79 Work II
Two slouched figure were entering the cave this time. It was a lot different from the image of these two hurriedly running out before the sun even rose that morning.
Now, it was already near sunset and they only had time to eat their dinner—still the grilled fish from yesterday and this morning—and sleep before they set out again for tomorrow's main race. Since they at least have time while eating, Ling voiced his plans to Maga. "After this job, we have to find a way to get to Kal'wa immediately. Maybe try to find the Barko crew first. I'll leave the sensing and smelling of them to you."
Ling took a bite of his fish and waited for Maga to give a small nod after showing a reluctant expression, then continued speaking.
"If we couldn't find them, maybe there's other jobs around that we can do with more pay and hire another crew." There was a pause as he wrinkled his nose. "At least with a better boss than that man next time. I wouldn't trust him if he hadn't proven that he had news of the Kal'wa dragon riders."
This morning, that man detained them for a long time, saying he needed their help and even dropped down on his knees to beg. Since the two didn't want to get any attention again, they followed the man to his work place to talk privately.
The man introduced himself as Loid, the chief of one of Ewan City's broadcast teams. The city had just started the 'mist' ball broadcast this year, copying the central cities' entertainment and now, Loid's lead reporter got in an accident. That was why he really needed the kid and his dragon.
However, Loid had gotten on Maga's bad side when he left him inside the office's storage area and only pulled Ling to the main office. Then, he explained to Ling that nobody would be assured if he brought a young Kal'wa dragon inside so it was only the man and the boy who made a deal. That made this dragon sulky.
What was worse was that the man didn't give it any lunch. Ling had to go out for their food, then return to the office again, still leaving Maga behind.
"Loid said that you always have to remain invisible within the city." Ignoring his friend's attitude, Ling continued, "If the people realized that you shouldn't be wandering around, they might send us to sea without any preparations or worse, keep us locked up until the Kal'wa dragon riders came back!"
That was a horror. When Ling had heard Loid speak about being locked up, he wasn't able to hear the man's next words.
He really missed their village then. Even though it was not as big as the whole world, at least it would have more adventures to encounter and much bigger than jail.
Seeing the horror on the dragon's face, Ling nodded as he spoke, "That's why we have to keep you hiding. Don't worry though. Loid really has better news about the dragon riders than the fishermen we asked the other day. He showed me a letter saying that some of the dragon riders will pass by another city first before going to sea. I don't know what city and when was that letter dated though.
"Besides, I think he really thought we were companions of those dragon riders and he was afraid to detain us and have that knowledge reach the dragon riders. That's why he would only have us work for one day. That means we might not have to look for the Barko then." Ling smiled.
After the two had their dinner, they immediately went to sleep and ran to the city the next day. Despite the change in the winds, the two disregarded the cold and continued running. The faster the race started, the faster they could begin their plans. That was what was in the minds of these children until they reached the first part of the track.
It was a different starting point compared to yesterday's and the other day's. The obstacles—the whole track even—would be different each race day. Commonly, it was only several small races fitted to half of the day. However, for the last five days of the month, the city would introduce a bigger and different track.
Yesterday, Ling only got to watch a part of it as Loid explained what he had to do, then spent most of the time inside the office to practice with the injured reporter. Meanwhile, Maga just remained inside the storage area.
Today, the starting line and most of the race would encompass the sea. Ling and Maga had to run from their cave's side to the other side of the city's shore where the starting line was. Then, the participants would enter the forest, then the city and lastly, circle back to the sea again.
The last course was the longest. They had to climb the rocky cliffs and fly past the proruding rocks on that side of the sea before reaching the finish line. Since the last part needed the participants to fly, it was obvious at the starting line that most beasts joining were the bird-type, with a few dragons and other winged creatures included.
Once they reached the area beside the stands, they saw Loid talking to other people. Loid also saw them, so he waved his hand to signal them to come close.
"I already showed you what to do yesterday. Get into positions."
Ling only had to turn himself invisible too, then he and Maga flew off. From yesterday's practice, Ling had an idea of what he should do. Using his 'mist', he had to gather the 'mist' surrounding the racing scene as he followed the participants. Then, expell the 'mist' and another person would gather it until it reached the 'mist' ball at the starting line. If possible, Ling had to catch up and record the scene of the participants at the front.
There were others broadcasting the race too aside from Loid's team. Therefore, the 'mist' balls around the stands were several. Loid's goal must be to show the most awaited parts before the other broadcasters so that many people would watch his broadcast.
Finally, the race started. Up in the sky, Ling leaned on the side of Maga's neck to better see the scene below. The racers had just entered the first obstacle—a desert-like illusion in the sea shore—but reporters didn't have to their work yet as the stands was just nearby.
Soon, the first racers entered the forest and Ling's work started. It really was an easy one. He was familiar with how to move in an area dense with trees, then he had practiced for months on how to collect the 'mists' at deserts. Besides, Maga was far faster than any of the participants. You could say that the two were perfect for the job.
It was a long time before the racers reached the sea again. At the stands, the audience was looking at the 'mist' balls and listening to the broadcast.
"Our No. 9 is still in the lead after exiting the city, ladies and gentlemen! Now, let's see if this bird is good at climbing the rocky cliff too!"
"Oh! No. 1 following No. 9 was not far behind and is now catching up. Folks, this shows that this red dragon with four claws was faster at climbing than the bird with only two. Looks like the fight will be decided at the sea then!"
When the audience saw that No. 1 was only a meter behind the first, shouts and cheers resounded in the stands. There were the supporters but also the opponents screaming their lungs out that you wouldn't know who shouted what from the noise.
Meanwhile, Ling was at the top of the cliff, waiting for the climbing race to finish. However, he wasn't actually looking at the racers. He had gotten bored during the middle of the race, thinking that these beasts were too slow. But that wasn't the only reason why he wasn't watching.
Since before they exited the city, he could hear a rumbling sound from the sea. Maga had also become restless. This morning too, the two felt a change in the weather.
Now, it was only them who saw the dark clouds going near the protruding rocks in the sea where the last part of the race would be held. Should they broadcast this to warn the people?
Fortunately, other reporters soon saw the incoming storm too. They immediately sent the broadcast to the stands, not panicking as they had encountered this before. Since the city was near the Limaw Sea, it was a common occurence.
"Folks, as you can see in our screens, the race will be postponed. Please wait for further announcement."
However, before the reporter's voice faded, there was a change in the race. The two racers in the lead stopped to stare at the storm, then at each other before entering the rocky course.
"What a surprise! We might be able to see the storm finally being beaten by our heroes! Wait in your seats, ladies and gentlemen!"
Still, the organizers didn't let the reporters enter the storm too. These two men were not afraid of challenges or competition. That was why they entered this kind of competition but that wasn't the case with the reporters.
After half an hour, the audience were still waiting with bated breath. The news they had so far was only a loud roar that they had heard from the storm a while ago.
To make the broadcast continue, the announcer was explaining the previous storms the race had encountered. However, when there was still no change, he had to announce it. "There's no one coming out? Looks like we won't be able to watch a historical race. Wait, there's someone!"
He saw a shadow amidst the fog. It was a dragon. When he took a breath to announce it however, he finally saw that the dragon was was black. Was the storm able to change the color of the beast or did he remember the color incorrectly?
The end of this last course was near the starting line so everybody was able to see the figure too. The audience understood the announcer's confusion. Evrrybody was quiet, waiting for the dragon to come near.
Thereupon, the dragon felt the people's stares. It turned its head from side to side, seeing its wings and below, its dangling feet. After a second of staring back at the people just hundreds of meters away, the dragon immediately disappeared.
Loid then realized that he was the only one who understood the situation. A dragon and rider from Kal'wa really was far superior than the common ones.