Malaria was always known for her adventures. She would often tell the village's children about her experiences and tell them how exactly to avoid the negative
ones. She had a knack for over exaggerating in order to grasp the children's attention and with one story the children simply couldn’t take their eyes off of her.
She told them she had gotten into a sword fight with a dragon.
"It was red and it's scales glowed like lava in the sun. But that's not even the craziest part. It breathed fire." She told the children. They all gasped and beckoned for her to continue on with her story. She smiled. "I drew my sword and lifted it above my head, provoking it if I’m honest. There is an adventure in danger and there is danger in an adventure. I knew this." She folded her hands around her back and looked around for the parents of the children, all of which were standing by a tall tree talking away. She looked back at the children and leaned forward.
"Now you guys know too. Maybe one day you will go on your own adventures and take your own risks. But anyway, back the story. The dragon has flown into the air. M sword was lowered now and I was perched in a position in which I would strike the dragon right on. that is when I found unfortunately found out that it breathed fire." She lifted up her pant leg up to reveal a bandage wrapped around her calf.
“It got you with its fire?” A little girl asked, her mouth dropped open in shock. Malaria looked at the girl for a moment before walking over and kneeling down next to her.
“Yes, my dear, it did. But you best believe I gave it some of my own fire as well.” She patted the girl’s head and looked to the other children. “I jumped out of the dragon’s aim of fire, or so I thought. The fire hit me because I did not jump out far enough not to get hit. Always remember to jump farther. I drew my sword after that, and again I raised it. I told the dragon that I was there and that I was ready to take it on. It heard me loud and clear because it charged at me with a force, not even gravity could defy. Once again I moved out of the way, and I let it hit the ground on its own, pushing dust up into the air in which I reflexively covered my mouth and nose. You cannot get distracted in a duel like this, it won’t end well for you. With one arm I covered my mouth and with the other, I took my sword and sliced its wing. There was a painful screech from the dragon and it rose again, much angrier than before. He blew fire again because he was afraid to get too close. I jumped away every single time, I wouldn’t let him hit me again. After taking in the reality of the fight, he took his chances once more, even though he was afraid to and I once again, hit him with my sword. Another painful screech rung through my ears but I did not give in because once again, distractions are your enemy. Fir blazed every tree around us and they burned to the ground into black ash. I decided that hitting his wings were not enough, I needed to go for his stomach or his throat. When you know you need to do something, you do it.” The children were still listening to her. Every word seemed to drag them in further and when she stopped, their eyes begged her to keep going. So she did.
“There was a thought that crossed my mind in which I didn’t immediately push out even though I should have. That thought was whether or not I should go through with fighting this dragon until I won, or just let it go. I, of course, chose to keep fighting because a battle started is a battle that needs to be finished. When I broke out of this intrusive thought, the dragon was stooping once again clearly because he saw a break in my concentration, but I pointed my sword out straight and I let him dive right into it. He let out the biggest screech he had the entire duel. He fell. He had given up. My sword was the victor and his fire had failed him. But there is no doubt in my mind that my fire burned strong and fierce. If there’s something this experience taught me that I will pass on to you is that you should always fight your battles, even if it means getting hurt. You’re stronger than you think you are and smarter than anyone will ever tell you. On the dragon’s side, he took a leap even when he was afraid. That’s what adventure is all about. Venturing out of your comfort zone, getting dirty, and coming home safe. You need to do that. Come home.” Malaria told the children who now looked more confused than interested. She bent down to the bandage around her calf again but this time she unwrapped it. There was no burn, no injury at all.
“You all went on an adventure with me that not even I really went on. Your imagination is your best friend and your fire is your savior. Your battles will not be battles anymore if you fight them. You avoid getting hurt by jumping farther and thinking smarter. It isn’t about who won, it’s about why you won in the first place. The dragon took a leap, I just got there first. Fight your dragons, and find your fire. That’s where the real fun begins.” Malaria told them. The children clapped as their parents came to retrieve them. She wanted to believe that every single child walking away now had a sense of imagination and the willingness to look for their fire. She knew that one day those things would set them free from a world trying so desperately to lock them in. She had hope that she, and the dragon that breathed fire, had changed their lives.