There were many sounds in Dragon City. The sound of traffic, horns blaring out and echoing throughout the crowded Dragways. The sound of the humans talking, arguing about who had the better dragon or who had the better gear. The sound of the dragons, who grunted and groaned. The sound of a dragon’s feet struggling to stay on his feet. The sound of that dragon hitting the ground. The sound, an unpleasant moan, escaping the dragon’s lips.
The sound of a human crying out.
“Artha! Artha, Parm, something’s wrong with Fracshun! Hurry, hurry!”
- - -
“I don’t like emergency rooms,” Kitt Wonn announced irritably. Her green eyes flickered angrily. “I hate them. People should know what an emergency really is instead of crowding in here thinking that their itsy bitsy booboo needs special caring!”
The nurse who was at the main desk frowned down at the teenage girl. “Miss Wonn, if you don’t like our service, I suggest that you leave,” the nurse told her. “Dragon City Medical is doing its best to help its patients, and if you don’t like it, fine. It’s your opinion.”
“It’s your opinion,” Kitt mimicked in a squeaky voice. “Uh, if you haven’t noticed already, we had a very sick dragon, and it was only a child!”
“We’ve had many child dragons in here these past few days,” the nurse said firmly. “That dragon you brought in wasn’t the only young dragon here today! I understand how upset you are, Miss Wonn, but please, quit complaining like a spoiled little girl. It isn’t even your dragon.”
The bipedal Magma-class dragon next to the seat Kitt sat in grunted. Wyldfyr lifted her head up as two white doors slid apart, and a four-legged dragon with gold eyes walked out, followed by a teenage boy wearing a white racing jacket. The side of the jacket had been charred, and on the back of the jacket was the name “Artha”.
Kitt bolted upwards. “Well?” she asked, a bit impatiently. “What happened?”
Artha Penn groaned. “Not much,” he said. “The doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong with him. And the thing is that Fracshun wasn’t the only dragon that has the same problem! A lot of other dragons are coming down with his case too!”
“I think I noticed that when we waiting in the emergency room,” Kitt replied dryly, ignoring the glance from the nurse.
“Kitt, you can’t blame Dragon City Medical on what’s happening!” Artha said. “Didn’t you see how sick those dragons were?”
The blue-haired girl nodded grimly. “Still, Fracshun was younger than most of them,” Kitt pointed out. “Couldn’t they have taken care of him first?”
The gold-eyed dragon with a red and blue design grunted in approval and nodded his head. “We all wanted Fracshun to have been checked up as quickly, but things happen, Kitt,” Artha tried explaining. “It’s like what Mortis said, things in life aren’t always fair.”
Kitt opened her mouth, but she decided that it was pointless to argue. “Well, is he okay?” she asked.
“Kitt, I told you – ” Artha started.
“I meant Lance,” Kitt said.
They both looked up as the doors slid open again, and two boys, one a young man, still in his teenage years, and the other a child with red hair, stepped out, followed by a green Bull-class dragon with green eyes. The child’s eyes were swollen and red, as though he’d been crying minutes ago. “It’s okay, Lance,” the teenager wearing blue next to him said, a gloved hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Fracshun is going to be okay.”
“How do you know?” Lance responded sadly, grasping his friend’s hand tightly. “This has never happened before!”
“Well, I am the Professor,” the boy’s friend, Parmon Sean, murmured, and gave a weak chuckle, trying to lighten the mood. The large, green dragon standing next to the two boys gave a grunt and shook his head. Parm sighed and walked up to Artha and Kitt. “They said that Fracshun will have to stay here until they can take care of the situation.”
Artha walked up to his little brother and embraced him. “Lance, c’mon, I’ll buy you some Draconee-Yum bars and then we can play some VIDDGames later on,” he said, giving a smile. “How does that sound?”
Lance sniffed. “I just want to go home,” he said, burying his head into Artha’s shoulder. Kitt and Parm exchanged worried glances. Artha turned towards them with a nod of his head.
“Then let’s go home, Lance,” he said as the red and blue dragon walked over to him. “Beau?”
The dragon nodded, and pulsed with gold mag-energy as he magged the two brothers on.
- - -
Dragon Eyes were not known to be caring people. In fact, they were the Down City crew most known for their dangerous and deceptive ways. They kidnapped people. They stole objects of great worth. They even stole dragons. And every time Dragon City Security was informed about this, they would arrive at the scene of the crime only to find the scene empty of crimes. The deed was done, and Dragon City Security had a few questionable policies, such as how they left these crimes alone, unless it was “urgent” to the city, such as the mysterious case of sick dragons.
Even the Dragon Eyes knew about these cases. The fact that three of their dragons, crew dragons, each collapsed without warning that night. A man with a Dragon Eye tattoo on his head turned towards the young leader of the Dragon Eyes. “Moordryd, what’s happening?” the man cried.
“How should I know, Cain?” the white-haired leader, Moordryd Paynn, responded. He turned towards Swayy, one of his crewmembers. “What's going on?”
“I dunno!” the green-haired woman replied shakily. “Rancydd and Malyss’ dragons just collapsed as well! They’re making these weird moaning sounds!”
“I can see that!” Moordryd said, and looked down at the Psi-class dragon that was moaning pitifully on the ground. The dragon had magenta and green patterns, and Moordryd suddenly noticed how the color was fading, what usually happened when a dragon’s energy was being drained. He also took attention to the broken green ramming gear that Swayy’s dragon had magged at a lamp post.
Cain bent down next to Swayy, who was at the side of her dragon as well, and looked up desperately at Moordryd. “Well, are we just gonna stay here and watch this little horror movie we’re getting?” Cain yelled.
Moordryd looked down at the poor dragon, and exchanged a glance with his own Psi-class black draconium dragon, Decepshun. The black and purple colored dragon gave a whine and hereyes showed concern and worry. Moordryd turned back towards Swayy’s dragon. He heard the rumors; a dragon from the Inner Order crew had collapsed, and Khatah’s crew couldn’t do anything about it. “We need Dragon City Medical over here as quick as possible,” Moordryd said, pressing a button on his wrist-comm. “Now!”
- - -
Artha had let Lance get some rest when they had gotten back to Penn Stables. He was about to leave when Lance whined. “Lance?” Artha said, turning his head towards his little brother.
Lance blinked. “I can’t sleep,” he whispered. “Fracshun was always with me.”
Beau grunted and walked over to where Lance lay down, then placed himself next to the boy and nuzzled Lance’s head. “There, Beau will stay with you,” Artha said. He gave a smile. “Now get some sleep, Lance.”
Lance nodded slowly and closed his eyes. Artha mouthed a quick “thank you” to his dragon before heading outside. Kitt was brushing Wyldfyr. She was still upset about the situation their team was stuck in.
“Hey, Kitt?” Artha asked, approaching her. “You okay?”
“Yes, I’m okay,” Kitt said, a bit coldly. Artha flinched. “Will you stop looking at me like that, stable boy? I’m fine.”
“When you say ‘okay’ and ‘fine’ in that kind of tone, that probably means that you’re definitely not okay,” Artha replied, giving a sheepish grin. Kitt groaned and continued brushing Wyldfyr. “Kitt, ever since this afternoon I haven’t seen you smile.”
“Well, here’s one just for you,” Kitt said, curving her lips for a few seconds before turning back towards her dragon.
Artha sighed. “Kitt…” the blue-eyed man said, and placed a hand on her shoulder. “C’mon.”
Kitt looked at Artha, and her scowl softened. “Stable boy…” she mumbled, tossing the brush into a bucket. “Fine, I’ll try calming down. Where’s Parm?”
“Well, since the doctors can’t come up with a cure for Fracshun, he decided to find out what might be wrong with him,” Artha explained. He walked over to the stall where Parm was, sitting at a desk and looking through medical VIDDZines and many books, calculating all this onto his VIDDComp, which he had borrowed from his mother.
“So?” Kitt said.
“Don’t distract me, don’t distract me,” Parm said, lifting up a hand as his finger skimmed through one of the books. He groaned and banged his head down on his desk. “It’s no use! I can’t find any legitimate reason for the occurring of this odd sickness!
“C’mon, Parm, you’re the brains of this group!” Artha said. “You gotta help us.”
“I am helping!” Parm suddenly screamed, standing up and balling his fists. “I am always the one helping this group, and do I get any recognition for helping this group? No, I don’t! Do you realize how difficult this is, even for me!”
He glared at a surprised Artha and Kitt, then groaned and sat down and placed his head in his hands. “Oh, forget it,” he said. “I’m sorry, you guys.”
“Hey, we understand, Professor,” Kitt said, walking up to Parm.
“And we’re sorry too,” Artha said, placing a hand on his best friend’s shoulder. “Even if we can’t understand a word you say, we appreciate all the stuff you do for us. Now, maybe we can help you out. What have you got for us?”
“Well,” Parm said, looking at his VIDDComp. “I’ve researched all the sicknesses for dragons, and using what the doctors at the Dragon City Medical Center told me, applied the information to the researched data, then used manipulative methods to match up the possible diseases and viruses that match the data, but after comparing and contrasting each one with my information, I didn’t find any matches.”
Instead of rolling eyes at each other as they usually did, Artha and Kitt looked at the information on Parm’s VIDDComp. “Well, this looks a bit easy to understand,” Kitt murmured. “You’re right, Parm, nothing seems to match any cases of what happened to Fracshun.”
“Scales, this is complicated,” Artha said. “Hey, have you found out how Fracshun just collapsed without warning?”
“Well, no,” Parm said. “I don’t think it was food poisoning, since all Fracshun ate today was a few Draconee-Yum bars and some dragon feed that the other dragons ate. And I don’t think the case is contagious. Having faints and experiencing severe pain is not contagious for this matter.”
“You have a point there,” Kitt said. “You know who we need right now?”
“Mortis,” the trio said in unison. If Parm was unfamiliar with anything at all, Mortis usually knew about that unfamiliar thing. The mysterious Dragon Priest had been helping them out ever since Artha became the Dragon Booster, a hero destined to save the world from chaos and destruction. He seemed familiar, but Artha just couldn’t figure out why Mortis seemed that way…
His thoughts were interrupted by a yawn from Parm as he stretched out. “Well, maybe tomorrow,” the brainy teenager mumbled, his eyelids drooping. “We should get some sleep.”
Kitt looked up at the current moon in view, Drakkus. “Yeah, it is pretty late,” she agreed. She hopped onto Wyldfyr.
“Wait!” Artha said. “You know, you can stay here for the night. Down City is a pretty long way, considering how late it is, as you said.”
Kitt shrugged. “Nothing’s gonna happen, Artha,” she said. “I’ll be at the racing track tomorrow morning, ready to compete in our next race.” She smirked at the dark-haired leader of Penn Racing. “See you around, stable boy!”
Wyldfyr sprinted off into the darkness. Artha continued to stare off until he heard a loud snore. He turned to see Parm, his head resting on his desk. “Oh, Parm,” Artha said, shaking his head with a smile. “I guess I should get some sleep too.”
He was about to walk off when he heard beeping from Parm’s wrist-comm. Artha pressed a button and found himself listening to the Dragon City news. “Reports claim that about forty-seven dragons these past few days have met this mysterious case,” a lady reporter’s voice announced. “These dragons, ranging from young to old, have been experiencing weakening and severe pain.”
Tell us something we don’t know, the stable boy thought, rolling his eyes.
“Our recent cases this evening were two taxi dragons, a forty-year-old Sky-class dragon from Work Town, and three Psi-class dragons from the Down City Dragon Eyes crew, known for their dragon thefts,” the reporter continued. At the last part Artha came to attention. The Dragon Eyes weren’t known to have any medical problems.
Drac, this is really serious, Artha thought. Maybe I should see Mortis right now…
Before he could do anything else, the reported finished off her report. “Dragon City Security is charging the Dragon Eyes for these thefts and other deeds, and speaking of thefts, there seems to be a bank heist happening at the Dragon City Bank right now,” she said. “We are uncertain if the thief is a Dragon Eye or not.”
Artha shut off Parm’s wrist-comm and set it next to his friend. Mortis can wait, and so can sleep, Artha said to himself as he walked into the room where Lance slept. Beau looked up with a grunt. “We got to get busy, Beau!” Artha whispered. “C’mon, but be careful not to disturb Lance.”
Beau nodded and stood up, walking quietly towards Artha. Artha jumped onto Beau’s saddle as the dragon took off. There was a five-pointed star amulet hanging from Artha’s neck, an amulet made of gold draconium. Artha removed the gold star off the amulet and looked down at another item of gold draconium, an armband with a small slot for the star.
Artha cried out, “Release the dragon!” and placed the star in the armband’s slot.
“Stop right there, thief!”
Those were the words that came out of Captain Faier’s mouth as his blue dragon lurched and turned a corner. They were chasing after a man riding a bipedal Magma-class dragon. Faier gritted his teeth and wished that the man had taken a Bull-class dragon to the theft instead. “I said stop!” he called again as the thief quickly turned another corner. Faier and his dragon continued their pursuit, Faier calling backup through his wrist-comm.
The man on the dragon gave a crooked grin. Up ahead was a dilapidated building, looking ready to crumble. All he needed to do was knock it down completely somehow for a roadblock…
He reached for a green ball. Pressing a button, he tossed it at the building and ducked as the dragon he rode on sprinted off. There was a deafening explosion, followed by the cry of a Dragon City Security officer, who was unfortunate to get caught underneath the rubble. The thief snickered and continued on. Victory was his!
He lurched to a halt in an empty alleyway. It would take some time for any of the Dragon City Security officers to catch up to him. Nobody could stop him now, and as long as that was the case, he was filthy rich.
There was a thump from behind the thief’s back, followed by a roar. He yelped and spun around to see – oh, Magna Draconis, no – a black and gold dragon, baring its teeth, and a man in blue and gold armor, with a dark visor covering his eyes.
The Dragon Booster grinned. “Dead end, buddy,” he said, and pulled out a type of mag-staff – what was that, light green draconium? The thief wasn’t sure; he never saw anything that was made out of light green draconium, except for deactivation gear and fet-lock breakers, but the Dragon Booster’s weapon did look valuable…
“Dead end for you, you mean!” the thief cackled, and the Magma-class dragon he rode roared out as he pressed the pedals on his saddle. Green ramming gear was activated, and the man continued charging. The Dragon Booster and his dragon moved out of the way.
“You gotta be quicker than that, my friend,” the Dragon Booster said. “Don’t you think it’s a bit stupid using attack gear for such a speedy dragon?”
Slamming the brakes, the man simply turned back around to face him and pressed a button. “You know what’s stupid? You are!” he said as an attack ball flew out of his dragon’s green gear. It whizzed towards the Dragon Booster, who swung his odd mag-staff at the attack ball, sending it flying back towards the thief. His dragon reared back, which shouldn’t have been done, as the attack ball hit the dragon’s ramming gear instead, denting it slightly as it rolled away. The thief inspected the gear, and while doing that he saw the shadow of the Dragon Booster and the dragon approaching him slowly…
When he jerked his head up quickly, the Dragon Booster was still in the same place as before. “Now, you wanna give up that money you stole, or do I need to use force?” he said, twirling his weapon.
There was a shriek from the thief’s dragon, and the thief was thrown off. The dragon was shaking its head violently. It mag-blasted the gear off and continued shrieking. “Wh-what’s happening?” the thief cried. He turned towards the Dragon Booster. “What did you do to it?”
The dragon fell down and gave a distressed cry, claws clenched and feet twitching. It squirmed uncomfortably. The Dragon Booster’s dragon gave a startled grunt and stepped forward. “Beau!” the Dragon Booster said. “What’s going on?”
At that moment sirens wailed out as Captain Faier and the other Dragon City Security officers arrived. Captain Faier saw the thief, and opened his mouth only for words to be lost as his eyes found the dragon lying on the ground in pain. “Another of these cases!” Faier gasped. “Quickly! Get that dragon to Dragon City Medical!”
Faier turned towards the Dragon Booster and the thief. “You, however, are staying here,” he ordered.
- - -
“It was his fault!” the thief was saying, pointing an accusing finger at the Dragon Booster. “He caused my dragon to get sick! He started it!”
“Wasn’t there a little code of the Dragon City Security?” the Dragon Booster drawled. “Like ‘you have the right to remain silent’?”
Beau started laughing, making the thief more irritated.
“But after you attacked me, my dragon started acting weirdly!” he argued.
“Enough!” Faier barked. “You are under arrest for bank heist and dragon theft.”
“Huh, so that dragon wasn’t even yours?” the Dragon Booster asked, turning towards the thief, who glowered at the city’s hero as two officers cuffed his hands and escorted him away. But Artha was wondering if the thief was right. Was it his fault that the dragon got sick? He stared at his jakk-stick. Stewardd of the Keepers crew had forged it for him, but it didn’t seem as though the jakk-stick had any problems or bugs.
Faier turned towards Artha. “Dragon Booster, we thank you for keeping the city safe once again,” he said. “But I wonder, how did the dragon break down?”
“Honestly, Captain Faier, I don’t know,” Artha replied. He looked at Beau, who shook his head. He held out his jakk-stick for the captain to inspect. “After he attacked me with green ramming gear, I hit the attack ball back, and the dragon’s gear got hit. But I’m sure the dragon couldn’t have gotten all that with a simple retaliation!”
Faier ran a hand through Artha’s jakk-stick. He beckoned a Dragon City Security officer to come over. “Officer, I require a task from you,” Faier said. “Inspect this…this…”
“Jakk-stick,” Artha explained for him. “Light green draconium and VIDDJakk boxes merged together.”
“Hmm, VIDDJakks…” Faier murmured thoughtfully. “Where did you manage to get VIDDJakk boxes? Well, no matter, at least they’re being used for good use.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Artha said. Word had used VIDDJakks on Artha and Beau once, and Parm had found them.
So, wait, Artha thought suddenly. VIDDJacks can cause other technology in range to malfunction, and it can do other harmful things. But I didn’t shoot out the VIDDJakks at that guy’s gear, and I doubt it can hurt dragons that much!
“Your jakk-stick, Dragon Booster,” Faier said, giving the weapon back to Artha. He shook his head. “The VIDDJakks are questionable, but do you really think that they would do something to a dragon that bad?”
“I doubt it, sir,” Artha replied. “Just what I was thinking.”
Faier looked over at the green ramming gear and the attack ball lying on the ground. “Perhaps I should run an investigation through those too,” he said. He looked back at Artha. “You know, these past few days, most of the dragons getting infected were using green ramming gear of all levels and brands. Maybe there’s a connection between the gear and these strange events?”
Artha nodded. “You know, I’ll bet there is,” he said, and he and Beau ran off.
- - -
Artha mumbled. “What?” Lance asked.
“I said ten more minutes, Lance,” Artha repeated groggily. “Or maybe even a day?”
Lance shook his head with a grin and started poking Artha’s shoulder repeatedly. Artha smacked his brother’s hand away. Lance simply responded by pushing Artha off the table he fell asleep on.
“Ow,” Artha simply mumbled.
“Artha, it’s almost noon!” Lance said, pointing at his watch.
“So?” Artha murmured drowsily, his eyes open halfway. “I wanna sleep.”
Lance shrugged and simply walked away. Beau grunted and began nudging Artha with his head. “Beau, stop it, I’m tired,” Artha groaned. “I wanna sleep.”
A pair of teal, yellow and purple shoes appeared in front of his face. “What, didn’t get enough sleep last night, stable boy?” Kitt’s voice taunted. “C’mon, up and at ‘em, Artha!”
Artha shifted his eyes upwards, seeing Kitt’s face, her multicolored hair, her green eyes, and her smirk. “You’re all cruel,” he sighed as he grabbed Beau and stood up. “If only you’ve known what I’ve been through.”
“We heard the news,” Kitt said. “So, another dragon acting up?”
“Yep,” Artha responded, blinking. “So I must’ve fallen asleep on the table.”
“Why didn’t you just go to bed?” Kitt asked.
“I had to think,” Artha said. “Thinking is better sitting down.”
“Walking around helps you think,” Kitt pointed out.
“Yeah, but unless you wanted to wake up on the ground with a couple of bruises, you’d sit down,” Artha replied with a wry grin.
Kitt rolled her eyes with a smirk and walked away. Artha followed her and saw Parm on the VIDDComp. Lance was busy chewing a Draconee-Yum bar, staring at the screen. “Hey, Lance,” Artha said. “You okay?”
Lance nodded. “I guess,” Lance said. His face fell. “I hope Fracshun’s okay.”
“He’ll be fine, Lance, don’t worry,” Artha said. He looked up at Parm. “Well, Professor?” he said.
“Well, nothing!” Parm groaned, throwing his hands in the air. “I’ve got no results at all! One thing I do know is that it may be a virus!”
“A virus?” Kitt asked.
“Yes!” Parm said. “Well, not really the proper term, not contagious exactly, but any dragon, healthy or unhealthy, old or young, strong or weak, speedy or slow, can get this! At least, that’s my prediction.”
Artha remembered Captain Faier and the mention of green ramming gear. “Parm, Faier said this morning that most of the dragons that got infected used green ramming gear!” he implied.
“Really?” Parm said, his eyes widening.
“Oh yeah. The thief I chased after yesterday was using green ramming gear, and the dragon he used was struck down by the virus. Faier said that there might be a connection between the gear and the virus.”
“Hmm, very interesting…” Parm said. He shuddered. “Very horrifying! What type of gear? Saurcom?” He gasped. “Paynn Incorporated? What level was the gear?”
“I’m not sure, Parm,” Artha said. “But Captain Faier claimed that it was all types of green ramming gear!”
“But how can dragons get a virus from gear?” Lance asked, confusion written all over his face.
“That is the complicated part,” Parm said. “Unfortunately I can’t unravel how that’ll happen, unless I have some of that gear. Then hopefully I can find out if, how, and why the gear infects dragons.”
He suddenly yelped. “What if our green ramming gear is infected?” he cried.
“Then we gotta take it here and find out!” Kitt said. “Lance, run and get the gear from the mag-racks!”
“Got it!” Lance said, and ran off. As he ran to the room where the mag-racks were, he wondered what gear he had placed on Fracshun and if the gear was green ramming gear. He groaned in dismay. Unfortunately, Lance’s memory wasn’t that good at the time, so he couldn’t remember well. He looked up at the green ramming gear placed on the mag-racks and jumped a couple of times, trying to grab it.
A hand reached over and took the green gear from the mag-rack. Lance looked in surprise at a man wearing green Dragon Priest armor and a mask standing there. “Mortis!” Lance said.
Mortis gave a small smile. “Here, Lance,” he said, bending down and giving the gear to the boy. “So, I see that you, your friends and your brother are trying to solve a problem?”
“Yep!” Lance said, looking up at the Dragon Priest. “Do you know what’s happening, Mortis?”
Mortis shook his head gravely as he stood up. “I’m afraid not,” he murmured. “Even this problem puzzles me.”
Lance’s face fell. “But don’t worry, Lance,” Mortis said. “I’m still trying to find out what’s wrong with the dragons. If only I had the gold draconium. One bet I have, though, is that this isn’t the work of malfunctioning gear.”
“But Mortis, who would do something like this to all those dragons?” Lance asked. “And Fracshun? Who’d be cruel enough to do something like this?”
Mortis stared down at Lance for some time, then placed a hand on Lance’s shoulder. “You know, Lance, you have the wisdom of a Dragon Priest,” Mortis told him. “Not that many children of your age are as wise as you.”
Lance blinked. “I’m wise?” he said.
Mortis smiled. “You may not realize it, but you do have wisdom,” he said. “As for your question, I’m afraid that there are people out there that are that cruel, that don’t care.”
“But why?” Lance wanted to know.
Mortis frowned. “Alas, that question I don’t have the proper answer for,” he said.
Lance sighed. “I miss Fracshun,” the boy said.
“And I miss my dad.”
Mortis paused. “I know, Lance, I know,” he said. He turned around. “Once you and Artha find out what may be causing the virus, come to the Dragon Temple and I may be able to help you.” And with that he walked away, back to the room containing the entrance to the Dragon Temple hidden below Penn Stables.
Lance continued staring at where Mortis had been, until Parm’s voice called, “Lance, the gear?”
“Coming, Parm!” Lance called back, and ran back for his friends with the gear in his hands.
Parm watched as Lance ran back into the room, green ramming gear in hand. He took the gear from the boy and began inspecting it. “Hmm, doesn’t seem like there’s any problems, but that’s just from outer view,” Parm murmured, picking the gear up and grabbing one of his gadgets. “I’ll run a scan on this…in the meantime, you guys can do something else…”
As Artha, Kitt, Beau, Wyldfyr and Lance walked outside, Lance grinned at Artha and Kitt. “Mortis says I’m wise,” he boasted.
Kitt rolled her eyes. “That’s true, you’re like Mortis,” she mused. She gave a wicked grin. “Mini-Mortis!”
“The tiny Dragon Priest!” Artha added, both of the teenagers bursting out laughing. Beau and Wyldfyr chuckled.
Lance huffed and folded his arms. “Girls and big brothers,” he muttered. “Why do they always act so weird?”
He looked around. Usually Fracshun answered the question with a grunt, but now he wasn’t here. Lance’s expression turned glum, then he shifted his eyes on Artha and Kitt, who were still laughing. He decided to retaliate…
“Artha and Ki-itt, sitting in a tree!” Lance began chanting. “K – I – ”
“Okay, Mini-Mortis, we’ll stop,” Kitt retorted. Lance had his own laugh as he walked away to find his Battleground Dragon VIDDGame. Beau and Wyldfyr exchanged glances, then grinned at Artha and Kitt.
“What?” Kitt asked. “What are you staring at us like that for?”
They burst out laughing as they followed Lance. Kitt scoffed as she stared at the laughing dragons. “Dumb dragons,” she muttered.
Artha nodded with a grin. “Lance can be a real pain sometimes,” he sighed, his gaze shifting towards Kitt. It was all so weird; ever since Artha laid eyes on her, he had taken a huge infatuation with the street racer, but then it never really lasted, thanks to Lance and his big mouth, Artha thought. Still, that didn’t excuse them from being friends…or maybe even more…
“Huh?” Artha said, coming back to reality. He blinked at Kitt. “Uh, Kitt! Right! Hey, you wanna see what Mortis is doing?”
Kitt nodded. “We got nothing else to do besides wait for the results from Professor,” she said.
- - -
Mortis’ attention had been taken off the problematic situation and onto what he liked to study in his spare time: scrolls and ancient legends. They taught him many things, as what he was taught in the Ancient Order…
He looked up. His mind went distant as he remembered the Ancient Order, the Dragon Priests, his mentor Tannis the Wise, and Word Paynn…
Word was once his best friend, but his ideas weren’t always the right ideas. Mortis remembered when they caught him using dragon control gear. For this, Word had been banished from the Order. Perhaps it didn’t seem fair…
Justice needs to be served rightfully, Mortis thought, remembering what Tannis had told him. He looked through his documents and found teachings of the original Dragon Booster, and how he fought Drakkus, an ancient enemy to the Dragon Booster and his dragon, Beaucephalis, the original black and gold star-dragon of legend. He read about the great human-dragon empires, about the Furox and the Samurox and the other fighter dragons, about Drakkus’ followers, such as Reaffo Thade, the cruel traitor of both sides, and Gary the Lethal, who was the swiftest with any weapon…
Mortis looked up to see Artha and Kitt walk out from the express elevator. “Good, you’re here,” Mortis said. “Have you found out what we’re looking for?”
“No good, Mortis,” Artha said, shaking his head. “Though Parm’s working on it right now. Got any idea who could’ve caused this all?”
“I’m afraid not,” Mortis replied. “But you should keep looking for clues, Artha. It will help you discover who is behind this.”
Kitt was looming over Mortis’ shoulder now. “What are these documents?” she asked, looking down at the faded pages, which seemed to glow. Artha came over and looked over the ancient legends as well.
“This is a story about the original Dragon Booster, fighting those who threatened the world,” Mortis explained. Artha, even more interested now, began skimming through the draconian text. “In that time, things were very horrible.”
“Horrible?” Artha repeated, looking up.
Mortis nodded. “You would have to experience that time to truly know how horrible it was,” he said. “So many people and dragons, dying…so much destruction, everywhere…”
“Sounds like a really nice time,” Kitt commented dryly. “Maybe I should tell Parm to build a time machine so we can take a vacation there.”
Mortis didn’t retort to her sarcastic comment. Instead, he looked away thoughtfully. “The reports are still getting dragon cases with the mysterious sickness,” he murmured. “It seems to be getting worse. You must find out who is causing this, Dragon Booster!”
“Oh, don’t worry, Mortis, I will,” Artha said, grimacing. “We all will, otherwise, who knows what will happen?"
- - -
The Dragon Eye wearing a dull yellow, teal and maroon outfit looked up at Moordryd. “Doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with Decepshun’s gear, Moordryd,” Blarre said, handing him back the gear.
“You sure, Blarre?” Moordryd asked.
“I’m only the weapons specialist,” Blarre pointed out. “See how the technician’s doing.”
Moordryd turned towards a man wearing black, purple and gray and a visor with goggles. “Vizz?” he asked.
“Hold up, still checking…” the green-haired man mumbled, a scanner in his hand. He looked up at Moordryd and shook his head. “The gear’s functioning fine…no bugs, in good shape, though there is something interesting about Swayy’s gear.”
“Go on…” Moordryd said.
Vizz adjusted his goggles. “Well, it seems like something’s come up with it,” he explained. “I’m not sure exactly what, but it’s a bug, one I’ve never seen before.”
“A bug in the gear?” Moordryd asked. “Tell me again how a dragon can possibly get infected by a bug in gear.”
“See, that’s the interesting thing,” Vizz said. “Gear starts functioning from the dragon’s mag-energy. Once the dragon’s energy is channeled through the gear, it either functions properly or improperly. If the gear runs smoothly, all’s good, but once it starts malfunctioning, then we have a problem.” He looked at Blarre. “Though doesn’t the malfunctioning of forged draconium objects only effect the gear or weapon?”
“Not quite,” Moordryd answered. “If black control gear is tampered with, it can effect the wearer as well.”
“We’re talking green draconium, though, not black,” Blarre said. “Unless, of course, the black draconium was fitted into the gear somehow, but I doubt it…unless your father’s pulled a trick out of his sleeve.”
Moordryd glared at her. “It’s not just my father’s gear; we’ve got brands from Saurcom to the homemade gear,” he said. “Now the popularity of green ramming gear being bought is decreasing.”
“And those people selling the gear aren’t too happy,” Cain said, walking into the room with a frown. “Dragon City Security is everywhere now, Moordryd! Do you know what this means?”
“Limited and thought-out dragon thefts,” Blarre muttered.
“Eyes watching our every move,” Vizz said.
Moordryd groaned. “We’re not losing hope just because a couple of dragons – ”
“Translate to ‘one hundred’,” Cain drawled.
“What?” Moordryd gasped, turning towards his friend.
“Of all people, I was sure you’d be the first to know how serious this is!” Cain told him. “We’re in trouble.”
There was a beeping on Moordryd’s wrist-comm, and Moordryd took a glance at it. He pressed a button, and it stopped beeping. “I’ll be back,” he said, walking out. “Cain, take control. Vizz, Blarre, keep investigating the other gears.”
“Where are you going?” Blarre asked.
Moordryd turned his head to face her, and already all of them knew the answer. “Paynn Incorporated,” he said. “My father wants me.”
- - -
Word was not very happy. In fact, Word Paynn was not usually happy at all. At times like these, however, he was more interested than pleased. He turned towards Moordryd in his large control room.
“So I hear that several of your crew’s dragons have suffered under this very interesting case,” Word said.
Moordryd simply nodded. The tall figure paced around the control room, turning towards his large monitors. “Moordryd, do you have any idea what is happening?” Word asked.
“Well, according to Dragon City reports, apparently dragons are coming down with a weird bug or virus of some sort,” Moordryd replied, folding his arms. “And later, they said something about green ramming gear being the cause of the infection.”
Word narrowed his eyes. “True…but do you know what causes this infection?” he asked. He pressed a button on his control panel, and screens of many dragons suffering the same way as Swayy’s dragon had appeared on each of Word’s monitors. As Moordryd looked at each one, a wave of pity swept over him, but he quickly shook off the feeling as Word turned his head towards him.
“These problems are not just the malfunctioning of the green ramming gear, Moordryd. That logic seems ridiculous. It seems to me as if someone is responsible for this.”
“Either someone can implant this virus into the gear using a high amount of technology, or…” Word’s voice trailed off.
“What?” Moordryd demanded. He winced as Word shot him a cold glare.
“I’m not exactly sure, but once we find out who is the cause of all this, I want you to bring him to me,” Word said. He gave a sinister grin and clasped his fingers, the dragon claws set on his right hand clacking. “With him, I may be able to negotiate an agreement with him, or her, to help me start a dragonhuman war.”
“By making dragons sick?” Moordryd said.
Another icy glare. “I’m running out of ideas, Moordryd. I cannot constantly have my plans thwarted by that pest, the Dragon Booster, and it seems as though he too is inpuzzlement of this problem.” Word turned back to his monitors, and Moordryd could barely detect the bit of regret in Word’s voice. “This may be our only hope. Nothing else will work to its full extent.”
“What about– ?” Moordryd started, his eyes widening, but he stopped and looked away. Word’s eyes, gray as his son’s, shifted towards him.
“Yes?” he asked, slightly irritated.
Moordryd let his shoulders sag and looked up dejectedly at his father. “Never mind,” he mumbled.
“Go on, I’m interested to hear what you need to say,” Word said, staring at his son suspiciously. Moordryd sighed. “Well?”
“What about Dragon City Security?” Moordryd questioned.
Word frowned. “Dragon City Security will need to be avoided as much as possible,” he answered. “To attract this person’s attention, you will need to continue what I ask of you.”
“B-but – ” Moordryd stammered, but Word raised a finger.
“Do not question me, Moordryd,” Word said, and it was clear that the discussion would end with him having the last word. “Just because we have one plan doesn’t mean we can continue working on our other plans. I will still need wraith dragons and other things in case anything should go wrong. Now go.”
As Moordryd exited the large building and hopped onto Decepshun, he gritted his teeth in frustration. “What about me?” he hissed, his chance to correct his earlier statement lost as Decepshun sprinted off back to Down City.
Parm fiddled around with the green gear in his hand, checking his scanner with the other. “Huh, very interesting, very interesting indeed…” he murmured. Cyrano looked over Parm’s shoulder at all the information reading on the scanner, and he simply stared at it before stepping away. He’d let his more smarter partner do the complicated stuff; after all, a dragon like him won’t work unless needed, and besides, he didn’t understand Parm’s large words of scientific proportions.
Parm spoke to himself under his breath as he punched in a few numbers on the scanner, and it beeped a couple of times before he pressed a button to make it stop. He looked at the scanner’s screen, gave a sigh of relief, and looked up to see Lance, Artha and Kitt. “Well, all’s good with this gear, and thank the Magna Draconis for that!” he said. “Lance, can you get the mag-rack?”
Lance ran off to the gear room. “So the gear’s not infected?” Artha questioned as Lance returned, pushing a mag-rack in front of him.
“Quite so,” Parm replied, pulling the mag-rack towards him and setting the gear on it. “But while that seems okay, we’ll need to make sure to use our green gear conservatively,” he added. “We wouldn’t want any more of our dragons getting infected if we have to buy new ones.”
Kitt scowled. “That’s level one gear, Parmon; I don’t think it’s possible to conserve it in its current shape,” she explained bitterly. “This is already interfering with racing, and I need to race!”
“I hear you there, Kitt,” Artha groaned, sitting down in a chair next to Parm. “If we can’t use the green gear, then we’ll have to think of newer strategies for racing if we need to use it.”
“But you guys don’t use ramming gear that much!” Lance pointed out, staring at the green gear locked on the mag-rack. Beau and Wyldfyr, who came in the room, looked over at the gear, and then at their riders.
“Well, if it’s needed for a race, then we’re in trouble,” Artha said, looking grimly at Beau. “Green gear also increases a dragon’s defense, but our gear’s not that good. These races are getting harder and more competitive each day!”
Kitt gave a frustrated groan. “If the races close down, then awards can’t be received,” she hissed. “They give out prize money too, you know. Some people don’t have a choice but to race to get what they need.”
I guess I’m one of those people, Artha thought. When his father disappeared, Artha had to start racing so that he could earn money for all their needs, such as food. It was extremely expensive to feed dragons these days and other things don’t come cheap. He began hoping that the racing tracks wouldn’t close because of the green gear problem.
“Why do you race, Kitt?” Lance asked, his hands akimbo.
Kitt gave a smug smile. “I race because it’s my life,” she said proudly. “Remember, I’m the number one racer in Dragon City, and I don’t let a few little problems get in my way of keeping that position, even if I am on a team.”
“Hey, you know, speaking of races, there’s a race coming up right now!” Lance said, a grin crossing his face. Wyldfyr’s teeth showed as she grinned recklessly and Beau grunted with determination.
“Oh, yeah, I completely forgot about it!” Artha gasped, slapping the palm of his hand against his head. “Thanks, bro!”
“This should be an interesting race,” Parm said thoughtfully, placing his scanner on his desk and grabbing a pair of binocs. Cyrano nodded in agreement, and Lance walked up to his technical friend.
“Hey, Parm, you have drakkals, right?” he asked. “After the race, we can buy candy!”
Parm sighed and looked away. When it came to Lance and food, the child was always eager to eat, and spend their money carelessly. “Fine, but I’m buying the Draconee-Yum bars this time,” he said.
Lance’s face fell. “Aww…” he said, sulking. Artha and Beau looked at each other and chuckled.
- - -
While Race Marshall Budge announced the racers to everyone in the crowd, Artha and Kitt looked around and surveyed the other dragons. Parm was right, the race would be slightly interesting. Green ramming gear was not evident on any of the dragons, except for Decepshun and a racer’s Energy-class dragon.
Artha turned his head away as Moordryd and his dragon lined up next to him. Moordryd turned to Artha with a smirk. “Ready to lose, stable brat?” he sneered. Whenever Artha was around, Moordryd took the opportunity to harass him with insults and injury, whichever came first.
“Ha!” Artha scoffed. “Dream on, Paynn!” He nodded at the sleek, green gear placed on Decepshun’s chest, rated level six. “I see that you’ve brought some green ramming gear with you. I thought they were causing some problems for your crew.”
Moordryd simply rolled his eyes. “Unlike the other green ramming gear out there in Dragon City and the three used on my crewmember’s dragons, my gear is in good shape,” he explained smugly. “No little bugs, no dents or scratches, no signs of my dragon having any trouble with this gear. What about you, Penn? I see that you’re not using green ramming gear either, like the rest of these cowards. What’s the matter? Too scared to use it?”
Artha’s hands gripped tightly on the grips of Beau’s saddle, and the dragon looked up at him. “Watch it, Moordryd,” Artha growled, slitting his eyes. Moordryd simply laughed and turned his attention back on the track, pressing a button so that the lower visor of his helmet rose up and covering the bottom half of his face.
“Artha!” a voice called. Artha looked beside him to see Kitt and Wyldfyr. Kitt nodded her head at Moordryd and mouthed “What about him?”
Artha realized what she was talking about; what if Paynn was responsible for all this? Word Paynn wanted to start a second dragonhuman war and let the world fall under their power, and Moordryd helped him out. The fact that they could be infecting the gear to infect the dragons was believable, since it seemed as though they would stop at nothing to start the war.
Artha turned his attention to the track just as a beep sounded out, and the dragons sprinted off. Kitt was leading with Wyldfyr, maneuvering around the others. Artha did the same, maneuvering around a Dragon Flare racer and the dragon wearing green ramming gear.
As he tried bypassing Moordryd, the Dragon Eye leader maneuvered Decepshun left, bashing her into Beau and Artha, who were knocked off balance. Beau straightened back up and snorted angrily, glaring at Decepshun, who hissed at him and bashed into Beau again. “Hey, whoa!” the dark-haired teenager cried, nearly falling off. He shifted his eyes at Moordryd, who laughed at him again and sped off. Artha groaned as he watched Beau’s energy meter drop.
He pressed a button on the levers, and a gear designed as rockets attached to Beau’s sides flipped out. There was a burst of powerful flames from the red thrusting gear, and Artha and Beau went faster, keeping up with the other racers, making them end up in fourth place.
The racer who was third looked behind him, and pressed a button on his saddle. Aqua tentacle gear was activated, and flew back at Beau, whose eyes widened. “Whoa, Beau, look out!” Artha yelled, trying to maneuver him out of the way, but one tentacle managed to clip onto Beau’s hide. He yelped and started slowing down.
Artha growled and pulled out a mag-staff, bringing it down on the tentacle gear. It snapped off and Artha and Beau had to keep running to keep their position in fourth, managing to get to third. Unfortunately Moordryd had stolen fourth place, and he finally activated the green gear on his dragon. He maneuvered Decepshun right next to Beau and bashed into them. Artha watched as Beau’s energy dropped again, this time more drastically, and he gritted his teeth in frustration, shooting Moordryd a nasty glare, who just chuckled sinisterly.
“Oh, keep laughing, Moordryd!” Artha snapped, his knuckles white from gripping onto the saddle controls. The shadows were long as the sun shone above at high noon, and to Artha, that was a perfect day for beating Moordryd. “Laugh at this! Beau!”
Beau roared and sped forward, just past Moordryd. He scowled and pulled out an energy drain whip. Artha quickly slammed his foot on the right pedal of Beau’s saddle, and the thrusting gear was activated again, causing them to speed up, the grip on Moordryd’s whip just barely missing them.
Artha turned his eyes back in front of him. Okay, if we can speed up even more, we may just hit vortex speed and even beat Kitt! he thought. All I need to do is release the power of the dragon…
He closed his eyes and concentrated. It wasn’t just speed alone that could help them win; you needed to be one with your dragon to fully reach the speed. He focused; he tried seeing what was going on in front of him, feeling what Beau was feeling…and then he felt the rush of wind whooshing past him, and his lips curved upwards into a triumphant smirk as he could feel themselves going faster and faster…
He suddenly heard a shriek from behind him…a dragon’s shriek. Beau gave a loud grunt, and Artha’s eyes snapped wide open. “Wha - ?” he gasped. He quickly slammed the brakes on his saddle. Artha saw Kitt and Wyldfyr standing next to them both, but the close victory was forgotten as they turned around to see the other racers braking and doing the same motion.
Kitt groaned. “Please tell me that’s not another dragon victim…” she said, raising a hand over her eyes and squinting to see what was happening.
The Dragon Flare racer that was originally in sixth place had finally caught up to them. There was a frown on her face as she stopped her dragon and shook her head. “You’re wrong, it’s not another dragon victim,” she grumbled. “It’s two. And the other racer was using tentacle gear.”
Artha and Kitt exchanged nervous glances.
Parm shrieked as he stared through his binocs out at the racing track. “Oh, no!” he cried. Lance looked up and opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but Parm answered his unsaid question as he continued, “Oh, no, no, no! Another dragon! Two! Oh, dear, what’s going on?”
“Parm, two dragons? Is one of them Moordryd and Decepshun?” Lance asked. “They have green gear!”
“Well, the racer riding an Energy-class dragon had green ramming gear, and so did Moordryd, but…Decepshun didn’t crash!” Parm blinked, lowering his binoculars and turning to Lance. “It was that racer that stung Artha with aqua tentacle gear!”
“What?” Lance said, staring at Parm in disbelief. “But…but he didn’t have any green ramming gear!”
“I know, which can only mean one thing.”
Parm looked ill as he replied, “It’s not just green ramming gear causing all this anymore.”
- - -
Dragon City Medical was on the scene right away, taking the two dragons off. Artha and Kitt were approached by Parm and Lance. “Well, what exactly happened?” Parm asked.
Kitt narrowed her eyes. “Just what happened is what happened, Parm!” she said. “Embyrr didn’t say much besides the fact that two dragons were struck down!”
Parm groaned. “Oh, this is very, very bad,” he said nervously.
“Like we already don’t know,” Kitt remarked dryly. “That means both aqua gear and green gear are infected.”
Lance shook his head while staring at the Dragon City Medical van. Artha took notice of this. “Hey, Lance…what’s with the no?” he asked, crouching down to his brother’s level.
“I don’t remember having green gear or aqua gear on Fracshun at the time he collapsed,” Lance said. “I’m sorry I didn’t remember earlier.”
Artha looked up at Beau and Wyldfyr, who nodded in agreement. “That means that all gear could be infected,” Artha said, casting a mellow glance at Kitt and Parm.
Parm gave a shriek and one of Kitt’s eyebrows arched. She gritted her teeth and her gaze hardened. “No way,” she hissed. “That’s…that’s all scales! That means that racing could be cancelled! Nuh uh, stable boy, I don’t think it’s all gear.”
“Face it, Kitt,” Artha responded, standing up. “Racing could be done for until the problem’s been tapped into.”
“And is Dragon City Security or Dragon City Medical doing anything about it?” Kitt snapped back. Instinctively Artha took a few steps back. “All they’re doing is just trying to help these victims of this virus instead of finding out what’s causing it!”
“Yeah, uh, I think that’s – ” Artha said, about to say that her statement wasn’t true, but the top racer continued her rant.
“Do you know how many people here race? Lots!” Kitt said. “Besides, I – ”
“This isn’t just about you and racing, Kitt!” Artha yelled, cutting her off. “It’s about Dragon City and what’s happening to those dragons, you got that?”
For a moment Kitt stood there, glaring at Artha, then scoffed and spun around sharply, walking away. Wyldfyr glanced at Beau blankly before following her human. Parm and Lance looked at each other uneasily. Artha ran after her as she stopped at a candy bar stall. “Look, I’m sorry I yelled, but you don’t seem to realize how serious this issue is,” he said.
Kitt continued averting her gaze from him as she handed the person working at the stall a drakkal card. “A double-size Dragonola bar, and two Draconee-Yum bars,” she told him.
“Make it three,” Artha added. He looked at Kitt, who still didn’t respond or even look at him. He groaned. “All you were doing was talking about yourself!”
It was then that she snapped her head in his direction, and her expression was far from happy. “You know, if we went back in time, you’d be that person, stable boy,” she snarled, glowering at him. “You’d be the person just thinking about himself and nobody else!”
“That was before,” Artha replied. “Things are getting even more and more serious! I can’t always think about myself!”
“Oh, yes, you can!” Kitt retorted with a scowl. “You do that all the time!”
“Nobody’s perfect!” Artha pointed out. “Right now, all you’re concerned about is what’ll happen to your racing career. Isn’t it?”
“I’m upset, Artha!” Kitt cried, looking ready to beat Artha to the ground. “Okay? I care about racing, and it’s none of your business, because apparently, I’m not all that important!”
“You’re acting like a doofus!” Artha growled, starting to get impatient. “I’m on your team! And I’m your team leader! And you’re my friend. I care about my friends and Dragon City! Can we stop arguing already?”
Kitt rolled her eyes. “Fine!” she huffed, and snatched her drakkal card. She placed one of the Draconee-Yum bars and the Dragonola bar in her pocket, and reached for the last two candy bars. Artha grabbed both of them and dangled one in front of her face with a coy smile.
“So, I take the doofus will leave you alone now?” Artha smirked.
Kitt promptly snatched the Draconee-Yum bar. “Yes, he will,” she replied coldly, and gave a wicked grin as she walked away with Wyldfyr.
Artha frowned and slapped the palm of his hand against his forehead. Yeah, I soooo fell for that one, he thought wryly, peeling open his Draconee-Yum bar, and biting into it.
- - -
“Look what I got! Look what I got!”
Artha, Beau, and Lance looked up as Parm came walking into the Dragon Temple, his eyes alight with excitement. “Aw, don’t tell me that you’ve got something big to say, Parm!” Lance groaned, placing his hands on his head. Artha immediately burst out laughing.
Parm held up a small container. Lance jumped up and looked inside it, only to step back, disgusted. “You’re excited about a dead mag-chomper?” he gasped, blinking in horror. “That’s just sick!”
Mortis peeked into the container as well. Indeed, there was a dead mag-chomper, stiff and curled up. “Where did you get this?” Mortis asked.
“Well, see, I was just visiting the Tech-Academy my mum works at, when one of the other professors there was examining an Orange Drag-Box.” Parm shuddered. “All the mag-chompers contained in it were not alive.”
“And definitely not drac!” Lance added, still sickened at the sight of a dead critter. “Eww.”
“Well, this particular mag-chomper was an experiment,” Parm said. He turned towards his dragon, Cyrano, who had come along with Parm on the express elevator. “Cyrano here had on some red thrusting gear, well, for no apparent reason, but when my mum set one of the mag-chompers from the box to eat away at the gear, well…”
Artha, who also examined the mag-chomper, tentatively poked at it, then frowned. “Well, I’m gonna guess that our red thrusting gear is infected as well?” he drawled, rather displeased.
Parm held up an odd-looking object. It was sleek and colored red, and also had a white marking on it. “This is a piece of the level one red thrusting gear that was on Cyrano,” he explained. “After the mag-chomper took eleven bites – ”
“Eleven bites?” Artha repeated.
“Yes, hold on, I’m still talking. Anywho, after it fell off, Cyrano was going to mag off the gear, but it seemed as though in the process, he panicked!” Parm looked at Cyrano, who seemed to shudder. “He was magging it off, and then just mag-blasted it to a wall, breaking the rest of the gear.”
Beau suddenly began conversing with Cyrano, who replied back in rather loud and anguished grunts. “What is it, boy?” Artha said, looking at Beau.
The red and blue dragon looked up with a disturbed face. “Looks like whatever infected that gear and that mag-chomper was after Cyrano,” Artha murmured worriedly. He lowered his eyebrows. “What if Paynn is behind this?”
“That may be possible,” Mortis said. “Word is the wealthiest man in Dragon City, and has very advanced technology that may have been able to tap into gear and infect it somehow!”
“Don’t forget that you keep messing up their plans, and that they might be really desperate!” Lance chimed in, rocking back and forth on the ground.
“Though how he may be doing this is very complicated…” Mortis mused, resting his staff on the ground.
“Extremely complicated!” Parm said, pulling out one of his devices. “I mean, you’ll have to do a lot of work, like de-wire any circuits, reprogram the functions, and for a virus to be that powerful…” He looked up to see Artha and Lance giving him a nervous glance. “Oh, well, as you can see, it’s not easy to infect a dragon by a gear virus.”
“Moordryd was on the track today too,” Artha recalled. “What if he’s placing the virus into the gear?”
“Just how does he do that?” Lance argued. “It’s impossible.”
“Not necessarily, Lance,” Parm said, punching in commands. “Viruses can be spread.”
“And Moordryd had an energy drain whip and green gear!” Lance added. “So what if somehow he gave the virus to the aqua tentacle gear and the other racer’s green ramming gear using those?”
“I can’t really see how anybody could pass a virus to anyone using green ramming gear, besides just bashing into another dragon and rider,” Artha mumbled, and looked at Mortis.
“Artha is right,” Mortis said. “Green ramming gear doesn’t function in any other way besides giving a dragon more strength and force to attack its opponents.”
“But the theory is quite possible,” Parm said. His eyes shifted. “Well, of course, one in seventeen point ninety-four and three repeated. But still very possible, except even more complicated.”
“So that just leaves us with the drain whip,” Lance implied.
“Maybe the drain whip isn’t just draining dragons’ energies,” Artha said. “Maybe it also has a function to pass on another command, like…like putting a virus into somebody else’s gear! That’s it!”
“You know, Moordryd and Word are just one of our suspects,” Lance pointed out. “I mean, we aren’t sure if they’re really the cause of all this.”
“True, but we should keep them both in mind,” Mortis said. “Knowing Word, at times he can be very unpredictable.”
“Gee, looks like you and Word go way back,” Artha said.
Mortis nodded grimly. “Word and I were old friends in the Ancient Order,” he explained as Parm and Cyrano sat on the ground. “We didn’t get along well. I was his second teacher, the youngest, very close to his age.”
“Second teacher?” Lance asked. “Who was his first?”
Mortis stared off to his side. “We called him Tannis the Wise,” he said, respect in his voice.
“Ah, Tannis the Wise?” Artha gasped. “My dad said that Tannis was his teacher when he was my age!”
“Hey, correct me if I’m wrong, Artha, but isn’t Tannis your middle name?” Parm questioned.
“Yeah, that’s how I found out about Tannis,” Artha said, giving a small smile.
“Yes, Tannis did teach Conner in the Ancient Order,” Mortis said. “He also taught Word. He knew almost everything about every legend and tale that took place centuries ago, and trained us in the ancient arts. He was also very strict. He was the one that banished Word from the Ancient Order, for his fiendish plans for a dragonhuman war, and for experimenting with dragon control gear.”
“Dragon control gear?” Lance echoed. “I always wonder why Word controls dragons if he wants them to rule.”
“He what?” Artha and Parm said, turning their heads towards the redheaded child. Beau and Cyrano looked up with confused grunts.
“Well…yeah!” Lance said. “I mean, Moordryd told me that his father wanted dragons to rule, and…well, he sounded honest when he told me that!”
“Word believes that dragons should rule, alone,” Mortis replied. “But he also believes that dragons should not trust humans anymore, and that humans are abusing dragons, so he decided to experiment with dragon control gear so that the dragons have a will and purpose of their very own.”
“Huh, doesn’t sound like a very good way of doing it,” Artha scoffed.
“True, and now focusing so much on his plans of a dragonhuman war have influenced Word to the point where he is blind to many things,” Mortis said.
Artha leaned back on Beau. “My dad was once friends with Word,” he said. He looked up at Mortis. “Hey, by any chance, did you know what my dad was like at my age?”
There was a brief moment of silence. “Your father was very much like you are right now, Artha,” Mortis said. “He took responsibility in his hands, and made sacrifices, even though it would hurt him and others in doing so.”
Artha sighed. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “He’s like that. I wish he was still here.”
Lance nodded and sat next to Artha. “Yeah, me too,” he said.
“He was very smart,” Parm added.
Mortis turned his back on the five of them. “He would be happy to hear you say that,” he said, rather gravely, and he walked away.
“Well, that was a bit strange,” Parm murmured. He looked at the fragment of red draconium gear in his hand. “I’ll analyze this and see if I can find what’s the cause of all these problems!”
“You do that, and I’ll take Lance to Dragon City Medical,” Artha replied, standing up and stretching his arms.
“You will?” Lance gasped, his eyes wide as he jumped up.
“Well, sure,” Artha said. “I’m sure Fracshun’s feeling better now, don’t you think?”
“Drac!” Lance said, and embraced his older brother. “Thanks, Artha!”
Beau grunted and grinned and magged Artha and Lance onto his saddle. Parm was magged onto Cyrano, and peered inside the container containing the mag-chomper. “Eww, you’re gonna examine the dead mag-chomper as well?” Artha said, his face twisting into a frown as he put on his helmet.
Parm gulped. “I’m not very good with this kind of stuff,” he moaned, his shoulders slumping. Artha and Lance exchanged idle glances, before Beau and Cyrano headed over to the express elevator.
He was scared. True, the nurses had been kind to him, but it was scary being alone. He had already seen the other dragons and how sick they have been. He heard their screams, their moans, their cries…
Could it be?
The young blue dragon looked up and trilled happily as Lance laughed and ran over to hug him. At the doorway, Artha and Beau exchanged pleased glances.
“Phase one, complete,” Artha murmured to his dragon with a smile, then turned to the blue-haired nurse that also stood in the doorway. “So, I take it he’s feeling better?”
“Not quite,” the nurse replied with a frown. “See, we tended to most of the child dragons first, but they’re just feeling better. We still can’t fully figure out how to cure the virus. We’ve managed to tend to most of the dragons, but then we realized that the virus is more serious than we thought it was.”
Beau snorted and rolled his eyes. Artha shook his head and elbowed him. “So just how serious is this?” Artha asked.
“How about drop-dead-unless-tended serious?” the nurse responded curtly. Artha’s eyebrows arched and Beau was thrown off balance. “Already, one of the victims went down before we could finishing operating. Of course, it died on the operation table, so that may just be it.”
“And Dragon City Medical are allowed make mistakes?” Artha countered, slightly annoyed by the problematic issue in their hands.
The nurse flinched, but only slightly. “We’re not perfect, Mr. Penn. Nobody is, not even you.”
A sudden image of Kitt passed through his mind, and he found himself staring at his feet awkwardly.
The nurse beckoned Lance out. “Your dragon will have to stay here. We’re trying to help him as best as we can.” There was a beep, and the nurse pressed a button on her earpiece. Artha watched her expression shift, then return back to normal. “Well, seems like one of ours got infected. This is just getting better and better.”
Isn’t it? Artha thought irritably, though he held his tongue.
“See ya, Fracshun,” Lance whispered, waving his hand. Fracshun gave a sad smile and squeaked a reply.
As Artha, Beau, and Lance exited the Dragon City Medical Center, Artha got off Beau and looked up at Lance. “You guys go ahead back to Penn Stables,” Artha said. “I’m gonna get us some stuff.”
Lance nodded, and Beau grunted in acknowledgement before he took off.
Artha began looking around the stands and stalls set up, making his way through the bustling crowd of chatting people and dragons. He picked up words scattered around that seem to involve the dragon issue. Right then and there, he swore upon the Magna Draconis that somehow, before it was too late, that he would cease whatever was happening to those getting hurt: friend or foe, ally or enemy, good or bad.
He continued to think deeply on the whole dilemma as he wandered around. The change of atmosphere seemed like an odd difference, however, it seemed to help, despite the noise. He delved deeper into his mind, into another issue of being the Dragon Booster. Ever since Mortis was taken mind prisoner by the devious Propheci, Artha realized that he needed to stop taking the whole Dragon Booster fiasco as granted; he needed to become more responsible. It didn’t seem very easy.
He finally glimpsed her at a VIDDZine stall. Smiling, he tapped her shoulder. “Didn’t think you’d be lurking around here,” he said.
“Well, I am,” Kitt replied curtly, putting down the VIDDZine she had picked up. She smirked. “What are you doing here, stable boy?”
“Just looking around,” Artha said. He frowned. “You know, a Dragon City Medical dragon was attacked.”
“Hmm? Oh, really.”
“Yeah, and judging by that comment, you don’t seem to care.”
Kitt’s expression hardened. “What makes you think I don’t care? Of course I care,” she retorted, before turning back to the VIDDZine stall. “You care too much.”
“Well…I’m supposed to care,” Artha said. “I’m the Dragon Booster.”
Kitt forced another smile. “I guess that’s a good enough excuse,” she muttered. “We’re in Mid City. Why not check out the Dragster Mall while we’re here? They have some gear on display.”
“Why would we want gear if gear is being infected?” Artha asked.
“Because then we may be able to check what may be happening,” Kitt replied. “Parm’s probably not the only one investigating the gear, and you know that. We should see if there are other people who know about this problem.”
Artha lips curved back into the smile he had before. “Makes sense,” he said. “Let’s go.”
- - -
The first thing Lance did was try not to vomit at the nauseating sight that greeted his eyes when he entered Parm’s workshop. Not only was the mag-chomper dead, but parts of it had been dissected and torn slightly. He shuddered. He had seen nasty before, but now that was just…really nasty.
“Didn’t I warn you earlier that I wasn’t good at dissecting and probing?” Parm murmured, investigating the piece of red thrusting gear he was scanning. He stared intently at his VIDDComp, watching the data scrolling across the screen.
“Well, did you find out anything, besides what body parts are inside a mag-chomper?” Lance drawled, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Yes, I believe I have found out some things besides the internal organs of an orange mag-chomper, thank you very much,” Parm responded darkly, shifting his eyes irritably at Lance. He showed Lance a small diagram he had sketched out crudely.
“Nice bipedal bull-class dragon,” Lance stated politely. “Unusual, but unique.”
Parm rolled his eyes. “Oh, haha, very funny,” he muttered. “Lance, you know what this is!”
“I do, but let’s be honest…I’m ten.” He pointed at all the text written at the sides and corners of the diagram. “I don’t get a single word this diagram is telling me.”
Parm let his arms sag and he bumped his head backwards on the wall, giving an exasperated groan. “Sorry,” Lance winced.
“Okay, fine! As you know, this is a sketch of our mag-chomper. As you can see here, once the gear was ingested and digested by the mag-chomper, something immediately took effect.” He pointed at the brain of the mag-chomper sketch. “Now, it traveled towards the cerebral area of our victim, and somehow seemed to tamper with the bodily functions, causing dizziness and riveting pain throughout the body.”
Lance looked rather lost as his eyes shifted around. “Uh, I understand the ‘pain throughout the body’ part,” he said timidly. “Is that why they usually moan and groan and twitch around?”
“Most likely, similar to fainting and seizures, except very much more unusual,” Parm implied, rather pleased that his message got through to Lance, to some extent. He raised the piece of gear in his hands. “Now, as for this, I’ve scanned it, and I found something.”
“The virus!” Lance chimed, staring at Parm’s VIDDComp screen.
“Precisely,” Parm exclaimed. “Of course, I’m not sure you can understand everything this is telling you. You see, that same bug that infected the mag-chomper infects dragons.”
“I get that, but how?” Lance asked.
“I’m not exactly sure…I have, however, come to a conclusion that it has to do with mag-energy. Once a dragon channels its mag-energy to the gear, the gear activates, and the bug kicks in.”
“So how do we know if the gear’s infected?”
“Well…” Parm murmured, his eyes shifting to his computer screen. “There’s always scanning. But there have been reports about safe gear going haywire and causing even more distress among the dragons.”
“You mean…you mean that you can’t tell if gear is infected or not?”
The intelligent teenager grimaced, panic in his eyes. “Troubling indeed!” he said. “Now it’s completely random with…with a sixty-two point seven chance of our dragons getting infected.”
Lance looked away sadly. “I overheard the nurse talking about a dragon dying,” he whispered. “I hope Fracshun doesn’t die.”
“But there is a forty-seven…” Parm started, then let his voice trail off. Who was he to crush a little boy’s hope? He embraced Lance. “I’m sure he’ll be alright. All we can do is hope that this situation hopefully doesn’t become more troubling.”
- - -
From the shadows of the stables, Mortis watched them both. The Dragon Priest glanced at Lance, who looked sorrowful. To know what it was like to lose something twisted your heart and caused you pain and sorrow.
When Lance knows there is a chance he will lose Fracshun…
Like when he almost lost his friends…
When he almost lost Artha…
When he lost his father…
Mortis sighed and placed his head in his hand, turning around and walking away slowly.
- - -
“State the obvious, eh, stable boy?”
Artha cast a mock glare at Kitt before turning back to look in front of him. The Dragster Mall was not an outside mall, rather, more of a combination of an inside mall and an outside mall. The building, which was the inside part of Dragster Mall, was vast and sleek, something expected of Sun City. The outside mall was as casual as many other Mid City malls.
Of course, both inside and outside were swarmed with people and dragons. Artha and Kitt exchanged glances again, then turned and walked through the inside part of Dragster Mall.
There was nothing to talk about at the moment, so Artha and Kitt observed the people around them. A red-haired lady in a fancy green and white suit was busy talking with another lady, who wore pink and blue and had blond hair, streaked pink and blue. A man in red, blue and gold with spiky hair was bargaining with a young girl wearing purple and blue with her black hair tied back. A bipedal purple dragon peeked inside a store full of clothes and such.
“Whose idea was this?” Kitt muttered. Artha opened his mouth as the girl quickly added, “Shut it, Artha.”
“We could’ve just bought a few Draconee-Yum bars and then headed back to my place,” Artha suggested.
“Well, we’re here,” Kitt replied. “We might as well make the best of it. Look, there’s the weaponry shop. Let’s see if we can find any clues or whatever.”
“Since when did you get so involved in investigating?”
Kitt rolled her eyes. “Since you’re the Dragon Booster,” she said.
“Not so loud!” Artha hissed through gritted teeth.
“Sorry. So anyway, yeah, if you have the same responsibilities as Dragon City Security, then you need to help them too.”
“They didn’t ask for help.”
“A lot of people who need help don’t ask for help. Ever realized that?”
“Uh, because they don’t want any help? Ever realized that?”
“Still, who’d stop us from trying to find out what’s up with the dragons?”
Artha paused briefly. “You have a point,” he responded, before stepping forward.
At that moment the glass up above shattered, and a figure jumped down in the middle of the startled crowd.
People and dragons were running around in panic as disrupter mines were thrown in each direction and were set off practically everywhere, smoke rolling in the area. There was the sound of a mag-shooter, and the lights suddenly went off with a spluttering bang!
Coughing, crying, and the sound of draconium glass shards splintering on the ground could be heard as Artha caught the shadow of the mysterious person running. “Hey!” Artha called, still coughing. “Hey!”
The person paid no heed as he, or she, continued running off. “Get back here!” Artha yelled, taking off after the figure, cutting through shocked people and surprised dragons. The smoke was clearing up, and Artha could barely catch the foot that disappeared around the corner. He wished that he had Beau with him, or maybe even Wyldfyr.
Now, perhaps that person just may listen if Artha became the Dragon Booster…
He stopped and hid in a corner, pulling out his amulet and slipping it on his gauntlet.
Kitt was busy running after Artha, also searching for the mysterious person who burst in, when she saw a flash of brilliant gold light. Shielding her eyes, she saw Artha step out,in his blue and gold Dragon Booster armor. Too busy to notice Kitt, he slipped out of the corner and ran off, after the culprit.
He turned the same corner that the person had turned to, and saw the figure down the hall, yet again turning another corner. Stupid scale-scraping corners! Artha thought irritably as he continued running after him, pulling out his jakk-stick and extending it.
The staff doors were right up ahead, and had just shut close with a last hiss. Artha used his arms to pull them open and ran outside to the back alley, his eyes darting back and forth so much that he blinked, his eyes stinging slightly. He caught it; the looming shadow hiding behind a dumpster and a dragon van. He stepped forward.
Artha spun right around and threw his jakk-stick. He heard a yelp and feet staggering noisily, followed by the sound of draconium metal hitting the ground with a resonating clang. He jumped on the dragon van and saw the culprit. Diving, he tackled the figure to the ground, but what was left in his hands was a blue and turquoise jacket with several pink streaks, obviously resembling a crewmember Voice of the Dragon.
At that moment he heard a familiar cry, plus the sound of two people hitting the ground. When he looked up, he saw Kitt, her teeth clenched, pinning down the culprit, none other than…Rancydd?
“So you’re the one causing all the trouble!” Artha snapped, picking up and twirling his jakk-stick and setting it on his shoulder casually. He approached Kitt and Rancydd and looked down at the skilled Dragon Eyes thief. He then smiled at Kitt. “Nice work.”
Kitt gave a smug smile. Rancydd chose the opportunity to pull out a disrupter mine and set it off. Of course, that caused a bit of trouble for him as well as Artha caught him running off, his coughs in the air mingling with Artha and Kitt’s.
“Hey! You get your butt over here!” Artha cried, cut off by his coughing fits as the smoke managed to clear.
“Let’s get him, hero boy!” Kitt growled, pulling out her mag-staff, but just as she was about to extend it, Artha grabbed her arm.
“Why don’t we just let him off the hook for now, Kitt?” he said, rather tired. “Why don’t we just go home?”
The sound of sirens started ringing it Artha’s ears again. “Freeze, stay right where you are, both of you,” Artha muttered frustratingly.
“Huh?” Kitt questioned.
“Freeze! Stay right where you are, both of you!”
- - -
Both Artha and Kitt turned back around to see the holder of the third voice that bellowed, none other than Captain Faier. “We got a call about someone causing mayhem in Dragster Mall,” Faier said as the other officers surrounded the area with mag-staffs and mag-shooters in their hands. “Perhaps you two witnessed the scene?”
“Yeah, we actually stopped him, until he got away!” Kitt scoffed. “It was the Dragon Eye Rancydd.”
The Dragon City Security captain shook his head. “Another Dragon Eye-related theft,” he said.
“Or maybe it was somebody else,” Artha said. “It seemed like there were two people involved in all this. I was tracking the first one, and then Rancydd made his mistake by stepping on a piece of garbage. Then Kitt dived at him, but as she said, he got away.”
Faier groaned. “This is worse than I thought,” the security captain murmured. He turned towards Artha. “What we need are people who know what seems to be going on, and who's causing this all. Dragon City Security will need all the help they can get from you, Dragon Booster. Will you help us with this?”
Artha nodded firmly. “I’m way ahead of you,” he said. “I'll do my best, Captain Faier.”
- - -
“So just who knows what seems to be going on?” Parm asked, still scrolling through his research as he and Artha headed over to a Draconee-Yum bar stand with Lance. “I mean, everybody else whose witnessed these strange thefts and infecting of dragons probably have no idea how this could've happened!”
“We still need to have a little hope,” Artha told him. He turned towards his friend. “So you’ve got information on what happened?”
“Yeah, and that’s mag-energy related!” Lance chimed, his eyes blatantly straying towards the Draconee-Yum bar stands. Artha rolled his eyes when he turned to Beau and saw the dragon’s eyes also shifting. “When a dragon mags on the infected gear, they get the virus!”
“So it’s all a matter of mag-energy?” Artha mused. “Makes sense, somewhat. So how will we know if the gear is infected or not?”
Parm looked down nervously, and Lance’s face fell. “Don’t tell me you can’t tell if gear is infected or not…” Artha groaned, his eyes narrowing.
“Okay, then, I won’t tell you,” Parm uttered, getting in line behind a brunette wearing yellow, black and blue. “But you just can’t. So, whatever happened at the Dragster Mall?”
“You were in the Dragster Mall when the weird events started happening?” the brunette interrupted, suddenly looking at them both with her eyes alight with sudden intrigue. The black-haired girl from the mall that was running the stand also glanced at them.
Parm was about to open his mouth about butting into conversations when Artha shook his head. “Er, no, we weren’t there,” Artha responded hastily. He saw the shopkeeper roll her eyes back, and quickly slammed down a drakkal bill. “Four Draconee-Yum bars, please.”
“Excuse me, I’m still in line,” the brunette said, cutting in front of Artha. “So, where’s my order?”
The young shopkeeper grabbed two Dragonola bars and a low calorie Draconee-Yum bar, putting them on the desk. “But I ordered one Dragonola bar,” the brunette pointed out.
“And the problem with free stuff is?” the shopkeeper drawled, arching an eyebrow.
The lady flinched. “A little more enthusiasm wouldn’t hurt,” the brunette muttered, taking the candy and putting them in her purse.
“Whatever,” the girl muttered back, counting the drakkals.
“Right, then, you just lost a very important customer,” the brunette retorted, walking away.
The girl let her head hit the desk. “Uh, can I order now?” Artha asked.
“We’re not leaving if we get free stuff!” Lance said enthusiastically. “I just love candy!”
“Really?” the shopkeeper replied dryly, looking at Lance casually. She looked at Parm and Artha.
“Well?” Parm asked.
“So…what?” Parm responded, slightly confused.
“Oh,” Parm said, lowering his head in embarrassment as his eyes shifted around. He saw a mag-shooter and the nametag “Lii Prysm” on the floor of the stall. “I think Artha asked for four Draconee-Yum bars.”
“And four Dragonola bars,” Artha said, digging into his pockets. He frowned. “Uh, do you take I.O.U’s?”
The girl stared at him again. “Right…” Artha said, his eyes shifting around nervously. “Parm, you got any drakkals?”
His friend shook his head. “Scales…” Artha seethed, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Okay, I’ll take three large Dragonola bars, and four Draconee-Yum bars.”
Lii started counting the money. “Nope,” she said.
“Then what are the options?” Artha questioned, rather annoyed.
“Two large Dragonola bars, four Draconee-Yum bars,” she replied. “Or, three large Dragonola bars, three Draconee-Yum bars.”
“But we have enough money!” Parm argued, punching in calculations on his calculator.
“For each option,” Lii pointed out. She fixed her purple vest and placed her head on the counter, slouching in her seat. “Change for the first.”
“Okay, Lance, which sounds better to you?” Artha asked.
“I don’t really see why we need four Dragonola bars anyway,” Lance responded, going back to Artha’s former request just before the brunette got her candy.
“Lance, we need four. What about – ” Parm asked, looking up from his calculator, but Artha quickly glanced at him, and Parm went back to calculating, realizing the little error of what he was about to say. “Er, okay, the latter. Kitt can buy her own Draconee-Yum bar anyway.”
“What?” Lii said, raising an eyebrow.
“What?” Parm repeated, blinking in confusion.
Parm sighed. “The second choice,” Artha defined for him, both unimpressed by the young shopkeeper’s lack of vocabulary. “So I know that you were at the Dragster Mall. Did you see who the person was?”
“Nope,” Lii said, grabbing three large Dragonola bars. “Done yet?”
“Well, did you hear any descriptions from the witnesses?” Artha continued.
“Red-haired guy. Had a Dragon Eye symbol.”
Artha’s discouragement increased. He could see he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this pointless interrogating. “Thanks,” he said.
“Whatever,” Lii said, shrugging as the girl grabbed the last Draconee-Yum bar and gave it to them. Lance immediately snatched it and peeled it open, only for Beau to knock Lance and snatch the Draconee-Yum bar with his tail, tossing it into his mouth.
Artha quickly stuffed his candy bar, and hand, into his pocket as Beau spat out the wrapper remains. Well, she wasn’t much help, Artha thought. Though maybe it was only Rancydd at the scene of the crime. At least, that’s what it seems like.
- - -
“How’s your reputation as the craftiest thief in our crew holding up for you, Rancydd?” Cain asked frustratingly, seething as he glanced at the red-haired man from the couch the lieutenant sat on.
Rancydd rolled his eyes. “Oh, please!” he snapped. “Like it was that easy with the Dragon Booster chasing after you!”
“The Dragon Bonehead is always the excuse,” Moordryd responded, sitting dangerously on the arm of the couch that Blarre and Cain sat on. “The question is how you got discovered, my friend.”
“You should be a Voice of the Dragon, since they’re so clumsy,” Cain growled. “When will you learn not to ditch the jackets?”
Rancydd muttered something under his breath. “We can’t hear you!” Swayy said, tucking a strand of green hair behind her ears.
“I stepped on a Dragonola wrapper,” he repeated quietly.
Blarre looked away with a pitying smile on her face and Cain scowled, muttering something again about really being a Voice of the Dragon. Moordryd rested his forehead on his fingers and shook his head in shame. “So, did any ‘accidents’ happen at Dragster Mall?” he sighed, looking absentmindedly at his nails.
“Well…not really,” Rancydd replied. “But here’s the weird thing; I don’t think I was the only one there.”
Moordryd’s eyes shifted towards his crewmember as he put his hand down. Cain and Swayy exchanged glances while Blarre looked up from the mag-staff she was holding. “So,” Rancydd started, pleased that he strayed away from his failure. “The Dragon Booster seemed to have a hard time hounding me down. And it was probably because he was tracking somebody else! I saw him. He was looking away from me, his back turned away from me.”
“Did you see who the person was?” Moordryd wanted to know, leaning forward. Rancydd opened his mouth to continue, but at that moment Moordryd fell off with a yelp. Swayy and Blarre grinned wickedly as Moordryd shot his four crewmembers a dark look as he stood up, brushing dirt off his sleeves.
Rancydd’s smirk vanished. “I didn’t get a chance to see whoever…or whatever, it was,” he responded steadily, nervous that the young Dragon Eye leader may get infuriated with him again.
“Whatever?” Moordryd echoed. “I wasn’t there, but I doubt there’d be any dragons causing trouble if you’re describing this other person as…well, a person.”
“There are the sound of footsteps to consider,” Blarre said. Rancydd and Moordryd nodded.
“Or…it could’ve been a newt,” Moordryd said, a small smirk on his face as Cain glared at the crewmembers snickering at him. “So, that’s the only ‘accident’.”
“Oh, yeah, there was an accident…” Rancydd quickly added, the humor in the atmosphere dying down again. “I heard a shriek. A dragon’s shriek. Make that several dragons shrieking. And it didn’t sound very nice.”
Blarre pressed a button on her comm-link. “…Mall had eighteen more victims to this freakishly rising breakout of this unexpected virus,” the female Dragon City News announcer’s voice explained. The next part had Cain, Moordryd and Swayy glaring angrily at Rancydd. “The Dragon Eyes are now suspected to be the cause behind all this, as of a Dragon Eye crewmember being the cause of a hubbub amongst the people in Dragster Mall.”
As the announcer moved on explaining about an issue of a few minor support towers nearly collapsing in Work Town, Rancydd quickly shot out of the room frantically as Blarre’s mag-staff banged against the closing doors. “I’m sorry, but did you ask?” Blarre remarked, glancing at Cain as Swayy laughed.
To Be Continued...
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