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The Shadow Dragon
The first attack came without warning. The magnificent dragon with its shining red scales swooped down on the town of Zaplu. The red flames that shot from its mouth instantly incinerated buildings. People ran for cover, but there was none. They were swallowed whole. Suddenly, however, it stopped. The dragon abruptly ceased its attack and flew away to the mountains. No one understood why. But the Kingdom of Jelopia was thrown into a panic. A thriving, bustling town had just been wiped off the map.
King Phillip immediately called all his knights to an emergency counsel. He wanted to know where the dragon came from. It had been thought that the dragons had become extinct years ago. How is it possible that the dragons lived on, unnoticed until now? King Phillip was frightened at the fact that such large, dangerous animals could escape the notice of a prosperous kingdom. The group quickly assembled in a private area of Kilkley Castle. Sir Pinguidus, a pitiful, overweight excuse for a knight, was in a panic because the dragon had eaten his main food supplier. The other knights, however, were talking with the king, focused on the task at hand. John Mantello, the captain of the rangers, guardians of the forests, was reporting. “My Lord, it is impossible that any dragon could live in the woods. Their hot breath would not make living in the forest suitable, and it would be insulting to think that the rangers have not noticed any forest fires.”
“Where could they be then? They could not grow up on the plains, our farmers would have noticed! The mountains are unsuitable for all life!” King Phillip exclaimed.
“Sir, that isn’t exactly true.” Sir Tizio, the captain of the guard and most experienced knight, said. “The dwarfs have lived there since they were created. We should ask them if they have noticed anything unusual.”
“Very well, then. John and Sir Tizio will go to the dwarfs. I will not let 1447 be the last year the Kingdom of Jelopia exists,” the king said. “And for heaven sakes, get Sir Grasso some food before he dies!”
The Time Travel section of the United States Department of Transportation was in chaos. A rare dragon had been lost in transportation from zoo to zoo. This doesn’t happen. Not in the year 2743! That happened in the 2570’s, when time travel was new! Francis Johnson, the head of the Department of Time Travel, was thinking about the recent events. How? How could we have possibly messed up? Just then, David Beckerman, a high-ranking official in the FBI and a close friend of Francis, walked in.
“I’ve got good news and bad news, Frank,” he said.
“Good first then,” Francis replied.
“It wasn’t your fault that the dragon escaped. Now the bad news: Someone let it. We have just picked up some distress calls from the high-speed frigate the dragon was on. The captain and crew were captured by…something. No one’s sure what. They were forced to time warp to the year 1447. We have no idea why, but we have our history guys working on that one.”
“Thanks David. Get a hold of me when you get the info.” Francis said.
Grandeross flew to a cave. He was confused. He had been kept in a container by the humans. He didn’t mind; they were kind and treated him well. He didn’t speak their language, but he could tell they were moving him somewhere. Then a dark shadow creature came. It was evil, and scared him. The humans fought it, but it had amazing powers. It disappeared and reappeared somewhere else. The humans had been captured and forced to take him to this new, strange land. Then…he didn’t remember. He woke up in a primitive village. Something had destroyed it. Everything was on fire, humans dressed strangely ran, and…there was blood on him…blood in his mouth…blood on his claws. His stomach was full. What happened? Did I destroy the village? How? I have no anger against the humans. He tried to sleep, pondering the past events. There is something familiar about this place…this cave. Something has drawn me here…Grandeross’s large, ruby eyes closed and he fell asleep.
Grandeross woke with a start. He remembered more from the transport vessel. Before he became unconscious, the shadow-demon had come toward him. He had felt it…enter into his body…he lost control of his actions…and had fallen into a deep slumber. He knew the two-legs were in trouble and that he was the demon’s puppet; controlled to do what it willed. “I must fight it and not let it take me again,” he thought. “It is evil, and I am not.”
Just then, he sensed something in his cave. The demon! “Leave me!” Grandeross told it. “I am not yours! Go back where you came from!”
“Fool!” the demon said. “There is no weapon in existence that can destroy me!”
“We’ll see.” Grandeross thought as he spat fireballs at it. The demon only laughed.
“Fear me, for I am Liscivia!” the demon, Liscivia, said. “I am invincible!”
As Liscivia closed in, Grandeross roared, long and loud. The mountains echoed. Trees bent. The stalactites in the top of his cave shook…then fell. One impaled itself in Liscivia’s leg. He let out an evil shriek. The two sounds joined, louder and louder. Closer and closer Liscivia limped, increasing Grandeross’s terror. Still he roared. Liscivia still shrieked. The two sounds rose, increasing in volume until the trees shook! And then, suddenly, inexplicitly, it was silent. A magnificent red dragon with shining red scales picked itself up off the ground, a black gleam in his eye.
Sir Tizio and John trekked through the mountains. John was disturbed. A short while ago, he and Sir Tizio had heard a loud, wild roar. What on earth could have made that? Was it the dragon? John shuddered at the thought. “A wild boar on a rampage is considered bad by the rangers.” John told Sir Tizio. “A dragon though? Lets just say that the most valuable order I can give if one attacks is ‘Retreat’.”
“I hope your rangers are more valuable than that!” Sir Tizio laughed.
“Me too,” John said, not sharing any humor with Sir Tizio.
“Oh, lighten up! The Knights of Jelopia drove the dragons away once, and we can do it again!” Sir Tizio said confidently. “I guess we had some help from the rangers.”
John smiled. Tizio was always humble. “Here is a nice cave, let’s settle down for the night,” John said. “I’m getting tired.” The two entered the cave. All the stalactites in the cave were laying on the ground. What happened here? John thought.
“Why are all the stalactites laying in the ground?” Sir Tizio asked out loud. Neither had a chance to ponder this strange occurrence, because at that moment, a large figure slid into the entryway, blocking most of the light. Two eyes, abnormally black, reflected what little light was given by the two explorer’s torches. Their fire was joined a moment later with fire shot from the dragon’s mouth.
The loud, startling noise of the phone ringing woke Francis. He had fallen asleep at his desk—after all, it was 2 AM. “Frank Johnson, Time Travel speaking,” he said into the phone.
“Frank, its David. We’ve got more info on the dragon. Do you have a minute?”
“Yeah, only thing better I have to do is sleep.”
“Same here. It turns out the dragon was taken from the year 1425, the same period the people of that time thought the dragons went extinct. Most of our specimens come from that decade. We rescued them from the hunting parties of the knights. This one was young when we caught it, and we had to wipe his memory to keep him from becoming depressed. Sometimes this procedure doesn’t work right. We know that dragons somehow communicate telepathically with each other. We think it might be possible that the dragon broke free, over-powered the crew of the frigate, and used that same communication technique to have them take it back to his own time. It seems he got the years wrong, however. I’m preparing a party to take it back now, before it creates time chaos—the people think the dragons have been gone for years. Do you want to come?” Francis was afraid of being in a battle with a dragon, but he had never seen one before.
“You have its coordinates than?” Francis asked.
“Yep. It is in the same cave we picked it up from.”
“Well, count me in, unless you expect me to shoot the thing. I’m no good with a gun.”
Sir Tizio and John drew their weapons. They knew that it was useless to fight a dragon with only two, unarmored men, especially when the dragon was defending its territory. Officers of Jelopia won’t known to go down without a fight, and Tizio and John were no exceptions. John released an arrow from his bow while Tizio charged the beast. By the time he had taken two steps, John had released another arrow, which the dragon batted aside with its scale-armored foreleg. It clattered into a corner, joining the first arrow. Tizio charged, laying a mighty blow on the dragons shoulder. His sword bounced off, absolutely harmless. The dragon was distracted enough for one of John’s arrows to impale itself in his soft underside, but no pain registered in the dragons actions. The arrow simply faded away, not leaving a wound or even a scar. “What the…” was the only words Tizio could get out before he was sent across the room by a wave of the dragon’s powerful wing.
Suddenly, there was another dragon at the front of the cave, this one a deep sapphire color. Glowing blue flames shot from its mouth, engulfing the other dragon, which could now be distinguished as red. Tizio and John looked at each other, surprised by the appearance of the new ally. A loud roar emanated from the ball of fire. Finally, the dragon was in pain.
Grandeross was awakened. He could not move, but he could see and feel. Pain flooded his senses. He tried to roar, but found he already was. He fought for control of his limbs, finally gained it, and jumped out of the fire. He quickly took in his surroundings: two humans, one with a strange curved thing and another with a sharp, shiny stick were watching him warily. Another dragon, this one blue, was in the mouth of the cave. He realized that the flames that had surrounded him were also blue. Why is one of my own attacking me? Are the humans attacking too? His question was answered when the one with the pointy stick rushed at him, swinging it. Pain flowed from his right foreleg as readily as his blood. His body jumped backwards for him. He saw the wound close, and he was no longer in pain. His leg kicked out, on its own, knocking the human backwards against the wall. What is happening? I cannot control myself!
John was rooted to the spot, too surprised to do anything. When the red dragon emerged from the fire, not only was he not the least bit burnt, but his eyes had changed to a deep red. He watched in a daze as Tizio charged again, this time succeeding in cutting the dragon’s foreleg open. Suddenly, the dragon’s eyes blackened again, but not to their original color: a hint of red remained. As the wound was healing, Tizio was knocked into the wall…again. This time, he did not get up.
Francis and David were waiting with a group of highly trained commandoes to be transported back to the dragon’s location. They got the green light—it was go time. They stepped into a special room and were whisked into hyperspace, hurtling through time. Moments later, they appeared in the year 1447. All stared in shock at the scene before their eyes. Not one, but two dragons stood in the cave. One was obviously the missing one; he was red. The other was new; a sapphire color. Two knights were in the cave: one was standing, holding a drawn bow, pointed at the dragon. The other was lying unconscious in the back of the cave. Stalactites lay broken on the floor. As they watched, the blue dragon pounced on the red one, which let out a blast of fire before it was hit. The standing man dove out of the way, leaving his bow. It incinerated in the heat of the ruby flames. The man, who had no sword, picked up a stalactite and chucked it at the red dragon. Clearly, this was the common enemy.
John crouched on the floor, panting. He had lost his bow in the attack seconds ago, and was defenseless. He picked up a stalactite and through it as hard as he could at the red dragon. It hit his hind leg. Surprisingly, pain registered on the dragon’s face—real pain. It stood stunned for a moment. John heard a shout. He looked behind him to see if Tizio was back up. Instead, he saw many more men, dressed in strange, black clothes. What are they holding? They are shaped so oddly, but they must be clubs of some sort. One of these strange men shouted something, but John had a hard time understanding. They spoke English, but it was very different from what he spoke. At their leaders command, they pointed their clubs at the red dragon, now brawling with the blue dragon, and loud noises were emitted from them. John yelped and ran to the side of the cave. The red dragon reeled backwards, as if pushed by some invisible force, although no sign of injury appeared. What are these strange weapons?
Grandeross felt a rock one of the pointy rocks hit his leg. He felt the demon recoil in pain, giving him momentary control over his body. The rocks hurt it! he realized. Before he could get one, however, he was hit by the new humans’ guns. (These people were dressed normally.) The demon shielded him from the bullets, but their force pushed him backwards. Grandeross felt a sudden urge of willpower, and he pushed the demon out of him. I can move!
Francis watched in amazement. A dark being had emerged from the dragon, whose eyes had become red. The dragon immediately picked up a stalactite and stabbed the creature in the chest. The shadow shrank until there was nothing left but a burnt stalactite. The battle was over.
The dragons looked at each other. Thank you for your help, Grandeross told it. Then the blue dragon flew away. Grandeross turned to the normal humans. It’s time to go home. He went with them into the time portal.
John watched all the happenings. What just happened? What will I tell the king?