Ana kept chasing after the small dragon and then realized she was no longer in her room. In fact, she wasn’t sure she was even on Earth. It was early morning wherever she was, and the nine-year-old girl was freezing.
She looked around and she seemed to be in the mountains. There were trees, bushes, and other plant life. There was a trail beneath her feet, but it didn’t seem to lead back or lead to home or even any buildings. She was totally in the wilderness and the dragon she’d been running after was nowhere in sight.
Ana was still in her pajamas and barefoot which didn’t help matters any. Then, when she heard the voice behind her, she nearly jumped ten feet in the air.
“Hey, Dollface. You lost?”
The girl whirled around but didn’t see anyone. Then she looked down and saw him. She assumed it was a him because of the voice. It was a rabbit. It was a very strange rabbit, not only because it spoke, but it was wearing a polka dot bow tie.
Landon and Buddy caught the tail end of whatever had pulled Ana away, but by the time the tail landed, they couldn’t see Ana at all. They did however, see a small dragon.
It was golden, like Buddy, and except for the size, it resembled Buddy as he appeared in his final form, which is more of the way most people picture dragons. It was sitting in a tree branch just above Landon’s eye level, licking and preening itself like a cat.
“Hello. Have you seen my friend Ana?” The minute the boy started talking, the little dragon swung his head in the boy’s direction as if totally caught off guard. It mewed, cried, and then started to take off.
Buddy said something that Landon didn’t understand, and the little dragon stopped. Quickly, they entered into a conversation the child had no hope of following, chittering and chattering back and forth.
As Landon listened, he was grateful that Buddy’s magic had transformed his pajamas into warm clothes, because it was really cold in these mountains. If the dragon was here, then Ana had to be too (he hoped), but where?
“He not know where she is, Landon,” Buddy finally said to him. This little one came into our world. Accident. Total accident. Curiosity really. Saw us in Dreamscape, curious about Ana. Later, got caught in Ana’s dream. Found his way back home. Took her along by mistake.”
“How are we going to find her, Buddy?”
The little dragon started clicking and clacking rapidly again, and then fluttered it’s wings and soared upward.
“He looks now. Can’t be far. Mountain home to lots of magical creatures, refugees from the realms taken over by Shadow Dragons.”
Landon shuddered at the very mention of those evil creatures, so powerful, so terrible. He hoped this was a safe place away from them. Ana wouldn’t last two seconds if confronted by even the smallest of their kind.
“I help, I look for Ana. You wait here. I be back.”
With that, Buddy took to the air and soon was gone. Landon couldn’t see the other dragon either, so he was alone on this mountain trail. Or was he? Buddy said a lot of magical creatures lived here. If that was so, where were they? He didn’t see or hear so much as a bird or a squirrel.
“Ana!” He figured it wouldn’t hurt to do the obvious and call her name. Maybe she was close enough to hear him.
“Ana!” He stopped and listened. Nothing except the noise of the breeze rustling tree branches. “Ana, can you hear me?”
Still nothing. He couldn’t just stand here and wait. Maybe if he started walking on the trail, he’d find her or some clue about where she went. He started heading up.
“What’s your name?” There was a time when Ana would have been totally freaked out by a talking rabbit, but now that she knew about Buddy, about Landon’s magic, and had shared their adventures, the bunny seemed pretty tame.
“Nothing doing, Toots. Names contain power, and I ain’t letting you or any flesh bag have power over me.”
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
“That’s what they all say, Babe.”
“I’ll tell you my name. It’s Ana.”
“This isn’t a trade. I still don’t have to tell you my name.”
The rabbit looked really cute, but it was really rude, too. Then Ana remembered that she was cold and stuck in the middle of nowhere.
“I don’t suppose you have a coat or some shoes or anything, do you? It’s freezing up here.”
“Sorry. Nothing that would fit you. How’d you get here, anyway? It’s a long way to the human world.”
“You know about the human world? Can you send me back?”
“What do I look like, a magician? I’m more what comes out of a magician’s hat. I help the magic, but I don’t make it. Sorry. No can do.”
“How about a fire, then? I’m so cold.”
“Don’t use fire. My comfy, furry coat keeps me warm, and when it gets too cold, I’ve got an even more comfy rabbit hole. Too small for you, even though you’re not that big for a human.”
“I’m just a kid. Maybe a cave?”
“Nearest one is inhabited by a family of bears, and they don’t like strangers…except the tasty and tender ones that is. You probably qualify.”
“No, thanks. I’d rather freeze than be a bear’s breakfast.”
They both looked up when they heard the high-pitched cry. An eagle had just landed on a tree branch twice as high as Ana was tall.
“Wait a sec. I’ll see what she wants.”
The rabbit and the bird of prey made a lot of strange sounds, and then the nameless hare turned back to the girl. “Oh great. That numbskull Merlyn is coming this way. He’s nothing but trouble. We’d better hide.”
“Merlyn? Like the magician?”
“He wishes. Quick. Under these low branches. I’ll pile some leaves around you to keep you hidden. Come to think of it. I’ll join you.”
Between the branches (which poked and itched a bit), the leaves, and the rabbit’s body warmth, Ana began to feel less cold. She was going to be a mess when she got out of here, covered with all this stuff, but if it kept her safe from this Merlyn whoever, then maybe it was worth it.
“Okay, that’s the all clear. He’s gone.” The rabbit hopped off, but Ana didn’t move. She was finally warm for the first time since she arrived at this weird place.
“I said it was clear. You can come out now.”
Ana tried to explain, but all of the foliage was muffling her voice.
“I said it’s warm in here. I don’t want to come out.”
“Suit yourself. I’ve got to be going anyway. Here’s looking at you, Babe.”
“Hey wait!” Ana burst out of her concealment like a bullet. “You can’t leave me here.”
“Why not? It’s not like we’re buds or anything.”
“But I need help.”
“What do I look like, roadside service? Try asking…” The rabbit looked up at where the Eagle had been, but the branch was empty. “Never mind. She took a powder, too.”
“I can’t get home and I can’t stay here. What am I going to do?” Ana started to cry a little.
The rabbit rolled his eyes. “Oh brother. Just what I need. A bawling dame.”
“That’s mean. At least I think it’s mean. I don’t understand half of what you say.”
“What makes you think your words are timeless poetry…” The bunny in the bow tie stopped talking and looked up. “Uh oh. Another dragon and this one I don’t know.”
“What do you mean another dragon?” Ana looked up in the same direction that the rabbit was and saw Buddy.
The rabbit jumped on her, clamping one of his paws over her mouth and shoving her back inside her makeshift shelter.
“Shhhh. It could be an enemy. Are you crazy?”
“MMmmmm. MMMMMmmmMMM.” Ana tried to talk and struggled against the rabbit, but he had an iron strong grip, and when she opened her mouth, all she got was a tongue full of fur.
“Okay, I think its gone.”
“You jerk. That was Buddy. I know him. He could have taken me back home!” Ana was furious and stomping her feet.
“Oh. My mistake. Well, maybe he’ll swing back. Anyway, gotta run. Just because he’s your friend doesn’t mean he’s mine.”
“No you don’t.”
As the rabbit tried to hop away, Ana grabbed him by the back of his bow tie.
“Erk!” The bunny was caught up short, and the tie around his neck was threatening to choke him. Then he pulled forward and Ana lost her balance. So did the rabbit and they fell together, tumbling off of the trail, and head over heels down the hillside.
When they came to rest, they were on the edge of a big, flat rock.
“Landon?” She could hear him, but he sounded like he was a long way off. His voice was coming from near the top of the crest above them.
“More friends?” The rabbit sounded annoyed and impatient.
“It’s Landon.” Then she yelled, “Hey, Landon! Over here! Over…” As she tried to sit up, the rock she and the rabbit were on came loose and started sliding down the mountainside fast.
Both Ana and the rabbit hung onto each other for dear life and screamed.
Landon had walked up the side of the mountain along the trail, gotten to the top, and then was coming back down the other side.
“Ana? Ana!” He started running. She’d called his name and then she started screaming, and he thought he heard another voice, too. She was in trouble. But by the time, he got to where she had been, all the boy could see was a trail of dust and dirt receding down in the far distance. He looked up but still couldn’t see Buddy or the other dragon. If only one of them were here.
The big rock was acting like a sled, carrying the two of them down the mountainside. By some miracle, they didn’t hit a rock or a tree, which would have probably done both of them in, though to his credit, the bunny seemed to have a lot of skill in making the rock turn away from anything dangerous.
Finally, they screeched to a stop as the hillside flattened out into a small gorge.
“Yahoo! What-a ride! Wanna go back up and do it again?”
Then the rabbit saw the look of terror on the child’s face.
“That’s a no, right?”
It took her a few minutes to calm down, and then she looked back up the way they’d come. It was a long, long way back up to the mountain trail.
“Now, what are we going to do?”
“We? Who said we were a we?”
“I did. You got me into this mess. You’re going to get me out.”
“I guess you can start climbing, because I’m leaving, and it’s your fault we’re down here. If you hadn’t grabbed my…”
“If you hadn’t been so rude and obnoxious…”
“Pardon me, my delicacies, but I was wondering if I might interrupt you for a moment. It won’t take very long, but my journey has left me famished, and quite frankly, you both smell delicious.”
The rabbit and Ana turned, and entering the south side of the gorge, they saw a large, totally black dragon.
“Oh crud on a cracker,” the bunny mused, his eyes wide with horror. “The shadow dragons found us.”
This is a direct sequel to my story The New Apprentice in which the Ambrosial Dragon called Buddy accepts Landon’s friend Ana has a second apprentice.
Then, as magic does most of the time, something goes wrong, and another golden dragon about the size of a small falcon, appears to Ana, first in a dream, and then in her bedroom. In an attempt to quiet the creature so it won’t wake her family, she chases it, and it accidentally takes her from our world to…where?
Now she and a strange and mouthy rabbit are facing down a powerful Shadow Dragon while Landon, Buddy, and the dragon who started this whole thing, are still searching for the little girl. What will happen next?
Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for well over 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 conclusion to this exciting tale is Ana Gets a New Friend.