The 30th Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
The living stuffed animals were beginning to stir. If Buddy didn’t do something soon, they’d wake up to find Landon gone. They’d go looking for him which would let Gramps and Daddy-o know Landon was gone, too.
The Ambrosial Dragon had been looking into the Soul Coin through the eight-year-old boy’s magic amulet which was shaped like a tiny railroad lantern from the past century. He could see everything that was happening to the child who was trapped inside the mysterious metal disk. Now he had an idea how to save him and maybe the entire multi-verse.
“What did you do with Gerlilanum?” Landon was trying to sound brave, but he was absolutely terrified. He was facing down the ancient Emperor Dragon, or at least the essence of his evil which was left behind in the Soul Coin when the rest of him was captured inside the mystic sword Demonslayer.
The Emperor’s evil was sitting on the primordial egg, the one used to create the multi-verse, but in this place between time and space, it hadn’t yet hatched and was also in the process of hatching. If the Emperor destroyed it now in this “now-less” place, life would never, ever be able to exist.
“Oh, him? Right here.” The dark dragon’s evil lifted a claw from the bottom of the glittering, shining nest and pulled out the old, gray dragon. His spectacles were bent, his clothing ruffled and torn, and some of his scales had purple bruises, but he was still alive.
The Emperor dangled Gerlilanum in front of Landon for a few seconds and then stuffed him back into the bottom of the nest, his foot planted securely on the ancient creature’s chest.
“Now, where was I? Oh yes, about to destroy the primordial egg. Any last words before I sweep you and all other living things that have ever been over the past thirteen-and-a-half billion years out of existence?”
Landon was frozen in place. He knew he had to do something but he didn’t know what. Then it was as if he could hear Gerlilanum whispering in his head. “Pack. Patsy. Pack.” They sounded as much like groans as they did words, but he understood. There must be something in the pack on the donkey’s back that could stop the Emperor Dragon.
“Just a minute.”
Landon rushed to open Patsy’s burden.
“Of course, young one. I’ve got nothing but time. In fact, I’ve got all eternity. Take your best shot.”
The dragon was so confident that Landon was harmless, he’d sit there on the egg just to see what the boy would come up with.
Gerlilanum was a terrible packer. Everything was thrown together with no rhyme or reason, not to mention no order.
Teapot, cups, saucers (one cracked during the trip apparently), at least three different types of tea containers, a jar of honey, another jar of strawberry jam, sandwiches, biscuits, did this dragon think of nothing but food? His pipe, tobacco, matches, a change of clothes for both the dragon and Landon, wait! At the bottom. A wand! More stuff. Vials? Magic potions? Oh, and what looked like a net.
Landon grabbed the wand, pulled it out, and aimed it at the Emperor.
“Careful, child,” he chuckled. “You wouldn’t want to miss me and hit the egg, would you?”
Landon did everything he could think of to use the wand the way Harry Potter did in all his books and movies. Unfortunately, it didn’t work the way he thought it would. Instead, dozens and dozens of flowers shot out the tip, decorating the Emperor head and shoulders with bright and fragrant bouquets.
The Emperor actually laughed out loud. “Oh my, boy. You do know how to play a practical joke.”
The dark dragon was so amused, he continued to laugh, rolling off the primordial egg and rustling around in the nest. This gave Gerlilanum a chance to catch his breath and then he clutched at the sides of the nest in an attempt to pull himself out.
The Emperor’s foot came back down on him again, cruelly stuffing the old dragon back to the nest’s bottom. The dark essence then resumed his perch on the egg.
“Anything else you’d like to try before we get on with the program?”
Landon kept trying to use the wand, but besides having launched flowers at his enemy, it seemed like it was just a piece of wood.
He rummaged around the pack again thankful that in spite of the danger, Patsy was holding still. The donkey was either incredibly brave or amazingly stupid.
He pulled out three vials, each containing a different liquid. Landon assumed they were magic potions but they weren’t labeled so he didn’t know for sure.
On the other hand, he had nothing to lose. He uncorked the first vial and threw it at the Emperor, splashing the tip of his nose.
The Emperor sniffed and then ah Ah AH…CHOOO!
He wiped at his nose with his free paw. “Lavender. I bit too pungent for me, but I suppose the old pest likes to scent himself with it.”
“Oh duh,” Landon thought. It wasn’t a magic potion, just some sort of perfume.
He reached in the pack again and pulled out the net.
“Are you going to catch me in that thing, boy?”
Landon couldn’t see any other reason Gerlilanum would have packed it, so he figured the answer was “yes.” It wasn’t a particularly large net, but maybe it was more magically powerful than the wand and a lot more than the perfume. The boy threw it at the dragon.
It fell about five feet short.
“Oh my, you really do need some practice, don’t you?”
Landon could feel his face getting hot and knew he was blushing with embarrassment.
“Here, let me help.” The Emperor Dragon extended his head and neck forward toward the net and deliberately got under it. The net only covered the dragon down to the bottom of his jaws.
“Am I captured yet?”
The child felt like he was about to cry. Everything he tried was a total failure or rather, everything the old dragon was going to try, if he hadn’t been grabbed by the Emperor first, had failed. He thought about the small sword he was wearing at his side, but he doubted the Emperor would let him get close enough to use it.
“Very well. Enough is enough.” The dark dragon shook his head as if to toss the net off of him but it seemed to be stuck. That’s when Landon noticed that the perfume and the flowers seemed stuck to the Emperor’s head, too. Then the net seemed to be getting tighter and moving down to the dark scales of his neck.
The Emperor Dragon was struggling now. He released his hold on Gerlilanum so he could use both front paws to tear the net off.
It wouldn’t tear. It just kept getting tighter around the dragon’s head and neck, choking him. He started thrashing around in the nest and Landon realized he could still break the egg, even accidentally.
That’s when he heard the noises from overhead. He looked up. Eagles. Hundreds and hundreds of eagles. It was the convocation Aaron the Eagle had talked about before. They were circling, circling, now diving, diving.
Eagles crisscrossed the dragon, dagger-sharp claws slicing and dicing his scaly skin, cutting him and making him bleed. The Emperor hop hop hopped out of the nest trying to avoid them. Then someone with a tiny, high-pitched voice yelled “Charge!”
It was Esmeralda along with Salma and Gina and bunches and bunches of other fairies. They zoomed around the dragon like a swarm of bees and the way the Emperor was yelling, they were doing something to hurt him. Following the fairies and eagles were every type of forest and mountain creature Landon had seen on their trip, from badgers to beetles, along with leprechauns each riding a lynx.
The evil essence of the Emperor Dragon got kind of see-through, and then more and then more.
And then he was all gone.
Landon turned to see all manner of animals and mythical beings helping the injured Gerlilanum out of the nest (though not as injured as Landon had thought at first). Others were examining the egg.
“Seems to be fine,” Gina announced.
“Not even a scratch,” Salma declared.
The old dragon sat heavily at Landon’s feet and did his best to fix his glasses. Then he looked at the boy with admiration in his eyes. “I must say that was quite a chore, but you came through admirably. My plan worked perfectly.”
“You knew all that would happen?” Landon was incredulous.
“Let’s just say I strongly suspected things would work out this way. I knew the Emperor was so arrogant, he’d let you do anything to him, not realizing until too late that my mistakes were actually part of a clever scheme.”
“But…but if the eagles, the fairies, and everyone else could get rid of the dragon, why did you need me?”
“Oh they wouldn’t have gotten close to him unless he were already trapped. I knew he would never wait for me to attack, but you he didn’t think he had to fear.”
“You’re a hero, Landon.” Esmeralda swooped in and zapped the child’s cheek with a tiny, fairy kiss. A couple of dozen other fairies including Gina and Salma joined in. He felt embarrassed again, but for a really different reason than before.
The fog rolled in again and when it dissipated, Landon found he, the dragon, and the donkey were alone on an ordinary hilltop with a fantastic view of the forest below. The sun was hanging low in the west and it looked like they’d have to camp out for the night.
Then Landon saw a dot against the sun. It was getting bigger and bigger. Something was flying toward them.
It was Buddy!
The small Ambrosial Dragon landed and Landon wasted no time. He leaped at his friend and gave him a big hug.
“How did you find me? Even I don’t know where I am.”
“Buddy find. Buddy find. Landon in Soul Coin. Magic Lantern made light. Buddy follow light inside.”
“I’m in the Soul Coin. But that means…”
The boy turned to Gerlilanum.
“That means it’s your soul trapped in the coin.”
“Nonsense, Landon. I told you I’m retired. This is where I’ve chosen to spend my twilight years. Without the proper magic, it’s so hard to get into a Soul Coin that I’m quite well protected, especially now that the Emperor has vacated.”
“But how did you live here when the Emperor was trapped inside?”
“That, my boy, is a story for another time.”
“Time, time, time, Landon. Have to get out while light shines.”
“Oh, I’ve got to go, Gerlilanum. Will you be okay by yourself out here?”
“My friends will take care of me and make sure I get back home.” He stood up and straightened his bow tie.
Landon saw that some of the animals from before were coming up the trail.
“I’ve got to go.”
The old dragon responded by hugging Landon. “Come back and see me sometime.”
“Fine, fine, fine.” Buddy seemed a little impatient. “Time to go, go, go.”
“Okay, I’m ready.”
“Then gone, gone, gone.” For an instant, a bright but familiar light shone from Buddy and when Landon could see again, he was back in his bed and in his robe. The living stuffed animals were just waking up.
“Morning, Landon,” said Baby.
Each one greeted him in a different way. He greeted them back and hugged them all, and then he saw his Soul Coin and lantern sitting on top of the blankets. He put the chain with the lantern back around his neck. Then he picked up the coin. He could feel the weight of it knowing it contained an old, kind, and kind of crazy gray dragon.
He got up and walked to his dresser. Opening the top drawer, he was about to put the coin under his pile of clean jeans when he saw a small sack inside. Putting the Soul Coin where it belonged, he pulled the sack out and was surprised to find it was warm. He opened it and there were freshly baked biscuits with strawberry jam on top.
Gerlilanum had treated Landon and Buddy to breakfast.
This is a direct sequel to the previous tales The Very Old Dragon and Saving the Egg and concludes the journey of Gerlilanum and Landon (and Patsy) to find and protect the primordial egg. Once again, Landon manages to save the day, even if it didn’t work exactly as the thought it would. Will he visit Gerlilanum’s world inside the coin again? Only time will tell
Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for over a year now. To read the series from the beginning, go to The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the bottom of that story is a link to the next. Each subsequent story has a link to the next chapter, so all you have to do is keep reading and clicking and you’ll eventually get back here.
The next adventure is The Gremlins Will Get You If You Don’t Watch Out.