The Legend of the Flang-Chong Dragon
A Story by Lea Sheryn
A boy becomes lost in the wasteland of the Planet Zon and falls in love with a princess; the Flang-Chong Dragon appears on the wasteland.
The Legend of the Flang-Chong Dragon
By Lea Sheryn
With the yellow sands of the desert wasteland swirling against his legs, the red-headed boy stood on the highest dune overlooking the Imperial Palace. As night fell, the dual moons of the Planet Zon illuminated the large windows with a golden glow. Inside lived the Princess Su-Sung. A glimpse of her long ebony hair sweeping the back of her nightdress would be enough to send the boy into paroxysms of ecstasy. Standing on the tops of his toes, he craned his head, with chin jutting forward, in the hope of catching even the slightest movement. Alas for him, the only motion came from the changing of the Imperial Guard at the strike of the hour on the tower clock.
As a small boy, he had set eyes on the Princess for the first time when she was nothing more than a small child grasping her nurse’s hand. Wearing a turquoise robe with the depiction of a golden dragon on the back, the little girl had caught his eye and taken his heart on first sight. At the age of five, he had been smitten. All he could dream about was her soft almond-shaped brown eyes and her ebony black hair cut in a pretty little bob. Hiding behind a pillar, he could stare at her as long as he liked while she had nary a thought in her head that she was an object of admiration.
Ten years had passed since the Chinese had taken up residence on the Planet Zon. The boy�"with the long-forgotten name of Ewan McDuff�"had spent those years as the servant of the Sorceress Rainbow. The Dragon’s Den, a waystation amid the Wasteland of Yaanek, was his home. As the years slowly passed, he thought as much about his origins as he did about his name. He was a lost boy; lost and left behind when the previous inhabitants of the planet had departed before the new ones arrived.
Vaguely he remembered his mother and father. Both had been scientists who had been sent to Zon to establish whether the planet was able to sustain life. Busy with their experimentations, they had no time for their son who would wander wherever he wished. Taking advantage of the situation, he found himself fascinated with the wasteland and would spend hours exploring the sea of yellow sand dunes that seemed to go on into eternity.
The child had learned to like being alone with himself. He was the only youngster to take part in the long voyage to Zon and, being an only child to begin with, had little desire for companionship. The parents didn’t miss him; he didn’t miss them. And so, he kept his own company and explored his surroundings until he became hopelessly lost amongst the dunes of Yaanek. Had the mother and father looked for him when the experiments came to an end or had they forgotten his existence? He didn’t know…nor did he care.
It was the Sorceress Rainbow who eventually discovered him near the waystation. Beckoning him inside, she gave him a meal, a bath and a soft bed to sleep in. The years he spent with her made him a willing slave; he didn’t mind if he was free, from time to time, to lose himself in his desert surroundings.
The year he turned five was the year the Chinese arrived on Zon. Although the planet had at first belonged to the Americans, they found it impossible to sustain the life they desired on the forbidding landscape of the planet. Instead they sold it off to the highest bidder and removed to another planet they called Libertas. Slowly the inhabitants of Earth were moving away due to overpopulation and the decrease of sustainable resources. Someday, each nation of the slowly dying sphere would have its own planet in the solar system that contained both Zon and Libertas.
The politics of the migration from Planet Earth were far from the mind of the boy on the day he first set eyes on the Princess Su-Sung. How he had arrived in the Imperial City from the desert waystation was beyond his means of deduction. At one point he had been sliding down the dunes of the desert wasteland; in the next instant, he was standing before the imposing gates of the city. Squeezing his slight body between the bars of the entrance had been an easy task. Going unnoticed with his flaming red hair amongst the darker headed inhabitants had been another. Noticing the stares of the city folk, the child crawled beneath a mule-drawn cart until it came to a stop before the Imperial Palace. Unseen, he managed to move from his moveable hiding place to a pillar that concealed his entire body. From that point, he gazed for the first time upon the pretty little Princess.
Drawn to the child of his dreams, the now nameless boy found himself appearing again and again at the gates of the city. Now he could go unnoticed by the people of the city. They had an obsession to talk about. The appearance of the Flang-Chong Dragon was on everybody’s lips. Colored red with gold tinges to the edges of its scales and talons, the serpent-like creature roamed the Wastelands of Yaanek with speed and agility. Some claimed it was benign and could bring blessings while others claimed it terrorized anyone who dared attempt to cross the desert. Whoever or whatever it was, the boy, who knew the area like the back of his hand, had never encountered another soul other than the Sorceress Rainbow.
The boy grew and thrived as a free-spirited child of the wasteland while the Princess became more beautiful and cultured. Standing beneath her balcony�"feeling a lot like Cyrano�"he longed to call her name to bring her forth but found himself lacking the poise and grace of the young men of the Imperial Court who had begun to pay their attentions to her. Finding himself wrong for her in so many ways, he lacked the ability to take the chance of revealing his presence. Afterall, he was just the Sorceress’s slave�"and his flaming red hair and freckles were freakish compared to her alabaster skin and black silky hair. His feelings of inadequacy caused him to stand in the shadow to admire her from afar.
“Why must I be so different?” questioned the child as he stood atop the yellow sand dune that overlooked the Imperial Palace. With his obsession for the Princess Su-Sung growing with each day, his carefree attitude toward life began to transform. Moody most of the time, he spent his days roaming the Yaanekian Wasteland instead of assisting the Sorceress with her experiments and potions at the waystation. As a result, he drew more and more into himself as he realized the loneliness of his existence.
In order to break his constantly swinging moods, he found himself falling into impossible daydreams about his forbidden love. Closing his eyes as he lay back against the dune overlooking the Imperial City, he pictured himself scaling the palace walls to rescue his Porcelain Princess. He would burst in through the French doors of her suite and, lifting her into his arms, carry her away to hide her in the wasteland where he would keep her as his own secret lover. But who was he to have such dreams? No one…no one special.
The day of the new Emperor’s coronation brought the child into the Imperial City. The elderly ruler, Lo-Bong, had died quietly in his bed leaving the Imperial Crown to his eldest son, Lo-Fun. Since the new royal leader was Su-Sung’s father, he knew he couldn’t miss the ceremony although he had to remain hidden from sight. Finding the city streets crowded, it was not impossible for him to blend in with the masses despite his looks. With all eyes on the procession, no one noticed him, so he was free to mingle in and amongst the populace.
Everywhere he looked, the presence of the Flang-Chong Dragon was present. Over the years, the appearance of the dragon had become legend. It was, in fact, the sacred symbol of the new reign. The little shops and stalls that lined the procession route where filled with images of the dragon. Plates and mugs and clothing were adorned with the figure along with toys, stuffed animals and balloons for the children.
Tall and regal, the Princess appeared on a float beside her father. Never had she appeared so beautiful. The boy gasped as he stood amongst the crowd as his longing for her increased. As she turned to wave in his direction, he felt her eyes bore into his for a moment as though she acknowledged his presence. When she turned her attention to the other side of the float, he was left to stare at the image of the red and gold Flang-Chong Dragon embroidered on the back of her emerald green silk robe. In that moment, he was truly in love.
Suddenly, he found himself flying far above the crowd as the people far below him began to point in his direction and gasp in awe. Around and around, he sailed into the sky as he felt the unusual weight of his body became more and more elongated. In the next moment, he was running amongst the dunes of the Yaanekian wasteland, his long body twisting and turning behind him. Finally coming to a stop at a hidden oasis deep within the desert, he leaned over the pond to refresh himself. Much to his amazement, staring back at him in the reflection of the shimmer waters was the face of the Flang-Chong Dragon.
When people spoke of the events of the Royal Coronation, they never spoke of the red-headed boy in the crowd lining the parade route because they had never noticed him. Instead they spoke of the miraculous appearance of the Flang-Chong Dragon and the wild display he caused in the skies above the Imperial City. From that point on, the Flang-Chong Dragon became a symbol of good luck for the people of the far away Planet Zon.