Through the thickly-wooded forest walked a young man. He was dressed in the plain garb of his city’s poorest inhabitants, but there was something different about this boy. He was finally going to be something more than a farmer, like his father.
For in his hands he carried a large stone. He could get so much money from it; it was a crystalline sapphire color and shone like the wings of an iridescent Morpho butterfly. It weighed at least ten pounds; the boy with the dirty brown hair was now struggling to carry it as he had already been walking for at least two miles. He couldn’t have ridden his horse out here at such a late hour, even in the dark. There was too great a risk of being followed.
He brought his light eyes down on the stone, which he smiled at gingerly. “This will solve all of our problems,” he whispered happily, cherishing the words that would change his unfortunate life. With a burst of adrenaline, he took several quick steps forward and noticed several tree markings that he had made long, long ago. Even in the dark, he could find his way on from here.
The boy’s leather bag slipped from its position on his shoulder for about the thousandth time. He stopped briefly and pulled it back up. In that moment of silence he heard a slight rustling in the woods to his left. Chills ran up his spine, and so he didn’t hesitate in the slightest to run forward toward his hiding place.
He threw the stone headfirst into a small tunnel of brambles and vines, quickly following it. He pushed it along for almost ten feet before it gently rolled down a shallow slope and into an open space of about seven or eight feet in circumference. It was grassy and warm, despite the fact that the sun hadn’t reached it for at least three years. That was how long ago the boy had constructed it by himself.
It was his own little place to be alone, no matter what was going on around him or in his life. It was his sanctuary, his true home. There he could think deeply, speak aloud to himself, and hide treasures that were his and only his. No one, not even his two brothers, knew about it. It was his one secret.
And so here he placed the large sapphire rock, perfectly smooth and such an elegant shape. It rested alongside a silver knife and notebook full of drawings that no one else would ever see. “I’ll take you to the market in the morning,” the boy said pointedly to the rock, pointing at it and smiling, crawling back through the bramble tunnel and sprinting back through the trees to his family’s house in the city.
Resting in the darkness in the dirt, the dragon egg stirred slightly, barely enough to even be noticed, barely enough for even the breeze to care.