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
Leah and Dominik
When I reach the deck, I spot Tait first. He stands on the dock as close as he can. The stick must be with Cyro still and the dragon is sitting exhausted on the deck. His back holds up the mast. Or the mast holds up the dragon. Tait looks ready to run and can’t. How will he break free of the stick?
“Cyro?” Ethan walks over to the dragon holding up the mast. “You okay?”
“That was…” He pauses rubbing his head. “I’m weak.” His imploring eyes reach me. “Right?”
“Cat has more magic prowess than you.” I point out.
Ethan adds, “You are behind as dragon babies go. Most by their forties can survive on they’re own. You can’t.”
“You two are mean.”
“You got my best friend killed.” Ethan crosses his arms glaring at the baby dragon.
“I’m caught up on this quest. Still not sure if I’d prefer being eaten.” I scratch my chin.
Dragon Cyro sinks a lot at our words. “I… Sorry.”
“Who said that?” Ethan looks around. He grabs my arm. “Did you hear an apology? Where’d it come from?” I cannot stop laughing at Ethan even if the interaction hurts Cyro further. “Look, Dragon Cyro, you have a lot to learn. Don’t break because something is hard.”
“Everything starts off hard.” I add trying to outweigh my laughter. “With practice even this task will be easy. Should I have been up here?”
“Maybe… Mother’s wand would probably be useful.” Cyro sighs.
“How was Amanda?” Ethan looks about for the demon. He finds her asleep in a corner of the deck. “Ouch. She’s…”
“Yeah. She thought she was stronger than…” Cyro gets up holding onto the mast. “Only Derrick handled the real trouble.”
“He’s older than you. A real elder dragon.” Ethan pats Cyro helping him stand on his feet. “It’s not like you fought before this. Not really. It was more you fooled around.”
“We’ve been practicing manners. It’ll help when facing off with dragons you cannot defeat.” I hold up Cyro from his open side. Between the two of us, we get Cyro to the edge where the dock is. The crew has already been working on getting us the ability to leave the ship. “Land, Cyro.”
Cyro nods forcing us to let go. He almost falls overboard, but catches himself with his flight magic. Soon the dragon stands on the actual shore. Not an hour later the group of eight of us stands there in the new camp.
Leah, short and powerful, keeps everyone who is coming in line. With the captain and the ex captain on the ship staying here, she will lead the crew on land. “Ye will follow me.” She taps her chest with a hammer. It hits metal that elves do not wear. Yup, she belongs with the Mad Hatters.
Cyro looks to be depressed enough over the entrance that he does not fight the role of who is leader. Ethan and I keep to the edges of the team. Rich stepped on the sand and then flew right back after rustling in the ferns scared him. He isn’t ready. Derrick will be pleased over that.
Amanda looks groggy while resting by the campfire. Nancy and Kassandra keep a quiet conversation while things are organized. And they are organized by Olivia and Leah. These are the ones I know the least. But they volunteered to be pushed into the jungle so to speak. We are more likely to die on land than on the ship where the strong elder dragon stays.
“I wish Zee joined us.” Ethan whispers my way exhaling.
“You decided on her?”
“She said she will weigh the options of becoming a horde piece.” Ethan kicks the sand. “I was… shocked at first. But her age makes her consider it. She’s my age, you know. Sonya… she’s a bit young for the warrior I am.”
“They are all too old for me.” I smirk looking at the group. I’m the youngest here. Unless Rich joined us, I was going to be. There were no new recruits for the Mad Hatters. Unless they plan on pirating after this, I doubt there will be any.
“Cat, though, isn’t?” Ethan pokes me. “She’s older than I am.” Ethan leans forward. “Her late fifties… More than twice your age.”
“How much older is she compared to you?”
“A year or two.” Ethan shrugs watching the group. “These girls joined the Mad Hatters more than two decades ago. You were a babe when they stopped sailing.”
“Yeah… Still everyone knows their stories.”
“Best pirate crew on the sea.” Ethan nods moving over to Leah. It seems the packs are ready. “Ready?”
The stout woman glares up at Ethan rubbing her beard for a moment. “You’d be needin’ a weapon, eh?”
“Not really.” Ethan holds a hand up.
“Even my mages have…”
Ethan recalls a massive sword. “It was gift a few years back from Hartliebe.” Leah drops her hammer on her foot. She shoves it off returning to her supplies. “How about the boy?”
“Probably best you let him just use what he has.” Ethan eyes me. “Unless you have a weapon you’re used to?”
“Ah… no…. How do you have a sword? And where did you just pull it from?” Ethan hands the sword over and the weight of it drops me to the ground.
“Yeah, needs a little bit of magical power to hold. You need to direct your…” Ethan stops taking the sword back. “Never mind. It’s part of Hartliebe’s horde. Don’t tell me you only ever called money before…” Ethan stares down at me. “Never mind.”
“I’m sorry that I’m new to this. I’m not even a year into my servitude and I don’t have a teacher. Cyro isn’t exactly knowledgable in this material.”
“And Cat visits to fuck you.” Ethan nods shouldering his sword. “Come on, Dragon Cyro. It’s time to move on this quest.”
“Where’s Tait?” I look about then pull at Tait’s stick. Using a spell, I try to find the connection to the item, but nothing comes.
“I’m free!” Tait rushes over and circles me. “I’m not bound.”
“So our task with you is done?” I drop the stick.
“Yup.” Tait looks at the forest. “So as my repayment, I’ll be your guide. I know where the dangerous places are on this island.” He walks over to Leah. The woman holds an axe out for him, but the weapon passes right through. I giggle at Tait explaining his desires. Soon with Tait as our navigator we begin our journey into the island’s dense forest.
Leah and Tait lead. Ethan and I keep to the back. The rest of the group settles in a pack between us. I prefer not being near the Mad Hatter crew. I’ve come to like them as people, but also to be wary of getting too close. And Ethan almost has one of them joining him. Would Hartliebe want a pirate? Would she want Zee to stay as a pirate? Or will she be put on weird quests and jobs like the rest of the horde has to?
Clanging of metal on tree has me hold up my wand. Ethan holds out his sword but not forward like me. His eyes are set to the forest. I stare at him until I spot the movement beyond. The trees are attacking. We back up into a tighter circle and Amanda sets a fire around us. We cannot continue without handling the trees, but we’re safe.
Leah turns to Ethan. “You have a magical sword; do you think you can handle it?”
“Maybe.” Ethan steps through the fire not waiting for it to douse. He starts his task of hacking at the moving trees. I watch him try to take on several trees at once. When another one reaches out for him, I run out of the fire circle. Cyro seems to follow my move. Cyro and I block separate trees that were trying for Ethan.
“Thanks.” Ethan looks at Cyro. “Fire breathe.”
“I’m trying.” Cyro coughs a little, but gets nothing. “I…”
“Stop.” I shout at a tree and it looks to return to a normal tree. Will it start again after a period of time? Whatever. I lower myself to the ground wanting to use the land as an amplifier. “STOP!” The burst of magic focused on me and goes around everywhere hitting everyone. Cyro blinks at me releasing himself from my spell almost immediately. Ethan is soon after. I go to the crew and release them. My spell killed the fire.
“Well…” Leah rolls her shoulders. “Sorry for misjudging you, kid. You deserve the title of honorary Mad Hatter.” She nods her head and begins again. Tait claps off on his task again.
Our movement leaves us far away from the trees as quickly as possible. Whether the spell breaks and they start after us or not should not matter if we gain distance. I prefer the distance.
“Nothing Hill is up there.” Tait calls to the group. I can see them nod understanding him.
I question Ethan, “How is it Tait can be understood by them when most just hear OooOo.”
“Dragon Derrick.” Ethan nods up at Tait. “The ghost asked him to make it so he can talk to everyone here. He was kind enough.”
“And Cyro didn’t even think of that.” I shake my head glancing at Cyro ahead of us.
“He’s a kid. Like you.” Ethan shifts his sword. “This thing is a pain to carry. But wasting energy to pull it from the horde…”
“I still can’t believe you carry it.” Eyeing the sword I know better than to try and carry it for Ethan.
“You’ll get used to weapons like these.” Ethan pauses watching me. “Or not. If you are a blood, why would you need a weapon? Dragons are weapons.”
“I’m starting to realize that…” I sigh.
Ethan pats my back. “You should be proud of that, Dominik. You are well entered into your turn, too.”
“I never knew. Why was I started?” When I return home, I’ll ask my father. He should know. Or maybe my mother. Was I turned to be bulky enough for work? I could’ve been bulky without the blood, right? I seriously don’t know.
“Got me. Dragon Hartliebe might know. Did you ask her?”
“Are you going to?”
“Maybe later.” I turn away tightening my hands into fists. “I don’t know if I want to know.”
“Still not used to being owned, are you?” Ethan chuckles. His laughter ends sharply as his weapon stands before him.
“Shush.” Ethan nods forward. Leah is still and silent as well.