Chapters 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Grumbling and moaning through the earth, the glass elevator groaned a relief as the doors slid open and Alba, Nonno, and Daryn stepped out into a cave of crystal stalactites and opalesque stalagmites. They could see a light in the far end of the cave and walked towards it. As Kai promised, they were at the foot of the Dragonback Mountain, with its green ground rising up to snow laden peaks surrounded by heavy gray mist.
“Are there dragons?” Alba asked to which Daryn and Nonno shook their heads.
Nonno pointed ahead. “There’s a path that way. We can follow that until we see someone.”
They walked down the path, deeper and deeper into the forest, away from signs of life. Instead of getting colder as it should, the air grew thick and heavy, warmth making their skin clammy.
“If dragons existed,” Daryn started, “this would be the perfect environment for them.”
Alba felt a chill before her eyes caught a shadow, her heart quickened in fear. “Nonno! Uncle! Look!” Alba turned their attention to a mysterious rolling grey mist. Shadows danced in the mist forming a shape like a big dog. The creature grew larger as the mist rolled rolled towards them, covering the tall limbless trees around them. This must be the dragon!
A deep and loud growl echoed around them and all three held hands tightly, unable and unwilling to run away. The shadow grew closer and larger towards them. The growl came nearer and louder.
To their surprise, the growl became a bark and the bark became a yelp. Perplexed, they stared intently into the mist and saw a small white dog, fluffy and sweet-looking racing towards them. The tiny dog stopped in front of them and yelped ferociously, growling as Alba crouched down to pet it. Alba cooed and it relented to her petting before snuggling on her lap as it got its ears scratched. She saw it had a collar that read, “Dragonessa.”
“Nessa!” A voice called out.
They all looked up and saw out of the mist, a tall, beautiful dark skin woman. The woman in the telescope. Her aunt. In person, she was even more beautiful with a gold circlet around her head, her dress trailed with shimmering lights, her skin glittering like opal. She took away Alba’s breath.
Nonno and Alba watched as the two people seemed to fall into a world of their own, an enchantment wrapping them to a past full of love, hurt, heart ache, and yearning.
“I should have loved you better,” Daryn began.
“Do you know my heart broke in two when my brother and you sister died and you didn’t even seem to care?” Evelina’s low and raspy voice whispered, cracking as if it hadn’t spoken for years.
“Forgive me for neglecting you.”
“Do you know how scared I was to leave with my niece? I’ve never been a parent.”
“Forgive me for not helping to bear your burden.”
“Do you know my heart was dying until this mountain froze it, keeping me alive and freezing this love I can never forget?”
“Forgive me for your breaking your heart.”
“Do you know how lonely I have been waiting for this day?”
“Forgive me for all the time we should’ve been together.”
Evelina’s tears streamed down her face as she smiled and shook her head, “forgive me for cursing you to that tower. I was rash in my ways. It hurt you. And it hurt me. There are no winners in my anger and sadness.”