Thursday, March 23, 2006

Crime Dragon - Chapter 3

Bob stood in front of the candles, the wish swirling in his mind. He wondered if he should silently say the wish to himself - or speak it out loud. He decided on speaking it, just in case.

He cleared his throat. Use the wish wisely, echoed through his thoughts.

"I wish that I had the magic of the world my mother spoke of so that I could better the world, to be able to shapechange and use magic at my discretion in spells that will never fade unless I want them to, without any limitations on the type of magic I choose to use, nor any limits to the powers - as long as it will serve to make the world a better place."

He stood there, waiting to see if he felt any different, but nothing appeared to have changed. He leaned down and blew a gentle puff of air through his nostrils to blow out the candles. They didn't extinguish. Had he gotten the wish correct? Did he need to do anything else?

The Knights came into the room, all of them smiling, including Baxter. Bob wondered how they had known he had made his wish.

"And the wish has been made, yes?" The oldest Knight asked as he shuffled over to look at the still lit candles.

"I think so." Bob looked at Bax and raised the scaled area above his eye, in an unmistakeable expression of utter confusion.

"And what did you wish for Dragon boy?" Bax winked at him. "A harem of women? An unlimited supply of video games? What? What?"

Bob studied the knights quietly for a moment. Then he shrugged his shoulders.

"I wished that I was magical."

The Knights of Splendor looked knowingly at each other and all nodded. Bob thought they looked like the Three Wisemen, scratching their beards and standing there.

Baxter's father, Raymond clapped his hands and the candles extinguished.

"You've done well, my dear boy. Very well." Raymond said.

"I've done what well?" Bob asked.

"You've chosen the right path, the one that was hoped for."

"Hoped for by who?" Bob searched the faces of the Knights of Splendor, trying to get some sort of idea of what exactly was going on.

"Ayuh. Hmmmph." Said the oldest Knight, pulling on his beard for emphasis.

"Ayuh, Hummph, WHAT?" Bob almost roared, hating to be kept in the dark about anything.

"Patience lad." The second oldest smiled warmly. "Patience is what you need. We'll tell you at our own pace. Remember we're old, unlike you."

"It's not that Bob isn't old - he's just stupid." Bax snickered loud enough for Bob to hear.

Bob tossed a crumbled up napkin from the table at him, which Bax deftly caught and threw back at him - hitting him right on the chest.

"Ahem." The oldest Knight cleared his throat.

"Watch out dude, he cleared his throat - always a sure sign that you're about to get bored to death." Baxter said in a quiet aside to the dragon.

The dragon resisted the urge to kick Bax lightly in the shins. It would have been fun to watch him double over, but this just wasn't the time.

"Bob, we've been your guardians since the day you were hatched. We have watched over you and have given you safety." He nodded at the other Knights and walked towards the living room to sit down. The rest of the crowd followed him and took their places around the circular built couch area.

"We were given this duty from the first set of Knights of Splendor, who got their orders from Lithay. The Knights guarded your egg until it hatched, passing down the responsibility with each generation until you were a dragling about 100 years ago." He waved his hand in the air for showmanship. "We watched you grow from a dragling, my brother and I being your caretakers from 60 years ago until I passed it solely to my brother, who in turn passed it to Thomas and then from Thomas to Baxter's father Raymond... and then to Baxter." He waved at each of the Knights as he mentioned them.

This part of the history Bob knew, but was always fascinated by it.

"So, in reality, Bob, you were hatched 100 years ago, but your egg took 700 years to develop."

Bob nodded again, showing he already knew that much. He was sitting on the edge of the couch, tensed and ready to hear more. The light glistened off of his scales.

"When we were given the responsibility for your safety, we were given a set amount of jewels and told how to invest them in our lives, so that there would be an abundance of wealth for all of those who had the duty to protect you."

Bob knew that they had oodles of money, all of them - and he had never wanted for much.

The oldest Knight pulled out a ledger from his robes. He opened it and placed it on the coffee table in front of Bob. He pointed a gnarled finger at the last line entry: 500,000,000.00 was listed. In dollars. Money. Dinero. Mooolah... Bob's eyes widened.

"That my dear child, was ten years ago. We've stopped adding it to this ledger and have instead started online banking. As is the way of the present and the future. All of these funds are in your name with the acting Knight on Duty as the executor in case anything should happen or if you needed assistance."

Bob looked at the round numbers and tried to imagine what he would even be able to purchase with that much money. It was staggering. And this was from 10 years ago? Wow.

"We also have taken care of our families quite comfortably."

"You very well deserved it," Bob managed past the dry lump in his throat. This was simply astounding and breath taking.

"We'd like to think so Bob. You've been nothing but a delight for all of us through the years. Watching you grow and learn and become a young adult in dragon years." He cleared his throat and took a sip of water that Baxter had brought him. "Now, to the wish issue."

Bob leaned forward and waited eagerly.

"When your mother passed down the order for the Knights of Splendor to take up your care, she also gave us direct orders... We were to never tell you until your 800th birthday of your past or your money, least it influence you. We were to not tell you about magic until this day, least you began thinking of your wish and became greedy, plotting it and planning it for years ahead of time."

Another sip of water had Bob ready to strangle him for want of faster output of information. He had to sit on his hands to make sure that he didn't jump up and down in a temper tantrum like a child. He was an adult now.

"Well, your mother advised us that you might wish for magic. We had hoped that this is so. However, we have no Mathinike to aid you."

"Mathinike?" Bob looked around quizically at the others who sat impassive and relaxed on the sofas. Did everyone know the story except him?

"A rooted tree that held magical properties that when combined with Dragon magic, created all of the magic in the world." Thomas spoke up from beside Bob. "The last of the Mathinike was used in transporting your egg to safety and in ensuring your safety for up to 800 years. The rest was destroyed by humans before then."

"Does that mean without Mathinike, whatever it is, that I will have no magic, if... if... if that is what I wished for?"

"That is not for us to say, Bob," Raymond answered. "We cannot begin to fathom the way magic now works, if it works at all. We can only read what has been passed down from Father to Son in the last 800 years. The Oracle that spoke to your mother, who forsaw the future, stated that you would be the greatest dragon ever and that you would rule in magic."

"He's the only dragon - Ever." Bax added.

"Shhh." Thomas elbowed him lightly.

"So let me get this straight.... Some oracle-future-fortune-teller told my mother that I would have magic and that I would be great. But without Mathinike, some unknown tree that no longer exists, magic is defunct?"

"Great. He thinks he's going to be great... That'll be the day, Scaley can't even beat me at Halo 2." Baxter snorted out and earned another jab from Thomas.

"That's about it. How the world will work, with your wish, is unknown to us and we have done our part. So that, my dear child, is all there is to tell you." The Eldest Knight stood up and stretched. "Now, let's have some cake."

Everyone stood up, leaving Bob alone on the couch. For a moment, he felt entirely alone in the room full of the Knights of Splendor. He felt left out - but then... the cake's enticing chocolate aroma lifted his spirits and he walked over to the table.

"Dude, need some ice-cream?" Bax asked as he headed towards the freezer.

"There's hardly any left after you ate it all, too bad it's not a never ending supply of ice cream." Bob answered. "Still, if you want some, help yourself. If there's a little left over, I'll take a little.

Bax opened the door and then stood there in open mouthed shock. "Whoa dude - I thought you said there was hardly any left."

"Yeah, you ate all the Rocky Road."

"Uhm... Maybe you better check this out." Baxter opened the freezer doors wide.

Lining the entire compartment were cannisters of ice cream. Bob stepped closer to take a look. Every flavor that he liked was there. Phish Food. Rocky Road, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Cheesecake and others.

"Alright who filled this up for my birthday?" He looked around to the older Knights of Splendor while Baxter just stared at the Freezer, trying to decide which one would be right.

"I think," the eldest Knight stroked his beard with a twinkle in his eyes, "I think... yes, I do... that your wish has just begun." And he picked up a fork and placed a bite of decadent chocolate cake in his mouth. "Move aside Baxter, you fool, I want some of that Rocky Road."