Bilbo wanders around alone, and then decides to lie down under the bower for some time, while a dark bird flies towards him, with him a decrepit old raven aside.
"I am the chief of the great ravens of the Mountain." He croaks, "Hobbit, you have to set off at this moment, and head to the giant rock in the south of the Lake. There awaits your last quest."
"I believed that my tasks were completed.", says Bilbo, "Smaug is no longer alive, and those dwarves have taken back Erebor, not to mention the Lake-town being saved. I am ready to go home."
"There is still the last task." Finishes the old raven, and then off he flies away.
Riding on a pony, Bilbo rushes towards the south along the riverbank, landscapes around him flashing away. He set out in the morning, and didn’t arrive the giant rock until noon. It is an ancient huge rock, with half of which sitting beside the river and other half gazing the clear sky. Bilbo soon finds someone lying under the shadow of the rock covered by the mosses after he settles his pony nearby. He rubs his eyes as he thinks himself having some kind of illusion, but then he notices that there actually is someone there.
Is that an elf? Wonders Bilbo, as the figure seems graceful, with a clean fair skin. Is this what the raven referred as the last task of Bilbo?
He kneels next to this elf, and puts a hand onto his forehead.
"I am a hobbit of the Shire, elf." He addresses to him, "Please wake up."
His forehead feels like burning. Bilbo starts to worry, but considering the fact, it apparently doesn’t allow a solution like a hobbit carrying an unconscious elf. Things might get even worse if he didn’t come to his sense.
Bilbo walk down to the river and fetches some water back, pouring gently onto the elf’s face. Water drops along his face, yet the forehead still feels scalding (and so do his arms and chest). Bilbo notices that his lip skin has started cracking, a sign of lacking moisture. Bilbo didn’t carry any water bag with him, nor any cup. He tries to force water into his trismic mouth using a reed leaf. Didn’t success. He heaves a sign, sits down next to him with a extreme upset face.
Then, an idea comes to his mind.
He fetches the water from the river one more time, and this time, instead of pouring on the face, he drinks a mouthful, and then, bends over closely to elf’s lips (with a short moment of hesitation), carefully feed the water into his mouth.
After that, Bilbo straightens, and stares at him. If this didn’t work, he would have to ride his pony to get Gandalf for some help (which is the worst, as they would not be able to return by horse until the moon rose). However, the elf starts wavering his eyelash, and he opens his eyes.
It is a pair of grayish-golden eyes, floating with light lake-blue. Pupils with rather dark color, therefore make it seems quite sharp. Those eyes blinks, and then meet Bilbo’s surprised gazing. The elf struggles a bit to sit up, behaving gracefully despite the weakness and the fact that he wears nothing on him.
"My raven hasn’t yet returned," he says, "May I borrow yours?"
Bilbo checks around, and, with surprise, finds that dark raven standing on his shoulder, slowly pluming his feather.
"Of course." he responds, "Use mine."
The elf stands up, reaching his hand out, and let the raven stands on his finger. He quickly talks to the raven, using the language that Bilbo cannot understand, and waves his hand to free the bird. Then, his sight returns to Bilbo.
"Lake-town, or Lonely Mountain?" He questions.
"How did you…"
"Make sure you have two horses, hobbit." He continues, "It takes a long time to return to the Shire, and I am not able to fly for now."
"How did you know…"
"I was wounded, thanks to you." answers the elf, "Certainly, those wounds can, and will cure themselves."
"You told those dwarves my weakness, and those ravens of the mountain also heard about it. They passed the message to that bowman of the Lake-town. I was then shot by his arrow."
Bilbo has completely lost his words. A name comes to his mind, but it seems nothing but nonsense.
"My name is Smaug. My address is the Lonely Mountain, Erebor, Dragon Hole - at least, WAS - you have to take me back."
It is a lovely sunny morning. They ride ahead as they overlook the snow on the Lonely Mountain disappearing from their sight. Gandalf seems to have no question about the dragon being with them, not even a slightest suspicion, which is a big relief to Bilbo. Smaug’s skin looks like shining with golden light under the daylight, yet it disappears if seeing more closely. He has pointy ears (which is why Bilbo mistook him for an elf), covered by soft, curly black hair, looking nothing like a gigantic cranky monster living under the ground. However, as soon as he gets bored, what is breathing out from his lips is not air, but light-gold flame, which leaves Bilbo no choice but to warn him to have a bit control, as it will definitely spook their horses.
They are only two-day away from their last drop place, Rivendell. They choose to stop in the forest nearby for the night. The forest is fairly close to their destination, with air so gentle and moist like after rain. Yet it is not such a good news for the firewood they prepare to use for the dinner. Bilbo plans to make a fire and grill the hare they received from Beorn (raw meat, despite being preserved in salt), but he is not able to make even a spark with those wet wood.
Bilbo stands beside the firewood, thinking with arms crossing, while Smaug walks towards him (with purple outerwear given by Thranduil, its decoration spreading from the cuff to the collar), watching him and the firewood mockingly.
"Where is Gandalf?" asks Bilbo.
"Talking to the trees, I presume." Smaug answers lazily. He sits down by the tree, crosses his legs and yawns.
Bilbo throws him a glance, and then comes up with an idea.
"Smaug," he says, "come here."
The black-haired man raises his head and stare at him, narrowing eyes and didn’t make a move.
"I mean now." Bilbo repeats.
Smaug unwillingly stands up and come close to Bilbo and the wood, and Bilbo says, pointing to the wood: “Make a fire, Smaug.”
The man appears to have been insulted. He raises one of the eyebrow to Bilbo, as if saying “Seriously? Me? To the firewood?” But Bilbo insists: “Hurry, Smaug, or we can have nothing but raw rabbit meat for dinner.”
"I do not mind raw meat." responds Smaug.
"Then I will just leave you in Rivendell" says Bilbo, "It’s night time, and we still have no dinner."
Smaug frowns as he looks at Bilbo, who seems extreme insistent. Finally the dragon signs and gives up. He bends over and blows to the wood. The bright flame coming from him touches the wood and quickly raise the fire in just a few minutes, the light shining upon his face. Smaug turns to Bilbo, with a look of “Satisfied?” The hobbit looks at the fire, and smiles to him:
"That was amazing."
It is already sweltering June when they return to the Shire. A auction is being held in the Hobbiton, selling Mr. Bilbo Baggins’s property. Of course, an animated Mr. Baggins has caused fair amount of trouble and confusion to the host when he appeared in front of the audience. They have successfully taken back the Bag End, and Smaug didn’t make any fire in the Hobbiton, which is lucky.
The Bag End is apparently a little bit…narrow, for a dragon. Bilbo hears noise from the bedroom as he is preparing tea with milk for Smaug and himself. He rushes to the bedroom, and find Smaug pouring a bad of gold and jewelries (from the dwarves and Lake Town) onto Bilbo’s small bed.
Clatter. One bag. Clatter. Another.
Bilbo watches with utter surprise.
The young man place all the treasures he can on Bilbo’s bed. After that, he breathes with relief, and…grovel onto it.
The bed breaks.
"Smaug! You can’t use my house as your dragon hole!"
Bilbo cries out as he walks in. He stares at that man as he picks himself up from the wreck of the bed and treasures (pretending innocent) and speaks sternly: “As you are in the Shire, behave as a hobbit.”
"Bored. Bored." He answers with a songlike tone, "No diamond. No pearl. No two-handled cup (and glances at Bilbo, who, though feels awkward, responds with a stare). I need more jewelry and gold, hobbit."
"Then I suppose you have to learn to search for them yourself." Bilbo says, and then adds, "Don’t even think about touching my personal property."
He spends some time moving the bed out of the bedroom, and carefully sorts the treasures out before putting them back into the chest. That night he and Smaug had to sleep on the blanket in the living room near the fireplace. Smaug is not that polite when in sleep, and he nearly kicked on Bilbo’s belly before the sunrise.
Have to figure something out, Bilbo thinks.
The next day, he finds the finest craftsman in the Hobbton, promises him double salary, and ask him to build a house in the forest near the Hobbiton.
They pick a place where there are fresh green trees and a river nearby, and start to dig the foundation. Because of the salary Bilbo promised to pay, the house is finally finished much sooner than usual. Just at the beginning of the winter, Smaug is able to take nap on the carpet of his new house.
Smaug built a basement - which Bilbo refuses to know how - for his (and Bilbo’s) treasure. What’s more, he also tunnels the path between the basement and Bilbo’s bodega.
He frequently visit at Bilbo’s afternoon tea time, asks for black coffee with two sugars, drink all the milk Bilbo can get, and sleep on the carpet near the fireplace (which is his favorite place except his own house), curling up lazily, with small flame coming out from his nose.
At first, Bilbo was worried about the flame burning down the whole living room, but thankfully Smaug can control the volume. He blows beautiful golden flame onto the wood, with annoying smile on the face. It is indeed a scene to appreciate, if it were not for the concern of the house.
People of the Hobbiton were at first very curious about this new lodger. So curious that lots of them came to visit this black-haired “elf”. However, as time passes, they soon realize that he is not that friendly, and has no intention making new friends around. They gradually stop coming.
Smaug has found new fun in the forest. He has toured all the place, digging around in the farmer’s farming ground. Bilbo then has to come to repair the damaged scarecrow and weed the farm for apology. But when Smaug shows him the treasure map, which he has no idea where he found it, and tells him about an ancient bandit treasure, he feels the blood of Took running in the vein. He yearns for new adventure.
They have spent several days camping in the mountain, during which Bilbo killed a wild wolf that tried to give Smaug a sneak-raid using his Sting sword. At last they have located the so-called treasure under a nest of hares. Those hares obviously feel very upset and annoyed by the arrival of Smaug, but they still manage to dig a small chest out. After Bilbo and Smaug is back to the Bag End, with mud all over them, and open the chest, Smaug is extremely disappointed to find the treasure they were seeking for was nothing but a bottle of old well-stored apple wine. However, after seeing Bilbo opens the bottle and pours out the amber liquor, Smaug changes his mind, and says that he is willing to share a cup with Bilbo. Well, not that willing.
During the spring time this year, some not-so-good rumors have been heard throughout the Hobbiton. Words like Bilbo Baggins, after returning from his adventure, spending remarkable amount of money on building and decorating houses, or on expensive elvish clothes. Those delicate clothes are sent to the house in the forest, then reappear decently on that gorgeous young man. When Bilbo’s gold is about to run out, Smaug drags his bag out from under the bed.
"Use mine." He says with arrogance.
Bilbo didn’t even bother to point out the essential reason of the gold running out so fast. Of course.
Seven years flies away, and Smaug is becoming more and more nimble everyday - his wound is healing. Bilbo was confused at first, as he can spot no bleeding all over Smaug’s body. Gandalf explained to him that those wounds cannot be seen through human eyes on a humanized dragon.
With the strawberries maturing and dropping, summer has returned to the Shire.
One afternoon, Bilbo heads to the forest for Smaug, only to find an empty house.
He walks out of the door, finding himself being covered by a great shadow. The great dragon he’d been encountered in the Lonely Mountain is staring at him quietly while resting on the rock.
"Smaug?" Bilbo tires to call.
He glances him for a last look, the familiar lake-blue twinkling in his grayish-golden eyes
And then, he beats his wings and raises, up to the top of the tree, then fly away, leaving a small shining red dot in Bilbo’s eyes.
What follows is the letter Bilbo found in the house (with some reddish taint of the strawberry juice):
My dear Bilbo (as it says):
It is nothing but a moment of blinking to a dragon as the leaves of the Mirkwood withering away for 500 times. Therefore, it would have been revealed that those seven years in Shire are but the smallest time unit in the reckoning of the Trees.
However, before any denial, I do feel necessary to explain a little about my “indenture”.
After being shot by the that Lake-town fellow Bard’s arrow, I make use of my last remaining power for a wish of retrieving everything I lost from the very person that caused this situation. Soon after that, you showed up in front of me, and rescued me without the slightest hesitation (or even questioning me the reason of following you back to Shire).
I have realized the difficulty of defining “everything I lost” - It stands to reason that the one that should stand out and deal with my indenture, before I reach the end of my life, would be the Lord of the Dark.
But then, I was soon delightfully informed that Melkor was fully engaged ( by the matter of the necromancer, I presume), and therefore, as the very last dragon of the Middle-Earth, my indenture was then handed over to the rest of the Ainur, who are usually more than pleased to act opposite to the willing of the Lord of the Dark.
As a result, you can infer that what I retrieved is not the life of a hobbit (although he did own me one, in a way), but the most meaningful seven years. My indenture was then fulfilled the moment I realized it.
It is time for me to return to the West where those deities are.
I found the language of the hobbit a bit deficient, and thus in my point can affect the delivery of my mind. Therefore I hereby convey my gratitude, Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit, and everything else skipped over.
P.S.: All my properties have been sorted out and kept safely in the basement of the house. Please accept.
Yours and only, Smaug
Bilbo’s response to this letter is hereby omitted. Time passes unstoppably, and people of the Hobbiton soon forget about an arrogant elf staying here with them for a while. Gandalf occasionally bring up the topic during his visit, but apparently Mr. Baggins is not willing to continue. After the leaves on the apple tree turns green and fades away many times, Bilbo passes the ring he has kept for a long time on to his relative and heir, a young adventurous hobbit, and set off to continue his own quest.
This year is an unforgettable year for all the beings in the Middle-Earth. All the evil is vanished under Sauron’s last scream of “I HATE HOBBITSSS!!!” Peace has finally returned to the land, a new start for the dwarves, the elves and the hobbits. Bilbo has finally finished his book of all the adventures (which is later published together with young Mr. Frodo’s book as a collection, with beautiful flowers, a figure of the ring, a flaming dragon and a team of dwarves).
Bilbo and other two Elvenkings, with the company of his heir, set out from Rivendell, heading to the west. After the elf-built ship left the shore and start its journey to the west for several days (in fact, Bilbo has lost the count of the date as soon as they are sailing under the cover by the spring sun light), they are approaching their destination.
The view of the west is difficult to describe to our dear readers.
As it can take all the language of the Hobbit and still will not be able to mention even the slightest of its greatness.
Ivy and liana can be seen spreading through the whole pillar, with flowers blooming. The green forest is decorated with countless and various fruits all over. However, nothing can compare to the graceful figure standing in the middle of the shrub.
That black-haired figure walks towards Bilbo, with a blue scarf in his hand, probably about to tie it on. His grayish blue eyes stares at Bilbo directly:
"You are a burglar."
"Seen lots of gold, treasure, and two-handled cup (no doubt) ?"
"Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime, far too much."
"Want to see some more?"
"Oh, God, yes."