AN: I have nothing to say for this one except I do not own Hamtaro or Dragon Rider they belong to their creators and author. I'm just a fan.

Chapter 1: A Wet Meeting

Elder Ham, the oldest ham in the village, had seen more than his memory could hold. His beard had grown from a rusty gray to a creamish white color and his eyes were dreary with old age (as well as sleep) while he carried his most trusted wooden cane around to support his slumbering asset. Behind him, stood a tall dragon whose scales no longer glowed from old age, but could still breathe fire. Whenever young hams were at a loss of their problems they would come to Elder Ham to ask his advice.

Once all the other hams and their dragons had assembled in the vast tavern in the center of the tree, Hamtaro woke him. But it was difficult for him to wake up the old hamster as he was immune to waking up from his deep sleeps.

The sun had set. A black and starless night sky lay over the valley, and it was still raining.

When the old ham emerged from his hut he looked gloomily up in the entrance of their tree home and the gloomy sky. His bones ached from the damp, and the cold weather made his joints stiff. The others respectfully made way for him. Elder Ham looked around. None of the dragons or hams were missing, as this seemed to be much to big of a meeting. The old ham moved through the wet grass, his dragon mimicking him, with heavy steps, droopy ears, and dragging tail, toward a rock that rose in the middle of the tree. Breathing hard, he climbed up on it and looked around. The others gazed up at him like frightened children. Some hamsters and even dragons were still very young and knew nothing but this tavern; others had come with Elder Ham himself from far, far away and remembered that the world had not always belonged to humankind. They all smelled misfortune, and they hoped he would deal with it. But Elder Ham was old and tired now.

"Come up here, Rat," he said in a hoarse voice. "Tell us what you saw and heard."

The rat scampered nimbly up the rock, climbed up on Elder Ham's dragon's back (whose name was WhiteBeard) and crouched on his head. It was so quiet in the huge tavern that you could hear a pin drop far away. The rustle of foxes could be heard outside. Rat cleared her throat. "Humans are coming!" she cried, repeating the words that she had said to Hamtaro. "They have woken up their machines and fed them and sent them on their way. They're already eating a path through the mountains only a month's journey from here. The fairies have told me they'll hold them at bay for a while, but they'll get here sometime or other-because it's this forest-valley of yours they're after."

A groan ran through the ranks of hamsters as their dragon friends figeted this way and that, understanding that trouble was coming. They raised their heads and pressed closer around the rock where Elder Ham and WhiteBeard stood.

Hamtaro, Stan, Sandy and Dracoheart were standing a little ways away, watching with anticipation at the horrified remarks from their fellow friends. Sandy couldn't help but mutter, "Great, Rat. You just had to state the facts, like, right away." This recived a slight nudge from her brother, looking at her with disapprovement.

"What does that mean?" one of the hamsters called out. "Why would they want to come here? Surely they have everything they could ever have where they are!"

"Humans never have all they want," replied Rat with a look of distain.

"Then, why don't we hide until they go away again?" suggested another. Hope was lingering in his eyes. "The way that we've always done when one of them loses his way and turns up here! They're so blind they only see what they expect to see. We're all so small, it'll be a cinch for us to camoflauge in with the trees around us!" Some of the fellow hamsters looked at each other and nodded their heads, liking his idea.

But Rat still shook her head.

"Look here!" she shrilled. "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times that those humans are making plans. Plans to destroy this entire forest in sight! Soon, not even a single Spirit will be able to hear you calling for their help. They'll be hidden far within their shells that they will never wake again!" She looked around the entire area of hamsters. "You hide from human beings, but you aren't interested in what they're up to since you're all small. Some of you, however, rely on the rats to come to and froe from their areas and tell you what's going on." She gave a look to Hamtaro. "We go into their houses; we eavesdrop on them. We know what they're planning for this valley and the trees."

There was a pause. "Here she, like, goes again. Always pausing for dramatic effect." Stan noted to Hamtaro, but the boy-hamster just ignored him. He was too caught up in the information Rat was telling them.

"What are they planning then, Rat?" Elder Ham asked wearily. "Tell us, then. Come on."

Rat fiddled around with her whiskers nervously before replying, "They-they're going to flood the forest." Her voice faultered for a moment. "Soon there'll be nothing here but water. This humongous tree will be flooded, and none of them...none of them will be left. The treetops won't even show above the water line."

The hamsters as well as the dragons stared at her, shocked.

"But...but that's impossible!" one of the hamsters exclaimed at last. "No one can do such a thing like that. Not even us, and we outnumber them in population with our dragons!"

"Impossible?" Rat gave a sarcastic laugh. "You don't get it at all. You tell them, Sandy, Stan. Tell them what human beings are like. After all, you two were once captured by them yourselves weren't you? Ha! Maybe they'll believe the two of you!"

Everyone had eyes on the two Tiger twins. Sandy and Stan looked at Rat furiously, whiskers twitching as though an electric shock ran through their little bodies. Finally, with a defeated sigh, Stan spoke up, his sister clutching at his paw for support. "Rat's right. You all have no idea what it's like to be trapped in a small cage with iron handlings that not even any of your dragons could cut through. They're dangerous. More dangerous than anything you've ever imagined."

Emotion welled inside him and he had to stop to contain all of the rage within him. Sandy thought it was her turn. "Stan and I barely survived, let alone be able to stay together. We were only just lucky to be in the same cage, but the human..." She paused. "The human that had us didn't feed us for days. We didn't have any water either. No, instead we had to save up on the seeds given to us and the water..."

There was shock-filled horror in the air around all of them. "You heard them, the lot of you. We have to leave." Elder Ham declared, once weary but now he was standing up straight with so much authority that some of the younger hams cowered back. "We will all leave a few days before they get here. Pack your provisions and make sure you gather everything that's stored in your rooms."

"Where will we go?" the same hamster from earlier asked. "Who will go there to see if it's even safe for us?"

Elder Ham's eyes burned with intent determination. "Leave that to me. I know just the hamsters to travel there. Right now, though, you all need to worry about moving. There's a place much, much better than here. Trust me."

With that he jumped down from the rock with his dragon following behind obediently. The hamsters and dragons dispersed immeidiately with a hope lingering in their hearts. Hamtaro, Stan, Sandy, and Dracoheart were just about to leave to pack themselves, when Elder Ham's hearty voice called out to them.

"Not you four. I have a special mission for you." They turned around to see that he was smiling. The four soon realized that they did not like where he was going with this. "There is a place far from here. A place where hamsters and dragons can live in peace without humans disrupting the harmony. It is in this place where we will all travel to. However, I haven't been there in the longest time, so the four of you must travel there, to see if it still exists and did not fall into the hands of those monsters. Then, I want you to fly back to me and if it is safe, then you have saved us all."

Hamtaro looked at Sandy and Stan. They nodded their heads. If there was anything that had to do with adventure, then the three of them were on it. Dracoheart didn't really have any choice. "We'll do it. We're young and strong and we'll be sure to come back before the month is up."

Elder Ham smiled brightly. "Excellent."

"Just one thing, gramps," said Stan using his nickname for the old hamster. Elder Ham looked curiously at the young boy-hamster. "Where and what is this place exactly?"

"It is called the Valley of Hope."

When Rat heard of the foursome going out to search for the Valley of Hope, she went beserks. She scampered up on Dracoheart's back to where Hamtaro and the Tiger twins were already sitting, preparing for their long voyage out into the unknown. "Now, remember, my cousin is a very ingenius little map-maker but always requires a fee. If you give him a few pumpkin seeds he should be in a very good mood.

Dracoheart nudged her. Rat scampered down. "Thanks for the advice! And be sure to look for yourself, Rat!" Hamtaro thanked her and Rat looked up at them with a small smile.

"Ah, I think it's going to be awhile before I'm able to rescue you from peskering wild cats." This made Sandy shake her head and glare at her, knowing full well that the rat was talking to her.

Dracoheart spread his wings and sent a gust of dust flying through the air. "Hey, I know, how about we actually get some other hamsters to do the job for us. 'Cause I think this is a really bad idea, ham-dude!" Stan said to Hamtaro, who was in front of him, as Sandy grabbed him from behind.

But his ham-friend just ignored his remark.

And the black forests rose between the dragon and the three hamsters and the tree in which they had been born.

It was still raining.

AN: It's been so long. I really crave for some more reviews and I kind of need help with my other story. Now that I'm about to be graduating, I'll have all summer long to finish and start my stories! YAY! Happiness!

Ciao! ;)