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Shadow's Rising {Wing 1} Chapter 13

by dragonight9

Chapter 13

Jarid knew that dragon training was the class that had the highest chance of exposing his previous knowledge of dragons. If he defeated a dragon using the techniques he learned from fighting Shadow, the instructor might become suspicious. Most importantly, no matter how much he wanted to, he had to restrain himself from speaking in dragon.

Then again, he could also use this class to make up for poor marks in other classes like penmanship. He would simply have to be careful that he didn’t stand out too much.

Jarid walked down the cold dark tunnel leading to the floor of the dragon dome. He couldn’t help but cringe as he walked into the arena and saw the cage far above. The chains that made up the top of the dome were covered in thick spikes and reinforced with the same fire-resistant fabric he saw on the door at the end of the dragon stables. There were even a few dark stains here and there from the blood of dragons trying to escape.

“Had enough sight seeing?” A voice growled.

Jarid brought his attention back to the arena floor and noticed a group of other students gathered around their instructor. It was Lt. Tekar. Another one of the instructors that lead the tour the first day he was at the academy. It looked like he had already begun the class, so Jarid quickly jogged over to join the group.

“So, as I was saying, this is the training arena where you will fight dragons and learn to ride them. See those gates?” He swept his hand around the arena where nine gates made of thick metal were set into the wall.

“Those cages contain dragons that were too young or wild to be ridden. You will fight each type of dragon and learn their weaknesses. For training purposes, you will be fighting adult dragons for most of the year. But we’ll start with a few younger ones to keep the death rates low.”

There were a few chuckles at this, but Lt Tekar’s face showed no mirth as he continued.

“One thing that will not be tolerated is killing dragons during training. All involved in the death of a dragon will have merit deducted from their flight. Dragons are difficult to capture alive, and that makes them worth more than most of your families can afford. On the other hand, subduing a dragon without major harm will earn merit points for your flight. We will begin the course with easier dragons and work our way up the difficulty scale.”

One of the bigger boys laughed. “Too bad we can’t practice on Night Wings. I heard they don’t have any magic at all. Pathetic. Just like the squad they represent.”

Jarid closed his eyes and clenched his fists to contain the burning anger he felt. Shadow wasn’t weak or pathetic. This boy had no idea how amazing Night Wings were!

“Be quiet boy!” Lt. Tekar snapped. “You have no understanding of the power of dragons! It is unfortunate that the Night Wings were all wiped out, and we do not have any here to teach you some manners.”

Jarid was surprised to see someone defending Night Wings like that. It felt good to know that an experienced instructor like him understood the true worth of Shadow’s tribe.

“Luckily,” Lt. Tekar continued as he walked over to the second cage from the left. “We have some Flame Wings that will be more than happy to educate you. But considering it’s your fist day, class will be short.” He grinned. Placing his hand on the lever for opening the gate.

One of the boys closest to the cage recoiled.

“Wait! Aren’t you going to teach us first?” He exclaimed. Lt. Tekar’s grin widened.

“I believe in learning on the job,” he replied as he pulled the lever.

The gate creaked open until it fully retracted with a clunk. A loud roar echoed from inside the cage and a young dragon came rushing out.

It was a pale red color with a few black spots on its neck and body. It had a crazed look in its eyes and scrambled across the ground like it had forgotten how to use its limbs properly. Fire occasionally burst from its mouth towards the students, but the flames seemed weaker than even Shadow’s.

Most of the Students screamed in panic and scattered about the arena while the rest tried to throw up walls of earth or shoot magic at it. The young Flame Wing crashed through the rushed magic and knocked aside those who couldn’t manage to dive out of the way in time.

Lt. Tekar called out. “First lesson! When a dragon is charging at you, how do you stop it?”

Jarid knew that if he was fighting Shadow then either making a thick enough wall or swamping him with water usually did the trick.

There were shouts from all over the arena until Lt. Tekar heard the answer he was looking for.

“Correct! Dragons can often break through solid obstacles, but encasing their legs in water will often trip them up. Same goes for their wings when in flight.”

Jarid looked around him. Some of the students from Blue Squad were gathering while a few others were keeping the dragon distracted.

Jarid rushed over to the dragon while waving his arms.

“Hey! Over here! You think you can catch me? Come on!”

Jarid waited until he was sure he caught the crazed Flame Wing’s attention, then he started sprinting around the edge of the arena. He was barely able to keep a safe distance, but thankfully it didn’t take long for the students from Blue Squad to finish their spell and create a water bubble encasing the dragon’s legs.

A few seconds later the young dragon crashed to the ground as the students cheered.

Jarid walked close to the young dragon and gazed at it sadly. Its eyes were closed, and its sides rose and fell quickly with labored breathing. He wished he could end the poor guy’s suffering, but he couldn’t free him nor end his life without major repercussions. With a sigh Jarid turned to join the other students.

Suddenly the dragon’s eyes snapped open, and it lunged at Jarid. Pinning him beneath one of its talons. Jarid’s back hit the sand with a thud. He clutched the claws pinning him down as he gazed up at the terrifying sight of dragon fangs descending on him. In that moment he finally understood why everyone feared dragons.

Terror gripped him. He couldn’t think, he couldn’t even use magic. All he could do was flail desperately while the dragon’s jaws drew closer and closer.

But just before the dragon’s maw reached Jarid’s head a fist struck it, sending the dragon staggering back. Standing over Jarid was Lt Tekar. The dragon whimpered and fled back to its cage. Lt. Tekar followed it and reset the lever, closing the cage. Then he turned to the students who all seemed shaken by the sight of someone almost dying on the first day.

“Let that be a lesson to all of you! Never turn your back on a dragon. They are not horses or pets. They are intelligent predators and must be treated with the respect those at the top of the food chain are due. You can throw away your own life if you want. I don’t care. But I will not tolerate endangering your fellow riders. Understand?!”

“Yes sir,” The students mumbled.

“I said, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!” Lt. Tekar roared.

“Yes sir!”


Lt. Tekar motioned for everyone to gather around. Jarid was still a little shaken, but he quickly joined the group.

“Alright. At the end of class, we will cool off by doing stretches while I give you some pointers on what to improve on or a bit of extra information about dragons. So, get to stretching.”

The Lt. lead by example as he stretched out his arms. The stretches helped Jarid calm down even as Lt. Tekar recited some facts about dragons.

“Our studies of dragon physiology have led us to determine that most dragons have a limited amount of magic they can store within them. However, they can use magic naturally occurring in the environment to recharge and boost their abilities.

“It is believed that this is the reason they usually build their nests in areas rich with magic called mana zones. Mana zones are full of natural disasters caused by overflowing magic energy and any dragon there will have access to a nearly limitless supply of magic. That is one of the many reasons humans stay away from mana zones.”

With a sigh, Lt. Tekar did one final stretch and stood. “That’s all for today. Go clean yourselves up before your next class. We will start looking at the compatibility between magical elements and types of dragons next week.”

Jarid stopped by the dorm to shower and clean up before his next class. Magic class.

Jarid searched around for a bit but eventually found the room and looked for an isolated corner to sit in. He still didn’t like striking up conversation with people he didn’t know.

The room looked like a larger version of the magic range back at the dorm with a few tables for the students to sit around for lectures on the near side and a variety of targets set up at different distances with a row of archery targets at the far end. The closer targets were simple wooden pillars ranging in size and distance. Some were right next to the entrance to the range and as small as a child, while others were three quarters of the way down the range and big as a large man.

Jarid was still looking around when Airel walked in looking annoyed. He waved and she made her way over.

“Can you believe it?” she asked grumpily. “They said I was too weak to progress to second year magic and needed to work more on the basics. I mean, I know I’m not like the rest of my family, but that doesn’t mean they can hold me back a year.”

Not like the rest of her family? What did that mean? Jarid wondered. After thinking about it for a bit, he decided to simply ask her.

“What do you mean by, ‘like the rest of my family’? Are they all talented at using magic?”

She nodded.

“My family used to be known for it but there are a few of us that were weaker than even the average noble for some reason. No one knows why, but I want to prove them wrong.”

Jarid smiled and nodded. “Well, if you ever want to do some extra training I’ll help as much as I can.”

She returned the smile. “Thanks.”

Then the teacher walked into the room.

“Hello students. You can call me Mr. Glitzer and I will be your magic instructor this semester. Today we will be doing some target practice. This will show me your level of skill and help me judge how best to train you in the coming year. We will go by squad in order of rank from last year. That would be Blue, Red, Brown, Grey, White, Green, and Black.”

Jarid mentally kicked himself for getting his hopes up.

Of course, Black squad would be last. They don’t even have a Black Squad some years.

But he just couldn’t help wishing to hear that his squad had placed high in some way.

Blue squad stepped forward and one by one took their turn showing off their magic. They aimed for targets a quarter of the way down the range and blasted them with jets of water. They ranged in ability but most of them were able to knock over or even dent the pillars.

Next the members of Red Squad took their turn. The first one to walk up confidently tried to hit a target at the back of the room. His flame fizzled out before it reached halfway. He looked a bit confused and tried again with the same result.

Mr. Glitzer spoke in a lecturing tone.

“Remember class. Spells get weaker the farther from the caster they go. You can train to increase this distance but just stay within your abilities for today please. One more thing to remember is that when riding your dragon their magic can boost yours so your range may be longer than you expect the first time you try it on a dragon’s back.”

Jarid hadn’t really felt a difference when he was around Shadow or not, but maybe that was because he didn’t have elemental magic like other dragons. Either way it didn’t really matter. The next member of Red Squad seemed a few years older and confidently hit his target making a black scorch mark on the trunk.

The Brown Squad members threw large rocks and caused small pillars to shoot out of the ground which slammed into the targets. The members of Grey Squad made blades of wind that gouged into their targets. White Squad members focused on nearer targets and froze large parts of the dummy. Green squad members caused their targets to grow vines and branches which wrapped around and entangled them.

Finally, it was Black Squad’s turn. Airel stepped up and aimed at one of the nearest targets. The jet of water from her hands slammed into the target but didn’t manage to dent it or even knock it over at such a close range.

The other squads snickered and joked among themselves about how weak Black Squad was, but Airel stood proud and walked back. Even so, Jarid could tell their words still hurt.

He had originally planned to match the performance of the top student as he had done before. But he just couldn’t stand watching the other students make fun of Airel. Besides, if he didn’t show them his best, how would they help him get stronger?

With a determined gaze Jarid stepped up to the magic range and picked out his target. He was about to show them why they shouldn’t disregard Black Squad so easily.

Jarid briefly looked over at the instructor. “What element of magic do you want me to use?”

Mr. Glitzer shrugged. “Whatever you feel will show your abilities to the fullest.”

Jarid turned back to the targets and smiled. He breathed in and out slowly as he readied himself. This was the first time he’d ever used magic to the fullest in front of other people after hiding it his whole life.

Alright, first I’ll…

“Just get on with it!” One of the other students shouted.

“Do you think he even has any magic. He is a commoner after all.” Another whispered, loud enough for everyone to hear, quickly followed by a muffled round of mocking laughter.

Jarid had had enough.

He reached out his hand towards a target midway down the range. Suddenly the pillar grew until it became a small tree. He heard gasps from the students behind him, but he wasn’t done yet. He roared and a stream of fire burst from his mouth, engulfing the tree.

Then he brought his hands together and a jet of water broke the tree in half while dousing the flames. Jarid clenched his fists, and the tree froze before the top half hit the ground. Then he stomped his foot and a giant stone pillar rose up and shattered the tree.

Finally, he raised his hands and summoned the strongest tornado he could muster. It broke the stone pillar and sent pieces of stone, ice and wood flying into the other targets. Knocking over some while embedding shards into others.

Suddenly, Jarid felt woozy as his body went cold. His legs and arms turned to jelly.

He didn’t even feel his body hit the floor as the world faded to black.

The first thing Jarid felt as he regained consciousness was a throbbing headache, quickly followed by the worst exhaustion of his life. It felt like his whole body was made of lead stuck at the bottom of a mire.

He groaned as he tried to sit up. Almost immediately someone was there, helping him into a sitting position. It took all Jarid’s strength to open his eyes. Once he had blinked a few times to clear his eyes, he found Airel leaning him against the back wall of the magic classroom.

“What happened?” he asked groggily. Airel looked at him with concern and more than a little curiosity.

“You used more magic than most of the other squads combined. I guess you wanted to prove something, but you didn’t have to go so far that you’d feint.”

Jarid looked around the room but the teacher was the only one left and a plate of food was sitting on one of the closest tables. Suddenly he realised that he was hungry. Starving would be more accurate. His stomach gnawed and growled so loud Airel laughed.

“Mr. Glitzer said you’d be famished when you woke, so we got some leftovers from lunch. She helped Jarid to his feet and sat him down at the table. He quickly devoured the food, but it did little to alleviate his hunger. Mr. Glitzer walked over to them with a stern look.

“You used up a lot of magic kid. If you did much more it might have even killed you! You’re lucky you only feinted.”

Mr. Glitzer’s face softened a bit. “It will take a while for your body to replenish the magic you used so you’ll need to eat and rest as much as you can.”

He shook his head and sighed. “I still don’t know how you pulled it off though. You shouldn’t even be able to use that much magic at your age.”

Airel looked a bit confused by this.

“What do you mean he shouldn’t be able to do this? I mean, I know you weren’t expecting him to be skilled in magic but that doesn’t mean nobody could do this.”

Mr. Glitzer sat down across from Jarid and explained.

“Everybody is born with a certain magic capacity and attribute. The reason children can’t use as much as adults is because our bodies naturally limit our abilities, so we don’t accidentally strain ourselves to the point of causing permanent damage. The more you train, the more your body adjusts to the amount of magic you can use and gradually increases that amount over time. Though you can increase your magic a little, the majority of a person’s capacity is determined at birth.”

Jarid laughed weakly. He knew he was strong, but he’d never trained because he wanted to be. It always felt more like a game than training. And he was only so serious about it to help Shadow survive if he was ever discovered. Who knew he could have died from playing too much?

Mr. Glitzer was still explaining but it was becoming too hard to stay awake any longer. Besides Mr. Glitzer said he needed lots of rest anyway. Jarid barely felt his face hit the table as the heavy drowsiness pull him back down into dreamless sleep.

The next time Jarid woke, he found himself in his bed in the Black Squad dorm. He still felt like he’d just run a marathon and the hunger was just as bad. He quickly gobbled up the three plates of dinner someone left on the bedside table and a few snacks as well before donning some night clothes and walking down to the entrance. It was dark out and it looked like the other students had gone to bed but Gunther was sitting behind the desk at the entrance reading.

He glanced up as Jarid came down the stairs. Jarid sat on the sofa across from him and waited. A few minutes passed before Gunther sighed and put down his book.

“I suppose you want to know what happened while you were taking your little nap.”

Jarid nodded.

“Well, the rest of the squad covered for you the best they could. Bart cleaned the dragon stalls and Airel did saddle cleaning. The classes you missed were excused because of your condition although it made a lot of people curious and most probably believed you were simply faking it. Either way, you will be doing make up classes to catch up and whatever homework you can while recovering. I’m sure the rest of the squad are just as curious so be ready for more than a few questions in the morning.”

“I will. Thanks. I’ll do whatever it takes to catch up. If I want to be the best dragon rider than this will be nothing.”

Gunther nodded and began walking back to his quarters.

“If you want to be the best then you should rest while you can. You’re gonna need all the energy you’ve got for the year to come.”

Jarid nodded. He’d do this no matter what. He remembered what Gunther had said about the rest of his squad covering for him and smiled warmly to himself.

I’ve got real friends here. With them at my side there’s no way I’ll fail. Just you wait and see. I’ll be the best dragon rider in the world!

But that was only true because the best dragon in the world was waiting for him.

I’ll be back soon, Shadow.

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266 Reviews

Points: 48314
Reviews: 266

Sun Apr 07, 2024 6:36 pm
RavenAkuma wrote a review...

Hello Again, My Friend!

(I apologize in advance as this will probably be a long review)

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to continue my review of this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

Yes, yes, yes! So many exciting moments and a lot to think and theorize about! The dragon fight had so many aspects and layers to it, and Jarid proving himself in magic class was very much a shock! And all the details in between just further built up the emotions and reflected new aspects of this lovable protagonist. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

No recommendations for content! Everything was written so well and was so enjoyable, I couldn't possibly think of anything to criticize! The only thing I found were a couple of very minor errors, here:

“Do you think he even has any magic. He is a commoner after all.”

Just missing a question mark for that initial question, and then:

I guess you wanted to prove something, but you didn’t have to go so far that you’d feint.”

I think you mixed up "faint" and "feint" here, also minor (and I've also made that same mistake...so...many...times...lol).

That is all. Truly, incredible writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

And here is where I have concerns about the length of this review, because I'm probably going to try and condense the whole chapter here, haha.

Firstly, descriptions! Brilliantly done, all the way through! And I'm not just talking about settings, but actions, body language, and Jarid's internal monologue. Everything was crystal clear and brought us into the character's position, especially during the action. Nailed it!

I also like how, right off the bat, you built the anticipation by explaining the risks associated with Jarid being in a dragon class. As I think I mentioned the last review, there just seems to be a building pressure for him to hide his true power and knowledge, which automatically makes me think even more that he'll fail (and I was right in one way apparently lol!).

Moving onto the dragons themselves, their overall role and image in this academy is becoming more complex:

There were even a few dark stains here and there from the blood of dragons trying to escape.

Dragons are difficult to capture alive, and that makes them worth more than most of your families can afford.

“You have no understanding of the power of dragons! It is unfortunate that the Night Wings were all wiped out, and we do not have any here to teach you some manners.”

Overall, the first and second lines imply that dragons are seen as beasts and property. Something with a price tag that needs to be broken through enough punishment, and shown little-to-no mercy even when so desperate to escape. However, at the same time, this relatively blunt professor actually stood up for the Night Wings, which caught me by surprise. I'm not sure if he just deviates from the norm, if there's something special about Night Wings specifically, or what. Either way, fascinating to see this clash of details.

Equally great was watching Jarid's own reactions to the unexpected fight:

He wished he could end the poor guy’s suffering, but he couldn’t free him nor end his life without major repercussions.

In that moment he finally understood why everyone feared dragons.

It seems that the lieutenant's fight proved a point: it's clicking that these dragons are nothing like Shadow, there's a reason everybody is talking about the danger, and there's nothing he can do to help these dragons -at least not now. My hope is that he doesn't completely lose that empathy though the struggles of this training though ~

That aside, the action itself was great; loved the design of the Flame Wing and the description of its wild, panicked behavior. Then, to sum up the class, a refresher course (at least for Wing 2 readers lol) on the mana zones and magic, and I found this fascinating new piece of information:

One more thing to remember is that when riding your dragon their magic can boost yours so your range may be longer than you expect the first time you try it on a dragon’s back.”

That's really cool!

And finally, I loved how Jarid finally "snapped" in a way, and from what I could understand, the reason why had to do with his squad being disrespected and having such low expectations. That being the motive to finally show off his strength I thought was really telling; he will blend in to avoid trouble, but when trouble finds him -or more specifically, his friends- he will snap. Maybe I'm off, but it was a great moment regardless and I loved thinking about its implications and what the side-effects will be (reputation and future expectations mainly).

Which ties into the ending...

I’ve got real friends here. With them at my side there’s no way I’ll fail.

Jarid's optimism and appreciation of those close to him just always brightens up the chapter, love to see it, and the fact that he's thinking of both Black Squad and Shadow this time was just a sweet little detail. Clearly, there could be conflict if one finds out about the other, but like I said, he's optimistic and just blocks it out.

Spoiler! :
Unnecessary information but kinda funny: I think it especially speaks to me because I spend all day writing Kita, who is...Kita. It's nice to see chapters ending on happy notes instead of depressing ones XD

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, confirmed, this review was longer than I hoped (lol). However, this chapter was freaking awesome! Nicely done! :D


dragonight9 says...

Thanks so much for the spelling corrections.
Honestly this is making me so excited I can't help but start editing Wing 3.
I can't wait to share what happens next!

I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.
— Margaret Atwood