Yep turns to pure fantasy in this story of a several-hundred-year-old dragon princess traveling the land with a young orphan boy. The two befriend each other on first encounter when he is ridiculed for seeing a unicorn and she is disguised as a helpless old woman. Soon they are up against a common enemy and fleeing together as the dragon, Shimmer, takes her true shape and carries Thorn, the boy, on her back. Despite Shimmer's contempt for humans, she allows Thorn to accompany her in pursuit of Civet, a witch who has stolen the dragon tribe's inland sea. Thereafter Thorn is determined to prove himself useful, Shimmer continues to insist regally that she needs no such help, and each saves the other's life several times over. Their quest takes them into the ever-denser forest of the wicked Keeper, who battles them in midair with his monstrous pets and a magical burning net. Outdoing the keeper, they make their painful way across the dragons' old dried-up salt seafloor; battle Civet's tigers inside the Weeping Mountain; and finally defeat the witch with a hair from the tail of that Chinese folk hero Monkey--but then take pity on the culprit, and spare her, when they hear her story of betrayal. Yep does not appear to have any compelling reason for bringing these two together and putting them through this course, which borrows elements from Chinese legend (as he explains in a note), but seems well within the mode of our juvenile fantasies, even to the motif of the reluctant developing friendship. But for fanciers of fantasy as travelogue of enchantment, there are descriptive passages of spotlight intensity and an overlay of visual embroidery--plus attention to the protagonists' physical sensations, including those involved in the process of changing from human to dragon form.