Alastair didn’t necessarily feel the fire tumble from the churning digestive juices in the pit of his stomach up through his esophagus, past his molars and incisors, and past his parched lips. There was no burn or any indication at all that a blazing yellow fireball as big as his head had been belched up from none other than him! The force of the belch propelled the raging ball of flame and energy with a trajectory aimed at Tipper’s wide golden eyes.
“You ATE the Elder’s gift?” Tipper yelled in shock. He barely dodged the fireball, and the blaze of energy collided heavily with one of the spindly gray trees. Flames sparked and roared in a rage, immediately taking the dried trees as their fuel and immediately catching fire. The hungry yellow flames licked at the flaking bark.
“Stand back!” Perceval shouted. He bounded over to the fire, and just like he did with Tipper’s out of control flames, began to eat the yellow, sparkling flames as if they were delicious pasta and meat sauce. But Alastair wasn’t done.
“Back up! Back up, up, up!” Tipper grabbed Lila around her waist and Zane by his hand, yanking the children out of Alastair’s direct range. He directed Gabbie and Ginger to follow. “Alastair! Aim for somewhere not us, will you?”
“I’m trying,” Alastair moaned. Now he was beginning to feel his stomach roar.
“Will Ali be okay?” Lila gasped. She tried to hit at Tipper’s arm, but his grip was strong and held.
“He’ll be fine, I think. Never heard of someone eating a Fire Gem, but I think the rules still apply. If he has an affinity for fire, he’ll be it this for a while. If not, he has about two or three more goes left in him,” Tipper guessed. He took the children behind a woven long tree and hissed when he saw that one stray yellow flame had eaten through his pack. Perceval pounded on the pack, eating as quickly as he could to void the fire’s strength.
“Out of all of us here, I never would have thought responsible Alastair would be burping up fire,” Zane muttered in awe from behind his hiding spot. Ginger hushed him with an angry look.
Alastair, the poor boy, let rip another searing ball of fire and another one straight after. The two fireballs shot out like a sneeze, careening past Perceval and into the forest beyond. The blue fog dissipated, allowing the onlookers a glimpse of where the fireballs traveled. One smashed into a tree and exploded like fireworks. The other kept going and going and going. Alastair did’t have time to register what was happening when he let out one final, terrible, horrible burp. This last fireball had to be the largest of the four. It was as tall as Tipper and as wide as Zane, Lila, and Gabbie standing side by side. The fireball’s size did not slow the flames down. It soon knocked into the first fireball, urging it forwards and out of sight.
“Oh my gosh,” Alastair gasped. He fell to his knees, exhausted.
“Is that it? Are you done?” Gabbie pondered.
“Seems so,” Alastair croaked.
“WE are lucky that you don’t have an affinity for fire.” Tipper let go of the children and faced Tipper. “Now, what possessed you to eat the Fire Gem?”
“I didn’t mean to. I thought it was safe in my lunch…pack.” Alastair covered his face with his hands. Knowing that what he just said didn’t sound like a good idea after all.
Tipper opened his mouth as if to berate Alastair even more when a ear crackling screech cut through the forest. The screech was followed by an angry shout.