Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Seven: B’frona (Continued)
Previously: Gina repaired the pixie’s temple and–accidentally–adopted a dragon.
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The little dragon bleated with increasing urgency. It was fiery-eyed Princess Feyrdú, the King’s ward, who suggested, “The dragon whelp must eat, your majesty. He must have shrennel or—”
“Yes! By Uol, you are right!” The king turned to B’frona: “We trust, Friend of Pÿthziés, that you will lead the Dragonmeer of Rennou and her precious charge to the fields?”
“Yes, your majesty,” said B’frona, his respect for the king forming a thin veneer over his loathing for… “What are you called?”
“What? Oh, you mean…my name is Gina.”
There was a brief silence, and then a hearty laugh shook the gathering, as if Gina had just delivered a terrific punch line.
“What’s so funny?”
“Your joke about your name.”
“But it wasn’t a joke. That’s my name.”
“It can’t be. J’nah’ is a man’s name, a warrior’s name.”
“No, it’s not, and it’s not ‘Jeh-NAH,’ it’s ‘JEE-nuh’. Hear the diff?”
Apparently they didn’t.
“Pay attention, Dragonmeer.” B’frona explained slowly, using the tone one employs when addressing a very young or very stupid person, “’J’nah’ is a man’s name because it ends with an ‘ah,’ and all names that end with ‘ah’ are man’s names. Like mine. Besides, ‘J’nah’ means ‘he who fights.’ It is a warrior’s name, and you are just a girl, so it can’t—“
“Well, it is! It’s Italian, and it means ‘queen!’ I was named after my Aunt Gina.”
The crowd’s eyes grew larger.
“She is destined to be a queen?” said Feyrdú, her nose wrinkling in disgust. The pixie queen traded appalled glances with her.
“It is also a warrior’s name!” added one of Jenblevó’s cronies.
“Because she is willing to fight any man to prove she is worthy to be queen!” said another, with a look of lusty admiration.
“Only a misunderstanding,” said the pixie king. “We enjoin the Dragonmeer J’nah to attend to the Dragon of Rennou!” The crowd applauded.
“Wait!” Gina interjected. “Has anybody seen a boy about his size?” She pointed at B’frona. “My brother fell out of a map, I mean a tree, yesterday, or last night, and…”
The little king offered his regrets. No human boy but B’frona had been seen in the Light Forest for months, he told her.
B’frona left the clearing without another word.
Realizing she had no choice but to follow, Gina stumbled after him into the thicket. There was no trail (none for humans, anyway), but B’frona knew the way. Gina la-la’d the Oh-So-Soft Toilet Paper song and the little dragon scrambled after her.
As they disappeared from the hallowed space, Jenblevó proclaimed, “She is magnificent!”
And Feyrdú staggered back as though she’d been pierced by a sword.
After half an hour of silence, Gina said, “Look, I’m sorry I have what you think is a boy’s name.”
“Well, anyway, I’m not from around here, and I didn’t know that—“
“You stole my dragon!”
“I didn’t ‘steal’ him, I just kind of fell on him. I didn’t know that—“
“You sang to him! Everyone knows that when you sing to a dragon hatchling, it—“
“Well, I didn’t know! Anyway, how come you think he’s your dragon? I’m the one who found him in the—“
“Because I put him there!”
“I found the egg at the edge of the forest and put him in the Sacred Circle, which no human has ever seen but me!”
“Oh.” Gina was beginning to get some sense of why B’frona was so angry.
“Frengan dragons always abandon their eggs; that is the way it is. Then humans find them and become dragonfaers. Or dragonmeers,” he added with a note of disgust. “Rennou has not had a dragon in almost fifty years! It would have been a great blessing, and I would have been the one who…and now I suppose you will cozen him away to your own village where—”
“Oh, definitely not! I don’t think Middleton is ready for its own dragon yet.”
“M’dell tóne? Where is this place?”
“Look, I promise I’ll let Puff stay in Rennou.” For the first time Gina said aloud the name she’d unconsciously given the dragon.
“Boof?” B’frona queried in his South Frengan accent.
“Yeah, you know, like in the song?”
The millboy glared at her as they crossed over a stone bridge.
“OK, so I’m guessing they don’t sing that one in Frenga. Anyway, he can stay here, OK?”
“You will stay too, then?”
“No! I’ve been trying to tell you, I have to find my brother!”
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Thoughts: Have you ever discovered that, while you weren’t looking, the things that mattered most to you had changed?
To read The Wishing Map 27, click here!