Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Black Mountain, Chapter 2: Down the Lake

By Julia Melik, age 13, Prague


Editor’s Note: This is Chapter 2 of this story. For maximum enjoyment, read Chapter 1 first.

The guys opened the box with the fireflies that illuminated the entire cabin and were shocked when they saw Clia, who looked at them with frightened eyes. But it was impossible to go back. Klinthel said that when they return, he will most definitely be sentenced to a bashing.

Kreggs said, “Now we are not going to discuss that, but Clia, please always stay behind us.”

The fireflies were off and the boat was sinking into the lake further and further away into complete darkness and silence. The fireflies, which they took, live on grave stones, so they soon again lit up and the light was like the moon in the cemetery: blue-green. This light was to help them quickly find the monster.

While the boat was sinking, all were looking around, holding their breath. But nothing and no one was visible. Suddenly there came a slight bump meaning the boat was finally at the bottom. After that, they released the fireflies, which all lit up around them within a radius of 10-15 meters faintly shimmering, translucent and gentle light.

Kreggs loaded the cannon with the darts and they swam slowly. Klinthel with all his force exerted pressure on the levers driving the propellers of the boat, and Kreggs and Clia carefully looked around, trying to find the monster. To the right and to the left side all was under the cannon, which Kreggs managed. But nobody was around; only flat pink snakes flowed along the bottom. At the sight of the boat they instantly buried themselves in the silt. A big green fish, like a huge bird, smoothly sailed over them, before diving and snatching one of the snakes and swallowing it.

A flock of small birds called Cwiklies drifted by. They lived in the forest, but it was easy for them to become glued to the web. These birds fed upon the sun’s light, but the moon’s light was poison for them. So at night they hid in the depths of the Lake. Also in the forest the butterflies hated them, as the dwarfs liked Cwikles more than them. The whole flock sat on a huge underwater lily and it slowly closed. There, they would be able to spend the night safely.

But the bottom of the lake was nearing, and the Monster had not yet been seen. They approached a huge black stone, which probably fell from the mountain many years ago, but had not been overgrown with moss since. Right in front of it the boat stopped, sitting on the bottom. At this point, the stone slowly moved away and the boat glided down, somewhere down, deep into the abyss.

It all happened so quickly and unexpectedly that the guys fell down and banged their heads on the hard boat walls and lost consciousness.

When they awoke they could not recall how much time had passed while the boat had been sinking down into the abyss. As they opened their eyes further, everything was flooded with a bright greenish light, the cicadas were singing their songs and around them grew a thick yellow grass and bluish bushes with red berries.

Two huge grey butterflies sat on the stone. Clia slowly came closer, but they didn’t even pay attention to her. The stone was very warm and the warmth of it spread throughout her body. Now all three of them stood around, clasped their hands and stood, gaining warm strength.

“Where should we go now? And how do we find the monster?” quietly asked Clia. “Butterflies, my dear, where are we? Help us find that monster that killed my father.”

The butterflies turned to Clia, then took off and stood looking at her, as if waiting for something.

“They are inviting us to follow them,” said Clia.

The guys looked at each other and followed the butterflies. Butterflies flew low over the path that led them to the forest. On the outskirts of the forest the butterflies stopped, waved their wings and flew away.

Huge trees with their crowns were closing out all the light. Below them were scattered exotic fruits, a bit like yellow fir cones. But the boys did not dare to try them – for they could suddenly be venomous. They stopped, carefully inspecting all around, and not daring to enter.

“Clia, do not go to the forest, who knows what could be there!” said urged Kreggs.

Suddenly quite far away they saw a flock of green mantises, around 10, long jumping to quickly approach them.

“My favorite pastime is hunting mantis,” boasted Kreggs. Klinthel only grunted, and Clia somehow blushed, looking at Kreggs, keeping his sword with both hands, and long hair flying in the wind.

“Maybe it is the inhabitants of this country?” asked Kreggs. “Then we will quickly overcome them.”

As they got closer, it appeared that the mantises looked several times larger than they had expected. They surrounded them in a semicircle, looking with their burning eyes, and chirring amongst themselves.

Kreggs, shouted, “Flee into the forest, I will delay them as much as I can!”

“No, I’ll stay with you,” said Clia firmly.

“No!” firmly whispered Kreggs. “Klinthel, go with her into the forest.”

At this time, the mantises began to slowly close in on them. “We will defend ourselves together,” said Clia.

The boys closed in around Clia and with their backs to her, drew their swords. Clia was trying to get the dagger to help the guys, but suddenly someone seized her from behind and dragged her into the forest. The mantises rushed after her, but the trees were too close to each other, and whistling arrows launched from somewhere in the forest wounded several mantises.

The children woke up somewhere in the deep forest thicket, in the house, which stood on high poles. It was possible that the only way there was by rope or ladder. Around the guys were dwarfs much like themselves, only with very pale skin, red eyes and yellow hair.

“Let me introduce myself, my name is Ghil Thoon, I am the king of this tribe. We see that you are our brothers from the surface of the earth. You, apparently, came to us in that glass boat that everyone here is talking about. It supposedly fell from the sky and killed the Beast.”

The voice belonged to one of the dwarfs, who stepped forward. “Thank you for salvation, we came here to kill this monster, because it recently killed my father, and constantly steals and devours the other dwarfs. But who are you and where are we?” Clia replied.

“Our country was called Sin-La, until it was captured by an Invisible Dragon – a terrible evil. He conquered our people and we were covered by a huge tribute. Every year we have to give him half of our children to save the other half. Additionally, the Dragon brought his servants – toxic mantises, which were close to killing you, and slimy, giant toads, living here in the forest. Due to the mantises, we had to hide in the forest, and because of toads, we had to build these houses on stilts, because they are not able to climb. Also, there are giant red-ants, but their invasion occurs only once a year, during the period of drought. Then we leave our homes and go hiding high up in the crowns of the trees so they don’t notice us, and we await this invasion.”

“The invisible Dragon lives with his family in a huge cave. Apart from us, he enslaved also the gold butterflies – the most intelligent creatures in our country, only they don’t know how to talk. He also took a lonely Gentle Behemoth – a pretty good-natured fat man, who now has to clean up his huge cave every day,” another dwarf continued.

“And is it possible to defeat this Dragon?” asked Kreggs.

“Possible, yes, but very hard, because he is invisible and can only be reflected in mirrors.”

“Then we must forge mirror shields,” exclaimed Clia. “Is it possible?”

“Oh, yes,” replied the king. “We will immediately start doing that, and you will also need armor, which should be resistant to his fire.”

Immediately everyone started to work. They wasted no time in preparing for the battle with only one objective in mind: Defeating the dragon. Two days later the armor was ready: For Kreggs; golden armor, for Klienthal; silver, and for Clia; white platinum, covered with diamond dust for strength. The mirror shields were accompanied with special swords that can pierce the thick Dragon’s scaly skin. Then the dwarfs got a map of the cave and they all sat down to plan their attack on the Dragon and his family. Golden butterflies joined with them and they brainstormed.

It was decided to first put in some huge mirrors in front of the cave, so that the Dragon couldn’t fly out of the cave unnoticed, followed by the guy trio who would make their way into the cave, together with one of the butterflies. Lastly, the cave would break and the rest of the dwarves and butterflies would enter with torches and other mirror accessories.

And so they proceeded, the dwarfs offering to leave part of their crew outside to protect the rest from possible attack of the mantises.

(To Be Continued)