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Asia Tao and The Essence of the Dragon: Prologue (Part 2)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Prologue: Jade Stone (Part 2)

Kongur Tagh, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China: Tomb of the Last Dragon King

“Kwan, over here!” Rashona yelled. “I think I may have found something.” “I think this may be his tomb!” she exclaimed.

‘Where?” Kwan asked, his glasses falling from his chiseled face as he stumbled around the corner of the cave holding a humongous flashlight.

“Here.” Rashona said as she pointed at the cave wall. “I mean you understand these dead languages better than me but I think this is it.”

“I think you may be right.” Kwan grinned as pushed his glasses up the brim of his nose with his index finger. “This symbol could definitely mean king.” He said as she shone the flashlight on the weird cave drawings. The symbols reminded his of ancient Chinese characters but oddly different, this language had more curves and swirls. The symbols on the cave wall where almost whimsical.

Rashona and Kwan had traveled all over the Kunlun Mountains, which is one of the longest mountains chains on the continent of Asia. They had finally made it to the highest point Kongur Tagh and found this promising elaborately designed hidden cave. The cave was spectacular it was filled with ancient statues, carvings, jade sculptures and solid gold relics. The cave was made completely of marble it was so astounding that it looked almost artificial.

“Kwan if this is it we are one step closer to finding the essence of the dragon.” Rashona said. “I know Asia will be happy when we finally find it.” “She has been really home sick lately and the medallion we gave her isn’t having the desired affect.”

“She knows how important this discovery is.” Kwan stated.

“I’m not so sure, she is just a kid who misses her parents and her room.’ Rashona said. “She doesn’t care about all this ancient stuff.” I really think we should take some time off after this, no matter what the outcome is.”

“So you want to give up now?” Kwan asked in shock.

“I want to get to know my daughter before she grows up and wants nothing to do with us.” She replied with a look of desperation in her eyes.

Kwan took one look in her eyes and sighed in defeat. “Okay.” He said.

The sun had gone down and the cave was becoming increasingly dark. The light from their flashlights wasn’t enough to see around the massive cave anymore.

“Well this is as far as we can go.” Kwan said as he looked around the cave shining his flashlight as far as it could illuminate. “Its getting late anyway we better start a fire.” “Looks like we are spending the night.”

“Thank goodness I am so tired.” Rashona said as she placed her things on the cave floor. “That had to be at least two miles since we entered the mouth of the cave.” She said out of breath as she began to unpack. “And those stairs are going to be a pain on the way back up.”

They began to build a fire and set up their tents and sleeping bags. As Kwan documented the cave symbols Rashona cooked ramen over the fire.

“I think this maybe a warning.” Kwan said as he studied the wall and looked over his notes. “And from what I’m looking at there is no way for us to open this tomb without some sort of stone.” He added.

“Great something else to find.” Rashona sighed. “Well how do we find this stone?” she asked.

“I have no idea.” Kwan replied as he sat next to Rashona is the fold out chairs they brought with them. “We will just take as many pictures and notes as we can tonight and be out of here first thing in the morning.”

Kwan put his notebook and camera down on the ground right next to him as Rashona handed him a bowl of ramen and some chopsticks.

“I will take a few more pictures after I eat and you can check my initial notes and make your observations.” Kwan said as he blew on the steaming hot noodles.

Kwan didn’t even look at Rashona as he talked. She hated that. He just stared down at his bowl of ramen as he swirled his chopsticks around in the soup. Rashona could tell he didn’t want to take a break from searching for the mysteries of the world. He was obsessed. He was convinced that once he found the essence of the dragon he could stop and be a husband and father but Rashona knew that was a lie. There would always be something else to find and Kwan was a curious man by nature.

“Ok that sounds good.” Rashona said as she faintly smiled.

It would be an hour before they spoke another word to one another. They just worked in silence waiting for someone to apologize without fully grasping what they did wrong. The only sound was the camera shutter and the flash as Kwan took more pictures. In between pictures Kwan could faintly hear the sound of Rashona writing in their notebook. He wanted to tell her he was sorry and he knows that he promised that after Asia was born they would retire until she after she turned eighteen. He wanted to say that he doesn’t love his job more than he loves his family but he didn’t he just took more pictures.

The night went on like that until they finally retired for the night inside of their tent. They were sound asleep when the ground began to tremble beneath them thrusting them awake. The sound of a beast growling echoed through the cave chilling them to their cores.

“What in the hell was that?” Rashona whispered in fear.

“That sounded like a dragon.” Kwan laughed nervously and very quietly as he put on his glasses.

“A dragon, how?” Rashona asked surprised. “The myth said all the dragons were dead.”

“These stories get passed down by word of mouth sometimes things get left out.” Kwan whispered, as they frantically got dressed. “People rarely know the truth they just speculate on most of the details anyway that’s why people like us go on a quest for truth.”

“Well what do we do now?” Rashona asked.

“We go and check it out.” Kwan grinned as he grabbed his flashlight.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, we are no way prepared it that turns out to be a dragon.” Rashona argued. “I’m very skeptically of how things would turnout if it just turned out to be a cat.”

“Seriously?” Kwan asked in dismay. “I can protect you from a cat.” He stated as he climbed out of the tent.

“Well here is to hoping it’s a cat then.” Rashona uttered sarcastically under her breathe as she followed Kwan out into the cave.

Rashona held her flashlight shakily in her hand as she followed closely behind Kwan. They began to slowly walk towards the tomb that was only twenty feet away but felt like twenty miles to them. You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. When they finally reached the door of the tomb they noticed that it was opened.

Kwan’s hands trembled with fear as he shone his flashlight at the dark entrance. Rashona gripped Kwan’s arm tightly as her heart began to beat faster. Then there were the faint footsteps coming towards them that froze them in place.

“Which one of you touched it?” A deep voice grumbled from the darkness.

They stood in paralyzing fear as a set of glowing green eyes appeared out of the entrance of the tomb. As the figure stepped into the light his eyes ceased to glow. Rashona and Kwan could begin to make out his face. He was a middle-aged gentleman with long black hair down to his waist. His pupils were oblong like a snake and his clothes looked ancient like something a Chinese emperor would wear.

“Who are you?” Kwan asked. “And how did you open this tomb?” he asked in amazement.

“I was thinking the same thing.” The man said as he laughed diabolically. “Who are you two and which one of you woke me up?” “Which one of you has the Jade Stone!” he yelled making the entire cave quake.

“Look calm down.” Kwan pleaded. “We don’t have the Jade Stone we are just archeologist.”

“Then you two are of no use to me.” He replied as began to walk away.

“Wait who are you?” Kwan asked.

“Kwan.” Rashona whispered as she tugged on his arm. “Lets just go.”

“No we came for answers.” He replied quietly. “And what you do know about the Jade Stone?” Kwan yelled after the gentleman.

The figure stopped dead in his tracks, as his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. They could the man growl like a wild animal as the walls began to come down pebble by pebble. His skin began to turn a gold color as his body bended and broke until it started to transform. His nails turned into claws and his teeth into fangs. His gold skin began to appear as if it had scales like a snake.

“I’m the last Dragon King.” He growled as he turned to face them. “And you sir ask too many questions, you really should have listened to your wife.” He said with an evil grin as he moved towards their trembling bodies. The dragon King opened his mouth with a ferocious roar and let out incinerating flames burning their flesh to ashes.

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