The Boy and the Sea Dragon
The Dragon Meet
Zuangeng woke up. Xianjeng felt him stir. He stopped swimming. He turned his head to look at Zuangeng. Zuangeng was sitting up. He had his head down. Xianjeng said, “Feeling any better?”
Zuangeng looked up. He had not fully recovered from his bout of melancholy. He was still missing his home. He sadly complained, “I’m hungry.”
“We’ll see what is available. Hold your breath,” Xianjeng said. Zuangeng lowered his goggles. He laid down. He wedged his feet between fins. He grabbed fins. He took a deep breath. He held it.
Xianjeng turned his head back. He dove. He flew around. Zuangeng looked down the dragon’s left side in front of the wing. He was amazed at what he saw. The left front leg transformed into a dolphin’s flipper. Zuangeng’s hair waved on the flow of the water.
Xiamjeng resurfaced. Zuangeng released his breath. He panted a while. He let go of the fins. He got up on his elbows. He said, “I wish I was like you. I wish I could transform myself into something suitable to water.”
Xianjeng said, “Oh! That would take some magic. You’re too young to do any magic. I sometimes do it without thinking. I am adapted to a life in the ocean, humans are not. I have seen nothing to eat. I may need to call on some friends. I need to go back under to do so.”
Zuangeng laid back down. He grabbed some fins. He took a really deep breath. He held it. He nudged Xianjeng with his feet. Xianjeng dove under the water. He flew through the water. He made all sorts of deep, low frequency sounds as he flew. Zuangeng could hear Xianjeng make noises that sounded like low guttural grunts, whistles and groans among others. He felt the dragon’s back vibrate.
Zuangeng could hardly hold his breath any longer. He let go of Xianjeng. He freed his feet. He swam to the surface. He tread water, swinging his arms back and forth while kicking his feet. He looked around as he recovered his breath. All he saw was water and the sky. Waves gently lapped against his neck. The sky was clear. He was about to take another deep breath. He saw Xianjeng resurface a couple of feet from him.
Xianjeng had felt Zuangeng leave his back. He finished the call for a meeting. He resurfaced not far from where Zuangeng left him. He looked around. He found Zuangeng swimming toward him. Xianjeng turned around and swam toward the boy.
They finally met. Zuangeng swam to the dragon’s right side. He turned around. He held onto the right wing with his left hand. He remained in the water. Xianjeng turned his head to face the boy. Zuangeng looked up to face the dragon. Xianjeng said, “I have called for a dragon meet. Get on my back, we need to be going. We’ll go by air. This time, I’ll be gentle with my turns and landing.”
Zuangeng climbed on Xianjeng’s back. He laid down. He wedged his feet between two pairs of fins. He held onto two more fins. He gave Xianjeng a little nudge.
Xianjeng took off. He flew through the air with utmost speed. Zuangeng had difficulties breathing with the air rushing past him. He moved his head to find a way to breath. His hair flapped wildly. He endured the discomfort of the flight. Xianjeng did not bank so steeply as before in the turns.
Xianjeng saw their destination. It was a small island covered in trees and encircled by a sandy beach. HE started the descent. Zuangeng turned and raised his head for a look. He watched as the island grew bigger. A bay was on the left. Xianjeng headed to the bay’s beach. Zuangeng watched the trees grow bigger and taller. Xianjeng neared the ground. He pulled up. He landed on the sand with all four feet. He ran a short distance upon touch down.
“Ah! A four point landing,” Xianjeng could not resist commenting. Zuangeng giggled at that. Xianjeng folded his wings.
Zuangeng dislodged his feet. He sat up. He commented, “That was some flight. I had some difficulty breathing.”
“That’s another thing we need to address,” Xianjeng said.
Zuangeng looked to his left. They were on the edge of a wide, deep bay. The sand extended out into the water until it disappeared in the crystal blue water. He looked to his right. The sand extended to meet grass. Further inland was a forest of tropical trees.
Xianjeng turned left. He walked into the bay. Zuangeng looked down Xianjeng’s left side. He watched the left front leg. Each step sent up a flurry of sand. He saw nothing edible. Xianjeng came to deep water. He floated. He swam out a little further.
Zuangeng pulled up his goggles. He looked up into the sky. Dragons were flying their way. They landed in the water, some with a splash. One landed close enough to get Zuangeng wet. Zuangeng lowered his head as water came down on top of him. He looked up to see more dragons appear out of the water. He took a quick count of the dragons. There must have been twenty five of them, including Xianjeng, here. Five of the dragons were the same color as Xianjeng. The others were of different colors.
Zuangeng looked at one particular dragon. It was bright red with some yellow streaks. The head was narrower than Xianjeng’s head. Bright red, frilly flaps along the head’s back edge on both sides looked like gills. The dragon looked at Zuangeng.
The dragons usually held their meetings in remote places like this one. They wanted no prying humans to know any of their dragon business. This dragon demanded, “Why is this human child at our meeting!?”
“He is the reason for this meeting! His name is Zuangeng,” Xianjeng replied.
“What is the purpose for this meeting since he is involved,” the red dragon asked.
“It is two fold. The first is food. The boy needs to stay with me so I can’t go far nor deep to find some. I need your help in procuring food for him as well as for myself. I am limited on how deep and long I can go underwater. You are not,” Xianjeng said.
“Where did he come from? How did he come to be with you,” another dragon asked.
“I came from the sailing vessel known as the ‘Serikua’,” Zuangeng replied.
“He speaks Dragonese,” the red dragon said.
“I taught him to speak it. The ship is lost. I rescued Zuangeng from drowning during a storm. I am assuming the possibility that the storm sunk it,” Xianjeng said.
“I do not believe that. The ship is well built. It is crewed by capable sailors and a capable captain. They are well seasoned and experienced,” Zuangeng said.
“That brings us to the second point. Be on the look out for the ship. If any of you hear any news of or see the Serikua, let me know. If it is still floats, I want to return the boy to it. Now, what about some food,” Xianjeng said.
The dragons dispersed. Xianjeng and Zuangeng remained in the bay alone. It was not long before some came back. Not everyone came back. Those that did brought sea food of different kinds. One brought a small squid. It put the squid on its back. It said, “Does the boy eat squid?”
“I do. Thank you,” Zuangeng said. The dragon took the squid in its mouth. It swam toward Xianjeng. Zuangeng took the squid from the dragon’s mouth. He laid it on Xianjeng’s back.
Another dragon brought some seaweed. Zuangeng said, “Let me look at that plant, please.”
The dragon swam to him. Zuangeng took the seaweed out of the dragon’s mouth. He looked it over. It was similar to quinsing. It was reddish brown instead. He said, “I’ll this,too. Thank you. Please, take me ashore, Xianjeng.”
Xianjeng paddled around. He swam toward the shore. He touched bottom. He walked up onto the dry sand. He laid down on his belly. Zuangeng threw the squid and seaweed to the sand on the right. He stepped over the fins. He sat. He put his hands on the dragon’s side. HE pulled himself forward. He laid back. He slid down Xianjeng’s wing to the sand. His feet touched the sand. His legs buckled. He ended up on his hands and knees. The sand was bearably hot. He stood up. He brushed the sand off his hands and knees. He picked up the squid in his left arm. He picked up the seaweed with his right hand. He shook the sand off. He draped the seaweed over the squid. He put them under his left arm. He walked away.
Xianjeng stood up. He turned to his left. He returned to the water. Other dragons showed up with more food. Xianjeng joined all of them. The dragons had a feast.
Zuangeng walked up the beach to the grass. He continued to walk. He came to the forest. He looked up into the trees. He found some bananas and coconuts among other trees. He entered the forest. He walked among the trees. They towered over him. He walked through some underbrush. He heard birds chattering. He looked up. Birds flew among the trees. Some had red bodies, brown wings and long multicolored tails. Others were blue with red heads.
All went quiet. The birds scattered. He stopped. He heard a hissing growl emanating form his right. He lowered his head. He looked to the right in front of him. A patch of bushes stood between two trees. The source of the noise was not visible. Another hissing growl came from the bushes. A head popped out of the bushes. Two front legs and shoulders followed. The head turned slightly to the left. The mouth was open in a snarl. Brown teeth could be seen. The two top canines were long enough to protrude outside of a closed mouth. The upper lips were curled up. The lower lips were curled down. A fringe of dark brown fur ran from one side of the head, over the top to the other side. The fringe extended flat over the neck. The rest of the fur was a tawny brown. The nose was black. The eyes were red encircling black. The animal made a hissing growl.
The creature leaped out of the bushes. It crouched on four legs. It blocked his path. It kept its head turned toward him. The long bushy tail curled up. The fur on its shoulders stood up. It stared at him. It continued its hissing growl. Zuangeng turned left slightly. He kept his eyes glued to the creature. The creature turned to line up with its head.
The creature slowly approached him. Zuangeng prepared to flee. His left foot was turned closer to the direction of flight. It suddenly leaped at Zuangeng. Zuangeng immediately swung around on his left foot. His hair flew out in the fast turn.
Zuangeng shrieked and bolted. He ran as fast as he could. He kept the squid and seaweed under his arm. The creature landed on its paws. It ran with a bounding gait. Its mane flopped up and down. Zuangeng ran along the path he took coming in. His hair flew out and bounced behind him. He kept a respectable distance from the animal.
He burst out of the forest. He saw the dragons in the water. He turned right and ran toward them. He screamed as loud as he could. The animal burst out of the forest behind him. He reverted to his native language – Cingalia. He continued screaming the phrase, “Helia pina!”
The dragons just finished eating. All the dragons heard him screaming. They had better hearing than any humans. They could hear noises from greater distances than the best human hearing. They turned to look. The red dragon said, “You know his language, Kilethang, not me. What is he screaming about?”
“He is calling for help,” Xianjeng explained. The dragons knew him by the name ‘Kilethang’. They saw the creature pursuing him. Xianjeng and the red dragon gulped some water. They took off toward the shore. They paddled furiously. They flapped their wings to assist their feet. They waggled their tails. Their feet touched bottom. They ran until they were airborne.
They flew toward Zuangeng. They were barely above his head level. They came close enough. They shot streams of water down over his head from their mouths. The streams of water struck the animal in its face. The animal stopped. Its face dripped water.
The red dragon landed on Zuangeng’s left. Xianjeng landed on his right. Zuangeng was between the two. He stopped just behind their front legs. He stopped screaming. He turned to face the creature. He huffed and puffed. He was all out of breath. The animal shook its head. Water sprayed off its face.
“Go back to where you came from,” the red dragon declared. The animal just stood there growling. Zuangeng looked up to Xianjeng. He noticed for the first time that Xianjeng had a slit behind his jaw. He assumed that the other side had a similar slit.
“That food is the boy’s, not yours!” Xianjeng said. The animal remained standing there, growling. It eyed Zuangeng. Both dragons shot the animal with water. This time, the whole animal was drenched. The animal shook its body. Water sprayed off it. It turned around. It ran back into the forest.
The dragons turned their attention to Zuangeng. They turned their heads to look at him. He still had the squid and seaweed I his arm. The red dragon said, “What were you doing walking off like that? Why have you not eaten yet?”
“I was looking for some place with fresh water to wash my food and drink,” Zuangeng replied. He looked at the dragon.
“If you had asked, I would have done it for you! Now, hold it up,” Xianjeng admonished.
Zuangeng turned to face Xianjeng. He put everything on the ground. He picked up the seaweed first. He held it up. Xianjeng sprayed the plants. Zuangeng got wet in the process. He draped the seaweed over his right shoulder. Water ran down his back and chest from the seaweed. He picked up the squid. He held it up. Xianjeng sprayed it.
“Never go out into a strange wild place without someone with you, Zuangeng,” the red dragon admonished him. Zuangeng looked at the dragon. He sat and ate.
Xianjeng and the red dragon walked to the bay. Xianjeng looked at the other dragons. HE said, “Unless there is any other business to attend to, this meeting is adjourned.
Nobody had any other business. They shook their heads.
Xianjeng said, “Remember, if you hear anything about the Serikua, I need to know. If you see the Serikua, report it.”
All the other dragons left. Xianjeng and Zuangeng were alone on the island.
Xianjeng turned to look at Zuangeng. Zuangeng had just finished eating. What he could not eat, he tossed away. He drank out of Xianjeng’s mouth.
He turned around to look at the forest. He started to head back to it. Xianjeng said, “What are you doing? Where are you going?”
“I saw some ripe bananas. I want one,” Zuangeng said. Xianjeng followed him. They came to the tree in question. Zuangeng reached up and wrapped his arms around the trunk. He pulled himself up. He wrapped his legs around it. He shimmied up the trunk, keeping his eyes on the prize. He reached the bananas. He found a good one. He reached for it with his right hand. He kept the left arm around the trunk. He grabbed the banana and pulled it off. He put it in his mouth. He shimmied back down. He reached the ground. He took the banana out of his mouth. He peeled and ate it. Zuangeng said, “Now, that is a good and ripe banana.”
Xianjeng noticed that Zuangeng was looking tired. Zuangegng’s eyes were half shut. Apparently, the excitement, running and tree climbing had worn him out. It was getting dark. Xianjeng looked up to the west. The forest hid the sun.
They walked to the beach. Xianjeng, again, looked to the west. The sun was on the horizon. Xianjeng said, “We’ll spend the night here.”
Xianjeng laid down on his belly. Zuangeng sat down beside Xianjeng’s left front leg. He leaned back on the leg. He was asleep. Xianjeng stayed awake. He kept watch.