The Sword of Destiny
"Geralt, take me on your horse!"
    "Jump on!"
    The ravine ended with a scattering of pale rocks spread increasingly further apart, creating an irregular circle. Behind them, the ground sloped slightly before becoming uneven and grassy pasture, enclosed all around by limestone cliffs studded with thousands of holes. Three narrow canyons, ancient beds of dried up mountain streams, overlooked the pasture.
    Boholt arrived first and, galloping up to the rocky barrier, stopped his horse suddenly and stood up in his stirrups.
    "By the plague," he said. "By the yellow plague. This... this... it cannot be!"
    "What?" asked Dorregaray, going up to him.
    Next to him, Yennefer jumped off the Reavers' wagon, pressed her chest up against a large boulder and looked in turn. She stood back, rubbing her eyes.
    "What? What is it?" shouted Jaskier, trying to see over Geralt's shoulder. "What is it Boholt?"
    "The dragon... It's gold."
    Not more than one hundred paces from the narrowing of the ravine from which they had just emerged, atop a small hillock on the gently sloping path leading to the main northern canyon, sat a creature. Resting its narrow head on a rounded chest, it stretched its long and slender neck in a perfect arch, its tail wound around its outstretched paws.
    There was in this creature an ineffable grace, something feline that clearly contradicted its reptilian provenance, for it was, without a doubt, reptilian. The scales it bore gave the appearance of being finely painted on. Furiously brilliant light shone in the dragon's bright yellow eyes. The creature was most certainly gold: from the tips of its claws planted in the earth up to the end of its long tail that moved slowly amongst the thistles proliferating upon the height. The creature opened its big, amber, bat-like wings and remained still, looking at them with its huge golden eyes and demanding that they admire it.
    "A golden dragon," murmured Dorregaray. "It's impossible... a living legend!"
    "For crying out loud, golden dragons don't exist," asserted Nischuka, spitting. "I know what I'm talking about."
    "What, therefore, do you see upon the height?" asked Jaskier.
    "It's trickery."
    "An illusion."
    "It is not an illusion," said Yennefer.
    "It is a golden dragon," added Gyllenstiern. "Most certainly a golden dragon."
    "Golden dragons exist only in legends!"
    "Stop," Boholt intervened with finality. "There's no need to make a fuss. Any fool can see that we're dealing with a golden dragon. What's the difference, my dear lords? Gold, speckled, chartreuse or checked? It's not big. We can deal with it in less than two. Ripper, Nischuka, take the canvas off the wagon, grab the equipment. Gold, not gold; it matters not."
    "There is a difference, Boholt," said Ripper. "And an important one. It's not the dragon we're hunting. It's not the one who was poisoned near Holopole and who waits for us in his cavern, sleeping peacefully on precious metals and stones. This one is only resting on its arse in the meadow. What's the point of dealing with him?"
    "This dragon is gold, Kennet," shouted Yarpen Zigrin. "Have you seen its like before? Don't you understand? We'll get a lot more for its skin that what we could pull in for some pitiful treasure."
    "And without damaging the market for precious stones," added Yennefer with an ugly smile. "Yarpen is right. The contract remains in effect. There is still something to share, don't you think?"
    "Hey! Boholt?" shouted Nischuka from the wagon, noisily grabbing pieces of equipment. What do we use to protect the horses? Does a gold lizard spit out fire, acid or steam?"
    "The devil only knows, my dear lords," replied Boholt, concerned. "Hey! Magicians! Do the legends of golden dragons explain how to slay them?"
    "How should we kill it? In the usual way," replied Kozojed suddenly, raising his voice. "There's no time to waste. Give me an animal. We shall stuff it with poison then feed it to the lizard. That'll do it."
    Dorregaray gave the shoemaker

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