– Continued from How to Borrow a Book from a Dragon (Part 1) –
Quiet, quiet. Retrieving a book takes great concentration. Especially when it’s the size of a two-car garage and three stories up. That’s right, each shelf’s height is the equivalent of a one-story house. This is why only librarians are entrusted with the magic to Retrieve. How does it work? I’ll tell you. Have you noticed the gold symbols inscribed into the black, wooden shelves? These not only help us locate a book, they emit magic that helps librarians pull on a book’s spine. Watch closely as I begin to Retrieve; you’ll see what looks like blue smoke seep from the symbols, then gather around the book and move as my hands do. With its help, I can pull it off the shelf. I’ll elaborate on the origin of the symbols another day. We don’t have much time at present. Remember, dragons frequent this section.
I must be extremely careful. Mythical Monsters is over a hundred years old. It’s well worn and the binding is weak. If I pull too strongly, it may fall a part. I want to use…just…enough…
There. It’s halfway off the shelf. Now, to tip it—it’s all right. I’ve got it. I’m able to make it float to the floor. Slowly…slowly…
All right, that could’ve gone better, but it seems we haven’t disturbed anything. Lets count our blessings and move on—but if one of you could keep watch around the corner of the isle? Thank you. You don’t always hear a dragon before you see it. They can be silent when they want to.
I need to open the book to the last chapter. Slowly. Quietly. There, perfect. Would anyone care to climb up with me to read? Very well. The smoke will form a staircase, follow me. Don’t be frightened. You won’t fall through; the smoke will harden when you set foot on it.
Everyone up? Good. It’s something of a wonder to walk alongside a string of words whose end is far out of sight, don’t you think? Tread lightly on the page and be careful not to kick up too much dust. I once employed an intern who would purposely leave footprints on the page just to confuse and disturb the dragons. Intolerable. I dismissed her. Such behavior goes against the librarian’s code. We’re not to interfere or make ourselves known in the dragon world until the Agreement is up.
Now, about the book. The human edition of Mythical Monsters ends with a chapter on the Chinese Phoenix (Chapter XI). What we want to know is if the dragon edition has a Chapter XII. It’s rumored that after the first edition was published in 1886, a second edition was printed but never went to distribution. I’m hoping this is that missing edition. Keep walking with me to the other side of the book.
What’s this? Yes. Chapter XII. I knew it. I absolutely knew it. Can you see the chapter title from where you are? What? Repeat it back to me…Dragon at the end of the hall? Please tell me that’s the chapter title and not what you’re seeing over there. It is what you’re seeing? All right, no one panic. Gather around me. I have a spell that can blend us into the page. If a dragon looks at you, they’ll only see an extra word on the page and not a human, but you must stay completely still. Listen to me, no matter how close it gets, don’t run.
To be continued…