In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, an island like no other is located. An island full of dragon species like nothing you have ever seen before. A land teeming with mythical creatures. Full of life, discoveries, and adventure. A place full of rainforests shrouded in exotic plants. A place full of dragon villages unbeknownst to the rest of the world. Which is more than anyone could say for the snake-infested city of DragonVille, on the coast of the mainland.
“Snakes sighted.” Monotoned the robotic dragon. He flicked the cameras that made up his eyes side to side, scanning for the scaly creatures. The noxious smell of sewer grime filled the air as the undesirable pests would start to slither out.
A deer-brown serpentine shape writhed its body through the slits of the sewer, its intricate scales gleaming with a lime-green tinge as they always did, as the snakes emerged out of their sludgy home. The snake’s tongue flicked in and out of his notched lips. This was their leader, the leader of the snakes, his main killing priority.
The one problem was that occasionally, the snakes climbed up electrical lines for some apparent reason, and being robo-dragons, they could die any second. But fire dragons were far too weak to fight snakes, at least by robo-dragon standards.
The snake, named Sharpfang, warily watched the mechanical dragon prepare his deadly weapons. He bared his fangs, ready to defend.
Why did the snakes live like this? They had got here first after all, and those dragons had only arrived here, and built the city a few hundred years ago. Sharpfang had lived his whole life dealing with fireballs and robo-dragons while hiding in the unpleasant safety of the sewers.
Well, maybe it was because the dragons were the ones who built the city, and the snakes lived primitively in tree holes before that.
The robo-dragon’s claws writhed into a katana that gleamed like knives, shining maliciously as if it wanted to slice a snake in half a second.
We will not retreat. Sharpfang thought, his fangs gritted.
But they had to if the snakes wanted to survive. If not, the katana would chop their entire population to nothing.
Back in the filthy sewers, the snakes were all recovering from the extermination attack. So far, they had all survived. Why were they hated so badly? The robo-dragons and fire dragons who inhabited the city were always trying to kill the snakes, the dragons feeling like the snakes gave up and died. But no. The snakes had to fight. They had to fight to live. The snakes needed to escape. To find a safer place.
“I think we should attack them back. To destroy them.” Suggested an aggressive-looking snake.
“I think we should make peace with them.” Said Slither, a young snake. “We could share the city and live together.”
Sharpfang considered both of them. He had a similar idea. Since the dragons would not even consider peace and would be far too powerful to fight, due to the fact that a brown tree snake’s rear fanged venom was specialized for the few small animals that managed to persist in the sewers. Well, their venom could kill some dragons (but only young or elderly ones), or they could steal food from the dragons, (but what kind of nitwit would try?)
But if they could find a nearby forest, or even better, an island, they could have a land of their own full of food, safety, and a better life in general. A land where they could be free.
“I have a combination idea.” Said Sharpfang. “We could scour the library to find info on a place we like, then go there.”
Why haven't they done that already? Why did they stay in the sewers? Probably because the city was surrounded by a menacing black and violet wall made of strongstone, an indestructible type of stone. Plus the fact that there was a locked door there with a magic spell that only allowed dragons to walk in and out of the city. If they wanted the snakes out, why didn't they let them? Maybe they just wanted to finish them off, once and for all.
No one argued. The problem was that the library was nearly inaccessible and you had to know several passcodes as well as being allowed by a protective magic spell to get in, probably because it was full of top secret information that only dragons could access.
“Yes,” said a snake with a wise expression on his face. “But how will we get in?”
“There’s a ventilation system,” Sharpfang suddenly remembered. “We might be able to get through.”
* * *
Shelves containing books of every kind lined up in orderly rows next to comfortable reading nooks tucked between the shelves. Sharpfang writhed his body out of the cramped vent and into the huge selection of books. The cool winds of the air conditioning gently brushed Sharpfang’s scales. The section Geography was right up the first row. The subcategories filled his eyes. Atlases, no. Islands Nearby, yes!
He rapidly memorized the map of the endless halls of books as he slithered back into the sewers and got the other snakes to come to the library.
A book titled All The Islands Surrounding DragonVille seemed to be their best bet. All the others were too long-winded and specific from the first pages, while from the title, this one seemed to the point.
All The Islands Surrounding DragonVille
The Island Of LushTropic:
The island of LushTropic is a tropical island twenty kilometers due southwest of DragonVille. The island is filled with three species of dragon, Junglegliders, Tropicdragons, and Flowerscales. The three dragon species are known to be very different from the ones in DragonVille and from what is known, they seem welcoming. The island is mostly full of lush tropical forests apart from the volcanic outcrop on the east side of the island. Head to page 29 for in-depth information.
This was it! Welcoming dragons, tropical paradises. An island suitable for living. A place where the snakes could be safe from the exterminators. A place where they could be happy.
“I found an island. A paradise,” said Sharpfang. “A safe haven. No one dangerous. All it takes to get there is a simple raft.”
The silence of reading was suddenly broken. All the snakes peered, their emerald cat-like eyes wide at Sharpfang.
“There are friendly dragons there, who won't attack us. We can make new friends. Meet new creatures.”
Everyone stopped, froze, and lifted their reptilian heads up in the air, considering what Sharpfang had just said. All they had to do now was get there.
* * *
The aquamarine water shimmered as the sunbeams hit it, shining like a pile of gold. The fine sands were soft on Sharpfang’s underbelly, like soft, furry moss on his deer-brown scales. A pouch hung around his neck, the stolen library book safe inside.
A large green mountainous shape loomed in the distance, surrounded by waters of the purest turquoise. Pristine beaches with sands as white as snow hung under piles and piles of green rainforest.
A raft bobbed up and down with the gentle blue water, calm and relaxed. Sharpfang sidled up onto it as the snakes piled up on the raft, which rose and fell with the peaceful waves.
The calm breeze brushed his scales like the softest clouds that ever existed. The cyan of the sky reflected on the quiet ultramarine of the sea. Kaleidoscopic fish twirled with grace through the vibrant corals jutting from the seabed as Sharpfang peered into the endless blue. The island was getting closer every second. The green mountain towered above the sea below.
He might as well pass the time by reading the island guide. Remembering the first page, he flipped to page 29. Ahhhhh, there it was.
Contents Of This Chapter:
Climate And Terrain
Other Known Flora And Fauna
If he wanted to make friends with the dragons, he needed to learn about them. He turned a page with his tail making a woosh sound as the piece of paper fluttered flat.
Excitement flushed through his body. His new home, just a few kilometers away. A place where the snakes could be happy and free. The cheerful blue sky was filled with seabirds of every kind. The squawks and caws of sooty terns and black noddies chirped to the rhythm of the waves’ soft crashing.
These creatures are dragons that roam the jungle near the central area of the sunglasses shaped island. They are a deep emerald green with hints of brown, pink, and other jungle colours. They have four wings, usually green and buglike. They have spines on the top of their horns. On the island, they are the explorers, they generally fly out to sea to find new islands and discoveries but even they don't dare go to the east or west of the island.
Size: up to six feet (1.8 meters)
Diet: generally fruits
Flowerscales are pink, purple, and green dragons, each individual having a different ratio of color. They have four wings that look more like staghorn ferns than flower petals. Their horns are covered in flower-petal-like appendages. They are mostly the builders on the island, constructing the treehouses and innovating new ideas.
Size: up to five feet (one and a half meters)
Diet: generally fruits
Tropicdragons are dragons full of vivid colors, similar to that of parrots, usually macaws. They also have feathered tails, horns and wings. Tropicdragons are mainly the warriors of the island, fighting off any dangers that arrive to the island, but they would never even dare going to the east or west of the island, no matter their fighting skills.
Size: up to seven feet (two meters.)
Diet: Occasionally other animals, often fruit
What was it about the east or west sides of the island? It mentioned that the Junglegliders and Tropicdragons would never go to the east or west of the island no matter what. But why? What were the dangers?
The aquamarine sea lapped gently onto the shimmering sands of the secluded cove. A fruitful treehouse complex towered above the lush canopy of the forest below. Dragons of green, pink, and orange swooped from tree to tree.
The smell of coconuts hinted with sea spray filled the air. They could taste the fresh air, the complete opposite of the grimy sewer smell they were used to. The cacophony of exotic birds was full of chirps and screeches, bringing the forest to life. They could almost touch their new home from the thatched bamboo raft, if the dragons accepted them.
The island was right here, right in their reaches.
Several dragon species are indeed found on the island, but islands always change over time, as does anything. New discoveries can be found within a heartbeat. Strange things can happen within the blink of an eye…
Leafheart, a Jungleglider dragon, peered out the window of his thatched treehouse. The sky was clear blue, filled with birds of every vibrant hue. The aquamarine sea shimmered in the beams of sunlight as the gentle waves lapped on the fine white sands. Yellow hibiscus flowers clustered around palm trees towering over the ground below.
Dragons of green, pink, and orange glided between the trees, swooping gracefully with the gentle breeze.
Some of them were Junglegliders, their scales greens, browns and patterned reds and oranges and pinks. Their four bug-like wings fluttered through the treetop houses. Spines jutted out from their horns like stalagmites.
Some of them were Flowerscales, their four wings like staghorn ferns. Their scales were shimmering pinks and greens and oranges. Their horns were covered with flowers that were as elegant as butterflies.
Some of them were Tropicdragons, their scales mixed with feathers of the reds and blues and yellows of macaws and parrots as their two wings fluttered between leaves. Their tail feathers were glistening in the sunlight.
Today may have seemed like a normal day on the island of Lushtropic, but no, it wasn't. Today was the first day of Grade Four. Leafheart had just turned nine the previous day. A feeling of excitement flushed through his body. He couldn't wait. But there was also this subtle feeling. It was extremely small but still there. The feeling that something bad was just about to happen.
He got ready, waved bye to his mom, and flew off to school. The soft breeze brushed his wings like feathers on his scales. The leaves were feathers as they swished side to side like the gentle strokes of a fish tail.
After several minutes, a large wooden building rose above the treetops, not as grand as the king’s palace, but grand nonetheless.
The words School Of LushTropic loomed above his scales as he saw dragons of various colors in the school. He reached his claws onto the doorknob, the wooden door sliding open. A dragon of green, blue and orange, reminiscent of a rainbow lorikeet, opened the door.
“Hello.” The dragon muttered.
“Hello, Vinetooth.” Said Leafheart.
Vinetooth pointed to a second room, which was their classroom.
His other friends, Ice, and Exotica were there too. School was good, but there was this eerie feeling crawling through him.
Later, the sky was now a neon orange fading into a rosy pink as the reflection of the setting sun shimmered onto the sea.
An irregular shape gently bobbed up and down with the ebb and flow of the waves.
Something about that shape…the fact that there were faint hissing sounds gave Leafheart an uneasy feeling. Something similar to the sound of a creature he read about...snakes?
As the raft drifted closer to the island, the uneasy feeling grew and grew. Something felt strange. As if something bad was about to happen. Something bad was about to happen. The feeling was true. That shape was a danger. A danger that would strike soon.
The hissing grew. Something was wrong. The sound was a warning. He had to tell everybody.
But who would believe him? The king, who was a hybrid between all three species (Tropicdragons, Flowerscales, and Junglegliders) was the one who said if something was a threat. And if it didn't threaten him, he would dismiss it entirely.
The sound of the Danger Gong rang throughout the town. If the king had noticed it, it must have been an extreme danger to everyone. The jungle fell silent. The birds sofly chirped not their happy nighttime lullabies, but nervous squawks instead.
Everyone gathered around and rushed to the king’s palace. The beach was hissing as several snakes sidled up toward the king's extravagant treehouse. Their scales were a deer brown color that shimmered faintly in the soft moonlight.
Everyone huddled even closer together and slowly backed away into the treehouse. “Wait!” The snake in front yelped, just as the gem-encrusted wooden door was just about to slam shut. “We're not here to harm anyone. We just want a new home. We just escaped from a horrible place. I’m Sharpfang.”
All the dragons poked their reptilian heads out of the windows, considering this.
Leafheart believed them. They seemed genuine. They acted like they meant it. The king however, had a distrustful look on his face.
“You can’t just live here! I do. I own this place. This is my - and not yours - property. You can’t just take it. You don't even seem the slightest bit dragon. Your snakes. And snakes are not even close to as powerful as me, as your venom is too weak for me to die.” Said the king.
“Fine.” Said Sharpfang, his tongue flickering in and out of his lips. “I can fight you for it.”
“In two weeks.” Said the king. “I will make your species extinct and keep my island. You monstrous creatures will end up with nothing. Nothing at all.”
The king whispered battle plans, organising materials and preparing for all-out defense.
“Snakes.” Sharpfang said. He whispered battle plans as the snakes slithered into a secluded reach of the forest surrounded by heavy-fruited palm trees, a toxic variety of banana trees, and prickly rose bushes, inaccessible to everyone but snakes, who could easily slither through.
A few hours later, Leafheart and his friends, Vinetooth and Ice were sitting inside a safe house, a small, extremely strong cabin where young, elderly, and weak dragons hid out during times of danger. His other friend, Exotica, was hiding alone in the safe house in the next tree over. Communicating with her, who was full of useful ideas, would be challenging.
Rustle! Slither! Knock!
The leaves rustled eerily. Hissing filled the air. Something was about to attack. Everything fell silent except for the eerie sounds rattling the air. Every second, the sound got louder. It would attack any moment now.
A knock hit the door as the three dragons leaped back, into the further reaches of the cabin.
yellow-green scales on a serpentine creature, smaller than Sharpfang, slithered outside their safe house.
The battle was starting.
* * *
Sharpfang was wondering why the book was half wrong. Oops. He forgot to look at the date on the copyright page. But no one even does that!
It is difficult to tell whether someone is telling you the truth. Traitors are common. Beware of even, or especially, your most trusted friends. But who can be trusted, if anyone?
Vinetooth shuddered, then froze and shook. He wasn't about to show people that he was scared. He trusted no one with his feelings. He didn't trust anyone in general. He barely even trusted the people closest to him. Anyway, the battle had started.
“We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die,” trembled Ice, her pink scales shuddering.
“Wait!” Said a kid’s voice, somewhat slithery. “I’m not trying to attack you or anything.”
The voice was coming from the snake outside. Vinetooth didn't believe him. He was trying a secret attack, pretending to be your friend’s friend then sneakily attacking one of you with no one else knowing. He was not going to let that happen.
“Yes you are,” Vinetooth said. “You're definitely a trickster.”
“I’m trying to help.” Said the snake, his scales were a yellow-green color. “I thought we could make a plan to find something that could save us, like a useful magic spell.”
“And why us?” Vinetooth said. The other two seemed to be too scared to say something.
“Well, you were the nearest, and I had to slither from like twenty creatures that wanted to eat me.” Said Slither. That didn't fit in with the fact that the book said the island was a safe place. “Night monsters really are real.”
“This place is crawling with monsters at night,” said Leafheart.
That was why they needed Safe Houses in the first place. To stop the monsters from getting out of hand.
They needed to escape the safe House, get to the library, find Volume 5, Useful Magic To Stop Battles and use what it says. Sounds simple, right?
“I’m scared,” said Ice. She always was. Nervousness was her thing.
At the library, the book said the most reliable way to stop a war was to get a stone called moonstone. The only problem was that it was only found in the west of the island, which was too dangerous.
The king had forbidden it due to the danger of the creatures that live there.
Legend says that a Spineserpent, a deadly type of serpent covered in vicious spines from head to tail, found only there, could kill anything instantly with its deadly venom, and it could also impale you, with its spines as sharp as obsidian daggers.
Now Ice seemed so petrified (an understatement) looked like she was gonna just run away and bail everyone out on saving the island.
Vinetooth was almost sure she actually was going to, but when she decided to come, his feeling of distrust started to fade for everyone.
they found a map of the island, preparing to head to the west.
“Are you sure, we'll survive this?” Asked Ice.
“Yes,” Said everybody else.
“Really, surely? Like 150 percent?”
“Yes.” Everyone else sighed.
“Are you really, actually, sure? Or you are just saying that?”
The forest was thick, lush and full of eerie, almost...digital bird calls.
Anything could be lurking in the tropical bush. They walked hours through the forest, because the wind was too strong to fly and nothing attacked them. Maybe the king was lying. Maybe he was hiding something here.
After twelve more hours of walking, nothing had still attacked them.
“What was that?” Asked Ice.
“I’m not sure.” Said Leafheart and Slither at the same time.
Eight slender, segmented legs arose out of the tropical flowers. Malevolently spiny scales, a lizard-like snout, and a spiked tail as well. An arrachnolizard. A creature rumored to have venom deadlier than a sea snake’s.
Ice looked as if she was going to faint. Leafheart and Slither both looked as if they would run away. Even Vinetooth, who rarely let others see his feelings, due to the fact that they might use them against him, screamed, like everyone else.
The arrachnolizard leaped towards Vinetooth, its fangs gleaming like daggers thirsty for blood. Vinetooth whacked it with his tail, sending it flying into a tree.
It leaped down, onto Leafheart. He did the same thing, sending it flying.
It was gone, for now.
Shimmering purple rocks glittered like glowing gold.
“Stop!” Said a familiar voice. “By your king’s orders, you cannot go past.”
The king wanted them to not get the moonstone, but why?
“I make decisions, not you. And I, and I only, will make decisions.”
The king was trying to stop them. He wanted the moonstone for himself, or for a sneakier reason.
They had only one choice: nab the moonstone as quick as possible.
To be continued...