School had just ended for the summer and Mason was thrilled. Along with the heat, the summer brought two whole months of non-stop video games and sleeping-in. As a plus, Mason also had two glorious months without homework, tests, or teachers.
Throwing a wrench in his after school plans, of watching TV and playing video games, Mason’s mom had just called asking him to go to the grocery store and pick up food for dinner.
“Would you like paper or plastic?” the checkout lady asked but Mason wasn’t paying attention, “Mister, are you okay?” Suddenly Mason high-tailed it out of the store. “Sir you forgot your groceries!” the lady yelled after him.
What the heck was that? Mason thought to himself as weaved his way through the woods he had just ran into. It looked like a giant wing, but birds that big don’t exist. Mason stopped dead in his tracks as he almost ran into a cave. He was looking around the cave to see if it was safe to enter, when he saw someone huddled in a corner. “Excuse me?” Mason called out to the figure.
“Hello, nice to finally meet, Mason,” the figure replied and was now walking towards Mason.
“Ummm… hello.” Mason still couldn’t see the figure’s face and Mason couldn’t help but think the worst. Maybe they’re going to kidnap me and they don’t want me to see their face.
“Don’t worry I’m not here to kidnap you,” the figure randomly said as if he could read Mason’s mind.
“I’ve actually come to deliver a message.”
“You ran out here because you saw some sort of giant wing, right?” the figure asked now standing in front of Mason.
“Well yes, but–”
“Just as I thought.” the figure raised their seemingly frail and wrinkly hands to the old, tattered hood they were wearing and lifts it off of their head.
“You’re… you’re just a crazy old man!” Mason yelled. Standing, or rather hunching, in front of Mason was a short, bald, elderly man.
The old man dramatically raises his right leg and slams it back down right onto Mason’s foot. “Oww!” Mason screamed out in pain grabbing his foot, “That hurt!”
“As it should,” the old man replied, “Now, I have a job to do so will you let me do it?”
“I’ll do anything as long as you don’t break my other foot,” murmured Mason setting his foot back down.
“If you follow instructions and don’t insult me,” the old man said wagging his finger at Mason,”than you will leave here with only minor breakage.”
“When did I insult you?”
“Just because it was not presented orally does not mean it was not presented.”
“Can we just get this over with?” Mason asked sarcastically, “Or better yet I’ll just save you the trouble and leave now.”
“You will sit and listen to my message,” the old man commanded. Mason did as he was told and sat down. “Alrighty.”
Mason sighed impatiently while the old man walked over to a corner of the cave and grabbed a flashlight. He turned it on and aimed it at his face, but looked disappointed. “Come on flashlight, work. You did just fine for Mr. Vicinus.” Suddenly, as if on cue, the flashlight’s colour turns green, then red, then purple, then back to green. The flashlight rose out of the old man’s hands and starts dancing around his face. But before Mason had a chance to speak, the old man’s eyes turned a ghostly violet-purple shade and he started talking.
“On the night after greetings, two will set off on their greatest journey to conquer the beast of the land and bring back the good to its proper place.” the old man said in a possessed tone, “Their quest will be a short one but, everytime one foe falls, another shall arise.” Not a second after the old man finished his speech, he disappeared and the flashlight dropped to the ground.
It had been three days since Mason had seen the old man from the cave. He had checked every afternoon at the same time just in case.
Mason looked at his clock in his room. “3:30,” groaned Mason because that meant it was time to go check the cave. “Hey mom, I’m going for a bike ride but I’ll be back before dinner,” Mason said as he entered his kitchen.
“Sounds good.” Mason’s mom replied, not bothering to turn around and look at him, “See you in a few hours.” With that, Mason grabbed his bike from where he had thrown it down on the porch yesterday, and set off for the cave.
Mason sped past the Highpoint Groceries but stopped at the edge of the woods. “No no no, not again,” Mason begged as he looked above the trees and, for the first time in the last three days, saw a giant wing. Throwing his bike to the ground, Mason ran faster than humanly possible towards the cave.
Before he knew it, Mason was face-to-face with clearly scared eyes belonging to a panicking shadow. The eyes were a bit darker shade than the violet-purple color the old man’s eyes turned.
“Hello,” the creature whispered and meekly smiled.
“He… what’s … hi.” Mason stumbled over his words, trying to figure out how the creature was talking.
“You don’t happen to have any food, do you, kind sir?” the creature asked Mason.
Oh boy, now Mason was really confused. This thing can speak and has manners. He thought to himself.
“Oh my! Oh dear! Is this your cave?” the creature asked with wide eyes, “Goodness, I’m so sorry.”
“What?” Mason said as the creature started to emerge from the cave, “No, this isn’t my cave.”
“Oh…” the creature said clearly embarrassed at his outburst, “Then I shall go back to my original question. “Do you have any food on you?”
“Ummmm,” Mason hums while searching his pockets for food, “No, I don’t. Sorry.”
“That is quite alright, young lad,” the creature replied.
“I could go get you some.” Mason offered, “In fact, there is a grocery store right outside the woods.”
“Why, that would be lovely!” the creature gushed, “Maybe I could go with you?” Without letting Mason reply to his question the creature rose up, just high enough so he could walk but not high enough that he would hit the cave’s ceiling, and stepped out of the cave.
“Ahhhh! This has been a dream, this entire time! Come on Mason wake up… wake up… wake up,” Mason chanted while pinching his arm, “I bet the old man was never even here.”
“If you’re talking about Old Man Douglas then, yes, he really was here. I saw him too.”
“But you’re a… a…” Mason stammered having trouble catching his breath thanks to the creature standing in front of him.
“Dragon?” the dragon finished Mason’s sentence for him, “Pretty cool huh?” He said as he unfurled and lightly flapped his huge, scaly yet smooth, royal purple wings. For some reason, Mason recognized the dragon’s wings but it took him a second to remember where he last saw them.
“You were just flying around weren’t you,” Mason managed to say a complete sentence, “I saw the tip of one of your wings and ran into these woods.”
“Yes, I was just flying around looking for food,” the dragon clarified for Mason, “speaking of which can I go to this ‘grocery store’ you speak of, with you?”
“Are you kidding me?” Mason fumed, “Of course not!”
“May I ask why not?”
“No, no you may not!” Mason hissed back, “Now, I’m going to walk away and go home. Do not follow me under any circumstances.”
“Sounds good boss,” the dragon barked as if he was talking to an army general, “Are you going to come back with food?”
“We’ll see,” huffed Mason. While he was walking away, Mason couldn’t help but turn back a few times to make sure the dragon was still there. He was, every time Mason looked back he saw the dragon thumping his long, also royal purple, tail against the ground like a puppy and, (if it’s possible), a geeky smile on his face.
When Mason got home he greeted his mom and, without letting her respond, grabbed his dinner and ran to his room.
Turning around from closing his door, Mason noticed something. Is that a snout?
“You have a very small doorway into your room,” the dragon said, shifting his position so that now his eye was looking through the window.
“That’s because you’re trying to enter the room through a window,” Mason sighed, frustrated that the dragon was there, “Why are you here? I thought I told you to stay in the cave.”
“Incorrect you told me, and I quote, ‘Do not follow me.’ You said nothing about a cave and I didn’t even follow you, I already knew where you lived. Old Man Douglas told me,” the dragon retorted.
“Ughhh,” Mason moaned, “Why are you here?”
“Because I figured you wouldn’t know what kind of foods I like,” the dragon answered, “and you said you were coming here to get fo–”
“I said and I quote, ‘We’ll see’,” interrupted Mason, “But never mind that, where am I going to hide you?”
“I saw a cozy little tree over there.” the dragon said pointing in the direction of Mason’s tree house.
“Fine,” Mason agreed, tired of fighting.
“Brilliant!” the dragon roared, already in the sky and flying towards the treehouse.
“Alright, I feel like I’m two years old when you call me, ‘young lad’,” Mason said. He had a sleeping bag in his treehouse and the dragon was lying between the branches of the tall oak tree next to Mason. “I would appreciate it if you call me Mason.”
“Very well Mason.” the dragon said, “Back home I go by the Dragon Prince but please call me either Vicinus or Vic.”
“Okay, I’m sorry Vic but I’m going to need elaboration on the whole ‘back home I go by the Dragon Prince’.”
“Well, my father is the evil Dragon King meaning, I am the Dragon Prince.” Vic clarified.
“I figured out that much, but, what do you mean ‘evil’?” Mason asked.
“My father, you see, is a mean and ruthless king,” Vicinus stuttered as if it was hard for him to admit, “no one dares get in his way. He loves the power of being king, the natural ability to terrify other dragons. In fact, he wants to stay king so much that he’s asked me if I would step down from my soon- to-be position of king and forward my kingship to him so he can stay king.”
“Man, he sounds terrible,” Mason admitted, “you declined his offer right?”
“You accepted his offer!” Mason exclaimed jumping up from his comfortable lying down position, “No!, Of course not! That’s the reason I was in the cave because I ran away.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” Mason sighed and laid back down.
“Now I just have to come up with a plan on how to expose him and his offer,” Vicinus said just as he was closing his eyes to fall asleep. Mason soon followed.
“Mason, up, up, up! Rise and shine princess. Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!” Vic screamed into Mason’s ear, obviously wanting him to get up, “We’re going to see my father. Up, up, up.”
“Hold up.” Mason demanded, “Isn’t your father like super evil?”
“Exactly, I want to overthrow him.” It didn’t take much to sway Mason to go with Vic, and soon he agreed.
Mason ran inside his house to grab his backpack. He quickly dumped out everything and replaced that stuff with a jacket, a voice recorder, and some food
“Ready!” Mason hollered as he ran out of his house and towards Vic.
“Splendid.” Vic called back, “Now climb on.”
“By ‘climb on’ you don’t mean your back, do you?”
“Of course I mean my back, how else do you expect to get to my home as fast as possible?”
Reluctant, Mason climbed on to Vicinus’s back because, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to ride on a dragon’s back?
On the way to the king’s palace, Vic told Mason about his plan and what Mason had to do to make it work. They reached Vic’s father’s palace in a few minutes and, deciding to not waste any time, went inside.
“Who dares to come into my palace uninvited?” a loud voice boomed.
“It is I father,” Vic told Mason to hide in a corner, so Vic’s father didn’t hurt him, therefore the Dragon King would only hear from Vic, “Vicinus.”
“What are you doing here son?” the Dragon King inquired, “Have you come to accept my proposal?”
“What proposal?” Vic asked.
“You have forgotten so easily?” the Dragon King snorted, “This is why you will not make a good king. I suggested you forfeit your right to be the next king.”
“Why father, that is preposterous,” Vic said pretending to sound surprised as if it was his first time hearing his father’s offer, “Why on Earth would I do that?”
“Because I told you to!” the Dragon King growled, “I’m your father and the king, you will do as I say.”
“Thank you so much for your time,” Vic politely ended the conversation, “I think I’ll take my leave though. You know so I can rethink this clearly legal and fair offer.” Without wasting another second, Vicinus turned around and headed straight out the door only slowing slightly to grab Mason, from where he was hiding, in his jaws.
Bursting out of the palace, though a grove of trees, and into a small village where the rest of the dragons lived, Vicinus half ran half flew.
“Attention!” Vicinus called, his voice echoing off the village houses making his voice louder than it already was, “I have a message for you about the king. As weird as it sounds, I’m going to come to each and everyone of your homes and deliver this message so please stay inside.”
All of the dragons did as the Dragon Prince told them to do and went into their homes. The Dragon Prince also upheld his promise and went around to each and every one of the dragon’s houses to deliver the message.
You may be asking yourself,what message is he delivering? Well you see, while the Dragon King and Prince were having their conversation, Mason may or may not have recorded every single word that was said on his voice recorder.
Now that all the dragons had heard of what the Dragon King had proposed to Vicinus, they were furious and wanted revenge.
Within seconds, Mason and Vic had all the dragons gathered in front of the Dragon King’s palace. “Charge!” Vic roared. That was the signal all the dragons were looking for. They rushed into the palace. Everyone quickly surrounded the king and the six strongest dragons, Vicinus included, and seized the king.
“Dragon King you have tyrannized your subjects too much for too long. Consider this,” Vic gestured to all the dragons surrounding and holding the king, “your abdication.” The six dragons holding the former Dragon King carried him down into the palace’s deepest dungeons and locked him away.
Once Mason was returned to his home, all was right in the world again. Vic was fulfilling his duties as Dragon King kindly and respectfully. But, as Vicinus looked out over his new kingdom one day from the dragon village, he could have sworn he saw a ball of fire rise from beyond the woods and fizzle out. “But that’s not possible…” Vic muttered so low and quiet he could barely even hear it, “All the dragons in the kingdom are here, with me, and humans can’t make fireballs… can they?” Then all of the sudden Old Man Douglas’s words filled Vic’s mind, ‘… every time one foe falls, another shall arise.’ As Vic was thinking, a loud, threatening roar could be heard in the distance. But not a dragon’s.
By: Peyton Erb
Photo Credits: Pinterest