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Part Fourteen - Right

Tom collapsed onto Chaphar’s side. Shehleg sighed good and deep. Chaphar was the only one who did nothing, just kept standing still like a statue. Tom took advantage of his stillness by using his leg as a back rest when he slid to the ground.

“You know,” Chaphar said after a long pause. “He, this Zawkane, may be a dragon, but we should help him.”

“Are you insane?” Tom blurted out.

Shehleg began laughing, “You are so pulling my tail,” she said looking at him. Chaphar returned her gaze but said nothing. Shehleg’s expression quickly turned to concern. “You are pulling my tail right?” Chaphar looked back at where they had last seen the dragon. “For once I side with Tom,” Shehleg said pointing at Tom with her hoof.

“Shehleg, you should know why we must,” Chaphar said stomping his left front hoof, the one Tom wasn’t leaning on.

“You think that applies here!” she said eyes widening. “But it can’t,” she said getting angry.

“There are no exceptions,” Chaphar said looking up at the sky. He then added as if quoting something, “If ever you find a mindful creature in distress, you must help it as if it were your own family. I have created all things and love them all, but those who are given intelligence are blessed beyond all else, for it is they who can learn the way of deliverance. Out of these blessed creatures, it is the humans who have dominion. I will put a way into your world for you to understand why.”

The three were silent for a long time, the words seeming to have captured their minds. Tom felt as if he’d heard the message before, but it was not phrased in that way. Chaphar spoke up again, looking toward Shehleg, “It gave no distinction between dragon, unicorn, dinosaur, or any other mindful animal. It only separated humans, mankind, from all animals, mindful and mindless alike.”

“But why?” Shehleg said looking at the ground. “We are in a war-like state with the dragons. Sure, we’ve been in a cease-fire for the last so many years, but they are the enemy, have been for as far back in history as I learned about.”

“True,” Chaphar said calmly. “But he did spare our lives. He did kill another dragon. He is on the run. He asked for ‘mindless animals’. He may not be on our side, but he is far from an enemy at this point.” Shehleg sighed. Chaphar slowly took a step forward so Tom knew to lean away.

Chaphar then walked over to Shehleg. He put his forehead on her neck as he said, “You know it’s the right thing to do.”

She nodded. She then said looking over at Tom, “I suppose it is for that same reason you helped Tom.”

Chaphar nodded, “It is.”

Tom broke his silence, “I am grateful you helped me…or are helping me…and if you are going to help me, we should help Zawkane.”

There was a moment of silence. “Then we’re agreed?” Chaphar asked. Everyone nodded. “Then let’s go find the dragon known as Zawkane.”

Tom stood and slowly walked up to Chaphar. “Um, Tom, would you like to ride me this time?” Shehleg said looking at him.

Tom did not know what her eyes revealed. Maybe some begging, perhaps a little longing, and possibly a dash of worry. In any case, Tom had wanted to ride the white horse that haunted his dreams like a ghost for years. “Absolutely!” he answered.

Shehleg attempted to smile the way that humans do, but it didn’t work very well. Tom switched over to her and hopped on. It was a little easier as she was a few inches shorter. Chaphar led the way to where the dragon disappeared. Zawkane was flying slowly; they should catch him in no time.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner