Calm The Fire: 86

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“It's Oakenshield. That filthy usurper.” Smaug's voice said from above. He continued to walk past and around the section which Bilbo was hiding under. “He sent you in here for the Arkenstone, didn't he?” Smaug sounded almost bored by the trivial subject.

“No! No, no, no. I don't know what you're talking about.” Bilbo answered breathlessly from his running and falling. The Arkenstone sat, buried in gold coins again but visible. Bilbo slowly crept along in his effort to get to it.

“Don't bother denying it.” Smaug turned again and looked at Bilbo, he started to backtrack back to the pillar he was just standing against. A clawed hand slowly wrapped its way around the pillar opposite to him. “I guessed his foul purpose some time ago,” Smaug said not seemingly to care at all about this. “But it matters not, Oakenshield's quest will fail.” Smaug leant away from peering around the pillar to looking around at the darkened hall again. “A darkness is coming. It will spread to every corner of the land.” Smaug said assuringly like he had the inside knowledge of such a thing. “You are being used, thief in the shadows. You were only ever a means to an end,” Smaug's head leant back to to try and peer around the pillar which Bilbo was hiding against. “The coward Oakenshield has weighed the value of your life and found it worth nothing.” He sneered.

“No. No, you're lying.” Bilbo looked downwards and shook his head. He wasn't going to believe the words of this dragon. After all the things they had all been through. Bilbo could safely say that they were on a friend basis.

“What did he promise you? A share of the treasure?” Smaug grasped onto a great handful of gold and lifted it up, only to idly drop it again. The gold rained back down to the horde again. Smaug seemed quite amused by this prospect. “As if it was his to give,” he moved to stand on the platform above Bilbo. “I will not part with a single coin. Not one piece of it!” Smaug exclaimed his tongue peeking out to flick at the air. While he was turned away Bilbo had seized his moment and moved forwards as quickly as he could. His feet skidded over the gold as he made his way to the Arkenstone. And just as he was close, Smaug moved his body and the gold and the jewel and the Hobbit went sailing into the air. What went up came back down again though, Bilbo landed in another pile of gold and looked around.

“My teeth are swords, my claws are spears. My wings are a hurricane!” Smaug said his voice rising in pitch each time he spoke. With each word he spoke, he also returned to crashing his feet into the ground and coins. Bilbo pushed himself from the pile of gold and looked up at the being in front of him. His eyes travelled past the claws, the wings, the teeth, he looked to his chest. There was a scale, dislodged leaving a black mark where a tightly fitted scale should have been. Girion had hit his mark, and it was a mark which Smaug had forever been carrying around with him.

“So it is true. The Black Arrow found its mark.” Bilbo whispered while looking to the missing scale.

“What did you say?!” Smaug's head snapped down to look at him, his orange yellow eyes suddenly gleaming.

“I...I was just saying, your reputation proceeds you, oh Smaug, the tyrannical. Truly, you have no equal on this earth.” Bilbo said quickly while shooting up and taking to backtracking again while staring up at the dragon. Though his eyes didn't look away from the dragon, Bilbo knew he was close to the Arkenstone, he had seen where it landed and he was making his way over to it. It wasn't until Smaug lowered himself down again and was getting too close that Bilbo looked down at it. He let out a heavy sigh, it was right there, right by his foot.

Smaug noticed it too, his eyes looked at the shining jewel with indifference. “I am almost tempted to let you take it, if only to see Oakenshield suffer.” Smaug looked from the Arkenstone to Bilbo as he stood slowly back up straight. “Watch it destroy him, watch it corrupt his heart and drive him mad.” Smaug said lowly in a tempting teasing whisper, he was getting enjoyment out of seeing Bilbo's expression turn blank, he did give a small shake of the head, but that just seemed to cause Smaug to open his mouth in what could have been considered a very toothy grin. “But I think not.” He said frankly while backing slowly away. His form was lost in the shadows for a moment, only his glowing eyes could be seen. “I think our little game ends here. So tell me, thief. How do you choose to die?” Smaug asked his voice rising excitedly as a deep glow started to emanate from his chest. He moved forwards opening his mouth widely, just as he got to Bilbo, Bilbo vanished. This angered Smaug to the point where he let out a rumbling growl, he lowered and straightened his neck and out from his open mouth came a torrent of red flames. After scorching the floor and some of the gold, he started to move off again trying to find where Bilbo had gone.

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