Dragon Sleeping (The Dragon Circle Trilogy Book 1)

Dragon Sleeping (The Dragon Circle Trilogy Book 1) by Craig Shaw Gardner

Book: Dragon Sleeping (The Dragon Circle Trilogy Book 1) by Craig Shaw Gardner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Craig Shaw Gardner
Tags: epic fantasy
started, you know—” Obar left the rest of the sentence unsaid, as if whatever he implied might be easily understood.
    “All right,” Todd announced as he hurried up the steps. “Let’s get on with it.” Bobby and Jason followed his lead again.
    Jason frowned and looked back at the Oomgosh. “What about you guys?”
    “Alas, I must stay here.” The tree man pointed down to his toes, which indeed looked like roots. “My feet do not wish to leave the earth.”
    Nick felt Raven’s wing brush his ear. Would the bird remain on his shoulder forever?
    “Raven may go wherever he pleases,” the bird intoned.
    “Whether it pleases others or not,” the Oomgosh added. “I will rest my toes in the soil. I await your return.”
    Nick decided it was time to get a little clarification here. “So you’ll stay on my shoulder?”
    “You will need a guide,” Raven replied. “Obar’s castle is much like Obar.”
    Yes, Nick thought, Raven would indeed remain on his shoulder forever.
    Todd stood at the top of the steps, flexing his shoulders and cracking his knuckles, waiting for the rest of them to catch up. As Bobby and Jason joined him, he waved down at Nick.
    “What’s the matter, Nicky-poo? Scared of the dark?”
    Nick stared, as startled as if someone had sucker-punched him. That was the old Todd for you, quick with a jab, Mr. High School Wise Guy. Bobby snickered at Todd’s crack. Jason looked surprised and uncomfortable.
    Nick suddenly wanted to jump up there and wipe the smirk off Todd’s face. He never let Todd bully him into anything back on Chestnut Circle; he wasn’t going to let Todd get away with anything now, either. He’d tell that guy just where he could shove it. If Todd could move fast, Nick could move faster.
    Nick took two steps toward the doorway, and then stopped. The darkness behind Todd looked total, as if it sucked the light from the surrounding air.
    Todd glanced back at the doorway himself. “Hey,” he added when he turned back toward Nick, “I don’t think any of us are going to live forever.” His expression had changed, too; his smile looked the slightest bit tentative. Like, maybe he didn’t have all the answers, after all.
    “It’s time to go,” the bird said close by Nick’s ear, its voice surprisingly soft. A moment later, the creature added, “Only Raven lives forever.”
    Todd turned and strode into the darkness. Bobby was right on his heels, Jason a few paces after the others. Each, in turn, was swallowed by the doorway’s lack of light.
    Nick swore and hurried to follow.
    Charlie barked and took up the rear. Raven squawked in alarm. “No dog should—” the bird began.
    Nick found the anger building in him again. “Charlie’s the only thing I have left from home,” he snapped. “I’m not leaving him behind.”
    “If you insist.” The bird turned his head away. “Raven is more than a match for any dog.”
    “Sometimes,” called the Oomgosh from where he stood in the sun, “Raven may even be more than a match for Raven.”
    Nick climbed the steps and walked into the pool of darkness.
    “May good—” the Oomgosh began. His voice cut off abruptly. Nick realized that all the other forest sounds had ceased as well.
    Charlie growled. Raven muttered something about wizard tricks.
    Somehow Nick kept on moving. He stepped through into light that seemed as bright as that he had just left outside. He was in a large room with the others, a room bordered by grey stone walls, with no doors that Nick could see, only a pair of small windows on opposite sides, neither of them large enough to provide this kind of light.
    Above him, quite close to the stone ceiling, was what looked like a miniature sun.
    “Ah,” Obar’s voice said abruptly. “I see we’re all together at last.”
    Obar had managed to walk in their midst during that second Nick had stared at the ceiling. He was the same old man who had passed out the ice cream, although now, rather than a suit of

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