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Part 20

Hanging from the elven rope, just a few yards from his goal, Legolas looked up—and found himself staring into the dragon’s beady eyes.

Well, I have certainly lost the element of surprise.

He heard Eowyn say, “Please do not hurt Legolas!” But he saw the beast raise its foreleg, and curl its claws, and felt the rope twitch, and he had just enough time to call out a warning to the men beneath him before the dragon lifted the rope and, with all three climbers still clinging to it, swung it round in the air...

...

Ah!

With slightly less than Elven grace, Legolas hit the rocky plateau standing on his feet. The curses and groans coming from Prince Arthur and Sir Bors, somewhere behind him, told him that they had not been quite so lucky.

Above his head, the dragon was making a series of gurgling sounds, which almost sounded like, “Whichiz your ‘usban’?

Eowyn ran to Legolas’ side, and threw her arms around him. “This is.”

Iz verry small,” said the dragon, unimpressed.

“So am I,” said Eowyn, bravely.

Hmm,” said the dragon.

“Melmenya...?”

Eowyn squeezed his hand, meaning—he knew—Leave this to me, Lassui, but he could not help asking her, “Are you all right?”

“I am fine,” she whispered. Then she added, loudly, “The dragon has taken very good care of me.”

Legolas heard Arthur snort and prayed to the Valar that the young man would not do anything to worsen an already tense situation. He looked down at Eowyn and, for the first time, noticed that she was almost naked. “What happened to your riding gown, melmenya?”

“I will explain later.”

“My Lady,” said Arthur. Eowyn turned towards him. “Arthur Pendragon, my Lady, at your service.” Legolas saw a flash of red.

“Thank you, my Lord,” said Eowyn, dropping the slightest of curtsies as she draped the Prince’s cloak around her shoulders.

No,” wailed the dragon. “Li’le thing look beddar unwrapp’d.

“But this is warm,” said Eowyn. She hugged herself and, smiling up at it, mimed warmth. “See? I feel better wearing it.”

Are y’ going ‘way?” asked the dragon, suddenly.

Legolas’ breath hitched in his throat and, mentally, he prepared himself to rip his bow from its strap and nock an arrow; his elven senses told him that, behind him, Arthur’s hand had reached for his sword.

“Yes,” said Eowyn, firmly. “But... I need you to help me. I need you to fly me and my husband, and his friends, down to the ground. Will you do that for me?”

The dragon’s head drooped. “Wha’ ‘bout me?” it asked.

 

 
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