The dragon stared us down. I noticed that it was missing one of its horns. It didn’t look like the dragon was willing to let us get away a second (or maybe third?) time. Without warning, it dived down at us. Heather shouted “Fiba!”
A fireball hit the dragon in the face. It pulled up and started circling back around. I said “Heather, do you remember the magic lessons when I told you not to use fire?”
“Yeah, I remember. I know you said fireballs don’t do much damage and they’re a waste of energy. I was just trying to scare it off, not kill it.”
I shook my head. “On a scale from one to ten, with one being metal and ten being paper, how flammable and therefore how scared of fire would you say dragons are?”
Heather sighed. “I suppose they aren’t very flammable, since they breathe fire. Let me guess . . . zero?”
“Correct! Now try something that’ll hurt it. Pain is scary.”
Heather frowned, thinking. The dragon had now circled back and was diving at us. Suddenly, Heather turned and asked, “Maybe he’ll be afraid of ice. What’s the word for freezing again?”
“I’m not telling you. You’re supposed to have all the words memorized.”
Heather stood there thinking, the dragon getting closer to its former dive bombing position with every second. Finally, she said “Frowin!”
Ice particles began forming near the base of the dragon’s wings. As it was suddenly unable to flap its wings, the dragon plummeted to the ground with a crash. The ice cracked from the enormous force and fell off. The dragon shook its head a few times, attempted to brush itself off, and flew off. With the danger gone, I took out the amulet. The lights were there as usual. One of them, however, was inexplicably red. I turned to Heather and said “I think we’re supposed to follow that one.”
We moved towards the passage at a little faster than walking speed for fear of more dragons coming. When we got close, the amulet showed a picture of a large ocean. There was no land in sight. I shrugged in Heather’s general direction before walking through.
I winced. The bright sunlight was a stark contrast from the dark forest I had just walked out of. Heather followed. We were on an island the size of a small room.
“Gemstones and metal? Here?” Heather looked around as though expecting one or the other to fall from the sky.
“All we know about this world so far is that there’s plenty of water. At least on our world, water means ships. Ships mean transport. Transport means cargo. Cargo could be anything. Maybe some civilization was transporting a precious metal across this ocean when their ship sank.”
Heather rolled her eyes. “Great. Where in this vast ocean do you propose we start looking?”
The amulet started beeping at me. The beeps were low pitched and far apart. I turned the amulet a bit, and the beeping got slightly faster and higher. I said “Why don’t we follow our metal detector?”
I turned all the way around and then pointed myself in the direction that resulted in the highest and fastest beeps. I was already in the water before I realized the difficulty involved in swimming while holding your navigation system. I held it with my teeth to keep it level and started swimming forward. The beeping got faster and faster. I was about thirty feet from the shore by the time I noticed that Heather was still on the island. I turned around and started treading water. I motioned for her to come over.
Heather said “Do I have to? I mean, I didn’t bring my swimsuit. And I don’t like to swim in water where there’s fish. I know what they do in there. Eww.” She stayed on the beach.
Without thinking, I said “Get over here!” As soon as I said it, I regretted it. After all, words weren’t the only thing that came out of my mouth. The amulet fell out and sunk into the water. I tried to grab it before it was out of my reach, but it was too late. I couldn’t dive, so there was no way for me to get it. I said “Heather! I dropped the amulet and I can’t dive! Come over here and get it!”
“What?!” Heather gave me a look of disbelief and frustration before taking off her cloak and shoes and wading in. “You owe me, dude.” After a moment of hesitation, she got all the way in the water and swam over to me. She dived straight down. After a few dives, she resurfaced with the amulet. Somehow, she looked even less happy than she did before. She said “I wish I’d brought my goggles. I can’t see very well and I hit something when I found the pendant. It definitely wasn’t a rock.” She rubbed her arm. “Don’t drop it again, okay? I’d hate to hit a slimy fish or something the next time I go down.”
“Okay, whatever.” I took the amulet back, but I wasn’t really paying attention to her. I was trying to see what was down there. It was a bit hard to make out, but it appeared to be half a ship. I said “Heather, I think you should go back down there.”
“Now what?” She kept rubbing her arm. “Are you serious when you say you can’t dive? Not at all?” She sighed. “I suppose I’d better not make you lose your glasses down there. Hang on a moment.”
She dived down again. I moved around a bit with the amulet until she resurfaced. I said “So? What’s down there?”
“If I had my goggles, I could tell you for certain. As it is, it feels wooden and covered in sea moss.” She shook her hand, which was covered in trailing green stuff. “Eww.”
I nodded. “As I suspected. Where I am right now is directly above the closest point to the metal or gemstone. Given that we’ve found a sunken ship, I’m guessing it has treasure aboard. Gemstones are what I would expect in a treasure chest, but who knows? We’re on another planet. You’re going to need to dive again.”
“Quit haulin’ me up ‘n down; I’m gettin’ sick.” Heather mumbled with a smirk. She dove again. She came back up holding a small gem and a coin. “Which of these do we need? The gems or the metal? Or both?”
I put the amulet near each of them, but it didn’t react at all. I said “Neither, I’m afraid.”
She dropped the objects back into the water. “Well, what do we need then?”
“Any coins down there are likely made of the same useless metal, so it must be a gem. Get a different one.” She dove down and returned with a handful of the small crystals. I put the amulet near the gems again, but there was still no reaction. I said “It’s not any of those either.”
“Then what is it? You’re not giving me much to go on.”
“It should be a bit bigger than those ones, and if the amulet’s light is any indication, it should be red.”
Heather looked a bit tired of diving, but did anyway. She returned with a few reddish stones. “How’s this?” she said, holding them up for inspection.
The amulet was already reacting as Heather was on the way up, so it was only a matter of figuring out which one it was. I said “This one. This is it! Good job.”
She dropped the other ones. “Are we done here?”
I said “Yeah. Let’s head back to Earth and get a fresh set of clothes.”
We swam back to shore and went back through the passage. We were in the dragon world again. I followed the amulet’s directions back to Earth. Once we were back, I said “Let’s get a nice meal, a good night’s sleep, and get back to looking in the morning. Okay?”
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Heather stopped to dump the sand out of her shoes. “Just give me some warning before we go swimming again, got it?”