Invading the Lair


    The group of warriors hiding behind the boulder waited anxiously for a sign from their scout.  Minutes dragged by.  They all expected to hear screams from the mouth of the cave, or at best an angry roar and the sound of the scout running for his life.  But all was silent.  There weren’t even any birds; none were foolish enough to land in this scorched landscape.
    Something moved, and the scout crept into view, surprisingly intact.  He waved urgently for the warriors to join him.  They scrambled out of cover and ran for the cave as quietly as possible.  
    Sound carried far here, and the beast could return at any time.  
    “It’s gone hunting,” the scout said unnecessarily.  “And the gold is still warm, so it probably hasn’t been out long.  But there’s more here than we thought.  It must be raiding other kingdoms too.”
    “Let’s have a look,” the head knight said.  “See how many trips this will take.”
    “Right.”  The scout hurried into the darkness with the others following.  After a few twists of the natural cavern system, they emerged into blinding brightness.  Muttered exclamations and eye-shielding hands came out.  The scout’s eyes adjusted first.  He pointed out the claw patterns on the walls, signs of the creature’s immense strength in excavating this bowl-shaped area.  The room was open to the sky, and the sun glared off the thick layer of gold coins that covered everything in sight.  
    “That’ll be a lot of trips,” the head knight said with a grimace.  
    “Maybe it will be enough to shove it all into the tunnels for now?” a younger knight suggested.  “Until we can come back.”  
    “It may have to be enough,” the head knight said.  “At any rate, we’d better get this mess out of sight fast.”  
    He’d barely finished speaking when a shadow flashed across them.  Every head whipped upward in panic; it was too late.  The monster had returned.  
    And it had already attracted a mate.  
    Triumphant roars filled the air as the humans scurried for cover, and the pair of brightly-colored dragons spiraled down toward the nest that gleamed like a thousand suns.  
    A land with resources this rich would be ideal for raising many hatchlings. 

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