SS The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper:: Chapter 32 : Nugget and Dominik

The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper starts off as any other low brow elf seeking a real place in life.  He didn’t think the real place would be babysitter to a dragon.  Part of him wishes the dragon mother decided on eating him instead of shoving him into this new role.  What was he thinking getting involved with Linda or Hartliebe or thinking he deserved more in life than running a beer company.  Beer is his life.  Or it was.  His life now seems a lot different.  And scary.
Genres: Adventure, fantasy

[WIP: The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper]

Nugget and Dominik

“Come on, Cyro.  We’re almost to our key.”  I keep my eyes on the direction we need to go and my mind on the prize at the top.

“Good.  I want these noises to stop.”  He follows me to the trail.

“What are you hearing?”

“You know I told you about my dragon friend, Barry, right?  The one who lives on the volcano?”  Cyro waits for me to nod.  “Well, I would not say he is my friend as much as his kids are.  Kirklyn, Ida, Christian, and Hannah range in age between four hundred and fifteen.  Ida and I were born in the same year even.  Kirklyn would drag us kids around the volcano trying to kill us.  She said train us, but I know the real reason.  Mother was very upset about it.”

The fact he stated all that to me means nothing.  Every piece of information is useless to me.  Volcano Barry and his kids may be useful at some later point, but right now I need to focus on the situations before me.

The walk up the mountain path is no more difficult than the walk to the trail.  Nothing attacks us like I thought would.  Perhaps they know not to attack a dragon?  Cyro coughs again smoke rising up around him.  “Are you okay?  This is the second time you did this.  Are you having problems?”

“I haven’t used my flame breath in a long while.  It is becoming a need to use soon, so I cough smoke.”

“Must you use your fire breath?”

“For us it is like eating or drinking.  We can do for long periods without, but every once in a while, something will be needed.”  Cyro covers his mouth and I spot another puff of smoke curl around his fingers.  “Yeah, very soon.  Or else I may fry something I do not mean to.”

“And after you breathe fire, can you do it again?”

“I can, but I may not.”  He frowns wincing while looking away.  “I never learnt control of my fire breath.  All I really can control is my transformation.”

That’s good to know.  “Well I am here too.  I have my muscles and Dragon Hartliebe’s wand.”

“Mother has so much control.”  Cyro sighs.  “She says I am falling behind.  I should be stuck in the cave learning, but I want to prove myself worthwhile.  I cannot leave Mother’s grounds without her, though.”

Which would include visiting Barry’s volcano.  What a horrible situation.  “Well, I can help you progress if you want me to.”

“Great.  Let’s have an elf who barely saw two decades help me control my dragon weapons and live on my own.”

“Is that what you need to prove?”

“If I can survive without help, I won’t be a baby anymore.”  Cyro states looking at the path.  The noises have disappeared.  The silence would mean danger is around if we ourselves were not danger.  “I want to be considered a Centurion.  I need to be.”

I nod not quite catching on to his use of ‘titles’.  “Well, we have a bit of time to figure it out.”

“And you will not age under Mother’s care.  So these next fifty years, if it takes me that long, will have me with a babysitter.”

“Friend.”  I point my finger at him sternly.  “You can call me friend.  If you dislike such a term as babysitter.”

“Then you call me friend and not call yourself the babysitter.”  He charges at me.  The words come with a fire blast.  He does not have the control.

My wand comes up with the word shield, but I am still singed.  “Ouch.”

“Sorry!”  Cyro comes up to me patting the fire out on my clothes.  “Let me fix this.”

“Let me try on my own.  You cannot even control your fire breath.”

Cyro huffs walking onward.  “You can’t either.  I haven’t seen you cast a real spell before either.”

Yeah, well, I don’t want him hurting me.  If I hurt myself I only have me to blame.  I really do not want to blame him.  The wand waves my clothes back into order.  The fire disappears on all but my skin.  The burnt skin will need a little more work to fix.  It was like the broken wings of that elf.  I need a real spell and I have no idea how to cast it.

I need Cat to teach me.  She has a lot of skills of a mage.  For now I will suffer with the burn marks across my skin.  I healed it enough to not hurt.  “Sorry, Cyro.”

“I’m more sorry!”  He yells at me.  “You don’t even let me try to fix it.”

“Save your magic.”  I turn away.  He seems to have limitless magic.

“It is my magic that makes you look perfect to other elves.  Ever since Cat overlooked you, I…”

“That’s your fault!?  Stop it.”  I throw my hands out.  “I want to look normal!”

“Normal elves are ignored.”  Cyro frowns at the path.  “Look let’s just fly to the top instead of walk this entire way.”

“Fine.  I’m sick of this conversation anyway.”  Soaring to the top we find the one thing we are looking for.  The key stabs into the ground and looks more like a thunder stick than a key.  The marks of Terrick running the length have me very confused.  Cyro grabs it, gets zapped, then takes a second to grab it a second time.  I see the lightning again, but he does not let go.  The simmering energy does not hurt him a second time.

“Do you have it?”  I look at him and the brimming lightning.

“You may not have noticed before, but I am an Electrum Dragon.”  He glares at me swallowing.  The energy disappears with his swallow.  And with it the surrounding strangeness diminishes.  “I can shoot lightning, after I practice.”

“I don’t understand the statement, but I know you have power.  I am pathetic compared to you, but you still need a lot of practice.”  I glance around wondering why the removed key did not stop all the strangeness.  We won’t make it away from here if the path isn’t clear.

“The missing key must be nearby.”  Cyro states my thoughts exactly.

“Where was the Cave?”

“The sign says this way.”  He points at a carved wooden sign headed in a random direction.

“Well then, let’s go.”

“I apologize beforehand if I shoot lightning at you.”  Cyro whispers while we start our walk.

“As long as I live, I don’t care.”  Shaking it off, I realize the next important piece of knowledge: I will have to carry the other key.  It is the size of the arm and has power.  This may be a tough trip back to Kristen.  Then we will be carrying a dangerous ‘key’ to an isle filled with strange creatures.  I spot the sun going down.  A quick translate makes me ready for our ghost, but as the night falls Tait does not show.  I fear for him, but focus on our current job.  Cave Tyger is just around this bend by the howling wind.

[About Cat Hartliebe] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books] [WIP: The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper]

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