‘Mom? Dad?’ A voice called. Jade opened his eyes. Parker was standing in front of him and his mate. Etica was still lightly sleeping against his scales. He carefully stood up, and blinked his eyes, and looked at the clock. 9 in the morning. Not too late. He stood up, stretched is limbs, and softly called Etica.
‘Etica. My love, time to wake up.’ he called.
‘Mmmmh… Do I have to?’ his mate said, drowsily.
‘Ok. I’ll wake you up after I wash up. Sleep till then.’ he said, and turned towards his hatchling. ‘Go wake up your sisters. And wash up as well. We’ll leave as soon as we’re all ready.’
Parker left the room, and Jade got up from bed, and headed towards the bathroom. He washed up, and while washing his face, looked at the mirror. A tear started to roll down his face. He had so much left for him. His hatchlings, his mate, maybe another clutch… His whole life. And it was all ruined by cancer. He snorted, and continued to wash his face, then his body. It wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter how much he regretted. The cancer will continue to eat the insides of him. What mattered was how much he made the rest of his life count. He continued to wash up, and left the bathroom clean. Then he went to his mate to wake her up.
‘My dear, it’s time to wake up now.’ he called softly into his mate’s ears. Etica opened her eyes, and turned her snout, and kissed him briefly. Then she got up, and went to the bathroom to wash. Jade, in a better mood, went to the dresser and packed their bag. When Etica came out of the bathroom, he was done packing, and was zipping up their bag.
‘I’m going to the bank to get some money. I packed the bag for both of us. Feel free to check if I missed something.’ he called to his mate, and went out of the house, and headed towards the bank. He retrieved one hundred thousand dollars, the fifth of his savings, and headed back towards his house. When he arrived at his house, his family members were waiting for him, having packed all of their bags.
‘Where are we going?’ Lilda asked, curiously.
‘Dunno. Where do you want to go?’ he asked in reply. ‘Let’s go anywhere you want to go to.’
‘Paris!’ Parker yelled with excitement in his voice.
‘Then Paris it is. You ok with that, love?’ he asked Etica, who was looking at him with a weird expression.
‘Sure.’ she replied, but also added ‘You didn’t think of where to go?’
Jade, not surprised, replied by saying ‘Of course, I didn’t. It’s a family trip, and we actually have enough time to all where we want to go. I want this to be a memorable trip for all of us, Etica. I don’t want the hatchlings or you following where I want to go. I want to go where we want to go.’
Etica’s eyes got a little bit red as she was reminded of the reason behind this trip. Noticing this, Jade nuzzled his mate lovingly, and soon, Etica’s eyes returned to their normal color. She nuzzled Jade back, and they once again turned their attention towards the hatchlings. They looked eager to start the trip, so they herded the hatchlings out, and locked the door behind them. Jade passed the key to Etica, and Etica safely put the key away. Then Jade opened his wings, with a bag attached to his back. ‘Let the trip begin!’ he said, and set into the sky. His mate, and their hatchlings soon followed, letting out excited yells. Jade smiled, and took out his phone, opened up the map, and entered paris into it. The map showed him the general direction, and he set towards the direction. His family followed him.
It was now night, and the hatchlings were asleep on his and Etica’s backs. He and Etica agreed to fly all night to reach the destination as fast as possible. Now they were mid way across the ocean, and although they were tired, they knew there would be no rest till they see land. So they continued on. Jade had some music playing on his phone, and the two listened to it in silence. Finally, Jade decided to break the silence after a few hours.
‘You good?’ he asked his mate.
‘A bit tired, but that’s to be expected, right? Are you good? It’s you who we should be concerned about.’
Jade shook his head to say no, but then, a pain rose from his chest. It was just for a brief second, but it was intense, and the pain showed on his face. Etica, seeing it, panicked a bit, but Jade, recovering, shook his head. ‘Don’t panic.’ he said. ‘Remember you have our hatchlings on your back. We don’t want to wake them up.’
‘But what was that!’ Etica exclaimed, nearly shouting and waking up the hatchlings. ‘Maybe we should go back. It’s not too late. Maybe you should be in bed. Maybe you could be recovered.’
Jade, again, shook his head. ‘I told you, Etica. There’s no going back for me. I can’t be fixed, and I want the last of my days memorable. Besides, it was just a slight bit of pain. No need to fret, just yet.’
Etica huffed, but couldn’t find anything to reply with, so looked at Jade with worried eyes, but continued to fly without any more comments. Jade, unlike the outside, shook in the inside, thought ‘I should visit the doctors when I arrive at paris. Maybe it’s worsening.’.
The sun began to rose. Jade yawned, and looked at it with the most mesmerized eyes he could manage. Then an idea rose in his head, and he shook himself, waking Lild who was on his back. ‘Huh? Are we there?’ she asked him, rubbing her eyes.
‘No, daughter.’ he said. ‘But look at that.’
Lild rubbed her eyes, and looked at where Jade was pointing. Then her pupils got wide as she saw the sunrise. ‘Wow.’ she said in awe. Looking at her, Jade laughed. Etica laughed as well, and shook herself to wake Odessy and Parker. They looked at the sunrise in awe as well, and so the family enjoyed the sunrise.
The sun fully rose soon, and the family continued towards their destination. A few hours later, they saw land, and they realized that they reached Europe. They lowered their altitudes, and searched for the row of flags that identified the country they were closing in. Soon, they saw the giant flags and to their delight, it was France!
‘Look! France!’ Jade said to Parker, who was straining his neck to look more closely. Lild and Odessy joined in as well, faces brightening. Etica closed in on Jade, and looked at him lovingly. Jade reached over to her and nuzzled her. They soon reached the beach of France and landed. Jade looked for the international inspection booth, and when he found it, pulled out his family’s passport, and got inspected. They all passed, of course, and Jade pulled out his phone again and looked for Paris. It once more showed the general direction of it, and he led his family towards it.
Parker flew beside him, gawking at the sight in front of him. Jade chuckled at him, and he looked at the scene as well. It wasn’t as cool as he saw in the pictures, but that was to be expected. Still, it looked cool.
By noon, they lowered down and visited a random resteraunt they saw. The waiter came, carrying five glasses of water. Having flown all day and night, Jade and Etica gulped it down quickly. The hatchlings drank it slower, and they ordered their selection of meals. After a few moments, the waiter came back with their meals. Jade tipped the waiter, who thanked him, and started on his dish. He ordered duck with baked bread, which he hadn’t tasted at all, and even before he started to eat, he had to admit that the smell was amazing! Hungrily, he dug in, and the taste was even better. It was by no means the best dish he had eaten, but it was damn near it! He offered a piece each to Etica and his hatchlings, and they enjoyed it as well. After finishing, the family decided to slow down and look around for a bit. The scene in front of them was something that they haven’t seen for their life time. They awed and gawked at the scene, and took a lot of pictures. Jade didn’t forget to take family pictures as well as each individual’s pictures. He took a lot of them. That was the whole point of this trip, after all. They posed in front of a random beautifully decorated shop, an unknown statue, and so on. As they did this, the day slowly ended, and they started to look for a place to stay. They finally settled in a small motel, and unpacked. After they had all washed and eaten, the hatchlings went to sleep, exhausted from all the action they had taken. Jade and Etica were tired as well, but being adult dragons, they could last for a week with no sleep. Nevertheless, Etica prepared to sleep, curling herself up on the bed. Jade didn’t prepare to sleep. Instead, he pulled out a laptop and a portable hard drive from the backpack he was wearing, and turned it on. Then he connected the camera to it, and started to export the files into the hard drive. Etica was almost asleep with dropping eyelids when she felt there was no one beside her. She opened her eyes, and yawned, and looked around to see where her mate was. When she saw her mate typing in front of the computer, she blinked at the bright light. Then she called for her mate.
‘Jade.’ she called. ‘Aren’t you going to sleep?’
Jade turned around, and looked at Etica. ‘Just a second.’ he said. ‘I’ve almost wrote all of this. Wait for me, love?’
Curious, Etica got up and walked over to her mate to see what he was doing. Seeing a bunch of lines of words and a few pictures here and there, she looked at Jade questioningly. Jade felt her mate look at him, and turned around to face her. ‘I’m writing on a blog.’ he said. ‘So you and the hatchlings can remember what today was like later.’ He didn’t attach the part after he died, as he didn’t want to upset Etica again. After all, what good will it be if his mate would be constantly worried about him on a family trip?
Etica nodded, and said ‘Finish it fast. I want you beside me.’
‘Yes, Ma’am.’ Jade said, laughing softly. Etica nuzzled him before heading to bed once more and waited for Jade to join her. Jade quickly finished the blog file he was writing, published it, and joined her. Jade curled up around Etica, and together, they went to sleep.