The 23nd Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
Landon woke up and looked around. He was in the field behind Grandpa’s house. He could see Grandpa running toward him right now. On his left was Yao Jin, still unconscious. She was wearing some sort of black top and regular jeans and the boy couldn’t see any sign of her sword. On this right was…”Buddy!”
The Ambrosial Dragon was just waking up and he looked like Buddy again. Landon grabbed him and gave him a great big hug.
“Huh…what…what’s happening. Buddy groggy.”
“I love you so much, Buddy. I really missed you.”
“Yup. I love you but been with you all along.”
Buddy looked and even sounded like himself again.
“Landon. Are you okay? I was terrified when that…whatever it was, took you out of the kitchen and you disappeared.” Grandpa was remembering how the demon kidnapped his grandson as he stopped in front of the trio. He was all out of breath from running so fast. “We saw you land just a minute ago. You’ve been gone most of the day.
“Day?” It was Yao Jin who had opened her eyes and was sitting up.” We’ve been gone for weeks.”
“Weeks?” Grandpa looked puzzled. “We can talk about that later. Let’s go inside. We were just about to get dinner ready.”
The four of them walked toward the house. Grandpa waved to Landon’s Dad David, who was holding Dani, Landon’s two-year-old sister, as if to say everything was okay. David put Dani down and she ran her little toddler run toward them shouting. “Brother, brother. I run fast.”
She met them and hugged Landon, then Buddy, then Landon, then Buddy, as if she hadn’t seen them in a week.
“No hug for me?” Yao Jin was just joking, but then Dani gave her a hug too, surprising the sorceress.
“Ha, ha, ha. Yao Jin gets hugs, too.” Buddy was kidding around with her.
“How come you look like this again, Dragon?” she asked.
“Don’t know. Don’t know. Doesn’t matter. Home again. Home with family.”
They all got to the back porch and Landon’s Dad gave him a big hug. “Landon, I’m so glad you’re all right. I was so afraid when you vanished.” Dad knelt down and gave his son a big hug.
“I’m okay, Dad. It was scary at first, but then we beat up those demons. Buddy turned into this great big…”
“Why don’t we go inside and settle down before you get into your story, Landon. It’s almost time to eat.”
“Okay, Grandpa. But we just had breakfast not too long ago.”
They all piled inside.
“Breakfast? That was hours ago.”
“No, Dad. we were time traveling. Just a few minutes ago, it was morning and we were in the old west.”
“The old west?” Now Grandpa was really surprised and confused. “But I thought you were going to rescue some souls in the afterlife.”
“We shall be glad to tell you the tale.” Yao Jin felt that she could tell it more accurately than Landon and without the verbal peculiarities of Buddy now that he had returned to his transitional form.
Hours later, Yao Jin, with Landon’s and Buddy’s input, had told Grandpa and Dad about everything they’d gone through, from rescuing the souls of Yao Jin’s Grandfather Xun Qin and his Nameless Master from demons on an island in the middle of the River Styx, to visiting the sacred city of K’un-Lun and fighting the King of the Shadow Dragons and his Shadow Warriors, to visiting the old west, making friends with a cowboy with two magic guns and his mysterious Apache friend and fighting more warriors and another dragon, not to mention Landon using his new mystic glove to seal a hole in time.
Dani was too young to find much of it interesting, but Grandpa and Daddy were fascinated and more than a little frightened for the welfare of the eight-year-old boy.
“I had hoped we were past you getting into such dangerous situations, Landon.”
“Aw but Dad, I had a lot of fun, too. I got to meet a moon goddess and the daughter of a Dragon. She plays a flute, just like you did when you were a kid.”
“It’s over now David, and Landon, Buddy, and Yao Jin are home safe.”
“This is not my home, Sir. In fact, I need to be getting back. Now that my Grandfather’s soul is safe in Heaven, I still have to find the one who killed him and his Master.”
“Can I come?” Landon blurted out.
“Before we make any decisions, it’s getting late so why don’t we sleep on it.”
“Well Dad, I guess I’d better put Dani to bed. The rest of us can stay up a little longer.”
David picked up Dani and after she had given everyone good night hugs and kisses, he took her into her bedroom to change her into her PJs and put her down. When he got back, Yao Jin was standing near the front door.
“I must get back to my home. I have imposed upon your family enough.”
“Stay night, stay night.” Buddy was jumping up and down excitedly in the middle of the living room.”
“Shhhh, Buddy. I just put Dani down.”
“Sorry, Daddy-o.” The little dragon looked a tad chagrined.
“We have a spare bedroom, Yao Jin. You’re welcome to use it,” said Grandpa.
“Well…” The Chinese warrior considered the offer. “Perhaps I could use the sleep. All this time traveling has left me the equivalent of jet lagged.”
Landon started to jump up and yell “Hooray” when he remembered his sister was sleeping. Actually, it was his Dad’s stern look that helped him to remember.
“Perhaps I can borrow a long t-shirt so I can launder my clothing. It seems that the outfits I have been wearing have been transformed.”
“Yeah, what about your sword?”
“Sword?” David was concerned again.
“You need not worry, David. My sword is magical and no danger to your son. Landon, it is still with me, but slightly out of phase with this universe. In the unlikely event I should need it here, Demonslayer would reappear instantly.”
Buddy didn’t say anything, but he’d been worrying about Demonslayer. Ever since Yao Jin started using it, she was relying on it more and more, and relying on her ability to use magic spells less and less, as if the sword were somehow influencing her.
After everyone had gone to bed, Yao Jin sat on the floor of the spare bedroom in the dark. She was wearing one of Grandpa’s really big t-shirts while her regular clothes were in the dryer. She was sitting in the Lotus position, her index fingers touching her thumbs while the rest of her fingers were extended. She was summoning a vision, a vision of the death of Xun Qin and the Nameless Master, who she now recalled was once, thousands of years ago, a young and excitable teen named Chi Peng.
She saw Xun Qin and the Nameless Master sitting facing each other in the manner she was sitting now. The Master was imparting a great wisdom to Xun Qin, one Yao Jin was unable to hear, and even if she could hear, she would not have fathomed it.
The Master kept a hidden sanctuary somewhere in the Kunlun Mountains in Central China near the northern border of Tibet, perhaps near or on the site of the ancient and sacred city of K’un-Lun. The air was cool in the main hall where they were meditating and it was freezing outside, even in the summer. The peaks of the mountains were perpetually covered in snow because of their height.
Windows on the northern wall let an abundance of light to enter, but in her vision, Yao Jin saw the light was blotted out. Both Xun Qin and the Nameless One were extremely powerful, and yet neither had sensed this evil approaching. They might have lived but the room went from dark to total blackness and in the vision, all the sorceress could hear were the death screams of both aged men. They had perished in an instant, and when the light returned, their bodies were ashes, paper thin and moving in a slight breeze that entered the room from under the nearby doors.
That was the end of her vision. Yao Jin had intended to go to the Kunlun sanctuary to begin her investigation, but the matter of her Grandfather’s and his Master’s souls had come up quickly and she had to devote all of her resources to rescuing them. After that was accomplished, the other adventures she had shared with Buddy and Landon prevented her from continuing.
She was encouraged to find that, in spite of the amount of time she had spent in other worlds and times, she had only been absent from this one for less than a day. She could continue her quest tomorrow. She had been assured by the Master’s disciples and servants, that the room in which the two magicians had been killed had not been disturbed in any way. Tomorrow, the sorceress would play the detective.
In the morning, Yao Jin got up before anyone. She was retrieving her clothes from the dryer when she noticed Buddy looking at her from the hallway.
“You wish to say something to me, Dragon?” She was whispering so as not to wake up the others.
“Buddy help, Buddy want to help.” The normally loud and excitable dragon, now about the size of a large German Shepherd, was also whispering. He was smiling, but Yao Jin sensed he was very serious about his offer.
She opened her mouth to refuse. After all, this was a matter of family, of honor. But then, she had asked the Dragon’s help in rescuing her Grandfather’s soul and the soul of the Nameless Master. He was already deeply involved in the affairs of her family.
“Very well, Buddy, or whatever you call yourself. I accept, but we will not take the boy. My quest has put him in far too much danger as it is.”
“Okie, dokie. Landon sits this one out.”
In his bed, Landon was sleep and dreaming. In his dream, Buddy was fading, becoming transparent. If he let Buddy vanish, he knew the Dragon will never come home again. He woke up yelling, “Buddy, don’t go.”
Buddy leapt back into Landon’s bedroom and closed the door. “Bad dream. Landon have a bad dream. Don’t be loud. Wake up sister.”
“But it seemed so real.” Landon wrapped his arms around his best friend. “Don’t go anywhere. I missed you being Buddy. I missed being home and playing with you. Don’t go away from me again.”
Buddy wrapped his front limbs around the child. “I’m here, Landon. Buddy right here.” He hated to lie to Landon, but he had to help Yao Jin in her quest. He could see that if she went alone to the Kunlun Mountains, she’d never leave again alive.
Landon fell asleep once more because of a spell Buddy had put on him. The sorceress and the dragon stood in front of Grandpa’s house as the first light of dawn was a mere hint on the Eastern horizon. They both had a quick meal of last night’s leftovers before going outside. Yao Jin might have skipped breakfast, but missing a meal was never a dragon’s first choice.
“Ready for a visit to modern China, Dragon?”
“Buddy ready. Buddy always ready.”
“Then I shall teleport us there.” While Dragonslayer appeared in its sheath at her side, she chose to use a spell to transport the two of them halfway around the globe.
In his room, Landon was standing dressed in his Star Wars t-shirt and jeans. The stuffed animals who he had missed so much and cuddled with so comfortably last night, were still asleep. Daddy, Grandpa, and Dani were still asleep. He hated to leave them so soon after getting back home, but Buddy and Yao Jin might need him. He couldn’t let them go on this dangerous mission alone, but he knew they wouldn’t let him go if he asked.
Landon had his backpack on and inside was his living stuffed pet giraffe Baby, still asleep, along with his invisibility cloak. On his right hand was the glove he’d gotten from Illanipi in the old west, and on a chain around his neck, was his magical tiny railroad lantern.
He was ready. He sensed Yao Jin was about to use a teleportation spell. With the glove, he reached out to her with an invisible strand of ethereal energy. He had to time this just right.
As the sorceress completed her spell and she and the dragon vanished, he let the strand touch the edge of her transportation field so it would pull him along. By the time Buddy sensed anything, it was too late. The dragon, the woman, and the boy had all vanished from the home in Southwestern Idaho and reappeared in the frozen heights of Kunlun in China.
Buddy and Yao Jin were comfortable, having materialized inside the main entrance of the Master’s sanctuary, attended by dozen disciples and servants, but Landon was a mile away and hundreds of meters higher, clinging to an icy mountain peak and on the verge of freezing to death.
This story occurs immediately after the previous chapter called Cowboys and Sorcerers, Part Two.
I wrote the very first chapter The Day a Dragon Came to Live With Us almost exactly one year ago to the day. I’ve been writing these for my grandson Landon and he said he wanted to celebrate on the first anniversary of the series. Not sure what he has in mind. Might be anything from ice cream to matzo ball soup (his favorite if made by his Bubbe). I hope he enjoys this latest adventure, too.
You can read this series from the beginning. Just click the link above. At the bottom of that story is a link to the second, and so on. Each story leads to the next. If you keep reading, and clicking, eventually you’ll get back here.
The next chapter in this series is The Soul Coin.