11. Prince Charming and Princess Roasted

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Once inside a palace and upon a time, there lived a princess. Unfortunately for the princess, there also lived, not very far away, a dragon who thought princesses tasted simply delicious. So, one day when he was tired of eating nothing but dwarves and invisible thieves and those endless, endless sheep, he rose from his hoard and flew across the country until he reached the princess's palace. Settling down before the front door, he snapped up the two shocked guards and ate them. Then he knocked politely at the door. He was a gentleman, after all.

"Yes?" the princess called from inside.

"Delivery for the princess!" the dragon called out. "The latest fashionable shoes from the capital."

"Strange. I didn't order anything. Who—"

The princess opened the door. Instantly, the dragon grabbed her and flew away.

"Bloody hell! What the heck do you think you're doing?"

"Kidnapping you," the dragon explained.

"But...but...this isn't how this is supposed to go! You're a dragon! Aren't you supposed to devastate our palace? Decimate my father's army? I mean you can't just snatch me by pretending to be a shoe delivery man!"

"Why not? It's much easier."

"Don't you have any respect for tradition? Any sense of the role of dragons in modern Fairyland?"

"Oh, I certainly do. And to show you, I'm going to roast and eat you as soon as I get home."

"What? No!"

"It's traditional."

"You could chain me to a rock, instead."

"And listen to you yammer all day? No, thanks."

"But...but...but you can't eat me yet!"

"I can't?"

"No. Tradition demands that a princess kidnapped by a dragon be given a chance to be rescued by a handsome young prince."

The dragon considered this.

"True," he agreed reluctantly. "Crap. Why do I always have to cook myself? Why can't I just order princess takeout?"

"They do say home-cooked meals are healthier," the princess offered.

"Yes, but all the hassle... It's not worth it, believe me."

They continued their amicable conversation until they reached the dragon's lair in an abandoned dwarf mine. The floors were still littered with the charred remains of the dwarves who had rather abruptly abandoned the mine after being roasted alive by dragonfire. Settling down on his mountain of treasure, the dragon opened his claws to release the princess, and she found a piece of parchment to write a note to her father. The dragon gave it to one of the ravens that lived in the trees outside the mine, and immediately the bird started towards the palace.

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There was uproar in the palace. The mighty king had called together the bravest knights and warriors of all the realms to hear a message of utmost importance. Grim-faced, he sat upon his throne and said:

"This morning, just as the sun rose above the horizon, a raven flew towards me out of the dawn, and out of the claws of the raven fell a message. This message spells doom and disaster for our kingdom."

Unrolling the parchment, he cleared his throat and read, somberly:

"Dear Dad,

I've been kidnapped by a dragon who wants to roast and eat me. Kindly send three young, handsome and charming princes to rescue me as soon as possible. Give my love to mom!

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