© Barbara Boot 2020. Published by DR21 Publishing. All rights reserved
One night in a village people are awakened to the sound of trees falling in the nearby forest. Heavy footsteps vibrate the ground, and a ferocious roar is heard echoing across the valley. Not a single person had heard anything like it before. The following morning a young man rides to the Order to inform the Dragons of what happened in the night. The stunning Xīng-long* offers to find out what it could be. *Star-Dragon.
The young man begins to feel uncomfortable, for this is the first time ever he has had one of these gods stay at his home. Then it dawns on him, they are all probably listening to his thoughts. This just makes him try to suppress them, so he does not end up offending them.
Just before nightfall they arrive in the village, the people at first think it is Bǎihé who has come to help them. However, they soon find out it is in fact her grandson who points out he wears a pin with cascading yellow flowers in the right side of his bun.
“My dear grandmama only wears flowers in the left side of her bun, plus you will never see her dressed in a light purple top coat.”
The group of people all nod and whisper, “Of course.”
The young man shows the stunning god to his home, where his mother goes on to treat Xīng-long to a nice meal.
Once the Snow Dragon has had enough to eat, he heads out in to the garden to have a smoke. Xīng-long is just about to light his pipe when he hears the sound of trees creaking and a deep roar. This makes him run down to the far end of the garden; with grace he jumps up on to the eight feet high wall, to see the house lie very close to the forest.
“Please take care,” comes the young man’s voice from below.
“Bless you Chūntiān*. I will not fall and hurt myself. I’m a Dragon. This to me is a little height.” *Spring
The young man emits a nervous laugh as he is thinking stupid a garden wall is nothing to a flying creature. He gives him a smile and says, “I understand. You must forgive me this is the first time I have spent a long period of time with one of you.”
“Treat me the way you would one of your friends. I am not one for being constantly treated like-” Xīng-long quickly turns his attention back to the forest; when he sees a flock of birds fly out of the trees.
Chūntiān flinches when he hears again that same loud groan and asks, “Do you have any idea what it is?”
“No. Tell me, did it come out of the forest?”
The young man takes a moment to think and replies, “I don’t think so.”
The Dragon unfolds his magnificent thin membrane wings and takes off, leaving the young man hoping nothing happens to him.
Xīng-long soon begins to see an area where the trees have clearly been knocked over by something large crashing through them.
All of a sudden something takes hold of his left leg, making him look back to see it is a Forest God; who with one tug pulls the Dragon down to be embraced in the huge god’s firm chest as he ducks down in amongst the tall trees.
The next thing he hears is that same deep groan and a large creature goes past sniffing the air.
Once it is gone, the Forest God puts the Dragon down and whispers, “Forgive me for just grabbing you like that. But if that thing had seen you, I cannot even bring myself to say it.”
“I understand, otherwise I would be on the menu.”
“Yes. Forgive me. I am Xià fēng (Summer wind).”
“Nice to meet you. I am Xīng-long. I am here because the people are terrified of that...creature. What is it?”
“I wish I knew. There I am asleep in the heart of the forest and that thing just came out from nowhere, and began to destroy my lovely home.”
Xīng-long frowns a little to try and show he is a little confused and asks, “What do you mean it came out of nowhere?”
“It seemed to appear out of thin air.”
The Dragon folds his arms and mutters, “Door?”
This makes the Forest God lean in a little closer and asks, “You mean an unguarded door is in my forest?”
“That is the only explanation for that creature to just, as you said, appear.”
“I see what you mean. The question is how are we to get rid of it?”
Xīng-long smiles and replies, “Simple, a Dreamer. They can easily send that thing back from wherever it has come from.”
Xià fēng smiles, then quickly places his hand around the little god to hide him, but makes sure the Dragon can see through the gasps of his fingers.
The beast stands around twelve feet tall, with long curved horns, a long beard and ears similar shape to horses ears. A huge sword is strapped to its back, the scabbed is decorated with golden incantation words and a jewel as red as blood, hangs from the hilt.
The beast looks right at them and says, “I know you’re there.”