Four months ago.
The little Ambrosial Dragon was totally outmatched by the huge Shadow Dragon. Somehow, his mortal foe had detected him crossing the spaces between worlds and had pursued him. The smaller dragon was already almost exhausted. He had been hiding out from Shadow Dragons for months, moving from one realm to another, barely staying ahead of them.
Tonight, his luck had finally run out.
“You will die like all of your kind, golden one. Perish in agony, fool!”
The larger dragon used a combination of magic and brute force, striking his smaller opponent again and again. The little dragon was getting weaker. Fighting back would be useless. He couldn’t even begin to penetrate the dark dragon’s defenses in the current circumstances. But if he could open a doorway into the world he detected earlier, the one where magic almost does not exist, he could escape. The portal would allow only the smaller dragon through. The Shadow Dragon would be much too big to follow.
The Ambrosial Dragon was getting dizzy. It was hard to focus the spell, but if he failed, he’d die.
Finally there was a shimmering violet light just in front of him. All he had to do was fly through. As he reached it, he felt a horrible pain. His wing! It was broken. All the little dragon could do now was fall into the night, into the rain, into the thunderstorm which was the manifestation of their battle on this world.
The little dragon who would someday be known as Buddy fell through the darkness and landed with a wet and sickening thud in the grassy field on a planet called Earth.
As Landon was sleeping and dreaming of the dragon with the emerald eyes, his Daddy David was sitting in a chair in the living room staring out the window into the night sky. It was a cold and clear evening in December, just approaching midnight. He had to be at work in the morning, but he couldn’t sleep. He kept worrying about magic, and about a dragon teaching his seven-year-old son to be a pint-sized sorcerer.
“If only Buddy hadn’t landed in that field last summer,” David murmured to himself. “If only Dad hadn’t found him. If only…”
David finally dozed off in his chair and began to dream.
The thunderstorm woke David up. He looked outside unbelieving. Where had this rain come from in December? What the heck?
It was an extremely powerful storm. Lightning was illuminating the entire panorama of the night sky. It was like watching a battle between artillery units or between gods. Then something strange happened. A violet glow was growing in the middle of the darkness. There was something coming out if it. Something small was falling.
David stood up. It wasn’t December, it was August. This wasn’t just some thunderstorm, it really was a battle. It was the night Buddy fought a Shadow Dragon and fell to Earth with a broken wing. It was the night before his Dad would find Buddy in the field behind their house and bring him home. It was the night everything began and ended up in his son Landon becoming the dragon’s apprentice.
Impulsively, David ran to the back door, unlocked it, and rushed outside. He was surprised to find himself in rain gear. He didn’t remember putting it on, but he must have.
By some strange miracle, he had travelled back in time four months. This time, he’d be the first one to find Buddy, not his Dad.
David ran across the field. The lightning was subsiding but it was still raining. “Where the heck did that dragon fall?”
David almost stepped on Buddy before he saw him. “There you are.”
The injured dragon was conscious but couldn’t move. David stared at him. What was he supposed to do now? If he took the dragon home, history would repeat itself and put both of his children in terrible danger.
“Give him to me.” David looked up. It was the Shadow Dragon. The portal to the space between realms was still open. It had come down from the sky and was nearly resting on the ground just on the other side of Buddy.
“Give him to me and all of your problems will be solved. Your children will be safe.”
David remembered this dragon. He remembered shooting it twice with a shotgun in order to save Buddy’s life. The dragon’s head filled the opening of the portal. He couldn’t get into our world, but David could hand Buddy back through to the dark beast.
If Landon knew he did that, his son would never forgive him, but if David did it, Landon would never meet Buddy, so he’d never know.
David bent down over Buddy and put his arms out as if to pick him up.
Buddy looked into David’s eyes and mewed in pain, as if he were not only pleading for his life but for an unknown future where only his children could save all the dragon’s kind.
David remembered Buddy saving his children from a rattlesnake. He remembered how Buddy risked his life to save his son and Dad. He remembered why Landon was put in harm’s way, but he also remembered that the little dragon was willing to die to save his son’s life. Buddy loved Landon and Dani as much as he did. He was more loyal, courageous, and loving than almost any human being David had ever known.
When he thought of handing Buddy through the portal into the open jaws of the Shadow Dragon, he felt ashamed.
In rage, David yelled, “Not in a thousand years, you crummy lizard! You’re not getting him while I’m alive!”
“Fool!” replied the dragon in frustration and anger. “You will regret this!”
The portal shimmered again and with a popping sound, it collapsed. The Shadow Dragon was shut out, but not forever. However right now, Buddy was still alive.
David kneeled down on the muddy grass and gently hugged Buddy. “I’m sorry I can’t take you home right now. I can’t let history be changed. Dad has to find you tomorrow morning.
The tiny dragon nuzzled into David’s shoulder and then lost consciousness.
“See you tomorrow, Buddy” David whispered. He softly kissed the brave little dragon’s head, stood, and turned back toward the house just as the rain stopped.
David woke up. The sky was clear. The ground was covered in frost. It was December again. Had it just been a dream or somehow, did a Shadow Dragon find a way to take him back to that night and give him a horrible choice?
No matter. David had made the decision to save Buddy’s life. He knew Buddy would do the same for him and the same for his children.
David woke up to the sound his alarm. He had to get up and get ready for work. He barely remembered climbing into bed just a few hours ago. Then he realized he wasn’t alone.
David turned on the light on his night stand. It was Buddy standing at the foot of his bed totally alert and grinning the terrible toothy grin at him.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You save me, you save me. No get eaten by Shadow Dragon. You save me.”
It had been real. David didn’t know that Buddy couldn’t close the doors to time travel or the dream world, which was the way the Shadow Dragon had reached him. It was also the way Shay had reached Landon, but David couldn’t possibly know this.
Before he could react, Buddy was hugging him, pinning him to the bed.
“I love you too, but I can’t breathe, Buddy.”
“Love, love, love, I love you, too.”
Finally, Buddy got off of his friend.
“I really do love you, Buddy.” This came as a bit of a surprise to David after he had spent so much time blaming the dragon for putting his kids in danger. David remembered Buddy was family now. You don’t give family to dark dragons. You protect family no matter what.
As David was getting dressed, Buddy went back to Landon’s room and pretended to be asleep. The child woke up abruptly from a dream about meeting his sister in the future on another planet, and meeting a dragon named Shay.
Both Landon and his Daddy had found out something about themselves that night, though one had a look at the future and another the past.
In saving Buddy’s life, David had ensured his children’s ultimate destiny and perhaps saved an entire race of dragons. That was as much as he could do. The rest was up to Landon and Dani. Time would tell if they would succeed in becoming saviors.
The events in this story run parallel to those in yesterday’s tale The Dragon with Emerald Eyes. I started writing this series for my seven-year-old grandson last August when I published The Day a Dragon Came to Live With Us. This is actually building into a story, possibly novel-length, about another group of children and a dragon, but that’s like fifteen years in the future.
The next story in this series is called The Adversary.