The Dragon and the George

The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gordon R. Dickson
Tags: Fiction, General, Science-Fiction
grand-uncle of this body I'm in."
    "Whatever. The point is, once the georges figure out I don't belong to them, they won't have any interest in saving me. So, when you go to the magician—"
    "Wait a minute! Who said I was leaving you, to go anywhere?"
    "You know as well as I do that that's what you have to do," Angie answered. "You know we don't have a chance any other way. But it might be, it just barely might be, that this magician can help us both get back. If nothing else, you could teach him to hypnotize both of us at once, so that we'd go back together, or something—Oh, I don't know! It's the only chance we've got, and you know it as well as I do. We've got to take it!"
    Jim opened his mouth to contest this point and then closed it again. As usual, she had exercised that verbal judo of hers to leave them both on her side of the argument.
    "But what if the magician doesn't want to help?" he protested feebly. "After all, why should he help us, anyway?"
    "I don't know; but maybe we can find some reason," said Angie. "We have to."
    Jim opened his mouth and once more closed it again.
    "So off you go and find him. And when you do, be honest with him. Simply tell him about our situation with Grottwold. Ask him if there's any way he can help us get back, and any way we can make it worth his while. We've got nothing to lose by being open and straightforward with him."
    To Jim's mind this did not ring like the foregone conclusion it apparently was to Angie. But she was winning.
    "And leave you here, meanwhile?" was all he could manage to say.
    "And leave me here. I'll be just fine," Angie answered. "I heard what you said at the end, down in the big cave. I'm a hostage. I'm too valuable to hurt. Besides, the way that old dragon was talking to you, the Tinkling Water must be close. You can probably go there, talk to that magician and get back in an hour or two. It's just about the middle of the day here—hadn't you noticed? You can learn what to do and get back here safely before night."
    "No." Jim shook his head. "If I hypnotize you, at least you'll get home. We start playing games like this magician business and maybe neither one of us will. I won't do it."
    "Well, I won't let you hypnotize me," said Angie. "I'm not going to leave you here with maybe no way to get back, or something worse, even. So what are you going to do?"
    She had, Jim thought, a neat way of sealing up all the exits except the one she wanted him to use.
    "All right," he said finally and unhappily.
    He walked to the edge of the sheer drop, then caught himself and teetered there.
    "What's wrong?" demanded Angie.
    "I just thought," Jim said, a little thickly. "Gorbash obviously knew how to fly. But do I?"
    "You could try it," she suggested. "It'll probably just come to you. I'd think it would, instinctively, once you were in the air."
    Jim looked down at the jagged rocks far below.
    "I don't think so," he said. "I really don't think so. I think I'd better move the boulder there and go back down the inside route."
    "Didn't the old dragon—What's his name… ?"
    "Smrgol."
    "Didn't old Smrgol warn you not to come downcave again? What if you meet him on the way and he says you're not to go, after all? Besides, the Tinkling Water may be far enough away so you'll need to fly to get there."
    "True," said Jim, hollowly. He thought it over. There seemed to be no alternative. He shuddered and closed his eyes. "Well… here goes nothing."
    He jumped outward and began to flail his wings wildly. The air whistled about him as it might if he was either flying or falling like a stone. He was sure he was falling. There was something like a sudden soundless explosion in the back of his head, and his wings stretched, slowed and began to encounter resistance. He could feel air against their undersurfaces in the same way the back pressure of the water on an oar can be felt by somebody rowing.
    Hope flickered faintly alight in him. If he were going to smash on

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