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
Katelyn and Dominik
The long nap is awoken by Derrick. He taps me hard even as my eyes flutter open. “You slept through such a dangerous event. Cyro wondered if you died since you didn’t come see him after.”
“Long adventure. I’m only an elf.” I look at my wand. Not truly just an elf. An elf would need more support than I do. I’m a dragon blood and a horde minion. It makes a big difference.
Derrick finds it funny laughing at me. “Well, Cyro would be wondering about you. Perhaps you should visit him.”
“Father?” Katelyn blinks standing still about five feet from me. The pair of us turn to her. She offers no response to the new attention. “Mom was wondering when the next elf meal will be served.”
“After I served the ones who took abuse. Can you bring Dominik to Cyro? The kid needs to see our dragon blood is still kicking.” Derrick looks at me smiling broadly. “Did you have a tough time reaching the ship? We were almost going to cast off without you.”
“Tait… I helped him hatch.” I rub my head and stare up at Katelyn. It seems she will take me to Cyro.
“Ah. Well you couldn’t hit a dragon egg hard enough to make a difference. I guess magic then. What spell did you use?”
“Well, I’m not magically inclined, so many of the words I thought of didn’t do anything.” I scratch my head. “Since Tait’s white, I had to use a cold spell of some sort to make a difference, right?”
“Yup.” Derrick sets to work on a meal made for a dragon. Amanda probably will devour the horse shank just as easily. I turn my head. Katelyn stares at the meal unbothered by the dismantling of horse. “What did you use?”
“Frost. It’s a very basic elf spell. I figured I had a chance using it at least. So I tried and it worked.” I twirl my hand not thinking this would be odd or strange. Cyro couldn’t help at all, even though he wanted to.
“Frost, huh. And none of the other spell attempts worked?”
“No. I tried things like snow and ice and blizzard. I had little hope.” Sinking, I still stand up. Katelyn moves to stand with me. Her concern leaks out only a touch. I must look like hell. I could use a bath and warm food. As the smells of cooking begin, even with the unsavory looks, I find myself drooling.
“Ah. It means something you know.” Derrick hacks at a pile of greens. He must be starting something for the elves. Or for me, who struggles to eat the meat straight. “Frost is a spell limited to Gold and Black dragons. Well and White, but if you were white, you would be able to use things like Ice and Snow.” He glances at me holding his knife in the air. “I can train you well in black magic. Gold, though, is not my skill set. Dragon Hartliebe would know someone, though.”
“Father, the dragons are hungry. I can hear them call from beyond the door.”
“The kids.” Derrick chuckles. “Bring him to Cyro. That kid needs rest and food. Tell him I’m about ready.” He turns back to his cooking.
Katelyn tugs at my arm. Soon we begin our walk to Cyro. I spot Tait mumbling near the door. He hasn’t eaten yet. His hunger would be bad. Kevin must be on deck starving. He had to survive the exiting of the ship. Derrick looks fine at least.
“Is Cyro okay?”
Katelyn glances at me. “Fine. I guess. He survived. Amanda almost didn’t. She’s on blood draw.”
Katelyn blinks absently. Her face doesn’t change otherwise. “She’s a demon. Fastest way to heal is direct blood. If you don’t want her sinking fangs into you, you better stay away. Rich is handling the worst of it, although many of the Mad Hatters gave some.”
“Scary.” I cannot stop the shivering.
“We’re here.” Katelyn motions to a door closed before us. The room would contain a cabin fit for the captain. Cyro must have privilege since it’s his voyager. “Father will call about food soon.” Katelyn nods her head and walks back to the galley.
After a short knock and no answer, I enter the room. Cyro lies passed out on the bed. I close myself inside the room looking at the friend I’ve made. To think this babysitting position turned out like this. I never thought I would be grateful to be standing here. I’ve learnt a lot about me and about life as a whole.
My heart tightens. I even found an elf to like. She may be a little odd, but I cannot help feeling a strong connection. Does she feel it too? I shake it off trying not to let her own my mind too much. “Cyro?”
The dragon in human form shifts on the bed. Now I know it’s a human he looks like. Why did he choose human? I shake it off. That doesn’t matter in the least. Our next stop is Hartliebe. With Tait and Kevin. She’ll know what to do. Two babies who are even more babyish than Cyro.
I move to the side of his bed and stare down at him. Cyro breathes lightly, a clear sign he’s asleep. Since the call for food hasn’t come, I move to a chair and sit. “Now what?” I sit there waiting. Exhaustion comes to me all over again and I fall asleep sitting up in the chair.
Cyro pokes me awake some time later. “Dominik. They brought food.” He motions to a portable table. “Looks cold. We must’ve slept through it.”
Chuckling, I move over to try the horse dish I saw being made. I drool all over again as I bring it to my mouth.
“That’s unlike you. Meat first?” Cyro sits on the edge of the bed taking a bite himself. “This is good. Do you know what it is?”
“Horse. Saw him butchering it myself.” I frown thinking of the living breathing horse this used to be. “I… I hate being a carnivore.”
“That’s being a dragon.” Cyro shrugs. “If you eat a whole horse, you’ll be fine for a while, though. As we can supplement with various other foods. Like granite.”
“That’s not food. That’s stone.”
“We’re dragons.” Cyro glowers at me while taking another bite. “You’ll get used to it.”
“Eating stone?” I shake my head.
“Not that part. Being a dragon. You’re closer than most realize.” Cyro puts his food down. “It’s like we’ll become Centurions at the same time.”
“That’s not true. I’m just a blood. You’ll pass your test…”
Cyro frowns glaring again. “I cannot seem to survive on my own.”
“You’ve survived this well enough. I’m not exactly a protective guardian. I only kept you from being killed.”
“You still…” Cyro sighs falling back on the bed. “I’m a failure as a dragon.”
“No you’re not.” I move to sit next to him. “Look at it this way; you have lived only a few decades. You’re flight skill is amazing. You have skill shifting between dragon and human. You’ve managed to figure out how to respect others. I don’t think you’ll die if you visit another dragon now.”
Cyro snorts. “You have high hopes.”
“Who were your friends?”
“You mean Barry’s kids?” Cyro sits up taking another bite of food. “I’ve seem to have made a lot more friends during this. Derrick… He’s not much older than me. He’s young for an Elder. He doesn’t even have an extra title. And he hasn’t seen much more than I have. Mother’s protecting him still. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one.”
“And now Tait and Kevin will be under Hartliebe’s wing, so to speak.” I switch to the elven greens. The freshness has me sink into my old life. It reminds me of home. “Derrick was telling me something interesting.”
“What? He knows a lot more than I do.” Cyro stands stretching. “We need to thank him for the meal.”
“He said Frost is a spell used by Whites, Blacks, and Golds. Since I couldn’t use Ice or Snow, I’m not a white.”
“Ah, your color.” Cyro purses his lips looking me over. “I think you’re a Gold.”
“Golds are heavy on defense normally.” Cyro nods to the door. “Let’s give Dorothy her room back. I didn’t think I’d conk out like that. And to get this room is not my desire.”
“Cyro…” I grab the table and tray of food. “Do you really think I’m a gold?”
“Yeah.” Cyro takes the tray. “Let’s go visit Derrick. He’ll want to hear how delicious his horse was.”
Shaking my head my mind reminds me of where I am from. My father carries the same blood as me. Would he know the dragon color? Does he know it’s dragon blood? I look up to see Cyro far ahead. Picking up my speed we head for Derrick together.
The elder dragon focuses on the meal he makes. The elves eat a lot, so he cooks a lot. Katelyn and Melanie help him. Cyro picks up on the oddness of not seeing Rich helping cook. Normally the eldest child has his position as sous chef.
Derrick notices us and the food seconds after we enter. “Good morning. Although it may or may not really be morning. I lose track of time down here.”
“With Amanda. I think he’s been caught under the demon’s magic. He’ll be pining for her until the blood settles.” Derrick rolls his eyes. “Amanda won’t do anything to my son. And my son is too innocent yet to attack her correctly.”
I nod clueless as to what that means. “The meal was good.”
“Did you eat the horse or did…?” Derrick looks to Cyro.
Cyro nods. “He ate it. Devoured it actually. It seems the use of magic he wasn’t used to did him in.”
“He looks more like a dragon than ever. I thought it was exhaustion showing its ugly head, but no, those flecks are his blood acting up.”
“He’ll turn sooner rather than later.” Cyro nods.
I hold my hands up. “Hold up. That… I mean…” I catch my hands in my sights and notice the golden flecks causing my skin to shine a different light. “What the…?”
“Exactly.” Cyro nods. “And those who’re turned do not switch to an egg. You keep your age, but start in dragon years as one. The size, shape, and age can be a little difficult to handle. Mother will know better.”
That’s just another thing to look forward to. “I think I need some air.”
Cyro nods to me slipping in to talk with Derrick. Cyro needs a dragon friend. A real dragon friend. I’m still an elf. I glance at my hand again. Out of the heavy torch light I look no different. Once out in the sunlight, I can just barely see the flecks when I turn my hand in one direction.
“You look silly.” Jess walks over. Her eyes switch from me to the ocean. “It’ll be a quick ride home. With all the dragons on board, we’re sinking too low. I sent Kevin to fly, but he lands and we bob a little too much. We’re taking in water. Slowly but surely.”
“So Derrick is pushing us home.”
“Yup. Cyro, when he wakes, can help too. Can you?”
I hold up my wand. “Tell me the spell and I’ll cast it.”
“I figured as much.” She looks about. “Derrick is handling it well. Cyro can help if the older dragon sees fit to need help. For now, we have two days and home will be reached.”
“Two days.” The isle is gone from view. The mermaids won’t even have time to do anything. “Two days to reach land.” Jess walks off. Alone again, I stare at the sky. Kevin is up there somewhere.
The landing of the dragon bounces the ship. I didn’t feel it before, so he last landed when I slept. Kevin looks about nervous, but he also looks tired from all the flying around.
“I should fly there without help of the ship. But I don’t think I’ll make it.” He sighs. “And I cannot do things like teleport.”
Wait. Cat can. If Cat comes, then we can teleport to the shore. I shake it off trying not to draw that dragon blood here. How will she respond to all the new dragons? Yell at us? And these gnomes we collected.
“What are you thinking about?” Kevin tilts his head.
“You need to learn to shift. Have you tried?” I stand up straighter. “Cyro explained it before to Tait. Let’s see if I remember it: see an image in your head of something other than your dragon and fall into the image.”
“That makes no sense.” Kevin frowns. “And what image?”
“An elf like me?” I point at myself, then shrug. “Or a gnome. Or a human. That’s what Cyro is.”
“Just any image?”
“Well technically yes. Although I’d say stick to a humanoid type.”
“Hmmm….” Kevin sits down and closes his eyes. “Elves are nice.” As he sits there for several minutes, I can see his magic work. Slowly, his magic surrounds him setting a shimmer of magic to cross his body. Soon instead of the dragon body I always knew him to have, I find an elf. His clothes are plain; his looks are normal. Kevin’s eyes, though show signs of something else underneath. I step back as Kevin blinks. “It worked?”
“Yeah.” I watch as Kevin checks out his various body parts. “Good job.” I turn to see Jess watching us from the other side of the deck. The ship should stay floating now. Although I prefer rushing back.
“Thanks.” Kevin stands and salutes. “This is amazing. I want to show everyone.” He skips off below deck. I stay on deck looking at the ocean. Two days of open water. That’s it, right?
For the next two days I sit on the deck waiting. Just as the sun sets, I spot the harbor. Jess was right. Only two days and we reach shore. I’ll thank Derrick before he leaves. He made the return trip so much easier.