The Lost Gem

Sriraaga Chillara, Contributor

Chapter 1: Ludo                  


You’d think a well-protected island with 100 warriors and guards could take care of itself. But no. Herminia and Felix just had to declare the start of the “Great Reunion” and absolutely ruin this island’s reputation. Now I’m standing at the shore of our island, surrounded by an army of dragons and soldiers on horses, getting bullied by my 12-year-old niece . . . She’s special that way. Either way, I was too distracted to listen to her blabber on about the right way to wield a sword and parrying techniques. I could tell she was stressed out. I was too, but I guess Nora needed more time to process all this chaos. Oh, what is all the chaos, you ask? Well for that, we’ll have to flashback to two days ago. (Before we do, two things: Please don’t ask why my name is Ludo. I did not choose it. Second, why I am writing this first chapter, I have no idea. I thought Nora would be the best candidate for this, but Herminia said I had a way of having comic entries…)

I’m not much of a partier. I take my role as the army general seriously and sincerely. After all, I am a good strategist. Despite all that, I always find myself looking forward to the Fiesta Gemma. A holiday that is celebrated by every Draconian alive. There’s feasts and games and carnivals and fireworks, but most importantly, there’s the Gem of Draco. We keep it in a chamber underground safely guarded by our most trustworthy dragons; Caphira and Gan. Not a single soul other than the King and Queen are allowed to go in. Even I, the great general who led the island to victory(well kind of) am not allowed in. Though that doesn’t stop me from hanging with the dragons and chatting about, you know, life as a royal-born. They seem to like me. But the point, however, is that the gem is just too valuable to lose or misplace. Not because it is fashioned out of the scale of the first dragon, or delicately placed together with pure sunlight. It’s because it emits pure goodness. It’s what keeps our whole island in peace. It’s believed it was given to us by the dragon Tophira after her victory in the battle against the demon trolls. No one gets to see it until the morning of our celebration, which was, respectively, 2 days ago. 

That day I awoke with excitement. The Fiesta Gemma was almost the only day of the year I actually felt hyper. By the time I got dressed and headed to the courtroom where the King and Queen would be waiting for me, the sun was just starting to rise. It was necessary for the royalty to wake up before the island to prepare everything first. Because after the island awakes, the mayhem is almost unstoppable. I pushed open the great doors to the courtroom and headed in, walking gracefully in an attempt to look impressive in front of my family. But like I always seemed to do when I open a door and walk in with my eyes closed, I tripped on our cat’s tail and fell face first into the costly cashmere carpet (heh heh. Alliteration) leading to the throne. I heard everyone burst into laughter all around me. My face burning, I stood up and narrowed my eyes toward Nora, who started making her way over toward me. 

“Quiet an entrance, Uncle Ludo” She said, struggling to keep a straight face. 

“I don’t get it!” I whined in the most mature way possible… Fine, I kind of sounded like a baby. “Every time! I open a door, and find my face slammed into the floor! I swear, it’s like you set it up everytime you hear the knob turning!”

“Now why would I do something like that, uncle?” Nora said and turned away quickly, as if she didn’t want me to see the expression on her face. See what I mean when I said I was getting bullied by her?

Anyway, I was way too excited to worry about Nora. All around the room, my family had taken their seats in their thrones. Nora, Kiki, Raina, Claud, Mama Gilda, and Herminia and Felix up at the top in their fancy King and Queen thrones. Yup. One big happy family. Also an incredibly crazy one. Although, one person was still missing. I looked around once more and still failed to find him. I walked up to Nora to ask her as everyone else continued to chat. She was a little busy playing with her tiger(yes, our cat is a tiger, deal with it. But Tabor isn’t any ordinary tiger. She is a snow leopard with pink stripes instead of black).

“Come on, Tabor. Sit. You want a treat? You want a– oh! Nice!”

“Hey Nora, where’s Elrris?” I asked, “It’s getting kind of late.” 

“Oh. Well, he should be here by now… It’s fine. He’ll show up. He’s late all the time.” 

I looked around a little anxiously and took my seat. As if on cue, the doors burst open, and in ran Elrris, my dear nephew. He was sweating and panting, as if he’d just run a mile. Just behind him was Pan, our lieutenant, closely followed by Caphira and Gan, our dragons. Felix stood up. 

“Elrris! What is it? What happened?”

Elrris took a moment to catch his breath, and started to speak in between pants.

“I-uh- well, I was checking on the dragons right? Just to make sure everything was okay–wheeze–so I started my way down to the chamber, but then I saw these dragons running up to me, so I stopped to ask them what was wrong, but they wouldn’t tell me, they seemed so panicked, I mean, I didn’t know what do, and–and–”

“Elrris!” Nora intervened, “What. Happened?” I could hear the tension in her voice. I felt it too. All of a sudden, it felt like the room had dropped 50 degrees. Elrris gulped. Even Nora’s own brother was scared of her sometimes. He paused dramatically, leaving us all in a brief moment of excruciating suspense.

“The–the Gem of Draco. It’s missing.”