It was a few weeks later that Mo and Nan took the little frog down to the sea. They’d wanted to make sure she was all better first, from her injuries. They’d kept her in the bath in Nan’s house, with plenty of water and frog food, as well as secret things from the handbag, and when she’d regained her strength, Nan had said she was ready.
They put her in the handbag, and took her down to the sea, on the bus, to Splott Beach.
“Will this work?” Mo asked Nan.
“Just wait and see,” Nan said.
Mo knelt down and took the tiny frog out of Nan’s handbag. He held her in the palm of his hand.
She blinked at him with her big froggy eyes.
“Be free,” he said, and he put her in the sea.
For a moment there was nothing but sea foam and a small froggy head bobbing desperately on the surface. And then, just as Nan had said, there she was, in all her scaly, dragon-y glory, the sea dragon they’d rescued from the lake, exactly as she had been before she’d swallowed the purple flower.
She turned to look at them for one final time, ducked her great big silvery head in thanks, and then dived into the sea. She leapt above the waves one final time in a great, joyful, arc before disappearing, forever, back to where she had come from, where she’d always longed to be.
“There she goes,” Nan said, comfortably.
They caught the bus home together. Nan was fiddling in her handbag again. She pulled out a tube of mints and offered Mo one, but he didn’t take it. He was itching to say something.
Finally, Nan said, “What is it?”
“The spell! I thought you said that the spell meant there always had to be a guardian for the king’s treasure cave.”
“Then how come we could take the dragon back to the sea and set her free?”
Nan smiled a knowing smile. She touched her handbag. Not for the first time, Mo wondered what other secrets she had in there.
“Let’s just say he won’t be trying any tricks to steal that treasure again.”
And Mo finally understood.
That when he’d given the flower to the dragon, the spell that trapped her had been broken. But the spell on the cave was still just as strong. And there had been one being who’d been in the lake at that time – the fisherman, thwacked over the head with Nan’s handbag.
“He’s down there, isn’t he?” said Mo. “Guarding the cave, for the king. Is he a dragon too, now, or did he stay as a fisherman?”
“I suppose we’ll never know,” said Nan, only Mo thought she probably did know, because Nan really did know everything.