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Part Seventeen - Such a Drag

Peace. Tom felt at peace, but it was different than each of the previous two times. For the first time, it seemed like someone else cared. Yes, there was Rick and a few others who had cared for him in times of need, but never had it happened at a moment of peace.

Peace and caring hands seemed to be two separate things. Now Tom could see how the two seemed to be made for each other. How having a friend and having an inner peace were meant to go in tandem. The feeling brought happiness, which reinforced the peace.

The sound of air bubbles broke the stillness of the moment. Tom opened his eyes and found his head leaning on Chaphar’s. He could see Chaphar’s black bulging eye in front of his own. He felt Chaphar’s ear turn around as it rubbed through his hair.

He realized the sound had come from behind him. He lifted his head from off Chaphar’s and began to look back, but the smell of burnt-cow-breath reached his nose. He hadn’t noticed, but the smell of burnt flesh had dissipated until now.

The three of them turned around and stared at Zawkane. Zawkane was licking his teeth with his snake-like tongue. He noticed their stares and asked, “What? I belched.” Shehleg snorted and shook her main. Zawkane’s eyes grew confused, “I thought I was being respectful? Did I think wrongly?”

“Sort of,” Chaphar answered. “We don’t usually go around advertising our burps.”

“And in my world it is polite to say ‘excuse me’ after you do,” Tom added.

“Oh, well,” Zawkane said bowing his head. “Then excuse me. Wait!” he said as he jolted his head up. “Your world! Are you not of this one?”

Tom quickly realized his mistake. “No, he is not from this world, but,” Chaphar said for Tom. “I suspect that all the created worlds are linked in a way.”

“Well now,” Zawkane said putting his head in front of Tom’s. “I had no idea there were other worlds, but physically he is no different from those humans I have seen on this world.” He stared into Tom’s eyes for several minutes. “But eyes do not lie,” he said raising his head again. “They show a reflection of a world I have not seen before.”

“What?” Chaphar and Shehleg both said walking in front of Tom. They each took an eye and stared but after only a minute or so they backed away.

“I see nothing of the sort,” Shehleg said.

“Nor do I,” Chaphar said. “I only see that of a human being.”

“I can imagine,” Zawkane answered lying down. “Dragons have eyes modeled after our leader. He can gaze deep into those ‘windows to the soul’ as he calls them. We can’t do it as well, but can still learn much.”

“I’m curious, what did you see?” Tom asked.

“Oh, I may see much in your eyes, but I cannot interpret it very well. Had you been from this world, I may be able to, but I know not your world,” Zawkane answered shaking his head. He then put his left claw on his chin, “I do gather, though, that your world knows no edge.”

“What do you mean by that?” Chaphar asked.

“This world is flat and has an edge,” Zawkane said looking west. “His does not!” he added looking back at Tom.

“Is this true?” Shehleg asked looking at Tom.

Tom was staring amazed at the dragon. “Yes,” he said nodding. “Yes, my world is a sphere.” Both Chaphar and Shehleg gasped. “Um, if it isn’t too much trouble, may I see what an edge of a world looks like?” Tom asked.

“I wish we could show you, but it is at least a day’s journey away,” Chaphar said.

“Nonsense, its only thirty miles west of here,” Zawkane said pointing.

“How do you know that?” Shehleg asked. “I didn’t know you’d been here before.”

“No, but we dragons know more than you think,” Zawkane answered.

“You have an internal edge finder or something?” Tom asked cocking his head.

“No, don’t be silly, we aren’t all-knowing. No, I’m talking of something else,” Zawkane said smiling.

“Then what do you mean?” Chaphar asked stepping forward.

Zawkane lowered his head a few feet. He laughed lightly. “Wouldn’t you like to know! Let me just say that when we come out of hiding, you won’t know what hit you.”

“Hiding! We confined you to the desert,” Chaphar said stomping his foot.

Zawkane raised his head and laughed hard. “If you truly believe that, you are more a fool than I thought.”

“How dare you call us fools,” Shehleg said rearing.

“I would advise against attacking me, you won’t survive the mistake,” Zawkane said pointing a claw at her.

“Okay, this conversation has begun to drag on everyone’s nerves,” Tom said raising his hands. “Sir Zawkane, would you take us to the edge?”

Zawkane didn’t answer; he just left his claw pointed at Shehleg. She dropped her legs to the ground and snorted. Zawkane then answered putting his claw on the ground, “Yes, but only for two reasons. One: you are new here. And two: the leader of the two horses is an honorable whatever-he-is. So yes, let’s get a move on so we can be there before dark.”

Zawkane took to the air and quickly snatched them up in his claws. This time Tom was in the front. Chaphar was where Shehleg was last time and she was where Tom was. The trees quickly grew small. They zipped by so that they looked like one landmass.

Tom was excited; he was finally going to see an edge of a world. He had heard of the old beliefs of the-like on earth, but seeing it would change everything. It would add visual pictures to his mind when he thought of it.

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