Thieves: Chapter 13
Jovlin was asleep when they arrived at Mayli’s destination. Had she been awake she would have seen great wonders beneath the dragon’s beating wings. The desert slowly disappeared among bushes, trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and all kinds of life. The trees beneath them were small at first, but steadily grew larger the longer they flew above them. As the trees grew closer together, the dragon slowed her flight so a steady glide through the air, moving only as the wind touched her wings.
It was the little butterfly perched on her nose that woke Jovlin up. Even when she started into wakefulness, the butterfly did not move, so Jovlin reached up and gently brushed it into her hand. As the fragile creature gently fluttered its wings, Jovlin marveled at the delicate beauty of its golden brown wings. She stared at it for a while, before sighing as it flew away.
Jovlin yawned and stretched her arm above her, not moving her left arm, and settled back into the saddle. Looking down, Jovlin expected to see the desert and, hopefully, the city in the distance. But for all her hoping, Jovlin could not make what she expected become reality. As soon as she saw the ground beneath her, she began hoping with all of her strength that she was still dreaming. Nevertheless, no matter how much she pinched herself, or how hard she shut her eyes, when she opened them again, the forest was still beneath her.
The first thing Jovlin felt, was fear. The Phantom of the Opera was nowhere near an opera and that terrified her, because she didn’t know how to get back. Of course, if she had thought about it before letting Mayli guide her home, Jovlin would have felt the same terror then, but she hadn’t. She had trusted a dragon to lead her to her desired destination, and she was going to pay the price for her foolishness.
The second thing Jovlin felt, was surprise. It took her several moments, but she finally realized what was wrong with this picture. There were trees beneath her. Actually, there was an entire forest beneath her. This was a problem, because the only forest in all of Arandrei was the one surrounding New New York. And, unfortunately for Jovlin, that forest was small enough that you could see the city from anywhere on the ground. There was no city in sight here, and the forest seemed to extend forever.
As soon as she had noticed this, her journey was over. Jovlin felt Mayli’s beating wings slow as the wind rushed up around her. The ground spiraled up to meet them like a speeding train. Jovlin was sure they would be crushed in the trees, until she saw the small clearing in the trees that they were headed for. Dirt steadily rushing up to meet them, Jovlin panicked and threw her arms out as she screamed and prepared to jump off of the dragon.
At the last possible moment, Mayli pushed her wings down beneath her and pushed back up from the ground. This time, their descent was slow, quick, and easy. Jovlin took a deep breath as the dragon’s long talons finally scraped the ground. She immediately rolled off of Mayli’s back and onto the soft green grass.
Jovlin heaved a sigh of relief as she gasped for breath on the impossible ground that was soft, green, and beautiful. It was impossible because it couldn’t exist; it was beautiful because the light from the trees around her reflected off of every blade of grass and caused them to flash brilliantly. The light came at her from all directions, blinding her to any of her surroundings.
Mayli simply sat on the ground, purring like a proud kitten, as Jovlin began to thrash in panic, as she struggled to regain her senses. She didn’t know why her landing had stunned her so much, she only knew that she could barely move, and she wasn’t sure where she was. The light disoriented her, and the strange pounding noises that she kept hearing enveloped her ears and deafened her. Jovlin prepared to fight to the death, although she secretly wondered if she was dead.
Jovlin regained her hearing as she stood and waited for an attack. But it didn’t come. Instead, Jovlin just stood there, wondering where to look, where to run, where to hide. It seemed like years before, in the midst of the blinding light, a figure stepped forward, and offered her his hand.