Leon, the Mighty Gale Chapter 15

The Next Pandora's Box

By Samara Secor

“I remember that once incident you spoke about, because I was there... Painting Trilibara red. So he was the one who did that, huh? Oh, what I wouldn’t give to compare tricks with him,” Chiron said with a grin.

“Don’t forget that ‘trick’ of his five months ago broke your nose,” Sharra reminded him.

“But you healed me, and now I’m as devastatingly handsome as ever! Right, Blaine?”

“Keep this up, and I’ll break your nose again. Or maybe an arm... Or a leg,” Blaine replied, shooting a glare at Chiron.

“Are they always like this?” Ione asked.

“I’m afraid so,” Lark answered with a sigh. “Really, it’s a goddess given miracle that they hardly ever progress beyond exchanging harsh words.”

Ember tried to concentrate on the sky, the fishing pole in front of him, the deck planking, the waves in the water...in short, trying to think about anything but his companions, especially one particular woman. He was failing miserably. ‘I should be happy. We love each other, but I’m a dragon, she’s one of the magic folk. We can’t have any kids, can we? And when she finds out that I’m a dragon and have been keeping this from her, she’s going to think I was just toying with her. But I’m not! I... I…”

Chiron let out a whoop, startling Ember out of his thoughts, “Looks like you’ve got a big one, Ember. Don’t let it get away!”

Ember clenched his hands around the pole just in time to prevent it from toppling over the side. ‘Oh, no you don’t, tasty morsel. My life may be ready to fall to pieces, but I’ll be dead before I’m outwitted by dinner,’ he thought as he began the process of teasing the fish into the boat.


“He’s messing with us. He knows we’re chasing him, and he wants to put us through a waking nightmare by making us sail, trudge, climb, and crawl over three-quarters of Lunar to get to him,” Chiron grumbled. “And then, when all is said and done, we’ll probably end up right back where we started.”

“Look on the bright side. He must not have figured out how to open the box yet,” Lark said.

“How do you figure that, Lark?” Blaine asked.

“Well, think about it. Whatever was inside the box had to be important for somebody to even bother putting a spell lock on it at all. The most likely candidate would be some spells written on parchment, possibly even a whole book. You know how some people don’t feel like sharing their magical discoveries.

“Like you, you mean? Ow! That hurt...” Chiron rubbed his arm where Lark had poked him. “And don’t act like it isn’t true. You won’t teach me anything.”

‘More like can’t than won’t... You hardly ever sit still for any reasonable period of time,’ Ember thought.

“...Regardless, the point stands,” Lark said with a frown. “I can’t imagine what else would be in it.”


“I can,” Marina said softly. “It wasn’t a spellbook, was it?”

“No, it wasn’t. I only wish it had been something like that,” Ember sighed. “After things started going wrong and we thought to ask Marius... He said it was Zophar’s Breath. He wouldn’t explain exactly what it was or where it came from, though.”

“He probably thought that ignorance, in this case, was something of a treasure. I can say that it came from the same source as the, er, plague that took out the other three original dragons. It brings back memories of things we’d rather not think about,” Marina said, looking away. “But, anyway... What exactly happened with Genkaku?”

“At some point during the chase, Genkaku had indeed opened the box. As soon as the jell-like substance that was inside hit the air, it started turning into vapor, and since the box was still mostly full when we opened it, he must’ve shut it again right after. When we finally caught up with him, he was trying to throw it into a volcano. Not the one I make my home in, but still... Considering what we actually thought was in the box, it would’ve been criminal to let him destroy it. I think whatever bit of it that he inhaled was enough to cause him some problems, because he was having a hard time trying to throw it in, and those openings aren’t exactly small, you know.”


“....That’s pathetic. Really pathetic. No offense, Ione. I know he’s your twin, but... Goddess, even Sharra can throw better than that. Ow! Ow, ow, ow...” Chiron began flailing around, hopping on one foot, because Sharra had given that comment all that it deserved.

As Genkaku was far from being deaf, he paused in his latest attempt to condemn the box to a fiery death, and turned to give the commotion his fullest attention. He shook his head, “Very impressive. I give you high marks for enthusiasm and expression, but your technical ability leaves something to be desired. I give it... seven out of ten.”

“Gee, thanks. You have no idea how much that means to me,” Chiron replied, managing a smirk before wincing again.

“Normally, my folk appreciate a good chase, but this one lost its savor a while back,” Blaine said. “The hunt’s over, pal. Now, hand over the box, and maybe the owner won’t press charges.”

“Fu, hu, hu. Oh, that’s a good one. Did it take you very long to think that one up, or was it just a ‘spur of the moment’ thing?” Genkaku frowned at the drawn bow in Blaine’s hands. “You really shouldn’t point that at people if you don’t intend to use it.”

“Who said that I didn’t?” Blaine growled.

“Brother, stop baiting him,” Ione warned.

“As you wish,” Genkaku said with a slight bow.

“If thing were truly as I wished, then you’d give up the box without a fight. Would you do that?” Ione asked.

“Sister, dear, I wouldn’t give this up to anyone. Not to them, not to you, and especially not to its ‘rightful’ owner. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been trying to dispose of it,” Genkaku glared at the box. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to go where I want it to. The stuff must be stronger than I thought.”

“Don’t you mean ‘heavier?’” Ember asked.

“No, I don’t. I’d explain what I meant if I thought it would do any good. Naturally, of course, you’d assume that I was lying in an attempt to convince you that I wasn’t throwing away something vital to the welfare of humanity or some such nonsense. That’s generally the way it works, isn’t it?” Genkaku set the box down on the ground beside him and stretched, yawning, “So, since I won’t waste my breath giving an explanation that you’ll just disregard, and because you aren’t willing to leave without the box, let’s just skip the rest of the formalities and get the fight over with, shall we?”

“Eh...” Sharra eyed him suspiciously. “You sound as though you don’t care about the outcome, but that can’t be right. Whatever you’re trying to pull, it’s not going to work.”

Genkaku threw up his hands in disgust. “For once in my life, I’m actually playing things straight, and no one believes me. Do you honestly think that I’ve been so far ahead of you so as to have had the time to prepare some elaborate, ultimate joke simply to stall you at an acceptably dramatic moment? I’ve been trying to get rid of this cursed thing for the better part of an hour, only it just won’t go!” he yelled, giving the box a angry kick.

No one was more surprised than Genkaku when the box lifted neatly into the air, tumbling end over end in an arc that would land it squarely within the lava’s depths. For an instant, hope flitted across his face, but that was quickly dashed when Ember, in full draconic form, went by him in a blur, plucking the box neatly out of the air with one outstretched claw. “No! For the love of Lunar and the goddess you serve, drop that thing this instant, you stupid dragon!” Genkaku cried, extending an arm to cast a lightning bolt.

No more than the slightest crackle escaped his hand before Ione flexed her own magic in opposition to his, nullifying it. He sank to his knees with a look of utter despair. Then, his features firmed in a look of cold fury. “You’ve got what you wanted, now go and celebrate. Have your little victory party. But if that box ever achieves its intended purpose because of your ill-timed interference, I swear that I will claim vengeance. No matter how long it takes.”

He turned his head to look at Ione. “Sorry about this, sis. I really hope you don’t end up getting burned,” he whispered. Then, he fell forward on the rocky ground, shivering as though suffering from a fever... or in the grip of a vision of things to come.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete Fanfic