As the day started to dawn, the hollow of the gnarled tree burst into flames of pale blue and silver. Out of it, emerged a swirling ball of mauve and magenta, which grew into an adult-sized Jacaranda. Jacaranda had arrived a little earlier than scheduled with a tiny string bag that held her belongings.
Jasmine, Jolyn and Gorge were breakfasting. Jolyn was in a better shape than before. She looked a bit sad but resigned. Gorge had convinced her that he was going as her knight to win a battle for her. When they finished the meal and stepped out, they saw Jacaranda and the dragon in conversation.
“Here come the seekers,” said the dragon.
“Hi!” said Jacaranda. The three of them murmured their greetings. Jasmine had on her knapsack and Gorge had been given a small backpack with snacks and some clothing by the dragon.
The dragon saw Jolyn looking sad. “Ah! My dear. Do not be sad. We really need you here. I need you to look after everybody in the house. You all also need to learn to use your telepathic skills while the adventurers are gone. We will form a telepathic communication club to practise our skills.”
Then tuning to Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge, he said, “Now, all you need is to ride the dragon cloud I will make for you. Jacaranda knows how to navigate the cloud through the skies. Incase, Dr Doom’s men do spot you, they can do nothing as the dragon cloud is impervious to spells, laser and bullets. The only thing that can pierce or destroy it is dragon fire.”
Saying this, the dragon raised his neck to the skies and gave three loud roars. Then he blew out fire three times and mumbled a spell…A golden dragon shaped cloud appeared in the sky and started floating down to the lawn. It stopped hovering just above the grass.
“Come get in, the three of you,” said the dragon.
Jacaranda climbed in. Jasmine went in a little warily as did Gorge. Jolyn stepped forward and kissed Gorge goodbye.
The cloud felt like a cold metal surface and gleamed as if with the rays of the rising sun. The dragon swayed his tail and turned around and whispered some soft words of incantation and the cloud started rising. The three of them looked down and waved. Jacaranda lay down on the neck of the cloud and it rose higher and higher. The other two watched amazed as the figures on the lawn receded and became tiny. The roof of the mountain seemed to have been replaced by the skies above the dragon lair.
As they floated out into the open, the sky was red-gold with the colors of the rising sun. The cloud almost looked like a part of the sunrise. However, a gunshot whizzed past their cloud as Dr Doom’s gang and the mind police on watch had spotted them. They had been on the look out for the group as Dr Doom and the counsellors were convinced that Jasmine and her multiverse selves were alive and well, even if their location remained unknown. If they had been dead, the counsellors would have sensed a disturbance in the universal consciousness. They insisted the guards stay alert. The guards were forever on a lookout. They worked in shifts. The mind police and Dr Doom’s men worked jointly. Dr Doom’s soldiers were smart enough to see the dragon cloud. And the mind police on Jasmine’s track could sense her thought waves and anxiety as they came into the open. Gorge’s anxiety too guided them to unearth the concealment. Jacaranda quickly stood up, mumbled some incantation and the dragon cloud encapsulated the three of them. A draft of wind seemed to blow them higher and further. The mind police hopped onto another cloud and started to follow them.
“Will the two of you stop being anxious? Learn to trust. Otherwise you will give us away. I know the cloud can turn invisible if we can all focus together. That way we can get rid of the mind police,” said Jacaranda.
“More easily said than done,” said Jasmine. “But we need to be bold and fearless. Gorge, breathe deeply with me and say Ommm from the pit of your stomach, like me. Repeat a few times. That always helps reduce stress and builds up the positive energy in us.”
“Would it not be easier to battle it out with them?” queried Gorge.
“They have tranquillizing guns which, if they can access us, will immediately put us to sleep. So, we should not think of a confrontation,” Jasmine responded.
“Better listen to her. She knows them better than us,” said Jasmine.
“Okay,” said Gorge a trifle disconsolately.
Jasmine and Gorge started on their Ommms. Behind them, the mind police was shooting out laser rays to dissolve the cloud. It was difficult to be calm but Jasmine and Gorge continued in their effort. Slowly, they experienced a sense of calm. Then Jasmine, Jacaranda and Gorge held hands and focused on air…like they were a part of the breeze. They felt themselves sway…like a whiff of air. The cloud slowly faded out of vision even as the lasers hit the cloud. It floated on invisibly till the mind police started losing not just the cloud but also the thought waves emanating from the three of them. The mind police hunted for them for sometime and then went back to magicland as they had lost them. Eventually, focusing on the thought waves bore no results as the combined strength of their minds build a barrier against the police. Jasmine was excellent at concealing ideas and thought. They could not identify the thought waves of Gorge and Jacaranda clearly. They were forced to give up.
As the mind police faded out of sight, Jacaranda asked Jasmine, “So where to?”
Jasmine said, “Let us land on a safe dimension and then, I can pinge us into the technological dimension.”
“Safe, now what would be safe?” wondered Jacaranda.
“Perhaps we can land on that distant island,” said Jasmine, peering out of the cloud.
Jacaranda looked beyond and said, “That is the isle of wonder. A good place for us.”
“What is the isle of wonder?” asked Gorge.
“The isle of wonder is where gods, mythological heroes, dead souls who had great contributions come together over ages. It is an interesting place to visit. Their world is utopian. It’s lovely out there. We have to have special permission to access it. The only people who can visit freely are performers, artists, teachers and scientists. As I am a dance teacher, my accompanying guests and I are allowed entry against my pass. We can’t stay too long as the security coordinates visitors with the mainland security staff every week. So, we can only have a few days here,” said Jacaranda.
“We don’t need that much!” said Jasmine.
“It is a fantastic place. If we can evade the security by landing invisibly on a beach away from the security, we should be safe and we will have no record,”said Jacaranda. “I just love visiting the island.”
“Another time please,” said Jasmine. “If you can manage us an uncharted entry, it would be fantastic.”
“We could try the beach on the eastern side or the hill where Garuda, Daedalus and Icarus live. Daedalus is studying Garuda’s wings to learn the principles of making a pair of perfect wings.”
“Who are these people?” asked Gorge.
“Oh! These are all mythological creatures from Jacinth’s dimension. These myths do not exist in your dimension, is it?” asked Jasmine.
“No,” said Gorge. “Our myths are all to do with Gods of nature.”
“Interesting!” said Jacaranda. “We have creatures from myths of all dimensions here.”
“Garuda, Daedalus and Icarus are mythical creatures who could fly or aspired to fly high,” said Jasmine. “We study myths and history of all dimensions in the creator’s world. But others do not have that privilege.”
“We live it in the magic dimension,” said Jacaranda.
“I want something like this with living and real creatures,” said Jasmine. “And that is what everyone is upset about! And that is why the mind police are chasing us and threatening us!”
“I think I can fly us over the beach and land at the edge of the forest in the east. That should keep us away from the security’s vision,” said Jacaranda.
“And then, as soon as we are out of the dragon cloud, we will pinge into the technological dimension,” said Jasmine.
Gorge was watching the drama quietly. They started descending slowly and softly landed on a grassy patch.
“As we step out of the cloud, we will become visible and the cloud will disappear,” said Jacaranda.
“Wait, let me take out our pinging tongs,” said Jasmine. She dug into her knapsack and took out the tongs.
The three of them stepped out of the cloud into a grassy patch, held hands together as Jasmine clapped her tongs. They felt themselves squeezed and hurled. A rush of cold air and bright lights whizzed past till they landed unceremoniously on a cool, glassy surface.