The Boy and the Sea Dragon
Chapter Twenty Four
More Serikua News
The sun was just peeping over the horizon the nest day. Xianjeng woke up. He turned his head to look at the boy. He nudged Zuangeng awake with his left front paw. He said, “Time to wake up, sleepy head.”
Zuangeng raised his head. He twisted to look at Xianjeng. He yawned and said, “It’s awfully early.”
Xianjeng said, “We need to go as soon as possible. We have days of traveling to do. You need to get used to getting up early.”
Zuangeng said, “Last night, I dreamt of a song about the Serikua. Want to hear it?”
Xianjeng said, “I would love to.”
Zuangeng sang it in Cingalia. When he was done, Xianjeng said, “That was beautiful. I must remember it. Don’t you forget it, either.”
Zuangeng said, “I’ll try not to.”
Xianjeng said, “I’ll help you to memorize it. But now, we need to find something to eat. After that, we need to be on our way. Climb in my back.”
Zuangeng climbed on Xianjeng’s back. Xianjeng took to the air. They flew for days. They stopped to eat. Zuangeng turned himself into Ciyonaung when necessary. They practiced the song during the breaks.
When they reached the island, Zuangeng was Ciyonaung.
They flew low over the city. Ciyonaung looked down. He was searching for a house. Xianjeng watched him.
Ciyonaung found that house. They passed it so Ciyonaung circled back around. He flew lower down the street. He landed close to the house. The street was devoid of people. He transformed back to Zuangeng. Xianjeng landed behind him. He walked up to Zuangeng.
Zuangeng looked at the house. The windows were dark, curtains drawn closed. He turned to Xianjeng. He said, “This is where I stayed all the time I was here. This is where I learned the spells.”
He turned back to the house. He walked up the walkway to the door. Xianjeng stayed back.
Zuangeng knocked on the door. He waited for a while. There was no answer. He knocked again. Still, there was no answer. He walked back to Xianjeng. He said, “Apparently, nobody is home. There is a shop we need to go to. Let’s go there, next.”
“You’ll have to show me the way,” Xianjeng said.
Zuangeng transformed back into Ciyonaung. They launched themselves into the air. Ciyonaung flew ahead of Xianjeng. They flew low over the houses. They flew to the business district.
Ciyonaung found the street the shop was on. He landed with Xianjeng not far behind. He looked around. Some people stood around. They watched them.
Ciyonaung walked into the alley. Nobody was there. Xianjeng blocked the entrance. Ciyonaung transformed back to Zuangeng. Xianjeng made way. Zuangeng left the alley.
The people recognized Zuangeng. Their expressions turned from curiosity to hostility. They made no move, though. They knew that the dragon with him protected him. Zuangeng looked at Xianjeng. Xianjeng was looking at them, a warning snarl on his face.
Zuangeng turned his attention to the shop. He walked to it. He tried the door. It was locked. He returned to Xianjeng. He said, “The shop appears to be closed, today. Let’s walk down to the harbor. It’s not far from here.”
“Lead the way,” Xianjeng said.
Zuangeng led the way to the harbor. He remained human. They walked the streets. They came to the harbor road. They walked up and down the road. Zuangeng looked at the ships. He looked for the Serikua. Some ships were familiar. Most ships were unknown to him. There was no Serikua.
He tried asking some dock workers. Some knew nothing about the ship. At least, they claimed to know nothing. Other workers turned a deaf ear to him, refusing to speak to him.
They walked up the road further. They came to the docks of personal boats. They walked passed them. Zuangeng looked at the boats. The Von Davildaa’s boat was gone. Zuangeng said, “We need to find the Von Davildaas. They are the family I stayed with. They may know about the Serikua. When we find them, I don’t know whether to stay with them. The Serikus may show up.”
Xianjeng said, “I advice you to leave. You are not well liked here. Apparently, you are not welcome here.”
“I know of three who like me. I can’t locate them,” Zuangeng commented.
“Hop on my back. We’ll leave,” Xianjeng said. He laid on his belly. Zuangeng climbed on. Xianjeng took off. He flew over the ocean.
Xianjeng spotted a boat. It had a single one piece mast with a boom behind it. Attached to the boom and mast was a triangular sail. In front of the mast was a single triangular jib. There was no bowsprit. The boat was leaning. Three men leaned back on the upward side. Two of them held sheets. The back one held the tiller. Zuangeng saw them, too. The men and the boat looked familiar. He nudged Xianjeng to land.
Gunthar and his two sons were in the family sailboat. Gunthar sat at the stern. He held the tiller and boom sheet. Petra sat at the bow. He held the jib sheet. Hans sat in the middle. He enjoyed the ride.
A shadow crossed over them. They looked up to see a dragon fly over. Petra pointed to it. He said, “That looks like the dragon that took Zuangeng.”
“Drop the sheets,” Gunthar said. They did. The boat went upright as the sails lost the wind. They flapped in the wind. The Von Davildaas sat upright.
They watched as the dragon landed on the water. Water sprayed as the dragon glided on the surface. It stopped. Someone was on its back. That person stood up on the back. He started to look familiar. He was the right height, build and skin and hair colors. They watched him dive into the water.
Zuangeng stood on Xianjeng’s back. He reached up to his head. He felt all over his head. He realized that he was missing his goggles. He had not missed them until now. He said, “I don’t have my goggles. I need them to swim. The sea water hurts my eyes.”
Xianjeng said, “You will need to swim with your eyes closed.”
Zuangeng faced the sailboat. It had stopped. He watched the sails flapping. He closed his eyes. He dove into the water. He surfaced. He shook his head. Water sprayed off his hair. He opened his eyes. They were gentle swells; but, nothing to interfere with his vision. He still faced the boat. He closed his eyes again. He breast-stroke toward the boat.
He felt the boat. He grabbed the gunwale. He felt some hands grab his wrists. He lifted his head and shook it. He opened his eyes. He found the hands belonged to Petra and Hans. He pulled himself up. Water ran down his body and off his hair. They helped him into the boat. He sat beside Hans. He spoke their language, “Hi, guys.”
“Well, hello, Zuangeng,” they chorused.
“Are you here to stay,” Gunthar asked.
Zuangeng said, “Well, no. I’m mainly here for information. Do you know anything about the Serikua? Was it here?’
Gunthar said, “It was. It left days ago.”
“Do you know where it is heading to next,” Zuangeng asked.
“No. Esiada never said. I never asked,” Gunthar said.
“I think I know the next port of call,” Zuangeng said.
“Esiada is looking for you, now. He thought you were dead. I told him about you. He has your goggles,” Gunthar said.
“I want to get back to the ship, thank you,” Zuangeng said.
“If you ever decide to come back, you are welcome to stay with us,” Gunthar said.
“Thank you. I’ll remember that. I need to go,” Zuangeng said.
“Good luck in your search,” Gunthar said.
“Thank you, again. Maybe some day, we’ll meet again,” Zuangeng said.
He closed his eyes. He back flipped into the water. When he resurfaced, he shook his head, again. Water sprayed from his wet hair. He opened his eyes. They exchanged waves. He turned to face Xianjeng. He closed his eyes, again. He breast-stroked to the dragon. He climbed onto the dragon’s back. He said, “Xianjeng, the Serikua was here. It’s gone now.”
“Any idea as to where it is heading to next,” Xianjeng asked.
Zuangeng said, “Yes! The next port of call is usually ‘Kulathra’. It is a major harbor city on the island of Jalapea.”
“I don’t know where it is,” Xianjeng said.
“It is about eighty days by clipper in that direction,” Zuangeng said. He pointed to their right.
“We can cover that distance in less time by flying in the air,” Xianjeng said, looking in that direction.
Zuangeng laid down on his stomach. He secured himself as best as he could.
Xianjeng took off. He flew in the direction indicated. He flew over the sailboat. The Von Davildaas continued their trip.
Xianjeng and Zuangeng flew for days. They stopped only to rest and eat.