Hello! I’m here with my entry for the first challenge of Rutvi’s writing camp, The Blogger’s Fantasy Notebook.
I’m on Team Dragon!
Let’s begin the story, shall we?
*all pics are from Rutvi’s blog*
The tiny magenta-purple dragon hung from a slender tree branch by its tail, its mesmerizing amber eyes staring in Lyric Grimmet’s teal ones. A pink tongue flicked out of its mouth as it hissed, “Ssso you’re a human? One hundred percent actual human? I’ve heard ssscary thingsss about you guysss.”
Lyric silently cursed herself for being so stupid. How many times had her father warned her about coming out of hiding? Never leave the safety of the cave, he had told her. Dragons rule the top world.
And yet here she was, out of the cave for not even five minutes for some air, and she had already encountered a dragon. A stick-thin dragon as long as her forearm, but still a dragon. It probably unhinged its jaw to devour its victims .
The dragon’s tongue flickered again, and it swung off the branch, beating its paper-thin wings frantically to keep it in the air. “Can you hear me, human?” it asked. “Or are you jussst ssstupid?”
“I’ve heard scary things about your kind, too. I’ve heard that you’re all sick,” she spat.
The dragon cackled squeakily. “Sssick? I’m not sssick, I’m twisssted. Sssick makesss it sssound like there’sss a cure.”
Lyric thought quickly. If she made a run for the cave, the dragon would find it, and it would likely bring allies. She’d have to talk to it until it got bored with her and flew away. “I’m, uh, Lyric Grimmet,” she stammered. “Who are you?”
It flapped nearer to her, then coughed, sending out a little spout of flame that singed her eyebrows. It clamped a minuscule clawed paw over its fanged mouth. “Sssorry. I” — and he puffed out his chest, trying to look impressive — “I am Mianth the Dragonlord, peasssant.”
Lyric arched her eyebrows. “Dragonlord? That’s your real name?” she asked, disbelieving. Could such a tiny thing really be a Dragonlord? They were of great importance in the dragon kingdom.
Mianth blushed, his magenta cheeks flushing bubblegum-pink. “Mianth the Ssskinny is my given name, but it’sss hardly frightening.” He landed on Lyric’s pale shoulder and curled around her neck like a scarf. “You ssseee, Lyric Grimmet, I am in need of a human.”
She tensed. What did a dragon want with a human girl? Did he intend to serve her for dessert at a banquet? But she couldn’t show Mianth that she was afraid, so she inquired coolly, “How may I be off assistance, Mianth the Skinny?”
“Dragonlord!” he snarled in her ear. Mianth cleared his throat and explained, “Mianth the Dragonlord needsss you to activate a photograph.”
Lyric truly had no idea what that meant — how did you activate a photograph? — but she had an idea. “If I help you, will you leave me alone?” She crossed her fingers behind her back for good luck.
Mianth bared his tiny, razor-sharp teeth and nodded. “I sssuppossse.” He sprang off her shoulder and wobbled away through the air. “Follow me,” he called, and Lyric set off after him at a trot.
Mianth led her to an enormous fallen tree. They entered its hollow trunk through a gap in the exposed roots. It was dim inside, and filled with an earthy smell.
Large photos hung on the sides of the trunk. The first was of a small man — smaller than even Mianth — standing on a tiny ladder to see through a camera.
Mianth rattled on as they walked through the tree. “You sssee, Ator the Dragonking hasss made a deal with me. If I retrieve an important object from one of thessse picturesss, he will grant me the title of Dragonlord. But the photosss only allow you in with the touch of a human. That isss why I need you.”
He paused in front of picture, hovering. “How about thisss one?”
Lyric froze when she saw the eerie picture. A lone soldier, with a gun strapped to his back, stood over a piano. His fingers pressed the keys, playing a melody she couldn’t hear. “No,” she said forcefully, and marched down the trunk.
Mianth whimpered after her, “It was jussst a sssugessstion . . .”
Lyric didn’t want to admit aloud why she didn’t like the photograph. It was because it was of her father, at her mother’s funeral. He was the only one who had come, so he had buried her himself, and played her favorite song on her piano.
After walking for a minute longer, Lyric stopped in front of a black and white photo. A shirtless boy lay on a beach, and the rope around his wrists was attached to a chain. She reached forward and let her fingertips graze the picture. It started to glow, and the blinding white light enveloped Lyric and the dragon.
The photo spit them out on a dirty beach, with a cold, damp wind whistling around them. Her eyes flitted along the shore until they settled on the boy lying motionless in the surf. She dashed over to him and knelt by his side.
Mianth struggled over to her, the wind tossing him back and forth. “Let’sss — go,” he panted, settling on her shoulder. “Leave him! We musst find Dragonking Ator’sss object –“
Lyric brushed the pestering dragon off her shoulder. She shook the boy urgently. “Wake up . . . Wake up!”
Impatient, Mianth puffed a flicker of flame straight into the boy’s tanned face. He lurched onto his side, moaning.
Lyric sighed with relief. “You’re awake!” she cried joyously.
The boy blinked at her groggily with dark green eyes. “Who are you?” he asked, offering her his bound hands to untie.
“Lyric Grimmet,” she smiled, carefully undoing the knots. She gestured to Mianth, who was perched on top of her head. He was kneading her long, wavy black hair with his sharp talons. “This is Mianth the Skinny. Don’t worry, he’s friendly.”
The boy rubbed his raw wrists. “I’m Ethan. Thanks for untying me.” He brushed the light brown hair off his forehead; little bits of sand rained down. “Slave traders,” he muttered darkly. “They left me there. Said I was too weak to fetch a high price at the market.” In disgust, he spit into the surf.
“I’m so sorry,” Lyric murmured, staring at the foamy waves lapping around her legs. She wasn’t sure which was worse — hiding from dragons, or being a slave. She blurted, “Mianth wants to become a Dragonlord. He needs to find something in this world and bring it to Ator, the Dragonking. Mianth, what exactly are we looking for?”
Mianth puffed up and said with an air of importance, “At lassst, sssomeone remembersss me . . . We are looking for a rare ssshell, called the claw clam. It isss a clam . . . made of ancient dragon clawsss.” He glanced at the ocean and wrinkled his snout. “Water and dragonsss don’t mix . . . I’m afraid I mussst sssit thisss one out . . .”
Lyric jumped to her feet and snatched Mianth off the top of her head. “No way! This is your mission; you’re finding that clam. Got it?” She glared down at the irritating dragon in her hand. A gasp escaped her lips. He was limp, his head lolling.
Lyric placed him on top of the sand and nibbled her lip anxiously. “I think I broke him,” she whispered to Ethan.
Ethan cupped his hands, scooped up some ocean water, and dumped it on Mianth. The dragon sprang into the air, panting. “Nah, he’s fine.” He smirked at the disgruntled dragon. “Trying to get out of work, lizard?” Ethan turned to Lyric. “I’ll help you, as thanks for untying those ropes. Watch this.”
He reached into the pocket of his dripping shorts and produced a shimmering sand dollar. Ethan pressed it against his lips and whistled. A blast of salty wind hit Lyric in the face. Suddenly, she felt like she couldn’t breathe.
“Quick, into the water!” Ethan urged. He grabbed her by the arm and flopped into the waves, pulling her down with him.
The water rushed into her mouth, but instead of choking, she found that she was breathing fine.
Ethan grinned at her. “Mermaid tech,” he explained, his voice distorted, waving the sand dollar at her. “Lets you breathe underwater. The mers use it on prisoners, lovers, whatever.” He popped his head above the waves and blew at Mianth. A moment later, the dragon had joined them reluctantly.
The trio swam deeper into the sea, searching for a claw clam.
I’ll stop there, because it’s late (11:02!). I plan on continuing Lyric Grimmet’s adventures throughout Rutvi’s contest.
I used six prompts, and I included my team’s name (duh).
I worked all day, and I earned enough money to buy a mermaid tail! :D It’s been ordered — now I must wait for it to arrive . . .