This is the first part of Cobble Comment Story number 2. This one is longer, so it will be multiple parts. This was my list of things to include:
-Magical dragons that control the weather
-Danny the spelunking Pickle assassin poisons the Prime Minister of the Bahama’s quesadilla
-A mysterious man
Enjoy the first part!
James’s eyes scanned line after line of his book. He was in the orphanage library, his usual haunt, Fahrenheit 451 spread across his lap.
“Hey, bookworm, how’s the book? Boring, I bet. Ugh, reading is so lame.”
James looked up. He groaned inwardly, and passively appraised the face in the doorway—it was Ian. He was the nephew of the orphanage directors, Mr. and Mrs. Darlown—and he was insufferably spoiled. “Hello, Ian. The book is quite good. A fascinating social commentary of the time.”
Ian strode into the library, stopping before James’s armchair. He snatched the book out of James’s hands and flipped through the pages. He stifled an exaggerated yawn. “UGH! This is snoooooreville!” He shot a sly glance at James, and tossed him the book, which James deftly caught. “I have something much more interesting.”
“Oh?” James asked disinterestedly, trying to find his place in his book.
“Yes. Look what Aunty Margaret got for me today.” He brandished a shiny set of marbles in James’s face.
James glanced up momentarily. “That’s nice, Ian.”
“Yes, it is. Much better than your rotten old books. I bet you only read them because you’re too poor to buy real toys.”
James looked up. “Ian, was there a reason you came to the library?”
Ian sighed. “Aunty told me to fetch you for dinner. Come down, and I’m sure you’ll get some scraps. Most everyone is finished.” Ian turned on his heel and strode out.
James sighed, marked his place in his book, and went to dinner.
That night, James lay awake on his cot in the dormitory. He gazed out the window. The street lamps cast an orangey glow over the streets and the dormitory walls. Suddenly, the glow was disrupted.
James sat up. The black silhouette of a large, cloaked man blocked the window. James looked around. All the other boys in the dormitory were fast asleep. He looked back to the window. The large man beckoned to him, and disappeared from view.
James grappled internally for a moment. Dangerous? Definitely. Exciting? More so. Quietly, he swung his legs off of his bed and slipped on his boots and jacket.
Trying the front door, he discovered it locked. He unlatched the window and rolled out of it, landing with a crunch in a bush outside of the orphanage. He was yanked up by his upper arm and dragged into an alley so quickly, he could hardly process was was happening.
“Excuse me! What is the meaning of this?” James meant for it to come out as authoritative and strong, but it really ended up as more of a squeak. The man turned around, and James finally saw his face. The man’s eyes were spaced well apart, he had a large-tipped nose, a full mouth, and the dark skin of a man descended from the Africans, and was dressed entirely in black, save for a red rosette pinned to his tri-corner hat.
“I’m here to fetch you to a mission.”
“What? What mission? Who are you?”
The man rolled his eyes. “You’ll find out all about the mission. I go by The Mysterious Man of Darkness, but you can call me ‘Mysty’ for short.”
James looked at Mysty. Mysty looked at James.
There was another pause. “O … kay,” James conceded. “Shall we go?”
“Yes,” Mysty said. He rummaged for a moment behind some empty ale crates—they were in an alley behind a bar—and his hand returned holding a pogo stick. “Oh,” Mysty said, “before we go, you should meet Horace. He’ll be accompanying us.”
“Horace? Who’s Horace?”
“My pygmy owl.”
James blinked, and took a second look at the pogo stick. Perched on the handlebar of the pogo stick, was, indeed, an owl. “Oh. Hello, Horace.” One of the owl’s yellow eyes opened, and glared at James.
“He’s a bit of an acquired taste, Horace is, but he’s actually a softie underneath all that,” Mysty said in a confidential tone. “Anyway! Let’s be off.” Mysty pushed a small button on the front of the pogo stick and a seat, one seeming impossible due to the small proportions of the pogo stick, unfolded from the front. “I’ll be driver, you sit down and strap in—it’s going to be a wild ride.”
James uneasily mounted the seat. “Are you sure about this?” He asked Mysty.
Mysty scoffed. “Of course! I’ve done this a million times.” There was a brief pause. “Well, never with a passenger,” he muttered.
“What?” James yelled, and Mysty jumped several times, pressed another button, and the pogo stick flew upwards at an alarming rate. “A-are y-y-you insane?” James yelled at Mysty over the whistling of the wind.
“Yes, but that has nothing to do with my driving!” Mysty yelled back.
At first, James counted the minutes, knuckles white on the edges of the narrow seat, but soon it became impossible. They seemed to shoot through the night sky for hours upon hours, though, later, James would decide that it couldn’t have been more than forty-five minutes.
Finally, they began to approach a large, fluffy cloud, its whiteness dim in the grayness of the predawn light. Perched atop the cloud was a castle of immense proportions.
“Is that where we’re going?” James asked, his voice normal volume, but hoarse, as the pogo stick decelerated.
“Yes,” Mysty replied. “That is the home of the Dragon King.”
Despite all further questioning, Mysty would not clarify further. James ceased all questions after he had discerned this—and after Horace had painfully pecked his ear.
The pogo stick cruised onto the walk of the castle, landed, and hopped three times before almost toppling. Mysty hopped off and held it upright so James could dismount, then retracted the seat.
“We’re off to see the king.”
James noted the gleeful twinkle in Mysty’s eye with apprehension, and followed him into the castle. He craned his neck to try and take in the gigantic space, but Mysty led him through at such a pace that he could hardly take in the metallic gold, red, and green grandeur. Hundreds of chandeliers hung suspended from the ceiling, and portraits of dragons lined the halls.
They came to an enormous set of double doors, which Mysty shouldered open with a good amount of effort.
“Zargul!” Mysty called. “I have young James to see you.”
Sitting regally underneath a carved coat of arms, a golden dragon slowly opened his vibrant green eyes and lazily looked James up and down as he and Mysty stood several feet before him. James shifted uneasily.
“So,” rumbled King Zargul, “do you know why you are here, James Clark?”
“No, Your Highness.”
A small smile curved the dragon’s scaly lips. “Good. That means Mysty has followed his instructions this time.” Mysty muttered something under his breath, and Zargul shot him a glare before continuting. “Would you like to know why you’re here, James?”
“Yes, Your Highness, I would.”
“We have been watching you, James. The dragons, we rule the sky—control the weather. We were gifted with a unique magic from the dawn of time, a magic also giving us the obligation to control the winds and weathers of the globe. From our vantage point, we notice things—many things. You and your vast knowledge, for example.
“We knew you had a greater use, but we did not know what that use would be, until recently. We have recently discovered that the Prime Minister of the Bahamas is at risk. Danny the spelunking pickle, an assassin escaped from the Prison of Magical Beasts, is targeting him—he is going to poison the Prime Minister’s daily quesadilla, sometime in the next three days.
“Due to your vast knowledge and potential for fortitude, we decided this would be your task of greatness—stop Danny, and save the Prime Minister. Do you accept?”
James pondered the immense amount of information he had just been given. Him? Stop an assassin? It seemed impossible. But then, he thought of the orphanage and the endless barrage of ignorance and brattiness from Ian. “Yes, I’ll do it,” he said finally.
The King smiled a toothy, vaguely threatening grin. “Wonderful. Mysty, find a room for you and the boy. You will depart at first light.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Mysty bowed, a movement James repeated, then turned on his heel and led James down another set of winding passages, and into a large room with a four poster bed and daybed.
Mysty claimed the fourposter, so James inspected the daybed. The pillows were odd. He prodded it, and it inflated more and made an odd crackling sound.
Mysty glanced over. “Electrical pillows. Adjustable for comfort- and temperature-levels. They do, occasionally, cause the inadvertent lighting storm when met with Dragon drool, but it’s not too big an issue.”