They walked along the small street in silence. Not a sound could be heard and the streets were deserted. The closer they got to the gathering place, the queasier they became. Simon wanted nothing more than to return home, even when this meant leaving his friends behind.
One thing bothered him though. Anjoux had not said one word about how they were supposed to return to their world. It was too late to ask now, for they had arrived at the large square. The whole population of Leyhda had gathered here in their honour. Just as at their arrival, people stared at them curiously and whispered to one another, the difference being this time that the faces were friendly and smiling.
The crowd formed a lane, at the end of which their friends were waiting for them. As they passed by the moor elves, one after the other bowed in reverence. Here and there they heard a quiet "thank you Simon" and "long live Simon Knox." Everyone had turned out to bid them farewell.
Elian, Lhasmo and Wilgram were seated in the middle. To the right, Nanik and Dakko were goofing off, as usual, but Teldan settled them down at once. After they had passed through most of the crowd, they also noticed Grewels standing with his brothers, all with solemn expressions on their faces. As they stepped up before the Elders, Anjoux left them and joined Nanik and Dakko. The crowd hushed as Elian, Lhasmo and Wilgram arose and bowed down to Simon and Richie.
"Come forward, Simon!", Elian said. Before Simon knew it, Richie had shoved him forward in front of the Council of Elders. Elian walked up to Simon and ceremoniously handed him the precious dagger that he had thrust into Rodan's chest. Simon gazed at the silver shining blade and the gem-garnished handle with high respect. However, he had to wonder why Elian was handing over the dagger to him.
"You are an extraordinary young lad, Simon. We are greatly indebted to you. Your courage, and especially your commitment, has been a lesson to us how important it is to be there for one another. You not only saved us from Rodan's reign of terror but you have also returned hope to Morana. We are forever in your debt.
The prophecy of the dragon Asragur has now been fulfilled. You are the Chosen One. You were ready to sacrifice your own happiness for the good of all. Thanks to you, peace has returned to our country. The dagger you are holding, Simon, symbolizes Asragur's power and your right to the dragon throne. Provided that is what you want. You can be the new king to lead Morana into a prosperous future", Elian spoke his words of gratitude to Simon.
No sooner had Elian spoken the words when all at once there was a roar of cheer and applause from the crowd. Unsure of what to say, Simon glanced to Richie. This time, however, Richie would be of no help and could only look at Simon helplessly.
Simon looked thoughtfully at the dagger he was holding. He knew what he had to do. He had to choose his words wisely so as not to offend the elves. He stepped forward slowly and looked at all of them, one after another, before he cleared his throat and scratched his head bashfully.
"Many thanks, to all of you. Thank you for your trust. But I am not a king. I am a boy and my future lies in my own world. Besides, I have already promised Richie that we would return home. It's time for us to go. I cannot imagine living a life as lonely as Asragur once did. It's not right to choose one person and to plunge him into misfortune. Together you are much stronger and can accomplish so much more that any lone individual ever could", Simon said. He slowly walked pass his friends, till he came to stand in front of Grewels and his brothers.
"Morana's destiny has always been governed by dragons", Simon was now speaking to the whole assembly. "I think it should be that way in the future as well. Since the beginning of time, the dragons have sacrificed themselves for your well-being. They are the true kings of Morana. Only they have the right to ascend the dragon throne. Therefore I have decided to hand over this dagger to our friends, the dragons", Simon continued and turned to the cliff dragons. But neither Grewels nor his brothers made any effort to take the precious knife from Simon. Instead, some of them looked down to the ground, others up to the sky. Just so they didn't have to look Simon in the eyes.
"One of you should grab this dagger. I surely can't take it home with me", Simon whispered. Grewels' brothers looked at each other in mutual consent and a jolt went through the group. Grewels received a slight kick and stumbled up to Simon. He looked around at his brothers indignantly, their faces feigning innocence, and gave them the evil eye.
"Well finally. I was beginning to wonder whether you could come to an agreement", Simon laughed in relief and presented Grewels with the dagger.
"What do you mean with agreement? The cowards gave me a push!", Grewels complained and held the dagger in his claws at a loss.
"That is a very wise decision, Simon", Elian was pleased and a cheer arose from the crowd for Simon and the dragons. Richie decided to join Simon and Grewels now. For one last time, all their friends gathered around them.
The time for farewell drew near. While the crowd was celebrating their heroes in high spirits, it was with heavy hearts that Simon and Richie said goodbye to Nanik, Dakko and Teldan.
Elian, Lhasmo, Anjoux and Grewels accompanied the two boys through the endless labyrinth of the city of elves, to the waterfall where their adventure had begun many months before.
Sceptically, Simon and Richie looked at the waterfall that plunged deep down into the sea far below and hid the entranceway to Leyhda. How were they supposed to find their way home from here? They recalled the abyss behind the waterfall with unease, where the rugged rock walls descended down into the foaming waves of the sea. They didn't have to wait long for the answer. With a single move of the hand, Elian opened an invisible gate in the midst of the rushing water. "It's time to say farewell", the Elder told the others to say goodbye to their friends.
Lhasmo was the first to step forward and placed his hands on their shoulders."You are two brave fellows. You can truly be proud of yourselves. You have accomplished a great deal, Simon. Who knows? Perhaps our paths will meet again someday. May the spirit of Asragur watch over both of you."
Now it was Anjoux's turn. With tears in her eyes, the little elf stood before them and forced a smile. She brought forth two radiant sun crystals from under her cloak, fastened to leather straps. "I believe these belong to you", she smiled sadly and placed them around their necks. "Don't forget us", Anjoux sniffed and kissed each of them on the cheek.
"We won't", Simon stammered bashfully and felt his face grow red. At last Grewels came up to them and hugged them against his plump belly. "I'm going to miss you two. It'll surely be boring here without you", the dragon sniffed.
With a wink of his eye, he whispered to Simon. "Thank you for the dagger. It's nice and sharp. Perfect for pruning my claws", Grewels laughed and pushed Simon and Richie towards the waterfall.
"It's time", Elian urged them to get ready. "Hold on to each other tightly and close your eyes when you go through the gate. Don't be afraid. Nothing will harm you!", Elian encouraged them. They turned one last time to look at Grewels and the elves, took each other by the hand and disappeared into the curtain of falling water.
After passing through the gate, the cold water instantly plunged them down into the depth. They coasted down a tunnel full of images and memories. Simon heard someone call his name. The voice was far away, like from another time. And suddenly all was dark and still. Only the voice continued to call his name.
"Simon, Simon", the voice called out again. Someone had hold of him and gently shook him on the shoulder. Simon sat up in panic and looked around with wide open eyes.
"Boy, oh boy, you were sound asleep!", Aunt Abygale greeted him. Simon peered up into her kind face.
"Oh, good morning, Aunt Aby", Simon stammered and gave a big yawn.
"Well, apparently that was a long night", Abygale Greenwood laughed and tousled Simon's unkempt hair.
"It's going to be a beautiful summer day. You sleepyheads need to get out and do something in the fresh air, instead of loafing around half the day in this musty old tent", shooing the late risers out of the tent and then hurrying to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for her small guests.
Somewhat disoriented, Simon looked around. They were indeed back at Greenwood Castle. The smell of summer and the sea was in the air and a light breeze arched the yellow-spotted tent over their heads, lightly shaking the rusted poles.
Richie woke up as well, crawled out of his sleeping bag and blinked sleepily at Simon. He rubbed the sleepers from his eyes and pinched them closed, a bit disturbed.
"Oh man, that was some dream", Richie yawned and looked for his glasses.
"I don't believe it was a dream", Simon replied, pulling the sun crystal from Anjoux out from under his sweater and holding it for Richie to see. He had to look twice to believe what he was looking at.
Then Richie also produced the shimmering pebble from under his sweater.
"Oh my goodness, Anjoux!", they both exclaimed. And just like that, it all came back to them.
"Come on, Simon, see if it still works!", Richie said excitedly. But Simon had no idea what he meant.
"See if what works?", he asked and handed Richie his glasses from the backpack.
"Well, of course, whether you can think yourself to anywhere. What else?", he said to Simon impatiently and put on his glasses.
"You really think I can still do it?", Simon asked uncertainly.
"No idea", Richie replied. Wouldn't it be great if you could?"
Simon began to concentrate on the gorse bush, from where the night before the glistening ball of light had appeared to them. But after a couple of minutes he gave up and fell back onto his sleeping bag.
"Too bad, It doesn't work anymore, Richie!", Simon fretted and looked at Richie's disappointed face.
"What a pity!", Richie replied crestfallen.
"Oh well", he sighed. "No more ‘thinking away’ for you and I'm blind as a bat again", he tried to brighten Simon up.
"I'm dying of hunger", Simon said and leaped up. "Come on, you slowpoke! First one to the kitchen gets the last piece of bacon!", he called to Richie and rushed out of the tent in the direction of the house. Richie jumped right up and chased after Simon through the flowery garden. He caught up at the garden gate, where Simon stopped and froze.
"Hey, what's wrong? Are you willing to do without that last piece of bacon?", Richie laughed and stood still panting.
"Didn't you see the old man on the other side of the street? I think he is watching the house", Simon whispered quietly to Richie.
Richie suddenly had a bad feeling. He slowly turned his gaze to the small road that passed by Greenwood Castle.
"Man, you gave me a scare", Richie groaned in relief. "Don't do that again! I have already been expecting Rodan to personally knock on the door here. Nobody's there, Simon. You're seeing ghosts!", he tried ridding his friend of such dark thoughts.
Simon turned around again. Richie was right. He was relieved to see that there was nobody around.A raven perched in a nearby tree and watched the boys curiously as they disappeared laughing into the house.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Jens HoffmannWrite a Review