KJ & SW - SIDE TRIP ON THE WAY TO CAMELOT
Kid joey scanned the horizon with the binoculars out of his pack, Kato curled up around his leg that was starting to go all tingly and numb because his sidekick blue tick hound mutt was still not used to flying ala fire-breathing dragon, and would just as soon have his paws firmly planted upon the ground below.
"Hey look, Sir WHIP! Down there on the edge of that patch of forest! There's a castle! And I think…yes…I see…IT'S A DRAGON!" Kid Joey pointed excitedly, happy to have spotted the huge beasty so quickly. Sir WHIP nodded, and swooped down into the forest so he could land, let his friends off his back, and shrink down.
He knew it might just be his great, great, great, great, great grandfather Pendragon, but then again, it might be a mean dragon. Sir WHIP and Kid Joey and Kato would have to be careful. Grandma Crystal had been pretty sure about her directions when she poofed them into the crystal ball and sent them back in time, but time travel is never a sure thing. One can be off by a few minutes or a century. You just can never be absolutely sure.
But no matter, because even if they ran into trouble, they only had to defend themselves for a couple of hours before Grandma Crystal was scheduled to suck them back into the crystal ball and into the future – well, their present – the future for Camelot.
Camelot was a wonderful city built by King Arthur where it was peaceful and prosperous. The Knights of the Round Table lived there, along with Queen Guinevere, Arthur's wife.
It was also where Sir WHIP's ancestor, Pendragon lived, with his friend, the sorcerer Merlin.
"This is going to be so cool!" Kid Joey said, smiling, as Sir WHIP held bushes and branches back with his great long neck (he'd only shrunken down halfway. Bigness was an advantage when leading the way through a thick forest).
"Stop, Kid Joey. Let's watch the dragon for a little while before we go and introduce ourselves. We should make sure we are in the right place and the right time."
Kid Joey nodded. "You have a point. Can you lift me up to that branch over there? I should be able to see better from there."
"Sure," Sir WHIP said, ducking his head toward the ground to let Kid Joey climb aboard. Kato sat at the base of the tree, having had enough of heights for awhile. Kid Joey laughed. "Okay, Kato. You take yourself a little nap. I'll have a look from up on the branch."
The dragon stomped along, snorting grumpily as his leathery dragon wings flapped against his scaly shoulders. He spun around as fast as his ungainly dragon feet would allow and paced back over his dusty footprints in the opposite direction. He was wearing a rut in the path, what with his claws and all.
Above him, as delicate and graceful as Grando was bulky and lumbering, fluttered Ashlyn, miniature fairy-in-training.
"I don't really see what your problem is," her voice tinkled like an itty bitty bell in her brother's ear. "So you're not a cute little human anymore. Look at all the power you have. Nobody can tell you what to do, what time to go to bed, to do your homework, brush your teeth. Bet you can even whiz anywhere you want to! Who's gonna stop you?" Ashlyn gloated before her brother's large, steaming snout.
"Look at me! I can't even do a crescent kick anymore!" Grando lamented. "Who would do this to me?"
"Whoever it is, you can turn them into an itty bitty pile of ashes in no time! Can I watch?"
"Well fine! Then I'm not your friend anymore!" Ashlyn spouted, flipped herself around and swooped up and away…
And smacked herself right into a tree. THUNK!
Grando (and Kid Joey and Sir WHIP, though Kato was snoring by then) watched her slide down the side of the tree, thinking it must've hurt. He looked at his own scaly hide. Probably wouldn't have hurt him so much.
"Oh pooh! I can't believe you didn't warn me about that tree!" Ashlyn said.
"You flew off in such a snit I didn't have time!"
"Oh drat it all! They're gone again!" Ashlyn looked over her should and saw nothing but air where her little sparkly wings should have been.
"My wings, you big fire snorter! They've vanished! Now I have to walk!"
"You look like you could use a lift," Grando baited.
"Yeah. Can you give me a heave up to your shoulder?"
"Would if you were still my friend," Grando said as he took a little hop and skip then leapt into the air, pumping his wings for all he was worth.
"Creep," Ashlyn muttered, stomping along in the huge rut her brother had worn into the path. "Big ugly Cinderschnozz."
Ashlyn walked and walked until her little legs that knew so many fairy dances, were just about dragging when she came into a clearing where there was a huge castle.
"How come she's so tired?" Kid Joey whispered to Sir WHIP. "She only walked about a quarter mile, maybe not even that."
"She's a little tiny fairy. They have little tiny legs. It's a long haul without wings."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. It took her so long to get there."
She stopped and had to look really hard to see all the way to the top of the tower, because the castle was surrounded by a cloud.
And not a white, cotton-puff kind of cloud that you would expect in a fairy tale, but a brown, almost gooey kind of cloud that smelled sort of like rotten eggs. Rotten brown eggs…that had been petrified in a tar pit and recently dug up after thousands of years. Yeah. That about told it, Ashlyn thought, holding her nose as her wings gradually appeared where they’d been before her little episode with her brother.
The good thing was, that with all the walking she'd done, her wings had grown back. So she fluttered up into the air again, amidst all the trees that had once borne flowers, but whose branches were now knotted and not a bit pretty any longer. But the butterflies danced on the breeze, doing their little butterfly loop-de-loops, and Ashlyn quickly joined in, and played their little games of chase. Until SLAM! Right into a tree, yet again.
“Ugly old gnarly thing! I hate trees!" She said, then jumped up as her wings poofed into nothingness and jumped up and down in a complete hysterical snit. “I just got them back!” she said, growling in between sentences. “It’s not fair!!!”
Still up in the tree, Kid Joey snorted out a little laugh, at the child fairy. "She reminds me a little of my sister Ro when she gets mad," he said to Sir WHIP who agreed, and laughed a little as well.
She watched as Ashlyn swatted at the butterflies who now teased her for being such a grouch, and for being wingless, all her own fault.
“Leave me alone!" she shouted, swatting them away, but they merely flew out of her reach. “Ow!” Ashlyn cried when one of the little wingers sneezed and a butterfly booger landed in her upturned eye. “Ew! Gross!”
The butterflies decided to leave her be until she calmed down and walked her wings back on, so they flew up into the branches of the large tree in front of the house and played hide and seek behind its dead leaves and dried up flower buds.
Sir WHIP and Kid Joey watched the little fairy begin walking round and round the castle, hoping she wouldn’t come to any harm like run into a troll or perhaps fall in the…
…moat. Jeez, thought Princess Nanette, up in the tower; how klutzy could this little fairy be?
“Ew! Neptune help me! It’s all snot!” Ashlyn screamed! “Help!”
She paddled and kicked her little feet, and almost went under, God forbid, a time or two, but all the exertion and exercise brought her wings back, even faster than walking would have. She made a mental note of that, swimming in snot makes wings grow back faster, as she flapped her wings before they had a chance to get weighted down with liquid boogers.
Moments later she was dodging the butterflies in a rousing game of air tag, until they all had to go home to their little butterfly homes and bed down for the night.
Kid Joey and Sir WHIP watched the little fairy fly aimlessly around the castle, then light on a branch of the old gnarled tree.
“Are you lost, little fairy?" Kid Joey said to the child sprite who had landed so close to him, practically on the same branch.
“What?!” Ashlyn turned with a start, her head snapping around, trying to spot the origin of the voice so fast that she lost her balance. “Augh!” she gasped as she fell from the tree. Fortunately, it was not a shout of temper, so she regained her poise and flew back to the branch. This time.
“Me? Lost? Why, no, not really." Ashlyn shouted up at the higher branch, still not able to see Kid Joey, so camouflaged was he by the leafy limbs. She thought of how her mother would scold her for being rude and shouting up at a stranger in a tree, and flew farther up to continue the conversation face to face.
Deeper into the forest, which was cursed, Grando was enjoying no such pleasantries. No lovely potential friends on tree branches, no butterfly games.
The wings he heard were not fairy wings, not by a long shot. They were leathery, evil sounding…
…sort of like his.
“What’s happened to me? I wasn’t evil. I wasn’t!” he asked the trees and the ever-present smelly cloud that surrounded him, making it almost dark, though he knew it wasn’t much past noon. Couldn’t be.
He flew along, hoping against hope that he was going towards home.
But how would he fit in the house? He was big as a…
For he was a dragon.
“What will Mom say?”
Kid Joey looked into the eyes of the snarky little fairy and smiled. "Hi. I'm Kid Joey. That's my friend Kato down there taking a nap and missing out on meeting a fairy."
"I'm not quite a fairy. Have you been up here watching me the whole time?" Ashlyn demanded. The idea of someone watching her slam into the tree and lose her wings (a couple of times already), which was sort of like a stranger watching you get punished for being bad, kind of ticked her off already. She held her temper, though, and managed to keep her wings, at least for the moment.
Little did the fairy know that in the dungeon of the nearby castle someone else watched little Ashlyn and her new friends. They weren't in a tree or watching out a window, but gazing into a crystal ball, sort of like Grandma Crystal's crystal ball, but much larger.
There were two bubbles floating inside the evil crystal ball: one contained a swirling image of Kid Joey and Ashlyn up in the tree, the other, contained Grando flying along through the great fart cloud in the forest on the other side of the castle.
Even though Kid Joey had no clue that he and his friends (including Ashlyn, who considered him a friend so far and he hadn't said or done anything to tick her off…yet) were in any sort of trouble.
But Sir WHIP's scales were chilly. He twitched with nervousness, and finally made his presence known. Now Kid Joey, of course, knew he was there, but he caught Ashlyn Fairy-In-Training quite off-guard.
"Excuse me, my friends, but I'm getting an evil vibe," Sir WHIP said softly, flying up into the branches to land on the one where Kid Joey was perched. Even though the orange dragon had made himself about the size of a coffee mug, his sudden presence startled Ashlyn and she lost her balance and dropped almost to the ground before getting control and flying up again to the branch near Kid Joey.
"You're a dragon!" she observed, astonished. "How come you're so small?"
Sir WHIP, smiling said, "You are Ashlyn and have a feisty temper for a fairy. I am small because I did not wish to startle you."
"Oh. Well, that didn't quite work, but it was a nice try," Ashlyn said, chuckling. "Can all dragons make themselves small like that? What else can you do?"
"Those are some rather personal questions, young lady," Sir WHIP said, sort of teasing her.
"Oh," Ashlyn gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, I was just wondering, you see, because old LeRoy in there turned my brother into a dragon, and he's really bummed. He might feel better if he found out he has some powers or something."
Sir WHIP nodded, already knowing Grando's predicament.
"His name's not really Grando, it's…"
"Alexander," Sir WHIP finished her sentence for her, and her eyes got big. And then they got even bigger when he said, "and I believe his problem is housed in that castle in the clearing over there. I sense a princess there in the tower, and someone who has a lot of gas several floors lower…perhaps in a dungeon. He is not alone there."
"How do you know all that?" Ashlyn asked, amazed.
"Kid Joey's Grandma Crystal is helping me to see the pictures she is seeing in her crystal ball. They aren't very nice pictures. I think there are some children with the bad, gassy person in the dungeon."
"That would be LeRoy," Ashlyn said. "I'm not sure about the princess."
"Well, if we are to help, and I think we are, we are going to have to know the princess' story. Why don't you fly on over there and talk to her and ask her some personal questions like you asked me. Then come back and tell us what she has to say."
"Why don't you come with me?" Ashlyn asked, kind of spooked by the whole fly-into-LeRoy's-castle thing.
"Because in order for me to take my friend Kid Joey with me, I have to make myself big. That would be a little obvious, don't you think? You are very tiny. You might go unnoticed."
Ashlyn saw Sir WHIP's point, and agreed to go it alone.
What will she find out from the beautiful princess in the tower? Stop by the RoJo Adventure Blog next week and see what happens!
TD – 1/31/2016