Hello fair pickles! I’m not sure about the rest of you, but these few months have FLOWN BY. It seems just yesterday I was awaiting the first challenge of AAWC, and now I’m writing my Wordcrafters chapter!
Here you are!
For the past two days, Esme, Pippin, and Vivi had been trudging along the path, soaked to the bone. The sky had poured bucketful after bucketful of rain, leaving the children wet, annoyed, and miserable. Even Pippin wasn’t his usual easy going self. Vivi, who usually helped keep the spirits up, grumbled and muttered under her breath. Esme was simply miserable.
The children awoke that morning to a cloudy sky threatening even more rain. Vivi grumbled as she prepared breakfast, jerking the food pellets from the bag and sprinkling a little water on them. They expanded, as Katri promised, into small sweet cakes covered in honey. Vivi passed them out and plopped on a log by the fire.
Vivi groaned. “I can’t stand this any longer! I’m sick of trudging through the mud and being soaked to the bone!”
“Ditto,” Pippin sighed, “but we can’t get home until we deliver the dragon. Speaking of the dragon,” Pippin turned to Esme. “How is he?”
“How do you know it’s a he?” Vivi asked defiantly.
“Because I’m the oldest and I make the rules around here!” Pippin shot back.
Esme had begun to cry. “Please, stop fighting!” she said through sobs.
Vivi patted Esme’s hand. “Sorry Esme. You’re right.”
Pippin nodded and turned to Esme. “Now, what about that dragon?”
Esme wiped her eyes and turned to the basket that Katri had given her. She removed the cloth covering and peeked inside. The baby dragon was curled up, snoring contentedly. Its violet skin was flecked with bits of silver, reminding Esme of a starry night. The dragon’s wings were folded up like a fan, and its tail was tucked underneath its body.
Esme smiled and looked back at the others. “She’s fine.” She said.
Vivi looked relieved. “That’s a relief. If anything happens to her, we’re dead meat.”
“I know,” Pippin replied.
Vivi jumped up. “We’d better get going,” she said. “This dragon isn’t going to deliver itself!”
By the afternoon, the sun had begun to peek out from behind the clouds, lightening everyone’s mood. Vivi skipped and danced ahead, Esme hummed a tune to herself, and Pippin was back to making up horrible puns.
Pippin ran up to Vivi. “What eats more tacos than one dragon?” he asked.
Vivi rolled her eyes. “What?”
“Two dragons!” Pippin yelled. He burst out laughing, but stopped when he saw Vivi’s face.
“Sorry,” he said. “That was corny. Ha! Get it?”
Vivi shook her head and slapped him. But he continued to call out, “Get it? Corny!”
Esme was paying no attention to the others. Instead, she kept peeking at the baby dragon. She would take a few steps, then stop, lift up the cloth, and smile at the baby dragon that was awake. Its milky eyes met Esme’s own brown ones with affection.
“You’re just the cutest thing ever!” she exclaimed. She stopped suddenly, straining her ears. From behind her, she heard rustling and hollow whispers.
Esme walked faster, her eyes fixed on the dragon. Before she knew what was happening, she tripped and fell to the ground. The basket flew through the air, landing near her. She winced as she tried to stand. Her ankle was throbbing. She managed to hobble a few feet, but fell back to the ground.
Tears welled in her eyes. “Oh, please, someone help me!”
Esme looked up and saw Vivi and Pippin running to her. Vivi crouched and examined Esme’s ankle. She reached for the potion labeled Healing and lifted it to Esme’s lips. Esme drank, and sighed.
“How’s that?” Vivi asked.
Esme nodded and managed to croak, “Better.”
In a flash, Vivi fastened a makeshift splint and soon they were on their way again. Vivi helped Esme hobble along, while Pippin was in charge of the basket.
Vivi glanced at the sky. Clouds had begun to gather on the horizon, threatening rain. “We’d better find some shelter,” she said.
Soon the children were safe inside the mouth of a nearby cave. Vivi had made a roaring fire and Esme was feeling much better.
From somewhere to their left, came a voice.
“Leave immediately!” A twisted figure emerged from the shadows, covered in a dark cloak.
Pippin reached for his sword, but the figure shook its head. “You must leave,” said the low, gravelly voice. “They’re coming for you.”
“Why?” Vivi asked defiantly. “We have resources. We can fight.”
The figure shook its head again. “You must leave. You are only safe when the dragon is returned to its home.” The figure glanced around feverishly. “Quickly! You don’t have much time!”
Vivi glanced at Pippin, then Esme. She nodded and helped Esme to her feet. “Pippin, grab the basket and the food bag. Let’s go.”
The figure led the children to the back of the cave, where a passage led upward.
“Follow this path,” the figure said, “you will end up back outside. Quickly!”
The children nodded and made their way up the passage. As promised, they found themselves back outside, at the edge of a cliff face.
Esme sighed and leaned against a rock. She retrieved the basket from Pippin and lifted the cloth.
Esme gasped in horror. The dragon was gone.
DUN DUN DUNNNN!!! How did you like it? 😄
There you are, Allison! Zielle, you’re up next!
What’s the temperature like where you are? It’s 90 degrees here.