Hunt for the Devil's Dragon
By MARIANNE HERING, WAYNE THOMAS BATSON, DAVID HOHN
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC. Copyright © 2013Focus on the Family
All rights reserved.
A Root-Beer Float
"It's not fair," Beth muttered to herself. She was walking into Whit's End.
She walked past several customers. They sat at tables eating ice cream.
Whit was busy behind the counter. He smiled at her. "Hi, Beth. What can I get for you?" he asked.
"A double scoop of ice cream, please," Beth said, "with root beer."
She sat on a stool and folded her arms on the counter. Then she rested her chin on her arms.
Whit slid the foamy root-beer float across the counter. "Do you want to tell me what's wrong?" he asked kindly.
"Hey, Beth!" a familiar voice called from behind her.
Beth turned around and saw her cousin Patrick walk into Whit's End. He approached the ice-cream counter.
A large backpack was slung over his shoulder. He dropped it onto the stool next to Beth.
"You have a lot of books there," Whit said.
Patrick nodded. "Yep," he said. "I've got a science report to do."
"Let me know if you need help," Whit said.
"Uh-oh," Patrick said. "I see a two-scoop root-beer float. What's wrong, Beth?"
Whit looked to Beth for her answer.
"I had trouble at school," Beth said. "It was during recess."
"What happened?" Whit asked.
"Leslie Wazzek and her friends ganged up on Rachel," Beth said. "Leslie said that Rachel cheated off her during a math test."
"I know Rachel," Whit said. "I have a hard time believing she'd ever cheat."
"That's just it," Beth said. "Rachel didn't cheat on the test."
"And if she was going to cheat," Patrick added, "she wouldn't cheat off Leslie! Leslie couldn't add two sticks together using all her fingers ... and a calculator. She's about as smart as—"
"We've got the idea," Whit said to Patrick. He turned to Beth. "Why are you upset about an accusation that isn't true?"
"Because Leslie and her friends teased Rachel the entire recess. Finally Rachel started crying and ran inside," Beth said.
"You saw all of this?" Whit said.
Beth nodded. "I was right there," she said sadly. "I should have done something to stick up for Rachel. But I didn't. I was ... afraid."
"Afraid of what?" Whit asked.
"Afraid of Leslie turning on me," Beth said. "She says mean things about people."
"Yeah, that's Leslie, all right," Patrick said.
Beth lowered her head. "I'm such a wimp," she said.
Whit gazed at her a moment. "We all have moments of feeling afraid," he said softly. "But that doesn't mean we're cowards."
"What do you mean?" Beth asked.
"The two of you should come with me," Whit said.
Beth looked up at him. "An adventure in the Imagination Station?" she asked.
Whit nodded. "Have you ever seen a dragon?" he asked.
"A dragon!" Patrick cried out.
Whit smiled and motioned for them to follow him.
* * *
Beth sat inside the Imagination Station. It was like the front end of a helicopter.
"Where are we going?" she asked. The idea of meeting a dragon made her feel curious. And a little uneasy.
"To England, right?" Patrick asked. "That's where all the dragons were. King Arthur killed one, I think."
Whit laughed. "No, not England," he said. "And you're not going to meet King Arthur. This adventure takes place in northern Africa. You're going to meet a man named Georgius."
"You really think this will help?" Beth asked. "With Leslie and Rachel, I mean."
Whit raised an eyebrow. "Are you all right, Beth?" he asked.
Beth shrugged. "I don't know which scares me more," she said. "Leslie Wazzek or meeting a dragon."
Whit chuckled. "There's only one way to find out. Are you ready?"
The cousins nodded.
Whit tapped a button, and the door slid closed. The red button on the dashboard began to blink. Beth pushed it. The machine began to shake. There was a loud hum. Then everything went black.
Excerpted from Hunt for the Devil's Dragon by MARIANNE HERING. Copyright © 2013 by Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC..
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