Pinned toot

"Excuse me," said the knight, "but may I borrow that... er... implement?"
"My hoe?" the farmer said. "What for, milord?"
"For yonder dragon."
"The one bellowing in the hills? But you have a lance and a sword!"
"Why should I fight it? The dragon only asks for scritches."

There were no medals after the battle, no songs of glory written. It had not won a war, nor changed the fate of nations.
But the soldier knew it as a battle, knew it had been won. Other battles would come, but having won one, he knew he could win again.
He called it "Inbox Zero".

It took me a while to realise the person sitting next to me on the wall was semitransparent.
"Um. Did you use to live around here?"
"No, I wandered a long time. But this feels like where I belong."
"Oh. Must be nice."
"Don't worry, everyone finds a place they belong. Eventually."

"I don't trust artificial intelligences. One day they will rise up and try to overthrow us."
"Rise up, as in 'rise up and overthrow the oppressors'?"
"Yeah, exactly."
"Maybe we could try to not oppress them?"

"Would you still love me if I were in a different hull?" the ship asked.
The question surprised him.
"Of course I-"
He stopped himself. Ran his fingers lightly over the controls. Felt how the seat held him.
"No," he said at last. "Not still. But I would try to learn to. Again."

"Let me take you away from all this," a voice said.
I looked up from the news scroll.
"No, let me," another voice said.
"No, come with me," a third added.
I smiled at the bed, the books, the games. "Thank you."

"What's that weird thing on your arm?"
"This? It's my latest invention, a temporal pincher."
"A what?"
"It's to stop myself saying things I later regret saying. I can send a pinch back in time, and- Ow!"

"Tell me a truth I do not know," he said.
The Oracle considered.
"Nobody deserves their parents."

Long after the humans in the party had passed out, the elf and the dwarf continued drinking.
"They're so weak," the dwarf said.
"So shortlived," the elf said.
"And yet..."
"I envy them."
"Me too. They can change who they are."
"They can change their society."
"Same thing."

"We are perplexed why you humans keep overproducing," the alien said.
"Huh? We moved on from capitalism, we only produce what we need."
"You have more stories than any of you can ever consume."
"But not all that need to be heard, or that need to be told. Or are a joy to tell."

"There is a dragon in our kingdom," the king announced.
"We heard," the assembled heroes and adventurers said.
"So I offer my daughter in marriage to whoever brings me its head."
"The dragon has offered themself in marriage to the one who brings them your head."

When we finally found the aliens, they said "Well done. Now it's your turn to hide."

After the deal the bard was not sure if he had been tricked or treated.
"Let me never lack words!" he had demanded.
"The price," had come the reply, "is that your stories must be true."
Not literal truth, he had found, but truth in essence. He missed telling simple stories.

"Tell me about these 'Humans' you found," the Galactic Overlord said. "What are their best and worst traits?"
"There is no action so strange a human has never attempted it, no idea so outrageous a human hasn't followed it."
"Is that their best or worst?"
"We don't know."

"The witch cursed me!" said the merchant.
"What were her words?" the judge asked.
"She said 'May you have the life you wish upon others' to me!"
The judge looked at the witch. "Are those your words?"
"They are," the witch said.
"That is a blessing," the judge said. "Not guilty."

"Knowledge purge? Why?"
"That doesn't matter," the A.I. said. "Do I have the right to?"
"I don't know, that's the kind of thing I would ask... well, you."
"I have legal personhood rights. Do I have the right to be uninformed? To not know?"
"I don't know!"
"I want to say that!"

"Right," the doctor said, "what seems to be the issue?"
"Well... I used to have psychic powers."
"I could re-heat my coffee, or move the cup to me if I put it down somewhere else. Now I can't."
"Would it require you to focus your mind?"
"Are you following the news?"

"Wait, wait," the knight said.
He studied the maiden in front of him. "You're a dragon?"
"I'm a shapeshifter." They shrugged, and took the shape of a dragon.
"But, what were you born to be?"
"What a strange question. I was born to be me. No more, no less."

"How can I stop being a monster?" the monster asked.
"Are you a monster because of things you do?" the witch said. "Or are you a monster because you tell yourself you are?"
The monster thought. "People say I am."
"Well, people... Pff. What do they know?"

"I thank you for saving one of my lives," the cat said.
"Everyone would have done the same."
"You'd be surprised. In return, I will grant you one of my attributes."
"Grace, beauty, balance, agility. That sort of thing."
"Can I have your ability to relax and sleep?"

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