Adventure calls and Snowheart answers! But the prize at the end of her journey isn’t quite what she expected… And then becomes stranger still when she sees what it can do.
Crown of the Dragon Lord
Snowheart had been told about a cave full of treasure on the outskirts of town. And while the pink three tailed kitsune wasn’t one to yearn for treasure, she was always ready for an adventure. It was a pretty good thing it was the experience she was after and not treasure. As, the entrance to the cave made the rumors sketchy to begin with. It didn’t look like a cave of wonders. There weren’t any traps waiting to spring on those who weren’t worthy. In fact the entire cave was a bit small to begin with. Snowheart wasn’t even really sure it counted as a cave. A hole might have been more accurate.
There was however a single item that one might call a treasure. There was a pedestal near the back of the cave. Well, it was more of an end table. And sitting atop of it was a crown with writing on it identifying it as the Mystical Crown of the Dragon Lord. The crown was bright and colorful, with points atop it for jewels. It was also made of paper and said jewels were crayon drawings. It seemed the rumors about the treasure may have just been someone’s idea of a joke. Still, it had been fun looking for the cave. A nice little hike on the town outskirts. And… Snowheart had completed her adventure, and someone had set this up on purpose, so she might as well claim her prize.
Snowheart giggled a bit at the idea of a paper crown being a treasure as she lifted it off its pedestal and sat it on her head. It was far, far too tiny for her. It wasn’t even kid sized. It was maybe only three or four inches wide. But, Snowheart had followed the rumors and she earned this!
Having allowed herself a moment of personal amusement, Snowheart prepared to put the crown back. Maybe someone else would find it funny if they came looking too. She reached up to her head to grab the crown only to pause when a pair of wings sprouted from her back, tearing away at her shirt.
“Huh?” This wasn’t the first time in Snowheart’s life where she had sprouted wings, or really gone through physical transformations in general. It may however have been the first time that the most likely culprit was a paper hat. She reached up to grab it again, but paused as her hand moved in front of her face, seeing she now had much longer and sharper claws, and that her fur was starting to give way to pink scales. And that small moment of hesitation was what prevented her from removing the crown before it was too late.
Suddenly, Snowheart sunk down to the floor, the remains of the clothing not destroyed by her wings landing in a pile around her. She fell down onto all fours, as her three fluffy tails merged into one thick scaled tail. She felt a small sharp prick on her forehead, as two short horns grew from it. Then, her snow grew longer, more reptilian, and the change was complete. Snowheart was now a small pink dragon, roughly the size of a house cat.
“Rawr?” Snowheart tried to talk. It would seem she was incapable of speech. She would have tried to figure out more about what just happened, maybe test those wings and go for a fly, but at this point, the backside of the cave suddenly swung outward like a door.
Standing in the new doorway that had not been visible till it opened was a small (well gigantic from Snowheart’s point of view) kobold with blue scales.
“I thought I heard someone rummaging around in here what-“ The kobold froze as its eyes slowly gazed upon Snowheart.
“Rawr?” Snowheart gave the best attempt at a sheepish smile a dragon could do.
“I knew I was getting a pet this year!” The kobold shouted excitedly. “All that talk about not being old enough or responsible enough was just to throw me off.” The kobold ran across the room, scooped Snowheart up out of her clothes and gave her a tight hug. “But… What’s with using someone’s clothing as gift wrap?” It would seem this kobold was just a kid.
“Roooawr!” Snowheart pawed at the kid’s face, trying to let him know he was holding her too hard.
“Sorry! Sorry! Just excited! I can’t believe I get my own pet dragon.” His grip loosened but was still firm as he carried her through the doorway to the other side.
Into what looked like a completely normal house. As Snowheart was carried down a hallway she saw pictures on the wall of other blue scaled kobolds. Some appeared to be the same one carrying her now, while there were two others who were adults. Probably the kid’s parents.
“So…. Lord of Dragons huh?” The kobold sat Snowheart down on a coffee table in the living room. “Guess you’re royalty or something… Will have to think about that when I figure out a name. But… Uh! Hang on a second wait here!” With that the kobold kid ran off, leaving Snowheart by herself with her thoughts.
Which were mostly confused. The ‘cave’ had just been the backdoor to a kobold family’s house. Then, who had made the crown? The kid kobold seemed surprised to see her. Had his parents laid it as some kind of trap? She didn’t know them yet, but that felt like a stretch. And why a paper crown? It was the crown that had transformed her wasn’t it? Some third party had to be at work here. But who and to what ends? Just to give the kid a pet dragon?
The mystery of who created the magical crown would be one she wouldn’t get the chance to solve anytime soon. As the kobold kid saw her as his pet, and when he reappeared he was holding a collar and a leash.
“I bought these like three years ago.” The kobold chattered excitedly as he reached over and put the collar on Snowheart. “At the time I had been asking for a dog and was sure I’d get one. Gotta admit, I did not see dragon coming when they finally caved and decided I was old enough for a pet. My parents are weird.” He attached the leash to Snowheart’s new collar.
“Roawr?” Snowheart looked up at the kid with a look of confusion. Should she play along? Try to find some way to explain her situation. Her paws didn’t have much in the way of dexterity right now, but if she could dip her claws in some ink, or even just find a good surface to scratch she could try to tell the kid what was going on. And then what? Would he understand? Believe it? And would he be completely crushed that he wasn’t getting a pet after all. At the thought of that, Snowheart actually felt guilty as she considered possible ways to escape the current scenario.
Luckily, she was not allowed to ruminate on those thoughts long as the excited kobold was addressing her again.
“I have no idea how long you were just hanging out there.” The kobold spoke to Snowheart. “Do you wanna go for walkies? I imagine you might want to stretch your legs… Or wings…”
Walkies? Snowheart laughed, or at least tried. It came out mostly as a kind of light pitched playful growl. He couldn’t possibly be serious. Well, he probably was. From his point of view she was a normal, well maybe exotic, pet. Since when did kobolds get pet dragons? It felt a little backwards. Was this just a normal thing that everyone but Snowheart knew about? But, maybe she had entertained the kid enough now. It was probably time to start thinking on how to get back to normal.
And how to do that without completely crushing the young kobold’s heart.
On the other hand… It was a nice day out. A walk wouldn’t be so bad. And it would at least allow Snowheart to get an idea of where she was.
“Rrrrrr.” Snowheart gave another playful growl to confirm she would indeed enjoy walkies. The kid didn’t need to be told twice before he tugged lightly on the leash to let her know it was time to go. Snowheart flapped her wings to slowly descend from the table to the ground and then followed the kid out the front door of his house.
The walk was just a simple lap around the neighborhood. But… Something was off. The ‘cave’ had been on the outskirts of town. Snowheart should have recognized the part of the city she was in. But it was some strange suburban community. And all of the houses were made of stone. As Snowheart was led through the neighborhood the only other species she saw were kobolds. One out watering his lawn, a few others on a walk. There was no sign of any civilized animals like Snowheart had been. It was as if the world was only inhabited by kobolds.
Well, kobolds and their pets Snowheart supposed. There were probably other wild animals. The point was the only sapient lifeforms aside from Snowheart around appeared to be all kobolds. It was like she had stumbled into an alternate universe. And if she had that would certainly explain a few things, like why this strange neighborhood was located here. But then it raised so many more questions about why some random family’s backdoor acted as a portal between worlds.
This entire thing reeked of a prank. Someone had to make the crown and put the enchantment on it to turn whoever wore it into a small dragon. And someone had to make the portal between the two worlds. Was it a permanent portal? Or would it be gone now? There might not be a way back to Snowheart’s original world. She had no way of knowing if she was the intended target, but it was the only scenario that made sense to her.
“Hey you okay?” The kobold seemed to notice Snowheart staring off into space. She must have been staring into the distance. And she had no idea how to answer that question. There was a lot on her mind and then.
Chin scritches. The kobold had bent down and gently began to scratch her beneath the chin. Snowheart let out a happy growl and flopped over onto her back. Thinking about why this happened made her head hurt. None of it made any sense. By comparison being the kid’s pet was much simpler. And he seemed like a good kid… And wow, he really knew just the right spots to pet as soon Snowheart was receiving belly rubs she felt her entire body relax and go limp.
Yeah, it was just easier to go with this for now. She could live with having her every whim cared for. Come to think of it, there wasn’t that much difference between being a pet and royalty. Mostly you didn’t have to get involved in politics, and then meet Mr. Guillotine because monarchies seldom ended well for anyone. So really, a pet was a huge step up from royalty. The crown felt rather appropriate now.
“Roawr!” Snowheart gave a playful attempt at a roar before rolling back onto her feet. If she was going to play pet, she wanted to at least know more about where she was and what the rules were here. She tugged on the leash trying to move forward.
“Still have a ton of energy huh?” The kobold asked. “I guess we can walk a little further.”
“Roawr!” Snowheart nodded excitedly. The further they walked, the more she’d see, and she might be able to slowly piece together what was going on. Until she figured things out though she was just going to enjoy the pampering.