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Excerpt for The Dragons Rule- The Quest Book VI by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Dragon’s Rule

The Quest

Book V

By

G. Weldon Tucker

#TheStoryteller







Recommended ages: 5-7 read to, pending skills. Reading 7-12+. Encourage your children to read! Intelligence comes from knowing more than one’s peers, and that can only happen between the covers of a book! Geography, communication, vocabulary and life’s lessons included herein! Enjoy! GWT





BOOK VI



The Precious Ruby



One

Princess Jodania entertained her friends, those she invited to the Red Clan, despite their green or blue colors. They had lost their family to this quest and had nowhere else to go. It swelled the ranks of the reds a bit, but there were still too few dragons for the territory.

Joey had a big heart, a curious mind, and a determination to help her kind. It had compelled her to start the quest simply by asking herself, “Are there other dragons in Dragonia besides my own family?” The answer was a great big, resounding YES! She had found others, Golds, Greens, Blues, Browns and more. She had heard of many others, but alas, most were now gone.

The quest had taken young Joey across the Atlantic Ocean, off to the Sahara Desert. Too hot, too gritty with odd sand, and she could not stay. Good thing, because Mother was hovering not far away.

Home again, she was soon taken on another journey to Iceland, where she discovered snow and ice and brutal cold, so alien to her Central America playground. Sure, in the tropics, it rained and stormed hard, every day in the afternoon, but it was always just right for being warm and comfortable.

But in those discoveries, she learned of the rapid decline in the number of dragons on this world. Why? No one seemed to know. No one really seemed to care. Both discoveries worked on her and sure enough, the quest took on a major trek clear to the Cradle of Life, then the Himalayas, alps so high they are called the spine of the world.

But, it only brought more questions. The Old Man, Coriff the Wise, living in a cave at the top of the world told her that he held the answer, but he said she must talk to her mother before he could reveal it. Mother was better than twelve thousand miles behind her! It was, in essence, another kind of quest.

On the way back, they found that the greens were gone, as were the blues. The only hint for each family was a small, deep red crystal rock and a scroll. Every name but those traveling with Joey were checked off and those checked dragons were missing. The Queen Mother’s key was now ever so much more important!

But, on Joey’s arrival in pursuit of the truth from her mother, the eggs the Queen Mother so zealously guarded, began to hatch. Joey’s important questions had to wait…



Two

The Queen Mother was terribly saddened, because in a world that needed many more dragons, only ten out of the fifty eggs had hatched. The remainder simply stayed dormant and apparently empty. The Queen was crushed.

To Joey, that added more fuel to her fire. One of the problems, as she saw it, was that the Queen Mother was the only dragon in a clan, whatever the color, who could lay eggs and bring up the young. But when a Queen got too old, she did not let go of her responsibility. So now, when there should have been fifty dragons added to the Red Clan, there were only ten.

Worse, fewer than half of them, maybe three or four, would survive their first year. There are many, many animals that dragons love to eat. True, however, all of them love to eat little dragons. It is the way of the wild with every animal ever born. The boars do their best to get as many dragons as they can, before they are dangerous.

Even today, the largest alligator and crocodiles got their size by running from trouble. Few make it. Probably a good thing or we would be up to our hip pockets in alligators.

So, for any animal, or even a fish, if it attained enough size to be a top predator, that creature had survived a hundred close encounters with bigger creatures, and that held just as true for the baby dragons.

Dragons are not like people, who care for their young until that child can stand alone and take care of himself or herself in a world filled with difficulties. That might take twenty years or more. Dragons are left on their own wits right out of the nest. True, the Queen Mother can attempt to guard them and try to corral them, so they have a chance, but in truth, it is a lot like herding chickens. It is not easy.

Let’s face it, the Queen Mother is easily two hundred feet long, nose to tail. Baby dragons are almost like mice are to us. The mother seeks help, but too many huge dragon feet make for flat baby dragons. Not pretty.

On the ninth day home, Joey requested an audience with her mother, the Queen. The Queen was not in a good mood, but she realized that what Joey was doing might solve the problem. She had never produced only ten little dragons before, and she did not consider herself old. Something was wrong.

It is a known fact that when nature sees a problem with overcrowding, for some reason, the babies, whatever the type of animal, are less in number. Wolves in the wild are a great example. When food is plentiful, and the land is not crowded, they might bear six pups. When the crowding is too much, and game is scarce, they might have one or two.

But here, she produced over fifty eggs. Most of them should have hatched. So, something was causing the problem and only Joey seemed to really care. In fact, with the energy of youth, she might be the only dragon who could do something about this.

The Queen Mother granted the audience.



Three

Ikfreit and Grogan, both larger than the younger Joey, who escorted them inside, came in only a short distance and dropped to one knee in respect. This cave was set in a high rocky cliff back in the middle of the land, safe from predators, well above the ground.

Ikfreit of the Blue Clan,” intoned Ikfreit as he knelt there, adding, “Your Majesty.” Dragons cannot master a low bow. Their terrific weight would put them on their noses!

Welcome, Ikfreit. I have heard good things about you. Please, sit.”

Prince Grogan of the Green Clan, Your Majesty,” said, Grogan in a formal tone, also still on one knee.

Rise up, Grogan. I have heard good things of you, too. Thank you both for watching over my daughter. Joey, friends, sit, please. I would learn what you three have discovered.”

The three settled down around the massive Queen Mother. Dragons continue to grow for as long as they live. Aren’t we glad that is not the case with people?

She looked down on them, content to have her daughter home safe, and equally glad to meet those of another clan.

It had been years since she had prowled the skies in exploration like Joey. True, she had shadowed her daughter, but a dragon Queen knows how to soar very far up in the sky, requiring less effort. But she had gone to special meetings, not for the purpose of exploration.

There had been twenty different colors in some of those conferences. Most, now, of course, were gone.

Joey explained all that had happened, skipping over the boring parts, like sleep flying for days and such. She talked about the Gold Clan’s Queen Mother, and Joey’s mother nodded.

I know of her. I met her once, over a hundred years ago. I doubt she remembers me. She was… elderly, then.”

I am not sure either way, Mother. But she did point us toward the spine of the world. This one is opposite this world from the one that runs south of us and it is a mile or so even higher. Up there, in a cave, at the very top of the world, was Coriff the Wise. A nice enough man, but not the expected Old One we were sent to see.”

The Queen smiled, saying, “Coriff was a rather wild-eyed young man when I met him. He claimed that there was an entire other dimension, a place outside of this world where mythical creatures such as dragons and our lot could live forever. Like most zealots, meaning he seemed way over the top, he was easily dismissed. But he stayed a friend of the dragons, promising to find that key. I was not sure I liked him, because he was, after all, a man. Hardly a mouthful, you know?”

At the sudden look of horror on the other three faces, she laughed aloud and waved them down. “A joke, please. I would not eat a man. Too bony. Too small. But the other dragons were merciless in their teasing of him. He shook it off like water off a boar’s back. He walked fearlessly among us, seeking tales of our own elders. He said that the key lay in the past. I did not know if he discovered it or not.”

He thinks he has. True, judging by the rather rapid disappearance of whole clans, he might have opened that gate,” Joey said, earnestly.


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