"Yes!" Yoro exclaimed to the quiet wilderness that enveloped the lake, his joy caught by the leaves of the many trees. His boat bobbed merrily on the surface of the water as he furiously began reeling in the line. "I've really done it this time!" He told the forest, "This one's surely big enough to feed the whole family, by the feel of it!"
Straining, Yoro reeled the last feet of string back to their spool to reveal… something that wouldn't even satisfy him for breakfast. He stared at it for a moment before unhooking the gasping fish and returning it to the lake. A tear rolled down his cheek.
"I'm a failure of a son!" He howled suddenly and pounded his fists into the boat. To his surprise, the force of his punch had broken through the bottom of the boat he had spent day after day crafting the previous month. "Damn," He cursed as his precious vessel, aptly named Woody, began to sink.
Cursing and crying, he swam away until his feet could once again feel the rocky bottom of the lake. As he trudged along, Yoro wrung out his now soaking pants and shirt. He was so preoccupied that he accidentally tripped over a large rock embedded in the mud on the floor of the lake. The boy emitted a tiny yelp of pain and several tears rolled down his tan cheeks before he noticed that the water above where he ran into the rock was shimmering.
Swirls of silver spiraled above the spot, fanning out in all directions like a flame. Curiously, Yoro bent down to inspect. He reached his hands down into the grimy water, and retrieved the cursed rock that had caused his big toe a great deal of pain. But it wasn't a rock at all.
It was an egg. It was roughly the size of a watermelon, white, with small blue specks adorning the outside of it. The eyes of the boy suddenly shined, as if this was a fateful moment. "A unicorn…" he whispered as he stared in awe. "It's a unicorn egg." he repeated.
Now elated, the boy decided to take it home with him. Perhaps his father would let him sleep in the house for finding such a rare and valuable trinket. It's not everyday that one comes across a unicorn egg (Except that crazy old man in the village that seemed to know all about them). He also claimed to have once owned a whole fleet of unicorns, and even a dragon or two. He had been banned from the tavern and was hated by everyone in town.
Yoro decided to go to him for help.
He quickly tucked the egg away in his fishing net and started for the winding dirt road that would lead him into town.
When Yoro finally tracked him down, thanks to the directions of a seemingly frightened little girl and a disfigured signpost, he was curled up in the corner of a horse's stall in Farmer Lelan's barn. According to Lelan, the man, Percival, had been allowed to stay there as long as he earned his keep by doing rather disgraceful activities such as mucking the stalls and whitewashing fences. It kept the rest of the town contented, and Lelan had been able to join in at social gatherings as the famous tamer of the crazed Percival, who had once ravaged the town to some extent, babbled on endlessly about impossible events, and had set loose the chickens on Miss Linnea the previous year.
At the moment, Percival was fast asleep, partially sheltered by the burrow he had constructed in a large pile of hay and dirt. Only his head and part of his knees were visible from Yoro's angle. He dared to edge a bit closer.
"Hello," he whispered, secretly not wanting to wake the man.
A snort-like snore was Percival's response.
Percival's reply was predictably the same, though a tad bit louder, and with much more force. This tad bit was enough to make the top of the towering hay-and-dirt structure wobble. And it toppled over without time for suspense, or for Yoro to even find cover. Then again, it was hay, and the only thing he suffered was a couple dust specks stuck in his eye, and one enormous sneeze. However, Yoro took an abnormally long time to recover.
Shaking, he leaned up against the wall and inhaled deeply for a few minutes. "That was close, FAR too close," he assured himself. I could have gotten a rash, or, or—
His thoughts quickly drifted back to the old man. He was still under the pile! He's probably run out of air by now, Yoro thought. He let himself drop to the stall floor and then grabbed his knees. He sniffed a little, shed a few tears, and then something hit him—there might still be hope.
Now Yoro had an important decision to make. He could either walk away and pretend that nothing happened and live a normal life, or he could heroically dive headfirst into the pile of hay, revealing either what he feared, or a smiling, very much alive Percival. Predictably, he chose the second option, as he remembered about the unicorn egg still nestled in his fishing net. Percival was his only hope. He couldn't raise a unicorn on his own.
Yoro took a deep breath… and plunged! Almost immediately, he wished he hadn't gone, but he forced himself to swim deeper and deeper and farther and farther. The hay forced itself into his ears, up his nostrils, and other uncomfortable places. Yoro winced as a few pieces even wedged themselves between his toes where he was quite ticklish. But he suppressed his laughter. It was a very serious situation.
He had almost given up the search when he felt something that wasn't hay. It had to be Percival. He grabbed the fabric-covered mass and fought his way back up to the surface. Indeed, it was Percival… but his eyes were closed.
"No! No! No!" Yoro began sobbing again, though this time, it was much more violent.
Yoro sniffed. "Wha-what?"
"Percival, you're alive!" He ran over and hugged the old man.
"GET OFF OF ME!"
Yoro jumped back. "Percival, you're alive." he stated again, this time with less enthusiasm.
"'Course I am. Now what have we here?" Percival began to inspect the remains of his humble home. "What did you do, boy? Now if I still had my whip…"
"I can rebuild it later, but right now, there are much more important matters to be taken care of."
Percival snorted. "I wouldn't trust a boy like you to rebuild MY home, that's what it comes down to. He feebly stood up, brushed off, and took a seat on top of the ruined hay structure. "Now, tell me about these important matters."
"Well," Yoro began, "I tripped over a glowing egg."
"Oh, my dear boy, are you alright? You don't look skinned up in the least."
Yoro started back at him. "I tripped over a glowing egg," he repeated slowly.
Percival grumbled, "Yes, yes, I heard you the first time."
"You don't think that glowing eggs are really out of the ordinary?" He reached into his wadded up fishing net and grabbed the egg with two hands; it was heavier than he had remembered.
Percival's eyes immediately fixed on the egg, whose shell was now giving off a soft green glow.
"I was thinking it might have been a unicorn egg, and I know you— Percival?"
Percival unconsciously reached for the egg. "May I?"
"Yes, but be-"
Percival quickly snatched the egg out of Yoro's hands. "It's been so long, so many, many years…" A tear rolled down the old man's cheek, and then his voice rumbled with an old strength. "Boy, do you know what this is?"
Percival shook his head. "No, it's a DRAGON."