All in Age: 5

Dragon Father sounded worried, “Oh, no. Do you remember what happened last time?” 

Dragon Little looked up at him, freezing in place. 

“The last time you did this, the Snot Eater came. I think every time someone picks her nose, his little pieces in the ocean come back together. After a few times, he’ll be back, and he might take you again.”

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There were sounds of things being moved around, things being opened and closed. “Look, a special candy, just for you. It’s a gum made out of snot. Here. Try it. It is the best!”

“If you’re trying to poison me, my daddy will--”

“Bah, it isn’t poison, it’s candy! Here, I’ll take one, too! Come on! Your daddy will never know. Come on!”

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I sometimes think about how different Dragon Little’s life is from the lives of all other little girls. She is an ordinary girl, after all, like all others, cursed with being born in the Dream for a reason she does not know. And I think… What do other girls who were not born in the dream do during the day?

I do not know for all I have seen are dreams. Is Dragon Little’s life on a pirate ship battling villains with her father - is that how children spend their time? I think not. The few I have seen in my long life have rarely dreamed about such things.

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“I already showered,” she said quickly. Since a few months previously, they had a small shower next to her cabin, with a curtain and a showerhead permanently there. So it was possible for her to have done what she said. On the other hand, her hair, face, and neck were all full of dried goblin blood from yesterday’s battle.

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“Surrender, girl!” he screamed at the top of his voice and aimed his sword at her face. 

“You know what you have to say, Captain Badass!” she said, at all flustered by the threat. “Tweedle weedle dee!”

He hesitated. He looked around at his pirates. He probably suspected her of using some kind of ploy, but was comforted by the numbers. “Eh…. Surrender… Please?

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“They held them off at the border, fighting to the last feather. They held them off for the fifteen minutes we needed to regather our forces and to join the battle. By then they had died. But they had given their lives so that we all may live. They are heroes. A father cannot ask more than for his children to die in battle as they did.”

“Wow…” Dragon Little sounded speechless and awed. 

Then, after a short silence, she said, “I want to die in battle.”

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In two seconds, I stopped just above the water, my body and wings slightly bigger than their ship, my face mere centimeters from my two favorite people.

“How are you doing, my Dragon Little?” I asked and smiled.

Dragon Little’s smile was even greater. She jumped on my nose and hugged my head. “Red! Red! I missed you!”