Instead of leaves growing from the branches, all the trees looked bare and
dead. Crispin didn’t hear any sounds of nature. An evil quietness hung
over the land, like the fog swirling around his legs. “This place is
giving me the creeps.” He sniffed the air. “Hmmm. I smell roasted lamb
with mint sauce. Can you smell it too? Wait, now I smell apple strudel,
with spicy apples, nuts and syrup. I’m starving. Someone’s cooking.”
Rosenwyn’s and Jago’s nostrils twitched. They smelled something
Following his nose, Crispin increased his pace until he was running.
“Roasted lamb, here I come.”
Something lifted from the ground right in front of him,
stopping his pace. “Where did this come…” Before he finished his sentence,
he found himself slipping down the sides of something sickly sweet
smelling, slick and sticky.
The dragons, sensing danger, grabbed the back of Crispin’s
shirt with their claws and held him so he didn’t fall all the way in.
“Help! Help! Pull me out of here!”
The dragons tried to fly backward with Crispin, but met with
“I’m too heavy for you. Don’t let me fall.” He saw a vine
dangling over the edge. “Swing me over to that vine. Be careful. Don’t
The dragons flapped with all their power,
inching their way over to the vine. Crispin grabbed it just as the last of
the dragon’s strength ran out. They released him and flew to the ground,
peering over the edge.
“Where am I?” Having a tight hold on the vine,
he looked down into the pit. “It’s not a hole. It’s a carnivorous plant, a
Venus flytrap, or something like that. I see animal bones down here.”
Bubbles from the findori flower floated past him and gurgling sounds
belched from the liquid at the bottom. He pulled on the vine. Every time
he tried to step up, he slid down the slippery surface of the findori
flower. “How am I ever going to get out of this?” Struggling for ten
minutes, he pulled himself up, hand over hand. More bubbles popped around
him, each emitting a pleasant aroma.
Jago and Rosenwyn helped pull him over the
edge. No sooner had he slipped his foot over the edge than the lid to the
carnivorous flower shut tight.
“Tricky flower. You lured us to you by making
us smell our favorite foods. You can read our minds too. What sort of
strange place is this? Where are we?” He wiped the sticky mess off his
pants with a rock and then tossed it on top of the flower lid.
“That’s twice in the last two hours that I’ve nearly been
killed, not to mention the tidal wave earlier. I think it’s safe to assume
we’re in a lot of danger here.” He wiped more slime off his shoes and
pounded them on the dirt. “What’s that?” He saw something in the distance.
“It looks like huts. I don’t think Quirin, Marti, and Gretel are in those
huts, but someone is. I saw something moving. Okay, you two need to be
very quiet, just incase it’s the guy with the dragonslayer breastplate and
cape, or Gretel’s mom and dad; I mean Jorna and Provan. Shhh.”
They crept toward the window of the closest hut. Crispin
peeked inside. He gasped when he saw Darmantha sitting at a wooden table.
“Shhh. It is the dragonslayers.” Provan and Jorna slouched on a
torn couch across from him. They looked bored. A large black crow perched
on Darmantha’s shoulder. He picked up a wooden goblet filled with some
sort of light purple juice and gave the crow something to drink. Its
yellow beak dipped inside. Provan dozed and Jorna picked at her
“Shhh.” Crispin pointed to the next hut and
tiptoed toward it. Once safely out of hearing distance, he muttered, “You
two stay here and keep your eye on them. I’m going to see what’s in the
other hut. Be really quiet though. If you make any sounds at all, they’ll
hear you.” Crispin ran off.
The dragons, full of curiosity, flew back to
the first hut. They landed on the ground below the window. Using his
claws, Jago tore open a piece of the woven straw wall. He lay on his belly
and looked in through the hole.
Crispin went to the next hut. He looked in through one of the
bamboo cane barred windows. There lay the baby dragons, all forty of them,
each curled up against one another in fear and hunger. He went around to
the back and opened the door. “Hmm. It’s not locked.”
The dragons jumped up and ran to the other side of the hut,
afraid of him. When they recognized Crispin, they screeched and flew at
him, licking him with gladness. “Shhh. They’ll hear you. You must be
quiet.” The noise died down. “I’ll open the door and let you go. Go and
find Quirin. He’s on this island. You know where he is, don’t you?” More
screeches filled the air. “Good, you understand. Now go!” He pushed the
The dragons darted into the sky.