Elektra handed the binoculars to her husband. She shook her head in bafflement. She supposed the scream could have come from any number of magical creatures being held in the dungeons of the castle.

What's wrong with the drael?” Judas asked, as he lowered the binoculars.

Elektra shrugged. She could care less what was wrong with the drael, or what caused the damage to him. She was beginning to worry about the dragon and the shape shifter. If they had been caught, then they would still be on the island, probably in custody.

There was a chance they never even made it to the island. All attempts to access the tracking devices implanted in the two magical boys, made no sense. The instrumentation at the stronghold showed that Galen and Llewellyn were still travelling, far far away from where the Van Helsings believed the island to be. Perhaps they were swept off coarse by an ocean storm, or an electrical event like lightening, that might have skewed the tracking information on the imbedded devices.

While the evil couple kept a lookout for them, Galen and Llewellyn headed toward the part of the castle where Ash used to live, until he ran away. As they approached the room, they heard a high pitched terrified squeal. Galen flew toward the sound, as Llewellyn held back. He had Sarah Morgan to think about. The toddler was wide awake and curious, as she peeked over the side of the sling she was being carried in.

Galen settled on the stone battlements outside Ash's old room. A small boy slammed the door behind him, then raced down the stone steps leading to the main castle far below. Ash had been almost as much a prisoner growing up, as Galen and Llewellyn were. A terrifying roar issued from the room the boy had just vacated.

The fog thickened around him as he ran. His small legs couldn't handle the steep steps, and he soon stumbled forward. Fancy Anne cushioned his fall, as some of the thick mist changed into a big thick mass of cloud-like material materialized on a small landing, just a foot or so below the falling boy.

Easy there, young fellow. No one is going to hurt you. You're safe.”

Fancy Anne's ghostly visage floated above him, while the rest of her swirled as mist, around them. His mouth gaped in amazement. He had no idea what sort of thing she might be. He hadn't been read fairy tales, or even spoken to very much, so he wasn't afraid of ghosts, because he didn't know what they were. Galen returned to his normal shape and joined the lad on the pillow of cloud-like material.

Hi there, Hardy. What are you doing way up here?”

I comed to see Asharyn. He be nice to me, before.”

Hardy had no sense of time, so Galen guessed the boy saw Ash when he was captured and brought to the stronghold. The child was only five years old, or so, but he was never taught speech, or pronunciation, except for the few times Galen and Llewellyn saw him on his aimless wandering around the castle.

Ash is up there, in his old room? What is causing that roaring, is there something in the room with him?” Galen spoke gently, because Hardy was obviously very frightened.

Asharyn not up there no more. Somethin' bad eated him right up!”

Hardy burst into tears as Llewellyn settled onto the step above the landing, where the boy sat on the fluffy cloud. Sarah Morgan reached as far out as the sling would allow her to.

Poor boy, don't cwy. My fweinds will make evewything all better.”

She was able to lean out just far enough to pat the lad's thick, unkempt hair. He looked up at her through his tears and smiled weakly. Llewellyn realized that it was the first time he had ever seen Hardy smile. Sarah Morgan's elven empathy had reached out and touched the boy's heart. He patted her little hand, which still rested gently on his head.

As the boy spoke, Galen wondered how he could help the poor kid. They couldn't fulfil their mission, because Ash was dead, eaten by some unmentionable thing in his own room. He came to a swift decision, and turned to Llewellyn, who kept a firm grip on the baby as she leaned out of her sling.

Let's take the kid with us. The Van Helsings aren't taking any better care of him, than they took care of us.” Galen knelt beside the boy and put his hands on the thin shoulders.

Would you like that, Hardy? Would you like to come with us? We'll take you someplace safe, where you'll be given enough to eat, every day.”

Hardy's smile grew as he nodded several times.

How are we going to do that, Galen? He's too big for you to carry, and this sling only has room for the baby.” Llewellyn complained. He hated to promise the boy something they couldn't deliver.

That's not going to be a problem, just give me a few minutes.”

Galen went further down the steep steps until he came to another small landing. The young shape shifter began to change quickly into something immediately recognizable. When he was finished, he was the complete replica of Llewellyn, including the sling, which was big enough to carry the boy. He flew up the steps and settled on the battlement.

James, will you help Hardy get into the sling, please?”

James' face appeared in the mist, along with a pair of strong looking arms. He plucked the child off of the cloud, and put him into the sling. Galen held him close, as the sling seemed to close protectively around Hardy, in the same manner Sarah Morgan's sling closed around her. Apparently Galen was able to replicate other forms so closely, that he was able to include protective charms as well. When he was sure Hardy was safely in, he raised his wings and headed for the horizon. Llewellyn followed close behind, with Sarah Morgan.

As they flew away, the wizard who returned their powers, materialized on the landing where Galen recently turned himself into a dragon. A sly grin slashed across his pale, evil face.



The End

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