Dragon Moon
Dragon Moon
Author: Bella Moondragon


Lungs burning, Princess Nya Gould of Frindom tore through the forest, her feet flying as her eyes oscillated from the tree branches in front of her that reached to grab her white blonde hair to the roots that threatened to trip her. The trees were thick, creating a canopy above her, making it easier to find shadows that would conceal her, once she settled on a hiding place. For now, the footsteps behind her thumped closeby, and she knew if she were to hesitate for even a moment, the one who chased her would be behind her.

Seeing an opening in a thicket to her right, Nya darted that direction, circling back slightly, and then, once she thought there was enough time to do so, she found the darkest shadow in her line of sight and shot for it, hunkering down and making herself as small as possible. It wasn’t difficult for her since she was petite. At sixteen, she had yet to take on the womanly shape her older sister, Princess Eru, and her mother, Queen Shu, naturally developed which made them the talk of the entire kingdom. Nya hoped someday she would have a curvy figure with large breasts, but for now, she used her tiny frame to her advantage and folded herself into the shadows, trying to calm her thundering heart before her hiding spot was given away.

He would be by soon; she just knew it. Gavin Cross was a talented hunter, as was his father before him. Someday, Gavin would be a fierce warrior, too, just like his father, Xaver. Though King Zar refused to appoint Xaver to a post higher than King’s Commander for reasons Nya didn’t understand, everyone knew that Xaver was the best warrior in the army and had more kills than anyone else, even King’s General Rok Phin.

The thought of Rok Phin made Nya’s blood run cold. With dark hair, a thick facial hair, and black eyes, he looked frightening enough, but then there was the awful scar that marred the entire right side of his face. He claimed it had happened in a battle against the kingdom to their south, Davendwar, but everyone knew the truth. He’d gotten a bit too close to the visitor during the Dragon Moon a few years back and had paid the price.

Nya had lost her concentration as her mind went to the Dragon Moon, which allowed Gavin the few seconds he needed to sneak up on her. When his hand came around the tree trunk and clamped down on her shoulder, she screeched and then they both erupted in a fit of laughter.

“Zans! You found me, vile creature!” she shouted as they both collapsed on the forest floor. 

“Of course I did,” Gavin replied, once he caught his breath. “You were breathing like a war horse!”

“I was not!” she shot back, but he was probably right. Her lungs were still burning from the run. Again, as she thought of burning lungs and inhuman breath, her mind went to the Dragon Moon, and Nya stopped laughing all together, her face going serious.

“What is it?” Gavin asked, no longer laughing either. He was seventeen. This was his last year to have to worry about the Dragon Moon. As the princess, she never had to worry about it. Except for him and her other friends. She didn’t have many--only a few of her ladies’ daughters--but every time the annual festival drew near, she became nervous, afraid the name that would be called out by her father the king would be a familiar one.

“Nothing,” Nya said quickly, sitting up and brushing her long hair over her shoulder. She’d have to make sure she carried no leaves back to the castle. Her mother didn’t like it when she went running about the forest. She said Nya was too old for such ridiculous behavior, and she was probably right. But running about in the woods was the only opportunity she had to be free of all of the eyes of the castle, and she always felt safe in this forest. It was completely contained within the castle walls. Her eyes went up to the patches of blue visible between the tops of the trees. Dragons could fly here, and that would be dangerous. But she knew they would not bother her kingdom so long as they made their yearly sacrifice.

Last year, it had been a small girl named Priska Pinge. She was only ten and only a sliver of a thing. The dragon hadn’t been happy. Some might think it impossible to read a dragon’s expression, but Nya could tell he’d hoped for something more substantial. She figured the small girl wouldn’t hold his appetite over for the month it would take before the next Dragon Moon. The next month, it would be Davendwar’s turn to supply the dragon with a sacrifice. If they failed to do so, the entire kingdom would pay the price as the dragon would destroy village after village until the king relented and brought forth a prize. 

While a refusal to bring a sacrifice had never occurred in Nya’s lifetime, she’d read a book in the library of her home, Castle Redrock, that said one of the twelve kingdoms, Windon, had refused to give the dragon their sacrifice many years ago, and the raid on their kingdom had been merciless until they’d given in and supplied the dragon with the required youth. All of Nya’s ancestors had been wise enough not to tempt the dragon and had done exactly what the powerful creature had asked of them. Her father said, “One life is a small price to pay for the peaceful existence of our kingdom.”

And for the most part, it was peaceful. There were occasional skirmishes with the kingdoms around them over borders or resources, such as the one Rok Phin claimed to have earned his scar battling in, but for the most part, the twelve kingdoms had a common enemy--the largest empire in all of the lands, the dark kingdom to the west, Beelzanborg.

Even the dragon had to fear the empires of Beelzanborg because he did not require a sacrifice from the enormous kingdom, even though its borders were well within the dragon’s ability to reach in a single flight. Surrounded by large jagged peaks, with thick forests and swamplands, Beelzanborg had claimed many a warrior over the centuries as the neighbors had attempted to push the empire back and put some space between their thrones and the evil one, but Beelzanborg would not budge, and most of the time, the battles only resulted in Frindom and other kingdoms losing territory--and many lives. When Beelzanborg chose to attack, villages on the fringe would be destroyed. Men, women, and children would lose their lives. Their warriors made the dragon seem kind.

Nya’s eyes settled on Gavin. He was giving her a skeptical look. It was clear he didn’t believe her when she said nothing was bothering her. He was right not to. She just wanted the Dragon Moon to pass so everything could be back to normal and she wouldn’t have to worry about him or his friends being claimed by the dragon.

Gavin reached over and settled his large palm on her boot. He was a good foot and a half taller than her, with a head of shaggy brown hair and large brown eyes. Many of the girls in the castle thought he was handsome, but to Nya, he would always be more like a brother. He was her best friend, but nothing more. Still, she couldn’t bear to think of losing him. “It won’t be me,” he said, his voice wavering slightly, as if he didn’t believe it.

“I know,” she said, but in her mind’s eye, Nya had a different idea. It was almost as if she could see it happening, and it frightened her. She could see her father pulling a small scroll from the large pot and reading one name aloud, “Gavin Cross!”

The images made her shudder. She swallowed hard and tried to get a grip on herself. It was just her imagination, after all. 

Gavin stood and offered her his hand. “Come along, Nya. We should get you home,” Gavin said.

She nodded, knowing he was right, and let him pull her to her feet. Nya brushed off her brown pants and made sure her tunic was covering everything. Her mother would be even more upset if she knew she was running around in pants.

Gavin plucked a few leaves from her hair, and they headed back to the castle. Two days until the Dragon Moon. Two more days to worry about Gavin and her other friends, and then, Nya could breathe a sigh of relief and go on about her life for another year. And by then, Gavin would turn eighteen and not be eligible for the drawing. She held his hand in hers as they walked along, wondering what she would do without him. She didn’t want to find out.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Bella Jersey
Would dad cheat?

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status