“What do you mean, ‘our ticket to Renolia’? What’s this contraption got to do with Renolia?” As she often did, Heather looked at me with a confused look on her face.
“The passage to Renolia was closed, but it’s not gone. It’s still there. If we used the Tunneler, we could open it back up.”
“Really? I’d love to see Renolia!” Heather looked really excited, but then got a little more serious. “We’d better get this thing finished soon. Didn’t the Gatekeeper say something about Renolia being in trouble? I hope we get there before the Crusher of Worlds finds it.”
“The only part we need that we’ve run across so far is in the first world you wandered off to, the one with the dragon. The problem is that we need to figure out how to get back...” Navigation is not my strong suit, so I was a bit worried about that part.
“We’ll need to go back outside into the blizzard to the passage we just came through, then past the lake with the dinos and through the city park to get back to Earth. Then we can get to the hill that leads to the ruins where we found the dragons. A lot of walking, I know, but at least you’ve got that pendent to show us where the right passages are.”
“If you say so... Lead the way.”
After a whole lot of uneventful walking, we reached the world with the dragon. This time, I noticed something I missed the last time. I said “Heather, take a look at this.”
“What?” Heather came over to look.
I pointed to the sign on the ground. It read “Crushed World #4.” I said “The dragons must have been what the Crusher of Worlds used to destroy civilization on this planet.”
“No wonder they tried to eat us last time. Do you think the Crusher of Worlds has more dragons like these in his world?”
I looked at her incredulously. “If it were me, I would keep all the man eating dragons on another world so they wouldn’t kill me or my home world.”
“Seems like awfully good intruder deterrent to me.” Heather shrugged. “Maybe he only kept the tame dragons and dumped all the ferocious dragons here. But what do I know?” She became more serious. “Now that we’re here, what are we looking for that the Tunneler needs?”
“I’ll give you a hint. It’s found on dragons and it’s a horn.”
“Dragon horns? And we’re going to get one . . . how? I doubt these guys are going to give us one on a silver platter.” Heather looked a little nervous.
“Well, first we-” I stopped when I heard rustling coming from the trees above us. Looking up slowly, I saw a dragon perched precariously on a branch that really shouldn’t have been able to support its weight. I said “Not again. Okay, Heather. I’m going to tell you a magic word. You’re going to say it, and then you’re going to run back towards the passage. Got it?”
“Don’t worry; I left my camera at home,” Heather said with a slight smile. “What’s the word I need to say?”
Heather gave me a funny look, but said the word. We both ran several yards, and there was a loud crash behind us. The dragon was on the ground, asleep. As luck would have it, the fall knocked one of its horns off.
“Wait, that’s it? The horns just fall off?” Once again, Heather looked confused.
“Sort of. They grow new ones every decade or so. This one is getting ready for a new set.” I picked up a small piece of the tennis ball sized horn and threw it to Heather. She was surprised, but managed to catch it.
“Will this be enough?” she asked.
“It’ll be plenty. Dragon horns are packed full of magic.”
Heather slipped the horn into her pocket. “Well, check that off the list. What else do we need to finish the Tunneler?”
I took a moment to remember what was left. Then I said “We need a gem of the right size and shape, and we’ll also need some type of metal that conducts both electricity and magic. We’re not going to find either of those here, so... let’s go.”
“Okay, where to?”
I pulled out my amulet and pointed to a random passage. “There!”