by Allie Z.
A young man is on the run from society and has a quest: find his friend, and his identity.
The instructions given to Tay Gwen were simple. The task at hand: basically impossible. Due to his father’s position as the Great Lord for the Palace of Crystal, Tay was chosen to be the Imperial Dragon Rider, which meant he was to choose, train, and ride a dragon in the Imperial Dragon Emulation. The only problem: he only rode a dragon once in his life. The Emulation was held every 1,000 years, at the edge of the Sea of Spirits. Emperor Spyro, and for that matter, the entire Island of Zanconi, depended on him to make sure that goodwill and evil were balanced. Every island in Xambia competed in the Emulation, including the Island of the Darkness. The other islands worked together to be sure that the Island of the Darkness didn’t win. If they did, they would get the Crown of Jewels, therefore resulting in an imbalance of evil in Xambia. Tay and his dragon must fight a war, one small battle at a time. But will he be able to stop evil from quenching its thirst for hatred on the people of Xambia? Or instead, will Xambia blame him for the rise of evil in their world?
Tay read the letter for the thousandth time. He knew it by heart now, and each time he read it, he felt like stomping up to Emperor Spyro to shout in his face. Did the Emperor actually believe that he was supposed to be the Imperial Dragon Rider when the only time he actually rode a dragon was at his friend’s birthday party? The thought of even going near a huge yard of fire-breathing, ferocious dragons to choose one was overwhelming, let alone training and riding one. Tay paced furiously, his mind racing. “Why does my father have to be the Great Lord, and why did he have to volunteer me to be the Imperial Dragon Rider?” He thought out loud. His thoughts were interrupted by a peck on the head, and as his pet peregrine falcon, Jinx, landed gently on his arm, he said, “Why can’t I ride you, Jinx?” The bird just stared, then flew up to a low branch. Tay climbed up after him. Jinx tilted his head, as if he was studying him. Tay laughed, then gave him a few pieces of jerky, which Jinx ate like candy.
Tay climbed down, then started walking north into downtown Zanconi. He was going to the Palace of Crystal, which was an hour walk due to the badly paved roads, or a short train ride. Jinx followed above him, then landed on his shoulder. Tay decided he would take the train to Bergham Street, then walk another half mile to the Palace. He caught the 6:00 train and walked through the crowd, which started parting to make way for him. Another thing he hated about his dad’s job was this. He was treated as royalty, when really his personality was that of a street boy. Still, he was used to rich social culture and palace life, so he didn’t complain. As he sat down and ordered a drink, he thought, “I must be bold and tell the Kingdom that I can’t do this.” He was scared. What would his father think of him, and what would the Island think of him? That he was a coward, a wimp that let the harmony of Xambia be shattered. He was in two minds. What was he supposed to do?
Tay didn’t have to wait long to get to the Palace. A few minutes later, he was standing in front of his father’s office. Mr. Gwen was busy with the Great Lord from the Island of Greens. Tay put his ear against the heavy, solid wood door. He couldn’t hear much, but could make out the muffled voices talking about the Emulation. His father then stood up, and so did the other Great Lord, and as they made their way towards Tay, their voices became clearer. “He’s your son, Dothan, he’ll pull it off,” he heard the other Great Lord say. After that, Tay couldn’t hear anymore, for he had to hide behind the corner of the Palace hall.
Tay realized not only would his hometown be disappointed in him, but also every Xambian against the Dark Side. Tay shuddered to think about the Dark Side. Hundreds of years ago, the balance was disrupted because of the Emulation, and the Island of Darkness took over. Life was hell for other Xambians, as they were forced to become slaves to the Great Ruler, Casper Joseano. They treated them so badly, that they even took away the sun and all sources of warmth. Xambia soon became a place of darkness and despair. But peace was restored, after Joseano was defeated.
Tay took a deep breath. He still wasn’t sure if he wanted to give up, but he decided it was for the best. Perhaps Emperor Spyro would find another Imperial Dragon Rider. He entered the reception area, trying his best not to look stressed. The lady behind the desk looked at him, and said, “Mr. Gwen, you were summoned to the Throne Room by Emperor Spyro.” She glanced at the large bird on Tay’s shoulder and frowned. “I’m not sure if he would be pleased with the bird coming along.” Tay blushed and told his faithful pet, “Go now, Jinx, and wait for me outside.” He gave him a piece of jerky and stroked his crested breast before letting him fly off. Then he was taken into the Throne Room itself, which almost no one ever visited. Even he only visited a few times in his life, although he had special permission to enter whenever he wanted after becoming the Imperial Dragon Rider.
At first, he was blinded by a sudden darkness, and a cold breeze sent chills down his spine. But momentarily, he heard the switch flick on and the room flooded with light. Tay felt a rough, callused hand, on the back of his neck, and immediately recognized that it was his father.
Dothan Gwen was a kind man, but as the Great Lord, was tired with all the burdens his job came with. He was only in his late forties, but already had patches of gray scattered along his head, and bags under his eyes. It had been years since he had gotten a night of proper rest, especially after Tay’s mother had died.
Tay vaguely remembered his mother, and often times he dreamed of her. He remembered her soft, warm hands, and her comforting smile. But he had only been a small child when she died, and that was all that came to mind when Tay thought of her. But he could tell that his father thought of her much more than he did, and often times, he would sit, lost in thought, for hours. When that happened, Tay knew better than to interrupt his father’s thoughts.
But now, as his father lead him to a seat, Tay felt something new. He felt almost as if he owed it to his mother to become the Rider. He quickly waved the thought away though.
Soon, Emperor Spyro came in, with his long cape dragging behind him. “Dothan, Tay, how glad I am to see you,” he greeted in a low, deep voice. Tay quickly bowed, and saw his father do the same.
When they had risen, Tay looked into the Emperor’s face. But past the cheerful smile he put on, he sensed urgency and nervousness. After all, the Emulation might be the last time that Xambians saw the sun again.
After a moment of silence, Tay’s father spoke up. “Emperor, perhaps it is time that my son performs the choosing ceremony.” Tay knew what this meant. He would become eternally bonded with the dragon that he was destined to be with. His stomach twisted tightly, and his heart leapt into his throat. If he was to drop out, this was his only chance.
The Emperor gazed into the boy’s eyes, considering whether or not to let him free into the Yard of the Dragons. Finally, he shifted his focus back to Tay’s father, and said, “We shall proceed with the Ceremony immediately.” Tay felt enraged, and wanted to shout, “Do I not have a say in my own future?” But soon, he found himself in front of hundreds of dragons, one of which would be bonded with him for life.
Tay slowly slipped past the gate, his father’s eyes boring into his back. He looked for a dragon in which he saw the Fire, but even after searching for nearly an hour, he found nothing.
The Fire of Eternal Connection was a bonding sign, which you could see faintly in the eyes of the dragon. When he went back to his father, disappointed, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and looked up to none other but the Emperor. He smiled weakly and said, “It takes time, but you will find yours.”
Tay quickly turned around and again squinted into the eyes of the dragons, most of whom regarded him with little interest. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flickering flame. He turned around abruptly to see a majestic purple, but rather small, dragon. When he looked into the dragon’s eyes, he could see not only the fire, but a woman. He rubbed his eyes, but sure enough, a small, plump woman was revealed in the eyes of the dragon. Tay suddenly recognized this character as his mother, and felt a surge of sudden longing and connection.
The dragon now gazed back at him, and Tay wondered if the dragon could see the flame in his eyes. After all, it had to be a mutual relationship in order for the bonding to occur. Slowly, he stepped forward, trying to look and feel as calm as he could. As he inched closer, he could see the rough scales that the dragon possessed. When he was standing next to him, he heard the dragon snort, and he thought it was happy that he was there. Tay slowly mounted the dragon, and tried to think about something pleasant so that the dragon would stay calm. When he felt happiness under him, he knew that this indeed was his dragon.
He tried to think, “Fly, Juno, fly.” When he realized what was happening, he almost flipped. First of all, he was flying, and with each second they were rapidly gaining altitude. Secondly, he somehow knew that the dragon’s name was Juno. Tay thought that it probably told him without realizing. As he looked down, he saw a figure waving at him, and guessed it was his father or Emperor Spyro. By then, they were too far up to tell the difference. Suddenly, Juno started a nosedive, and Tay felt like puking.
“No, Juno, we’re going to crash,” he shouted out loud. This immediately made the dragon pull up. Tay smiled. Whatever he said, the dragon did. It was like magic. As he squinted towards the shoreline, he saw Jinx, headed straight this way. “Slow down, slow down,” he thought to Juno. Of course, within a blink, the dragon slowed down. “Land, Juno, land right near the Yard of Dragons”, he said. Within seconds, he was being patted on the back by his father and received salutes from the watching citizens.
After receiving a warm welcome back to the ground and being presented by a warm cup of herbal tea, Tay felt much better about the Emulation. In fact, he felt like seeing his dragon again. “What needs to be done for training Juno? Tay asked Emperor Spyro.
Seeing that Tay was getting the wrong idea, Spyro said, “Tay, it isn’t as easy as flying. What you did there was a good start, but---.” But Tay’s father, seeing the Emperor uncomfortable, chimed in. “Tay, my son, it isn’t as easy as just flying. There will be many obstacles in the way, and without training, you and your dragon are not very likely to survive.”
Tay was taken aback by this. Did his father happily volunteer him for something that might get him killed? A lump started to form in Tay’s throat, as he thought back to the previous few weeks, before he became the Imperial Dragon Rider. Did he do something wrong that made his father mad at him? But surely, he wouldn’t want Tay to die, did he? As these thoughts raced through Tay’s head, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for himself.
As if reading Tay’s mind, his father excused them both and pulled him aside. “Tay, I didn’t volunteer you for this because of the dangers. I volunteered you because before your mother died, she told me that her one wish was to have you as the Imperial Dragon Rider.” Tay was aghast. He remembered the voice inside his head, the feeling of owe in his heart, and the image of his mother, flickering in the dragon’s eyes.
Tay couldn’t take it anymore. He brushed past his father and stormed out of the castle before anybody could stop him. “Think, Tay, think,” he said out loud. Just then, Jinx swooped by and gave a playful peck on the head like he always did. But Tay wasn’t in the mood. “Go away, Jinx, you silly bird, I can’t play right now.” He pushed Jinx away and sat down. Jinx, obviously offended, flew away. Tay already felt a pang of guilt for shoving away one of his only friends.
Suddenly, a girl popped up out of nowhere and sat next to Tay. Dazed, he looked at the girl, and as his eyes came into focus, he could see that she was actually quite pretty. Her hair was a light shade of auburn, and she had brilliantly blue eyes, which twinkled when she smiled. There seemed to be almost an aura, a glow around her.
Coming out of the trance, he stuttered, “Who, who are you? The girl smiled and said in an accent Tay didn’t recognize, “Olive, nice to meet you. And you are?” She smiled sweetly, and Tay, confused, said, “What? Oh, uh, Tay. Tay Gwen.” Olive stretched and said casually, “Oh, wow, it’s been 12 years since I’ve lived here.” She glanced at Tay, and, seeing his confusion, said, “I was born here, silly. I moved up North a few years ago, but man, it is good to be back.” That explained the foreign accent and the causality. Tay had always heard that the people of North Island were calm and collected. She stretched again and sighed. “So, what’s your story?” She asked Tay after a moment of silence.
“Well, I lived here my whole life…” he trailed off. “If this girl lived here 12 years ago, then my father must have known her,” he thought to himself. “How old are you?” He asked the girl, and she smiled broadly. “I’m 16,” she said smugly.
Tay tried to focus, to answer Olive without sounding stupid. “I’m 16 too, uh, Olive,” he said almost giddily. Olive smiled her enchanting smile again and stood up. “Well, I must go, Father will be worried,” she said in a singsong voice. Tay, processing what Olive had said rather slowly, finally stood up as well and stuck out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Olive, see you around.” Olive shook his hand, smiled yet again, and turned away.
When Olive was out of view, Tay let out a long, low whistle and saw Jinx immediately come his way. If there was one great thing about his falcon, it was Jinx’s loyalty. Jinx stood tall on a low branch and turned away from Tay, apparently still angry.
“Oh, come now Jinx, don’t be like that!” Tay yelled up the tree. He received many curious stares as to why he was shouting at a tree. Smiling slightly at the small crowd and trying to break the eye contact, he whistled again and held out a piece of jerky in hopes that Jinx would come down. When he did not, Tay quit trying, muttering to himself that “his bird just had it in for him,” and “he’ll come crying back when he’s hungry”. As he walked away, he heard the cry of Jinx and the great, strong flaps of the large bird, and saw that he was flying in the other direction, away from home and towards the seashore.
Tay ran the rest of the way home, thinking about Jinx, and only when he reached the doorstep of his stucco house did he think about the curious girl named Olive. But too tired to think straight, he decided that he would ask his father about it tomorrow at breakfast. Half asleep already, he ascended the stairs to his cozy bedroom at the end of the upstairs hall. The door creaked as he entered, and Tay made sure to skip over the loose floorboard right in front of the entrance.
The next morning, Tay got dressed in the riding gear that he found on top of his desk. He also found a note-
Went early to work. You have an appointment with the Emperor at 1:00. Wear the riding gear. Sorry, cannot come to watch you ride today. And I apologize about yesterday. We will talk more when I get home. Make sure to be back before dinner. Can you pick up groceries on the way home? List on fridge.
Tay put the note aside and finished washing up and getting dressed. He would have time to do what he wished until 1:00. Tay thought to himself, “I’ll get the shopping done now.” So he changed out of his riding gear once again and slipped on a casual-fit pale yellow tunic. Only after he shut the door of his house and slipped the list into his pocket did he realize that he didn’t eat breakfast. Not wanting to go back inside, he scanned his surroundings for a food cart. He spotted one at the far end of the community and started towards it, until he realized there was someone there. The auburn hair, waving in the breeze; could it be? Stopping in his tracks and squinting through the glare of the sunlight, he saw that his suspicions were correct. It was Olive.
Not wanting to seem desperate for food, he started towards the cart again, more casually this time. When he got there, he smiled at Olive rather shyly, and ordered the most expensive item on the menu. The vendor, Mr. Velimum, raised his eyebrows in surprise at Tay, because he usually ordered cheap food, but he didn’t say anything.
Tay turned back around with his food in one hand and his other hand in his pocket. He walked to the very same bench on which he had met Olive the day before. Not surprisingly, a few minutes later, Olive joined him.
Tay looked at her more closely this time. Today she was wearing a sunny yellow dress that went down almost to her knees and lacy white sandals that matched with her white ruffle-style hair tie. Tay smiled and said, “Good morning.” Olive yawned and stretched casually before replying with a “same to you”. Tay, noticing that he was finished with his food, said, “Well, see you around, I guess. I have to go see the Emperor.” With that, he stood up. “Wait!” He heard Olive call as he started towards the train. He turned around and saw her right behind him, panting. “Did you say you were going to see the Emperor?” She gasped. Tay smiled broadly, and said proudly, “Yeah, I was chosen to be the Imperial Dragon Rider, so I’m going to train today.” Impressed, but regaining her coolness, Olive said, “Oh, cool, I’ll leave you to it.” Tay smiled, waved quickly, and briskly walked away. His thoughts, however, had turned to the fact that Jinx still hadn’t come home. He tried one more time with the special low whistle, and looked up at the sky. But Tay saw nothing but the dark clouds that covered the previously blue sky. Disappointed, he kept walking to the now emerging train.
The train, painted white and green, rattled into the station, and Tay was let into the Royal Train Car towards the front, with its blazing gold emblem standing out from its peeling background. As he made himself comfortable, his thoughts swirled in a twister of confusion. Only after the long whistle of the train did he snap out of his daze.
When Tay stepped out into the cool morning air, he already saw the hustle and bustle of the city, now busy and teeming with people weaving in and out of marketplaces, schools, and offices. The wind whipped him in the face, and Tay now wished he had brought his scarf, which was still hanging on the clothesline.
Remembering what he had to do, Tay ran towards the town’s grocery store, High Court Market. He jammed his numb hand into his pocket and fished for the list that his father had left him that morning.
After getting the groceries, he stood outside on the train station platform, wondering yet again about Olive and Jinx. “Was Jinx hungry?” He thought madly. Just then, as if reading his mind, Jinx swooped down in front of him. “Jinx!” He called happily. The bird, with one strong flap of his wings, flew up to Tay’s shoulder. Tay hugged the bird, and gave him an apple which he had just bought for himself. Jinx pecked at it, but apparently didn’t like its sweet taste, because he spit it out. Tay laughed just as the train rolled into the station.
Now that he was in the train with only Jinx for company, his mind wandered to the coming training session with the Emperor. His father and the Emperor had said yesterday that it would be very difficult, but after meeting Olive and losing Jinx, he hadn’t given the previous day’s events a moment’s thought.
He was still mad at his father for volunteering him for something so dangerous, but he understood the position that Dothan Gwen was in. “My father had loved my mother very much, so he must have promised to follow her last wish,” Tay thought to himself. But he didn’t have time to ponder his looming questions, because the train had reached Emerald Station.
Tay and Jinx got off the train and started making their way towards their home. Tay paused to look up at the small, stonefront house which he had called home. The marble that made up the front, although once beautiful, had chipped and cracked because of the weather, and was covered with moss. It looked quite shabby, truthfully, and Tay decided that he was going to do something about it after he got back from training. Little did he know that he would not get that chance.
Tay let himself into the house with the small, silver key that he wore around his neck. Since he was about 5 years old, he always had the key with him, only taking it off to take a shower and sleep. He had cut a strip of cotton from an old shirt and dyed it bright yellow, and dangled the key, as if a locket, from his strip.
Tay, seeing that the time was 11:45, walked into the kitchen. He put away the groceries one by one, and when he thought he was done, he felt an object at the bottom of the bag. It was cool and hard, almost like glass. He picked it up and lifted it out of the bag. Tay saw that it was a jar-like object in the shape of a crown. He didn’t remember picking it up, but after thinking hard as to how it got there, decided that it must have fallen into the cart without him knowing. He turned it around to find a price tag, contemplating whether or not it was worth it to return the item. But there was no tag on it, or any other words or logos that provided any evidence that it was bought at the store. Shrugging, Tay placed the glass piece on his dresser drawer in his room, figuring that it would look nice by his cactus plant that sat on the shelves.
After returning downstairs, he absentmindedly prepared a ham and cheese sandwich, and sat alone, eating slowly, with his mind on other things. But with a peck on the head, Jinx interrupted, and upon seeing that the time was 12:15, Tay stuffed the rest of his sandwich into his mouth, almost gagging. Then he changed into the riding gear his father had given him, and set off once again to the train station, carrying only Jinx on his shoulder and an unexplainable fear that made his stomach toss and turn.
Once again, Tay approached the palace. Before he entered, he said quietly, “Jinx, fly off now, I have to go.” As the bird flew into the gray sky, Tay shouted, “Be home before supper!”
Tay took a deep breath and steadied himself, thinking about the looming task. His mind couldn’t stay off of the fact that he could die. Just then, he felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned around abruptly to see a boy about his age, and a girl slightly shorter than her brother. They both had curly, bright red hair that, Tay couldn’t help but think, looked like a red maple bush sitting atop their heads.
“Sir, may we be of any help to you?” The girl asked, with a look of reverence in her eyes. Tay was taken aback. “Sir?” He thought to himself. But he managed to get out a weak smile, and said, “No, no thanks. I’m just on my way in.” Then Tay turned around and walked into the palace, shutting the door behind him.
Tay approached the receptionist with more confidence than the previous day. Glancing slightly at him, she told him that the Emperor was waiting, and ‘don’t be late next time’. Then, before he could explain, she ushered him into a room in which he had never been in.
Tay looked around at his new surroundings. The first thing he noticed was the drapes, the same majestic purple as Juno, with the same golden royal emblem that was painted boldly on the train. To his surprise, he found on the back wall a large mural of his own image with his dragon. Tay didn’t know whether to feel elated or dismayed that his face was painted on a palace wall. But he didn’t have more time to sort out why, because he felt someone intently staring at him. Turning around quickly and expecting to see the Emperor, he bowed down without second thought and apologized for his tardiness and failure to notice His presence. But as he got up, his eyes grew wide with surprise. Standing in front of him was not the Emperor, but Olive.
“Olive?” He managed to get out. “But, where’s the Emperor? Where’s Emperor Spyro?” When she didn’t answer, he moved closer to her and said again, “Where is the Emperor?” Smiling, Olive shrugged, and playfully pushed Tay back. Then, prancing up to the great golden chair in the front of the room, she seated herself onto the throne. “Olive! You can’t do that! Get off before someone sees you!”
Just then, Tay heard the creak of the old wooden door. In walked an apologetic Emperor. Tay, still comprehending, stole a sideways glance at the throne, and to his relief, found it empty. “That Olive, I swear,” he muttered under his breath. “What was that?” The Emperor said, breaking Tay’s thoughts. “Nothing, sir, I apologize.”
Hesitantly, Tay stood up, and looked at the Emperor. Today, he was dressed finer than usual, with glittering gold from head tp Smiling and forcing himself to forget about Olive, he said, “Sir, anything special going on today?” The Emperor looked at him kindly. “Yes, my boy, it is my wife’s birthday today,” he said. Tay wished the Emperor’s wife a wonderful birthday, before returning to his own thoughts.
No one ever talked about Empress Yan, because to most, it wasn’t a subject of interest. The Empress was a thin, frail woman, always dressed in white, and always miserable. She could never be seen outside her bedroom chambers, and although she was treated well, she wasn’t respected. Only Emperor Spyro ever talked to her and that too, on special occasions. The only time that Tay saw her was when he glimpsed her during a royal dinner that his father and he had been invited to, due to his royal position.
Emperor Spyro also seemed to be lost in thought about his wife, but both he and Tay broke their enchantment when they locked gazes. Emperor Spyro then did something Tay could not believe. He started telling Tay about his wife.
“My dear Yan is miserable, my boy. Today is her birthday, and I ordered some of my workers to get her the finest silk dresses, the finest pottery and china, the finest of whatever she wanted. And yet, she is miserable. I can’t help but feel like I am a terrible husband.” After this he sighed. Tay tried to sympathize with the Emperor. “I’m sure she is very pleased, and that you are a great husband to her,” he said reassuringly. But Spyro kept his head low and bowed, the tight bun tied at the top of his head falling loose and sending locks of straight black hair down his neck. Tay, now cautious of his own hair, subconsciously brought his hands up to his neckline to pull his hair into a neater bun.
One of the status symbols of Xambians was the position of hair bun. Royalty kept theirs the highest, near the very top of their head, while all children and low workers kept their bun near their neckline. When Tay turned 17, he had to place his bun much higher, near the top where his father now kept his, but not nearly as high as the Emperor had his. But Tay, only 16, was still deemed a child.
The Emperor, slowly recovering from his outburst of emotions, suddenly clapped his hands together loudly and said, “Tay, we must train at once.” Relieved that the emotional tension was released from the air, Tay nodded. As they walked out towards the Imperial Dragon Quarters, now home to Juno, Tay sucked fresh, cold air into his lungs. He had always preferred the outside air over the heavy, suffocating air of the indoors. But now, as he eyed his dragon’s quarters, he couldn’t help but think of his own home, tattered and old, and needing a rejuvenating remodel to bring life back to the cottage once more.
Tay took in the enormous structure that stood before him, his eyes widening as they explored every inch of the perfection. The massive door made of fine redwood with a golden yellow carving of a great dragon twisted in the shape of the royal emblem. The entire shelter had intricate carvings and patterns, and Tay was beyond awed.
As Tay took the unbelievable structure in, he realized there were two men bowing before him. “We hope we have pleased Master,” they chorused frighteningly quietly. Tay, still in unbelieving deliriousness, laughed gleefully. Exchanging glances quickly, the small men cowered with fright, and all the while, Emperor Spyro looked on with a look of dismay mixed with amusement.
Finally, Tay broke out of the enchantment, and whispered, “This is absolutely the most magnificent structure that has ever adorned the land.” The men quickly bowed once more, relieved that they were safe from the supposed wrath of the angry Tay Gwen.
“Go in, Tay,” said a commanding voice behind him. Snapped back to his senses, Tay reached over and touched the smooth ivory knob of the door, paused a moment, and then turned it carefully so as to not damage it. Spyro laughed lightly. “You won’t break it Tay, as magnificent as it is.” He too, seemed to be awed and delighted at the resulting structure. Cautiously, Tay stepped into the dimly lit room. Although the room was adorned with fancy tapestries, furniture, flooring, and other accessories, there was an air of gloom and unhappiness in the area. Tay immediately identified the source of negativity as the scaly purple mass that was curled up near the massive stone hearth, where a bright warm flame burned. Tay ran over to his dragon, forgetting where he was or why he was there.
“Juno!” Tay cried, pulling on the dragon’s rough neck. The dragon perked up on sight of Tay, and heaved up his massive body. Meanwhile, Emperor Spyro was working on the curtains, ordering the timid workers to open them all at once and let in some light and warmth. Immediately, the dragon was more energetic, and eager to leave. He shoved Tay towards the door, anxious to exit the magnificent place. Tay sensed that his dragon disliked the place greatly, and promptly led the dragon outside into the fresh air under the great blue sky that stretched forever.
Suddenly, without warning, Juno took off, rejuvenated and exhilarated that he was finally out in the free open. Tay, on the other hand, was dismayed, shouting, “Juno! Come back at once! Juno! No, come back, now! Juno, responding at once to the calls of his partner, let out a loud screech and flew with breakneck speed back down in front of Tay, landing hard and with a loud thump that sent the birds nearby flapping away.
Before Tay could admonish his dragon for misbehaving, Emperor Spyro himself walked slowly towards the massive dragon that now stood only on its hind legs. The Emperor’s trembling hand reached out to the dragon, and Tay looked on with fright, for he had sensed the dragon’s feeling of anger towards the Emperor. It was He, after all, who had ordered the grand housing of the dragon to be built. “No, Juno, don’t!” Shouted Tay so loud that he was afraid his lungs would burst open. But it was too late. Already, the great dragon’s claws had ripped through the Emperor, and his scaly purple claws crushed the frail body, a trail of crimson snaking down the grassy hills and staining them with a red Tay would never forget.
Tay froze. He could not move. The dragon looked back at him innocently, but in Tay’s mind, time was not moving forward. The Emperor was dead. And Tay’s dragon had been responsible.