The Boy-Weapon
reading time:   ·   tags: Short Stories   ·   by nicky case

The knight returned with a half-human, half-dragon boy. The king scowled.

"Fool, I commanded you to slay the dragon, not lay the dragon!"

They trained the boy, wrapped him in muscle and metal. His trainers were suspicious of the child with dragon blood, but they knew he was their best chance to spill that dragon's blood. To the kingdom, the boy was not a boy. He was a weapon.

After eighteen years of training, the weapon was ready. The boy stood at the mouth of the dragon's cave, gripping onto his sword like a security blanket. The kingdom's archers were behind him. Not for support – they were ordered to kill the boy should he turn and run away.

The boy entered the cave alone.

The dragon smelled him, and turned her head. Upon seeing the boy, she cried:

"My child, what have they done to you?"

The boy had been warned repeatedly by his trainers: do not engage the beast in conversation.

"Please, my son, it's been almost two decades. Will you not speak to me?"

She will deceive you, his trainers warned, do not engage.

"Will you not say something?"

The boy spoke. "I am here to kill you."

"Why, child?"

"I have been given orders."

"Why do you follow those orders?"

"They will love me if I do. They will kill me if I don't."

"Why do you care for love? Why do you care for death?"

"All humans want love. All humans fear death."

"But you are not all human."

The boy swung his sword through his mother's cheek. She winced, plucked the sword out of the boy's hands like a toy, and threw it across the cave. She tried speaking again, blood spilling through her teeth.

"What do you want, son? What do you fear?"

"I also want love. I also fear death."

"Do you want love more than you fear death?"


"Would you die for love?"


"Would you die for a mother's love?"

The boy unhinged his snake-like jaw, and vomited fire into his mother's eye. She jolted in pain, cupped water from an underground pool, and doused the burn. She tried to talk again.

"Son, I also want love. I also fear death."

"Do you want love more than you fear death?"


"Would you die for love?"


"Would you die for a son's love?"

She paused, weighing her options like bodies in her hands. She smiled weakly, then laid down, baring her long neck to the boy-weapon that was designed to kill her.


"Thank you, mother."

The boy walked across the cave to retrieve his sword, and returned to his mother's neck. He stood on the side across the mouth of the cave, so he could watch the hungry eyes of the kingdom's archers. The boy stared into their faces, avoiding his mother's gaze. He gripped the sword. He raised it high.

And he vomited fire onto the archers.

Traitor! The archers cried as their flesh fell off their bones. Alert the kingdom!

But before they could blow the warning horn, the boy leaped out of the cave, and cut them all down. The freshly-sliced, charred meat reminded the boy of the scent of the kingdom's feasts that would waft in through the barred windows of his stone-wall bedroom.

The boy's mother stumbled up behind him. The boy turned around.

"Mother, do you love me now?"

"Son, I've always loved you. You needed not obey any orders to earn my love."

The boy spilled tears for the first time. Then, behind the water of grief, the fire of anger. "Let's kill the rest of them."


"No, mother?"

"There are still many in the human kingdom who are like your father."

"Who was my father?"

"Someone who chose love over death."

The boy smiled. The mother and son sat together in silence, healing from their respective wounds. They knew they would soon have to pay for their actions: the kingdom would notice the archers had not returned, and would send cavalry to the cave. But for now, mother and son were finally reunited, and happy.

They were home.

orginally posted on r/WritingPrompts

header photo by Jack B