The Parting Of The Ways

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A Dragon Hunt

Anthony and Athene were up in the attic studying for their exams. Anthony was testing Athene on the causes of the Civil War, and later they were going to be revising the architecture of Ancient Greek temples.

It was chucking it down with rain, and Simon and Mr Pennington were all at work in London, and Nick and Izzy had gone to pick up Izzy’s parents from the airport.

Izzy was now seven months pregnant and getting bigger by the day, so her mother was coming to help with the babies when they arrived. Monsieur Visage was only going to be staying a few weeks before he had to go back to Paris to get started on producing his next play.

It was almost definite that they were having twins now, the doctor had heard two heartbeats and everything. Twins were fairly common in the family, there was already Mark and Anthony, and Mrs Pennington had had a twin brother. But everybody was still very excited.

Mark was at Julie’s, they were supposed to be practising for their music A-Level, but they were actually listening to Mozart records whilst flicking through film magazines.

Niki and Michael were fed up with the rain, they wanted to go out and play even if it was raining. But Celia had told them that they couldn’t go and play in the garden because of the rain.

This is why Niki and Michael were coming up to Athene’s room.

“Let’s find Tony and Athy!” called Michael rushing up the stairs to the attic followed by Niki.

“There’s a sign!” said Niki pointing at the sign on Athene’s door.

“What’s it say?” asked Michael.

“I don’t know,” said Niki squinting at the sign.

Mummy had been teaching her how to read, but she wasn’t particularly good yet.

“Do,” said Niki slowly trying to sound out the words, “not enter.”

But Michael had already ignored the sign and gone in.

“Tony! Athy!”

“Whaty?” asked Anthony looking up from his History notes.

“We’re bored!”

“You’re bored?” exclaimed Athene.

“There’s nothing to do,” sulked Niki.

“We wanted to go on an adventure,” said Niki.

“In the garden,” agreed Michael.

“But’s it's raining,” said Niki shaking her head.

“So, you can’t play outside because it’s raining,” sighed Anthony putting his notes away, “and so you’re bored.”

“Did you know,” said Anthony, “you can have just as many adventures inside as outside?”

Niki and Michael looked unimpressed.

“There’s all sorts you can do,” he explained, “you can play hide and seek, or go exploring. You might even find a dragon.”

“Can’t you play with us?” begged Michael.

“You’re fun to play with,” agreed Niki.

“Can’t you play with Mummy?”

“Mummy’s busy,” grumbled Michael.

“With baby Timmy,” nodded Niki.

“Surely we can take one day off,” said Athene looking at Anthony.

“Right,” said Anthony as he put his books away, “lets hunt for a dragon!”

Niki and Michael's faces lit up as Anthony put his studying away for once.

“Right then,” said Anthony.

“Dragons are very fearsome creatures, that can breathe fire and hoard lots of treasure. But they don’t like the rain very much. When it rains they hide inside their caves and they stop flying around. But sometimes they can’t fly back to their caves in time, so they hide somewhere else, in humans houses where it’s nice and warm.”

“There’s a dragon in our house!” screamed Niki.

“Well there might be,” said Athene, “we’ll have to go and look won’t we.”

“But how do we fight a dragon?” asked Michael.

“Well you need lots of things,” said Athene.

“You need a wizard,” said Anthony, “with a magic wand.”

“Where’s the wand?”

“This should do,” said Athene passing Anthony a cricket bat.

“So, we’ve got a wizard and his magic wand,” muttered Anthony, “what else do we need.”

“An elven warrior,” beamed Athene doing up a quilt around her neck like a robe, and grabbing a fountain pen.

“Why do you have a pen?” asked Niki confused.

“The pen is mightier than the sword!” beamed Athene.

“We also need, a brave knight,” said Anthony, “and a beautiful princess.”

“Why do we need a princess?” asked Niki.

“So that you can try and dazzle the dragon with your beauty!” laughed Athene.

Athene helped Niki into one of her old party dresses which trailed behind Niki when she walked. Michael was being a brave knight, so was using Athene’s tennis racket as a sword and Anthony bright up a saucepan from the kitchen for Michael to use as a helmet.

“Right,” said Anthony straightening Michael’s helmet, “now our questing party is ready, where do we start the search?”

“The attic!” said Michael.

“It might have wanted to help Uncle Marky with his tap,” laughed Niki.

The questing party left Athene’s bedroom and set out on their journey across the hallway.

“You got your flaming torch?” asked Anthony.

“Yes, oh great wizard,” said Athene turning on her torch.

“Welcome to the Cave of Wonders,” said Anthony looking around the room crowded with boxes of old toys and books and trunks of old clothes.

“Maybe the dragons decided to claim it as his new horde,” suggested Athene.

“How big is the dragon?” asked Niki as they looked through the boxes.

“I don’t know,” said Athene, “it could be quite small, baby dragons aren’t bigger than a teddy bear.”

“How big are adult dragons?” asked Michael.

“Some can be as big as houses,” said Anthony, “but those are huge and usually camp out in the mountains.”

“But some are only the size of bathtubs,” said Athene.

“How big do you think our dragon is?” asked Niki.

“Not much bigger than a bathtub I wouldn’t have thought,” said Anthony, “if it was any bigger, we would have seen it.”

“The biggest dragon is the size of a great big London bus, and lives on a cave right at the top of Mount Everest.”

“That’s a big dragon,” nodded Michael.

“That’s a scary dragon,” said Niki.

“Don’t worry princess Niki,” chuckled Anthony, “we’ll sort it out.”

“Tell you what,” said Athene, as they finished searching the attic.

“This elven warrior is a bit tired of adventuring, why don’t you two help the wizard find the dragon.”

“But we can’t fight the dragon without you!” said Niki.

“Yes, you can,” said Athene passing Niki her pen.

“Be careful with that, pens can be very dangerous.”

“Where do you think we might find a dragon?”

“Fire!” exclaimed Michael.

“You’re right! Where there’s smoke there must be a dragon.”

“Let’s go check the sitting room,” said Anthony rushing down the stairs with Niki and Michael, whilst Athene went to go and find a suitable ‘dragon’ for them to find.

They checked by the fire, and Niki practically climbed up the fireplace looking for the dragon. It was a good thing the fire hadn’t been lit, otherwise, Niki might have gotten burnt. They even checked by the oven in the kitchen.

“Where else could a dragon be?” muttered Anthony.

“Maybe somewhere quiet,” suggested Niki.

“I think we should go check the wizard's lair,” said Anthony going back upstairs with the princess and the brave knight.

They checked ‘the Wizards Lair’ which was really the linen cupboard, they didn’t find a dragon, but Michael did find a piece of paper.

“What’s that?” asked Anthony.

“I don’t know,” said Michael giving Anthony the paper.

“It’s a clue!” said Anthony.

“I am not a very big dragon, and I needed to somewhere to rest. When you need to rest, I find mulling it over the best.”

“Mulling it over?” asked Niki confused.

“What’s that?” said Michael.

“Where do you mull things over?” thought Anthony.

“The bath!” exclaimed Michael before they all ran next door to the bathroom.

“I’ve found a dragon!” yelled Niki as she got to the bathroom first.

“What?” asked Anthony not believing it.

But there was indeed a dragon in the bathroom.

There was one of Athene’s quilts hanging in front of the bath, and it had a red velvet dragon sewn onto the middle.

“Wow!” breathed Michael.

“Shall we see if the dragon’s left anything behind?” asked Anthony taking the quilt down and folding it away.

“It has!” exclaimed Michael.

“There’s a dragon’s egg,” said Niki her eyes wide in amazement.

Athene had taken a rugby ball and wrapped it in tinfoil so that it really did look like a shiny silvery dragon’s egg.

“I think the Mummy dragon has moved on,” said Anthony, “but he had left this as a present.”

“Do you think it will hatch?” asked Michael.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Anthony, “the Mummy’s gone, but you can keep the egg.”

Niki and Michael rushed back up to Athene’s room, where she was pretending to be asleep.

“Athy!” screamed Niki pouncing on her.

“Yes Cariad?” she asked stretching obviously.

“We found a dragons egg,” said Niki.

“Well,” said Anthony, “I think that was good afternoons work.”

“You don’t find a dragons egg every day,” laughed Athene.

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