The Boy and the Sea Dragon
Zuangeng woke up first. His stomach was rumbling. The sky was clear with a few light, fluffy clouds. The wind was light. The water rippled. It was still early in the morning. The sun was about a quarter of the way up in the sky. Xianjeng was still asleep. Zuangeng gently kicked him awake.
Xianjeng raised and turned his head around. He looked down at Zuangeng. Zuangeng got up on his arms. He raised his head to look Xianjeng in the face. Xianjeng said in Dragonese, “What’s up?”
Zuangeng looked at him. He cocked his head to the right. He could mot comprehend what the dragon had just said. He said, anyway, “Ikalaba hulianga!”
“Me, too. Hold your breath and hold on. Tap me when you’re ready,” Xianjeng continued in Dragonese.
Zuangeng kept his head cocked. He remembered the last time. He lowered himself onto his elbows. He stretched out. He wedged his feet between two pairs of fins. He laid down. He held onto one fin in his left hand. He took a deep breath. He held it. He tapped the dragon with his right hand. He held onto another fin with it.
Xianjeng dove under water. He flew underwater. He searched for some fish. He found a school not too far from them. Zuangeng saw them, too. He nudged Xianjeng. Xianjeng resurfaced to let Zuangeng take another breath.
Zuangeng sat up. He asked to try catching a fish, “Legana pina trinu cateapa nga fiseha?”
“Ok, good luck – eh, silukia lukea,” Xianjeng just remembered that Zuangeng could not understand his speech.
Zuangeng moved a little forward. His head was over the base of the neck when he laid down. He laid on his stomach. He could look down past the leading edge of the wings. He held onto two fins. He took a really deep breath. He tapped the dragon with his right foot.
Xianjeng dove back under. He flew. Zuangeng looked down the dragon’s left side. The dragon had a flipper like a dolphin. Xianjeng flew into the school of fish. The fish swarmed into a tight formation. Xianjeng caught some in his mouth.
Zuangeng let go of the fins. He floated away from Xianjeng. He swam closer to the fish. He reached out. He tried to catch one in his hands. He had difficulties catching one. The fish flapped its tail and struggled. It slipped out of his grasp. He caught five fishes that slipped away from him.
He had to swim to the surface to catch his breath. He swam down to try again. The sixth fish he caught, his nails dug into it. The fish bled. He had his breakfast.
Xianjeng ate his catch. He watched Zuangeng try until he caught the last fish. Zuangeng let go of his fish with his right hand. He held onto it with his left hand. He swam to Xianjeng. He grabbed a fin with his free hand. Xianjeng caught one last fish.
Xianjeng resurfaced with the boy on his back. He had the fish still in his mouth. He threw the fish straight up into the air. The fish flipped over and over as it ascended and descended. Xianjeng held his mouth up and open. The fish reached his mouth head first. He snapped his mouth closed on the fish. He worked it into his throat. He swallowed it.
Zuangeng sat up. He breathed heavily. He watched Xianjeng eat the fish. He ate his fish. He dove into the water. He bathed as before. He cleaned Xianjeng’s back.
Zuangeng was back on the dragon’s back. He sat with his legs crossed. His arms rested on his legs. Xianjeng looked at him. He said in Dragonese, “Time to start your lessons.”
Zuangeng cocked his head to his right. All he said was, “Eh?”
Xianjeng taught Zuangeng how to speak Dragonese all day. The only breaks allowed were for meals and sleep.
The lessons continued for a few days. Xianjeng got Zuangeng into talking decent Dragonese. Xianjeng announced, “We will now speak in Dragonese. This will give you some practice. You’ll learn more of the language as we go.”