1 I. The Myth

Legend has it that the mythical creatures did not exist at all. It was only oral stories that were told by the travelers to the world and around the campfire to fill their time. But one must have encountered such creatures if they were to live and tell stories about them.

Everything has an explanation and that what's Magnus Fleming love to do.

He was a mythical creature scholar and he will try to find the explanation behind every myth that he encountered. And at the moment, it was from the painting of Saint George and the Dragon. It was so mysterious that made Magnus wondered if Dragons ever existed.

If only he knew what he was wishing for…

*****

Seriously, I don't even know what I was doing with my life, Magnus thought miserably as he was inside the library in central London. He has been spending a part of his life in London as a Medieval and Old English Literature scholar. And right now, he was doing one of his research there.

Particularly on the painting of Saint George and the Dragon.

The lights were illuminating his desk as Magnus was making some notes and references to the painting that he was observing.

The maiden with the red dress.

The green dragon.

And Saint George himself was trying to slay the powerful dragon.

It was to be believed that the painting was trying to tell a myth in which the maiden in red was being sacrificed to the dragon as a tribute from her village. And Saint George happened to be around when he heard the story of the virgin sacrifice. Magnus thought he, Saint George, must have been dying to get the glory for slaying the dragon and get his hands on the maiden.

Or so he thought.

Magnus leaned back on his chair before he pulled his glasses from his eyes. He was short-sighted, a pity for he was a scholar and he dressed like one.

Glasses.

Shirt with vest, it was a turtleneck for right now, the weather in London was chilly.

Black pants that he did not bother to iron for he will be sitting all day and nobody cared to look at it. His hair was unkempt and his stubble was a mess.

Magnus scratched at his jaws before he was turning around to look in the library. Granted, he was in his own room for he was a scholar and he has certain advantages when it comes to the local library, especially when this library in central London was commissioned by his local university to do his research here.

The graduates spend most of their time here and right now, it was 10 PM. The library must be closed by now but here he was, trying to get something out of the painting that can be interpreted in million ways.

Magnus rubbed his face before he put on his glasses. He must get going now before his meeting with his supervisor tomorrow. Magnus has been preparing to write his final chapter for his Ph.D. program and this semester was his last.

He cannot wait to get this thesis done and out with it.

But again, Magnus took a look at the pile of books that were stacked in front of him, and some were opened. Just one last reading, he thought before he pulled a book and he was reading the ancient tome that might be describing the painting. He concentrated on it as the reading got interesting as he was lost in it.

The dragon was said to be roaming the land of the British Isles long before the time itself. But one cannot simply believe such myth for it was a superstition that was set by the villagers to prevent their children to be out and about in the middle of the night.

The dragon was used as a common nightmare for the children to be afraid of the dark. As one saying was famous for using the dragon as an object of fear, it goes like this:

Beware of the dark for the dragons lurk in it. If you dare to disturb it, you will face its wrath.

However, many scholars did not agree that the saying was said during the making of the painting circa 1400 during Medieval England. And the saying was not as popular as it may be for everything did not think that dragon was real.

It was only an interpretation of the victory of Crusaders in spreading the Holy Religion throughout the Continent. But one might say that dragon was known to be asleep, deep within the earth.

Will we ever face a dragon in our lifetime? Perhaps but the myth behind it still makes us wish that the dragons roam the earth for the mighty beast was hard to be tamed.

Magnus scratched his eyes again as he was turning to look at the clock. 10:15 PM. He ought to get moving and before he will be slumping on the table in the closed library. He sighed before he closed the book and something slipped from it.

Magnus took it and he was learning to look at the different symbols and shapes that were printed on the paper that he was holding.

"What the—" he said before he went to take the translation book that he compiled for himself since Old English was different from the modern language that we know as English now.

"Okay, let's see," he mumbled before he was scratching on the paper, trying to get the message from the paper. He spent some time there as well as the clock ticked. Seconds went by, minutes before he finally exhaled the breaths that he did not know he was holding.

"There, all done," he said as he was looking at the translation of the old English before Magnus squinted his eyes to read the words out loud.

"Here's the secret lies deep within, only the chosen will find it," he said before he was looking around. He did not know if this was an incantation that was being brought upon the research or just another prank that his colleagues, James and William, were doing to him. They loved to prank Magnus every now and then.

Magnus shrugged before he was packing up his stuff, knowing that he will be taking the last bus to his apartment on the outskirt of central London. The rent was cheaper there but one could argue if anything in London was cheap these days.

Magnus sighed before he was putting the books on the stack so that he can easily look for them tomorrow morning after his meeting with his advisor. He took his bag, pushing his glasses on his nose bridge before he went to the door. He switched off the lights before he closed the door and locked it.

It was his special room so he had a spare key. The librarian kept one for safekeeping. Magnus whistled past the long hallway that was opening to the sections upon sections of the books that were sitting idly on the shelves.

He knows from a very young age that he was meant to be spending some more time in the library, doing research and looking for the archives and old evidence dated back hundreds of years ago. Magnus smiled before he was filling the heaviness of the words that he spoke earlier.

Here's the secret lies deep within, only the chosen will find it…

Magnus stepped out of the library as the door shut behind him. He could help himself as he was pulling the scratch paper as he was studying it under the street lamps. The street of London was quiet at this time of the night as Magnus was walking alongside the road.

He was looking and reading the words carefully, trying to understand the meaning behind it. Could it be something that was related to the painting? What does it mean for the secret that lies within?

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Every possibility was running inside his head that Magnus did not realize there was a runaway car that was coming his way. He was still focusing on his own world that when he finally looked up into the headlights of the car, he knew that it was too late.

Well, at least Magnus died when he was trying to solve a riddle that was trapped inside the painting for almost hundreds of years ago.

The car crashed into Magnus as his head was hitting the sidewalk. The books that he was carrying in his bag dropped on the ground as the papers were flying across the air. The thunder boomed in the distance that when Magnus' eyes were focusing for the last time on the gloomy night sky, he saw something that he did cannot decipher at the moment.

A smile.

Charming eyes.

A castle.

Everything was coming so fast as his blood was warming the sidewalk before Magnus released his breath for the last time.

*****

Everything hurt. Why is it hurting me?

The thought was flying around in his head as he was tossing and turning in the softest thing that he ever laid upon. He opened his eyes and he was staring at the window that was overlooking the rose garden. He did not know what happened and when he turned to look around, he was not in the street anymore.

Lying on his own blood, bleeding to death as the crowd was dawned on him.

Magnus sat up on the bed as he was looking around the room. it was not his room at all. There was a fireplace in front of his bed, the chest that was laying at the end of his bed, and the clothes were draped along with the divan that was sitting in front of the windows.

He felt something inside his head before he was turning to look at the door as someone was rapping at it. then, it opened and he was looking at someone that he never saw before in his life.

Auburn hair, from the flimsy of it that escaped her cap.

Grey eyes as she was looking at Magnus at the moment before she averted her eyes and put the tray that she carried on the table that was in front of the hearth.

"Your breakfast is served, my lord," she said before curtsied, and then she was out. Magnus blinked his eyes before he was looking around the place and there was something on the wall that captured his eyes.

It was the painting of Saint George and the dragon.

"What the hell?" he said before he went to the window, naked and all, as he slipped out of the bed and he was shocked to see that he was in an estate and everyone was dressing like they were living in the olden days.

What the hell just happened when he died?!

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