SS The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper:: Chapter 28 : Tait 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]

Tait and Dominik

“OoooOoooOooo.”  The weird noise has me turn around.  I see nothing in my light.  Something taps my shoulder, but nothing shows with the light in my hands.  What is going on?  “OoooOoooOooo…”

“Stop the joke.”  I swing out the light deciding whether I need to adjust to the darkness or fight in the light.  The former might be more useful.  Dosing the light, I look about until I see images in grey.

The creature can only barely be seen against the darkness of the night.  It is like a grey shadow, not real, but also not fake either.  Apparition?  “Oooo?”  Now it sounds to question me.

“What are you and what do you want?”  I start my walk again, but get tapped just as before.  “I cannot help you Mister Ghost.”  Assuming he is a ghost.

“Oooo…”  It looks in desire to talk to me.

As it continues it annoying Oooo-ing, I get my wand out again.  Something should work to make me understand ghost lingo.  Hmm…  “Translate.”

The background Ooooing turns into language with a flick of my wrist.  “I am Tait and I want to be your friend.”

“Okay.  Mister Ghost, I mean Tait.  Why do you want a friend?”

He Oooo-s a little and I listen to the translation with some ease.  “You said you would be traveling back to Isle of Terrick.  My friends are there.”

“I am.  Who are your friends?  How can you travel with me?”

This ghost Oooo-s at me again.  “My friends are back at the isle and I miss them.  Doug, Andrew, Kevin, Alex, Matt, Cari, and Tom hang out at the Sapphire Room on Nothing Hill.”

“That’s a lot of friends.”  I point out feeling a touch lonesome for him now.  “How do you travel?”

“By my stick.  I must be within fifty feet of it at all times.”  He waves hands around.  “And you can only see me when it is dark.”

Not to mention I do not understand his language without the translation spell.  “Where is this stick?”

“Jeff has it.”  He nods wildly motioning back to the cottage I was just at.  “If you make him pass out from a drinking contest I can help you get it.”

“What type of plan is that?”  I complain at him.

Cyro puts an arm around me leaning over the ghost.  “A fun one.  Let’s go Mister Ghost.”

Ghost tells him his name is Tait which only gets the two of them talking like old friends.  I follow them without a real direction otherwise.  I mean I cannot even find the inn and I really trust neither of the two headed to Jeff.  Jeff is not on my hate list, so I hope they only force him into a contest not hurt him.

The short walk leads me to Jeff’s door.  His work sits outside and his light is off.  I knock loudly.  “Jeff, I need someplace to stay and cannot find the inn.”

“We don’t have one.”  The voice comes back, but the door stays closed.  As I check it, it is locked.  What type of village locks their doors at night?  Do they get robbed in this area?  “Leave town before they find you.”

“Who are they?”

“The ghosts!”  He shouts at the door still refusing to open for me.

Cyro and I look at Tait and his calm exterior.  The town is afraid of him?  “Are there other ghosts here?”

“Nope, just me.”  Tait glances between us.  “Shall we enter, then?”

Cyro shrugs passing me for the door.  A low mutter has him passing through the door literally.  The cursing from the other side leaves me to figure out my own entrance or…  Cyro opens the door for me while the cursing continues.  “You should just use the spell.”

“I don’t know spells.”  I slam my way inside noticing Tait no longer in sight due to the light in the room.  He taps my shoulder.  I glance in the direction the tap comes from and see on the wall a stick.  It looks so average it makes the room look poor in comparison.  “Why do you have a stick on your wall?”

“It’s special.”  Jeff plops down in a chair resting while agitated.  “It was found in the Isle of Terrick.  It has been passed down through my family for generations.”  And with it Tait.  “All the rest of the treasure was sold for one reason or another, but the stick has no value besides the story behind it.”  And Tait, the ghost that they seem to fear.

“Well, I think it looks odd on your wall.”  Judging it, I decide it’s best purpose would probably be as a walking stick.  “Let me buy it off you.”

“No.”  He stares at me filled with more fear of losing his possession than the ghost.  “It is all we have left.”

If I bet anything the rest of the treasure found its way back to the isle too.  The ghosts live within it.  Now I know not to take anything away.  I wouldn’t want a ghost following me.  Even if he isn’t dangerous, he is annoying.  “Fine.  Be a poor sport.”

“You come into my house after dark and insult me?”  He glares at us.  Cyro looks over at him where he was checking out a well made clock.  By the look of it and the doll house work he was doing before, I’d say he built it.  “Get out.”

“Nah.”  Cyro plops down on another chair to look at Jeff.  “I want to play with you.”  The smirk on the dragon’s face has Jeff lose color.  He knows what Cyro is without another word.  “How about a drinking game to pass the night?”

“Really, Dragon Cyro?  A drinking game?  How old are you?”  I rub my face.  Tait suggested it actually, I know he did, but I really do not want to steal the stick because we got him smashed.

“Forty seven.”  He huffs.  “But it’s rude to ask a dragon his age.”  He’s forty seven?  And acts like such a child?  I am not the only one in shock.

Jeff coughs wiggling a little in his chair.  “Once you are drunk, you get to leave.”

“That’s also rude.  You should let us spend the night.”  Cyro points out.  “We’ll leave tomorrow.  We are on our way to Kristen.”

“The witch?”  Jeff shudders a little.  “Fine.  If I never see you again, I’ll do this one thing.”  He motions to the bar.  “Youngest serves.”

That would be me.  Crap.  I grab whatever sits in the front of the bar.  Once things are laid out, I pour three glasses.  We each swallow at the same time.  Jeff slams the glass on the table looking at me.  “Next.”

Considering Cyro is a dragon, I am thoroughly unimpressed by his drunken stupor he reached after the fourth glass.  It’s strong, don’t get me wrong, but him dropping so fast leaves me fighting this game alone.  I don’t have magic or wit to battle him.  I just have brute force with my alcohol drinking.  I’ve had a lot of practice there.  Perhaps too much.

After twenty three drinks, I feel the buzz coming on.  Drinking this fast and this much has done a lot to me before.  But this reminds me of the night I fought Carminio.  Linda and I drank to get drunk and stayed sober.  A buzz is nothing.  Jeff’s eyes are glossing over, though, so I know the time he passes out is close.

“You…”  Jeff hiccups.  “Have an iron stomach.”  He slurs a little with his words, but I caught it.  “Or iron will.”

Actually, I have a ghost that taps me every few seconds, testing me.  And Cyro snoring on the floor is far better than him almost knocking things over.  I won’t be able to sleep until I am certain the alcohol won’t hurt him, or he won’t hurt others.  “Practice.”

He hiccups again.  “I haven’t practiced in a long time.”  He leans back looking at the stick.  “I guess I should head to bed.”  He tries to stand, but fails.  I am quick to his side, but he waves it off.  “Nah, I’ll sleep here.  I dream of the isle when I sleep under the stick.”  Tait probably causes that.

“No, I’ll take you to your room.”  Slipping an arm around him, I pull him up.  Like a normal elf he weighs nothing.  It has been so long since I had a normal elf in my arms.  I would do this so many nights back in my village.  I am doing it again for a stranger I got smashed just so I can steal a stick.

After the elf snores in his room, I go back to the living room and turn off the lights.  Tait points at the stick glad to be seen again.  “OoooOoooOooo…”

Stupid spell shut off.  “Translate.”  I restart it getting an excited Tait.

He hovers before the stick.  “Get it.  Get it.  Bring me home.  I need to be home.”

“So annoying.”  I pull the stick off the wall, then frown.  The wall looks so empty without the stick.  “I don’t want him to hate us.”

Tait does not care in the least about Jeff.  Nor would Cyro.  The dragon has interests in things and would be interested more in the stick’s ghost than a random elf.  I have a touch more care toward things.  Wand out, I look at the wall.  “Duplicate.”  The stick turns into two before my eyes.  I look at the one I am stealing then at the false one to leave.  Without so much as a howdy de do, I shove the stick up on the wall and kick Cyro.

The dragon seems less than pleased being woken up.  “Never wake a…”

“I got it; let’s go.”  I hold up the stick and Tait looks supremely happy.

Cyro grumbles pressing fingers against his head while walking with me out of the cottage.  “I hate alcohol.  How did you handle it?”

“I thought it was my dragon blood that lets me handle alcohol.  Guess it’s who I am as a person.  I rarely get drunk.”  Shrugging, I twirl the stick before using it as a walking stick.  “Should we start flying again?”

“Can’t you see I am having trouble walking?”  Cyro growls out fumbling quite a bit.  “We need a place for me to wake up.”

“You mean sober up.”  I point it out and get snapped at.  “There has to be a lake nearby with so much vegetation.  We can go there.”

Tait taps my shoulder.  “I know where.  Follow me.”  So we follow the ghost to the lake so Cyro can freshen up.


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

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