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"Yew" part four by Pearl Took

The fourth installment of my August Challenge story.

Pippin's life was becoming increasingly troubled. Despite he and his father making a longer, deeper, cage he kept finding Yew outside of it. The lizard, now close to eight inches long, would be laying on Pippin's coverlet or on his desk curled around the silver inkstand that had been his Grandpa Took's.

Then came the day when he wasn't even in Pippin's room.

His owner was distraught. He couldn't just shout for help. That would alert Vinca and "finders keepers, loosers weepers" would come into play. Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, Pippin searched the house, which was all well and good except he couldn't search his sister's rooms, nor could he be very thorough lest he look like he was looking for something. In his preoccupied state, he forgot to step over the creaky floor board outside of Vinca's room.

He froze at the screech of the board, and the sound of his sister's voice.

"Looking for something, Pippin?"

"No, just walking down the hall."

"You never step on that board, Pippin, unless you aren't paying attention."

"I was . . . eh . . . daydreaming. Mind thousands of miles away."

"Strange, I would have thought you were looking for Crimson."

"For Crim . . . Crimson!"

Pippin burst into Vinca's room.

"Get out!" she ordered. "You aren't allowed and you know it. Not unless I say you can come in and I haven't, so get out, Peregrin Took!"

"Yew!" Pippin tried to lunge for his pet, but Vinca hip-bumped him out of the way.

"Crimson. His name is Crimson and he's mine. He was in here when I came in from hanging laundry. Crimson came in here because you aren't taking care of him. You left his cage open. He wants to be with me now."

Yew, or Crimson as he was now being called, sat atop Pervinca's bed looking forlorn. He had a frilly lace doll's collar around his neck. A bright blue grosgrain ribbon was wrapped around his neck (under the collar), crisscrossed to go around under his chest and around his front legs to end tied in a double bow on his back. Another length of ribbon was tied to it like a leash the other end of which was tied to Vinca's bedpost.

Pippin had to think fast. Just demanding the lizard back would not work; not with Vinca.

"He'll poop on your coverlet."

Vinca quickly dug the old blanket she used for picnics with her dolls out of her closet. She picked up Crimson, threw the blanket over her bed then plopped the lizard back down.

"No he won't."

"He'll walk all over you at night while you're sleeping and poop in your hair."

"I'll tie him someplace else until I can make my own cage for him."

"Da won't help you. He's on my side."

"I'll do it myself and Da doesn't take sides."

Red in the face and out of ideas, Pippin's station as the baby of the family asserted itself.

"Mama! Mama!" he yelled as he ran from his sister's room. "Vinca stole Yew!"

Lanti did what most wise mothers do at this point . . . she took the object of contention, said "He's mine for now.", put Yew into one of her shopping baskets that had a lid, then told the children their father would settle the matter when he came in from helping with the pony the farrier had come to shoe.

That evening, Pippin sulked in his room, lying on his stomach on the floor by Yew's cage.

Yew was inside.

Paladin had dealt with his children before supper was served. He reminded Vinca that a pet wasn't like other possessions. It was a living thing that a person grows to love.

"It would simply be mean to let you keep Pippin's lizard, and I think you know it."

Vinca had admitted she did and Yew went back to Pippin's room, along with Pippin who was to remain there with him for the rest of the night. He would have his supper alone. Vinca shared his punishment in her own room; she for being selfish and Pippin for not being careful about keeping the cover on Yew's cage.

"I know I put your cover on. I know I did." Pippin defended himself to Yew. "I've found you out of it and I don't know how you're doing it because I know, I know, I'm putting that blasted cover on. I've even been setting that book on top!"

The lad huffed a sigh then was quiet.

"I'm stronger than I look."

Pippin was used to the voices of his imagination: this was not one of them.

"Much as it's a clever idea, the book doesn't stop me."

"Y . . . Yew?"

The lizard turned away from the lad. He waddled, as lizards do, over to the big branch, climbed to the top, then up the woven side of the cage until he was crowded up against the cover. Then he pushed, moved his back feet upwards a step, and pushed again. The process was repeated until there was a gap and Yew slithered through it. The cover fell back into place behind him, he turned and climbed up onto it and then sauntered over to the edge nearest to Pippin.

Pippin's eyes and mouth were wide open the whole time. He and the lizard stared at each other.

"You are usually so talkative, Pippin. Say something."

"Y . . . Yew?"

"You said that before. Say something else."

"You can talk?"

"Make it a statement and then you'll have it right."

"You can talk."

"Perfect! I'll have you trained in no time." Yew said haughtily, sounding a great deal like Pervinca.

Pippin's mind was spinning. He wasn't very old, not very wise, but he was an avid reader of adventure stories and fairytales. A bright red lizard was talking to him and his family was missing pieces of jewelry.

"Dragon!" he gasped.

The ridges on Yew's back quivered, opening into wings not yet fully grown. A small burst of flame shot from his mouth ending with a puff of smoke from his nostrils. He smiled at the young hobbit.

"I was wondering if you would ever figure it out."

A/N: I'll admit it was rather discouraging that so many of you figured it out after the third chapter. But then I thought that you all are Tolkien and fantasy fans and therefore hard to fool. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter anyway. :-) We aren't finished yet.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Thank you, mews! It is good to know I kept some people guessing. I almost never figure out the mystery when I read, I usually don't even try. I'm glad you're delighted. :-)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
I was clueless, too.

It make perfect sense with all the disappearing jewelry and all.

Now, I'm wondering what Pippin is going to do about this. A dragon, even a small one os a dangerous thing. (shivers in anticipation)
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, Garnet. :-) It really was hard to try to foreshadow without giving it away so I very glad not everyone figured it out.

I hope nothing too horrid happens as this is a nice little fluff story.

Sep. 3rd, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
dragons can be fluffy think Puff.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Good point, nancy. :-) Though I don't think keeping him will work, at least, not at the farm. He will grow much too big and obvious.

Glad you're enjoying this!
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
I hadn't figured it out either! I knew there was something magical about Yew, but I guess my dragon lore is not the best. I like that he's speaking to Pip and I wonder how you're going to resolve this wonderful mystery. Will his family believe that Yew can talk, and will they still contend Pippin didn't keep the lid on the cage? Vinca is a *brat*, btw, and I'm glad Paladin made her give the lizard back.

Can't wait for more!!
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Cathleen! It was hard to make him magical without saying what I did. I'm not sure I would have guessed it had I been reading it instead of writing it.

I think they'll believe him.

Yes, Vinca is a brat. Though I like that I also often have her defending her little brother. There are siblings that do that and I've always thought it interesting. It's OK for them to tease and annoy, but woe to the outsider who tries it.

I don't think Paladin liked poor Yew in a lacy collar. LOL
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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