“Monsieur Perreault, we have been looking for you!”, said Louis Baston.
The disheveled man behind the bars pried open one eye and then the other, “I cannot say the same, monsieur. Not only have I not been looking for you, I can hardly see you at the moment.” He rubbed his eyes and moved away from the ray sunlight streaming through the window.
“Monsieur, we are here to help you,” Rosa spoke softly.
Even so, the man winced at the sound of their voices. “Come back later, I need nothing from you. My friend Monsieur Lacombe has helped me enough for now. I have a nice warm cot and a pillow…so excuse me if I bid you good day,” he turned to lie down again.
Louis looked at Rosa and feigned exasperation. “Monsieur, you are coming with us! You have to save the town from the dragon!”
This got the man’s attention. He sat up and rubbed his eyes again. “What? You’ve seen it? They thought I was mad…even I thought I was mad! You can’t imagine how…” He stopped in mid sentence and stood up. “What do you mean, I have to save the town?! Surely, you jest?”
Rosa leveled her most serious look at him, “No, we do not make a joke, monsieur. He is your dragon to slay.”
“Why would you ever think that?”
“Because, monsieur, you saw him first!”
Claude Perreault scratched his head at this.
It wasn’t long before he was standing in the street outside of the local gendarme’s office with Louis on one side and Rosa on the other.
Louis rubbed the top of his shoe against the back of his trousers. Soot and mud were ground into the polished leather. These shoes will never be the same, he thought.
Claude Perrault wobbled a little as he stepped into the morning sunlight. Gendarme Lacombe was more than happy to release his charge to the two visitors. It took only one call by Louis to arrange his release. Gendarme Lacombe snapped to attention when he spoke with the government official on the other end of the line. Being the Secretary of the Bureau of Dragons gave Louis more clout than most heads of state. He was still trying to get accustomed to this. After showing them to the door, Gendarme Lacombe returned to his desk to continue his mid morning nap.
Rosa scanned the street and gave the sky a carefully inspection. This did not go unnoticed by Claude. He grew nervous and looked ready to be on his way.
“Monsieur, do you have a place in town?” Rosa asked.
“I have a small farm just outside of Bonneval…me and my daughter.”
“Is your daughter at home, now?”
“No, I sent her away when the dragon came back to our farm.”
“And when was this?” Louis asked as they climbed into the roadster.
“Yesterday morning, Monsieur. He came down from the mountains and snatched up two of my sheep. Amelie and I saw the creature swoop down and snatch them.”
He paused for a moment and his hands trembled a little as he tried to smooth out a wrinkle on his shirt. “I’ve heard about dragons, but in all my fifty-eight years, I’d never expected to see one.”
“Cheer up, Monsieur! At least the dragon flew off with the sheep. He could have snatched you away as well!” Rose smiled.
Louis frowned when he heard this. That didn’t sound too cheerful to him. He wanted to ask Rosa, what if Claude runs out of sheep? But he thought the better of it and instead concentrated on staying inside the roadster as Rosa swerved to dodge a pothole.