It had been two years since Juniper Lee had taken the title of the Te Xuan Ze. Almost thirteen, she felt she had a pretty good handle on the Magic going on's of Orchid Bay.
"What do you mean dragons?" Juniper was sitting on the rail of her grandmother's porch when she had been told the news.
"All of the new generation of dragon protectors have finally come to age. As Te Xuan Ze it is your job to welcome them on behalf of the Dragon Council." Her Ah-Mah explained without looking up from her knitting. She just rocked in a rocking chair back and forth and the wind from the yard gently swept through.
Juniper looked at her Ah-Mah as if she were crazy. "Uh, Ah-Mah," She jumped doem of the porch's railing and took a step forward spreading her arms forward, "I think you're forgetting that I can't leave Orchid Bay as long as I'm the Te Xuan Ze." Her grandmother slowly looked up at her with a knowing glance.
"I have not forgotten. Maybe it is you who forgets how long I held the mantle of the Te Xuan Ze." Her Ah-Mah spoke calmly. Juniper's arms fell to her sides with guilt. Of course her Ah-Mah knew. She had been trapped her longer than any Te Xuan Ze before her.
"But how Am I supposed to go and welcome every dragon in the world?" she simply stated.
'Not every dragon, my child, just the Guardian Dragons. There is one Dragon Guardian chosen for each nation. Much Like the title of Te Xuan Ze it is passed from parent to child. The only significant difference is that while you took the mantle at eleven, the dragon guardians do not take the mantle of guardian until they are thirteen. They are all gathering here for one week of festivities in order to celebrate the new legacy of guardians."
"Wait so most of the guardian dudes are going to be older than me? Ah-Mah! How are these Guardians supposed to take me seriously if I look like an infant to them?" Juniper was back to arm raising and gestures. She had spent so long getting everything in order for the past two years, she couldn't stand the idea of a few college kids with the temper of dragons coming in and making a mess.
"Not all of them will be older than you. The youngest guardian, the final of this new generation to come of age is only thirteen. Also if I recall correctly, The American Dragon is the same age as your brother Dennis."
Almost at the mention of his name, Dennis came trodding along from inside the house with Ray-Ray following behind him.
"What, the American Dragon is my age? Sa-weet." He fist pumped the air, "Finally someone my age who I can talk magic with," He sneered at Ray-Ray, "Someone I can have an Intelligent conversation with." Ray-Ray puffed up his face in protest. He had grown in height over the last two years. Both of the boys had grown a lot and had become invaluable members of their family team, but that didn't keep them from bickering as brothers do.
"As if you've ever had an intelligent conversation in your life." Juniper said, walking over to her brothers. She reassuringly tousled Ray-Ray's hair. Her protested outwardly but, secretly was glad she defended him. Juniper turned from her older brother's scowling face to her grandmother's smirking one. 'So, Ah-Mah when are all the dragon's coming here?"
"They will arrive in one week, and will stay until the Spring equinox. This is when the magic of the world becomes the weakest so this is the safest time for the Guardians to leave their native countries. Since Orchid Bay is the center for all magic in the world, it is also the safest place for weaker magical beasts to hide, so be aware of that." Their grandmother warned.
"Aw man!" Cried Dennis, "My D&D friend from online is coming in a week to stay with us. Now I'm gonna have to spend the whole week trying to keep him from seeing magic stuff," he crossed his arms in frustration. The rest of the group looked at the poor dejected soul as if he were joking.
"I guess you will never know what an intelligent conversation looks like," Juniper Joked. Ray-Ray and Juniper laughed, and Ah-Mah even let out a chuckle. Dennis hung his head defeated and then joined his family in laughter.
"I can't believe i have to travel halfway across the country just cus little lizzie turned thirteen. They didn't do no big thing when I was thirteen gramps." Jake groaned as he flopped himself down onto a bean bag chair. His grandfather simply looked at him from across the room as he sipped from his tea.
"You weren't the first Dragon or last dragon to turn thirteen. This is the first time in almost a century that all the dragon Guardians were under the age of twenty-five." His grandfather spoke coolly in between sips of his beverage. Jake gave his grandpa a look.
"What is that look Jacob, aren't you glad that you get to travel again, i do recall you having quite the time in Hong Kong. Jake winced at the thought of Hong Kong, at the thought of her. Grandpa saw the look on Jake's face and quickly changed the subject. "Plus you and you fellow Dragon's will have the honor of meeting the Te Xuan Ze where you wouldn't get this opportunity otherwise."
"So, "Jake said, accepting his grandfather's change in subject. "What's the big deal with the Tesh Wan Zee person, if he was a big deal wouldn't I have met him already?"
"On the contrary, the Te Xuan Ze is unable to leave her home town of Orchid Bay. Orchid Bay is the center of all Western magic, and much like you she is bound to protect the town, both mentally and physically. Until She passes on the mantle onto her children, she is bound to the town and it's magic." His grandpa explained as he walked over and set his tea down on the table beside Jake's bean bag chair. Then he took a seat in the regular chair on the opposing side of the table.
"Wait! The Te Xuan Ze is a girl?" Jake exclaimed from his cushiony seat.
"Yes and I believe she isn't much younger than you," His grandfather replied. At this Jake shot up.
"She's younger than me too? That's great, all I need is some young twerp who thinks they're the boss of me." He looked at his grandpa as he crossed the room expecting a response but received only the sound of slurping tea. "Come on Gramps can't I at least bring Spud and Trixie." He looked over again but with no response. He knew he couldn't bring them. He had already risked a whole lot of trouble by involving them in the magic part of his life as much as he did.
"Fine I guess I'll go pack," Jake said as he stomped out. Even after he was gone you could hear him stomping upstairs to his bedroom. Then out of nowhere, or so it appeared, Fu Dog walked into the middle of the room.
"You didn't respond to him because you burnt your tongue drinking your tea too fast, didn't you." He stated as he took Jake's spot on the bean bag. Lao Shi simply nodded his head silently in response.