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
Patrick and Dominik
The hill where the room exists takes longer than I thought it would to reach. The dragons say nothing during the walk. Tait has lead motioning from his position in the air above us. All we do is follow him. Kevin shows signs of anxiety during the run, but nothing that would turn me from the task at hand.
“It’s here.” Tait stops before a cave.
Cyro sniffs. “Smells like dragon.”
“Well yeah.” Kevin switches between his feet. “Our eggs were in here. Tait’s egg…”
“Has to be here too.” Cyro nods.
“But wait…” Kevin tries to stop Cyro, but nothing will stop the baby dragon from entering the cave.
I follow close behind Cyro and Tait. The ghostly image silently glides behind the baby. I keep silent behind the pair of them. Cyro’s footsteps are the loudest sound out of the three of us.
It is just walking for quite a distance. As the darkness overwhelms us, I set the wand to light. The new false torch gives us enough to see by. Looking back all I see is cave. Looking forward is just cave.
“This is Nothing Hill.” Tait says and the echo sounds back with the same.
“Creepy.” I whisper getting several echoes of my own. That echo did not seem as creepy as the ghost’s explanation’s echo. “When will we reach Sapphire Room?”
“This way.” Tait turns and walks through the wall. My head drops. Cyro tilts his head looking at the wall. Tait comes back watching us. “This way.”
His wave on does not help us enter. Cyro holds up his hand. “This isn’t a door. This is a wall. And I have no idea if it’s a supporting wall or not. We could die if I remove it.” Tait frowns and disappears through the wall again.
While Cyro and I stand there something hits my leg. My hand goes for the movement and I grab a hand. Looking down, the creature attached to the hand stares up with big brown eyes. It blinks and tries to escape. “Cyro, are you missing anything?”
“I don’t keep anything on me.” Cyro pats his body anyway. “Why?”
“I found a pick-pocket.” I hold up the small creature off the ground. “Three feet of annoyance.”
“A gnome!’ Cyro claps his hands. “Hello, gnome.” He waves at the creature peering at it. “Do you think he has family in this hill?” It struggles but cannot get me to release him.
“What should we do?”
“Let him go. We can follow him. He may know the way to the sapphire room.” The creature stops moving at the room’s mention. I lift him up higher and find shivering ball like response.
I comment, “He doesn’t like the Sapphire Room. Cyro there must be more to this room than…”
“Phish. It’s the egg room.” Cyro looks back to the wall. “And Tait hasn’t returned, yet.”
“Even Kevin didn’t want to visit it.” I put the gnome down and it doesn’t scurry away. It stands there silent and still minus a few shivers. “Look, the gnome isn’t moving.”
“Doesn’t want to be chased.” Cyro turns to the gnome and bites the air. “Then he’ll be eaten.”
The gnome takes the clue and runs back the way we came. I frown chasing him down. A well skilled stop makes the gnome hold still and fall down.
“Cyro didn’t mean that. Who are you?” I release the spell holding on to the gnome by his hand again. “Come on, little guy.”
“It’s not a guy.” A slighter bulkier and aged gnome walks over to the frightened one. “It’s a girl. Her name is Renee. Please stop hurting her.”
“Patrick… he…” Renee shivers again huddling even in my capture. I let her go and she hides behind the older one.
“I’m Patrick.” He pulls up his pants and resets his belt. The power move would mean something if he wasn’t about half my height. “You are?”
I’m being rude and only just realized it. “Dominik. My companion is Cyro and he didn’t mean anything by the eating. He wanted help and can ask it in a very confusing matter.”
Patrick’s lips down turn. “Your friend could use some manners.” He turns taking Renee’s hand. “Let’s go, Renee.”
“No.” Renee moves away from her ally. “I… They…”
“You need to speak in full sentences.” Patrick rolls his eyes.
“We are looking for the Sapphire Room. Our friend went there and left us stuck in a hallway.” I motion behind us. “If you could guide us there…”
“You’re crazy.” Patrick stares at me with such horror, then he shrugs letting a grin open up on his face. “I’ll help you. Renee, let’s show these guys what it means to visit the Sapphire Room.” Patrick continues his grin looking me over. “And why even us gnomes leave it alone.”
“Lead away.” I motion ahead. We return first to Cyro.
The baby dragon was muttering until we returned to him. “Finally. You took the light.”
I hold on to the false torch. The wand used two spells. No, I can use Stop without the wand now. “Sorry. You could make light. You’re a dragon, too.”
Cyro glowers at me before looking at the gnomes. They have their hands on the wall where Tait went. “Who are your new friends?”
“Patrick and Renee. Renee was the pickpocket.” I tap my pocket which lies empty. Ever since Hartliebe owned me, my pockets were only full when I needed them to be. My wand has to always touch me, so that cannot be stolen. “They will help us reach Sapphire Room.”
“This way.” Patrick touches the wall with one hand while walking further into the cave. “Stay close and only attack if they attack you.”
“Good thing if they don’t attack then.” I stare at the empty cave before us. “We aren’t very offensive.”
“I got the staff.” Cyro holds up the lightning staff. “I think I have control.”
“I wish Cat was here.” I shake my head trying my best to think well of our current circumstances.
Nothing Hill was not a misnomer. The cave is nothing. Not even rocks or stagmities show off designs of earth. It’s just cave plain boring dirt walls. Nothing interesting. Not even the darkness offers interest. How could anyone want to live here?
“There will be a turn up ahead. It’s not noticeable unless you’re used to the cave.” Patrick finally comments after our long nothing walk. “Stay close.” He grabs Renee’s hand.
The curve has me surprised. The door looked the same as the wall. It did not swing open or anything. You could just go through it. I shiver after passing through. Looking behind me I see hallway. It’s protected from outside not in. “This is crazy.”
“It’ll get dangerous from here on out.” Patrick tugs Renee closer. “We will flee at the first sign of attack.”
“Thanks for helping this much.”
“This is not helping.”
“Depends on your definition.” I smirk at the gnome who coughs instead of responds. “Sapphire Room has dragon eggs. I could only imagine what type of creatures keep them company.”
“The dragon eggs are basically done. The magical aura of the place draws in most of the dangerous creatures.”
“One left. But no one has seen hide nor hair of him.” Patrick shakes his head. “Be quiet.”
We slow as we reach a turn off. Sleeping in the midst of a pool of light from above is a long snake like creature. I would call it a sea serpent, but there is no sea. Lack of wings define it as something other than dragon. The slow heave of scales tell of a sleeping breath. We tip toe, quiet as a mouse through the space keeping ourselves away from the dangerous being. Whether I know what it was or not, those teeth and that massive size have me second guessing a frontal assault. If I was stupid enough to think of an assault in the first place.
We reach beyond the land serpent’s light dependant solely on my magical one. We continue our walk and find the hall open up into a cavern. But this is not the Sapphire Room. The walls look vibrant with vines and greens. The light coming from the center of the roof tells of day. How long have we been down here? Walking nor flying makes me tired anymore. Has it been days? Could the pirates be gone? With Ethan and Derrick?
I step without thinking and find squishiness beneath my feet. The squishiness squeaks back yipping and yapping. Soon my foot is nearly trapped inside the mouth of a green creature.
“Hold still, Dominik.” Cyro wields his staff, but it doesn’t do as he expects and soon we have several creatures attacking. Patrick and Renee fall into the shadows. “This is not what I wanted to do.”
“No duh.” I roll my eyes glad to have defense marked high. The creatures’ bites do nothing. Their spit burns a bit, but destroys cloth more than messes with my skin. “At least I’m a dragon blood. How will we stop them?”
“Kill them?” Cyro sends another shockwave out. He hits several, which cannot be surprising considering how many surround us. “It’s like the electricity makes them angry not dead.”
“Really?” I pull back trying to come up with an offensive spell. My actual spells are defense or support, so I’m stuck with Hartliebe’s wand. If I am too vague it could get pretty bad. “Would fire do a lot of damage?”
“Probably.” Cyro shrugs hitting one green creature with his staff. “I cannot get my fire breathe to work.”
“That’s it!” I close my eyes and center myself. Fire breathe is a dragon attack and Hartliebe’s wand enhances my abilities with dragon magic. “Fire Breathe.” I cast it letting the light go out, even if it doesn’t stop the room’s brightness.
A puff of smoke leaves my mouth first. Then with my next breathe fire erupts sending the green creatures scurrying in every which direction half of them already on fire. The fire spreads making a mess. I try to say something, but my breath brings with it more fire.
Now how do I turn it off? Is this why Cyro hates his breathe weapon so much? Focusing on ending the spell, I switch back to the lit wand. “That was…”
“The room is on fire.” Cyro points at the mess I created with my spell. “Amanda could’ve…”
“I’m not the demon. I’m not even a dragon yet. This is a disaster.” I rub my head, then center myself. “Stop.” The fire literally stops at my spell’s request. Unlike with most elemental actions, fire cannot continue if it’s stopped. It needs a constant source. It eliminates itself and the few that do not disappear take little effort to kill.
“That was…” Cyro scratches his cheek putting soot where it doesn’t belong. “Fun?”
“I wouldn’t call it fun! I hate the idea of having no control of the breathe weapon. How was I to know it needed an end point? This magic stuff is…”
“Crazy.” Cyro sighs. “I know. I’ve only ever known my magical life and still I get confused and lost. Like with the lightning. I should have control of that. It’s my power. Yet I end up hitting half the room and the other half thought I needed to die for disrupting their nap.” He sinks to the ground poking at a burnt creature dead on the ground.
I exhale pushing my own mistake to the back burner. We are still learning. And there is a lot to learn.
“You killed them.” Patrick walks back into our space. “All of them.” He kicks a burnt corpse to the side.
“Didn’t expect that?” I smirk at him, then turn away. I didn’t expect to kill all of them. Not only them, but all the life in here was severely damaged. “Well, we still need to find Tait.” I put my hand on my head looking over the path before us. It’s covered in burnt green globs that were creatures.
Cyro stands up dusting himself off. It doesn’t seem to work. “Let’s continue.”
“Well, the next room…” Patrick glances in the correct direction. “At this point we need to let you go on your own.”
“That makes no sense.” I wave to the door. “We’re lost and clueless.”
“It’s a straight pass.” Patrick drops his eyes to the ground. “The next room is easy to set off. And I wish to get my niece out of harms way.” He takes up Renee’s hand. “Your friend should be in one of the next three rooms.”
“Wait, no, I want to go.” Renee tugs out of her uncle grip and slides in next to Cyro. Her light touch to the baby dragon soothes Cyro, but unsettles the older gnome. “I’ll be safe.”
“Safe with those who were attacked by the entire room of Lorel? No way. They aren’t trusted. You are not safe.”
“If you didn’t notice, Patrick.” Renee sticks out her chest. “They are not injured. Nor are we.”
Patrick could not come up with an answer to that. “Fine. We’ll go. But flight is just as important as fight.”
I shake it off focused on the next room. Renee holds Cyro’s hand as the group of us walks forward into a room that lacks the hole in the center. In the center instead is a water dripping down a stagmite into a stagtite. The space at one point had something there, but size is undeterminable due to time. “What an odd room.”
Patrick raises a finger to his lips. His silent shush has me look around. What did I miss? Just past my false torch are twinkles. Eyes? Gems? I have no idea. Nor will I find out. If Patrick didn’t have such a fear for this room I might. It doesn’t matter because Tait isn’t here.
We move on. The next room we reach also does not have a hole in the ceiling. I cannot tell if it is night or day. Not that time matters. During the walk, the gnomes occasionally munch on something. Gnomes must not need much sleep. Fey of varying type range on the need for sleep scale. As a dragon horde piece I need little to none.
“It’s an egg.” Cyro walks over to a large egg like rock marked in off white.
“You found me.” Tait moves in behind me causing me to jump. “I couldn’t figure out the tunnels. New monsters came in and I didn’t think you could get by them.”
“The green creatures are dead.” I tell him as Tait moves to the egg. He disappears inside. “Tait?”
“He’s a dragon.” Cyro rubs the stone then studies his ice coated fingertips. “White dragon. Do you feel the cold air blowing out? He’ll be born soon.”
I didn’t, but when I look at the gnomes, they shiver keeping close together. So it is colder than normal. “Cyro, what should we do?”
Cyro glances at me, then studies the egg again. “Well, we can stay and wait for him to hatch. Who knows how long that will be.”
“Or we can move on and hope for the best.” I nod looking at the gnomes. “Thank you for bringing us here.”
“You’re stronger than I thought you were.” Patrick takes a deep breathe. “I was sent to see what the commotion was about. Not you, but the egg. It awoke and the gnomes were wondering if that’s the last one. If it is, we can leave.”
“You’re owned by a dragon.” Cyro steps back not even looking at Patrick. “Mother told me clans of creatures are set to guard dragon claims. This would be a major test.” He sighs sitting down. “We should stay with Tait. He’ll hatch and no one wants to be alone when hatching.”
“I wonder what Kevin and the Mad Hatters are doing.” I lean against a wall staring at the egg and Cyro. He looks ready to wait forever. His book did not give him anything more than a brief understanding that this isle exists.
Cyro holds out his staff. “If we attack him with ice, he’ll be born faster.”
“Where’d you get that conclusion from?” I stand up readying to stop Cyro from throwing out spells he has no right to.
Cyro turns to me. “Blast him with ice. Your wand should be able to.”
“That makes no sense.”
“He’s a white dragon; it makes perfect sense.”
I stare at Cyro. He takes another step to me, but I hold back. Even if he manages to take the wand, it’s Hartliebe’s magic. It’ll return to me and he couldn’t use it anyway. “Cyro…”
“Tait needs to be born. He’s the last one.” Cyro sighs checking out the room. He stands dead center where most of the rooms have an opening. “Can you blast a hole in the center for me?” He watches me until I walk over to him. “Point your wand at the sky and say Open.”
“You got to be kidding me.” Cyro has me lift my wand up. We’ll be plunged into darkness if this doesn’t work.
Sighing, I follow his request. The light goes out as the sky shows itself.
“Now make a firework.” Cyro motions me to continue while going back to the egg. He does not touch Tait’s egg.
“Yup. Fire in the sky with lots of noise. We’ll draw attention.”
I watch the fear in the gnomes while I cast off the spell. The gnomes flee with the noise and light. We are going to draw power by doing that. If we are under time, the Mad Hatters will show. If they are gone, we are going to battle a while.
The sparkling creatures from the previous room get to us first. I whack them with the torch wand I recreated. I didn’t want a random firework to happen because I didn’t end the spell. The creatures’ skin is tough, almost stone, and the lightning Cyro manages does absolutely nothing.
I throw out a fireball this time around since punching does nothing. The fireball only hurt the main target. I could see it fall to the ground unable to move. If the spell didn’t take a lot to handle, I would send one at every creature.
“Need a little help?” Amanda jumps into the hole and the battle. She sidesteps from the entrance as the other Mad Hatters drop in. Soon we are battling as a group. After the sparkly creature are done, the scaled monster shows up. Quite a bit of damage takes that one down. Several more weird monsters come and fall by the Mad Hatters’ mad skills. My heavy breathing has me turn to Cyro and the egg. The white colors shifted slightly, but nothing overly strange. It could be strange for a stone, but not for a magical stone.
Cyro nods to the crew. He peers up to see Kevin just outside the hole. “Glad to see everyone is safe and sound.”
“We only have a few hours to get back on the ship, though.” Leah shifts her weapons to her back. “Let’s get out of his cave and back to the ship.”
“I’m staying.” Cyro sits down next to the egg. The Mad Hatters shellshocked by the words stare stone still. “Tait needs someone here. I wanted you guys to know. And I wanted you to accept a few extra passengers.” He motions to a dark corner. I note the gnomes who fled the chance for battle. “That is Patrick and Renee. It seems a clan of gnomes lives here. I cannot help them leave, but you can.”
Leah shifts a little at the idea. “I can ask Captain, but we may not have room.”
Amanda slaps Leah’s back. “We have room. You don’t like gnomes. Nor do I, but a dragon requested us. You want to be the enemy of a dragon?”
“No. I’ll bring the question to the captain. We may give another day notice if we return to the ship now. Please think of coming with us, Dragon Cyro.” Leah nods to Cyro, who nods back. “Good luck, Dominik.” Leah nods at me before climbing the newly placed rope out of the cave.
The Mad Hatters leave the pair there. I sit down with my head against the wall. Not much else to do. We will wait for Tait to hatch. Cyro and I will sit here without purpose until Tait hatches. And then what?