when the anticipated bullying began.
“Monochrome!” “Colorless!” “Pale-face!”
But Faye no longer cared. They’d tire of name-calling soon enough, but even if she never got a chance to prove herself to the other dragons, the drake was content to know there would always be someone looking for her whenever the moon was full, someone who had seen the real her and had made her believe she was special. Faye wouldn’t give up being Achromatic for all the colors in the world, now that she knew she was something far greater than an ordinary dragon. In a human’s eyes and in her own heart, she truly was a queen.
Hope you enjoyed the story! Thanks for reading!
(Honorable mention in Writer’s Carnival’s Create a Creature contest!)
Faye stared through the trees into the open fields. She sighed as she watched the other children laughing and playing without her. This was life in the enchanted country: every seventh day, when the sun was high, the youth would engage in a friendly game to see who could put on the biggest show of magic. And during every game, Faye watched from afar with a heavy heart. It never mattered who among her peers won; she envied every single one of them.
All dragons were born with a beautiful coat of iridescent scales that shone as bright as diamonds in sunlight and that functioned as the source of their magic. All but a rare few. Roughly once a century, a hatchling was born with pure white scales that didn’t so much as glimmer when the sun touched them. Such individuals were dubbed Achromatic, and for their dull appearances that left them powerless, they were considered inferior to normal colorful dragons. Faye was one of the unlucky few.
“Monochrome!” “Colorless!” “Pale-face!”
The other drakes’ taunts had driven her to hide in the forest during their magic contests. As always, Faye watched silently as they showed off the powers they so often seemed to take for granted, trying to guess who would win this time. She knew the fire dragons usually placed first in this game, their red-and-gold scales absorbing enough light to shoot their fiery breath as high as the treetops. Sometimes the blue-green dragons achieved victory with strong jets of water, while yellow and orange dragons scored an occasional win by conjuring small yet powerful tornados. She had even seen an earth dragon win once (she later learned it had taken him a month to store enough solar energy in his brown scales to split that boulder in half). The magic displays were essentially the same every week, and today was no different from any other match day.
Except for Faye’s plan to change her life.
Two weeks ago, a traveling dwarf had stumbled upon the Crystal Cave that the Dragon Clan called home. In exchange for shelter for the night, he had shared half the gold in his pack and stories of his travels across the world. The children were especially fascinated by his tales of humans, with whom they had been warned for as long as they could remember that they should never interact. It was the main reason they weren’t allowed outside at night: they couldn’t risk running out of magic when the sun wasn’t up to regenerate it.
“Humans? Bah!” The dwarf scoffed at his juvenile audience. “Demons, more like! Tear ya down soon as look at ya! Darn near lost me leg to ’em last summer! Caught me in a snare and wouldn’t let me go ’til I told ’em where to find the witch!”
“Witch?” one of the older scarlet girls whispered in awe. The traveler nodded.
“Ay, a folktale from the olden days. The stories differ: sometimes she’s a witch, other times an angel. Human children even call ‘er a fairy queen. But they’re nothin’ but stories. I told ’em all I’d heard, but I never seen ‘er meself.”
“How do you find her?” asked a cyan-scaled boy. The dwarf laughed.
“When the moon’s full, find a clearin’ in the heart o’ the woods with a pool o’ crystal clear water. Close yer eyes and make a wish, and if ya believe with all yer heart, the witch’ll appear and make it come true.”
The very idea of such an event made the children quiver with excitement.
“Any wish at all?” said an amber drake, her eyes wide.
“I s’ppose it could be”, the traveler mused, then shook his head. “If she was real. But she en’t! I tried ages to find ‘er. Asked all across the land. Been a hundred years since anyone’s seen anythin’ o’ the sort! She just don’t exist! But humans, those buggers are real. Real as these here scars from the time I fought off three at once…”
The children listened intently as the dwarf returned to his stories about humans, but Faye, ever silent in the back of the group, couldn’t take her mind off the tale of the witch. That was it: her one chance at a better life. If there was even the slightest possibility that this omnipotent being did exist, surely she wouldn’t object to such a simple request as coloring the scales of an Achromatic dragon. It was worth a try.
Since the new moon when the dwarf had passed through, Faye had had two weeks to prepare for her big wish. While the other drakes practiced their magic, she spent the days scouring the forest until she finally found the clearing. All that was left to do was choose a color. Unfortunately, hours of watching her peers proved this was harder than it seemed, and by the time night fell, she still hadn’t reached a decision.
I’ll figure it out when I get there, the white drake thought as she waited for everyone else in the cave to drift off. Maybe the witch will know…
The young dragon lay still for what felt like an eternity, but at last the entire clan fell asleep. Her heart beating wildly, it was all she could do to keep from shaking as she snuck out of the cave and into the quiet forest. This was it: time to change her fate.
To be concluded next Friday
Catch my eye
The gentle breeze
Those lovely wings
Show grace and ease
Kiss the petals
Of a rose
The scarlet of
A blossom grows
Those purple scales
Like billowed sails
Touch the dewdrops
On the green
Wash those wings out
Fresh and clean
As morning calls
On wingtips falls
Streaked with blues
Light those wings
In varied hues
I’d love to be
To paint a rainbow
And fly free
When Nadine moved to her new home with her parents in September, the wall was a plain blank white, yet to be touched by the artistic vision of a timid young girl seeking refuge from the world in the creative space of her basement.
In October, a month after starting at her new school, Nadine found she was still having trouble making friends. Shy and in fear of the school year to come, she descended into the basement one afternoon to stroke the wall with a thin paintbrush in little streaks across an array of grays, the palette the other students saw when they looked at her.
In November, Nadine finally engaged in conversation with a few other girls in her homeroom class. Her new hope of friendship found a place on the wall as light brushstroke patterns of daisy yellow.
In December, the cute boy Nadine often admired from a distance approached her after a Math exam. She went home still blushing profusely over Alex’s interest in her, and her wall was later decorated with bubbles of bright carnation pink.
In January, Alex invited Nadine to join him on the floor at the winter dance. Her heart still fluttering as the music echoed in her ears, Nadine twirled before the wall that night while sweeping wide strokes of royal purple over it.
In February, Alex told Nadine that, although she was a nice girl, he wasn’t looking to pursue a relationship. Heartbroken over her shattered hope, she spent that evening crying through her finger-painting of drooping midnight blue waves down the wall.
In March, Nadine saw Alex kissing a cheerleader in the hallway between classes. Though she showed no reaction at school, she stormed into her basement that afternoon to hurl water balloons filled with scarlet red paint at the wall.
In April, Nadine walked past Alex and his new girlfriend holding hands as they made their way to American History. Still she said nothing, but she took time out of that late afternoon to fleck the wall with bright spots of poison green.
In May, the girls with whom Nadine had been slowly forming a friendship spent their lunch break consoling her and reassuring her that Alex was the one missing out on a great relationship. She continued to keep her emotions to herself in school, but her renewed enthusiasm drove her to spend time later that day painting bright orange bands over the gloomier colors on the wall.
In June, Nadine’s friend Amanda knocked on her front door, intent on returning the yearbook carelessly forgotten on the bus. The man who answered the door directed the visitor downstairs, where his daughter was busy channeling her creative energy. It was only when Amanda entered the basement and saw Nadine draped in a paint-stained poncho before a colorful wall that the truth finally came to light: beneath the deceptive palette of grays was a beautiful rainbow.