Winning a dragon race is 13yo Lani’s only chance to enter the forbidden land holding her kidnapped father. But to register for the race, she must unravel the curse that stole her magic and turned her beloved dragon, Orys, invisible. #ownvoices Taiwan-inspired Scorpio Races.
Living above a sweets shop had its perks, particularly when Lani had a sugar-obsessed dragon to bribe.
She pushed open the front door of Wickton’s Sweets & Soda. Decadent cakes dotted the shop while mouth-watering candies and chocolates obscured an entire wall. Soda pipes crisscrossed another wall to end in flavored spigots: lemon soda, ginger soda for chilly nights, soda to cure dragon breath, and soda that sparkled like starlight.
“Pick something.” Lani sent the thought through the bond connecting her with Orys. Its tug on her heart told her that her dragon was upstairs, likely curled up on the bed.
He replied primly, his voice only audible to her, “I am a dignified dragon. You cannot bribe me, biped.”
On the central display table, the Weaver whistled merrily, its runework gears spinning sugar into pastel-colored clouds and popping them out a crooked shaft. Bowls clustered around it, filled with sugar-glazed peanut crumbles, moonberry-flecked red bean cakes, chocolate bars carrying a tongue-numbing ice charm, and translucent mochi cakes reflecting the day’s weather.
Shutting her eyes, Lani sent Orys an image of the bowls.
“Mochi!” he squeaked.
“Ha!” Lani shouldered through the kids clustered around the Weaver and swiped the entire bowl of mochi. “Only if you promise you’ll go to practice with me tomorrow.”
Orys grumbled, “I can already hear the other dragons laughing. ‘Look! The invisible runt thinks he can race!’”
Chest aching, Lani wished she could wrap her arms around his neck in a hug. “That’s why you have to prove them wrong.”