Friday, 7 August 2009

Going Back Home - CHAPTER VIII

The flight back wasn't eventful. They did stop at the lookout post to pass the night and carried on flying until they got to Mountainfoot. When they saw the town in the distance Alberto said, I wonder why it always seems quicker on the trip back to a place”.
“Does it?” Asked Ashram, “it seems the same to me.”
“I agree with Alberto but I don't know why,” said Alvaro.
They reached the town at the foot of the mountains and they could see people coming out of their houses to wait for them.
“They are not scared any more,” said Alberto.
“They know us. They probably saw us from a far but they have been neighbours with dragons for a long time so they recognised us easily,” answered Ashram.
“Do you think they recognise us? Considering the damage we did to them?” Asked Peter.
Ashram though for a while. “It's possible but considering your change of colour most likely they won't. We have to be careful though. After all they are dragon experts,” he said.
They landed on the same field that they had done on their way to meet the Soul Slaver and there was already a crowd gathered waiting for them.
“Ashram! What are the news!” A man shouted.
“The dark dragons are no more!” Ashram shouted back and the crowd cheered, some of them running towards them. They all climbed off the dragons and were surrounded by people asking questions.
“Where did the dark dragons come from?”
“Why did they attack us?”
“Are they dead?”
It was the type of questions they answered while they walked, but soon realised that a silence was falling over the crowd while a woman was speaking. They stopped and turned towards the woman. She looked angry and had tears on her eyes.
“You destroyed our house! My oldest boy and my husband are badly burned because of you!” She was shouting while looking at Peter.
“It's true! I remember him!” A man shouted and the welcoming group soon became an angry crowd.
The other dragons closed ranks and stood between the people and Peter.
“Come on! We have to stop this before it gets out of hand!” Shouted Ashram.
They all ran towards the dragons and stood between them and the people of the town.
“Please stop!” Shouted Ashram “These dragons have helped us defeat the Soul Slaver! They had no control over their actions before! The Soul Slaver had absorbed the goodness from their souls!”
The boys were just as scared by the current situation as they had been during the past battles. The crowd stopped and listened to Ashram. It was a good thing they respected him. A man walked forward followed closely by the woman that had lost her house and about ten more women and men. The rest stayed being, some had spades and sticks in their hands.
“You well know that some people were killed by that dragon and his friends!” The man told Ashram.
“As I said. They were not themselves. They were controlled by the Soul Slaver.” Answered Ashram.
“You could say that about a drunk being controlled by the beer!” The man replied.
“You have no idea what this dragons have gone through. The Soul Slaver is an intelligent creature that manipulated them. You can't say that about beer.” Answered Ashram.
The woman stepped forward looking at the dragons and said, “you mean there's more dragons that attacked us here?”
Ashram went pale as he realised that he had made matters worse.
“Look at the small orange one!” Someone shouted “I remember her! She burned my barn!”
The crowd raised whatever weapons they had and shouting started to slowly walk towards the dragons. Ashram raised his hands and shouted, “please be calm! We can explain what happened!” but the crowd was too angry.
“What do we do Alvaro?” Asked Alberto.
“Well our dragon brothers are on the side of Peter and Ellen and I'm with my dragon brother,” Answered Alvaro.
“But we can't fight this people. After all they are correct. There has to be something we can do,” Alberto said.
Just then Ashram told them to get ready to fly. The two boys climbed on to their saddles but when the crowd saw this they became even angrier. Alvaro was going to put a force shield up when they heard a voice shout, “stop! All of you stop! I give myself in!” It was Peter the dragon. He turned to the others and said, “they are right. It was me. Even under the control of the Soul Slaver it was my actions that did this.”
This stopped the crowd who went quiet looking at Peter who lowered his head and walked towards the crowd of people who parted to let him among them and started to get ropes together. Peter lay on the floor without any resistance. The man who had been talking to Ashram rope in hand walked towards Peter and started to place the rope around his mouth.
“NO!” a voice shouted between the crowd so loud that made most of them jump. The crowd opened up and there in the middle was a red haired boy. Who with a high head started walking towards the dragon. Peter the dragon looked at the boy and stood up dropping the rope that was loosely held around his mouth.
“Peter!” Shouted the woman that had told them about her son and husband. The dragon looked at her but she was shouting to the boy.
“Stay away!. This dragon is the one that hurt your dad and brother.!”
The boy looked at her and answered, “it's OK mum. I know him!” He reached the dragon and touched him. Peter the dragon lowered his head and looked at him for some seconds then he raised his head, opened his wings and sang. No one in the town had ever heard a dragon sing and they were awed.
“A new dragon brother!” Said Alberto who didn't just see the dragon sing, but also saw multicoloured lights flowing from the boy and the dragon which filled the field, the town and the air around them.
“A new dragon brother!!” Shouted Ashram so that everyone could hear.
The mood of the crowd of people changed from anger to amazement then to sheer happiness when they realised that one of their boys was a dragon brother.
“But Peter. This dragon burned your dad and brother,” Peter's mum told him.
“No. It wasn't this one. Maybe the same body but a dragon is first made of his soul and then of his body. Peter's didn't burn dad or John. It was the Soul Slaver using Peter's body,” Peter answered while climbing, with some difficulty at first, onto Peter the dragon's back. When he was sitting Peter jumped to the air followed by everyone's cheers and flew around the town while the boy shouted “Yeeesss!!”
Alvaro and Alberto had a big smile on their faces. They knew what the new dragon brother where feeling just then.
“Do you think I will ever find my sister?” Asked Ellen.
“I'm sure you will Ellen. Just wait and see.”
By then the two Peters had landed in the town square and the rest of the people ran towards them. Suddenly our heroes were all by themselves.
“Well. That turned out OK,” said Ashram. “Come on. Let's go and rest at my house. We'll go to Middleway tomorrow.”
Once they got to Ashram's place they had something to eat in the open air as it was still warm, even though the evening had arrived. All the food except the dragon's food was vegetable.
After they finished eating Alvaro asked Ashram for a map as he wanted to show him were New Zealand was, but the map that Ashram brought had the Americas, Ireland, Great Britain, the west coast of France, northern Spain and a bit of the African continent but no more.
“Where's the rest of the world” Alvaro Asked.
Ashram looked at the map and answered “Merlin told me that the rest of the world shouldn't be mentioned. The people here haven't discovered it yet.”
“That's silly,” said Alberto, “they know about he UK, France and Spain and not about the rest?
“It's because that's how far sailors have gone,” Ashram said.
“What about dragons?” Asked Alvaro.
“They have their own maps in their heads and they cover most of the planet.” Answered Ashram.
“And Elves?” Asked Alberto.
“We also do know a lot more and our maps cover a much bigger area but I'm not allowed to take them out of our kingdom,” answered Ashram, “ordinary humans haven't had the means to travel far. Until today that is.”
“Why? What happened today?” Asked Alvaro.
“What you saw before. A local boy has become the first dragon brother in history.”
“What about the dragon brothers of old. Where did they come from?” Asked Alberto.
“Mostly from parallel universes like yourselves. Others have been elves.”
Alberto was going to ask him why, but Alvaro looking at the map asked, “Where are we now?”
Ashram pointed to a spot.
“Look Alberto. We are in Argentina. The mountains must have been the Andes.”
“Cool! Dad would have liked to be here,” Alberto answered.
“Ashram. I would need a bigger map to show you were the fruit came from,” Alvaro told Ashram.
“Merlin can use his magic tomorrow and show you all the planet. You can tell me then.”
They carried on talking about what they had seen and done until it was dark and then went to sleep. The next day, early in the morning they took off into the sky to fly to Middleway.

When they got to Middleway, the town looked just as they had left it. The boys were a bit disappointed, as they expected a welcoming party, but obviously news didn't travel very fast here. Merlin was waiting for them when they landed.
“We did it!” Shouted Alberto.
“It wasn't easy but they had no chance,” said Alvaro smiling.
“I'm glad. I knew you would it. I also felt a change to positive energy coming from the mountains, so I had a good feeling that you had succeeded,” answered Merlin.
“We also met Sandipani the Sage. The Queen of Old.” Ashram told Merlin.
Merlin turned towards Ashram not too happy with the news. “I suspected she would come back sometime or another. We have to keep an eye on the dragons now,” he said a bit worried.
Alvaro, who never liked the queen very much, asked, “why don't you like her?”
“During her time, dragons made war on each other. Something that had never happened before.”
“Why would we fight each other?” Asked Ellen.
“Oh. Hello there. What's your name young lady?” Asked Merlin.
“Sorry,” answered Ellen looking a bit embarrassed. “I'm Ellen. I'm a friend of the dragon brothers.”
“Well Ellen. Basically Sandipani convinced some of them that they were better than the rest and they wanted more. The other dragons didn't like the idea and didn't comply. Sandipani's dragons used force to impose their ideas and the war started.”
“Who won?” Asked Alberto.
“The free dragons but only because Sandipani disappeared and soon after her cousin did so too, so the royal dragons had no leaders. Soon after that they forgot about the class difference.”
“I knew there was something fishy about her,” said Alvaro.
There's also good news,” said Ashram. “Actually it's great news. A new dragon brother has appeared in Mountainfoot.”
“That's great news! I can't remember the last time that happened!” Answered Merlin.
“That would have been three days ago,” said Alberto. “When it happened to us.”
Merlin bursted out laughing, “quite right, but I meant here on Pacha. Now come inside. You have to tell me all the details.”
“What's Pacha,” Alberto asked Alvaro.
“I think it's the name of this area,” answered Alvaro.
“Actually it is the name of the whole planet and for dragon birth brothers is also the name of this universe,” said Merlin.
They all walked to Merlin's house and once inside they told him all the details of their adventure.

After listening Merlin sat quietly for a long time. In the end he said, “you have met an enemy much larger that I ever imagined. Had I known I would have not sent you. I knew about the prophecy of course so I knew that there was a lot of power on your side. We have to be extra careful next time.”
“Next time!” Shouted the boys.
“Yes. Even if there are no strange dark enemies you have to come back for your education. There's plenty you have to learn to become full dragon raiders. It's a great responsibility.”
“You don't mean school. Do you?” Asked Alvaro and Alberto looked very worried at the possibility.
“I do actually. We have one of the best schools of magic and dragon flight here, although lately we only teach magic.” Answered Merlin.
“Wow. Like Harry Potter!” Shouted Alberto.
“Not quite,” answered Merlin, “I read the first book and this school is not like that. First of all, every one here knows about magic and anyone with any natural skills can come here. We are not hidden. Also you will be more involved in flight skills rather than magic as you have proven you have enough skills in that area.”
“I don't,” said Alberto.
“If you have similar knowledge and imagination as your brother, then you have more than plenty.”
“Thanks!” Alberto said, “by the way. When can we go home?”
“You can go now if you so wish,” said Merlin and he took their weapons and clothes with his wand. They boys stood with their normal clothes again.
“Wait. Before we go, can I see a map of the world please? I want to show Ashram were New Zealand is.”
“Yes you can. I have one that you probably know,” Merlin answered and walked to a room at the back of the hall they were in. It was a much smaller room full of books, a fireplace and at the back a table that gave out an eerie light. When they got closer the boys noticed that the light came from a portable computer.
“Hey. How can you run this?” Asked Alvaro.
“Told you before. Solar panels.” Answered Merlin who got the computer mouse and double-clicked on a blue icon.
“That's Google Earth!” Said Alvaro, “are you going to tell me now that you have an Internet connection?”
Smiling Merlin answered “No I don't. It takes too much energy. What I did was to go to the Google offices and made a clone of the Google Earth servers.”
The boys just stared at him. This Merlin was nothing like the one in The Sword in the Stone.
Alvaro zoomed into the Pacific Ocean and looked for New Zealand and showed Ashram.
“Ah. That island is supposed to be were all dragons come from. I will organize a trip there.”
Alvaro closed the computer application still feeling weird seeing a computer in a place that had dragons and technology that seemed to come from the middle ages.

After saying goodbye and promising to comeback soon, the boys jumped on their dragon brothers and flew East towards the desert. The four of them excited about their adventures and about going back home. Alberto the dragon was looking forward to learning how to open interdimensional doors. That way he would be able to visit his dragon brother whenever he wished.
“How long do we have to go before we can open the door?” Asked Alberto the dragon.
“There are places around the planet where for some reason it takes much less energy to open them which is were we can actually do it.” Answered Alvaro the dragon.
When they finally got there, Alberto the dragon had to mentally connect to Alvaro the dragon while he opened the interdimensional door. It was like learning by experience. After that Alberto the dragon simply knew how to do it as though he had been doing it all his life.
The door opened and the boys saw a dark hole opening in front of them which had a line of little spots of light. When they crossed over they realised it was the town lights far away on the coastline. It was much colder than they remembered but they realised it was because they had gotten used to the heat from the Sea of Sand desert back in Pacha.
“We have to climb higher.” Alvaro the dragon said.
“Why?” asked Alvaro.
“Look over there.” Answered his dragon brother looking down. The boys looked down and saw a dragon with two boys on top flying in the opposite direction.
“Who are they?” Asked Alberto.
“It's you on the way to Pacha,” answered Alvaro the dragon. The boys stared until the others disappeared in the dark.
“I don't get it. We came back before we left?” Asked Alberto.
“That's exactly it.” Answered Alvaro the dragon “We have to do this as you have to have time to get in bed before your dad gets to the room.”
“Ah. Very clever.” Said Alvaro.
“I still don't get it!” Said Alberto but he didn't get an answer as they could see their house and were getting closer fast.
When they got to the house they opened the window and first Alberto and then Alvaro climbed into the room.
“Bye boys! We'll see you soon,” The dragons said and they flew higher.
The boys quickly changed to their pyjamas and got in bed just as their dad walked into the room.
“What's that screaming all about?” He asked.
The boys stayed quiet wondering what he was talking about. After a few seconds Alberto who was holding himself back sat on his bed and shouted. “Dad! We are dragon birth brothers. There's this dragon called Alberto and another called Alvaro and we've been to another planet and fought an old king dragon, and....”
“OK, OK. Alberto. It sounds like a great story, but you should be trying to sleep,” his dad answered.
“But it's true dad! Isn't it Alvaro?” Alberto answered.
After some doubt Alvaro replied, “sounds like a cool story Alberto but can you keep your voice down a bit. I'm trying to sleep.”
“What! Great! Thanks! I see you are back to your old self,” said Alberto lying down in bed and turning towards the wall.
“Good night kiss first,” his dad told him and Alberto turned and got a good night kiss from dad.
“It's true dad. We did do all that.”
“I'm sure you did. You can tell me all about it tomorrow,” his dad said closing the window.
“I thought I had closed that,” He said while walking out of the room and closing the door gently. He heard Alvaro say, “good night dad.” followed by Alberto who also said good night.
“Good night boys. Now go to sleep.” The dad answered from outside the room. He then walked downstairs where their mum was watching TV.
“It's started,” The dad told their mum. She turned to look at him and they both smiled to each other.

The End

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Soul Slaver – CHAPTER VII

The group followed the dragon queen across the mountain hall to a metal door which covered the entrance to a tunnel. The queen breathed into the door and it opened with some difficulty at first. On the other side there was a tunnel just like the one they had used before. Straight and with side tunnels disappearing in the dark. They started down the tunnel and Alvaro who was going in his mind through the encounter with the queen asked after some hesitation, “Mmmmm. Excuse me your majesty, but how are you able to move so fast?”
“Your majesty?” Said his dragon brother with his mind, “you should say my lady. It's the proper way.”
“Come on. I just want to talk to her. I can't talk funny like Alberto and she did say it was ok,” Alvaro replied speaking aloud as he knew she could hear him anyway.
“That's correct,” the queen said, “I did say that but don't make fun of it. In reply to your question. I slow time up for myself so to others it looks like I move fast. Most dragons have a certain control over time and space and queen and king dragons even more.”
“Then that means if the Soul Slaver is a king dragon that he also has that ability,” Alvaro said.
“Yes. That's why it's a good idea that I come along,” the queen replied.
Alvaro wasn't happy about that reply. There was something fishy about it but he could put his finger on it. He decided to leave it for now and to think of something that would give them an advantage.

They had nearly reached the end of the tunnel. They could see it ended in the distance with a huge metal door blocking the way, but instead of going to the door, the queen turned right into the last side tunnel and after a while they got to a cave just big enough to hold them. The queen went into the cave first and alone as otherwise she might crush someone without realising it. In the middle of the cave there was a well which was wide enough for the queen to slide into. The boys and Ashram looked down the well when the queen had disappeared down it and saw just blackness and the scraping sound the body of the queen made on her way down.
“How can we go down it?” Alberto asked.
“We could sit on the dragons and they could fly down. It looks big enough,” replied Ashram.
“I don't think we have enough space to fly down it,” Alberto the dragon replied and the rest of the dragons agreed with him.
Alvaro had been looking at the metal structure above the well and got an idea. He closed his eyes pointed his wand to the structure and the beam of light jumped to it, making Alberto and Ashram jump back in surprise. The light from the wand surrounded the structure and seemed to drip down like a huge big drop of water and then it was gone. In it's place there was a platform that could hold two dragons which hang from the metal structure which was now in a much better condition. Alberto the dragon climbed on it one leg at a time and decided it was safe enough so Alberto and Ellen the dragon walked after him. Alberto noticed a panel on one side and when he got closer realised it had buttons. One said UP the other DOWN and a third STOP. He pressed the down one and the whole thing started to go down. Alberto looked up and saw that it was hanging from the metal structure and there was some kind of motor driving it. Alberto looked at his brother and asked, “Where does it get the electricity from?”
“Never mind that. It's run by magic,” replied Alvaro.
The platform lift was very silent and Alberto could still hear the sounds made by the dragon queen in the distance. After what seemed to be ages he heard some splashing. He looked up and was surprised to see just a little dot of light which was the top of the well. They had gone down quite a long distance. Then the well opened up and they were in the middle of a huge cave which was full of water. The dragon queen was flying and looking at them. Her flight was like a snake swimming.
Alberto climbed on his dragon brother and told him to jump into the air which Ellen also did. Once in the air he called Alvaro through the console and told him about the giant cave at the bottom of the well. Then the lift that had carried them down started glowing and disappeared. After a few seconds they heard a “weeeeeee....” getting louder and Alvaro appeared mounted on his dragon brother who opened his wings the moment they shot out of the well and started flying just skimming the water. The other dragons followed suit all having great fun in the process.
“That's the way you should have done it,” the queen told Alberto. “That's why the well is wide.” She then turned and said, “now for the difficult bit,” and she flew closer to one of the walls and dived under the water.
The dragons simply stared. Peter the red dragon said, “she doesn't really expect us to dive and swim under water, does she?”
“I hope not,” Replied Alvaro the dragon.
“It doesn't look that difficult,” said Ellen the dragon looking at the water with some new found interest. “If she can do it so can we.”
“That's right,” replied Alvaro. “ Flying creatures tend to be good swimmers as they have the right aerodynamic shape.”
“I'm just hoping she gone to find a secret mechanism that will open a secret door somewhere,” Alberto the dragon said.
Alberto looked at the dragons and surprised asked, “are you all scared of water?”
“Well. We are fire creatures. We do try to keep away from water. Especially if it's lots of it,” his dragon brother replied. Just then, the water exploded and the dragon queen came out, “what are you all waiting for!?”
“Seems like dragons don't like the water,” Alvaro replied.
The queen looked at him and then at the dragons “You haven't been taught how to fly under water?” The dragon queen asked, “it's a basic skill for all dragon warriors.”
“We are not warriors my Queen,” Alberto the dragon replied. “There hasn't been any wars involving dragons in thousands of years.”
“Yeah. Probably since the king and queen disappeared,” Alvaro said before he realised he was going to be in trouble.
The queen turned to him and hissed, “your impertinence is becoming very annoying young human. Dragon brother or not I may become tired of it. Now all of you follow me and don't lag behind.” The dragon queen turned and dived under the water again.
“Don't worry about it,” Alvaro said, “I have the solution to this problem,” and he pointed his wand to Peter and made a type of diving bell around his head with big windows so that he could see were he was going. The bell acted as a diving mask.
“Ha ha ha ha!” Alberto laughed “You look like a giant fly!”
“Never mind that. Try it. Dive in the water,” Alvaro told Peter while he did the same to the rest of the dragons. The moment they got their diving bells the dragons dived in the water but when it was Ellen turn she decided she wanted to try it without. After all, dragons had done this before.
“Are you going to put one of those funny masks on us as well?” Alberto asked.
“ No. I'll just change the console a bit...” he said while touching it with his wand “.. and we'll have a force shield around us that'll keep the water away.” Saying this, the consoles lit up and the air around them started to shimmer. “Ok. Dive in!” Alvaro shouted and they all dived in the water.
Under the water the dragons had difficulty moving as at first they didn't know what to do, but Alvaro told them to just fly normal and it worked. They saw that Ellen had managed to swim quite well. Better than the rest as the masks did bother them.
They saw a light in the distance and some dragons were already swimming that way. Ellen quickly overtook the rest and was first to get to the light, which was a lit up cave. When the boys arrived they saw that the light came from above the surface of the water and that Ellen was already out. It was another cave, much smaller than the previous one, but they all had plenty of room. The light they had seen came from a huge crystal that was one of the side walls.
“How can that crystal shine?” Asked Alvaro.
“It's the heart of the mountain,” the dragon queen replied. “It goes all the way up to the centre court in the castle. It captures the sun light and brings it to different levels in the castle and all the way down here. It's one of the reasons why the castle was build here.”
The queen turned and slid to a tunnel that went upwards. The rest of the group followed her and started climbing.
“What part of the castle is this my lady?” Asked Ashram.
“It's part of the original monastery of Aqua-Ignis were dragon of old would have to spend time meditating. They started at the top and went down the levels passing tests as they came along. The last was to live in a water environment. When they finished they understood the nature and balance of life,” the dragon queen replied.
“Why was it changed? It seems to me that it was a worth while use for this place,” said Ashram.
“An elf's answer I see. That was long ago. The wars of power came after that and that enlighten way of life was left aside. That's dragon reality for you elf.”
“Not any more. As far as I see dragons are balanced caring creatures that moved away from violence, power and greed as a way of life. Otherwise Alberto wouldn't have been able to change the dark dragons to free dragons,” Alvaro replied.
The queen stopped and slowly turned to Alvaro, “if what you say is true, dragons have gone back to the old ways. I'll have to see that to believe it.”
“Quiet!” Alberto shouted. The queen was shocked to realise that she was also included in that order. It was probably the first time any one had told her to be quiet.
Alberto with just two jumps got in front of the group, took his sword out and raised his hand telling them to stop, staring ahead to the darkness in front.
“There's nothing there,” the queen said to Alberto. “I don't see or sense anything.”
“That's the problem,” Alberto answered. “With the crystal light and the halogen lamps it is still very dark.”
Alvaro took one of the hand torches and shone it towards the front of the tunnel but just a bit further than Alberto the light seemed to disappear into a type of dark mist that wriggled all the time.
The queen slowly went past Alberto who thought about stopping her but decided it was better not to. Once she got to the edge of the darkness, part of the mist seemed to become a bit more solid and a dark tendril stretched out of it which started to slowly and gingerly reach towards the queen.
Alberto ran sword raised towards the tendril but before he got there it touched the queen who just stared at it. At that very second a huge roar shook the tunnel making bits of the roof fall down. The tendril disappeared into the black mist and this, in the blink of an eye, pulled back and was gone. Then another roar with what seemed like an earthquake, made bigger chunks of roof and rock fall down.
“Come on! Run! It's trying to bury us here!” Shouted Alberto.
“He's right! Run!” Shouted the queen.
They all ran and half flew the rest of the way. All the time the roar and the quakes got bigger. Suddenly they turned a corner and came out into bright daylight which blinded them, stopping them in their tracks.

When Alberto came out of the tunnel he simply knew that there was great danger coming towards them fast and jumped with all his might to the left. His dragon brother in synchronization with him. He quickly jumped on his dragon brother and took to the air and looked behind to see what had happened.
The dragon queen had moved fast to the right and was throwing what looked like big electric balls towards a big dark area on the other side of the centre court, the dark mist was there, waiting to ambush them. The centre court was simply a big flat area inside the walls of the Ignis fortress and at it's centre a huge crystal column rose into the sky. It was the crystal that captured the light which went all the way down to the heart of the mountain. The court must have fitted about a thousand dragons at one time and was probably made to allow for big dragon gatherings. Their tunnel came up on the south side which meant it was the sunny side. That's why they were blinded by the sun when they came out.
Alberto saw Alvaro and Ashram together running to hide behind a stone that looked like a giant's seat. The free dragons spread out right and left while they shot balls of fire to the dark mist but their shots simply disappeared inside it and didn't seem to have any effect on it.
From above, Alberto could see that the dark mist was only concerned in getting to the queen. It seemed to turn to all the places she would appear before she actually did so. The dragon queen was obviously moving with speed up time as Alberto could see and hear the air banging every time she moved and she simply seemed to disappear and appear somewhere else but the mist was always ready for her. It looked like it would quickly expand to one side which was were the queen would appear and when she did so it would shoot what looked like laser shots from Star Wars. These laser shots would make anything they touched explode and Alberto could see two or three wounds on the queen already.
“Come on! We have to help her!” His dragon brother shouted and moved to one side ready to dive into the battle. Just then Alberto saw a bright ball of heat passing down just next to them. He looked up and saw four dark dragons diving towards him. This time he knew what to do and joined his dragon brother to feel, think and act as one. With his mind Alberto told the free dragons to fly and fight the dark ones but not to kill them. He then told Alvaro and Ashram that the queen needed help and showed Alvaro an image of the lasers shots that waited for the queen every time she appeared somewhere. By now the free dragons where in the air which gave him more freedom as the dark dragons had to attack all the group and not just him. Alberto knew that his ninja skills were not enough to do what he wanted so he asked Alvaro with his mind to change his saddle and in a few seconds, that seem really long, his saddle got fatter and enveloped most of his dragon brother's body and it grew two little wings on the sides.
The free dragons had difficulty fighting the dark dragons even though with Alberto it was five of them, but fighting to the death when you can't kill your enemy is very hard. The dark dragons had noticed this and had become more cocky, getting closer to the free dragons. Alberto saw one coming for him fast and he pretended he hadn't noticed but could see it on the console. Just before the dark dragon had a change to flame them, he turned at ninja speed and threw a metal wire net which opened in mid-air and the dragon just flew into it. The dragon tangled in the net fell to the ground but before it got there Ellen and grabbed him and slowly put it on the ground. In the meantime the other three dragons realised that Alberto was the leader and they all went for him, regardless of what the free dragons did.
Ellen on the ground had gotten a surprise. When she had placed the dark dragon on the ground the mist grew one of the tendrils towards the dark dragon and touched the net which simply dissolved. The dark dragon which was all tangled up was already getting up when Ellen gave him a big mighty bang with her tail on the back of his head and the dragon just dropped unconscious. The dark mist reach it but the dragon just lay on the floor so it was obvious that it couldn't wake it. When Ellen saw this she took to the air to help Alberto and the free dragons.

Alberto saw that Ellen had handled the dark dragon OK so he concentrated on the last three. They had tried to attack but with some quick moves and the help of the free dragons he had managed to avoid direct confrontation. He noticed that the free dragons had one of the dark ones in trouble and he dived to throw one of his nets, but his dragon brother saw the other two dark dragons attacking and moved to one side to avoid their fire balls as they shot them.
“We have to get higher than them!” Alberto the dragon said, “but the higher we get they also do the same.”
“OK. Let's use the new saddle. Get ready to climb!” Alberto shouted and when his dragon brother was in the right position he pressed the console and out of the new side wings the saddle had, two after burners came on and they shot higher, faster than any dragon had ever done. The surprise of the dark dragons was such that Alberto had time to net one of them that fell screaming in fury. Further down Peter and Ellen were waiting for him and grabbed him. The second dragon turned and flew away fast with the two Albertos flying closed behind. Once Alberto tried the after burner again but they over shoot the dark dragon. They quickly turned and went after him again.
“It's time to try another of this saddle's tricks!” Alberto shouted. He then pressed the console again and on the screen a cross-hair sight appeared. Alberto waited until the dot showing the second dark dragon was in the middle of the screen and the press the fire button. Out of the side wings, like a fighter plane's machine guns, lots of Alvaro's sticky bubbles shot out at great speed an some hit the dark dragon which was instantly enveloped, making it fall to the ground. As Ellen and Peter were too far and the other free dragons were still busy with their dark dragon, who was making a big effort try to get away, it was Alberto the dragon who dived and managed to slow down the falling dark dragon before it reached the rocky floor. The moment they left the dragon on the floor they turned and, with after burners at full blast, they flew towards the last dark dragon who had managed to get away from the free dragons and had decided it had enough. He had no chance against Alberto. The bubbles got him before he realised he was being attacked. This time is was the free dragons it had been fighting with that saved it from the fall.
“Gather all the dark dragons here outside the fortress.” He told the free dragons while he landed next to the fallen last dragon. He climbed down and walked with his dragon brother next to the fallen dragon.
“The dragons you have fought are your brothers. That's why they didn't hurt you. Look at them. You know in your heart that we are not your enemies. You know that the soul slaver tricked you.”
The dark dragon looked at Alberto and the other dragons and said.
“I don't have any brothers! The King of Old holds the truth and you are our enemies!”
“But look around you. This dragons were also under the control of the King of Old and now are free again. Like you were when you used to enjoy your life.”
Then Peter the dragon, who had just arrived with Ellen and the dark dragon who was also bubbled walked closer.
“Hello Asif. Remember me?”
“You know him?” Alberto asked.
“Yes. You see that scar on his back leg? I did that accidentally when we were little.”
“You know me. We've always been friends. Just look in your heart and you'll find the truth.” Peter told Asif. Then the dark started changing to a metallic green and soon after they had a bright green dragon surrounded in a plastic bubble looking around as if he had seen them for the first time.
“Please let me go. I won't fight you.”
Alberto walked back to the console and found an option to dissolve the bubble. A shot of light jumped from the console to the fallen dragon and the bubble dissipated. Asif stood and opened his wings looking at them.
“Thank you dragon brother. Would be OK if I join your flight of dragons?”
“Of course. You are more than welcomed.” Alberto replied and all the dragons present open their wings and roared in unison to welcome their new brother. This process was repeated more or less the same way with the other three dark dragons. They did have problems getting the one in the centre court as the moment they got close laser shots would come out of the dark mist but while from a distance two free dragons pretended to attack the mist, Ellen and Peter in a daring rescue flight got the dragon and brought it to where Alberto was. After the dark dragons were rescued from the dark side they all took to the air and flew towards the fortress just in time to see in the distance Alvaro and Ashram fly with their dragons into a cave in one of the corner tower mountains. When Alberto got there he heard Alvaro talking about three heads being better than one.

Earlier, when Alvaro came out of the tunnel behind Ashram he was also blinded by the sun and would have been hurt by the dark mist if it hadn't been attacking the dragon queen, and Ashram, who was more used to looking at the sun, hadn't pull him to one side behind a big stone structure. Alvaro saw the free dragons coming out of the tunnel as if the light didn't bother them, running and jumping to the left and right shooting balls of fire towards the dark mist. He couldn't see the queen dragon and hoped she was using her faster than sight speed to attack the mist. Alvaro got off his dragon brother and peeked to see if he could spot the queen, but something like a laser blast hit the stone just in front of him and threw him on the floor with some cuts and bruises. He quickly got up and healed himself using magic. Just then he heard Alberto telling him in his mind about how the queen wasn't doing very well and an image of those laser blasts he had experienced. Just then all the free dragons took to the air and went to help Alberto who was being attacked by dark dragons.
Alvaro knew that with his imagination and the help of his dragon brother and the magic he had received he could fight anyone. He had to defend the queen but first he had to find her and to get to were she was. In this world, the advantage he had was the knowledge of technology and lots and lots of fantasy and science fiction movies and books. He climbed on his dragon brother and programmed the console using his magic to create a cloaking field around himself and Ashram. They could see each other on the consoles, but to the naked eye they had disappeared. They moved out from behind the stone structure and ran towards the sound of explosions. While on the way, Alberto started speaking to him about a plan to capture the dark dragons without hurting them and asked him to change his saddle sending him an idea of what he wanted. Just then, Alvaro saw the queen and realised they were in much bigger trouble than he had imagined. She had retreated behind one of the stone structures that were all around the centre court and, even though she was throwing electricity balls towards the dark mist, she was quite hurt and bleeding in many places. She turned towards them and was about to throw an electricity ball when Alvaro remembered that she couldn't see them but her senses told her there was something there, and probably thought it was a trick from the dark mist.
“Wait!! It's us!” Alvaro shouted.
“Show yourselves!” The queen shouted back.
Alvaro switched off the cloaking field when they were out of reach from the mist. The queen shot the mist from both sides of the stone structure but the lasers were waiting for her.
“I've never seen anything like it. If it is my cousin the king I don't know what he has sent to attack us. It always knows where I'm going to attack and it's waiting for me. Speeding up time doesn't make any difference.
“It's all very well your majesty, but before we go into discussing tactics I'm going to heal you.” Said Alvaro and did the healing spell he had done with Alberto the dragon.
“Thank you Alvaro. You are an annoying but surprising young dragon brother. Now back to the fight.”
“Wait!” Said Alvaro. He had remembered that Alberto had asked for a change in his saddle. Alvaro pointed his wand to the air, concentrated on his brother and sent the magic to do it's work hoping it would get there.
“Allow me to use some protecting spell on you my queen.”Alvaro told the queen.
“I already have my own protective spells.” The queen replied.
“Yes, but those don't protect you against laser blasts.” He replied creating a necklace that acted as a cloaking field which also acted as force shield around the queen.
“I don't think you can shoot while you have that on. It's only so that you can move around without being seen.”
“Well if it is what you had before it will sense it any way, but I think it will just give me enough seconds for a good attack.” Saying this the queen was gone head first into the mist which wasn't waiting for her so it was a good sign.
Alvaro and Ashram turned their cloaking shields on around themselves and the dragons, and ran towards the mist. Through the corner of his eye Alvaro saw Ellen hitting a dark dragon. Just before they got to the mist they felt a huge explosion and saw the queen flying on top of them out of the mist with the cloaking shield necklace burning and landed with a big crash behind them followed by a barrage of laser blasts which, as they were in the way, hit their cloaking shields and didn't hurt the queen. Then the mist seemed to reach out and the moment it touched the cloaking shield the console short-circuited and they were left unprotected. Instantly the dragons flew into the air but were hit by some of the lasers. As before when they got away from the dark mist, it seemed to ignore them but to look for the queen who was gone. Alvaro looked around but didn't see the queen. The air around them was empty. Alberto wasn't anywhere to be seen the same as the free or dark dragons. Just then Ashram spotted the queen on one of the huge towers of the fortress. She was going inside one of the caves that acted as windows. Alvaro quickly fixed the consoles and reactivated them. He then healed the wounds that the dragons had received and flew towards the high tower entrance where they had seen the queen. From below laser shots would come in their general direction but would miss them by a long way. Once they got to the entrance they saw that it lead to a big cave inside the mountain tower from were other connecting tunnels left. The queen was laying in the middle with gashing wounds all over and had difficulty breathing. Alvaro wand in hand ran towards her and did an Episkeu Maximus spell which quickly worked and healed the dragon queen.
“Thank you dragon brother. I owe you my life.”
“It's nothing my.....” Alvaro managed to say but a got a push from his dragon brother who shook his head. In reply Alvaro mouthed “What now?”
“When a dragon Queen or King thanks you and tell you that he or she owes you their lives it's great honour but for the queen or king it's one of the hardest things to do as they tie themselves to whoever they do the pledge to.” The queen replied to Alvaro. “Because we tend to be bad tempered it's better not to talk about things that makes us uncomfortable. That's what your dragon brother is trying to tell you.”
“You don't have to owe me anything. I don't care what tradition dictates. We are a team here and we help each other.” Alvaro replied.
The queen gave Alvaro a long look and sighed. “You are very different to any other human I have ever met, More annoying than an elf but a heart as big as a dragon's. From now on you will be called Alvaro Dragon Heart between my people.”
Alvaro the dragon lowered his head and reached towards Alvaro. “Now we are more than dragon brothers, we are officially part of the same species.” He said nudging him with his nose and smiling.
Alvaro, for the first time, thought that the queen wasn't too bad.
“Considering that we are a team I should tell you what I saw on my attack.”
“Yes please. Three heads are better than one.”
“I think that it's a lot more than three!” Alberto shouted while flying inside the cave. “There's four more dragons on our side. Look!”

Alvaro, Ashram and the dragons, including the queen walked outside and looked up. High in the sky, away from the laser blasts there were nine dragons flying in circles.
“You have the voice of the Old Kings inside of you Alberto.” The dragon queen said. “I'm glad you are with us. Now hear what I saw in the battle.”
Alberto who was still looking at the larger group of free dragons suddenly saw them freeze in the sky but without falling. He was going to warn the other but the queen told him.
“I've speeded up our time that way we'll have time to talk. That's way it looks like they are not moving.”
Then the queen told them about how when she reached inside the mist after some distance it parted and she saw her cousin looking much older in the centre of the mist. He had a device around his neck which was what shot the light arrows (laser blasts). When she uncloaked right next to him he was already getting ready to fight as he had sensed her. He moved to one side to avoid one of her electric balls and she got him on the tip of a wing, but then the dark mist simply grabbed her and threw her out while the device shot her all the time and the dark mist seemed to suck her life energy.
After a moment's silence Alvaro said. “Well, so the dark mist is a type of weapon worn by the Soul Slaver.”
“More important than that. We now know he can be hurt. Could be the reason why he's such a bad shot now.” Ashram said.
“According to the image the queen just showed us, the Soul Slaver is wearing a type of saddle or dragon vest which has laser cannons and produces the mist. I get the feeling he's using a type of intelligent cloak shield and real lasers.” Alvaro told them.
“But those things don't exist in this reality,” Ashram told him.
“So he brought them from another one.” The queen replied. “Although I can not imagine how he's controlling them. The mist seems to have a life of it's own.”
Alvaro sat on the floor and thought hard while the others discussed different possibilities of what the mist could be. After some time Alvaro, who was looking down while he thought, saw a tiny dark mote on the floor which when he looked hard, seemed to move a little. He stood and from his saddle got the tricorder which he pointed to the dark speck. The others seeing this stopped talking and got closer.
“Don't get any closer!” Alvaro warned them looking at the little screen on the tricorder. “It could still be alive.”
“What is it? Some type of insect?” Asked Alberto.
“I thought so at first.” Said Alvaro stepping away from the dark mote. “Look at this.” He said to Alberto who got closer to the tricorder and gasped.
“It's a little machine with wings!”
“Yes. It's a nanobot.” Answered Alvaro.
“A nano what?” Asked Ashram.
“A very small robot. Mmmm. A very small machine that can think for itself according to the parameters of it's programming,” Alvaro answered.
“OK. Let's leave it at a very small machine.”
“How can such a small and...” The queen flamed the spot were the nanobot was and carried on saying “... weak thing have beaten me in a fight?”
Annoyed Alvaro answered “It would have been better if you hadn't destroyed it, but to answer your question, it's because they all work together.”
“Can they be destroyed?” Asked Ashram.
A smile appeared on Alvaro's face as he answered. “Yes. I think they can. Come on let's try something.”
Straight away the dragons starting moving again high in the air. Alberto noticing this said, “look! It hasn't been more than half a second in real time.”
Alvaro was working on the console that Alberto the dragon was wearing and once he finished he told Alberto to fly towards the mist but to wait until they got close to it and then to fire the new gun on it. Alberto looked at the console and it had a new button with the word “EMP” on it.
“What's emp?” Alberto asked saying the word rather than spelling it.
“Electro Magnetic Pulse. It will fry any circuit close to it. It should take care of the nanobots and maybe even the lasers.”
Alvaro placed cloaking shields around all of them and Alberto told the free dragons to get ready to help in case they got into trouble. Once the cloaking shields went on Alberto looked around and said.
“Why does everything look red?”
“I've tried to filter all electromagnetic radiation, except for the lower light frequency, that way the pulse won't get past.” Alvaro answered.
“What?” Alberto and Ashram asked.
“I'm trying to keep the EMP out. That way it won't harm us.” Alvaro answered.
“Why didn't you say that before!” Alberto shouted while they dived towards the Soul Slaver.

Alberto could see the others on the flight console so he knew when they were ready. He then dived towards the mist and pressed the EMP button and two small popping sounds came from his saddle wings one after the other as two little rockets shot out. When the first reached the mist it didn't explode or anything but Alberto's console fuzzed for a second and the dark mist simply fell to the ground. The second little rocket carried on and crashed next to the Soul Slaver who now just looked like an old looking dragon, but before that Alberto's console fuzzed again.
The old dragon was too surprised looking around to the fallen mist to noticed the huge queen appearing next to him and shooting him a blue ball of electricity. When the ball got to him he was gone and appeared next to the queen, making a huge cut on her side with his tail. The queen screamed and slashed her tail to hit him but he was gone. Appearing on the other side ready to hit her again but Alvaro and Ashram appeared and their dragons shot balls of fire towards him making him jump out the way. Then Alberto saw that Alvaro and Ashram were falling from the air with their dragons. As they reached the ground, the Soul Slaver walked towards them, grabbed them both with his claws and threw them on the floor away from their dragons. Alberto couldn't believe that the dragons didn't do anything, including the queen which was hurt but not enough to stop her. The Soul Slaver walked towards Ashram and Alvaro and said, “you can't beat me! Not even with technology. I have been training for thousands of years in all types of dragon fighting techniques and I have injected myself with nano technology that enhances my psychic control over any dragon that I choose. Your weak EMP didn't hurt the ones inside my body!”
Alberto then realised that the Soul Slaver hadn't seen him. Just then he felt Alvaro's presence and a voice that said “Get ready. Work it out for yourself.” He looked at Alvaro but Alvaro was being crushed by the old dragon king, the slaver of souls. Alberto flew with his dragon to save his brother but then, just on top of the Soul Slaver he saw a flash of light and himself mounted on Alberto the dragon appeared shooting bubble balls like mad. Most of which hit the Soul Slaver and the old king in seconds looked like a giant used chewing gum.
Alberto couldn't believe his eyes as the other Alberto turned towards him and pointed to the console. He looked at it to see a message that said 'Press here to travel 30 seconds to the past'. He then knew what his brother had meant and what had to be done so he pressed the after burners, got to the top of the group with the Soul Slaver on the ground and the other Alberto talking to Alvaro, dived and pressed the button.
Alberto and his dragon brother traveled back in time and appeared on top of the Soul Slaver who was just about to crush Alvaro. He fired sticky bubbles until the old dragon was fully covered. He then remembeed something and looked towards where he had been and pointed to the console. He then flew down towards his brother.

Alberto landed and ran towards Alvaro.
“Are you OK?” He asked.
“A bit bruised but OK. Thanks!” Alvaro replied. “I'm ever so glad you got the idea and I wasn't sure if the changes to your console had worked.”
“They did!" Alberto replied. "You know, it's really weird to see yourself.”
The queen had reached them by then and Alvaro was going to heal her but she stopped him.
“Not now young healer. I will carry this wound as a reminder of what the greed for power can do.” She said. “I see you had the idea of time travel. This, with the quick thinking and braveness of your little brother, have saved us all today.” She then turned to her cousin the old king and Soul Slaver and asked “Why? Why have you gone to so much trouble to take over the land if the land was yours when you imprison me so long ago?”
Even though the old king couldn't move they heard the reply in their minds.
“It was because of the prophecy you said just before we imprisoned you in stone. I knew it could happen any time so I tricked the Oracle of the South to tell me that the dragon brothers came from a technological reality and I spent a long time jumping from universe to universe looking for one like this but for dragons. It took me a long time to come back.”
“You always were a fool. It was because you did so that they came here,” the queen told him.
“You lie! As always, you lie!” Shouted the old king.

“My queen,” Alvaro said, “I'm ready to kill the nanobots inside his body.”
“Fine. Please do so.”
Alvaro pointed a modified version of the tricorder at the old king, who was still enveloped in the sticky bubbles, and pressed a button.
“Nooo!” They heard him scream.
“He won't be able to control anyone now,” Alvaro said.

After that, Alvaro took the constraining bubble away and, even though the old king tried to get away, he was easily controlled by the queen and the free dragons.

The dragon brothers and Ashram were then surrounded by the free dragons who opened their wings and sang a beautiful melodic song in thanks for their freedom. The boys stayed one more day in the fortress hearing stories of old before they got ready to go back to the town of Middleway. The next day Sandipani the Sage, also known as Sandipani the Dragon Queen, and all the dragons were gathered at the centre court in a circle around the dragon brothers and Ashram.
“Alvaro Dragon Heart and Alberto Slaver Slayer, the new champions of the Ignis Fortress. I and my subjects thank you for our freedom. You will always be welcomed here as so will you Ashram Elf Prince of the North.” The dragon queen said and all the dragons raised their head and roared making the earth tremble. "It is the time of a new beginning!" The dragon queen shouted above the roar. Alberto went on one knee as Ashram did and so did Alvaro after some hesitation. All the dragons went quiet, opened their wings and shot tongues of fire into the air. The boys and Ashram were surrounded by multicoloured dragons and fire and were touched by the beauty of it.

When the ceremony was over an idea that was nagging Alvaro took form. He walked closer to the queen and said, “my queen. Don't forget that these dragons are free dragons and they will only be your subjects if they choose to do so.”
The eyes of the queen fired up but she controlled herself when she replied, “my impertinent young hero. I'm sure they will choose to do so. But if not, they are free to go anywhere they want.”
"Thank you my queen," Alvaro replied.
He then walked to his dragon brother, Ashram and Alberto and said to the rest,“we will go now. Who will come with us?”
Straight away Ellen and Peter said “I will!”
The queen turned to them and then to Alvaro and said nothing. Then the dragon brothers, Ashram, who mounted Peter, and Ellen flew away from the giant Ignis Fortress which once again was the home of dragons.