“A biologist, you say?” said Darren nervously. “And, do you study anything in particular?”
They had made it back to the house and snuck inside to clean up before Darren could be caught by Mrs. Menace with ruined pants and smelling of old oak. At that moment Montgomery was upstairs taking the second bath, and Darren dearly wished his friend would enter the sitting room quickly. Darren had come leaping down the stairs eager for dinner and burst into the family room, ready to tell his story of excitement before Montgomery could steal the glory. Before he could, Mrs. Menace had quickly introduced Simon Gergrove, Royal Scientist, and made a hasty exit. Darren accurately judged that she had been listening to Gergrove talk about bugs and whatnot all afternoon while waiting for them to return from what should have been a routine patrol.
“Oh Mr. Debacle I study anything and everything!” Mr. Gergrove’s eyes were alight with passion. “But I admit,” and here he leaned forward in his armchair and lowered his voice, “that I am here today on a most particular Royal endeavor to study perhaps the most unique biological find in decades.” His face was alight with joy and he seemed to go somewhere far away for a moment before remembering that he had a captive audience.
“Oh?” Commented Darren hopefully. Perhaps this would not be what he feared. Montgomery always said he had an overactive imaginative. There was no way that this man studied… no, of course not.
“The symbol of our Kingdom and the inspiration for many ballads you undoubtedly know. A rare and beautiful creature, dark and sneaky as night and protective of their young. To kill one unprovoked is a capital offense!” Gergrove’s eyes were alight with a frenzied passion.
“Oh Mr. Gergrove,” came the sweet voice of Madam Menace, Montgomery’s mother and Darren’s foster mother. She swept into the room with an open bottle of wine and began pouring glasses that were waiting on the pushbar. “Were you finally going to reveal the secret creature you came here to document?”
Mr. Gergrove puffed up in importance. “I suppose it’s pointless to keep it a secret since you no doubt have heard of it being spotted locally and are no doubt eager to learn more about her.” Darren felt his stomach roll over as Mrs. Menace, or Holly as she was known to her friends, tilted her head in curiousity.
“Please sir, do tell! I’m certainly intrigued now, though I can’t think of any unusual spottings we’ve heard of lately.”
Mr. Gergrove didn’t let that knews deflate him. “You will ma’am, you will. It is with great pride I tell you that I am on a critical mission from the Queen herself to seek out and document what may be one of the last known living royal specimen of -”
“Mother!” Cried Montgomery as he burst into the room. “I must tell you about how today, just hours ago, I protected untold innocents by slaying a monstrous-”
“Dragon,” finished the Royal Scientist with pride.
“Dragon!” finished Montgomery, beaming.
“Dragon?” gasped Holly, looking at her son.
“Dragon?” cried Gergrove as his face turned white.
“Dragon,” moaned Darren, head in his hands, wishing that they had waited until tomorrow to patrol the forest.
The wood creaked