‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#11: The Ice Pirates' Glacier

It was not a good day for Joy, my Dragon Little.

She had not slept well that night, and once Dragon Father appeared on the deck of Bonny’s Revenge, the Ice Pirates immediately struck. The battle was hard, long, and mostly tiring.

The Ice Pirates had defeated Dragon Little and Dragon Father. They abandoned them at the top of a glacier, and taken Bonny’s Revenge to their stronghold.

Dragon Father knew that the Ice Pirates’ stronghold was atop the glacier, a five-mile climb on top of a freezing glacier with no protection. Dragon Little was already exhausted.

“Come on,” Dragon Father pushed up. “You can do it. Come on.”

The walk up was hard and slow.

In the middle, Dragon Little began shaking from the cold. Dragon Father, without noticing he did so, summoned a coat for her, warmer pants, and boots. He convinced her that wearing them will make her warmer.

After she dressed, they continued the climb.

“There is no other way, Joy!” He told her. “Bonny’s Revenge is up there. We have to get to it. We have to defeat the Ice Pirates!”

Dragon Little pushed on and on. Halfway through, she sat on the ice, and said. “I can’t, Dad! I can’t!”

“Come on, come on, I’ll push you. It’ll help.”

She shook her head. “It’s too hard.”

“Please, Joy. Come on. We have to do it!”

“The jet-pack, Dad! Can you just fly us out of here?”

Whenever he needed it, a jet-pack would appear on Dragon Father’s back, helping him fly when he needed it.

“I don’t know.” He concentrated. But nothing happened. “Come on,” he tried to will it to his back. “Come on, come on, come on!” Still nothing happened.

He closed his eyes, and tried again. The jet-pack appeared on his back.

“There we go!” He smiled, and Joy jumped up.

But within a second, he and his jet-pack had disappeared. He had woken up and returned to the waking world.

Dragon Little sat down. Her father often disappears in the middle of something, and then returns after a few minutes to the deck of Bonny’s Revenge.

Dragon Little looked up at the sky, waiting for Bonny’s Revenge to appear and for her father to pick her up.

But half an hour passed and it did not appear.

Dragon Little made a face. This was one of those times it would take him hours to return.

Dragon Little began to cry.

I felt for her. My heart broke for her. I could have flown to her and helped her. But I knew what she and her father didn’t: Too many things were waiting for her on the outside of her father’s dream. She had to become tough, truly tough, to survive at least part of her childhood.

I waited and watched.

Dragon Little cried for five minutes. Then she wiped away the tears and came to her feet.

Step by step, second by second, she moved up the glacier. Minute by minute, keeping the same exact slow place, she moved forward. She kept her head down, looking at the ground in front of her. Her teeth were clenched as she walked.

Until the reached the top. It took her two hours after her father had disappeared, but she made it!

She looked at the unimpressive stronghold from the outside, and spotted her ship parked outside, floating in the air, tied to the stronghold, without anyone guarding it.

She snuck into the ship, went to the help, and began flying upwards and away. The rope tying the ship to the stronghold did not break. For a moment, Bonny’s Revenge hung in the air, not moving. The Ice Pirates looked at the ship.

Dragon Little pushed the wheel back hard to increase speed. The rope did not break, but the stronghold did: It was torn away from the glacier as the ship flew upward.

Dragon Little looked back and saw she was carrying the entire stronghold.

She swung Bonny’s Revenge down, and slammed the stronghold into the glacier. It broke apart and all the Ice Pirates fell.

Now, carrying only the rope behind her, she flew the ship into a cloud. She parked inside it, went into her cabin, and went to sleep.

—Told by The Red Dragon

Watch how I came up with the idea for this post:

#12: The Empty World

#10: The Day of the Flying Elephants