A/N: Short story, this time...also experimenting with a new style. I'm not sure how well it worked.


Once upon a time, there was a knight, and a dragon, and a maiden.

The knight was strong and valiant and brave. His armor sparkled like a thousand stars, and his sword was sharp as a serpent's tooth. He was handsome and charming, and women all over the country would have given anything to be his wife.

The dragon was also strong and brave, but it was uglier than anything imaginable, with lumpy green flesh and wicked red eyes. Its breath could set entire forests ablaze, and its gaze could strike fear into the hearts of seasoned soldiers and leave them paralyzed where they stood, shivering like frightened kittens.

The maiden was beautiful. Her hair was black as a raven's wing, and her eyes were green like leaves under ice. She too was brave, but her bravery was a quiet sort, that asserted itself in her demeanor and gaze instead of in brute force and loud words. She was also clever, very much so, and some of the more judgmental folk suspected that she was a witch and the daughter of witches. But that was all just rumors, of course.

She was a prisoner of the dragon (or so the knight thought), and the knight wished to rescue her, to destroy the dragon and save her from its sharp clutches. A flawless plan, except nobody bothered to ask the maiden or the dragon what they thought of this. And this would turn out to be a hideous mistake.

For you see, reader, the maiden loved the dragon, and the dragon adored the maiden. They had loved each other for years, and would have married long ago, only the maiden's father would never have agreed with such a thing. So one day, the maiden eloped with the dragon, and got married the very next morning.

Her father thought she'd been kidnapped by the dragon. Mad with worry, he begged the knight to save her.

The knight sought the two lovebirds out, and angrily challenged the newly-wed dragon to a fight. Unheeding of the maiden's protests and pleas and sobs, he fought the dragon and killed it, thrusting his sword through its heart.

The maiden was heartbroken, and made it clear that she despised the knight with all her heart. As he carried her away from the smoldering corpse of the dragon, she fought like a wild-cat to get away, scratching and biting and cursing him. Despite all of this, however, the knight found himself falling in love with her, and as soon as he brought her back home, he asked her father for her hand in marriage. Grateful for his help, the father accepted.

They were married within the week.

The dragon was skinned and the skin was turned into chain-mail for the knight, for him to wear into battle. It should have been impregnable, for dragon's skin is the toughest material known to man, said to even resist bolts shot from crossbows.

Yet, strangely enough, the knight died in the very next tournament he ever fought in. His opponent's sword went clean through his chainmail and into his heart, and nobody knew how or why.

There is, however, a small, often-overlooked detail. Probably insignificant of course, and yet it may shed some light on the matter. You see, the maiden was very skilled at mending, and never made mistakes, especially where chain-mail was concerned. There was many a time when she was able to salvage a shirt or cloak that was thought ruined forevermore.

When she became the wife of a knight, it was thus only natural that one of her tasks was to keep her husband's chain-mail in good condition for battle.