Prince Lucas tossed a dinner roll across the royal kitchen. Ruskin, Lucas’s pet scarlet dragon, scampered across the stone floor and gobbled the roll in one bite.
“Good boy!” Lucas shouted.
Ruskin ran back to Lucas, eager to fetch another snack. Lucas always sneaked treats for Ruskin when the kitchen servants were on their afternoon break. He reached for a leftover apple fritter this time.
“The more you eat, the bigger you’ll get!” said Lucas.
He couldn’t wait for Ruskin to grow big enough to carry him and his best friend, Clara. They dreamed of going on high-flying adventures.
Ruskin yelped for his snack. Lucas threw the apple fritter across the kitchen. The fritter landed next to the hearth. Ruskin zoomed after it, paying no attention to the cast-iron pots and pans
stacked neatly beside the hearth. Crash! The pots and pans toppled over and clattered across the stone floor.
“What on earth is going on?” bellowed King Caleb, who had just entered the room.
“Oh, not much,” said Lucas. “Just getting Ruskin a little snack.”
Ruskin burped and a little puff of smoke came out. Lucas waved the smoke away and tried not to laugh.
“Isn’t he great?” asked Lucas.
The king raised an eyebrow and polished an apple on his purple velvet robe.
“Tell that to the royal cook,” the king said. “Ruskin scorched ten dish towels this week.”
Lucas patted Ruskin’s swept-back horns.
“He didn’t mean any harm,” said Lucas.
“Nevertheless,” said the king, “he’ll need better manners if he’s going to come inside the castle.”