The Second Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
If you haven’t done so yet, read the first story The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us.
Grandpa sat in a chair on his back patio pretending to manipulate a drone’s controls while Buddy the Dragon flew high above.
“You see, Landon…” Grandpa addressed his seven-year-old grandson sitting to his right, “…if anyone sees Buddy way up there, I can just say I’m flying a drone over the field. The trick is taking off and landing.”
“I’m glad he can fly. He likes to be high up.” Landon didn’t take his eyes off of the golden figure in the distance, imagining what it would be like to be up there with his best friend.
Grandpa spoke into the microphone he’d wired into the drone control box. “Okay Buddy, that’s a wrap. C’mon down now.” The dragon could hear Grandpa through a headset he’s managed to get to fit on Buddy’s head. The dragon could talk back through a small microphone.
“Flying, flying. Buddy likes flying.”
“It’s getting late and Dani will be waking up from her nap soon.” Dani was Landon’s 15-month-old sister. Landon’s and Dani’s Dad was still at work but would be home in time for dinner.
“Oh, okie-dokey, Gramps.”
Buddy went into a nosedive right toward the back of Grandpa’s house, but at the last second he fully extended his wings and breaking hard, landed softly on the back lawn not five feet from the startled pair.
Grandpa recovered his composure. “Have a nice flight?”
The dragon walked up to Grandpa and nuzzled his head on the older man’s leg. “Yup, yup, yup. Good fly. Good fly.”
Then Buddy hopped up on Landon’s lap. The dragon was nearly as large as the boy and almost knocked his chair backward. Landon put his arms around Buddy and they hugged.
The dragon had been with them for over a month now. The family had developed a routine around Buddy. They’d discovered his favorite foods (he loved sushi but also had a taste for Thai food), which he typically ate with the family. He still slept on a bed of old blankets on the floor of Landon’s room.
Grandpa took him out for flights once a day to make sure the dragon got some exercise. It was fortunate that they lived out in the country with only a field of grass and bushes out back. Their nearest neighbor was over a mile away, so it would be difficult for anyone to inadvertently view the Ambrosial Dragon on the ground or in flight.
They just had to worry about surprise guests. So far, only the family, Grandpa, David, Landon, and Dani, knew about Buddy’s existence. They hoped to keep it that way, but if Buddy was going to stay with them indefinitely, how would that be possible?
It was after dinner, after homework, after playtime, after bedtime for Dani and Landon. It was after bedtime for the adults, too. Most of the time everyone slept soundly, but sometimes the dragon’s nightmares woke up Landon.
The little boy was only drowsily aware of Buddy’s murmurings. They were in the language of his kind, which no human could understand.
In Buddy’s nightmare, another Ambrosial Dragon was calling for help. Shadows were all around her. No, they weren’t just shadows but Shadow Dragons. She was flying, trying to escape the space between worlds. They’d found her where she’d been hiding before. Where could she go? She had to hurry. They were getting closer. Her wings were so tired.
Buddy woke up with a start.
“Are you okay, Buddy?”
“Bad dream. Bad dream. Me okay.”
But dreams for a dragon weren’t always just dreams.
A week went by and Buddy had the same dream every night.
During the day, life was normal. Landon went to school. David went to work. Grandpa stayed home with Dani and Buddy. The dragon and the toddler played together. She was still too young to understand how you don’t treat something alive roughly, but Buddy’s reflexes were fast and he was strong enough to tolerate a lot.
The dragon was fiercely protective of the children, and far from David’s original fears that Buddy might be dangerous to them, Landon and Dani were never safer than when they were in the dragon’s company.
As Grandpa watched the dragon and the baby play, every once in a while, he noticed Buddy raise his head and cock it to one side, as if he were listening for something.
Another night, another nightmare, but this was different. He heard her voice this time, speaking in the Dragon tongue.
“I’m safe but just for now. They know I’m near. I need help. I don’t know where the others are. Maybe I’m the last one. I keep thinking I can sense one of us out there on another world across the space between worlds.
“I’m on a world now, but it’s small and they can smell my magic. You of my kind, if you are truly there, you can sense me. Come to me. Help me. Save me. I can’t fight all of them alone.”
Buddy woke up. It was still dark and this time, Landon hadn’t woken up. The dragon sniffed the air but it wasn’t air he was sniffing. He could smell her magic, too. His nose was keener than that of the Shadow Dragons and Buddy could more easily find another like him, another Ambrosial Dragon.
This was the first time he was certain he could find one of the others. She needed his help. He had to try.
Buddy quietly walked over to Landon’s bed. The little boy’s face was turned toward him. He gave Landon a little lick, which was how the dragon kissed, on Landon’s cheek. He had to help the other dragon, but he didn’t know if he’d be able to get back home.
It would break Landon’s heart of Buddy disappeared. It would break Buddy’s heart to never see Landon and the rest of his family again. But he couldn’t abandon her. He had to risk everything he loved as well as his life. She was one of his kind.
It was an easy spell to make the back door vanish long enough for Buddy to go out on the back patio. He returned the door to its place and walked out into the yard. He listened and sniffed again across the atmosphere into the place between worlds. He could follow the trail to her. He didn’t know where he’d end up or what else he’d find.
The dragon began to summon the spell that would usher him out of this world when he heard the back door creak. “Just what are you doing outside at this hour, Buddy?”
Buddy quickly swung around to face Grandpa. “Uh…heh, heh, heh.”
The dragon wasn’t good at lying but he didn’t know if he should tell Grandpa the truth about his having to leave.
Grandpa knelt down beside the dragon. “Out with it, Buddy. I know you’re up to something.”
“Me need help, Gramps.” Buddy meant to say he needed to help someone else, but it sounded like the dragon was asking for help.
“I’ll do anything I can to help you. You know that.”
A radical idea crossed the dragon’s mind. Maybe he didn’t have to do this alone. When Buddy had been attacked by the Shadow Dragon, it was David, Grandpa’s son, who had saved his life. Humans didn’t have magic but they had other tools that might work just as well.
“Another Ambrosial Dragon. Me hear her in dream. She in trouble. Me help her. You help me help her?” Buddy didn’t know how fragile human beings were compared to dragons. If he did, he’d never have involved Grandpa in this dangerous expedition.
If it wasn’t the dragon saying this, if it was a person, he’d just assume they’d had a dream and that was the end of it. But Buddy had other senses that people didn’t. He really could see and hear things no one else could.
“How do we help her, Buddy?”
“She on another world. We travel. Go to space between worlds. We find. We help. We save.”
“Can you wait five minutes?”
“Okie-dokey, Gramps. Hurry, hurry, hurry.”
Grandpa went back inside the house. Now that Buddy had decided to help her, every second of inactivity seemed like an eternity.
Finally, the old man came back out and closed the door behind him. It wasn’t a cool night but he came back out fully dressed including a jacket. He was wearing a holster on his left thigh. In the holster was one of those things that made a flash of light, a loud sound, and put holes in things. Gun. It was gun.
“Okay, I’m ready.”
“Come.” The dragon nodded his head indicating the field behind the house.
Grandpa followed Buddy several yards into the tall grass. “You no move.”
Buddy didn’t know enough of Grandpa’s language to adequately explain what was going to happen next, the spell to bridge this world to the other one across the void where the Shadow Dragons ruled.
For his part, Grandpa couldn’t possibly imagine what was about to happen. All he knew was that Buddy needed his help for something vitally important, the rescue of another Ambrosial Dragon.
Buddy concentrated on his spell. He muttered words in both the Dragon language and the tongue of the Masters who created the spell. The air began to glow violet around them and shimmered. With the dragon focused on weaving his magic and Grandpa enthralled by what was happening around them, neither were aware that there was a third presence approaching from behind.
The spell was at its zenith. The bridge to the other world was forming and in seconds they’d be whisked across the void, hoping to escape detection by the Shadow Dragons and arrive safely on the other side.
“Grandpa! Buddy! Wait”
It was Landon. Grandpa half turned hoping his movement wouldn’t disrupt whatever was happening to them. “No, Landon! Don’t”.
The warning came too late and in any event, Landon wouldn’t have listened. He jumped inside the purple sphere just as they all heard a loud “Pop” and felt themselves being sucked forward by a hurricane-like wind.
All three travelers were in utter blackness. It was the space between worlds. It was dark, cold, terrifying. In spite of the fact that they couldn’t see anything, they felt aware of large serpents moving nearby. This was the realm of the Shadow Dragons, the destroyers.
Then it was over.
There was another loud popping sound and the three found themselves a few feet above the ground…somewhere. Even Buddy couldn’t react in time to keep from falling, so they all tumbled into each other.
Grandpa helped Landon sit up. “Landon, you shouldn’t have come. This is going to be really dangerous.” Then he hugged his grandson and looked over Landon’s shoulder at Buddy. “You’ve got to send him back home.”
The dragon was looking around at the alien landscape. “Can’t, can’t. Too late. Take lots magic to travel to worlds. Need to wait.”
“I’m sorry, Grandpa. Buddy needs help and he’s my friend.”
“He’s my friend too, Landon, but you’re only seven. I don’t know what you can do to help. I’m not even sure I’ll be much help.”
Landon and Grandpa stopped embracing and looked at their surroundings for the first time. They were in the middle of a forest, but the trees grew at odd angles and they looked more like crystals than wood and leaves.
The ground was covered with what looked like sand instead of grass or other plant life they were accustomed to. The air smelled sweet, a little like roses. For an alien world, they seemed to be breathing okay.
“This way. We hurry.”
The dragon walked to their left and Grandpa and Landon had no choice but to follow.
Presently, they heard a sound like the wind chimes that Grandpa had suspended above his front porch back home. First it was high and to the right, then behind them. Finally the sound was all around them.
The chiming sound was loudest just in front and to the left. Then they saw in the tree branches above what looked like a snake, but like several snakes all intertwined but leading into one head. It was made of the same stuff as the trees. The crystal snake opened its mouth to reveal among its smaller teeth, two six-inch long fangs.
Landon liked to pretend to have adventures and face danger but he was paralyzed by fear of the real thing.
Buddy took flight directly at the creature in front of them and shrieked. The crystalline serpent began to vibrate.
Grandpa heard another wind chime sound above and behind them in the trees. He looked up and it was coming straight for him and Landon.
He already had his handgun drawn and fired three shots directly at the thing’s head, causing it to shatter like glass. Grandpa shielded Landon’s body with his own, feeling the weight of the shards strike his back but fortunately not getting cut.
A second later, there was another shattering noise and the sound waves that had issued forth from the dragon made the snake vibrate so fast it broke into a million little pieces.
The other twinkling sounds, the voices of they crystal snakes, faded into the distance.
“Landon, you okay?”
“Yeah, Grandpa.” The grandfather got up on his knees so he could see Landon better. No blood. He looked scared but physically fine.
Grandpa felt something brushing his back. It was Buddy using one of his wings to sweep the glass dust off of him. The jacket Grandpa put on was tough leather and stopped the sharp pieces of the broken snake from cutting him.
They all stood and noticed that the now dead serpents, each half as long as a school bus, were disintegrating.
With the immediate danger ended, Buddy wanted to continue their journey, but before they could begin, they heard another sound.
This time, it was a rustling sound at the base of the trees around them. What new atrocity was going to inflict itself on the dragon and two people this time?
They looked like crystal gerbils but the were almost as big as Buddy. They made noises like clicks and hums and they were all approaching the dragon.
Buddy seemed perfectly calm and was attentive. He listened to these glass-like rodents for several minutes. Grandpa used the time to reload his pistol. He normally used it for target practice and to shoot the occasional venomous snake that wandered too close to the house. This time, his prey had been much larger.
Landon was calmer now, focusing on Buddy and his interaction with the glass gerbils. He was answering them making the same noises they had made at him. Finally, the dragon turned toward his human companions.
“They help. They sense bad snake. Take us away from them, to other dragon.”
All but two of the gerbils went back to their shelters under the tree trunks. The remaining pair led the party from Earth in a new direction.
Over the next half an hour or so, they changed directions three times in order to avoid the traps of the crystal snakes. As they progressed, the forest got more dense. It was almost impossible to see the sky through all of the branches and leaves. They had to slow down to a crawl to make it through the thick jewel-like foliage.
Buddy suddenly ran forward down into a depression surrounded by the trees. There she was, covered by translucent leaves and branches. He spoke rapidly to her in the language of dragons.
As Grandpa and Landon got closer, they could see she was trembling.
Buddy turned his head and looked back up at his two human friends. “She afraid. Afraid of dragons. Afraid of snakes. Afraid of you.”
Grandpa and Landon kept their distance in the hopes that the female dragon would calm down. Buddy kept talking to her.
After several minutes, she slowly begin to rise from her hiding place. It looked like Buddy was encouraging her to approach Grandpa and Landon.
Her body looked almost exactly like Buddy’s, but just a little smaller. The details of her face were different. Buddy’s face was serpentine but with a masculine cast, and his eyes, all too human, were a pale blue. The other dragon had a more feminine facial appearance and her eyes were a deep emerald.
She fluttered her wings to free the last of the debris from her body. Then she walked toward the two humans and spoke with them in the Dragon language. Buddy translated.
“She say thank you for help. She scared. She needs safe world.”
“She’s welcome to stay with us, Buddy.” Grandpa wondered how he’d explain to David that two dragons were going to be living with them. Landon’s eyes opened wide at the possibility of a boy and girl dragon both being his friends.
Buddy quickly looked around. The two glass gerbils had vanished without a sound. There was a deep rumbling overhead and the branches of the crystal trees obscuring the sky rapidly turned to dust.
They had to look down and close their eyes to protect themselves. When they were able to look back up again, they were all horrified at the sight. The Shadow Dragons had found them.
Three huge Shadow Dragons, each almost the size of Grandpa’s house circled in the air above them. The new Ambrosial Dragon hid her head under Buddy’s wing and started trembling. They both slid back down into her nest.
Grandpa, still looking up, put one hand on Landon’s shoulder pulling him close, while putting the other hand on the butt of his holstered handgun. He thought about using it on one of the Shadow Dragons, but the last time they’d faced one, it had taken two blasts from a shotgun to scare one off. He doubted his pistol shots would make a dent.
The Shadow Dragons kept circling above them, getting nearer while uttering some words in the Dragon language. It didn’t take a genius to figure out they were threats. The destroyers were savoring their victory, catching two Ambrosial Dragons and two people.
It had been a trap. Somehow the Shadow Dragons had convinced the glass gerbils to guide them to this hidden lair. There was no way out this time.
Grandpa was holding Landon close, wishing more than ever that his grandson had never come along. The two Ambrosial Dragons were also huddling close, but for a different reason.
The last two times Buddy had faced a single Shadow Dragon, he had almost died. Now there were two golden dragons, but there were three Shadow Dragons.
There had been no outward sign to give warning as light and sound exploded above the party at the center of the Shadow Dragons. Buddy and the other dragon had hidden the weaving of their spell beneath their wings, pretending to be totally terrified (although only a fool would be absent of fear).
The energy release spell might have crippled or even killed a single Shadow Dragon, but the best it could do now was temporarily scatter their three sinister foes. In a few minutes, they’d regain control of their flight and return.
Buddy started creating his transfer spell, the one that would take them back to Earth and safety. The violet radiation began to form all around them. The bodies of the two dragons were also glowing.
But the Shadow Dragons recovered faster than expected. They were almost overhead again and this time, they weren’t taunting their prey. They were coming in for the kill.
The transfer spell would take several more minutes to form. It would be too late by the time it was ready. The Shadow Dragons were almost upon them.
Suddenly, the female dragon shot straight up into the air between the Shadow Dragons. They were momentarily distracted by easy prey. Buddy was powerless to help her because if he broke the spell, there would be no escape for any of them from the dangerous obsidian dragons.
Grandpa was reminded of World War II dogfights between American and German aircraft as he watched the female dragon dodge, feint, and twist in the air, avoiding her much larger enemies in a desperate attempt to hold them off from the others for just a few more seconds.
As his own spell was nearly complete, he looked up one last time and noticed his companion dragon was also glowing purple. She seemed to have run out of options as the three giants closed in on her, but right before the massive jaws of the lead Shadow Dragon engulfed the tiny heroine, the violet bubble around her popped and she was gone.
A half second later, their own bubble popped, and after a brief powerful wind pulled the trio forward, they were sitting in the grass a few meters from Grandpa’s back porch. Everybody’s heart was beating fast and the terror of their narrow escape began to slowly subside.
The sun was coming up in the east. David and Dani were probably still asleep. Grandpa turned toward Buddy. “I’m sorry we couldn’t rescue her.” He was sure they had failed and that the other Ambrosial Dragon was dead.
“She no die. Me see her bubble pop. She go some other world. She no die.”
He could sense her out there. He could feel she was alive. But this time there was no direction, no way to trace her across the space between the worlds.
Buddy abruptly hugged Grandpa. “Me thank. You help. Me thank.”
“It’s okay, Buddy. I was glad to do it.” Before meeting Buddy, Grandpa hadn’t been used to being involved in fantastical things. He and his family led a quiet life. Now he was getting more involved in magical adventures. He hoped this one would be the last, but he suspected it would be otherwise.
Buddy let go of Grandpa and approached Landon. “You no come next time. Plenty danger.”
Landon thought he was going to get a lecture from Buddy when the dragon embraced him and tearfully whispered. “Me no want you die.”
Landon hugged his best friend. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to help.”
The three stood. It would be better if David didn’t find out about all this, and especially that Landon had gone to another world with Grandpa and Buddy. They’d better get inside, undressed, and back into bed quickly.
“Go inside, Landon.” Grandpa instructed his grandson. “We’ll be in in a minute.”
After the boy went back into the house, Grandpa asked, “Where do you think she is?”
“Can’t say. No sense clearly. Another world somewhere. Maybe me find again someday.”
“Maybe so, Buddy. I hope so.” Grandpa patted the dragon on the head and Buddy nuzzled his snout into the palm of the man’s hand. They went back inside the house together and anticipated another day as a family.
She materialized high in the atmosphere of another world. She was used to thin air and cold, so this didn’t bother her. She was alone in the deep blue sky closer to space than to the ground.
The dragon reached out with both her natural and magical senses and detected no danger. Still, she was cautious. With the three Shadow Dragons about to destroy her, she had to jump from world to world blind without setting a specific destination. It was a miracle she’d made it here, wherever here was.
She was confident Buddy (though that’s not what she called him) and his two people jumped safely home. She could feel Buddy alive on the world he called “Earth” though she didn’t know how to get there.
She didn’t know where she was but as she glided closer to the planet’s surface she sniffed and smelled something safe and familiar.
Now go to part three in this series, Shadow of the Dark Wizard to continue the adventures of Landon and his friend, Buddy the Dragon. This time, Landon gets kidnapped by a dark and evil wizard, but does Buddy rescue the little boy or is it the other way around?