Wind whistled through Malachi’s hair. He rolled over so that he was facing downward again and able to see where they were going.
“You got a plan for getting’ through the barrier, kid?” asked Blog.
“Barrier?” Malachi hadn’t heard what the girls had discovered with the Patternstone.
“Yeah, we can’t just fly back to the Cathedral. We have to go through one of the magical gates in the city wall. You’ll have to explain to the guards.”
“Fly to the gate nearest the Palace,” yelled Malachi. Their speed was carrying them quickly toward the other gargoyles which were circling the city. As they began their descent in toward the main southern gate, other circling gargoyles began to notice them. Malachi noticed that these were staying out of range of the archers on the city wall. As they dropped near to the gate, arrows began to be fired at them.
“Don’t shoot!” Malachi yelled as loud as he could. But the arrows continued. Then Malachi realized that they weren’t able to see him. “Blog,” he said, “fly back out of range for a moment.”
Blog had already checked his course. “You got it, kid! I don’t want to get hit,” he said.
When they swept up near the other gargoyles, Malachi noticed a terrible sight in the distance. A black spec was becoming a big black object flying straight toward them. “The Dragon!” He said out loud. That was a mistake. He could feel Blog shaking with fear.
“We gotta get me in the city now, or I’m done for,” said Blog.
“Swoop in again toward the gate again,” said Malachi.
“But the archers…” began Blog.
“Go right in! I’ll be waving my sword! Trust me!” Malachi said as he drew it. Now it not only glowed grey, but it was burning with normal orange fire. “The Dragon,” he thought to himself. He began to twirl the sword in smooth circles. This time he had the archer’s attention. One of the bow men near the gate was pointing at him and shouting something. They stopped firing.
Malachi was beginning to get dizzy from the speed and intensity of the situation. He caught a glimpse of Scrapper hanging in Blag’s claws. The poor dog was as limp as a wet rag.
Something terrible was happening behind them. Like a smooth black storm, Chaozz came in at lightning speed. Malachi realized that they would not have time to explain to the guards who they were before Chaozz would come up and possibly destroy them. He could actually see the shadow of the Dragon which had got between the southern sun and the walls in front of him. This gave the effect of darkness descending in midday.
Everything depended on the guards at the gate. To Malachi’s relief, the guards seemed to know what to do. All the archers except one had dropped underneath the ramparts or gone in the gate. One lone archer stood just outside the gate waving them in with a circular motion of his arm.
“Straight into the gate!” yelled Malachi. The three small gargoyles were at top speed but the black shadow behind them was still gaining. Malachi turned to look back and realize that only a few seconds separated them from Chaozz. It would be close.
As they swept in under the archway, Malachi realized who the lone archer was. “Levi!” He yelled. Levi himself had run in now and taking his place along with thirty other men at the Gates. They could not fully shut them in time to prevent Dragon fire from ripping through the space between them. The drawbridge which led to the gate was torched to ash within seconds.
Carriages 100 yards from the gate away caught fire as the dragon’s blast came through. Blig Blag and Blog had instantly disappeared because when they came through the barrier, the magic that had held them was released. They were now gutter spouts nearly a half mile away on the sunny side of the Cathedral near the cloister Gardens.
Thankfully, they had the sense to drop Malachi and scrapper within 3 feet of the ground when they came under the archway. Levi had pulled the two of them away from the gate just in time to avoid being consumed by the Dragon fire. But not in time to avoid the smoke. Levi knew to hold his breath.
Unfortunately, Malachi was unaware of the peril of Chaozz’s firey breath. When the black smoke gets in the lungs, it goes right to the head. The brain forgets to do what is right. The central nervous system forgets to resist the Dragon. The eyes become curious, wanting to see the Dragon up close.
Malachi had sucked in a good lungful.
Seven soldiers were now frantically closing the Gates. When the latch behind them was dropped, the magical shield around the city would protect the gate as well. Chaozz angled his tail and threw the gate open, crushing two of the guards against the inner walls. However, using his tail in the air, Chaozz was off balance. He had to circle around for another pass. He could not land on the sheer stone walls and the drawbridge was gone.
Levi saw the opportunity, but just as he was about to order his soldiers to slam the gate shut, he realized that Malachi was tottering toward the opening. The black breath had enticed him. Scrapper began furiously barking in front of Malachi trying to get them to go back, but Malachi through the dog aside and kept going toward the opening. The Dragon had looped about and was coming straight in again.
Levi had no choice. Using the pommel of his own sword, his experienced hand knocked Malachi out cold. He slung the boy’s body over his shoulder and sprinted away, giving the command as he ran to shut the gate.
Tongues of fire preceded the Dragon through the middle of the closing doors. One of the guards successfully dropped the latch! There was a thunderous boom as Chaozz hit the magical barrier. The wrath of the Dragon was terrible. He circled around breathing fire and slamming trees and farmsteads with his tail. But the power of the Patternstone could not be broken. Chaozz had his limitations.