Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, here to read Part Three, here to read Part Four, and here to read Part Five.
“We have to do something!” said Mr. Smith, pacing back and forth.
“Matt said to stay here until he got back,” said Mr. Tickleten. “I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
“Oh yes,” replied one of the crew members sarcastically, “leave our lives in the hands of a handyman, that’s a great idea.”
“You shut up, or I’ll have to come over and do it myself!” snapped Mr. Smith. The crewman took one look at Mr. Smith’s huge hands and shut his mouth.
“Run! Run!” came a voice from the trees. Out limped Mr. Franklin into the camp, frantically waving his arms.
“What, why?” asked Mr. Smith, running over to help him.
“My word!” cried Mr Tickleten, looking off in the direction of the mountain. “There, on the mountain… a giant scaled creature, with terribly huge and scary claws and teeth at least as long as me, is rapidly on his winged way here, most likely to devour us! I suggest we escape as fast as we can by whatever means possible!” The others paused for a moment, trying to unpack what he just said. “Incoming dragon, Run!”
In a panicked frenzy, they all sprinted as fast as they could for the shore, Mr. Smith with Mr. Franklin slung across his back. Before long, only two hundred feet lay between them and the ships. Then a hundred seventy-five. The dragon quickened his flight. A hundred twenty-five. A hundred. The dragon swooped down and grabbed for Mr. Tickleten, missing him by mere inches. Seventy-five. Fifty.
The sailors who had remained on the ship stood on deck, jumping up and down desperately. Before the others could reach the ship, the terrible dragon swooped past them and shot out rivers of white fire at the Bella Fawn. Though they could hear screams from the deck, the steam from the fire hitting the water completely hid both the boat and the dragon from view. Then suddenly, all went silent.
As they watched, afraid of what they might see, the steam cleared. To their utter astonishment and joy, the Bella Fawn bobbed happily in the water. The crew members on the boat looked around, blinking in confusion.
“What on Ildathore?”
“Boo!” shouted a voice from behind Mr. Tickleten. The company nearly jumped out of their skin. Behind them stood Matt Baker, grinning at their skittishness.
“My boy, you must never scare a man of my age!” scolded Mr. Tickleten. “You nearly gave me a heart attack!” Then, forgetting to be angry, he laughed. “How did you get away alive?”
“It’s a long story,” replied Matt, still smiling. One by one the others welcomed him back, until he came face to face with Mr. Franklin. “I am so sorry for everything Mr Frankl—”
“Stop,” cut in Mr Franklin. “It’s John, remember.” Then, he did something that Matt never would have expected. He hugged him, whispered, “I’m sorry about your father,” and then quickly pulled away. Matt looked at him questioningly, but he only smiled. Together, the company walked onto the ship.
“What happened?!” Mr. Tickleten asked the still quaking sailors.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” said the captain. “When that dragon shot fire, I thought we were done for. But, he just shot the flames in a circle around the boat so we couldn’t see. I figured he was just playing with us before the kill, but by the time the steam cleared, he was nowhere in sight. Extraordinary!”
All that night, rumors filled the boat as to the dragon’s odd behavior, but whenever someone asked Matt what had happened, all he would say was that there was no cause to be afraid of the Isle of Dread anymore. Every time Matt and John caught one another’s eye, they gave each other strange looks, but always kind ones.
It was decided that they would go back to gather more men and supplies before returning to the island. One by one, each of the crew members fell asleep in the cabin as the boat made its way back home; all except Matt. He went up on deck and made his way to the edge of the boat. “I know you’re here, Valley.”
Slowly, a huge majestic dragon, scales shining in the moonlight, rose out of the water and rested its gaze on Matt.
Do they know?
“I think that John has suspicions, but no one else,” replied Matt. “Man, when you said you wanted to leave with a bang, you really meant it. You know, you don’t have to leave the island for our sake.”
A glow came into his eyes. I want to leave Valinar forever. Let people say that he disappeared from his hoard, never to be seen again. It will suit me just fine.
“Where will you go?” asked Matt.
Perhaps I’ll find a new island, beyond the maps and the watchful eyes of man.... A sad look crossed his face. Perhaps discover the fate of my kin— They both turned as footsteps thudded in the hold. I should go.
“Goodbye, Valley, and good luck,” said Matt, looking at him. He smiled, in the way only a dragon can smile, and dove back into the water in a graceful arc, just before John stepped out on deck.
“Matt, are you okay?” asked John. “It’s freezing out here.”
“Yes,” said Matt, “I’m just coming back in.” John nodded and stepped back through the door. Matt followed, but right before he went in, he turned. Out almost farther than the eye could see, Valley rose out of the water, framed by the moon. Matt waved, and though he could never explain how, the creature waved back.
That was the last time Matt saw Valley. It was not, however, his last time on the sea. He continued on at Franklin, Franklin, & Smith as an apprentice and later a business partner once he had become a true sailor. Eventually his skills were noticed by the royal family and he left the company to serve as the admiral of their fleet.
He went on many more adventures in his days, most much more significant to the world than this, but he always said that his first was his favorite. Were his stories about speaking to dragons and the conversion of Valley true? Many say no, that no dragon could ever change. Some, however, myself included, believe that with the help of forgiveness, anything is possible.
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.