Voyages of the Flying Dragon

BOOK: Voyages of the Flying Dragon
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian
Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Beast Child: Voyages of the Flying Dragon Volume Two

9781742754376

   

The creation and development of this book was assisted by the South Australian Government through the Carclew Youth Arts Board.

   

   

   

A Random House book
Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd
Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060
www.randomhouse.com.au

First published by Random House Australia in 2011

Copyright © Ben Chandler 2011

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian
Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia.

Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at
www.randomhouse.com.au/offices
.

National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry

Author: Chandler, Ben
Title: Beast child / Ben Chandler
ISBN: 978 1 86471 979 6 (pbk)
Series: Chandler, Ben. Voyages of the flying dragon; 2
Target audience: For secondary school age
Dewey Number: A823.4

Cover illustration and design by Sammy Yuen
Internal design and map by Sammy Yuenb

T
HIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO MY PARENTS
,
M
UM AND
D
AD,
FOR TEACHING ME TO BE PRACTICAL IN
ALL THINGS – THEN TURNING AROUND AND
ENCOURAGING ME TO DO THE OPPOSITE
BY FOLLOWING MY DREAMS
.

‘These are natural enemies. But what creature could be so low and treacherous as to murder the people of its blood?'

He thought: it is a pity that there are no big creatures to prey on humanity. If there were enough dragons and rocs, perhaps mankind would turn its might against them.

T.H. White
The Book of Merlyn

Mayonaka Shishi

Captain

Arthur Knyght

First Officer

Anastasis Greygori

Ostian Diplomat

Kami Tenjin

Records Keeper

Gekkō no Niji Shin

Helmswoman

Long Liu

Doctor

Kenji Jackson

Navigator

Yūrei no Gōshi Yami

Swordsman

Lenis Clemens

Engineer

Misericordia ‘Missy' Clemens

Communications Officer

Andrea Florona

Lookout

Chō no Jinsei Hiroshi

Cook

Kami no Suzume Shujinko

Cabin Boy

   

   

   

   

Aeris

Bestia of Air

Aqua

Bestia of Water

Atrum

Bestia of Darkness

Ignis

Bestia of Fire

Lucis

Bestia of Light

Terra

Bestia of Earth

 

Lenis saw the fist coming.
Sweep right arm up to block. Something about a crane, or a seagull
… Yami's instructions churned through his mind, but it was too late. The blow caught Lenis just beneath his ribs. The air rushed out of him. He doubled over and another strike connected with his chin, snapping his head up. Something smashed into his chest and sent him flying backwards. His head bounced against the
Hiryū
's deck as he fell. False lights flared across his vision.

Again.

‘You are not a fighter.'

‘Enough, Shujinko.'

The voices sounded very far away.

Lenis's frustration roiled inside him. He took it and twined it through his anger. His focus turned inwards as he sought to harness his emotions. He grabbed hold of them, crammed them together. They writhed against one another, against his
control of them, but slowly he constricted them, tightening them into a ball of rage. In a moment he would unleash it on his opponent, sending him out over the airship's railing and down to his –

No!
Lenis felt his sister flinch at his mental scream.
Not like that!
He drew in a long, shaky breath, just like Yami had taught him, but pain erupted in his side, turning it into a wheeze. Even so, his vision began to clear. The outline of his assailant came into focus above him. Lenis could feel the contempt his attacker had for the boy he'd just beaten, but underlying it was a deep current of fear. A fear of heights, of flying. Lenis knew that he could use that against him, to overwhelm his opponent with his own emotions, but he didn't want to do that to anyone, not since he'd reduced the Warlord of Shinzō to a quivering mess a couple of months before.

Lenis's assailant showed no signs of granting him mercy. ‘You are far too slow.'

‘Lenis is slow because his body is not accustomed to combat, Shujinko,' Yami said. ‘His mind works quickly, but his body must be trained to obey without thought.' This last statement, Lenis guessed, was directed as much at him as his sparring partner. ‘It will come in time, as no doubt it came to you.'

Shujinko said nothing for three heartbeats, and then, ‘Sir!'

Yami came over and helped Lenis to his feet. Dull aches from older bruises clashed with Lenis's fresh injuries, but if
he wanted to learn how to fight then he couldn't afford to rest. These training sessions were not what he had expected. True, he had been the one to ask Captain Shishi if he could learn Shinzōn martial arts, and he had been excited when Yami volunteered to be his teacher, but Lenis hadn't counted on the new cabin boy's involvement.

Lenis squared his shoulders. ‘I'm ready to go again.'

Yami was still gripping his shoulder. ‘Perhaps we should ask the doctor to look at you first, Lenis.'

The Shinzōn swordsman ran his free hand down Lenis's side. The pain in his chest sharpened at the pressure, causing Lenis to gasp as he collapsed against his teacher. Perhaps a little bit of rest wouldn't be a bad thing after all.

Yami helped Lenis cross the deck. As they passed Shujinko, the cabin boy said, ‘Nice match.'

Lenis stiffened in Yami's arms. He could feel the older boy's satisfaction. These training sessions would have gone a lot smoother if Shujinko didn't enjoy beating him so much. He never gloated over his victories, but he didn't have to. Lenis knew exactly how he felt about them. One of the problems with being empathic was that you couldn't escape the true emotions of others, and Kami no Suzume Shujinko
really
didn't like Lenis.

At the forward hatch Lenis let go of Yami's arm and used the railing to support himself down the stairs. His mentor followed along behind; his silent shadow. Yami's emotions were always harder to sense than those of other people. He
was a reserved man by nature, but he had also erected strong barriers within himself, holding things back he didn't want to feel. Even if Lenis wished to break through those barriers, he knew that Gawayn was trapped somewhere behind them. The Kystian soul's chaotic emotions were constantly at war within Yami, striving to take control of his body. Ostensibly, this had been done to the Shinzōn man to prevent him from ending his own life, but Lenis had seen other things that could arouse the dormant Kystian, such as the presence of Demons.

It took Lenis a long time to reach the galley. Each step brought a fresh stab of agony to his side. He kept his breathing shallow to minimise the expansion of his chest, but that didn't do much to ease his pain. As he reached the bottom step he was immediately overwhelmed by love and contentment. For a moment, Lenis forgot his pain as Suiteki's sheer joy enveloped him. The baby dragon left her bed by Hiroshi's stove and ran over to him, her nails digging first into the wooden floor of the galley and then into Lenis's leg as she climbed up his trousers. Lenis grimaced, picking Suiteki off before she could snuggle inside his robe. The last thing he needed was an enthusiastic baby dragon clawing at his damaged ribs.

He held her to his face, looking deep into her silver eyes, wrapping her in his own love and delight in seeing her. Suiteki shivered in pleasure, her miniature claws digging into his skin, raising fresh welts on his wrists and hands.
He was already covered in white scratches that had not yet had a chance to heal. He was going to have to trim her nails.

Yami cleared his throat from behind them. Lenis carefully cradled Suiteki in the crook of his arm as he continued on to the doctor's cabin. The baby dragon made short, high-pitched caws and scrabbled against his grip, wanting nothing more than to curl up inside Lenis's robe, next to his heart. Her craving for heat was as large as her appetite. When she wasn't curled up next to Hiroshi's stove or snuggled in with the Bestia, she was pressed up against Lenis, wrapping herself in his body heat. Even though it was early spring, the air was still bitterly cold. Lenis suspected the skies above Heimat Isle were constantly frigid. The mountain ranges that covered the island looked as though they hadn't been free of snow for a very long time. Nothing grew near the summits and there was no sign of life, either animal, human, Bestia, or Demon. For the last, at least, Lenis was thankful.

The
Hiryū
and its crew had been forced to winter in Nochi, the capital of Shinzō, despite their desire to pursue Shōgo no Akushin Karasu. They had last seen the mercenary in Asheim, the capital of Ost, where he had claimed to be in possession of the stones of ebb and flow necessary for unlocking Suiteki's power. That was before the crew of the
Hiryū
had even found the dragon egg, and long before Suiteki's birth. Their delayed departure had given the mercenary's trail time to grow even colder, but the unseasonable
weather that had sped their return flight to Shinzō had finally broken the very afternoon they were scheduled to depart. They were only now on their way back north, hoping to make up for lost time by flying over Heimat Isle, rather than taking the longer, safer route from the southern tip of Heiligland.

As Lenis raised his free hand to knock on the doctor's door, Long Liu opened it and clucked his tongue.

‘Again?' The doctor shook his head, sending debris flying out of his wild mane of hair.

‘Just my ribs.' Lenis hissed as he tried to take a breath and then stumbled inside as the doctor motioned him in.

‘So, I shouldn't bother with the blood pouring out of your head?'

Lenis's hand went to the back of his skull, which caused his ribs to shift again. His fingers felt something sticky, and when he brought his hand back around to his face he saw that they were covered in blood.

‘How …?' He felt light-headed. Yami took him by the shoulders and lowered him onto the bunk in the middle of the doctor's cabin.

‘You hit your head on the deck,' Yami told him.

‘I didn't even feel …' Lenis trailed off. Somehow the damage to his ribs had overridden the aching of his other injuries, but now that he knew he was bleeding the ribs didn't seem so important. He swallowed past the lump that constricted his throat. ‘How bad is it?'

Yami's voice was as calm as ever. ‘Head wounds always bleed excessively. As long as you haven't cracked the bone, there will be nothing to worry about.'

‘Great,' Lenis mumbled.

The doctor handed him a small vial. Lenis drank its contents in one swig, throwing his head back and wincing as his vision clouded. He had learned early on that however effective the doctor's tonics were it was usually better not to ask what was in them. This particular concoction was bitter and made his tongue tingle, but a moment later his pain dimmed. First the older bruises he'd earned during earlier training sessions faded, and then the more immediate throbbing of his ribs, chin, and finally his head quieted. Lenis felt his lips twitch up into a smile.

Long Liu made him lie on his stomach. As the doctor began prodding the back of his head, Lenis felt himself falling towards sleep. He barely noticed Suiteki wriggling her way under his chin and was only vaguely aware of Yami talking to him. ‘It is good that you have begun training, Lenis. I have been anxious. I do not know how I will protect both you and your sister if one of you …'

Whatever else Yami had to say was lost in Lenis's dreams.

Missy watched Lenis's training session through the crystal dome of the bridge. She was hardly surprised her twin brother needed Yami's help to get below decks. Barely a day
went by when Lenis didn't end up visiting the doctor. He'd spent most of the time they were marooned in Nochi fiddling around with the
Hiryū
's engines, but the moment Shujinko had boarded the airship, Lenis had begun acting strangely. He'd asked Captain Shishi if he could learn to fight, which was not at all like Lenis, and he'd also begun to consume vast amounts of food. Missy had no idea how her brother fitted it all in his stomach, but Chō no Jinsei Hiroshi, the old cook, seemed delighted by Lenis's newfound appetite and was constantly offering him things to eat. Missy assumed it was a boy thing, but she was beginning to worry about their supply levels.

All that food probably accounted for Lenis's recent growth spurt. The twins had always been of a height in the past, but now her brother was taller than Missy by at least six inches. He was almost the same height as the cabin boy, who was two years older. Those two did not get on. Things had been a lot more fun when Namei was on board. Then, the
Hiryū
's voyage had seemed like some grand adventure. That all changed in the skies above Asheim when Lord Butin had ordered Namei's throat cut.

Missy shivered and recalled why they were flying above Heimat Isle. They were returning to Asheim to try and pick up Karasu's trail, which meant there was a good chance they'd have to face Lord Butin again. Missy glanced at Princess Anastasis. The princess of Ost was staring vacantly out of the crystal dome. Lenis described her as ‘empty' because he
couldn't sense anything from her. This was because she had given most of herself, including her emotions, to her Lilim Disma. In exchange, Disma had given most of her power to Anastasis so that she would be strong enough to kill Butin.

Missy had no such desire for revenge. She had loved Namei – everyone on the crew had – but killing Lord Butin wouldn't bring the cabin girl back to life. Assuming he could be killed. Butin posed as a man, but he was actually a Lilim with enough power to control a Demon, and that made him very dangerous.

Between Karasu, Ishullanu the Demon King, and Lord Butin, the crew of the
Hiryū
had plenty of enemies but only one weapon. Suiteki was their last hope of stopping the spread of the Wastelands and the Demons that infested them, but without the stones Karasu had in his possession she would never grow into a fully-fledged Totem with enough power to stop the Demon King's army. Ishullanu's generals were corrupted Totem and Jinn, the powerful ancestors of the Bestia and the Lilim, and there was no telling how many lesser Demons they commanded between them.

Missy looked around the bridge at her crewmates. Captain Shishi and Arthur Knyght were great warriors, and Gekkō no Niji Shin and Kenji Jackson were strong fighters too, but even if the entire crew worked together, they were still only a few people against an entire army. She caught herself staring at the princess. The girl had given up almost everything to gain the power to fight her enemy. Would it be enough to
destroy Lord Butin? Missy didn't know, but the crew would need powerful allies if they were going to have any hope against their adversaries. Missy wondered what sort of power a Lilim had. She knew there weren't many of them left since the Great War, but if the crew could somehow find those who had survived, could they convince them to help fight Ishullanu? Lilim shared their power by forming pacts with humans. Could a pact be forged that would grant someone enough power to stand against a Caelestia, the race of gods more powerful than any other creature, who had given birth to the Jinn and the Totem? There was only one way for Missy to know.

BOOK: Voyages of the Flying Dragon
4.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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