Author's Note: Hello, and welcome. Quarantine has driven me to watch a lot of good cartoons recently, and in watching them, and reading through their lore, I've discovered that a lot of them could work together in a shared universe. More info in my bio. For now, enjoy!
Phase One, Book One
Jake Long: The American Dragon
Chapter 1: Skateboarding After Goblins
"Yo, Trix! Watch this one!" Jake called out. The two of them were on opposite ends of an emptied out swimming pool. Trixie was sitting at the shallow end, her sneakered feet dangling over the lip of the pool. Her thick black curls bounced as she tilted her head, lifting one hand to protect her eyes from the bright sunlight of the spring afternoon. She squinted, focusing on her friend, who stood at the other end with a skateboard under his arm.
Jake, once he was satisfied that Trixie was paying attention, pulled a helmet over his neon green frosted tips, buckled it, and then dropped the board to his feet, holding it at the ready with the tip of his shoe. He licked his finger, tested the wind, and then pointed to the sky.
"Today, we make history! Triple fakie kickflip, with a grab!" He shouted across the pool.
"With the grab?" Trixie echoed encouragingly.
"That's right, girl!" Jake called back. Then, he went on. "Rose… This one's for you!"
Trixie snorted and shook her head as Jake dipped into the pool, rolling confidently across the stained cement, the hair that made its way out from beneath his helmet whipping in the wind. He grinned, leaning into the ride, feeling the board, and loving the rush. If there was one thing Jake lived for, it was speed. As he came closer to the opposite end of the pool, Jake squatted slightly, getting ready for the moment of truth. Then, as his wheels took the incline and he shot up into the air, he used his ankles expertly to maneuver the board beneath him in an impressive looking trick. At the height of his jump, he let out a whoop of excitement, and grabbed the edge of his skateboard on the way down.
"Hey, is that Rose over there?" Trixie mused out loud.
"Wha-?" Jake quickly looked around, losing concentration on what his was doing, and hitting the lip of the pool at an awkward angle, sending him and his board tumbling down into it, ends over ends. With a grunt of pain, Jake rolled over onto his back at the bottom of the pool. It was then that he noticed that Trixie was laughing, holding her stomach with one hand and leaning back. He groaned, and rolled his eyes. Pulling himself up, he made his way over to his board, and then went to lean against the pool wall beside Trixie.
"I hate you," Jake said.
"It was a nice try," Trixie said, "but if Rose was really here, you'd have crumbled without my help."
"Crumbled? Crumbled? Me."
"Like a cookie, J," Trixie finished with a 'prove me wrong' kind of smile. She did that a lot. Jake brushed it off with a wave of his hand.
"No way," he said. "You'll see. If she ever comes to the skatepark-"
"You mean the swimming pool? I doubt it, heavy. That girl looks like she has money. She doesn't wanna hang around no crusty ass abandoned waterpark," Trixie said.
"How do you know? Maybe she likes to skate. Have you ever talked to her?" Jake tried to argue.
"Have you?" Trixie countered. That shut Jake up. With a sigh, he un-clipped his helmet, and pulled himself up to sit next to Trixie on the edge of the pool. They were both silent for a moment, nothing but the ever-present sounds of New York city echoing beyond the half built walls of the Splash Zone. Trixie felt a pang of guilt, and leaned gently against Jake, looking at her toes. "Sorry."
"It's all good, T…" Jake said. "I just... hey, what the-? Where's my backpack?"
The two of them scanned the immediate area. Their skateboards, Trixie's bag, various pieces of litter left by other people who had come by, but no Jake's backpack. Perplexed, the pair of them fanned out, scouring the rubble and discarded racks of lumber for any sign of the bag. Jake ducked around a corner, and as he did, he thought he saw something flutter in the corner of his eye. Something long, blue, and scampering out of view. He froze, extending his senses and trying to notice anything, but failed. He jumped a little as Trixie came up behind him.
"Hey," she said, "did ya find it?"
"Uh, no," Jake said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Hey, listen, I gotta get going for my... Friday afternoon tutoring. Yeah, if I'm late my grandpa will flip."
"But what about your backpack?"
"I'm sure it'll turn up," Jake said, scooping up his board and buckling on his helmet. "Catch ya later, playah!"
"Peace out, J," Trixie called back, still a bit confused, as Jake's wheels hit the ground.
Jake kicked hard, gaining momentum as he ripped off through the alleyway, in the direction he had thought he had seen the blue creature. His board trampled over a crumpled Nasty Burger wrapper, and he kept his eyes peeled for any signs of movement. Just as he was about to clear the alley, he saw it. To the right! Blue, slender, a tail! Jake jerked his back foot, skidding his board laterally so that he was now facing his quarry, allowing him to catch sight of it as it clambered up a pipe. One of its strangely humanoid hands clung to the windows and fire escapes like some kind of monkey, while the other clutched Jake's backpack.
"Hey!" Jake shouted. In response, the creature seemed to react, whipping its head around to reveal huge bug eyes and wide, flat, tapered ears, all in a vaguely teal, leathery skin. Jake wrinkled up his face in disgust, propping up the front of his board and balling up his fists. "Oh, great. A goblin."
Jake had dealt with goblins before, on a couple of occasions. They were notorious kleptomaniacs, known for their sneakiness and their greed for grabbing just about anything they could get their three fingered hands on. They weren't the smartest of creatures, but they weren't complete beasts either, and some goblins were known to be capable of reason, and making deals. This goblin, however, only hissed and screeched at Jake, and then climbed the rest of the way up the building, vanishing from view until Jake saw a flit of blue as it jumped to the next rooftop.
"Aw, man," Jake muttered to himself. "I'm gonna be so late."
Then, he stepped a few paces back before taking a running start towards the building and jumping as high as he could with a shout of exertion. There was a burst of heat and light, and Jake had changed. Starting at the fingertips and climbing up to just past his elbows were thick red scales, and his hands and forearms had transformed into bulkier, reptilian claws. As Jake flew at the building he grabbed onto a rung with his powerful claw and launched himself upwards, using the incredible strength of his new arms to propel himself to the top of the building.
"Booyah!" Shouted Jake as he crested the rooftop, landing with a spray of loose gravel. Then, wasting no time, he started to dash forward, towards the sickeningly wide gap of air that separated his rooftop and the next. Two jumps ahead, he could see the agile form of the goblin, escaping with his backpack. Jake ran as fast as he could, and coiled himself like a spring until at the last moment, he launched himself into the air with all the momentum he had. He had made it about a quarter of the way across the gap before his angle began to drop, and his heart jumped into his throat.
"Wings… Come on, wings!" Jake shouted, straining and fighting to summon them. His mind raced as the concrete began to fly towards his face at an alarming rate, and he scrunched his eyes closed. Then, whoosh! He caught air! Two huge, leathery bat wings had sprung from his shoulder blades in a burst of light, and had caught the air beneath them like a massive parachute. Jake let out a thrilled whoop of excitement and used his careening force to launch sideways like a bullet through an alley, and then angled himself straight up, spiraling himself into the air at speeds a bird would blush at. What a rush!
After regaining his composure, Jake course corrected, and began to soar across the rooftops, to where he had seen the goblin running. He scanned the rooftops, squinting and trying to catch sight of his quarry, but there was no trace. Puzzled, Jake landed nimbly on the roof where he had last seen it, and walked to the edge to look down. The alley below was about as normal as any alleyway went: a few dumpsters, a sleeping homeless guy, and a few back doors. As Jake's eyes panned along the walls, he realized one of these doors was propped ajar, the inside a mysterious, beckoning darkness, and trailing out, just barely visible, was the tip of a bluish green tail.
"Gotcha," Jake said, hopping off the side of the building and letting his wings take him safely down. He landed, quietly, beside the hobo, making sure not to wake him, for fear of having to explain how he had grown bat wings and lizard arms. Technically, he wasn't even supposed to be using his abilities outside of his mentor's supervision, but what his grandfather didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Taking careful steps towards the door, Jake prepared to spring into action, in case the goblin had set up some sort of trap. However, as he got closer to the entryway, he realized the truth of the situation.
The door, Jake noticed as he got closer, was much less rusted over and worn than the others of its kind that lined the alley. It had a strange logo on it, almost faded from view, but something about it didn't sit right with Jake. Inside didn't lead into the back hall of some greasy spoon diner, or anything of the sort. Instead, the doorway led into a small, false room, in the back of which rested an odd machine. Its body was thin from the front, but wide and circular from the side, like a disc. All in all, it looked like a menacing, armored pitching machine. The goblin, for its misfortune, was tangled up in a weighted net made of taught black chord, and was struggling, to no avail, for freedom.
"What the juice?" Jake said under his breath.
Just then, he heard the screeching of brakes. He looked down at a reflective hubcap to see, at the far end of the alleyway, a white van pulling into view. It's side was facing Jake's back, and the side door slid open to reveal three burly men, clad in dark burgundy uniforms, their faces covered by ski masks. They each bore a strange insignia somewhere on there person: a red disc with two semicircle pieces missing from it, so that it took on a menacing, bladed design. Jake didn't have time to wonder what that symbol meant, however, because the two of them men produced metal batons and one of them, a strange, bulky looking rifle.
The two men with batons activated them, and they produced a warbling, shimmery atmosphere of energy around the business ends. Jake grimaced. He didn't want to get hit with one of those. Not to mention the guy with the video game gun. Jake turned his eyes to the reflection of shooter, even as the melee fighters began to get out of the vehicle. He sneered at the dragon boy, never once taking his eye out of his scope. Jake gulped. Where there were color coordinated goons like this, there were bound to be more. He couldn't let them see his face. Only one thing to do.
From the point of view of the masked men, as they arrived on the scene, they saw a young boy, maybe 13, from behind. He seemed not to move, but he stood in front of their price. Not to mention, there were 6 foot long bat wings jutting out from his shoulder blades. Then, as the baton wielding goons came closer, the wings lowered to cover the boy's body, like a shield. They knew that wouldn't stop their energy batons, and charged forward to deliver a neutralizing strike on this bat boy. Then, the alleyway became a few degrees hotter, and before the goons knew it, their feet were tripped up from underneath them by what felt like the force of a rolling log.
"Booyah! Perfect time for tail!" Jake exclaimed, as his newly formed lizard's appendage lashed out and tripped the two thugs in melee. He was far from finished. "Now for you in the back!"
There was a burst of heat and light as he said the last word, and his entire face transformed in a flash. One moment, he had the fleshy face of a Chinese-American teen, and the next, his visage had been replaced by the craggy, menacing, and fanged maw of a red dragon, complete with a bright green plumage that matched his dyed human hair, all mounted on top of his human neck and torso. . Jake opened his mouth, and from it rocketed a bolt of condensed flame, shooting straight towards the rifle wielding goon in the getaway car. There was a meaty smacking sound, and a heavy grunt as the force of the blast sent him tumbling onto his back in the van, dropping his gun. His jacket, it seemed, was flame resistant, because he did not catch fire.
Jake, while still not sure who these new enemies were, was bright enough to realize that they were here to pick up whatever their trap had caught. So, before the two goons in front could get back to their feet, he scooped up the goblin and his backpack, and took off at a run before jumping into the air and pounding down with his great, red wings, catching air and launching him and his cargo high into the air in one go. The goblin let out a high pitched shriek of terror as the earth suddenly jumped away from them at dozens of miles an hour, and Jake couldn't help but laugh a little.
"You're probably not used to being up this high, huh?" he said. "Trust me, dude. You're better off up here than down there."
The goblin swallowed its fear and closed its eyes, and hoped that this strange dragon boy who he had made the mistake of robbing would not eat him. Jake, meanwhile, got high enough that he wouldn't be seen by any of the passerby below. It was Friday afternoon in New York City, so he had to fly up pretty high, and soon the goblin's teeth were chattering. Jake winced with a bit of guilt, but flew on, heading to the only place he could think to go. After barely a minute of flying, they began to descend rapidly into Chinatown, and just before he hit the ground, there was another flash of energy and his dragon parts vanished, leaving just Jake Long.
"Sorry about this, dude," Jake said, picking up the goblin by the net and shoving him into the backpack, despite his wiggling protests. "Most of the other tenets in our complex are not gonna take well to your little blue ass running around. Just hang out a little longer until I can get you to gramps."
Subnote: And just like that, our tale begins. Did you spot the references to other cartoons? What do you think of the story, so far? Let me know everything in the reviews, and be sure to Favorite and Follow so you don't miss the next chapter!