Dragons in the News (Day 55)
Tarcuna read the Magic Flute of Dorday to me this morning. She usually does, since she finishes her breakfast in a few minutes but I need to eat for another hour. I’m cheating the hotel horribly on their all-you-can-eat breakfast.
Giant Monster In Kyongsy Temple
It sounds like something out of a science-fiction thriller movie! But it’s 100% real! Yesterday morning, an absolutely gigantic four-winged lizard monster took over the Kyongsy Temple in Zheribac. We’re not talking about a little thing like an alligator or a giant caiman here. This monster was much larger — reporters at the scene estimate an astounding fifty feet from head to tailbase, plus an extra twenty feet of tail. It was covered in heavy scales, a dark tan in color. Machine-gun fire seemed to bounce right off of its huge flanks and thick scales! This agrees with reports of similar beast-monsters from Ghemelia.
“Dark tan? That must be Arilash. She’s not really that big though. She usually dresses up some, but I don’t suppose there are any drakes around for her to impress. I hope she didn’t hurt too many people.”
“She killed them,” said Tarcuna, and read:
In a terrifying display of what would surely be special effects in a puppet show, but was much more awful in reality, the monster belched out a horrible glob of flame and reduced seven Zheribac Military Police officers to ashes.
“Oh, that’s all right, then,” I said. “We kill small people who try to kill us, more or less always. That’s just basic etiquette. She didn’t get upset and burn the whole city down; that’s nice of her.”
“I suppose you might call it nice,” said Tarcuna, in a voice of veiled disapproval. “It … she? … she wasn’t there very long though.”
But, just like in a puppet show! A glorious, elegant four-winged flying blue-green lizard, elegant with ruffles and long flowing spines, quickly flew in from the coast! The newcomer was smaller and more beautiful! The tan monstrosity growled and snarled! Obviously it hated the newcomer! The two gargantuas fought in the air over the temple, biting and clawing and scorching each other with flames!”
“That’s Ythac. I wonder what they were fighting about?”
“The paper doesn’t say.”
So I asked him. «Hi, sweet drake who hasn’t found me yet! I hear you got Arilash back.»
«I did,» he wrote back.
«The paper says you had a fight with her over some temple.»
«Why? And why do you sound so dismal?.»
«She was teasing me about Llredh.»
«What happened with Llredh?» I asked. I was worried.
«Nothing really. He’s in hoven shape, he’s staying in hoven shape, he’s in Port-of-Zom, and he’s not leaving. Won’t talk to me really.»
Tarcuna looked at me. “Spotty, are you all right? You went quiet all of a sudden… should I keep reading the paper to you?”
“No,” I told her. “I’m chatting with Ythac — he’s the rescuer in that story. Hold on a moment or six.”
«That’s odd.» I wrote back to Ythac.
«So I went to get Arilash, so he’d have someone to twine. Without mount-fighting me, I mean. Oh, I don’t mean to be rude at you, I’m just worried by Llredh.»
«I haven’t been very good at my fiancée’s duties, and Arilash is, I know that. Wait, did you know where Arilash was?»
«I know where all of you are. You’re in hoven form in Dorday, in Trest.»
«How did you know? I thought I’d notice if you used a finding spell on me, even if I couldn’t stop it.»
« I’ve known since you got there. I wasn’t casting finding spells for you, I was casting them for your name. The words ‘Jyothky Meragathium’ are written exactly one place in this universe, and that’s in Dorday.»
«You can look for a word? like that? That’s clever! Do you want to marry me?»
«Sure, I’ll marry you. Usually it’s no good, most words show up in a grand grand of places or more, so I have to be extra-devious to find any of them, much less the one I want. I know some other tricks. I found you five ways, so if you slip off, I’ll use one of the others on you and find you again.»
«So, do I have to come home?»
«Not unless you can be more tempting to get Llredh back than Arilash can.»
«I don’t think so, for which apologies. Llredh doesn’t seem the least bit interested in me, no matter now much oil I use.»
«Well, enjoy your vacation some more. I plan to find you last,» he wrote.
“Poor Ythac. A friend is snubbing him,” I said to Tarcuna. “Is there more in the paper?”
This is probably one of the cluster of mountain-melting monsters that appeared a few weeks ago in outer Ghemelia. Scientists are uncertain about what could have induced it to move out of its home territory. Military officers in Trest and Zheribac are uncertain about how it could have flown so far without being detected.
“Nothing to it. Arilash is good at all sorts of travel spells,” I said.
“I don’t know about that. The paper said that the Zheribac army didn’t see it. Zheribac hasn’t hired Ythac, has it?”
“He didn’t mention that they had,” I said.
“I hope not! Zheribac is one of the Alliance of Freedom!”
“I thought you liked freedom…?”
“The Alliance of Freedom isn’t about freedom! It’s about making sure that we can’t defend ourselves!” she said.
Which didn’t make any sense, so I went back for another bowl of pancakes in sour cream. “Eating for six or eight hours a day and still being hungry all the time is getting tiresome. I should go have a real meal and then not eat for a couple days.”
“I can’t imagine you not eating for a couple days.”
“You’ll see. Why does the Alliance of Freedom not want you to defend yourselves?”
“When we started building the Peace Everywhere Array, the rest of the world was very jealous. Maybe also afraid. Stupid of them, we weren’t going to conquer anyone. But we wanted to be able to defend ourselves, and to stop wars. With the Peace Everywhere Array, we can shoot anywhere in Hove, enough to break a city or ruin an army. Nobody can attack us. Nobody can attack anybody, or we’ll interfere and stop them. That’s all they’re for.”
“How do they shoot through the Godaxle? Or the suns?”
“Oh, they don’t. There are, I don’t know, eighty-odd emplacements, and together they cover pretty much the whole world. Ghemelia tried building one itself, but the Peace Everywhere gun in Muld destroyed theirs before it was much built. They tried to build another one, though, so we had to put a stop to that, and get rid of Uncle Holder altogether.”
“As you like,” I said. She thought it was true, but it didn’t sound much like what Murghal had said that he thought was true. I didn’t feel like arguing though. “Is there any more of that article?”
In the end, the noble blue-green monster defeated the vicious tan one, and chased it far, far out to sea. They fought a huge battle over the ocean. Each one slew the other, and their corpses fell into the depths of the sea, never to rise again.
«You and Arilash are dead, right?»
«The Dorday paper says you are. Drowned in the sea.»
«I’m fine. Arilash is fine. We just went swimming. Please stop teasing me, or I’ll come over there and bite your wings to shreds.»
That’s not like Ythac at all. «I apologize! Just telling you funny things from here!»
“He says he’s not dead. I believe him. If he were dead he’d be in a much better mood. I’ve never heard him so annoyed.”