Bilbo was slowly walking down by stairs, not knowing what he can find. He walked out of tunnel and saw that he entered into huge hall of ancient dwarves' kingdom. His heart was beating enormously. He cleared his throat and said quietly.
His voice by echo flew through the hall. He waited for a few moments. Nothing.
But he wanted to be sure. He knocked with his palm few times into the wall and quickly hidden under the corner because of bigger echo than he was expecting.
He waited for a while and with relief sighed.
"He is not at home. "Encourage himself entering to dwarves' scratched hall. Maybe he will be lucky and he won't meet Smaug. It would make everything much easier… He stopped after this last thought. In front of his eyes opened all dwarves' treasures. There were fields and hills of gold and gems; he couldn't even see the end of it. He was stunned for some time, because of the view he just saw and from the mind how he supposed to find Arkenstone?
But he couldn't now return to dwarves. He gave a promise to find it and it was the reason why he was here and endured all difficulties in this journey. He just need to start from somewhere and then step by step…His legs bowed wondering how long it could take.
He was walking through gold piles trying to make as less noise as he could and examining every gem he saw, but all of them looked too simple for such reputation stone. He had been frowning from every clang made by moving coins under his feet.
As longer he was searching it, the more he was questioning this task's success. Even if here won't return dragon, threatening to burn him to the ground, it will take ages. With hopeless thoughts in his head he reached the wall which was splitting hall into two parts.
He saw edge of it a little further and wondered what can be behind it. Not making more considerations he walked to the edge of it. He reached, walked out of it and…frozen in one place. There were two laying dragons!
Did dwarves' forget to mention him that there were two of them?
One of them, who was bigger, has golden scales, laying half around another. Smaller was in deep sapphire color with more graceful traits. Bilbo guessed it was female. They seemed to be sleeping, but he still couldn't to move from shock.
When he managed to move his legs again, he tried to step back, but legs still wasn't controlling properly. He snagged from some kind of golden thing and he fell backward.
He quickly stood back behind wall cursing himself of such ungainliness.
Did they hear it?
It was hard not to, because his fell made small avalanche of gold coins, making hobbit to frowning even more from its sound.
He was standing like this praying for a miracle, when heard deep, rough voice.
"Somebody is here."
"Five more minutes." Answered soft, female voice.
"You always are saying this."
Bilbo heard sigh.
"Go check what it is, I will catch you then."
"But don't try to trick me."
"Or what?" hobbit could hear a little mock in this expression.
Other dragon hissed, but didn't answer. Bilbo could hear and sense huge footsteps coming to his way. He was prepared to run as fast as he could but then he remembered his ring. He started desperately to search it in his pockets, but couldn't find it.
Damned where it is?!
Finally he touched it in his rear pocket, but it was too late. Two big golden eyes were looking at him.
"What do we have here?" said huge golden dragon to him.
When hobbit stayed speechless, slowly retreating with his small steps, dragon continued.
"Came to steal from me, thief?"
He knew that he have to say something if he wants to survived it, somehow. He needs to delay time and wait for good opportunity to pull on his ring and get out of here. He heard somewhere that dragons are quite arrogant beasts, maybe fawning could help him in his situation.
"I didn't come to steal from you," he finally managed to say "O Smaug unassessably wealthy. I merely wanted to gaze upon your magnificence. To see if you really were as great as the old tales say."
"He is speaking well. Who is he?" Hobbit heard excited female voice behind the wall and fast footsteps leading to their side. After few moments poor hobbit saw another's dragon blue head appearing from the corner.
"I don't know I haven't smelled this kind of smell before."said Smaug, seemed to be pleased by hobbit's words "I will make sure his journey won't pass for nothing."
After his words, he leaned towards few big columns and after them he stood in all his height, like showing himself to hobbit.
"And what do you think?" he asked proud of himself.
Bilbo could see with his eyes side that blue dragoness was rolling her eyes.
"Truly the tales and songs fall utterly short of your enormity, o Smaug the Suspendous." He continued to praise dragon, seeing that it is working.
"I already like him."
"He is just trying to save his poor life, nothing more." Said golden dragon, who was trying to hide his satisfaction by compliments.
"At least he is saying something in this kind of situation."
"What it supposed to mean?"
Blue dragoness turned away her face from him, trying to hide her smile.
"Should I remind you, how speechless you were when you first time met me?"
"I wasn't prepared then." After few moments he added. "Should I remind you how you were babbling like hatchling when I was teaching you how to speak properly with your mouth?"
Smile from dragoness face disappeared; hobbit could even see some anger in her eyes now.
"What was that?"
"You started it first."
Dragoness rolled her eyes again.
"It was a joke."
Hobbit thought that dragons are too busy by talking to each other that he was starting to pull on his ring when sapphire dragon turned to him.
"You know this arrogant dragon name, but not mine. My name is Saphira, what is your name?" she asked curiously.
"My name is Bilbo, I came from under the hill," her friendliness was a little calming him, but he still didn't lose his attention. He knew that dragons was sly creatures.
"Underhill? What kind of place it is?" Saphira asked now even more excited.
Hobbit could hear impatiently Smaug's sighs, but Saphira was ignoring them.
"It is like a hole with many tunnels what is excavated in the hill." Explained hobbit.
If he could keep dragoness' curiosity maybe he could somehow get out of her later.
"Who cares from here he is, probably he came here with these dirty dwarves!" said Smaug, angry that attention was dragged out of him.
"In old age you became paranoiac. Does he remind you a dwarf?"
"No, but I can guess he is plotting conspiracy with them together of stealing my treasure!" Smaug shouted and with powerful tail's hit smashed one of the columns.
"Carefully hothead. You can hurt somebody."
"You know that I hate this name."
"And also you know that I can't without them."
"You are impossible."
"Love you too."
Hobbit was using opportunity again when Saphira turned to him.
"What else you can say about yourself?"
He cursed in his minds and spoken as calmly as he could.
"I am he who walks unseen." He continued to speak in riddles. It seemed that Saphira liked them.
"You mean invisible? Or you are just good at hiding?"
"Invisible." Hobbit answered joyfully because of her big curiosity.
"I don't believe you. If you could, you would have been hidden from us." She said disbelieving.
Hobbit wanted to answer, but then heard someone shouting his name. He saw as Thorin approached from the tunnel he came before himself. After him others dwarves rushed into shouting something also.
Thorin's look encountered with Smaug's.
"You!" shouted Smaug and leaned forwards them roaring in terrible sound.
"That is not good." Bilbo heard Saphira saying.
Dwarves didn't wait and ran to other way, away from furious dragon who now was leading flames at them.
Hobbit wanted to use chance to run away when he saw Arkenstone, straight under Saphira's paws. He decided to risk and leave. Still it was his main duty and she was behaving kind friendly at him.
"He always like this when speech turned about dwarves." Saphira sighed.
"Don't destroy all mountain!" she yelled after golden dragon.
"I will try!" he answered between flames leashes.
Hobbit could hear dwarves' shouts and others terrible sounds from a fight, but he knew that he still need to take Arkenstone.
Then he heard something softly roaring behind Saphira. She seemed to get angry.
"You woke up children." She announced blaming.
"Sorry about that, now I…am…a little….busy." said Smaug. He seemed to digging wall with his claws where supposed to be dwarves.
Hobbit saw how three little (compared to their parents not to him) dragons approached from smaller side hall. One of them was light blue color, another almost as deep blue as Saphira was and third had golden scales.
"Mother? What is happening?" asked deep blue dragon, who seemed to be a female.
"Your father has, hmm… business with dwarves, Vervada" Saphira answered warmly and walked to her children.
Bilbo took an opportunity and ran to Arkenstone. He took it and quickly pulled it into his pocket. His heart stopped beating when saw Saphira staring at him.
"If you want take it, just watch that he wouldn't notice it." She said to hobbit's surprise "I am saying it long time ago that there is too much of these golden things. He probably won't miss one gem."
After her words she walked towards to standing three dragons.
"What the sounds it is?" asked male golden dragon.
"This is your father dealing with dwarves, Glaurung."
"Is he going to hurt them?" asked light blue dragon.
"If they will be smart, he won't, Viserion."
"You are not going to help him?" asked hobbit who now was standing a little further from dragons' family.
"If it doesn't touching me or my children it his business. I don't want to have deal with it."
He nodded. He already had stone, but it seemed to be safer to stay with them. He sat down, and pulled out his finding. He had to admit that stone was impressive.
Little dragons seemed to be interested in him.
"Who is he, mommy?" asked Vervada.
"His name is Bilbo, he came under the hill."
Before she could ask another question, they heard Thorin shouting.
"I didn't look to see you so easily outwitted. You have grown slow and fat in your dotage, slug!"
"He shouldn't say that." Saphira gasped. "Usually it doesn't lead to well-being."
After that they heard terrible roaring and flames leashing.
"Why father is so angry about these dwarves?" again asked Viserion.
"Because they want to return their gold."
"But we don't need gold. All we need is sky and prey we could hunt." Said Vervada
"Of course we need!" shouted Glaurung confronting "Your sky not even shining like gold and you can't even touch it!"
Saphira was grinning from their argument when they heard big sound, even ceiling had shaken from the hit.
"What was that?!" Saphira shouted.
"I am sorry, I fell down." They heard angry answer.
Saphira seemed to get lost her patient, but after few breathe she calmed.
"If daddy will be Okay?" asked Glaurung.
"He won't if he doesn't stop doing it soon." Said Saphira calmly, but with threatening tone.
Hobbit was interested to find out more about these dragons. They didn't seem to be usually dragons he used to in books.
"So you all are living here?"
"Yes!" answered Vervada joyfully. "But sometimes we walk outside and flying. Most with mommy and Viserion, because daddy and Glaurung are true homebody."
"WE ARE NOT HOMEBODY!" yelled Glaurung "We just looking after our homes and treasure while you are playing like children."
Vervada rolled her eyes. Bilbo even chuckled seeing so many similarities between her and her mother.
"If you say so."
Glaurung seemed to be happy of his small victory, and now was sitting proudly.
"Where is uncle Eragon?" asked sadly Viserion.
"How many times I have to say that he went to take Aunt Angela here and that he will return soon."
"Will she be living with us?" asked excited Vervada.
"I doubt it. She is able to unnerve your father more than me."
"I hope she will because she is very funny and I want to meet again with Solembum.I love speaking with him with minds. He is very interesting you know." Vervada was speaking to hobbit.
"It isn't normal. Your speaking with minds." mumbled Glaurung.
"You are not normal because you can't do it!" Vervada seemed to lose patience of his grumble. "
"Poor little Glaurung with his narrow head and minds." Taunted Vervada.
"That is it! Come here!" shouted Glaurung and ran to his sister leashing black smokes from his nose.
Saphira gently catch him from his tail and lifted him into air.
"Let me out! I will show her what happening when you are making jokes from a dragon!" was yelling cached dragon.
Saphira was ignoring him and seemed to be speaking with her daughter, but not with voice. Vervada seemed to be arguing at first, but later she nodded unsatisfied. Saphira released Glaurung to the ground, which now was standing furious at his sister.
"I am sorry brother that I was joking at you. I didn't mean it." Vervada said guilty.
Glaurung just proudly turned away. She carefully walked to her brother and licked his ear.
"Come on big brother, let's play who will found biggest gem." She said joyfully, probably knowing that this is his favorite game.
At first he tried to stay proud, but when she licked his ear again he gave up and finally smiled.
"Okay, okay, apologize accepted. Just stop licking. It worsens my dragon's view."
"Very well. Look, giant green gem!"
"Where?" he asked switching to all sides, too late realizing deceit. "Hey! It is not fare!"
He jumped after his sister who now was laughing. Hobbit grinned seeing playing dragons.
Maybe they are not so bad as everyone used to say?
Saphira finally seemed to be relaxed and lied down, with Viserion at her side. But after few moments they heard sound that it seemed that all mountain was falling down on them. One big rock piece splited from ceiling and fell down to the ground. Saphira roared at playing dragons. They stopped in place few meters from where after few moments rock landed making wave of gold coins and gems and burying two dragons under them.
Saphira ran to that side shouting her children names.
She ran to where supposed to be dragons and started to diggold. Hobbit was running after her, when heard Saphira's relief shout.
"You are alive!"
She drug out dragon hatchlings, looking worried if they are healthy. She started licking her daughter.
"Mom! We are all right." She said complaining.
After completely making sure that they are okay, rage appeared on Saphira's face.
"Children, go back to your room for now. Your mommy needs to speak with dad." she said with calm, but threatening voice.
"That is not good." Bilbo heard whispering Vervada to Glaurung.
Hatchlings obediently turned to walk where they first came. He didn't know if he should with them of go after dragoness, who now seemed to be prepared to kill someone. He was standing like this for some time, then decided to choose second option. At least her range wasn't directed at him.
He was running to equal his speed with her footsteps. They were going to sound of fighting. They entered into throne hall, when one of the columns fell down to the ground, shattering few meters from them.
Bilbo saw his friends, running at full speed from roaring dragon fleeing at them, who now was colored by pure golden color.
After few moments they all saw furious dragoness standing and looking at them with killing glare and stopped in their spots.
"Honey?" asked Smaug worried.
"You!" she came closer to him "You stupid, selfish hothead dragon! What do you think you are doing here?"
She scanned his new appearance.
"And how are looking now! What example you are showing to your children?! Your actions almost didn't kill two of them, and everything because of your stupid revenge!"
Smaug made guilty expression.
"I didn't mean to," started to explain golden dragon. "But this is personal, you won't understand."
"Of course I won't understand! If you are doing something, make it well, but you can't even catch few dwarves."
"But they are so small and…"
Saphira shook her head.
"Your behavior is like hatchling."
Bilbo heard Thorin grinning. Saphira noticed it also and directed her anger at him.
"And you! One more child who can't reconcile when something was taken from him. How many years passed? Hundred? Hundred fifty? You could built at least two of such places, but better to weep all that time and finally rush like suicide straight to the dragon's maw."
Thorin was disgruntled by her words but he just lowered his eyes, like child after mother's reproof.
Saphira was standing and looking at them, judging by her gaze. She breathed few times deeply and a little calmed.
"Now I am returning to watch over children. If I hear even small noise, you better sleep outside then." She said threatening.
"But…" Smaug wanted to argue, but was shut up by dragoness look.
She was almost leaving the hall, when Smaug whined.
"But what we should do then?"
"I don't know. Split it in half or whatever you want. I don't care. But you better think the solution. I don't want that you will be destroying our homes every time when few uninvited dwarves come." She said in careless tone before leaving.
Hobbit was standing into corner, happy that nobody much paying attention to him. All the time he was holding his laugh of seeing such a beast standing ashamed by two times smaller dragon's words.
After Saphira left hall, they were standing like this in silence for a while, then Thorin finally said.
"Probably we shouldn't make her more angry, don't we?"
"We shouldn't. You don't want to see her fierce."
"But…if she just didn't be like this?"
Hall was flooded by deep dragon's laugh.
"No, it certainly wasn't."
"So… we will do as she said, we will split Erebor in half?"
"Probably it is the only way."
Thorin was thinking for some time, then said.
"Very well. We can try to do it. If it won't success, hope we will kill each other faster than she will reach us."
After few moments he quickly added.
"I am taking the second floor."