Sickly green fumes drifted up from the dragon’s nostrils as it glared at its tiny opponent, its mouth curling up into a razor-toothed smile. “Ladder again. Your luck is running out, human.”
Moebius Mendoza sighed, picking up the giant dice and rolling them again. Two ones came up, and he found himself once again on top of a slide, slipping farther down the game board and away from the finish line. The dragon roared with delight.
Moebius rested his head in his hand, loosing another sigh. “I was told we would be playing chess for the princess’ hand.”
The dragon chuckled, emerald flames sparking deep in its throat. “You should have read the pamphlet back at the inn more closely, foolish warrior! It says that we play all sorts of games on Monday, hence the name ‘Monday Madness.’ Anything is fair on this night!”
“I just don’t think Slides and Ladders is a good indication of skill. It’s just luck with the dice, and that’s it. It’s hardly a game on which we can base the fate of an empire.”
“You’re just mad because you’re losing this game, like you lost at Inquire Whom. You should have started with more unique traits to narrow things down faster.”
Moebius laid his head in his hands, the dragon rolling double sixes and moving onto the finish line. He looked up at the warrior with a smirk. “The game is mine, and with it, your life. You’ll not enjoy the rest of your days in the frosting mines under the Mountain of Sweets.”
Moebius looked over at his enchanted sword, hanging from a coat rack with a numbered tag dangling from its hilt, and a plan struck him. “I’d like to reclaim my coat check before I am banished to the mines.”
The dragon scrunched up his nose. “Few ever take advantage of the coat check here. What are you up to, human?”
“I just don’t like lugging a lot of stuff around. Can I have my things back?”
The dragon snatched the number out of his hand, looking down at it as he crossed the damp cavern. Moebius watched as the dragon’s hand moved through the coats before falling on the hilt of his sword, hesitating. It took a long look at the number, then shook its head and moved on.
“Hey, that’s my sword!”
The dragon picked up a bright pink cloak, the dim light in the room reflecting off its metallic sheen. The dragon handed it to him along with his number. “Not according to the number you handed me. It’s 417, which is for this cloak. 418 is the sword.”
Moebius slapped the dragon’s huge claws out of the way. “I handed you that sword when I came in! You told me I had to check my things at the door in order to undergo your tests!”
The dragon scoffed. “That was my brother.”
“That was just you in a sombrero and fake moustache! You kept losing your accent every few sentences, too!”
The dragon reared up to its full height, its wings spreading out to fill the chamber. “How dare you! He has a speech impediment, and finds it very embarrassing!”
A long, reptilian head topped with a sombrero looked into the room. “I didn’t say anything mean about you, hombre? Why you gotta talk like this?”
The moustached dragon left, blubbering out huge tears as it ran away. The other green dragon roared, slamming its tail down onto the floor in front of Moebius. “You’ll wish I sent you down into the frosting mines compared to where you’re going! I’ll…!”
Moebius lifted up a goblet shaped like a hand, its index finger pointed high in the air. The dragon’s eyes lit up at the sight of it.
“The Number One Goblet! Holding it assures that all who draw near know that you are, indeed, number one in all the land. I must have it!”
Moebius withdrew the item. “One last game. Win it, and you take it and me.”
The dragon smiled, throwing a severed woman’s hand on the ground. “You win, and you get what you desired, the princess’ hand.”
Moebius looked at it for a moment, scratching his head. “I think there’s been a miscommunication.”