All in Told by The Red Dragon

It was a long day. Dragon Little and Dragon Father fought the army of killer Martians throughout the entire day. There was sword-fighting, running in corridors, jumping over roofs, a chase down a steep hill, jumping from spaceship to spaceship and back again. 

They were victorious and the evil Martian dictator was defeated, arrested, and escorted by Dragon Little to his new cell in the Infinite Prison at the bottom of Bonny’s Revenge

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All that I have told you before in the last few days about Dragon Little’s dehydration, the lack of water, and how Mary, the nanny who would soon be dead, tried to help Dragon Little - all that ends here. Because what Mary did the next day and each and every following day of her short life - what she did saved Dragon Little’s life. 

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“Mary, is she still asleep?” he shouted, all full of vigor and success. 

“Yes, sir.” 

“That’s ridiculous! Wake her up! I’ll wake her up!” he immediately said, rushing past Mary. “Joy! Wakey-wakey! Time’s a-wasti--” and with that, he disappeared. 

Mary went into Dragon Little’s cabin. I heard her gasp. “The water! Where’s all the water?!”

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“These were not there before,” Mary said firmly in her soft voice. “There was no water to drink! The lass was thirsty!”

“Mary, you’re being silly. You just need to look better. Everywhere you look there’s water on this ship.”

He was right. But she was also right, for he had just created all the water when she mentioned it. But he did not know that, for he did not seem to know he was in a dream and that he was the dreamer. 

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Mary walked around the deck, searching for previous bottles of water. But every bottle she found was empty of water. 

“Mary,” two-year-old Dragon Little almost cried. “I’m thirty.” 

“I’m sorry, lass, there isn’t any water around,” she said with true sadness. “We will need to ask your father to fetch water when he returns.” 

Mary was clearly speaking slowly and with trepidation. She knew that Dragon Father usually comes fourteen hours more or less after he disappears. And he had only just disappeared.

The first few days after I had met Dragon Little and Dragon Father, after they had rescued me from my enslavers and gave me my freedom, these first few days were hard for me. 

It was hard for me to get used to freedom. It was hard for me to close my eyes without imagining my enslavers hitting me with their painful prods or whipping me with electric whips. 

During those days I hid behind one of the planets, where I thought I could escape. It was hard to sleep. It was hard to stay awake, for I was always afraid that the evil ones will return, searching for me. 

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Dragon Little was two years old when she discovered that any time she touched the wheel of Bonny’s Revenge, the pirate ship they lived on would start moving. 

This was before Mary’s death. When Dragon Father was not around, but awake in his ‘real’ world, Mary would watch over Dragon Little and help her. 

But Mary was not always capable of handling Dragon Little’s speed and determination. 

Dragon Little and Mary were playing hide and seek on the deck, when Dragon Little hid behind the wheel. 

As she peeked to see if Mary saw her, she touched the wheel, and the ship lurched, turning to one side. 

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Dragon Little - the small, human girl whose real name was Joy Shelley, not yet five years old - stood with her arms and hands shaking in the middle of a pool of blood. She was covered with blood, none of which was her own, and the pool of red around her was twice the length of her arms. Beyond that and all around the pool was the mangled and slashed body of the giant, flying octopus that had kidnapped her. 

Her sword and small laser pistol lay behind her in the pool of blood. 

She breathed hard and did not move. 

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Dragon Father sounded worried, “Oh, no. Do you remember what happened last time?” 

Dragon Little looked up at him, freezing in place. 

“The last time you did this, the Snot Eater came. I think every time someone picks her nose, his little pieces in the ocean come back together. After a few times, he’ll be back, and he might take you again.”

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There were sounds of things being moved around, things being opened and closed. “Look, a special candy, just for you. It’s a gum made out of snot. Here. Try it. It is the best!”

“If you’re trying to poison me, my daddy will--”

“Bah, it isn’t poison, it’s candy! Here, I’ll take one, too! Come on! Your daddy will never know. Come on!”

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I sometimes think about how different Dragon Little’s life is from the lives of all other little girls. She is an ordinary girl, after all, like all others, cursed with being born in the Dream for a reason she does not know. And I think… What do other girls who were not born in the dream do during the day?

I do not know for all I have seen are dreams. Is Dragon Little’s life on a pirate ship battling villains with her father - is that how children spend their time? I think not. The few I have seen in my long life have rarely dreamed about such things.

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