A fireball came at Joshua, Happy Face, and Michelle and exploded against a barrier that Happy hastily constructed. He’d seen the projectile coming from behind Joshua mere seconds before it would have fried them all. But even though he blocked it, it still felt like it singed their skin.
“I’m burning!” Michelle cried.
“The fire wasn’t real,” Happy replied. “Look at your arm. You’re fine.”
Michelle calmed down and looked at her arm. As Happy said, she wasn’t actually burned. As soon as she realized that, the pain stopped as if it had never started. Her relief was short lived, though, because in the middle of her sigh of relief, a terrifying roar shook the trees.
Without even looking up, Joshua said, “And that would have to be a dragon.”
Happy looked and confirmed that it was, indeed, a dragon. It had to be the size of a standard school bus, and it had green scales, red, glowing eyes, and a long mouth filled with dagger-like teeth. Its wings were each as long as the dragon itself, and they flapped with seemingly great power to keep it aloft.
“Is it real?” Joshua asked.
“Of course it’s real!” Michelle yelled. “Just look at–”
“It’s a figment,” Happy interrupted, causing Michelle look at him incredulously. “It can still do damage, though, so let me handle it.”
Happy charged at the dragon and hit it right between the eyes with the force of a nuclear bomb. It sent a shockwave in all directions, causing trees to shake and animals to flee in panic. Joshua and Michelle held their hands to their ears just in time to save their hearing. When they looked up again, they saw Happy standing in the air and no dragon.
“That got rid of it,” Happy said proudly when he rejoined them. “I wonder who sent it.”
“They’re going to have a giant headache,” Joshua said. “Probably not the kind of thing we’ll read in the newspaper though.”
“I know you never invited me to be a part of all this,” Michelle said, “but could you tell me what’s going on now?”
Intending to tell her it was too dangerous, Joshua took his first good look at Michelle and lost the desire to discourage her from being part of his adventure. She didn’t look afraid. She looked excited.
So they explained everything to her. The excited look never left her face as she listened. She didn’t even notice that her friends were on the ground looking for her. Their voices barely reached where she was, but she’d have heard them if she’d been listening.
While Happy was talking about how dangerous their life was, Joshua peeked down and saw Barry walking by. He shouted for Michelle, and Joshua quickly moved his head back.
“Uhh, Michelle?” he said. “Your friends are looking for you. Barry is right down there.”
“Oh yeah, them,” Michelle replied. “I probably should let them know I’m all right. And make sure they’re all right after that dragon attack. I sure hope this is my life now.”
Happy took them down to the ground, and they met up with Michelle’s friends, Barry and Sarah. Michelle told them that it would be dangerous for them to know everything that was going on. Of course, they didn’t accept that, and they asked questions that weren’t answered as they returned to Barry’s Jeep.
“So are you coming back with us?” Sarah asked.
“No, I’m going with them,” Michelle told them
“What?” Barry asked. “You just met this guy. All you know about him is that he has magical powers. He is not the Doctor, Michelle, and you are not Rose Tyler.”
“He’s kinda right,” Happy said.
“What? But I thought you wanted me to come with you.”
“This isn’t about what I want,” Joshua said. “You shouldn’t throw away your life to go on adventures with someone you don’t know. It could be extremely dangerous. What are you studying anyway?”
“Photography,” Michelle told them. “I want to travel the world and take pictures of everything.”
“Why don’t you have a camera now?” Joshua asked.
“Rivers are wet, duh. It’s in the Jeep. Would you mind posing for a picture?”
“I don’t show up in pictures,” Happy said. “Besides, we should probably get going. Keep studying and traveling, Michelle. Maybe we’ll run into you when things have calmed down for us.”
They took off before Michelle had time to yell, “No, wait!” Happy didn’t hold back on the speed, so they were far from Malaysia when they stopped a few minutes later. They sat on top of a cloud above the Indian Ocean, hoping they wouldn’t be interrupted this time.
“I hope I don’t have to beat up Allah now,” Happy said.
“Don’t even think about it,” Joshua replied. “Who knows how many imaginary gods are out there? We’re not god slayers.”
“What are we exactly?” Happy asked.
“Nothing yet. We’re still recovering from your adventure last night. Are you well rested at least?”
“Yeah, I feel pretty good now. I’m glad you’re not mad about leaving Michelle behind.”
“Kinda sad, but not mad. Our life is too dangerous right now to be toting other people around. So what are we going to do about that organization that wants us?”
“Well, the easiest thing to do would be to let them find us and find out exactly what they want. They might have information that we can use.”
“Information about what?”
“Gods, angels, figments, stuff we might encounter out there in the world. Knowing about it could be helpful.”
Joshua thought about it, which was the same thing as talking to Happy about it. He didn’t want to be a lab rat, but Happy would be able to protect him if they tried anything like that. But what if they’re prepared to deal with powerful figments? There was no way they’d be able to subdue a figment as powerful as Happy. But how could they really know what they had in mind?