Finally the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology “Magical Reality” is available for pre-order on Amazon for delivery to your Kindle device on Friday, March 8th. It features my short story “The Dragon’s Family” which is based on the very first tale I wrote for my grandson over two-and-a-half years ago. Make sure you get your copy as soon as possible.
Chapter 8: The temperature on this “night world” had suddenly become sub-zero, but that wasn’t the reason for Landon’s paralyzed muscles as the vampire Estaban lunged for his throat. The seventeen-year-old wizard was still holding tightly to his staff, and in a panic, he released a wave of light from the iron covered top, now shaped to resemble an eagle.
The disfigured undead being shrieked in horror as the simulated Sun’s rays raked across his melted face, the result of being engulfed in a dragon’s breath, as he reeled backward. Brilliant illumination continued to shine forth from the head of the staff, engulfing a three meter in diameter area around the two of them, the only sanctuary from the otherwise arctic winter that had possessed the wooded landscape. The snow was streaming down all around them, driven by high winds, but inside the mystic bubble, everything was warm and calm, except that the screams of the vampire had now been reduced to a helpless mewing.
“Talk. What happened to you? Who’s behind all this?” The experience was far too close to his recurring nightmare to be mere coincidence, but Landon still didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle put together yet.
“The Master,” Estaban gasped, agony coursing through him like poison in this veins. “You can’t stop him. You’re dead already, just like me.”
Chapter 3: “It’s a good thing the biotrace found him.”
Landon heard a familiar voice, a man’s voice. The Master? Where was Buddy?
“Yes sir. Another few minutes and his signal would have faded forever.”
It was Carmen Ramsey, Landon’s doctor; the one who treated his wounds after one of the Games, the Roman’s sword. Yes, he remembered.
“Without the collar, he was free of our influence, and in his case, the ability to use sorcery was restored. He is too valuable a contestant to lose. Besides, if he ever freed the dragon…” The Master abruptly stopped talking.
“Wait. He’s coming to.” Carmen put her hand on his forehead.
Chapter 2: War, except the Master didn’t call it war, he called it “the Games.” Games, but these games were deadly.
It had been weeks, no…months ago when seventeen-year-old Landon had stood in the main Arena at training camp with the other recruits, all kidnapped as he was, from all over the Earth, and from all over time. They had one purpose: to represent this realm in the Games, to fight, battle after battle, war after war, and if they won, the realm gained territory. If they lost, so did the realm, and that meant they died.
They still wore their collars, for cowardliness or defection to the other side would not be tolerated. At the first sign a soldier’s betrayal, there would be a warning pain. At the second, the collar’s charge would be fatal.
For Landon, and some of the others, the collar had a secondary effect: it cancelled the ability to perform any form of sorcery, a skill for which the teen had trained since he was a child.
Today’s game was “Flanders Field,” reminiscent of the trenches and killing grounds of Earth’s First World War, except the other side had styled their troops not only from the early 20th century, but from the first century Roman Empire, the eighteen century American Revolutionary War, and one platoon carried plasma rifles from the twenty-second century Cyborg Wars.
Chapter 1: Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon had only been sporadically living with Landon and his family for the past year or so. Now that he had grown to his full stature (about the size of a school bus), he always had to shrink himself downwhen he came to stay with them, as he had right now.
He didn’t tell his seventeen-year-old apprentice anything about his “secret missions,” and Landon knew all too well that once the Dragon’s mind was made up, there was no changing it. The only time they got to spend with each other was during his lessons in the teen’s personal pocket universe, the small pouch which was its entrance was sitting on the top of his book shelf here in his bedroom.
The high school senior slammed shut his calculus book, tossed it on the floor with the other texts, and got off his bed. He pulled the ear buds out and closed the music app on his phone, stuffing it in his pocket. He felt strangely anxious. There was something not right, but his senses couldn’t pinpoint it.
After giving Alfred and Merlyn Landon’s invisibility cloak, and making sure they entered the secret entrance to the Moose King’s castle, Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon used a separate and most secret entrance himself, this time straight to Hell, or as close as he could get without being dead or dying. Asmodius, the head of all of Hell’s demons, wouldn’t expect him to enter their realm by posing as one of the dead on a barge crossing the River Styx.
The dragon, Landon, and their magical companion Yao Jin had been exceedingly lucky to escape this place in the past. But he couldn’t let Landon die, and he would do anything to save the boy, including sacrifice his own life and soul. However, there was more involved in his quest than even that.
Stop! If you haven’t done so already, read The Quest to Save Landon first.
Landon’s soul shot straight up from the pits of Hell as fast as he could go, but Hell was a lot more confusing than he realized. There were all kinds of tunnels and passageways all over the place. Which one led him out of Hell, and even if he could find it, how was he going to get back to the Moose realm and his dying body?
“Wait!” He saw a blue light just above him. “That’s got to be it.”
He heard yelling, and screaming, and a bunch of voices making vile threats against him. Looking back, there were hundreds of winged demons pursuing him, and they were catching up.
Nine-year-old Landon and his classmate and friend Ana were in school, which was strange, because school was out for the summer. What was even stranger was that Landon was at the head of the class and Ana was the only student.
“Now today class, I want to introduce you to magic wands.” He was wearing a white shirt and tie, dark slacks, and was wearing something that looked like a cross between a jacket and a robe while Ana was dressed similarly.
“Stop being silly. I’m the only one here.”
“Just trying to get into the mood, Ana.”
“Fine, you teach me how to use a wand, and I’ll teach you moose healing magic.”
“Are you sure we should be keeping this from Buddy?”
“You said you knew enough to begin my training yourself. Besides, we’re ready to start the fourth grade. I think we’re old enough to handle the basic stuff ourselves.”
“Okay. Anyway, this is a magic wand.”
“It looks like a long, thin stick. What makes it magic?”
“We do. Wands help us focus our spells, especially ones that normally would affect a wide area.”
“Like my light spell.”
“Exactly. The elemental light spell explodes like a bomb or a flash bulb on an old-fashioned camera. If you focus it through a wand, you can create anything from a flashlight beam to a laser.”
“Cool. Can I try?” She stood up at her desk and held out her hand.
Ana was still hanging on to the barely conscious dragon Merlyn and his companion Alfred, the bunny in the bow tie, using her amulet of flight to keep them up in the air. They were just above the treetops when they drifted over a trail. In fact it was the trail, the one that led back to the Moosemen village, and it wasn’t empty.
All of the Moosewomen, led by Ha Shu’s wife Lai Ma Moose, were riding on a herd of moose, the herd that had led Ana to the village in the first place. They were all wearing armor and helmets and carrying spears and swords. The little girl managed to glide in for a landing just a few hundred yards ahead of them, but Lai Ma had to pull up on the reins hard, as did the other Moosewomen warriors, to keep from running over the trio.
Lai Ma quickly dismounted and rushed over to them.
“Can you do anything? He’s hurt.” The child was pleading with her voice and her eyes.
“I believe so. First, let’s get you off of the road.”
Stop! Don’t read this unless you’ve first read The Runaway Stuffed Rabbit!
Alfred the Rainbow Rabbit sitting on the back of Merlyn the Dragon shot up into the air over Ana’s backyard like a bullet.
The nine-year-old girl’s Mom witnessing the astonishing sight nearly fainted, and the Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon followed the pair a scant second later. As Ana ran outside after all of them, a sudden whirlwind picked her up, and she flew into the air after all three of the supernatural beings.
Her Mom screamed, terrifying Ana’s little brother as he stared at these amazing events from the family’s back patio.
“Buddy! What are you doing? What’s going on?”
The dragon didn’t seem to hear the girl as all four of them continued to soar skyward toward a strange, black cloud.