He started to lift off, but was knocked to the sidewalk by someone else before he could. He heard a female voice yell, "What the hell are you, crazy? Standing in the middle of the street, dressed like that...hey, I know you."
Dragon got up and looked at his "rescuer." She was a Native American woman, dressed in blue jeans and a denim jacket. She was over six feet tall and very muscular. For some reason, just looking at her terrified Dragon. He found himself unable to move.
For her part, the woman was starting to growl and hiss at Dragon. She leaped at him, and he was unable to move. She grabbed him by both shoulders and yelled into his face. Dragon then did something he couldn't recall ever doing before. He fainted.
When he came to, Dragon was aboard the Vagabond. Dave was throwing cold water on his face.
"Stop it, Dave! I'm awake!"
One more glass of water hit Dragon in the face and then Dave said, "Sorry."
"What the hell happened down there? Why did she attack me?"
There was a clang and the Vagabond jolted. Dave ran up to the front and took the controls.
"I don't know, but now she's holding on to the plane. And ripping her way on!"
Dragon heard metal tear and saw the woman's arm plunge into the craft. She pulled herself in and roared, and he was again paralyzed with fear. Dave watched as she slowly advanced on him. Realizing that Dragon wasn't going to act, he pulled out his pistol and fired at the woman. His bullet struck her in the back, just below the studded "Long Walker" that was on her jacket.
She yelled out and turned around, facing Dave. He aimed the gun at her head. "Hey, sorry about that. It slipped. Honest."
She seemed about to leap at him, but her eyes became clearer. She stopped and held her head. "Damn it."
She turned around slowly and deliberately to face Dragon. She put a hand out to help him up and pulled him to his feet. Dragon just stared at her.
"Wow, you must really be a dragon. Dragons have that kind of effect on me. I'm controlling it now. Sorry. Although, it is kind of nice to get this kind of respect and awe. I'll be going."
As she reached the entry she had made, Dragon focused his will and said, "Wait. Long Walker."
When she turned, all his courage drained out of him. He had to steel himself to speak to her. "Do you happen to know any mystics?"
"Oh, I'm an injun, so I must know mystics, right?" She was now advancing on Dragon, and appeared to be getting angry again.
"Take it outside, Dragon!" Dave yelled.
Dragon flew into the drop hatch and got outside. Long Walker followed him out. When Dragon landed, Long Walker landed on top of him. She swung and punched him in the jaw, and he went flying back across the street and into the window of a clothing store. The patrons screamed and ran out of the store.
"Alright," Dragon said. "Now you're making me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Long Walker again launched herself at Dragon, kicking him as she went by. Before he could react, she struck him again. He was dazed, unable to move. She followed up with another punch, then picked him up and held onto him. Her hands started to move, as if she was shredding him, and suddenly she was. Claw marks appeared on his chest and arms. She ripped him apart for a few seconds and then threw him into the back of the store. She then turned and ran away at incredible speed.
Dave cloaked the Vagabond and teleported down to Dragon. He didn't seem to be permanently injured, but he was pretty scratched up and very unconscious. An older Native American walked in through the broken glass window.
"I apologize for Long Walker. Let me try to help your friend."
The man walked over and looked at Dragon. He rubbed some herbs from a pouch into the cuts and stood back.
"He will recover shortly. Let us take your vehicle to my lodge."
Dave shrugged and beamed up with Dragon, then came back down and beamed the man up with him.
On the way to the man's lodge, Dave learned that his name was Blazing Fires, and he was a shaman. He knew of Long Walker, but had never met her personally.
They arrived at the lodge in a few minutes. It was a large structure built of bones and animal skin, set up like a large tent. There was room enough for about ten people inside. When they stepped in, Dave was surprised to see a television with a cable running into the ground.
"I see no need to live without modern conveniences," Blazing Fires said. He reached into a refrigerator on the other side of the room. "Cold beer?"
Dave caught the beer that was thrown to him and popped it open. He glanced back at the Vagabond. "Is Dragon going to be okay in the plane, do you think?"
"Do you have a way we could move him?"
"I could teleport him in."
"No. When he recovers, we will talk. Until then, let us watch ESPN."
Dragon wandered into the lodge about two hours later, and Dave was in the middle of a rousing discussion with Blazing Fires about the Miami Dolphins.
"I hate to interrupt...sort of. But where is Long Walker?"
Blazing Fires looked up. "Do not be angry with her. Her spirit animal has a hatred of dragons, which she finds very hard to resist. You should be thankful she didn't kill you."
"Yeah, I'm ecstatic. Point her to me and I'll have Dave thank her with the Meson cannon."
"I heard you ask her for a mystic. I am a mystic. In exchange for forgetting her insults against you, I will give you what you require if I can."
Dragon looked at Dave. Dave looked up from the television and shrugged.
"Okay," Dragon said. "I need to find my son. Can you help me?"
"I'm not sure. I have never met him, so it will be hard to trace his spirit. Do you have anything with a stronger mystic presence that I might track?"
"I'm looking for someone from the Dragon Cult."
The mystic began a fire in the center of the room, throwing in dusts of various colors from different leather bags in the room. He conjured for a good ten minutes before the smoke began to change colors and shift in form. He concentrated, yelling out phrases in Navajo. Suddenly, the fire went out and Blazing Fires stood.
"There is someone from the Dragon Cult in the jungles of Zaire. Go there to find him."
"The jungles of Zaire? Can you be more specific?"
"Go to where men do not. That is where you will find what you seek. I see that you will find allies there. Trust them."
Dragon shook Blazing Fires' hand and pulled Dave up off the floor. "Thank you. Let's go, Dave."
As Blazing Fires watched Dragon walk into the plane and heard it lift off, he reached into another bag in the room. From it he produced a black raven, apparently long dead. Its eyes were gone, but the rest of it seemed pristine, as if it had just died. He spoke a few words in an unrecognizable ancient tongue, and the raven turned its empty eye-sockets to him and cawed.
"Carry this message to the Morbane in Zaire. The Dragon is on his way."
With that, he threw the raven into the air. It caught the wind in its wings and began to flap, soon disappearing in a puff of black smoke.
It reappeared over the jungles of Zaire. Guided by mystical forces, it flew down and landed on the arm of the Morbane. It spoke, in Blazing Fires' voice.
"The Dragon is on his way."
The raven fell to the ground and disintegrated. "Excellent," said the Morbane.
Dragon turned to Dave as they were flying. "Dave, we're not going straight to Zaire."
"I just got through being manipulated by PSI. This all seems too easy. I'm going to check on what this guy told us."
"We have connections in Africa. We need to talk to Jeeves."