THE RUNT DRAGON

Extremely unhappy, and feeling life unfair, Jules hiked back to campus.
She found thorns twice and had to detour, adding to her trek and her frustration.

With every step, her left shoe squeaked. She discovered a small blue mushroom stuck with honey to her sole. When she squeezed it, it squeaked. Pixies! Uproariously funny, she fumed.

The clouds cleared, the moonlight brightened as she stalked past the
Cube. The statues seemed to absorb the lunar light to glow. When Jules paused to take off her shoes, she noticed something strange. One of the rocks comprising the marble pegasus base was surprisingly dark, as if made out of a different stone. When she moved closer to investigate, she gasped. The drakonette was curled up, looking asleep.

Did homuculi ever just stop functioning? She shivered. Jules wished
she had a rod or staff, something for poking. That would be a good reason to
carry a lever. Everyone had been looking for the drakonette, but she had found him. How?

“Lance? Oh, Lance, time to wake up,” she said. Peering closer, Jules
thought he breathed. The footfalls of Rama Amar and the ringing of the bells
had shaken the stones of the courtyard. How could anything sleep through that? What if he was sick? Or worse, dead?

That thought caught her attention. She stumbled then jerked upright to
prevent a fall. Her carrying sack split, and a juggling ball escaped.

Bouncing once, the green ball struck the drakonette with a shoe-shuffling
static flash. Lance’s eyes popped open, confused and alarmed. The juggling
ball shot off like it had been fired from a cannon. It glanced off the stone peacock, picking up speed. The ball madly ricocheted between two statues, rapidly accelerating. When it suddenly caromed loose, it sped back toward them.

Jules ducked. She heard it sizzle past, then crash into the marble pegasus.
Lance scrambled out of the way, barely escaping a stone pinion as it shattered.

The sound of more havoc caused Jules to turn. To her right, the statue of
a heron fell due to a busted leg. The impact pulverized it. The crazy supercharged ball decapitated a white stone eagle, then removed a wing from a red rock gryphon, followed by the obliteration of a sandstone harrier.

“That one needed to go,” Lance said.

“I’m in really big trouble,” Jules moaned. She had absolutely no idea
how to catch the unstoppable orb.