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Shadow's Rising {Wing 3} Chapter 2

by dragonight9


Ch 2

In the morning Jarid asked Smolder why he had intervened the previous night.

“I couldn’t just let them keep hitting you like that. Besides, it’s not like they could hurt me with those tiny pebbles,” Smolder huffed.

Jarid smiled and went to rub the scales along Smolders neck, but Smolder pulled away. Apparently, they weren’t quite there yet. Still, it was progress.

“Thanks Smolder. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Jarid bowed gratefully. Smolder laid his head on his talons looking a bit embarrassed.

If there was any time to tell him about the deal he had come up with, it was now.

“Well. You know… In that song I promised to help you and give you hope, right? So, I have a deal for you to help you get out of here.”

Smolder’s ears perked up. “What kind of deal?” he asked, still slightly suspicious.

“Next year I will be able to choose a dragon to ride. When that time comes. I would like you to be my dragon,” Jarid began.

Smolder snorted. “As if I’d ever let a human…”

“Wait a moment,” Jarid interrupted. “Once my time here is over, I will set you free. All you would have to do is carry me around on your back for a year or two. Then you will be free to do whatever you want. In addition, throughout the time you are with me I will, at least try, to give you some measure of freedom. And I promise not to force you to do anything unnecessary. I just want to finish my training here to get the certificate that will let me journey with a dragon in human countries. I just want to travel in the open without being worried that other humans will harm my friend.

“But to do that I need a dragon to ride while I’m here. So, if you become my dragon mount, I get my certificate and you get your freedom. We both get what we want. If you think I’ll betray you, just realise that I am also trusting that you won’t simply drop me out of the sky at any point during that time.”

Smolder rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“I only have one other condition,” Jarid said, pausing for effect.

“What is that?” Smolder growled impatiently.

“You must promise to be my friend from now on. No matter what happens. Even if our deal ends up not working out. You must promise we’ll still be friends.”

Smolder huffed at that but considered it for a moment before responding.

“Ok human. I will let you be my rider when the time comes, but only so long as you release me once you have achieved your goal.”

Then he turned away. Jarid placed a hand on Smolder’s side eliciting an annoyed growl from him.

“Don’t think you can just ignore me now that our deal has been made. I am honored that you would allow me to be your rider, but I want to be your friend even more. So don’t think I’m going to stop visiting you. Because if you do, you’ll be in for a surprise,” Jarid said with a friendly smile.

Smolder turned and looked at Jarid in confusion. Jarid grinned as he exited the stall and picked up his music box.

“I’m going to be your friend no matter what so you might as well just accept it. You might even have some fun.”

Smolder snorted derisively.

Jarid waved as he ran to make it to morning training with the rest of Black Squad. “Goodbye Smolder. I can’t wait to see you again… my friend.”

Jarid entered the dorm just as the others were coming downstairs.

“Hey, man. What happened to you?” Steven asked, noticing the bruises.

“Oh nothing. Just thought I’d get some fresh air and fell down a rocky slope,” Jarid replied dismissively.

They didn’t need to know about what happened, and honestly, he didn’t know what had come over him in that moment. He’d never felt that way before. Not even when his father broke his things, or the other villagers made fun of him.

Now that he thought of it, he couldn’t remember being that mad at anything before in his whole life. He tried to shrug it off. It didn’t really matter. It probably wouldn’t happen again. Yet, if he was honest with himself, that kind of power scared him. He could just as easily hurt his friends with it or even kill someone in anger that might have been saved otherwise.

While the others got their shoes on Jarid noticed that Airel was looking at him strangely. Maybe she got a bad mark on her test or something?

Jarid shrugged it off. Today they were having another team competition against the Red Squad flight that Reuben was a part of.

It was a simple drill testing their knowledge of geography, ability to maneuver across different terrain, and work as a team. It was basically a larger scale version of a scavenger hunt. The instructors had hidden a sigil bearing the dragon academy crest somewhere in a given area they were going to be flown to. Then both teams would be given a map with the general location of the sigil marked on it. The first team to find the sigil and return to the start were the winners.

Not only did they have to find the sigil first, but they also had to make it back to the start without letting the other team take it from them.

Jarid grinned. This was going to be fun.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The match was over quickly with Ethan and Felicia playing star roles. Ethan with his amazing geography skills and Felicia with her sharp eye and fast running. Jarid was still blown away by her nearly endless stamina. Though her making it back so easily may have also been partially due to the opposing flight not expecting her to be given the sigil when they split up to make it back.

Now that the match was over the teams were brought together to shake hands and congratulate the winners while they waited for the instructors to give them a ride back to the academy.

“Hey Jarid!” Reuben called as he came up to him.

Reuben was a second year, about average size and build, with a curly mop of blond hair and more than a few freckles. He was from a very poor noble family that was just managing to scrape by. His family had done everything they could to support him, and he wanted to ensure that he made enough money as a dragon rider that they would never need to worry about things like feeding their children ever again.

Reuben was a kind soul. When he heard that there was somebody of even lower social standing than himself, he decided to befriend them regardless of how it looked. Reuben knew how hard it was to be looked down on and the two of them had quickly become close friends.

“Hi Reuben. That was a tough exercise. I mean, it was lucky we ever found the sigil at all with how well hidden it was.” Jarid offered his hand for Reuben to shake.

“Sure was. I totally thought we had you at the end there,” Reuben grinned as he shook it. “Next time we’ll get you for sure.”

Jarid grinned back. “We’ll see about that.”

Everyone was getting on the instructor’s dragons and Jarid waved goodbye to his friend as they climbed abord for the ride back to the academy.

When they got back to their dorm everyone went up to their rooms to study or get ready for their next class, but Ariel pulled Jarid aside.

“Can I talk to you for a second?”

Jarid nodded and she took him to the back corner of the magic range in the training hall so no one else could hear.

“Well, what did you want to talk about?” Jarid asked.

Airel took a moment to gather her thoughts. “Well, I guess I should start with this.

“I saw what happened last night.”

Jarid felt his blood run cold. Was she scared of what she saw? Was she going to ask him to stay away from her or threaten to tell someone if he didn’t do what she asked? Before Jarid could speak she continued.

“And I just wanted to say that I am sorry for not stepping in. I thought they had moved on to hurting that dragon and hoped they’d just leave once they were done with it. Then, when you got mad and scared those boys away, I felt so ashamed I ran back to the dorm. I’m so sorry,” she apologised, bowing her head in shame.

Jarid quickly reassured her. “No, no. You don’t have to apologise. I understand. But…”

Ariel stood again, her head tilted with a concerned expression.

“Are you saying… you weren’t afraid of me?” Jarid asked, feeling his eyes begin to water slightly.

“Well, you did look kind of scary, but you were mad at them not me. Besides, you’re still you. I know you would never hurt your friends.”

Airel smiled kindly and put a hand on Jarid’s shoulder. “And if you want to keep what happened a secret. I won’t tell anyone.”

Jarid didn’t know what to say.

She saw who I really am and doesn’t hate me. Could the others be just as accepting? Maybe it’s time to tell them everything.

It had been a while now and every single member of Black Squad had shown over and over that they were worthy friends. Friends he could count on. They had shared many of their secrets with him and seemed to trust him more than anyone else.

That was why it pained him to keep his life and true purpose at the academy from them. This was the last straw. He just couldn’t keep lying to them anymore.

He sighed. Man. I’m such a terrible liar. I guess I have no choice but to place my hope and trust in them.

“Ok. I guess it’s about time I told you guys everything. Could you please bring the others to my room in a few minutes? I want a bit of time to get ready.”

Ariel seemed slightly concerned but nodded solemnly. “Take as much time as you need.”

Then she left Jarid alone with his thoughts. Jarid made his way to his room and sat at his desk.

What am I gonna tell them? Hi guys. I just decided not to mention that the last living Night Wing is my brother. Oh and, by the way, I can speak dragon too. Nothing important.

No. I just need to be honest and sincere. It’s going to be hard, but they deserve to know who, and what, I am.

Jarid heard a knock at the door.

“Are you ready?” Ariel’s muffled voice asked through the door.

Jarid took a deep breath to prepare himself. “Yes. Please come in everyone.”

The rest of Black Squad came in and sat on the floor in a small semicircle facing Jarid.

“What’s up man? Airel said you wanted to tell us something,” Steven asked.

Jarid nodded, looking at each of his friends and wondering how they would react to what he was about to say.

“Ok. First off, I would like you all to wait till I’m done saying what I have to say before you ask any questions. Then I’ll answer anything you want to know. Second, if you feel any differently about me after this, I won’t hold it against you. Lastly, I am about to tell you my most hidden secrets and if you stay I need you to promise me that nothing leaves this room.

“If you can’t keep my secret or don’t want your opinion of me to change, this is your last chance to leave.”

Nobody moved. They all sat patiently waiting for him to continue. Jarid sighed.

“Very well. I suppose I should start from the beginning.”

Over the next hour Jarid told them everything. How he was an orphan, how his adopted mother died, his encounter with Shadow’s mother and how he raised him. His training and magic, how hard it was growing up with no friends except Shadow and even about making friends with Smolder and the strange power that manifested last night.

When he was done, he sat back in his chair and sighed. It felt good to let it out and be done with it, but now he anxiously waited for their response. Ethen was the first to speak up.

“Let me be the first to thank you for sharing that with us. It must take a lot of courage to even consider it.”

Jarid gave a small smile. It wasn’t easy that’s for sure. But I didn’t exactly do it for your sake either…

“I must say that I do have a lot of questions, but we can save those for later. For now, I just want you to know that I still stand with you,” Ethen finished with an encouraging smile.

The other members each took their turn reassuring Jarid and encouraging him. Jarid could feel his eyes burning as a weight he didn’t even know about was lifted off his shoulders. He felt his hands start to tremble as wave of emotion hit him.

“Thanks, you guys. I… I didn’t think anyone would be my friend if they knew the truth. Yet you all… you…”

Jarid could hold back anymore. He cried, putting his face in his hands as tears he could no longer hold back flowed down his face.

He felt a few hands on his shoulders. They had seen him for who he was and accepted him anyway. In that moment he realised what having true friends really meant.

Then another realization dawned on him, and he chuckled somberly to himself as his cheeks grew wet with tears.

He couldn’t just leave them now to go off adventuring with Shadow anymore. He had grown far too attached and shared far too much with them. He cared about them just as much as Shadow at this point.

I’m sorry brother. I let them in, now I can’t let go. Please forgive me. I don’t know if I can keep my promise anymore.

Jarid knew that if something threatened his squad, he would do everything he could to protect them, even if it cost him his life. And if keeping them safe meant never seeing Shadow again, he had no idea what he would do.

After a few minutes Jarid finished crying. He took a shaky breath and looked around at each of them.

“Thank you. You have no idea how much that meant to me. I think… I think I am ready to answer your questions now. Just raise your hand and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.”

To nobody’s surprise Ethen was the first to raise his hand. “How do you talk to dragons? Can you control them?”

Jarid smiled. “That’s easy enough to answer I suppose. Hɛ ɪd͡ʒɹɹll dɹəcn,” he hissed with a shrug.

Everyone leaned closer curiously.

“I simply speak their language. And as for whether or not I can control them. Not really. I mean, if a dragon asked one of you for help, would you? It’s the same thing basically. They are no more or less intelligent than us, and it’s not like I have mind control powers.”

“Fascinating. The dragons have their own language. How did nobody ever notice this before?” Ethen remarked.

Jarid could tell he was trying to process how this could revolutionised humanity’s understanding of dragons. Felicia raised her hand.

“Does that mean that all those dragons in the stalls are suffering right now?”

Jarid was a bit surprised that she would think of that so quickly, and even more surprised when everyone lowered their heads in shame for a moment. Even though they weren’t the ones responsible they still felt bad for not considering how the dragons felt. He smiled kindly at her.

“It’s not your fault. The dragons with riders are properly cared for at least, but many of them seem…distant. They are depressed and have lost all hope of being free. I wish I could free them but there isn’t much we can do except be kind to the dragons we pair with when the time comes.”

Then Ben raised his hand. “Are there any other dragons besides your brother who can communicate with humans?”

Jarid was about to say no when he suddenly remembered. Vapor! She might only know a few human words, but she was still a great way to show everyone that dragons were just as intelligent as they were.

But she had been missing from the tunnels for the last few days. When he had inquired about this, Lt. Tekar told him the dragon tamers were ‘breaking her in’. He had no idea what that meant, but they probably did it behind that door in the cave at the back of the dragon stables. He looked at Ben solemnly.

“I do know one, but right now she’s on the other side of that door in at the back of the dragon stables and I don’t know when they’ll release her. If you really want to see her it would mean breaking into a restricted area.”

“About time something exciting happened around here,” Steven said with a sly smile. “Let’s go see what they are doing to these dragons behind the scenes.”

“I must admit I’m curious to see as well,” Ethen added. Felicia hesitated for a moment then nodded. “Ok let’s do this.”

Jarid sighed. He knew they would get into a lot of trouble for doing this, but he also wanted to know and the idea of doing it with his squad was too good to pass up.

“Alright then. We’ll meet after supper and if anyone asks, I am simply showing you how to clean a particularly hard stain off the door. Then we can sneak in and see what’s going on. If no one is in there, I’ll get her to talk to you. Then we’ll head straight back here. Ok?”

“Yes sir!” They all saluted with big grins. Jarid smiled to. Black Squad was the best.

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Tue Apr 16, 2024 7:32 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

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

What The Black Eyes See...

Woah, that was unexpected! It was pleasant to see Jarid proposing the deal to Smolder, and him *reluctantly* accepting it. Airel reassuring Jarid after witnessing the fight was the perfect bridge to his confession about his true motives -it makes sense, but still surprised me! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Nothing to bring up for content! I really like the pacing in this chapter, how it's mostly on the slower, casual side and then picks up toward the end to build anticipation with Vapor. And all the character moments, likewise, were handled just right. There were only three very minor potential errors that I noticed (none of which took away from the moment!):

Two here...

Everyone was getting on the instructor’s dragons and Jarid waved goodbye to his friend as they climbed aboard for the ride back to the academy.

When they got back to their dorm everyone went up to their rooms to study or get ready for their next class, but Ariel pulled Jarid aside.


"Airel" got spelled "Ariel," which I didn't even notice at first lol. Then for the first line, since it's both a plural and possessive, I think "instructor's" should have the apostrophe at the end [instructors' dragons]. One more here...

They all saluted with big grins. Jarid smiled to.


Again, very minor, just missing an "o" in "too."

That is all. Great writing job!

Why The Grin Widened...

And here we go for highlights!

As I mentioned, I really like the way this chapter was paced, and I also very much enjoyed the substance and consistency of all these different character interactions. Starting with Smolder, with moments like this:

“Thanks Smolder. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Jarid bowed gratefully. Smolder laid his head on his talons looking a bit embarrassed.


“I’m going to be your friend no matter what so you might as well just accept it. You might even have some fun.”

Smolder snorted derisively.


The bitter, defensive, and stubborn nature of this dragon! It sounds negative when I say it here, but I love it; it fits the situation he's in, and it also acts as a funny contrast from Jarid's ever-optimistic and friendly self. Yet still, he is willing to bite the bullet and work with Jarid, and there is something cute about him being embarrassed after being thanked. Love it!

Moving on, though we didn't get to follow the match in real time, I like that you gave us the essentials and the "highlights" of the event. Especially with two characters whose strengths we haven't seen much of yet. Ethan definitely seems like the strategic type, and Felicia sounds like a very interesting fighter already ~ Likewise, I much enjoyed the introduction of Reuben.

His family had done everything they could to support him, and he wanted to ensure that he made enough money as a dragon rider that they would never need to worry about things like feeding their children ever again.


How noble! In the better sense of the word of course, heh. Then was a double-shot of surprise; one after Airel confronted Jarid about what she saw in the stables, then the second when she stated her thoughts to it:

“And I just wanted to say that I am sorry for not stepping in.


Wow! I thought she would be intimidated by the display of great magic, perhaps even angry that Jarid would break the rules or potentially escalate the situation. The fact that she's empathetic instead, and shows regret, speaks to the fact that she's a good teammate. Then, as Jarid opens up to the squad, I was so touched by the response and his reaction:

“Thanks, you guys. I… I didn’t think anyone would be my friend if they knew the truth. Yet you all… you…”


With the staggered words and the accompanying notes on body language, you really nailed the emotion of this moment and made it pop. Definitely stood out as a big moment in Jarid's side of the story thus far. And yes, while that's all well and good, this made me uneasy:

I’m sorry brother. I let them in, now I can’t let go. Please forgive me. I don’t know if I can keep my promise anymore.


Woah, woah, woah! I get it'd be hard to choose between squad and Shadow if it came down to that, but still! Slow down, Jarid!

*ahem, and finally, why I left this chapter feeling excited...

“About time something exciting happened around here,” Steven said with a sly smile. “Let’s go see what they are doing to these dragons behind the scenes.”


Yes, yes, I am both curious and nervous about the prospect, especially since I already have theories brewing about what "behind the scenes" means at this academy...And I want to know what happened to Vapor for sure!

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, another great chapter! Nicely done! :D

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dragonight9 says...


So awesome to hear your thoughts on how the story is progressing, and thanks for the pointing out those grammar errors.
I'm almost finished editing the next few chapters. After exams I will finally have the time to review more of your story as well. I have so much to catch up on!

Thanks for reviewing and have a great day/night!




We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer