Daphne: As long as I can remember, I have hated and feared snakes. And, come to think of it, just about all snaky, scaly things, including lizards, salamanders, alligators, and crocodiles. Basically all reptilian like creatures. But a few years ago, I was informed that my worst fears had come true. A nightmare come to life: some reptiles have “changed in size”, as my teacher says it. Going from normal, everyday reptiles, to reptiles the size of a man!!! And of course, as is true of all nightmares, they are threatening life as we know it.
It was shortly after my parent’s death on the SS Admiral Nakhimov that the man I would come to call master approached me with information that I “had a right to know”. He then proceeded to show me photos of men wearing “down with skin, let scales rule” shirts. In these photos these men were shown kidnapping the captain, and ordering the first mate to not change course, smiling as the two ships crashed together, and even diving in and holding people under water to make them drown.
I was infuriated. Why in the world would these people want to kill so many? Why my parents? They had never done anything to hurt these people. It was then that he broke the news to me. Those ‘men’ were reptiles who had been transformed into humans, and they want to destroy all human life.
When I heard this I almost ran into the streets like a one of those loony self-proclaimed ‘prophets’. I would have gone out saying “The end is near! Watch out for the reptiles that have grown to the size of men!” and I told him we should do just that. But before I could put actions to my words, he said “Hold on one moment, while your intentions are good, you won’t be able to handle this threat like that. Most people will not believe that these reptiles have changed.”
It was then I learned that the reason most people have never heard of this problem, and would never believe us if we told them, is that most if not all of them are in hiding, for fear of being killed. So I joined him on his holy quest, (his term, not mine) our purpose is simple, we will find and eliminate every one of these cursed beasts.
Then he told me of a circle of knights who have dedicated their lives to ridding the world of these reptiles, and keeping the world safe. It was such an honor, to be taken into the same room as these descendants of some of the greatest knights of all history (though why they called him number 8 I shall never know). Then they took me by surprise by inviting me into their company, and giving me the mark of a true knight.
I had taken care of a few different cells of these cursed reptiles and the humans who tried to protect them since that time, thus my master decided that I was ready for “a cell where perverse humans have born children to these demons.” He then informed me of the responsibilities of this type of mission. “This means that you will have not only have to keep the local police in the dark, but you will also will have to evade, and eliminate an eighteen year old boy who has a tail, and a thirteen year old girl with scales.”
Everything was going extremely well, almost as perfect as my first assignment, but then the kids figured out that I had been sowing seeds of discord between them with phony telephone calls, emails, and notes. And now they have gone off into a mountain range somewhere, but neither my master nor I had any idea where, nor seemed to be able to track them.
When I was searching for clues as to where they would go, I stumbled across a diary of the boy’s and began to read it. At first to see if I could divine where the kids had gone, but when I got to the part where their ‘grandma’ told them the story about how their parents were murdered, I nearly dropped the book. Their parents had been my first assignment!!!
I continued reading, no longer searching for clues, but now living the adventure from the other side, and I soon discovered that they had not only been my first assignment, but that they were also the parents of the only boy who was ever nice to me. Of course he had moved away mere months after I met him, but I would never forget his name.
Henry Gladstone was one of the more popular kids in school, everyone wanted to be his friend. But whenever someone would make fun of my clothes, or how I could speak in so many different voices, he would come over, sit next to me, and comfort me. “What a relief” I had said. “I’m so glad he was killed by a different band of dragon hunters, and not mine.” (for by now I had learned that these reptiles were not lizards or salamanders, but dragons).
The moment the word’s escaped my mouth, I regretted them. What? How dare I be relieved?!?!? He was dead, and he had never done anything to deserve it. “Maybe”, I thought to myself. “Maybe dragons are evil, but that doesn’t mean that their kids are. It isn’t their fault that their parents are evil perverts.” But of course I couldn't mention any of this to my teacher. He would have had a fit if he discovered that I thought that the offspring shouldn’t be eliminated too. “Then again,” I reasoned. “if these kids weren’t evil, then that means that the parents couldn’t be evil, after all the good book says: ‘a good tree can only bear good fruit, and an evil tree evil fruit’.” No, I had seen these people up close, they hated us. And wasn’t the Devil a dragon too?
Maybe Henry was a child from another marriage. Yes, that had to be it; Henry was this Margaret Galdstone’s child from another marriage. Not the child of one of these lizards.
Suddenly, my master had walked in the room. “What’s that?” he had demanded. “A diary of one of those demented mongrels” I replied. “I wanted to see if it mentioned any secret hiding places.” He smiled “That’s good thinking, it’s always a good idea to look through the musings of your enemy. But now is not the time, we need to look for clues as to where they have gone, and while that book will probably hold the best, we can look at it while we travel. We only have a short time before the cops show up, and we can’t have them taking any evidence, reading that book will be a waste of time at the moment, understand?” “Yes, of course,” I had responded. “that makes complete sense. I don’t know what I was thinking, I'm sorry.” “Don’t worry,” had been his reply “it took me years to learn all the tricks of the trade. But do you remember rule number 2?” “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness” we had both said in unison.
That was six months ago, now we are hot on their trail, they had traveled to the USA, and had just about gone everywhere. From Alaska, to Arizona, to Montana, to West Virginia, and finally we had tracked them to an apartment building in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A place where they will be able to neither run nor hide.