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Queen Lexi woke up between her satin sheets, her dark hair strewn across her pillow. As her eyes adjusted to the light of the morning sun, she glanced around her room. She looked first at the royal chandelier suspended above her bed and then at the dark maroon curtains separating her from the balcony that hovered above LexiLand. Finally her eyes were drawn to the small warm body curled up at the foot of her bed. Tyler, a baby dragon and also her son, was nestled in her comforter, fast asleep. Lexi smiled at her son and gently extracted herself from bed.
She dressed in a pale blue gown, leather boots, and a silver necklace which helped to bring out the natural glitter in her skin, and sashayed over to the balcony. Stepping out, her hair fluttered with the cool breeze. Lexi surveyed her land; it was beautiful. She could see the whole kingdom from her floating palace, which hung in the air above it all. But Lexi also watched the ocean swirl around her island and she knew there was something more out there. Something bigger than LexiLand, something bigger than herself. Lost in her thoughts, she almost didn’t notice the screen door slide open behind her. Baby Tyler waddled in and hugged her leg. He didn’t even come up to her knee.
“Mommy!” He cried, as his scales turned from blue to pink.
“Good morning!” Lexi exclaimed. “Would you like your breakfast now?” Tyler nodded and jumped into Lexi’s arms.
Lexi and Tyler soon found themselves in the kitchen. Lexi’s advisor, Violet, was no where to be seen. Lexi extended her arm up towards the highest shelf to retrieve Tyler’s applesauce, but could not reach. Then she decided to call upon Tyler’s size-changing abilities.
“Tyler,” Lexi began. “Will you grow big and get the applesauce down?”
Tyler closed his eyes and started to shake. Lexi recognized this as his preparation for shape-shifting. But when Tyler reopened his eyes, he was still the small little Tyler he had been when he woke up in the morning.
“It didn’t work!” He announced, worried. “What happened mommy?”
“I don’t know! Something must’ve happened to your pearl.” Lexi gathered her son in her arms, and with great urgency, hurried over to a tall wardrobe. She threw open the doors and before her stood a small purple cushion that once held a pearl the size of a baseball. The pearl gave Tyler his shape-shifting powers, and without it he was trapped in his child form.
“Oh no!” Lexi uttered, staring at the empty shelf in despair. “We must travel to visit Fera, the mermaid-prophet, to find out what has happened.”
Tyler, with tears in his tiny eyes, climbed into a small black backpack which Lexi gingerly placed over her shoulder. And then the two began their journey.
When Lexi and Tyler arrived at the mermaid’s cabin, Fera promptly threw open the door. Panic in her eyes, she grabbed Lexi’s arm in her delicate hand and began to describe what she had seen in her crystal ball.
“Your Majesty! Tyler’s pearl has been stolen by Lexi from the other-world! She is trying to take over our LexiLand as well, so she needed Tyler’s power. There is a well in my backyard that leads down to the opposite dimension where evil Lexi lives. Run, hurry, stop her, retrieve the pearl and save us! Please!” She sobbed. Lexi scrambled over to the well and settled into the bucket. Fera lowered her and Tyler down with the rope and a sad look in her eyes. Lexi and Tyler watched as they plunged deeper and deeper into the ground. At first it seemed to be getting darker as LexiLand disappeared, but eventually the light of another world surrounded them.
Tyler and Lexi crash landed on the roof of a modest residence. Everything looked exactly like how it did back home, except it seemed to have lost its pigments. Only Tyler and Lexi remained coloured.
“Wow, this place is so unappealing.” Lexi observed.
“Where are we mommy?” Tyler questioned, looking around. “This looks like Auntie Juju’s house!”
As if on cue, someone opened the front door and stepped out. It was Auntie Juju. Sorta. Below Lexi and Tyler, stood Lexi’s sister; but she was ten feet tall with three heads, fangs, and five inch claws and a cartilage piercing. She, it, whipped around and roared at them, jumping up onto the roof in one smooth motion. “Juju” scratched at Lexi, but Tyler flew out of the backpack and bit her hand. “Juju” flung Tyler away, growling. Lexi screamed, hopping to her feet. “Juju” progressed towards her, and Lexi could feel her hot breath on her face. Lexi continued to back up until she reached the edge of the roof.
“Oh my god!” Lexi screamed. She shut her eyes, assuming this was the end. But suddenly, Tyler leaped to her rescue. He dove in front of Lexi and breathed red hot flames into “Juju”’s faces.
“RAWWWRRRRRRRR!” The monster thundered, backing up. Her center face was scorched and puffy, and the hair was completely burnt off the left one. “Juju” retreated and broke through the window of her own house.
“Baby are you okay?” Lexi nervously asked her son.
Tyler turned towards her and gave her a thumbs up and a grin. “Let’s go mommy!”
Lexi and Tyler began to meander along the main road, ducking behind grey trees and stone walls whenever someone passed by. They didn’t know what was in store for them, but they knew another fight lay ahead. As they wandered closer and closer to the palace, they started to hear a faint marching noise. The sound continued to get louder and louder and as they trudged up a hill, the source of the noise was discovered. Lexi gasped.
Before them stood an army of thousands. Tiny men, they couldn’t be more than 6 inches tall, were lined up in rows. They all had the same looks, and out from the crowd appeared their leader. He had the same face and hair but was close to six feet tall and wore a crown. He pointed and shouted orders at his men, who complied immediately.
“Sir!” A small general barked. “There seems to be a lady in our presence!” The leader turned around and looked at Lexi, who stood up on the hill, with Tyler wrapped around her ankle. Lexi recognised him.
“Uhm... Hi.” Lexi stammered, in awe of the little people. The army and it’s leader stared back at her, in awe of her and Tyler’s colours.
“Hello!” The leader called. “You must be the true Lexi from LexiLand! I am King Leonard Marx of Lenoria, and these are my Marxlings! It’s a pleasure to meet you ma’am.”
“You’re ugly!” Tyler shrieked, pointing. Lexi awkwardly cleared her throat.
After a moment, the king opened his mouth.“Okay, I respect your opinion. What a cute little dragon!” He chimed, rushing over to pat Tyler on the head.
Lexi’s eyes widened.
“Wow. He wouldn’t have responded like that back at home...” She thought to herself. “This place really isn’t like LexiLand!”
“Uhm, well I hate to bother you sir, but my son and I are looking for Anti-Lexi. She took Tyler’s pearl and is looking to conquer LexiLand.” Lexi explained with a diplomatic tone to her voice.
“Oh!” King Marx exclaimed. “Well, I’d love to help for she is a terrible and cruel ruler. But I’m afraid the best I can do is give you some of my best Marxlings for the road.” As he said this, several tiny men ran to Lexi’s feet, so Tyler pawed at them angrily. One climbed up onto King Marx’s shoulder and whispered something into his ear. “Oh no! It appears that our lieutenant has gone missing!”
“As an act of gratitude,” Lexi began. “We will help you find him!”
Lexi, Tyler, and the king began their search. The three looked for an hour with no such luck when Lexi decided she would climb a tree to get a better view. After several failed attempts and a few new bruises, she finally pulled herself up to the tallest branch. Lexi peered around the valley when suddenly she heard a noise behind her.
“Excuse me, miss. But I seem to be in a bit of a... predicament.” A small Marxling said from his seat in a robin’s nest.
“I found him!” Lexi called down to the others. “What are you doing up here?”
“Well, one moment I was down with my fellow soldiers when suddenly a bird swooped down and carried me here! Thank goodness you came to the rescue!” The Marxling rambled. Lexi extended her hand and he climbed onto it. Then the two lowered back down to the ground.
“Thank you so much!” The king and his Marxlings rejoiced. Lexi beamed, very proud of herself.
“Mommy, we should get going!” Tyler reminded her.
“Oh. Right.” Lexi stated. “Well goodbye then. Thank you for the Marxlings!”
“Goodbye, Lexi! I wish you the best of luck!” The king replied, waving as Tyler and Lexi disappeared over the next hill.
Lexi and Tyler hiked a mile or two more and they soon reached the elevator to the palace.
“Are you ready for this?” Lexi nervously asked. Tyler smirked, showing a little toothy grin. Lexi pressed the button and a compact golden elevator appeared before them. They got on and watched out the window as they passed the birds and the clouds and eventually reached the top.
At the palace, they were immediately confronted by a ginger bread man guard. However, the Marxlings jumped out of Lexi’s bag to challenge the ginger bread man, and Lexi and Tyler slipped passed, unnoticed. The two were very familiar with the palace considering it was the same as their home in LexiLand, and soon located the throne room. They peered around a column and there sat Anti-Lexi in her throne of velvet and gold.
Anti-Lexi’s black hair was piled as a mass of braids on head and she wore a long robe of silk. She held a staff and on the top of it sat Tyler’s pearl. She looked like Lexi from a distance, but unlike Lexi’s warm hazel eyes, her black ones sent chills down our heroes’ spines.
Abruptly, Tyler jumped out from his hiding place into the center of the room. Anti-Lexi stood up from her chair.
“Tyler!” She boomed, her voice echoing through the stone chamber. “How did you get in here?”
“You stole my pearl! I hate you!” Tyler bawled, charging at Anti-Lexi, who promptly rolled her eyes. He pounced on her and bit her arm, hanging on even as she shook him violently.
“You disgusting dragon, get off of me!” Anti-Lexi growled. Tyler dug several sharp claws into her skin, drawing her dark grey blood. Anti-Lexi screeched, a horrible noise escaping her lips.
She began to point her staff at Tyler, and Lexi realised what was about to happen. She leaped from behind the column and screamed just as a beam of light shot from Anti-Lexi’s staff, nailing Tyler in the chest. Tyler flew across the room and slammed into the far wall, dropping to the floor, unconscious. His shining scales dimmed from red to a dull grey as he gradually stopped moving. Anti-Lexi grinned and her eyes slowly shifted over to Lexi.
Lexi’s eyes filled with tears and she let out a sob. Tyler’s face began to disappear from her memories as she registered what life without him would be like. She wasn’t about to lose her son... Or at least not without revenge.
“What did you do to him?” Lexi snarled.
Anti-Lexi shrugged. “That really should not be your biggest concern, Lexi. I’d be more worried about what I am going to do to you now, and what I will do to your people once you are gone.”
“No! You will never hurt another person again.” Lexi muttered, advancing towards her twin. She looked daggers at Anti-Lexi, pure hatred and savagery in her eyes.
Anti-Lexi chuckled, but then she noticed the colour draining from Lexi’s lips. They faded, just as Tyler had, except Lexi seemed to be surging with power instead. Anti-Lexi felt her arms go limp and herself become weaker. As Lexi’s final tint vanished and she became entirely black and white, Anti-Lexi’s energy slipped away. She clutched her staff to keep from falling over. She suddenly understood that she and Lexi were connected, and Lexi had just stolen her vitality.
“Since Tyler may never wake up, I will never forgive you.” Lexi stated, a new viciousness in her voice from the corruption she absorbed. Her eyes glinted with resentment.
Although she was fatigued, Anti-Lexi snickered. “What are you going to do?” She challenged.
Almost immediately, Lexi’s torso began to glow. Anti-Lexi raised an eyebrow in surprise as a beam of rainbow-coloured sparkles burst from within Lexi, directly at the evil queen. The glitter smashed into Anti-Lexi, so she yelped out in disbelief. The beam swerved and hoisted Anti-Lexi into the air. With some reluctance, she crashed through the roof and into the sky. A moment later, she along with the glitter, exploded into fireworks. Anti-Lexi, although despicable, erupted into flares of maroon, gold, copper, teal, and lavender, which illuminated the sky. King Marx and his men, “Juju”, and many others gazed up at the beautiful sight, unaware that it symbolised the death of their sadistic ruler.
When the sky calmed to its pale grey glow, Lexi sighed in relief. She collapsed to the ground, and as she caught her breath, the green and mahogany returned to her eyes, the rose to her cheeks, and the azure to her dress. She lay on the floor with her eyes closed for a moment until she felt something bounce into her hand. She opened her eyes and there beside her was Tyler’s pearl. It had fallen from the explosion, and Lexi realised it was the key to Tyler’s resurrection.
Lexi jerked up and scrambled over to Tyler. When she placed the pearl in his small hand, she heard a small whimper. Steadily, the colour returned to his scales as well. His recovery began to accelerate as he wiggled, then nudged her hand, and finally hopped to his feet.
“Mommy!” He chirped, ruffling his wings. “You did it!”
“Yes! Now let’s go home!” Lexi announced, standing up.
Tyler nodded eagerly, and once again closed his eyes. He started to shake faster and faster, enlarging by the second. Lexi stepped back, and when Tyler reopened his eyes, he was the size of a school bus.
“Hop on mommy!”
Tyler and Lexi soared through the grey atmosphere of the other world, waving to the King and his Marxlings, who would be taking over for Anti-Lexi, as they disappeared into the horizon. When Fera heaved Lexi and Tyler back up through the well, they returned as heroes.
That night, after Lexi had put Tyler to sleep, she stepped back out onto the balcony. As she watched over her kingdom, she felt as if she had been gone for ages. The rolling hills were welcoming and the evergreens reached out to her. Again Lexi looked at the dark ocean that surrounded her beaches, but this time was uninterested by them. As she observed LexiLand and saw her son over her shoulder, she realised she had everything she needed right here with her.