Huge waves whipped against a ship wrecked on Seavey Island. Nearby three pirates huddled about a flickering fire.
“Mate, it’s your bloody fault we shipwrecked,” shouted Red Beard. “You greedy pirate. You had to take all of the lemon dragon’s treasure.”
“Who do you think you are calling me a greedy pirate?” shouted Peg Leg and jabbed at Red Beard.
“Mates! Mates! Break it up,” screamed Black Patch and pulled Peg Leg away from Red Beard.
“Ay, ay, but next time I’ll stick my leg through you,” said the ruddy-faced man.
Peg Leg stumbled and the wind caught the green and yellow polka dotted scarf from his head. “Look what you did now, you thieving pirate. Made me lose my bonnie scarf.”
Red Beard laughed and slapped his red breeches. He struck a match on his boots and lit a pipe. His teeth were black and his breath smelled of tobacco. He rubbed his long, crooked nose that looked broken. His beady eyes glared at Black Patch who was fumbling in his pockets.
Golden earrings dangled from beneath Black Patch’s scarlet head scarf. He adjusted the patch covering his left eye and squinted his one brown eye. A hideous scar crisscrossed his cheek.
At last he found his treasure and jerked an elaborate gold watch from his pocket. He stared at it in the firelight. The radiance of the watch caught Red Beard’s slanted eyes.
“Where did you get that bonnie watch?” asked Red Beard.
“My fairy godmother gave it to me.”
“Mate, do you really believe in fairies?” asked Peg Leg and sniggered.
“Ay, mate. My godmother gave this watch to me and if she were here, she would rebuild our ship.”
“It’s your fault, Red Beard, we don’t have enough trees to repair our ship,” said Peg Leg. “I told you not to build the ship so big.”
“It was your idea to steal the lemon dragon’s treasure. You made us shipwreck. I wish the dragon had toasted you,” said Red Beard.
A roar filled the air and the island rocked. The sky glowed with fire and smoke engulfed Seavey Island. Ashes fell into heaps around the shaking pirates.
Black Patch clung to Peg Leg’s black cape. “It must be a hurricane,” he whispered.
“Nay, mate. It’s an earthquake,” said Peg Leg.
“It’s definitely a volcano,” said Red Beard.
“Look, mates!” Black Patch screamed. “It’s the lemon dragon. He’s come for his treasure.”
The dragon boiled with rage. He spat fire and brimstone at the pirates. His enormous green eyes sparked with fury. He bellowed long and deep like a thousand roaring lions.
“Please don’t hurt us,” pleaded Peg Leg. “We didn’t mean to take your gold. It…it was an accident.”
“I won’t eat you, now,” roared the dragon licking his orange lips. “First, I will toast you. I like humans nice and golden brown.”
The dragon beat his tail against the flimsy ship and splintered it.
“He destroyed our ship,” cried Black Patch. “If only my fairy godmother were here, she would save us.” He groaned and put his head into his hands.
Instantly, a brilliant blue light sparkled. From silver stars a fairy emerged. She was dressed in satin and wearing a golden crown on her long, blonde hair. She held a diamond wand.
“What do you wish, my dear pirates?” asked the fairy.
Tears splash down the faces of the pirates. “Please help us,” they pled.
The lemon dragon gave a ferocious growl and spat a ball of fire at the pirates.
“Stop!” the fairy screamed and the lemon dragon slunk off to the sand dunes.
“I will help you, pirates,” she said, “but first you must return the dragon’s gold.”
“But we don’t know where it is,” said Black Patch. “It fell into the ocean when we shipwrecked.”
“Dive to the ocean floor and find a wall of seaweeds,” said the fairy. “Hack your way through the barrier, then float to the Coral Cave. There you will find the chest of gold,” she added and disappeared into a blaze of stars.
“Any grand ideas how to get to the gold?” Peg Leg asked.
“How should I know?” snapped Red Beard. “It was your idea to steal the lemon dragon’s gold. You tell us!”
The men disappeared beneath the waves. They gasped and flailed until they grabbed a piece of driftwood. Peg Leg paddled with his leg.
A dark cloud formed over the ocean . Thunder roared and lightning flashed . The water churned and whirled the pirates until they crashed into a wall of seaweeds.
Strands of slimy weeds stuck to the pirates . Peg Leg jabbed the wall and the pirates plunged into the Coral Cave.
Inside the damp, dark cave Red Beard stumbled and scraped his knees on rocks. He rubbed flint together and lit a torch.
The pirates explored the cave and discovered an enormous room. Rocks shaped like icicles hung from the roof. A waterfall roared into a pond and eyeless fish jumped in the water.
Bats dove toward the pirates. They scurried over boulders and bumped into a mummy. The bats screeched and chased the men until they fell into a secret passageway.
The pirates gazed at pictographs of unicorns carved on the walls. The symbols glittered like gold.
“What do those pictures mean?” asked Black Patch.
“Those unicorns are the good fairy’s helpers,” said Peg Leg.
He spied a copper chest in the middle of the room and dashed to it. He broke the lock with a stone. “I’ve found the lemon dragon’s gold,” he shouted.
“Ay,” exclaimed Black Patch and Red Beard as they stuffed their pockets with gold.
A roar filled the cave. The dragon stretched his wart-covered neck. “You greedy pirates,” he bellowed. “I’m going to eat you.” He gave a growl and hurled himself at the pirates. They screamed and scampered.
“Here’s your gold,” said Peg Leg.
The dragon howled. Red Beard drew his sword. The lemon dragon shot flames at the sword and it melted.
A unicorn appeared. “Hop on my back, mates,” he yelled. “Hold to my mane.”
With all his might, the unicorn strained to lift the pirates above the rock formations.
Stalagmites jutted from the floor of the cave. Stalactites hung from the walls and roof. Some resembled draperies or straws with holes through their centers.
The unicorn flew past the columns. He panted for breath. “Mates, lean forward. I’m getting tired and don’t know if I can carry all of you.”
The pirates started arguing and pushing each other. “Get off, Peg Leg! You caused our ship to wreck.”
The unicorn looked back at the pirates. “Quiet! I don’t want to hear anymore!”
He crashed into a stone curtain. The pirates screamed and tumbled head over boots through the dark cave. They splashed into an underground river.
“Help, mates!” yelled Black Patch. “I can’t swim.” His head bobbed above the water.
A herd of river dolphins surfaced. They sprayed water through their blowholes. They made clicking sounds and navigated through the murky water searching for the invaders.
The dolphins slapped their flukes on the water’s surface and swung their tail fins from side to side. The animals located the three pirates and circled them.
“We’ve had it now!” yelled Red Beard.
The master dolphin grinned and showed the sharp teeth that lined his jaws. “Why have you invaded our home?” he asked and flapped his flippers.
“I’m so sorry,” whined Black Patch. “We fell off the unicorn’s back. Please, could you help us reach Seavey Island?”
The master dolphin huddled with his buddies and they whistled for a few minutes.
“If we take you to Seavey Island, what will you give us?” asked the dolphin.
“We’ll give you part of the lemon dragon’s treasure,” said Peg Leg.
The dolphins slapped their flukes in the water. They dove deep underwater and reached an opening in the cave. The animals surfaced and pointed to Seavey Island with their flippers.
The pirates swam to shore. They rose dripping from the cold water. Black Patch gathered twigs and built a fire.
Because they were huddled about the fire, the pirates did not notice the movement in the sea oats. They heard a growl.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” whispered Red Beard.
Another growl, much closer. Another growl, much louder.
The pirates screamed. The dragon’s eyes glowed like fire. He opened his mouth and snapped his teeth.
The fairy appeared. She told Black Patch to wind his gold watch.
Black Patch twisted the stem. He and the other pirates soared above the sand dunes and landed on their ship.
The dragon roared. He shot fire the last time and retreated like whirling dust before a storm.
The dolphins leaped above the water with the treasure. Peg Leg opened the chest and divided the gold.
The three pirates sailed across the ocean into an apricot sunset as the dolphins did acrobatics beside the ship.