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Free sensei and find out more about the mysterious dragon and relic?
It’s a hard decision but in the end you turn back to Sensei. As long as you had been training with him, he had never done anything without good reason, and he never lied to you either. You put your palms together and bow deeply.
“Sensei, please allow me to open your chains.” You kneel at his feet and start working on the first lock. Sensei sits on a stone, his face calm as always.
“I am in your debt,” he says when the first shackle opens. “My predecessors and I have been guardians for these dragon eggs for centuries. A witch whose biggest dream it was to become immortal killed their mother, one of the last Dragons of Wisdom. To protect her eggs, the dragon wove a cocoon of magic in front of their cave which stops them from hatching. The cocoon can only be entered with the relic. We, the dragon’s guardians, have been protecting the relic from the wicked witch ever since.”
“Surely she isn’t alive any more. You said you’ve been guarding the eggs for centuries.” The next lock opens, and another chain rattles to the floor.
“You are mistaken. The witch entered the dragon’s body. In it, she survived all these years. But to become truly immortal, and to get her original body back, she needs the blood of the newly hatched dragons. She has tried many times to cheat a new initiate into giving her the relic.”
The last shackle clanks to the ground, and Sensei is free. Together, you tiptoe through the dark until you reach the cave with the eggs. The dragon–witch is scratching at the ground below the protective mist without much success. She’s using swearwords that make you blush, and you are suddenly relived you listened to Sensei.
“You will have to defeat her. I’m too old,” Sensai says. “You are the thousandth guardian, and you’re special. I chose you myself. Go and give the eggs a chance to hatch. I’ll fetch the relic.” As he lifts off the ground to fly away, he pushes you forward, and you stumble into the dragon’s lair.
The witch-dragon turns and glares at you. What can you do now? It seems impossible to outmaneuver a witch in a dragon’s body. She rushes you. Luckily, the lair isn’t big enough for her to spread her wings. You slip past her foreleg, and her teeth dig into her own shin. She howls in pain. Before she can turn again, you climb her back looking for a weak point. Sensai had taught you that every creature had a weak point, but where could it be on a dragon?
The dragon twisted and turned on its back. In jumping off, you noticed a black shape stuck to its belly. What was that? You grab a boulder and hurl it at the dragon’s snout. The effort makes you gasp. But you are more successful then you had hoped for. The boulder bounces off the snout and hits the dragon’s left eye. It blacks out. Since you don’t know how fast it’ll recover, you hurry to its underside to look at the black thing. Could it be its weak spot?
Between the glittering scales, an old person with a crooked nose and yellow teeth stares at you, and you step back involuntarily. A soft, warm voice rumbles in your brain.
“Don’t leave me here. You’re the first person to see me.” It sounds much younger than the woman seems to be. Could it be the hag?
“Who are you?”
“I am the last Dragon of Wisdom. The witch banned me into her body and claimed mine. Help me.” She held out a hand.
You only hesitate a second when the dragon’s body begins to twitch. As fast as you can, you help the old woman untangle herself from the dragon’s scales and hobble over the belly to a save place in the cave.
“I need to touch my old body’s head,” the woman says in your mind. Although it seems crazy to get closer to the waking dragon, you lift her up and carry her toward the beast. You set her down beside the big head when the eye snaps open. Fire shoots from the nozzle, but the dragon cannot evade the old woman’s arm.
“Finally free.” The voice in your mind vibrates with joy, and the dragon rears up. It twists, turns, and its open jaws speed toward you. Before you can move, it snaps up the old woman. Her last cry vanishes in the dragon’s belly.
The dragon smiles at you. “Thank you, dragonguard. Without your help, I would still be caught in that vile body.” She shivers.
Sensei steps forward and holds out the relic. The jade toothpick with the carved dragon curled around the head is longer than his arms. Sensei bows. “Welcome back, Grande Dame. Do you want to inspect your eggs?”
A thunder-like crack resounds in the cave. You turn at the same time as the dragon. The first egg has split, and a green-scaled head pokes up with the egg tooth still attached to the snout.
“Mheek?” it says.
Another crack sounds, and another one. You think, life surely will be interesting as the guardian of a dragon triplet.