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Leila of the Dragons This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Tell me a story, Gramma," Iasked.

"Hmm? I'm sorry, I'm expecting important visitors.I'm a bit distracted. What kind of story would you like?"

"Astory full of magic and adventure with a wonderful braveheroine."

"Why don't I tell you a true story? It's a verysqueezed her eyes shut. Kything as strongly as she could, she commandedthe dragonlings to be still. Reaching out, she touched Flame's wing. Bestill, be still, be still, she whispered in her mind, trying to calm thedragonlings' fear flooding her thoughts. Fortunately, it seemed thedragonlings were too scared to move or make a sound. If only Flamedoesn't decide to be a hero. Flame expressed his delight at her thoughtwith a burst of color in her head. Don't you dare, Flame, she kythed.It's too dangerous. You'll only get us in more trouble.

Afterwhat seemed like ages, the hunters moved on. With a soft sigh she got upand called for the dragonlings. Are you all here? she asked. That surewas exciting. Swiftwing made an uncomfortable noise and sent herpictures of Flame flying after the hunters. Leila's eyes widened. Flame!she called. Get back here, right now! The only answer she got was aswirl of colors filling her mind. Flame was having the time of his life.Gritting her teeth she went after him, sending back an order for theothers to stay put.

When she caught up to Flame, she found himwheeling and cavorting joyfully after a pair of singed and screaminghunters. Leila couldn't help but smile at the scene - two grown menrunning from a little dragon barely out of his baby teeth. She calledfor Flame again, and this time he returned. Beat 'em good, didn't I? hecried.

Leila smiled. Flame was trouble, but she couldn't imaginelife without him. She grinned, remembering when they first met. As soonas he spotted her, he had swooped down from a high ledge and attemptedto burn her to the ground. Fortunately, he had been too young to causeanything but a nuisance, though it did show he deserved his name. Hewould become a great warrior dragon one day.

So, how about it,Flame? she kythed. Will you become a great and mighty dragon like yourfather? Leila waited for Flame's answer, but he didn't reply. Then shenoticed the colors the dragonlings produced in her mind weren't thereanymore.

Running toward where she left the dragonlings, shecalled out frantically, Flame, Swiftwing, Firedemon, Darkblood, can youhear me? Leila had gotten used to the colors and sounds constantlyinvading her thoughts, and the silence scared her. Suddenly she trippedand found herself bobbing upside down in the air right in front of afamed dragon hunter.

He sneered. "So, I've found the dragonhelper. Are these little pretties yours?" Moving away, he showed her thedragonlings, entranced by the sound of a young man playing a silver tonepipe.

The dragon hunter smiled maliciously. "You know whenthey're under the control of the pipe I can order your little friends todo anything I want, don't you? I have them under my control, so Isuggest you tell us everything. Your little pet made a fool of my men,but now the tables are turned."

Leila cringed. The dragonhunter wasn't lying; it was very easy to control dragons entranced bytone pipes. Even grown dragons were susceptible to the dangerous sound.What am I going to do?

Suddenly a large dragon plummeted fromthe sky, breaking the tone pipe's spell. Run! she kythed. Obediently,the dragonlings swooped into the forest. Flame stayed behind and burnedthe rope Leila was hanging from, and the two of them rantogether.

After the dragon finished off the hunter and histeam, she followed Leila and Flame into the woods. Alighting on abranch, she spoke. Leila, you have been a great help in our cause, butthe time has come for the dragons to journey to a new world, where theycan dwell in peace.

I understand, Leila kythed. I knew thedragonlings wouldn't be around forever, but why now? Why sosuddenly?

The dragon hunters have become too strong. We mustleave, or be destroyed, the dragon said.

Leila sighed. You haveto go, she said to the dragonlings. I'm sorry but you knew you couldn'tstay with me forever. Hugging Flame, she kythed, It'll be alright,you'll see. You'll like it in your new world. You'll be able to staywith other dragons now.

The dragonlings chirped their worry. Comewith us, Leila, they said.

To Leila's surprise, it was Flame, whowould miss her most, who said, We have to go now. We're not safe hereanymore. Leila took care of us, and she will visit our new home, but wehave to go now. Turning to Leila he kythed, just low enough so that onlyshe could hear him, On the night of the dragon moon, when the linkbetween worlds opens, that's when we'll come. Then he turnedaway.

With tears in her eyes, Leila watched the dragon fly offwith the four dragonlings she had learned to love.

*      *      *little one. Now watch the sky."

Hand in hand, grandmother andgranddaughter watched as a flock of dragons flew down from the sky.

We said we'd come for you this night.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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