Chapter 12: Heir
“So, you were originally raised by Merlin the Great?” Maddie asks Tracey only a little bit later. She seems to have gotten close to him a little too soon.
Tracey nods. “Oh yes. Sensei Merlin was always the odd fella in the house. He always said, ‘Polish my shoes, Trace, if you want to pass your midterms’! or ‘Don’t mention that word,’ referring to himself.”
Laughing, Maddie says, “Oh, you’re so funny.”
My cheeks flush. Dawg gone all it, Maddie! He’s a claxton! I actually think she likes him because he can talk.
We are hiking through the island’s dense jungle, and Tracey is the line leader. He slices away vines with his shuriken so we can push our way through. The older dragon is too big for the jungle, so he’s flying overhead.
Maddie bumps Tracey with her shoulder. “So, how long have you been a merman?”
No one cares, Maddie. Again, he’s a dawg gone claxton. Why am I even following him? Oh, I know why. I’m trying to protect the love of my life. Although, I have to admit, Tracey’s backstory is a little interesting.
He explains to Maddie, “I actually was born a fairy. My mother was one, but my dad is a claxton.”
“A fairy. Right.” I still feel like Maddie doesn’t entirely believe this is actually happening to her.
“Ah, here we are.” Tracey holds up his hand to stop us. We’ve made it to the middle of the island, right where the cliff is. A winding staircase stretches up the length of it, taking on the form of switchbacks. The weather here is rather odd. Where Tracey, Maddie, the dragon, and I are, it’s sunny, but it’s dark and creepy on the other end.
Tracey peers over his shoulder to me. “At the top of the cliff, Will, is the weapon you’ll need to defeat Calamitous. If you succeed, then your clan will accept you back.”
Wait, what? So, this whole thing is a test? Does this mean that my family is looking for me?
“So, what exactly is the Water Clan, Trace?” Maddie inquires as the older dragon lands next to me.
“Ah, I’m glad you asked,” Tracey says with a small smile. He lifts his hand and snaps his fingers. Right at his command, sticks from the jungle whoosh past our hair.
I finally notice that he has pointy ears.
The sticks come together and create a small mountain–a fire place–and he uses magic to light it up. There is now a roaring fire in the center of our little circle.
Tracey gestures for all of us to join him. “Gather around, children, and I shall tell you a story–a story that Sensei Merlin shared with me a long time ago.”
Okay, I know I said I don’t like him very much, but–I don’t know what it is–he is starting to grow on me.
Maddie, the older dragon, and I plop down around the fire. I hug my shell close to my chest and scoot a bit closer to maybe my father? I’m still not sure.
“The Water Clan...” Tracey explains. “They are known as the Guardians of the Bermuda Triangle.” He orders for some of the fire to lift into the sky, and it takes on a triangular shape. “They’ve been here for thousands of years, protecting ships and planes from falling victim to the Monster.”
“You mean Calamitous?” Maddie guesses.
“Yes, and no,” Tracey answers.
“What do you mean?”
Tracey chuckles. “Deep in the Bermuda Triangle lies the Lost City of Atlantis. Thousands of years ago, Poseidon claimed it as his own. A man of foul intuition, he destroyed everything in his path, giving the gods no choice. They created a legion of autonomous creatures–the dragons; the Water Clan–who took away Poseidon’s powers. However, his remnants still lurk–”
“And that’s what Will and I have to destroy,” Maddie interrupts. “Poseidon’s heir.”
“Preciously,” Tracey answers with a nod.
Oh boy. That sounds like fun...the heir of Poseidon...the Monster of the Bermuda Triangle. Calamitous.
I’m nervous. This is a lot to put on Maddie and I’s shoulders. Why can’t Tracey defeat Calamitous himself? Why does it have to be us? Sigh, merpeople, right?
Tracey pushes himself to his feet and explains to Maddie and I, “Now, you must go.” He glances at me. “Flying is prohibited. You and Maddie must make this journey on foot. The heir of Poseidon is only growing stronger.”
“Yes, sir!” Maddie quickly states. “Let’s go, Will!”
I’m not even halfway through a thought when she grabs my arm and lugs me over to the cliff’s spiral staircase.
Together, we wave at Tracey and the older dragon. We might as well, in case things go terribly wrong.
I feel a great sense of unease, but I do not know why. I sure hope Maddie and I aren’t walking into a trap. Remember, we’re hanging out with a claxton.
She moves her hand across the cliff’s sharp rocks. It cuts her fingertips, leaving red paint smeared on the dirt, but she does not seem to care. And here I thought she wasn’t the adventurous type.
“You can do this, Will,” Tracey tells me. “The Water Clan is special, and we need to protect it.”
Wise, old–excuse me–young claxton.
I take a deep breath. Just a little more, dude, and then you can finally return to the serenity of your island.
How much do you want to bet this is actually a dream, and that I’m still resting in my canopy with my shell collection? I’ve had enough, but my clan is counting on me. I need to defeat Poseidon’s heir and prove to them that I’m a man. I need to defeat Calamitous whether it kills me.
There! I said it!