#DiceGames3 : “Anywhere?” she murmured, “I can go anywhere?”

I know. I know. I can manipulate matter at the subatomic level. I can literally turn lead into gold by moving around protons, neutrons, and electrons. So, you ask why I would do this. Why would I care what a child on some backwater planet in a dwarf galaxy somewhere in a dark void in the universe dreams about, and wishes for.

Obviously, you haven’t lived too long. Far too long. You don’t know what that wish means.

I heard her. I’ll call it one night, as if when I heard her matters. I heard her when the world on which she lives had rotated so that she was on the side facing away from the start that world orbited. So, yes. I heard her one night.

“I wish I could see the universe.”

It’s a wish I’ve heard a trillion children make. At least a trillion. Isn’t it a wish all children make? To see the universe. To travel among the stars. To see other worlds, other people, other life forms, other galaxies. To know they aren’t alone in this universe. To make new friends.

To grow.

I’ve frequently wondered why adults no longer make such wishes. Even children know such wishes can’t come true. They know about the vast distances between the stars, about how many millions of years it takes to move from one galaxy to another. But they wish anyway. What happens to them as they grow that they stop making wishes?

I heard her one night.

“I wish I could see the universe.”

Did I mention she’d been bullied in school that day? I’d tell you the bully’s name, but it’s in a language you’ve never heard, and a frequency range your ears can’t even hear. He pulled her hair. So hard it hurt. And she cried. And the other children laughed. “Crybaby! Crybaby!”

She made a wish.

I heard.

She was surprised to see me. I can well imagine that. I don’t exactly look like her people look. For one thing, I’m only six feet tall by our standards of measure. She was 12 years old in her people’s time, and stood seven feet tall by that same measure. You would have thought her ugly. Kind of like a walking tree, with moss on it. In truth, she was a very pretty girl among her people.

She’d never seen anyone who looked like me.
“Who are you?” Of course she had to ask that. Doesn’t everyone?

“No one of any importance.” I’d learned long ago to speak in the language of the other person. After all, not everyone learned American English from a people that died out a couple of billion years ago.

“How did you get here?”

“The same way I can take you wherever you wish to go.” I waved my arm, and images of other worlds formed an arc through the air of her room. “Just ask. Wish. And I’ll take you anywhere.”

“Anywhere?” she murmured, “I can go anywhere?”

“You made a wish, didn’t you?”

She nodded.

And that, young ones, is how the adventure started.

#DiceGames3 : A Fire, A Teddy Bear, A Hidden Treasure

Teddy Smaug stood on the bed in the middle of the night while Princess Bree slept. It was his job to guard the greatest treasure on Earth, the future ruler of a family, the future queen of a household, the future mother of the heirs to the kingdom. Teddy Smaug smiled as he guarded the priceless princess, and a wisp of smoke escaped his smile and left a curl in the air.

A cute curl of smoke, as it should be, in case Princess Bree woke unexpectedly, and saw it. “Has to be cute, so I don’t scare the princess. Always have to make the princess happy.”

Teddy Smaug was so proud to have been reborn to such a purpose.True, he was no longer a giant, armored dragon, with razor sharp talons, and teeth. True no one looked at him and cringed in fear, or prayed to escape his wrath with their lives. But he was OK with that.

“I’m a fire-breathing teddy bear.” His black circle eyes searched the darkness for any threats to the princess. “The knight of the realm.” He studied the floor all around the bed, moving carefully to not wake the princess. “A beloved hero.” He gazed upon Princess Bree. “Protector of the future of the kingdom.”

It was nice to be huggable. To be the one the princess picked up, and hugged when she was happy, and laughing. To hear the stories the princess told of all the things that made her happy. “I’ll never tell your secrets to anyone, Princess. Though they torture me, or flay my soft, fuzzy hide from my tiny body.”

It was a gift from the Universe when the princess was sad, and picked him up, and hugged him, and buried her face in his tummy, and cried her heart out. “I know. Oh, how I know how hard it is to grow up in this nasty world. And I will always be here when you need me. To protect you. And keep you safe from all the dragons, and the black knights.”

He returned to his post beside the pillow on which she rested her head. He blew a smoke ring to make sure his flames were ready if he should need them. He carefully checked each of his tiny claws. “That cat has nothing on me! Ha!” He did have to admit, though, it was certainly tough to let the cat throw him around, and claw away at him. “The things I have to do to remain hidden, so the king and queen won’t notice me.” That was the unspoken law of the guardian of the princess. He must remain hidden, unnoticed by his charge, and by the king and queen. He must be invisible to them. Just a fuzzy, cuddly, little girl’s teddy bear.

It was only as the princess grew, both in stature, and in age, that he could reveal himself. It would take years, but he knew from the long history of the Teddy Bear Knights of the Realm, all Teddy Bears wound up beloved protectors, and friends, of the princesses they defended with their lives. Teddy Smaug looked forward to the day when he was old, maybe with an eye missing, or glued on, with carefully added stitches to close his busted seams here and there. And maybe even a patch. All signs of a successful knighthood. And always, such bears were the most loved of all by their Princesses.

And when the princess became a queen, he would be able to pass on the torch of knighthood to another Teddy Bear Knight who would protect the next princess in the family.

No. Teddy Smaug was not a fierce and mighty dragon any more. He was a beloved Teddy Bear Knight. And he spent that night, as he spent all nights, watching over the most priceless, hidden treasure of the King and Queen. The Princess Bree.