Extract from Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories: Jeepers’ Creatures
Jeepers was still learning the spells in the beginners’ section and had barely mastered the simplest spells in the book, but now he flipped to the middle, turning the pages carefully until he found the spell he was looking for. He grinned in glee. A creature for anything. It conjured half-dragon, half-human creatures that would do his bidding. He placed the candles in a triangle in front of him, then dripped dragon’s blood in a semi-circle above the triangle’s tip. He pointed at the candles and zapped them alight, then leant forward and began the chant, tense with anticipation.
The moment he started, blood-red smoke rose from the dragon’s blood. It splashed onto the flames, sending them higher than Jeepers’ head in sparks of black-red. The smoke wafted upwards, quickly fogging the small cave. Jeepers continued to chant. When he said the last word, there was a soft pop, a few loud grunts, and then silence. Jeepers was almost too afraid to look. The book warned about using advanced magic before you had mastered the basics. It could have disastrous effects, simply because your mind wasn’t properly tuned in at the time… or if you lacked the power to complete the spell once the creatures appeared. There were a number of other reasons advanced magic might backfire on a novice, but Jeepers hadn’t got around to reading them all yet.
The red haze drifted upwards and the air slowly cleared. Three hideous creatures stood before Jeepers. Their torsos were humanoid, though thicker than a human’s, and covered in dull orange scales. They walked upright on two legs, with their feet and hands ending in wicked-looking claws. A dragon’s head stared back at him from the top of each thick, scaled neck, the glittering orange eyes unblinking. They breathed fire and ice and could turn a man to stone with their glare if they wished. The spell caster was always safe from their glares… if they had the necessary power to control such creatures.
Oh hogcrap! He’d almost forgotten the last part.
Jeepers flicked his hands at the three and said, “My loyal servants.”
Now, they would either fry or freeze him with flame or petrify him with their glares… or…
In slow motion, the creatures nodded in unison, then hissed, “What doessss the masssster wisssssh?”
Jeepers heaved a sigh of relief. Part of him had believed he would fail, and now he gloated, rubbing his hands together. “There’s a tunnel under the water here.” He pointed. “Swim through it and catch me a cacklefish each.”
Without hesitation, the creatures hit the water as one and vanished. Jeepers grinned at the thought of a hot meal, his chest swelling with pride at doing what no other before him had been capable of. Nolor had always told him he had a natural ability for magic; now he would prove it.
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