Jewel Riders fans: if you were wondering where the hell all the references to the show were hiding, you’re in luck. This chapter has a few.
So Adriane and Rocky get saved by some dude (Zachariah, henceforth called Zach) and his griffin (Wind Dancer). Zach’s never met another human before, especially a female, so there’s some awkward poking around (be glad this is a children’s book!) before Adriane learns the truth. There isn’t much time for commiseration, though: the party’s being tracked by something nasty. Zach pilots Wind Dancer through the Serpent’s Teeth, a treacherous gorge full of spikes and mist and other hazards. If this sounds familiar to a Jewel Riders fan, that’s because it’s totally a reference to this scene from the episode “Travel Trees Can’t Dance”, where Gwenevere and Sunstar fly through an equally treacherous gorge full of spikes and other hazards (first minute or so only):
Anyway, the party safely arrives in a very pretty — and not irradiated — valley. Zach gives Adriane some food, and Adriane washes Rocky in a nearby stream. Adriane immediately finds out that Rocky is actually a stunningly beautiful speckled rock, and not a boring brown possibly-irradiated rock. There’s a scene similar to this is the Jewel Riders episode “Shadowsong”, in which Tamara washes the titular Shadowsong upon first meeting him and discovers he’s a blue and purple-striped unicorn. (Sorry for the lack of video: there’s no clips on YouTube. Check out the full episode on Kidlet, or just take my word for it.)
Oh, but Rocky isn’t a rock! It’s a
rock lobster magic egg of some sort! No wonder everyone wants it!
After Zach goes on about his parents dying when he was little and being raised by a bunch of animals, he runs off to put the food away. Adriane takes this opportunity to contact Stormbringer again. At least Moonshadow has the courtesy to tell Adriane why she’s not invited in the mistwolf pack: a human killed the former pack leader!
But wait! Isn’t Zach the only human on Aldenmor? Dun-dun-dun!
Next time: Adriane finally gets in touch with the rest of the party.