Dust and Cinder

Chapter 1


I wasn’t dead, but I could’ve been. In the last couple of months, my life had taken a sharp turn to the left. I worked as a private detective. I’d handled a case for a woman named Melinda Handler. She’d wanted to know if her husband Brad Handler had been cheating on her. It’d been a trick, a trap.

Brad and Melinda were from a world called Yango and they’d used me as a human shield so they could escape. They’d been stealing and robbing different worlds and had been sent to my world for punishment. I later found out the Yangos were vicious and cruel.

They often went to other worlds to take over, killing any who opposed them.

Before meeting them, I’d had no idea other worlds existed. Or that people in those worlds had powers and special abilities.

Most beings traveled to other worlds with a device called a porter. Brad and Melinda had left behind one of their porters when they’d fled my world. I used it to open a portal, which me and my boyfriend Reid stepped through.

A whole new life had opened up before us. We’d acquired strange new powers. Dragon powers. No one had seen the dragons for thousands of years. Everyone had been shocked when they’d realized we had the power of the dragons.

 We’d gone to different worlds looking for Brad and Melinda. We’d wanted to understand what was happening to our bodies. Since we’d gotten the porter from them, we figured they could help.

We met new friends along the way. Many whose worlds had been ravaged by the Yangos. We met Trout, Coen, and Iago on their world Litvan. Iago’s sister had been taken hostage for defying the Yango’s. We helped Iago get his sister back.

We also visited a world called Emor. We’d met a set of twins there. They’d been living a hard life. We brought them back with us. The twins, Ridge and Chibo, now lived with my parents. They were nineteen years old and just now realizing life wasn’t all bad.

We finally found Brad and Melinda, but that hadn’t ended well. My boyfriend Reid and I still didn’t understand why we had these dragon powers. Would these abilities turn on us one day and hurt us? We didn’t know.

We arrived back from saving Iago’s sister, Lantana. I stepped through the portal into my brother Todd’s living room and stopped short. The rest of my crew filed in behind me. Three people with dragon DNA sat on Todd’s couch, waiting for me and Reid. 

The dragons in my brother’s living room stood. Two men and a woman.

I gasped when I saw them. Were they here to kill us? My pulse quickened, sweat already making my palms wet. Would they hurt my family? I’d fight to my last breath if they tried.

In the last couple of weeks, we’d done nothing but fight the Yangos and try to rescue Lantana. I never thought I’d actually see a real-life dragon.

I let out a breath. I had a lot of questions that only the dragons could answer. But would they? Would they tell me how Reid and I had developed dragon powers and what that meant for our bodies, our health?

I swallowed hard. My mouth hung low to the ground. I couldn’t believe dragons stood in my brothers living room.

They were magnificent looking, majestic, and regal. Also, they were humanoid. The woman’s skin was a sea-green. She had long mint-colored hair that flowed to the floor.

She wore a white dress and had four sets of earrings in her ears. Small golden jewels adorned her hair. Beautiful bracelets went up her arms and around her ankles.

Her eyes were a bright silver, but they held an intelligence and knowledge that was far beyond my years.

The man to her right, had powder-blue skin. His long, light blue dreadlocks hung down his back. His eyes glowed silver and blue. When he looked at me, I felt like he was seeing straight into my soul.

I’d put him at around thirty years of age. Same for his two companions. He had a diamond stubbed nose-ring, and his fingers were full of jewels.

He wore a white silk shirt that was partially open, along with a pair of black silk pants. When I looked at him, I felt like he held all my secrets in the palm of his hand. An air of authority floated around him. This man, this dragon, was used to being in charge.  

The last man had orange hair and skin, same as a tiger. His hair was in a ponytail, held together by a gold ringlet. He had on sandals. Each one of his toes had a small gold or silver ring on them. He also wore bracelets around his ankles and two platinum chains around his neck.

This dude had probably never seen a party he didn’t like.

His eyes were a deep marigold with silver flecks. They watched Reid with special care.

Todd and Vonda sat beside each other on the couch, wide-eyed and silent.

“Hello,” the woman said, looking at me. “We’ve been waiting for you.” Her voice was high. Yet, it held power. It was almost like she’d pulled on her vocal cords and forced her will into each word she spoke.

I took a step back. My heart felt like a jackhammer. “Why?” I asked, my tone low and guarded.

Had they come to execute me for having their porter? Would they punish us for stealing their powers? Had they come to help us fight the Yangos? Maybe they’d remove these powers from Reid and myself. I hoped not. I was used to them now.

 I ran a hand down my face, thinking of ways to get my family to safety. I turned to Iago, Trout, Coen, and Lantana. They watched the dragons closely. They seemed in awe of them.

I needed to get them out of here. They weren’t to blame for any of this. “You all leave,” I said. “Go to Iago and Trout’s place. I’ll call you if anything comes up.”

The dragon with the pale blue skin looked at them. “Yes, do go.” His voice was hard, rich, and full. It was the type of voice you wanted to obey. His tone made it seemed like you had no other option. “This does not concern you.”

Iago’s brows furrowed. He looked at me for confirmation. I nodded. He nodded back. Then, he, Lantana, Coen, Fletcher, and Trout walked around me, stunned looks on all their faces.

“You too,” I said to Todd and Vonda who still hadn’t uttered a word. They rose, never taking their eyes off the dragons.

They followed the others out the door. They were probably too shocked to object. I waited until I heard car engines start and drive away before I allowed myself to breathe again.

My family was safe. My friends were safe. Now Reid and I could deal with whatever fallout was about to happen. At least the others would be protected.

“You’ve been summoned by the three Dragon Lords,” the one with the orange hair said. His voice was low and gravelly. It was full of power. He gave me the impression of someone who took things as they came and didn’t quibble over the small stuff.

Reid stepped forward. His shoulders were stiff, body on alert. “Who are the Dragon Lords? Who are you?”

The one with the orange skin smiled. “He’s as forceful as any dragon from the land of Dreed. You’ll be with me on this trip.”

The man with the powder blue skin looked my way. “And you’ll be with me. You stand tall, Alisa. As proud as any dragon from the land Cyphen. We’ll see what the others have to say.”

The woman smiled at Reid and myself. “I’m Tripen.” She pointed to the blue man. “This is Linton.” She then pointed to the other. “Fryd.”

 Her eyes went from Reid to myself, a look of sorrow on her face. “Neither of you belong to the land Kreen. But we’ll be watching closely. New dragons concern us all.”  

My stomach rolled. Fear flooded my veins. I’d wanted answers. Reid and I both had. But going off with them to some land I knew nothing about absolutely terrified me.

Still, you can’t ask for something, then hide in the bushes when it’s handed to you because you’re scared you might get hurt.

We’d wanted this. What did it mean to be a dragon? What did it mean for our mortality? We’d never find out if we didn’t go.

Reid nudged me. We walked over to my brother’s large bay window. “We wanted to find out more,” he said. “This is the way to do it.”

My heart went to my throat. I leaned my forehead against Reid’s, hoping to find comfort there. “They’ll separate us. I know that they will. You’ll go with Fryd, and I’ll have to go with Linton.”

Reid wrapped me in his arms. I lay my head on his chest, never wanting to let go. I wanted us to find the answers together, not broken apart like this.  

“You won’t be separated for long,” Linton said. “But we need to find out who you are, and what house you represent.”

“I was born here,” I said, detangling from Reid and turning to face them. “I don’t belong to some dragon race. It was the porter.” I pulled out the small missile shaped thing and held it up. “This is what gave me dragon powers. Nothing more.”

Fryd shot me an amused glance. He turned to Linton. “I do love shaping young minds that know nothing, yet think they know all.”

Linton’s lip quirked, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he turned to me. “It’s time to go.”

I looked at Reid, letting him know I was doing this. It was the only way to find out what this thing was inside of me.

 This was the best opportunity we’d get. Also, if things went right, maybe we could secure their help in fighting the Yangos.

So many people were being killed and hurt under the Yangos rule. They were ripping families apart, killing babies, children. If the dragons could help stop that, I’d do just about anything.

“Let me text my family,” I said, letting out a breath. “I don’t want them to worry.”  

I went to the kitchen. My head was spinning. Were we really doing this, going off with mystical beasts from another land? A thrill of excitement shot through me. I wanted to go, I realized. I wanted to see what the dragon worlds looked like.

 I picked up my phone and typed in a quick text to Vonda, Todd, Chibo, and Ridge. I debated half a second and then sent one to my mom. She’d tell my dad because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I exhaled deeply. I could do this. “How long will we be gone?” I walked back into the living room.

“As long as it takes,” Tripen said. “The Dragon Lords won’t be rushed.”

I swallowed down bile. That was as cryptic as could be. I got the feeling it wouldn’t get much better.

Reid put a hand on my back. “We can do this. We just have to remember who we are. If we can make it through this, we’ll come out the better for it.”

He put a hand under my chin. He guided my lips to his own. His kiss was sweeter than anything I’d ever tasted. I wanted to crawl inside it and never leave.

He pulled away and placed a small kiss on my forehead. “Let’s go find some answers.”

I nodded and turned to the dragons. “I’m ready.”

They held out their hands. Three large portals opened. My brows rose. What? They’d done it without porters. I knew some people were natural porter openers like, Trout. But why would the dragons even make the porters if they could open portals without one.

Linton bid I follow him. Fryd did the same with Reid. Tripen nodded us farewell, then stepped into her portal and disappeared. Reid and I shared one last look. Then, he stepped into the portal behind Fryd. I stepped into the portal behind Linton and walked through to the other side.

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