All the cadets, including myself, sheathed our swords and turned away from the training ring towards the armory, an open shack that faced the training area full of leather armor and the blunt practice swords, as well as wooden sparring swords.

Shortly after stripping off the leather padding I had been using in the training field and storing it and the sword in the armory, I was approached by two of the older cadets. Billy and Rory, bullies of the Knights' Academy. Well, bullies to me. Other than the occasional rude comment or shoving into people, they mostly left everyone else alone. Maybe I was just too much fun for them to spend time picking on anyone else.

"Soooooo," Billy began innocently, "Heard you... Messed up. Again." He leaned his tall, well-muscled frame on the wall of the armory, dark brown hair falling into his eyes.

"Yeah, so? What's it to you?" I growled. I could see Billy's lips twitch slightly, his green eyes gleaming with pleasure at extracting a reaction from me.

"Jeez, such hostility!" Rory raised his beefy hands in defense, and I turned my attention to his crooked nose and smirking mouth. "We only want to offer our... Assistance in your training!"

"Offer all you want, I'm not accepting it. Ever."

"Now, now" Billy smirked. "Haven't you ever heard of a gift horse?" He pushed himself off the wall and took a couple steps closer to me.

"Yeah. Although, by now, I've learned you should always check to make certain the horse is in good condition before accepting it." I retorted, and turned to come face to face with Rory.

He peered up at me. "By the looks of your performance, I'd think anything we offered would help." His ugly face was in sharp contrast to Billy's chiseled features.

I clenched and unclenched my fists, calculating whether or not I could take him a fight. Unfortunately the odds were not in my favor. Thought tall, my slim figure could never compete against Billy's muscular build or Rory's extensive fighting skills.

They both smirked, turned, and strut away. I let out an angry huff that blew my dirty blond hair out of my light, bland eyes. In fact, everything about me was bland. Light skin, average build, hair and eyes that nobody would give a second glace if it wasn't for my father.

My face screwed up in anger, I stomped back to the trainee barracks which was simply a large, plain room with multiple bunk beds stacked side by side and two wooden doors that led to the single lavatory.

I dragged myself up the side of the bunk and flopped down on the bed. Then I shifted, rolling onto my side. Then I rolled onto my stomach and punched my pillow.

Aw, what the heck. I'm never going to calm down here, much less fall asleep.

So after making sure everyone was sleeping, I slipped as gracefully as I could down from my bunk, and snuck out of the Knights' Academy. I headed out through the town and into the surrounding forest, stomping all the way.

I live in the fair kingdom of Lenseia, in Rarrsville, the closest city to the mountain range that separates us from our neighbor kingdoms. In fact, Rarrsville is only a ten minute walk from the tallest mountain in the range, the Dragon Keep. It's called that because, before my father became a knight, dragons had lived there. I say before because all the monstrous beasts, those my dad didn't kill that is, fled.

Regardless, nearly twenty minutes later, I found myself halfway up the pathway that led to the Dragon's Cave. The Dragon's Cave is, as the name implies, the cave the dragons used to live in. The path I was on led to the main entrance.

A few minutes later, I found myself at the mouth of the cave. If only one good thing could be said about dragons, it would be their impressive taste in housing. The mouth of the cave was about fifty feet in height and sixty in width. Stalactites hung from the ceiling. The rock that made the cave was black, but on closer inspection there were tiny golden flecks in the stone. The floor and walls were polished smooth by many years of dragons coming and going. The cave also branched off in at least fifty different directions. Of all the cadets, I think I'm the only one to have ever gone into the cave.

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