With a bored sigh, her knight turned and walked away, disappearing into the surrounding woods.

Typical. Even a brave knight wouldn’t help her. Every day her life got more and more pathetic.

“Die, witch! Die!” How lovely. Her own “dear” husband started up that endearing chant. The bastard. She’d meet him on the other side when his time came and she’d make sure he suffered for eternity.

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The noose tightened a bit and she felt more of her life slip away while they continued to pile extra wood around the stake.

Funny how one’s mind plays tricks on them when so close to dying.

For instance, if she didn’t know better, she’d swear that was a giant silver dragon ambling out of the forest. An enormous, amazing creature, with a silver mane of hair that gleamed in the morning sunshine and nearly swept the shaking ground at its feet. Two massive white horns sat atop its head and a long tail, with what looked to be a dagger-sharp tip, swung lazily behind him.

Silently, he stood behind the townspeople. So focused on her, they were completely unaware of his presence. Who knew I could be so fascinating as to distract an entire town? Of course, they could also be ignoring the dragon because it was simply a figment of her imagination. A dream of a grand rescue that would never come.

Her fantasy dragon leaned forward and nudged Julius the baker with the tip of his snout. Julius glanced behind him, nodded and turned back to her. Then he froze where he stood . . . just before he pissed himself. That’s when his wife glanced at him and behind him. She screamed, grabbed her son, who had been seconds away from throwing a rather large rock at Talaith, and ran. Soon after, the rest of the townsfolk caught sight of her fantasy dragon, screamed and bolted away.

She frowned. Perhaps she still had enough of her power so she could conjure the image of the beast, but somehow she doubted it.

The dragon shot out a few flames at the retreating humans, but nothing to do any real harm. Finally, it stared at her for several moments, turned and walked off.

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Unbelievable. Even my rescue fantasies are disasters.

But as she wondered if her afterlife would be as pathetic as her current life, the dragon’s tail whipped out. The tip cut through the rope that hung her from the tree, and she dropped.

Expecting her ass to hit the unforgiving ground at any moment, she tensed in surprise as the tail wrapped itself around her body and held her.

Now that the noose was not so tight, her senses slowly came back to her. That’s when she realized a tail really did have her. A tail attached to an enormous dragon casually walking through the forest. She tried to move out of its grasp, but the tail pinned her arms—with her still bound wrists—against her body. And her noose still tight enough she couldn’t call for help.

Of course, who would she call? Her husband? Probably not? Lord Hamish, ruler of these lands? If she had the strength, she would have laughed at that.

No. It looked as if she was going to be the breakfast of a monster.

As the dragon made it into a clearing and suddenly took to the air—with her still wrapped up in its tail—Talaith had only one thought . . .

Typical.

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