From the previous story:
The magic lantern amulet around his neck glowed brightly as the boy stood and weaved his spell right in front of the wounded and bleeding creature. A portal opened at his feet and he fell through, just like a person would if the walked over an open manhole.
Landon spoke the magic words in the tongue of the ancient masters and the portal closed. Instantly, the world around them began to fade and shimmer.
“You did it, Landon. You broke the spell. Now the fantasy world the evil water spirit created is evaporating. I love you Landon.” She hugged him. “See you again in about twelve years or so.”
“But by then I’ll be…”
Then everything went black.
Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a long hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror shocked. He wasn’t eight years old anymore and this wasn’t the bathroom at Grandpa’s house. It was one of the bathrooms in his dorm. He was in college and he was twenty years old.
Landon woke up. He had to pee, so he got up and stumbled down a short hall to the bathroom. He turned on the light and looked in the mirror. He was relieved to see himself just as he was when he went to sleep. He was back home at Grandpa’s house and he was eight years old like he was supposed to be. Then he used the bathroom and washed his hands.
Going back to his bedroom, he saw his now non-alive stuffed animals lying on his pillow. Some were under his blanket making “lumps” pushing up here and there. But there was something or rather someone missing. Buddy still hadn’t come home. He was overdue. Where could he be?
Landon looked inside his robe and saw the magic lantern amulet and his necklace of broken soul coin pieces. They were dull and silent detecting and projecting no magic and giving no clue as to the fate of his friend and master, the Ambrosial Dragon.
The third grader thought about crawling back into bed, but he didn’t feel like it. All he felt was lonely and sad. He was glad that he, Gerlilanum, and an older version of his sister Dani had defeated the evil Water Spirit but…
He rushed back out of his room and down the hall. It was early but the boy could hear his Grandpa was up already and making coffee in the kitchen. Quietly, he opened the door to his sister’s room. There she was asleep under blankets and looking two-and-a-half years old just as she should be. He guessed she’d have no memory of their adventures in the other worlds, at least he hoped not. It was bad enough that she could see invisible things and that as she grew up, she’d develop other powers as the old dragon had foretold.
It was Sunday and after breakfast, he had to get ready. Landon and his good friend Anna had a “play date” at the ice skating rink. He had never been ice skating before and hoped he wouldn’t fall down too much. Anna and her Mom said they’d help him learn. He wished they were going to play video games or out to see a movie instead.
At just a minute after ten in the morning, Anna and her Mom pulled up in their car in front of Grandpa’s house to pick him up. Dad had changed shifts at work so he didn’t get home until really late and he was still asleep.
Grandpa held Dani in one arm as they waved “bye-bye” to Landon.
“Bye, Landon. Bye. See you later,” the little girl called out.
“Bye, Dani. Bye, Grandpa.” Landon waved back quickly and then ran to get in Anna’s Mom’s car.
At the ice skating rink, Anna’s Mom helped pick out a pair of skates that would fit him. He was wondering how people were able to stand, let alone push themselves along on thin pieces of metal. It reminded him of one of his sister’s favorite Pinkalicious books and the girl in that story fell down a lot, too.
“Oof!” Landon’s butt was getting sore, just like Pinkalicious but at least he wasn’t leaving pink marker streaks all over the ice.
“It’s okay, Landon. It took me a long time to learn how to balance, too.”
Anna was being nice, but Landon still felt really embarrassed. Anna was on one side of him and her Mom was on the other. Each took one of his hands and helped him up, and then they helped to hold him up as they started skating forward. They were very patient and kept gently giving him tips on how to skate just like them. A little bit at a time, he felt like he was getting it, but then when they let go, he could only go a little ways before falling again. If he kept doing that, his butt and legs would be bruised all over.
Anna’s Mom’s cell phone buzzed saying she was getting a text, so Anna skated over to him alone.
That’s when his lantern amulet began to glow and buzz.
“What’s that, Landon?”
The amulet was hidden under his shirt and jacket (it’s cold in an ice skating rink, even when it’s warm outside). She couldn’t see the glow but she could hear the sound it made. The lantern felt warm against his chest and it was getting almost hot enough to burn him.
He knew he sounded stupid. The lantern was loud enough for the two of them to hear, but so far, no one else around them noticed. What was happening now? Another Gremlin attack? He couldn’t see any and besides, he’d broken the curse on them so they shouldn’t be invading Earth to do mischief anymore.
“Landon, your neck is glowing.”
Sure enough, the amulet was so bright now that the light was coming up from under the top of his shirt and jacket collar.
He didn’t know how to answer her without telling the truth, but just then it didn’t matter anymore. The ice right in front of them spawned a frosty geyser, covering the both of them in frozen mist. The mist turned into a giant ice hand and grabbed the boy and girl, pulling them down under the surface of the rink…
…and into a different dimension…an ice dimension.
“Ha!” They heard a cackling laugh that sounded like someone trying to break ice cubes. “He thought this might be necessary.”
They turned and saw a really tall woman all made of ice. Her eyes were black and shiny like polished coal. Her nose was just a point of ice sticking out of her face, but her mouth was a large open hole with sharp and jagged ice teeth. When she breathed, freezing fog came out making the already cold ice world even colder. Then Landon looked past the ice woman in horror. There was Buddy and he was frozen solid in a giant cube of ice.
“Landon! Landon, help! Where are we?”
Anna was terrified. She had no idea what had happened to them. Here the ice wasn’t smooth like the rink, so she fell backward. She was still holding onto Landon’s arm and she pulled him down with her.
“Stay behind me, Anna. I’ll protect you.”
Right then, Landon wasn’t sure he could even protect himself, but he was trying to keep his friend from being too scared.
Playing for time, he talked to the ice woman. “Who are you and why did you bring us here?” He hurriedly undid the laces on his ice skates. The child would never be able to stand back up with them on.
“I am an insurance policy.”
“The Water Spirit planted me here in another one of the worlds you wear around your neck.”
“That’s impossible. I locked him back in his dimension so he can’t do anything to the other worlds or my world.”
“Yes dummy, but he planted me with magic before you defeated him, just in case by some miracle you found a way to stop him. I guess miracles happen because he’s gone and you’re here.”
“What are you?” Landon got one of his skates off and was working on the other.
“I am an Ice Sprite, a creature of ice and magic. My mother is the Queen of Snow and my father is the King of Ice. My brother is named Jack Frost, but I have yet to earn my name. I have to perform a great deed before my parents will name me.”
“What deed is that?” Finally Landon got the other skate off.
“Killing you of course. Your little friend is just a bonus. I don’t need her but I don’t have to send her back either.”
Anna was holding onto Landon tight from behind. “What does she mean, Landon? How can she be a magic ice woman and how does she know you?”
The girl was still too scared to figure things out. If only the Ice Sprite hadn’t captured her along with him. He had to think of something fast. He didn’t have his invisibility cloak, magic glove, or other mystic items. Only the ones he was wearing around his neck. Wait. Maybe that would be enough.
The lantern was glowing brighter than ever and it was getting really hot inside of Landon’s shirt, hot enough to make him sweat.
Quickly he stood, ignoring the fact that he only had socks on his feet, and unzipped the top of his coat letting the light shine out directly at the Ice Sprite.
“Oh no you don’t!” She launched an ice blast at Landon which hit the light beam. Right in between the boy and the icy woman there was an explosion of steam and fury. Anna screamed behind Landon.
“Help me! I want to go home!”
He wished he could send her back, but if he let his defenses down to try and cast a spell, they could both end up frozen like Buddy.
Buddy! That was it.
Landon ducked down below the ice blast and let it flow past him. Anna was still on the ice floor. She had been too scared to take off her skates or do anything else. Then Landon commanded the amulet to send out another beam of hot light.
“Ha ha! Missed me you little oaf.”
“Ha ha!” Landon replied grinning. “I wasn’t aiming for you.”
The beam did miss the Ice Sprite but it did hit the ice cube holding Buddy. There was another explosion of steam and mist, this time making it hard for the children and the ice creature to see.
Then Landon and Anna heard the flapping of wings and a fire shot out of the fog.
The Ice Sprite screamed, hit from behind by dragon fire.
“Buddy free. Buddy free. Buddy also freezing.” The little dragon flew right through the frosty mist that the sprite turned into when his fiery breath melted her. He was smiling and shivering. He must have been super cold in that ice cube.
“Buddy!” The dragon and boy hugged and hugged and right then Landon was sorry he had unzipped his jacket because Buddy was freezing cold.
“Buddy love. Buddy love. Buddy lots thanks for you saving me.”
Landon looked past the little golden dragon and saw the Ice Sprite beginning to reform. The dragon fire had only disrupted her for a few moments.
“Escape. Need to escape. Need to lock her in.”
Landon knew what the dragon meant. Like the Water Spirit, if they could get out of this dimension, Landon would lock her inside her piece of the soul coin so she couldn’t get out again. She had been set as a booby trap by the Water Spirit and was in hiding, so he couldn’t detect her until the trap was triggered by him going to someplace really cold.
Landon knelt down by Anna. “It’s going to be okay. Just hold onto me and I’ll take us home.”
Anna was staring at Buddy not knowing what to say. The boy saw this and said, “It’s okay. This is Buddy. He’s my friend. He only wants to help.”
She couldn’t take her eyes off of the dragon and nervously replied, “If you say so, Landon.”
“Landon hurry. Landon hurry.”
The mystical boy commanded the lantern to open the gate back to the ice rink and also cause a spacial fold to envelop this world into the soul coin fragment on his necklace. The world turned an icy inside-out, there was a big “poof” of ice and snow, and just as the Ice Sprite had reformed and was looming over them menacingly, they were gone!
Then Landon was again sitting on his sore butt on the ice skating rink while a long, thin white tornado was sucked into one of the pieces on his necklace.
Landon and Anna looked around. The ice looked normal. Anna’s Mom was replying to her text. No one had noticed a thing. The boy heard Buddy’s voice in his ear though he couldn’t see him anywhere. “Illusion spell. No one saw. No one heard. Only Anna. Amnesia?”
Buddy had made it so no one had seen them disappear or reappear but Anna remembered everything. She was still clutching onto his arm as tight as she could trying to figure out what had just happened. He also knew the dragon was asking if he should erase her memory of what they experienced. Maybe it would be for the best, but he really wanted to share his secret with his best (human) friend.
He looked at Anna. His jacket was still open and the amulet was very softly glowing, sort of like a night light. “Anna, it’s okay. You’re safe.” He let the light shine into her eyes and she visibly calmed down. “I promise I’ll tell you everything later, but right now, we can’t let your Mom or anyone else know what happened.”
“But Landon, the Ice Sprite, the dragon, and you…they were all magic. You are…magic.”
She couldn’t believe it. Anna looked at Landon with wonder. The little boy she thought she knew so well was now a completely different person.
“What are you two up to?” Anna’s Mom was standing over them. “How did your skates get off, Landon?”
He’d taken them off in the ice world and hadn’t had the time to put them back on again.
“It’s okay, Mom.” Anna looked up and smiled. “I think Landon’s had enough ice for one day. I think I have, too.”
“Well, okay. I guess you’re right. What do you want to do now?”
Landon and Anna looked at each other. They were both trying to act normal in front of her Mom.
“I know. How about we go out for a nice, hot lunch.”
“Sure Mom.” Anna got up and tried to help Landon to his feet. It was even harder to walk on the ice in just his socks than it was to skate. Anna and her Mom got him back off of the rink. The boy couldn’t wait to get his shoes back on and to warm up. Fortunately he remembered to zip his jacket up before Anna’s Mom or anyone else saw the talisman. It wasn’t glowing anymore which helped.
The two children were putting on their shoes while Anna’s Mom was returning their skates. Sitting on the bench, she whispered to him, “Are we still friends?”
“Sure, Anna. Why wouldn’t we be?”
“Well, I mean…I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. I never thought stuff like that was real and you…I didn’t know you could do magic stuff.”
“I’ll tell you all about it. After lunch, we can tell your Mom we want to go for a walk. Then I can tell you my story, but you have to keep it a secret. Promise?”
She thought about it for a second. “Promise, as long as you tell me about the dragon, too. What’s his name?”
“That’s a funny name for a dragon.”
“I’ll tell you all about him, too. I hope you get to be his friend. Then I can play with my two best friends in the world…you and my dragon.”
This story immediately follows The Outside-In World completely skipping over my little experiment which Landon didn’t like. He did say he wanted me to write a story where his real-life friend Anna finds out about his magic, so here it is.
Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for almost a year-and-a-half 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 chapter is All Stuffed Up.