• Kiran Esvaran

The Case of the Missing Dragons

Prologue


“Are you sure about this?” stammered Jake, who was a human.

“Of course, I am.” insisted his friend, Marcus. Marcus had been Jake’s best friend since his family first moved next door in their small human city. Marcus was always looking for ways to get them in trouble.

“What if we get eaten? Or lost? Or dead some other way?” Jake worried.

“It’ll be fine. Stop overthinking things,” dismissed Marcus. “Besides, you’re six and I’m seven. I can protect you.”

Jake and Marcus had planned to sneak away to explore the nearby jungle, even though their parents had forbidden them to go anywhere near it. Everyone in Humansville had been whispering for months about weird things happening in that jungle.

The boys were itching to find out what was in there. Actually, it was mostly Marcus. Jake was way too nervous. He really needed to chill.

The lush jungle stood in front of them, towering and looming. Peculiar-looking birds chirped in harmonious cacophony. Vibrant flowers bloomed from the trees.

Jake shuddered, clutching his black hoodie tighter. Anything could be in there. But Marcus was persistent, giving Jake the feeling that he had to go.

The two boys walked into the jungle. Jake was careful, watching every step he took. Marcus tore through the tangles of vines and palm leaves like it was a perfectly safe thing to do.

A kaleidoscopic flower caught Jake's eye. Its flamboyant petals elegantly spread in all the colours of the rainbow.

And then it happened. A gargantuan, furry shape lay in front of them.

“What's that?” Jake tensed.

“Probably just moss.” said Marcus.

Eight towering legs slowly rose up from the ground. Eight malevolent, beady eyes glared at Jake, ready to devour him.

“Run!” shouted Jake.

Jake jumped back as he watched Marcus actually try to fight the eight-legged beast.

Is he crazy? thought Jake.

The malicious spider turned its eerie eyes toward him. Jake bolted faster than a cheetah with a jetpack. The spider’s towering legs followed behind him.

The chase went on and on, the spider catching up easily each second. Jake panted, losing his speed.

Will the spider catch up? He thought.

All of a sudden, he tripped on a hole, and the world fell into darkness…



Chapter 1


Two years later, there’s a mystery to be solved...

RING! RING! RING!

Cyan’s alarm clock rang loud as thunder. He flapped his four aquamarine wings, and glided out of bed.

Time for dragon school. He thought.

Cyan was a sea dragon, which obviously was the best dragon species. He was also ten times better at everything than everyone else in class. He was the second oldest, a year younger than ten year old Cloudburner, and could easily beat his seven year old friend Oscar, who was a bug dragon, in any flying race on any day.

He usually flew to school with Oscar and Skyla, who was a gentle red dragon. They were both good friends, but not nearly as smart as Cyan.

He got ready in a whizz and dashed out of his cave, flying over to Oscar’s banyan tree-house next door.

A lush canopy of emerald-green leaves looked down on Cyan, gargantuan roots spread every which way with flickers of light reaching the ground. Cyan rang the doorbell and an emerald green, four-winged dragon popped his head out sleepily.

“Oh, hey Cyan.” said Oscar.

“Hey.” said Cyan.

They spread their wings and took off to Skyla’s cave.

* * *


Skyla jolted out of bed, her wings stiff and tail pointing upwards. Usually her bad tempered older brother, Cloudburner, would pour a bucket of frigid water over her scales when she slept in this late. She was almost used to it now after so many wakings that way. But how come Cloudburner had left her alone today?

She flew to his bed-cave. No one there.

“Cloudburner!” she called.

No reply. Cloudburner usually flew out yelling angrily about something.

That’s weird.

She flapped her two ruby-red wings down the staircase.

Her mom was busy checking her work emails, her tail flicking back and forth.

“Good morning, Mommy!” said Skyla. “Do you know where Cloudburner is?”

“No. Isn't he still sleeping?” Skyla’s mom said distractedly. “Maybe he went to school early.”

That didn’t make sense. Cloudburner hated going to school early. School is where he got into the most trouble.

* * *

Oscar flew up to Skyla’s cave and impatiently banged the doorbell.

DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG!

He was constantly doing that. Ringing the doorbell like a mad dragon, enough to make Cyan’s ears fall off.

Finally, a shimmering red dragon opened the door of the cave.

“What took you so long?” said Cyan.

Skyla hesitated for a moment, “I can’t find Cloudburner. Have either of you seen him?”

Cyan and Oscar shook their heads.

“I can’t find my fridge either,” said Oscar.

“Uhhhhhhhh, okay.” Cyan rolled his eyes.

“Something’s not right,.” Skyla said. “It’s not like him to be here one day, and disappear the next. I’m really worried about him.”

“Of course he would,” said Cyan in his ‘I’m- the- world’s- smartest- dragon’ tone. “He hates school, right? He’s always getting in trouble with the teachers there. He obviously ran away. Duh!”

“Cyan, quit acting like a know-it-all.” Skyla shook her head.

* * *

The three dragons soared together towards school. Cyan felt the cool breeze brush his aquamarine scales. In no time, they arrived at the flying area.

“Good morning, students!” chanted their teacher, Ms. Greenwing. She was a forest dragon, a type of iridescent green dragon with wings made of the finest wood. She was the only forest dragon Cyan knew of living in town in Dragonscove. Forest dragons preferred to hide in the lush, mysterious jungles nearby, hidden from the outside world.

“Good morning, Ms. Greenwing,” said Skyla politely, but with a hint of sadness in her tone.

“Good morning, Ms. Greenwing!” Cyan sing-songed loudly.

“What do I say again?” said Oscar.

“Excuse me, Ms. Greenwing, but have you seen Cloudburner by any chance?” asked Skyla.

“He’s probably at the headmaster’s office for something,” said Ms Greenwing, offering a logical answer. “Anyways, I’d like to start the morning with a flying race.”

The three dragons lined up on the race track, each ready to start flying with top speed. Usually, Cyan won the races, with Skyla close behind. Oscar often came hours later, getting distracted by interesting plants growing around the track. Skyla always comforted Oscar by saying, “I’ve lost too.” or “You tried your best,.”, but Cyan just stood there, proud that he was the best dragon at everything.

Skyla’s head drooped down, her scales a touch duller than the glittering ruby colour that covered her scales most of the time. That gave Cyan a big advantage. Competing against a gentle, eight year old, red dragon with a missing brother, and an idiotic bug dragon who was constantly distracted, would obviously make Cyan the winner.

Ms.Greenwing started the race, with a blood-curdling SCREEEEEEEECH from her whistle!

The three dragons zoomed through the air. Well, only Cyan and Skyla zoomed. Oscar was singing to himself a melodious tune as he slowly glided along through the air.

“La la la, la la la la,” sang Oscar.

“Shut up, will ya?” Cyan called behind him.

Skyla would usually call him out on saying things like that to Oscar, but she seemed too sad to notice.

Cyan was way ahead, when a flash of emerald dashed passed by him. This couldn't be. Oscar was winning the race?

Before he knew it, Oscar had reached the end of the track. Skyla seemed to let her sadness go and came in close behind. Cyan was last. He couldn’t believe it. Losing never happened to him.

I’m still better than them at everything else, thought Cyan.


* * *

Another dragon in their school, Shadow, a darkness dragon with glossy jet-black scales, had also not turned up. Was he in the same situation as Cloudburner?

The school day continued as normal, with Cyan trying to prove how smart he was, Skyla thinking about Cloudburner and Shadow, while focusing on her work, and Oscar doodling on his worksheets.

Later, Skyla asked Headmaster Sharpwing, a spiny dragon, a species of dragon with mildly-venomous spines and gleaming, metallic silver scales that always glinted in the light, about Cloudburner.

“Headmaster Sharpwing, have you seen Cloudburner by any chance?” asked Skyla politely.

“Don’t think so,” answered Headmaster Sharpwing.

Then Skyla thought to check with Ms. Greenwing about Shadow.

“No. I marked him as absent today,” said Ms. Greenwing.

Something was definitely not right. They were both missing.

* * *

After school, Cyan, Oscar, and Skyla met up at the old pond by the edge of their city of dragon caves.

“We have to find them,.” said Skyla. “I hope they're all right. I’m just really worried about both of them.The grownups didn’t even notice something’s strange.”

“Who are we talking about?” said Oscar.

“Cloudburner and Shadow,” reminded Cyan.

Here's another way to prove that I’m the best. If I’m right about it, that’s all that matters. Thought Cyan.

“First,” Cyan took charge with a bossy tone, “we look for clues. We’ll fly through the hunting area where Cloudburner likes to hunt. Then we’ll cover the northern territory. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks out of place.”

The three young dragons searched all the caves in Dragonscove, until Cyan found something strange at the other end of town. It was a glittering red scale, with deep black edges that seemed to scintillate with a malevolent gleam. It was larger than a dragon scale, but wasn't large enough to be a Darkfang’s*. It looked eerily like it was from the monster that had tried to kill all the flower lizards*, based on Cyan’s memory of the pictures taken by The Dragon Times.

Glimmering black scales, like that of Shadow’s, and iridescent crimson scales, like that of Cloudburner’s, lay next to the puzzling red scale.

In front of it were slither marks as wide as Oscar, Cyan, and Skyla lined up from head to tail. Whoever was doing this didn't have legs.

Major clue, Cyan. Cyan thought to himself.

___________________________________________________________

Darkfangs are large, rainbow, scaly, and spineless lizards with the ability to control storms, have shimmering, kaleidoscopic scales, and carry four graceful wings, like those of a butterfly. They hold a very inappropriate name.*

Flower lizards are a type of lizard with ultramarine scales with luminescent patterns, and an elegant hibiscus flower on their tails. A monster lowered their population, but they are bouncing back due to a human boy named Max, and his pet dragon-dog, Caramel. Read about them here.*

____________________________________________________________


Skyla peered at the gleaming scale Cyan had found. She picked it up and put it carefully in her backpack, and took out a notepad. She wrote,

Whoever did this has red scales, no legs, and is larger than a dragon.

“I can write better notes than that,” Cyan bragged.

“You can?” said Oscar. “What are notes again?”

“Notes are when you write down what you learned,” explained Skyla kindly.

“‘You’ve learned, not you learned,.” corrected Cyan.

“Ohhhhhhh, I get it now,” smiled Oscar.

The trail of slither marks lead to the jungle, the separator between the dragon city, and the human city, which even Cyan had to admit he had no idea about.

In the jungle, peculiar calls of birds chirped at them as the trio flew by. Luminescent mushrooms glowed as bright as glowing gold, lighting up the forest floor. Flowers in all the colours of the rainbow spread their petals across the tropical forest. The sky turned a deep purple, and glistening stars created a reflection on the tranquil jungle river. The calm of the jungle was suddenly shattered by monkeys screaming louder than Cyan’s alarm clock. Birds chattered angrily, and frogs pulsed flares of fluorescent colours. Monitor lizards hissed aggressively from the trees, their lustrous green scales gleaming in the moonlight. The jungle really was riled up.

The commotion from the slither monster, or us, or something else we have no idea about must have really scared the jungle. thought Skyla.

Well, at least the animals are quiet. thought Oscar.

“Look!” Skyla gasped, pointing to a hole.

A human boy, around their age and size, lay unconscious in the hole. He wore a jet-black hoodie. Who was he? Did he have anything to do with where Cloudburner and Shadow went?



Chapter 2


Cyan couldn't believe that there was a human in the jungle, so close to the dragon city. Even dragons never dared go this deep into the tropical forest. So, why had the human?

“Hello,” said Oscar.

The human jolted awake. “W-who are y-you? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! D-d-d-d-dragons!”

“AHHHHHHHHHH? Is that how you say hello in Humanese?” wondered Oscar.

“Both of our species speak Eenglish,.” Cyan said in his I-know-more-than-you voice.

“It’s okay. You’re safe,.” comforted Skyla. “You have nothing to worry about.”

“I d-don’t?” Tthe boy asked nervously.

“Of course you don’t,.” said Cyan haughtily.

“W-who-o a-re y-y-you?” stammered the human.

“I’m Cyan. I’m 9 years old and a sea dragon. This is Oscar, I’m waaaaaay smarter than him. He’s 7 years old, and a bug dragon. And this is Skyla. She’s 8 years old, and a red dragon,.” said Cyan.

“What about you?” asked Skyla, in a kind tone.

“I-I-I...uhhhh...d-d-don’t know my name. And I don’t know how I got here.” said the human.

“Then we will call you Nameless,.” said Cyan. “We're on a mission to find some missing dragons named Cloudburner and Shadow.”

“Have you seen a black dragon around my age, very nervous, and two wings? Or an angry red dragon, that looks like me, but older and a boy, breathing fire everywhere?” asked Skyla.

“N-no, but I-I’ll join your search if it-t’s n-n-n-not too d-angerous.” said Nameless.

“Okay,” agreed both Cyan and Skyla.

“Just saying, I kinda feel like pizza,” said Oscar.

* * *

The four new friends followed the trail of the slither marks deeper into the forest. Abruptly, the dense jungle loosened out with elegant palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze.

Cyan knew exactly what species the palm trees were.The large, feathery, elegant ones were Veitchia Joannis, the small fan-like ones were Licuala Grandis, the medium-sized, feathery ones, were Cyphosperma Balansae, the large, unsplit leaved, and medium-small ones were Pelagodoxa Henryana.

“Ooooooohhhhh, what kind of tree is that?” asked Oscar.

“That’s a Livistona Chinesis,” said Cyan, smugly.

“Looks like cabbage on a stick to me,.” said Oscar.

Skyla could smell a hint of salt and hear waves splashing rhythmically on one another.

Whoever did this must be able to swim. She wrote in her notebook.

“Terrible notes,” Cyan muttered to himself.

The faint smell of ocean became stronger as the three dragons flew along the coast with Nameless riding on Cyan’s back.

They reached a pristine cove, lined with fine white sand that shimmered as turquoise water gently lapped on the beach. The sun shone on the aquamarine water, glittering like a thousand jewels all scintillating in the sunlight. The slither trail vanished at the edge of the water. They would have to go in, even though Cyan was the only one who could swim.

Suddenly, Skyla spotted something in the sand. A gruesome sight hit their eyes. A long dead flower lizard stunk of (rotten eggs X 100) + (100) x (skunk) x (100), as Cyan would put it with his genius math ability.

“Oooooooh, smells nice,” said Oscar, taking a whiff of the rancid smell.

“Shouldn't we stay away from it? It c-could be dangerous. What if it’s poisonous?” Nameless shivered with fear.

“Flower lizards are basically the safest creatures around.” explained Cyan, his snout tilted upwards, in his ‘I know waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than you’ voice.

“Poor thing,.” sSaid Skyla.

This was a huge clue. The scale, and now the flower lizard.

That could be the freaky news monster,. tThought Skyla. If it is, we just have to find him.

Cyan had a different idea.

It must be a new creature, maybe related to the news monster. The news monster must have quit,. tThought Cyan.

W-what if t-this m-m-m-mission is t-too dangerous for me? tThought Nameless.

I really want a donut. Or a coconut. Or any kind of nut,. tThought Oscar.

“It has to be a new monster,” said Cyan. “It obviously can't be anything else. Yeah, of course it is. I’m right. As always.”

“Wait,” said Skyla. “We still haven't figured it out. I think the old monster’s quit flower lizards, and trying to do something with dragons-”

“And my fridge,” added Oscar.

“I’m still really worried about Cloudburner and Shadow. I hope they're all right,” finished Skyla.

“By the way, do any of you have a coconut? I really want one,.” said Oscar. He actually wanted one. He really just wanted to taste the refreshing taste of a coconut’s thirst-quenching insides.

Skyla shook a nearby coconut tree, and hard-shelled, furry fruits came raining down, the tree's massive, elegant, fronds waving side to side. Oscar drank one, and they continued their mission.

* * *

“We need to follow the trail underwater,” Cyan said in a bossy tone, looking at the end of the puzzling trail. “Since I’m the only one who can swim, I’ll do it,.” hHe smiled smugly.

“I-I can. B-but t-t-the s-sharks. T-t-they m-m-m-might eat-t me-e,” said Nameless.

“It's okay,” comforted Skyla. “I heard they aren't that bad. Guys, where’s Oscar?”

Cyan watched taken aback as Oscar dived into the scintillating aquamarine water, his four bug-like wings softly buzzing.

He can swim?!

Specks of foamy white water splashed the jagged rocks that lined the coast, with roaring currents breaking off little gray stones. SPLISH! SPLOSH! SPLASH!

Underneath, the water was every shade of aqua-blue as far as the eye could see. Vibrant corals jutted out from the sandy seabed. Kaleidoscopic fish darted around the reef, like rainbow underwater comets. Elegant squids shot across the water, their luminescent tentacles glowing as bright as the sun.

Something caught Oscar's eye. It was the same slither trail they had been following and it was lined with the same ominous red-black scales.


To be continued....

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