The Amazing Adventures of PonytailGirl, Chapter 8: The Water Dragons

“I don't understand it, Bixby,” PonytailGirl said. The kids were feeding pumpermelon to Thornbark. “Torbin caused a forest fire and Thornbark saved all the dragons from it. And yet there is an old legend about another Torbin and another Thornbark, doing the same thing.”

“Yes, you can have another one,” said BlazeDragon, holding his hand flat so Thornbark could pick up the melon with his lips. “Not so fast! Are there two Torbins then?”

“Nobody knows, my dear,” the old wizard replied. “Maybe it's the same Torbin. He's still missing, you know. Maybe he went through a portal into the past and told people what happened. Our forest fire is the one in the legend, and our Thornbark is the same one too.”

“Ack!” Spiderdog said, holding out a long piece of melon. “Aren't the portals safe then? Is magic safe?”

“Any form of energy can be dangerous; electricity is dangerous. You have to control it. Torbin was experimenting and trying crazy things. Tim found corundum fused into the erudine crystals he used, if you can believe that.”

“Is that the ruby stuff?” Bending Chalice asked. “That you have pieces of? Does he like Sarjin peppers?”

“Yes, it was an ancient monument, we think a Mycenean stelae, that blew up a long time ago, thousands of years ago. There were just little bits of it left. The Greeks inlaid some of them into dragon statues in a cave at Delphi, on Mount Parnassus. It was a famous shrine. People came hundreds of miles to hear a woman called the Oracle foretell the future. When the Persians invaded, the Greeks hid the statues to keep them safe. Now we think we know where they went. No! He doesn't like them! Watch out – oh dear.”

“Tim's dragons love peppers,” Bending Chalice said, avoiding the dragon's pepper sneeze. "Norbert does."

“Tim's dragons are Fire dragons,” Bixby answered. “Thornbark's had enough anyway. It's time to leave for  Mount Olympus.”

The expedition was disappointing. They didn't find anything. They looked for caves or hidden canyons, but it was foggy and they soon gave it up. They went instead to the caves on Parnassus. Mohs and Tessa detected resonance from Torbin's explosion. "At least we're sure it was here," Mohs said.

“As long as we're in Greece,” suggested Rudna's journeyman, Yogo, “let's have some fun.” Her idea of fun was to go to Euboea and see the Scar of the World. They watched the tides rush up and change direction through the narrowest part of the strait, and then went hunting for Seaweed dragon nests in the sand. They visited Mount Olympus-Euboea and found it foggy too. In the evening the journeymen built a bonfire on the beach. Yogo and Sam wanted music, so Mohs fetched the flutes and they sang and told stories.

“Water dragons only live in a few places where magic waters collect,” Rudna began. “It needs to have a certain combination of magic and minerals, and be extremely clean and clear. In the Verulean Highlands is a large pond that Water dragons should love, but I have never found any there. Tradition has it that the dragons are leaving it vacant for the Lady Ami'Lya who will appear there and call forth a great leader in time of need.”

"Or Lady Ami'Ca," added Sam. "There are different versions of the story."

“Is Lady Ami'Lya a person or a dragon?” wondered PonytailGirl. "You'd think she was a dragon if she's going to want the pond."

“Good question, I don't know,” admitted Rudna. “ We'll go there sometime. But the place I want to go first is Lake Nes. I know we can find eggs there, and I want to use that water for the habitat. To make sure the water is just right, I'm going to put in a portal to the lake.”

“Are you sure you want more portals?” asked Bending Chalice's dad.

Master Runda is making this one,” said Yogo. “She'll do it right.”

“I've got a story you haven't all heard,” Tessa said. “When we were collecting eggs for the Earth habitat, I went to the Sandara desert. I got totally worn out, used up all my water, and only found one egg. I passed out somewhere, I don't know where; I was lost. When I came to, I was at an oasis with an Ironwood dragon. They are very shy and you hardly ever see one. But it saved my life that day. And the egg. The next week Mohs and I went all over the Andes looking for Mountain eggs. And after all that, when we got back, we had the gravity accident and they were nearly smashed.”

“That,” Dalfgan said, “is because we were transporting to Mount Olympus and the energies collided with Torbin's portals. But that is what safeties are for. They cut in and took us to another Mount Olympus that was closer. And that is how we found PonytailGirl and Spiderdog.”

The next time they got together was the trip to Lake Nes. The Water dragons were not shy at all. Their mouths were so wide it looked like they had big cheesy grins on their faces all the time. They swam back and forth watching what was going on, except for one that sat quietly guarding a nest on the shore. When Rudna, Olivine, and Dalfgan began working on the portal, Bending Chalice and Spiderdog pulled off their shoes and went wading. They splashed the dragons and the dragons splashed back. Then Spiderdog stepped unexpectedly over a ledge and fell in up to his neck, and one of them promptly pulled him out of the water.

“Hey! I was ok!” he sputtered. He started to wade back, but it pushed him on shore again.

Yogo came over to help. "He won't let you in the water any more. They're very protective." She held her staff over his head and blue light flowed down, pushing the water into a puddle at his feet, leaving him completely dry. 

“Give them some of these,”  she brought out a basket of blushrooms. Bending Chalice tossed some into the water and the dragons dove for them. BlazeDragon tossed some into the air and got the largest dragon to catch them. Spiderdog dropped a trail of them on the sand and got a baby dragon to follow him around eating them. PonytailGirl noticed the mother dragon was interested and tried to coax her over.

“Here,” she said, “it's good, come and get some.” The mother came part way, but waved her head sideways and went back, sliding over the sand more smoothly than most water dragons could. PonytailGirl threw her a blushroom.

"That's interesting," Yogo said, "She's smaller than most adult dragons, and see how graceful she is. Quite a little lady. It would be nice to have one of her eggs. Try to get her to come over here, and I will get one while she isn't looking.”

“No,” said PonytailGirl.

“No,” said BlazeDragon. “She'll let us if she trusts us.”

“Water dragons are friendly, but they won't let us take their eggs,” said Yogo.

The two shared a quick look and walked halfway to the nest. “It's ok little lady,” crooned BlazeDragon, much the same way he had spoken to the Plasma baby. “Here, have some blushrooms. We're your friends.”

“We won't hurt your eggs, Lady,” said PonytailGirl. She dropped a handful of blushrooms on the sand, and as the dragon leaned down to eat them, she stroked the top of her head. “We won't touch them if you don't want us to.”

The adults gathered to watch a little ways away. Fog began to roll in from the other side of the lake. Spiderdog brought over the baby he had been feeding. “See, he knows we are friends,” he said.

The bank of fog became denser. “What's that?” Bending Chalice asked, pointing up. The mist was so thick they couldn't see anything clearly, but there did seem to be some denser, whiter spots.

“Fog dragons?” came Rudna's voice from far away.

“Do you have Fog dragons?” came a voice PonytailGirl thought was her mother. The fog was too thick to carry sound well. Something swirly and fluffy like huge cottonballs drifted overhead.

Lady was eating out of PonytailGirl's hand. “Will you let me touch your egg? It's beautiful. It's so smooth and warm. Not rough at all. You are taking good care of it.”

Bending Chalice knelt down in the sand and rested both hands on another egg. “It's moving,” he said. He laid his cheek on it for a moment and then looked up, smiling broadly, “I heard it! It's making noises!”

Lady put her head down and nudged her egg. Spiderdog sat down next to Bending Chalice to listen to another one. "Little squeaks!" he laughed.

BlazeDragon moved closer, patted the little dragon and rested his hand on her shoulder. “You can see we love your eggs, Lady,” he said. “Will you let us have one? We'll take good care of it. There aren't many places dragons can live, and we have a park just for dragons. It will have magic water to swim in, and special food the wizards grow, and other dragons for friends.”

The mist parted and the children could see creatures floating above them, pale lavender with white curls, dished-in faces rather like apes, and round bulging eyes like the Water dragons. One of them drifted lower, looked straight at BlazeDragon, and lifted up again. Dalfgan walked slowly by.

“Did you see that?” BlazeDragon asked him.

“Fog,” Dalfgan murmured, “more fog. We'll have to look somewhere else.”

PonytailGirl went up to Yogo and told her, “Lady will let us have an egg now.”

“We were just... we're just going,” said Yogo slowly, “I think we will...see fog. Fog dragons, Rudna.”

“Oh... yes,” Runda said, “We will...when we come's the fog.”

BlazeDragon looked around. All the adults were wandering around looking half asleep, muttering to themselves. PonytailGirl was holding a Water egg carefully in her arms.

“Oh!” said BlazeDragon to himself. “So that's it!”