by: Flaming Trails
“Eat it all up, that’s it – what?” Victor glanced up from the edge of the beach to see his wife standing behind him, eyes aglow with excitement. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was the most probable cause. “It’s hatching?”
“The nursery wizards say it’ll be ready in mere minutes,” Alice nodded, grinning. “Come on!”
“On my way!” Victor tossed the last of the zazzberries into the waiting mouth of Bubbles, then hurried after his beloved. “It’s been a long couple of days, hasn’t it?” he said as they passed through the magical barrier that surrounded the water dragons’ habitat, stepping from soft sand to lush grass.
“The longest,” Alice agreed. “But it’ll be worth it once this latest addition is ready to join the others.”
A quick trip through the portals later, they were at the nursery, where a large rainbow-striped egg awaited, tended by two old men with long beards. “Ah, you’re just in time!” one announced as the couple jogged up. “Fully incubated and ready for hatching! Or display, of course, but I doubt you want to do that.”
“Certainly not,” Victor confirmed with a nod.
“Crack the shell and let’s see what’s inside,” Alice added, bouncing impatiently on her heels.
“All right then.” The wizard waved his hand, and the ghostly image of a hammer appeared above the egg, giving it the lightest of taps. A hairline crack appeared, spreading from one end to the other – then the shell split, and out tumbled a plump baby dragon in the same rainbow stripes at the egg. It looked around at the humans with big anxious eyes, then let out a squawking cry and tried to climb out of its nest. Victor hastily picked it up before it could fall. “Hello little one,” he murmured as the dragon snuggled into his chest, its feathery “spikes” brushing his chin. “Oh, he’s beautiful. . .”
“He looks a bit like the ones I saw on Radcliffe’s Chinese vases and scrolls back in London,” Alice said, petting the creature’s head. “Not as long, but I’m sure that’ll change once we’ve gotten some blushrooms in him.” She glanced at their head nursery wizard. “What’s your idea for a name?”
“We rather like ‘Boone,’” the man said, smiling behind his expanse of white beard. “As he is a boon for your park.”
Victor and Alice looked at each other, then nodded. “Boone it is,” Victor said. “Seamus will be happy for the company, I’m sure.” He grinned as the dragon licked his hand. “Of all the potential fates I could have conjured up for myself, I never would have guessed being pulled through a portal and becoming a dragon keeper.”
“Neither did I,” Alice said, scratching Boone’s head. “But I think I prefer life floating near the sun and surrounded by such magnificent creatures.”
Victor kissed her cheek. “Me too.”