Joshua and Happy’s conversation was interrupted by a visitor, which they didn’t expect all the way up in the clouds above the Indian Ocean. Another dragon approached them, but it didn’t attack like the last one. It had a flatter face than the previous one, with forward-facing eyes and a short snout. Its intelligent and wise appearance put Joshua and Happy Face at ease, as did its small size. It was about the size of a housecat.
“Good day, o mighty ones,” it said. “I wouldn’t dream of attacking you after what happened to the last ‘representative’ that was sent to you. I come from a team of imaginers who work for the Global Bureau of Celestial Events.”
“Did they send the last dragon?” Happy asked.
“I apologize for that. It was a miscommunication within the Bureau. It won’t happen again, I promise you. It couldn’t possibly, since the people who sent it are now in comas. They overestimated their own strength.”
“So why did they send you?” Joshua asked.
“Yes, of course. The Bureau would like to extend an offer of employment. in exchange for your cooperation and services, they’ll pay you anything you want.”
“What do they want us to do for them?” Happy asked.
“First, they want to scan you to gauge your strength. It’s really just aiming a device at your head for a few seconds, not painful at all. Then they want to put you–the figment–through some training exercises.”
“My name is Happy Face,” Happy told him.
“Oh, you have a name already? That’s interesting. Anyway, after the testing and training, you’ll be sent out on assignments about once a month. Nothing dangerous, just reconnaissance. We investigate the formation of gods in new religions. I gather you know by now the truth behind gods.”
“They’re figments like me,” Happy said.
“Yes,” the dragon said. “When people gather together for a common belief, they can give form to what they believe in where there was none before. There is a delicate balance of power among the current gods and goddesses, and new ones have to be worked in gracefully to prevent war. When you fought the Catholic god, the Bureau was afraid that a war had broken out. We couldn’t believe it when we found out it was the figment of a single individual who had challenged him and nearly won.”
“Hey!” Happy protested. “I did win!”
“From what our agents observed, I’d call it a tie. You both used a lot of energy and emerged from the fight extremely depleted. The god you fought will take centuries to recover, while you seem to be back at full strength.”
“What do you mean he’ll take centuries to recover?” Joshua asked.
“What I mean is that half of the world’s Catholics are in comas because of the beating you gave their god.”
Joshua and Happy Face were stunned. They never meant to hurt anyone, let alone millions of people.
“I didn’t know,” Happy said sadly. “I never meant for that…”
“What can we do to undo the damage?” Joshua asked.
“You can’t do anything for them,” the dragon said. “Their minds took a heavy blow, but they’ll recover eventually. The children will awaken first, then the adults, and then hopefully some of the elders.”
“Hopefully some of the elders?” Happy asked. “What does that mean?”
“We don’t expect many of them to ever come out of their comas. But like you said, you didn’t know. This isn’t your fault.”
“Of course it’s my fault!” Happy shouted. “And I don’t understand why you’re so unemotional about it. Don’t you care?”
“I’m not connected to my creators’ emotions like you are. I’m a product of their intellect. They don’t sincerely believe in me. They’re just projecting me so I can talk to you here. So will you join us?”
“We’ll consider your offer after we find a way to help the people we’ It’ve hurt,” Joshua answered. “How can we contact you?”
“You won’t need to. We have eyes and ears everywhere. When you’re ready, you’ll see me again.”
The dragon disappeared, leaving Joshua and Happy to ponder what he’d told them. They communicated to each other through their emotions. Happy was beside himself with grief for what he did, and Joshua wanted to comfort him, but it really was pretty bad.
“What can I do?” Happy asked. “I can move things, but I’m not telepathic except for projecting a few illusions like this body and clothes for you.”
“When I’m totally asleep, you’re extremely strong,” Joshua said. “And when you needed to rest, I was able to do things I can’t do when you’re awake. Maybe if you go completely dormant, I can use my telepathic abilities to help the people.”
Happy smiled, the fog of his despondency lifting. “Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re telepathic. Maybe you can go into their dreams and wake them up from there.”
“I don’t think people dream while they’re in comas. It’s not normal sleep. But maybe I can go into their minds and fix the damage. That would take forever, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Happy said. “You’d have better luck healing Catholic Yahweh and healing everyone through him.”
Joshua smiled at his figment. It was the best idea he could think of, and they could use their new connection with the GBCE to contact the version of Yahweh believed in by the world’s Catholics and undo the damage they did. He stood up and shouted to the sky, “We’re ready to join you now!”