Rosa’s roadster shuddered to a stop at the bridge to Bonneval. This gave her passenger time enough to catch his breath and unclench his fingers from the dashboard.
“And I thought meeting that dragon would be the most terrifying event of my day!” Louis Baston gasped. He looked at the dashboard and watched as the impressions from his grip slowly disappeared.
“Bonneval”, Rosa said, “and somewhere in the small medieval town there’s a woman destined to kill a dragon.”
“How do you know it’s not a man?” Louis inquired.
“Men usually start things and women have to finish them,” she said pulling a pair of well used field glasses up to her eyes.
“Well, according to my notes, female dragons account for only eighteen percent of the….”
But Rosa de la Cruz was no longer listening. The field glasses showed a small walled town with many old stone buildings from the medieval period.
“Rosa, that town looks like the perfect setting to battle a dragon, no?”
“Monsieur Secretaire’, fighting dragons is not a group sport! This wouldn’t turn out well if we treated it like a football tournament. We must make sure the dragon does not fight near the town.”
Louis thought how much he needed to learn. Being the Secretary of the Bureau of Dragons was certainly an impressive feat, but he was wise enough to listen to his wardens. Zhen Po, the last Secretary had stressed this very thing to him.
The mountain town was picture perfect, its tile rooftops colorful in the morning sunlight. Rosa popped the clutch and stepped on the accelerator and the little roadster flew across the bridge and into the town.
Bonneval-sur-Arc, still sleepy in the cool morning air, echoed with the rumble of the roadster. Rosa made a circuit around the main fountain and parked on the side of a narrow road. An old man looked up and frowned as Rosa jumped out of the car accompanied by Louis.
“Which way to constable?” Rosa asked of the old man. He grunted and threw his chin in the general direction as he continued to shamble down the sidewalk.
Louis and Rosa walked through the small town, admiring the old architecture and sturdy stone buildings. The modern world looked as much of a visitor here as they did. Up the street a blue door marked with the seal of the town, was the office of the local gendarme.
Rosa rapped on the door and entered. Sitting at an old roll top desk, feet in the air, was an older man in uniform. He jumped up as if awakened from an early morning snooze.
“Good morning! I am Gendarme Lacombe. Can I help you?”
Louis began to rifle through his charred valise, looking for a scrap of paper. Rosa laid her hand gently on his arm, “Monsieur, we are looking for Claude Perreault? Perhaps you can tell us where he lives?”
“Madame, that is not necessary! He is not home. I am certain of this fact!”
“How do you know this, Monsieur?” Louis spoke up.
“Naturally, he is right here!” The gendarme motioned to the small cell on the opposite wall. Lying on the cot was a man sleeping soundly.
Louis looked at Rosa. They both hoped that this wasn’t the man who had contacted the Bureau.
The gendarme permitted the two a brief visit with the prisoner. After a bit of coaxing and a prod with the broom, Claude Perreault was ready to receive visitors.
He looked up at Rosa and Louis with bloodshot eyes. He blinked several times and made a halfhearted attempt to pat down his hair. A small bruise sat on his right cheek and his clothes were soiled with mud.
“If this is our hero, we’re in a difficult situation,” whispered Louis.
Follow us at the Bureau of Dragons for the next episode, coming soon.