Here there be dragons!
Remus the red dragon sat curled at the mouth of his cave and looked out on the mighty red cliffs.
A shadow passed over him. A blue dragon flew past.
“Come on, Remus.”
A yellow dragon followed the blue one.
“Yeah, come on Remus. Don’t you want to play?”
Remus did want to play. He wanted very much to play. But he glanced back at his misshapen wings and sighed.
He would never fly.
Not like the others. The blue dragon flew into the sky and disappeared into the clouds far above before plummeting back to the canyon. The yellow dragon twirled through the air like a top, passing Remus again and again.
More dragons joined them. Green. Purple. White. Black.
Remus got to his feet, shook his scaly hide and turned to walk back into his cave.
A thump sounded behind him. Remus froze.
“Remus?” a soft voice said.
No one came to visit. This had to be one of the others here to taunt him some more.
“I brought you something.”
Remus steeled himself and turned.
The prettiest green dragon he’d ever seen perched at the edge of his cave. Something sat crumpled at her feet.
“What’s that?” Remus asked.
The green dragon nodded. “A magic rug.”
“There’s no such thing as magic rugs.”
She stared into his eyes. “There is. This one flies.”
Remus snorted. Flames came out of his nostrils. “You’re lying.”
“I’m not!” She straightened. “I’ll show you.”
Remus watched as she flattened out the rug. It was so big he could sit on it. The colors had once been vibrant, but had faded over time. One corner was nothing but frayed edges.
The green dragon settled until her belly touched the rug. She said a single word. “Fly.”
The border of the rug fluttered, as if caught in a breeze.
“Fly,” she said again.
Remus shook his head.
The green dragon squeaked as the rug lifted off the ground.
Remus couldn’t believe it. “How are you doing that?”
Before she answered, she shot into the canyon.
Remus ran to the edge to watch. He’d expected to see her wings open, but they lay flat on her back. The rug wobbled like a newly hatched dragon, but it was flying!
The green dragon and the rug took several trips up and down the canyon. The other dragons stared. The yellow dragon almost hit the cliffs.
When the rug started back for Remus, he scampered out of the way. The green dragon and the rug skidded to a stop right before hitting Remus.
She grinned. “Told you.”
“Magic.” She got off and jerked her snout at the rug. “You try.”
Remus backed up. “No.”
She eyed him. “Are you afraid of flying?”
“More like falling,” he said. “You have your wings to save you.”
“True.” She licked the air with her tongue, thinking. “How about I stay under you the whole time? I’ll catch you if you fall.”
“I don’t even know you.”
“Fine. I’m Zanelarth. Everyone calls me Z.”
He knew who she was. Every boy dragon knew who she was. The prettiest. The fastest and the smartest dragon their age.
“Why are you doing this? Is it a trick?”
“No. I see you in your cave every day, and I thought you might like to try flying. So I, uh, borrowed this magic rug from the humans.”
“Humans?” Remus stepped back.
“Don’t worry. They’re far away, and ride horses.” She pushed at the rug with a front foot. “Besides, they weren’t using it.”
Remus looked at the rug. A shadow moved over the mouth of the cave as the blue dragon went by again.
“Try it,” Z said.
He took a step forward and sniffed the material. It smelled like the wind.
Z moved aside. “Sit.”
Remus circled it, inspecting the edges and looking for holes. He lifted a corner. It felt heavier than he had expected.
“Get on,” Z said.
Remus put a front leg on the rug.
It stirred beneath him, and he stepped back.
“It likes you!”
“Are you sure?”
Z came around to his side of the rug and gave him a little shove. “Get on there.”
Remus stumbled forward, and suddenly all of his legs stood on the thick fabric. A buzz filled his mind, and chills ran up and down his legs. Then the rug warmed beneath his touch. He looked at Z.
“Get your belly on it.”
He did so. His stomach twisted in knots and he sunk his talons into the fabric, which didn’t rip.
“Now tell it what to do.”
“Fly?” he asked.
Before he got a reply, the rug lifted off the ground.
“Ahh!” he cried.
“Good! Now lean in the direction you want to go.”
“I want back down!”
Z pushed his hindquarters. “Go!”
The rug sprang forward, out into the air of the canyon.
“I’m going to die!” Remus yelled.
Z laughed as she lazily beat her wings next to him. “Tell it what to do.”
Remus’ legs shook, and he wanted to squeeze his eyes shut, but he didn’t. Instead he looked across the canyon. He’d never been there. With hardly a thought, he leaned forward. The rug took him in that direction.
Wind whipped past his face. He leaned as the cliffs got closer. The rug turned, and even though he wobbled, Remus stayed on.
The other dragons stared.