38. in which the dragon, in a word, explodes

Suddenly, Danny’s feet were being swept out from underneath her. The tree bough seemed to rise swiftly to meet her, but her stomach told her that she was really dropping. Her wrists cracked against the bough, and the cannon clattered from her numb grasp and was gone.

Branches whipped against her face and limbs, and then she was flying upward by her ankles, whisking past a green whirl of trees. After a second, she switched the ocular input from the Suit so that the world appeared right-side up. She was traveling quickly through the trees and a thinning cover of smoke – straight into the dragon’s grasp. It was the dragon’s tail that had her by the ankles. With a flick, it tossed her into the air. Danny broke through the canopy. Her vision somersaulted. Trees-sky-smoke-shadow. She descended toward an image of wide open dragon jaws.

As she descended, she could smell the stench of burning sulfur. Smoke trickled from the dragon’s dark throat. She began to make out the details of the scales that rimmed its lips, the blackened gums and yellowing teeth. She extended her arms in front of her and launched three of the goo nets with which she had recently defeated the cyborgs. They hit the dragon’s mouth wetly, filling its maw like a massive piece of chewed-up gum. Half a second later, Danny landed against the soft mass. Immediately, the goo began to harden – with her in it.

“Danny slipped free of the goo and dropped to the ground,” Danny said. In a moment, she was tumbling to the ground. She rolled to her feet and looked up. The dragon was shaking its head again, this time while making a muffled, moaning roar. It recoiled its head, leaped backwards, scuttled sideways, pawed its face, worried its head, lashed its tail, and cried. The ground underfoot vibrated with its efforts. Thick, grey smoke poured from its nostrils.

At first, Danny wasn’t sure what was happening. Flashes of orange flame licked out from small holes in the matrix of hardened white goo that filled the dragon’s mouth, covering it and keeping the jaws open. Smoke billowed up from the nostrils. A peculiar rushing noise filled the air between the dragon’s bellowing. When Danny realized that the dragon was blowing fire, and that the pressure was building against the wad that blocked its escape, it was too late. With a sudden, concussive explosion, dragonfire burst outward like a nova. The force of the explosion picked Danny up and threw her through the trees.

In the back of her mind, she observed wryly that she had probably broken her record for the amount of times she’d been gone airborne without wings in one day.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey

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~ by iamba on April 6, 2009.

One Response to “38. in which the dragon, in a word, explodes”

  1. […] hot, grey smoke. She stood on a stout lower branch of a tree and trained her cannon into the haze. next page Christie “Iamba” […]

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