Writers (in order): Eileen Hung, Michelle D. Koo, Amann S. Mahajan, Jane Fairfax, Rohit Divekar, Fiona Li, Jack Poon, Anriya Wang, Helena Surwillo, Irene Tsen, Ciara Chakraborty, Emily Jiwon Hwang, Jeb Chrisman, Jenna Kang, Sophie Hahn, Vincent B, Heeseo Jeong. Editor: Ms. Ja.
The stars seemed so close from up here—so close I could touch them. That was impossible, of course. Stars are spheres of burning gas and light years away. Yet at the same time, if this was possible, then…
I felt a rumble, and realized my ride was chuckling. "Enjoying yourself?" the dragon asked, lips curling into the semblance of a smile.
I was sitting near the head, gripping her mane, so her eye seemed freakishly large, and her whiskers long enough to accidentally smack me off and plummet me to my doom.
I grinned, a little breathless, nervous, and excited all at once. "Yes, I just… when you said you could fly I didn't think this is what you meant." The dragon had first approached her as a human. Sneaky shapeshifters.
The dragon tilted her head. "What did you think, then?"
"Honestly? I thought you had a pilot's license."
The dragon chuckled, and I gripped tighter as I looked up once more at the stars.
How beautiful. The speckled sky was breathtaking.
“You want to see something better?” the dragon asked.
“Sure,” I replied, imprinting the sea of stars into my mind.
Suddenly, I felt my body drift into midair and nosedive.
“Aaaaaaaaaah!” I screamed as the dragon shot downwards. I squeezed my thighs as I clung onto her mane with my entire body. My heart raced, as I felt exhilarated and dreadful at the same time. It was like riding a roller coaster, but so much more visceral, so much more real. The dragon leveled out her flight, skimming the surfaces of the clouds, her gnarled yet somehow graceful claws seeming to catch on to the ethereal bits of fluff scattered over the sky.
“Wow,” I said, catching my breath. “Yeah, flying wasn’t in my plans for today, but I’m not complaining.” I shifted a bit to get myself situated more comfortably on her back. “I mean, meeting a shapeshifting dragon isn’t something I do every day, you know?”
The dragon chuckled again, her mirth rolling down the length of her body in another pleasant rumble. “You’re not the only one who was surprised,” she said. “Most humans can’t see me anymore, even when I’m in my human form. Which was why I was intrigued by you.” She tilted her magnificent head towards me for a moment. “Do you have any idea why you can? See me, I mean?”
I shifted on her back again, gripping her mane with all my might. “You tell me,” I said, shrugging.
“I can’t say for sure. But I think it may have something to do with that book you were carrying earlier.”
“That? It was just an old romance novel.”
The dragon responded, “It may be what you say it is, but something about that book seemed odd. When you showed it to me, it was one of the most unique and peculiar items I have seen. With its worn out pages, beautiful penmanship, and almost magical semblance, it’s a book that you simply can’t help but be drawn to. This mysterious book lies here, deep within the midst of city life with you. Quite interesting, no?”