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Shadow's Rising {Wing 3} Chapter 5

by dragonight9


Chapter 5

Chaos.

That was the only way to describe what happened next. Jarid knew these were unlike any dragons he had encountered before. Their snarls were pure rage and had no comprehensible meaning. They were nothing like the dragons in the stalls or even the half starved younger dragons Jarid had seen up to this point. These dragons seemed to have a deep seated hatred for humans and the reason was obvious.

Their wings were missing.

Something deep in Jarid’s gut twisted at the sight, but he had no time to feel sick as a Flame Wing was already bearing down on him. Jarid barely managed to scramble and dive out of the way as the furious dragon barreled past. He felt the dull impact of his body hitting the ground and the taste of dirt in his mouth. His heart was beating loudly in his scull and for a moment he simply laid there. His face pale as he gazed at the scene before him.

Some students tried to group together and fight back, but any who came near were struck down by a dragon’s tail or sliced up by their claws. Dragon fire and even a bit of lighting flew all over the arena. Jarid could see a few student he knew tossed through the air like they were nothing. Others screamed as they were trampled under dragon talons.

Normally this would have terrified Jarid, but he felt numb. Then a Sand Wing spotted him and charged. Suddenly none of it mattered anymore. Now all he could think about was surviving.

In a split second everything snapped into focus, and he analyzed the situation. It was hard for most dragons to change their direction when charging full speed. This was especially true for Sand Wings who had slow acceleration but devastating power.

Jarid faked dodging to the right then leapt left, remaining on his feet while the Sand Wing tripped from trying to change direction so suddenly. Jarid felt the thud of the adult dragon’s heavy body hitting the ground right up through his boots.

Now he quickly glanced around at the other dragons.

Of the ten dragons, six were Flame Wings, two were Storm Wings and two were Sand Wings. Sand wings were strong and tough but a bit slower and had no fire or lightning. Many of the students were focusing on the second Sand Wing, and some even tried climbing on its back to hide.

What they didn’t see was that they were being surrounded by the two Storm Wings and three of the Flame Wings who had realised that one of them was being ganged up on. There was a small explosion as the dragons attacked with fire and lightning seemingly without regard for their fellow dragon. Or perhaps they simply knew the Sand Wing could withstand the blow.

From what Jarid knew Flame Wings were immune to fire and had hard scales while being about average dragon speed. They also had one of, if not, the hottest dragon fire of any tribe. Meanwhile Storm Wings had tough wings and could store up electricity as well as generate small amounts of it using magic. They were also about average dragon speed.

Then he noticed that while most of the dragons were concentrating on the group attacking the Sand Wing, two of the remaining Flame Wings were attacking the smaller groups and single students outside the ring.

He watched as one of them pounced on a student who had broken from his group. The student screamed in fear as the dragon brought him to its mouth. But as the dragon’s jaws clamped around him a barrier of wind encased him and blew him into the stands.

The dragon snorted and focused on chasing down the remaining members of the small group the student had left. But Jarid had no time to watch as the remaining Flame Wing had singled him out and was coming at him.

It roared as a stream of fire came from its mouth. Jarid rolled to the right and sprang back up to his feet. The dragon leapt at him with its claws outstretched. Jarid had seen Shadow pounce the same way many times and he knew the way to avoid it. He charged straight forward and slid as the dragon sailed over him. Landing with an earthshaking thud behind him. He turned around quickly as the dragon spun around and attacked again, this time swiping at him with its claws and tail.

Jarid had faced young dragons, including Shadow, many times before, but this was different. Its claws were a lot bigger and heavier, and it was surprisingly fast for something of its size. Still, he did his best to doge and partially deflect it’s strikes using wind magic until it made and error and overextended.

There was a pressure point on the side of their head just below the horns. The bones there were softer where their jaw connected to their skull. Jarid ducked under the dragon’s swipe and jumped up grabbing onto the dragon’s horn. Just before it could swat him like an annoying bug, he slammed his fist into that soft spot. The dragon’s eyes widened and rolled back into its head as it went limp and thudded to the ground.

Jarid had barely landed when he had to roll away as a jet of fire seared the ground where he had been standing. The Sand Wing that had missed him earlier was back on its feet and this time it was approaching much more slowly and methodically.

Jarid knew that if he was cornered it would be game over. He dodged another blast of flame and sprinted towards the center of the arena. Jarid glance back to check where the Sand Wing was and barely turned back in time to dodge the talon swiping at his face. He slid underneath and dived just as a pair of jaws clamped down where he had been just a half second before.

Then he dodged another stream of flame from his left and all of a sudden it seemed like there were dragons everywhere. He dodged two more streams of fire breath as at least six dragons attacked him all at once.

For some reason it reminded him of the one (and only) time he had been put in charge of the kindergarten kids at his school. They had wanted to play tag, but it was all of them verses him. He kept leading them all in and dodging away at the last second, making them all run into each other and get in each other’s way.

Now he led the dragons into each others way, dodging their attacks at the last second and using wind magic to redirect their blows to hit one another.

Enraged they tried to shove each other aside in an attempt to crush the puny insect that dared taunt them. If he ever got far enough away from them, one of the other dragons would start blasting fire or lighting at him. Then Jarid felt his back hit a wall. He had been cornered!

The dragons chasing him redoubled their efforts and shoving. This caused one of them to trip and fly headlong into the wall. Jarid wondered if the armor they had handed out could really protect him from getting smooshed against a wall by a fully grown dragon, but he didn’t want to find out.

Jumping as high as he could he kicked off the wall as the dragon slammed into it. He cleared the dragon but before he could hit the ground, one of the other dragons slammed him with its tail. He felt the armor kick in as it softened the blow enough that he was only winded. Then he felt like a weightless cloud for a moment as the wind magic carried him to the stands.

The fight had all happened so fast he hadn’t even had time to think, let alone see how the other students were doing. After the armor set him down on the benches he sat up to see who was left, but before he could look one of the instructors knelt down next to him and began asking questions like, “how do you feel?” and “where does it hurt?” while prodding and poking him to see if there were any major injuries that needed to be healed.

“I’m fine, really. I just got winded that’s all,” Jarid groaned breathlessly, in the hopes he would stop prodding him. Then Jarid looked down at the arena, barely catching a glimpse of the dragons as they disappeared back into their cages.

“What happened? Why are the dragons getting caged up again?”

The instructor looked down at him and smiled. “The test is over. They need to be sent back to the colosseum in the capital.”

Jarid was confused for a moment then it dawned on him. “Was I the last one left in the arena?” He asked in shock.

The instructor chuckled. “Yes, and you lasted quite a bit longer too.”

Then Lt. Keldor called everyone together. “Alright boys! Let’s take a look at how you did. In first place, of course, we have Jarid!” He said sweeping his hand in Jarid’s direction.

“He not only survived the longest but gets bonus points for taking down one of the dragons.”

Some of the students respectfully clapped for him but most of them just scowled at him. He knew that they probably felt upstaged by a nobody, and it was only made worse by the fact that he was a commoner.

Jarid scratched the back of his neck and looked down awkwardly. It felt a bit embarrassing to get singled out like this.

It was fine though; he’d have to do poorly on the next part of the test anyways in order to avoid having to kill the young dragon. So, their anger and jealousy should be somewhat abated. Still, he’d have to be more careful not to get caught up in the moment again.

Lt. Keldor was just finishing calling out the rankings of the students as Jarid berated himself for winning.

“…and you need to remember that bravery without a plan is just stupidity.”

Lt. Keldor sighed. “That’s all for the rankings on the first part of the exam. Now I’m sure you’re all wondering what the next part of the exam entails and I will get to that, but first there is a secret about the second part of the exam that you all need to know.”

Some of the students looked excited while others looked nervous.

“The secret of the second part of the exam is…” He paused for dramatic effect.

“There is no second part!” He announced with glee.

Jarid felt his blood run cold.

“Wait!” One of the other students called. “Don’t you need to test our knowledge about dragon weaknesses? How to counter them with magic? All that stuff?”

Lt. Keldor looked at them all seriously. “The whole point of this training is so that you can handle yourselves if one of your dragons decides to rebel or you don’t have yours when you encounter a wild dragon. Knowing things in your head means nothing if it all falls apart as soon as you step onto the battlefield.

“This test was to see how you applied what you have learned and how you react to a real and unwinnable situation. Take this lesson to heart, all of you. Next time this happens it might be on a real battlefield, and I doubt a wild dragon will give you a second chance.”

Then he brightened up a bit. “Now I’m sure you are all tired, so use the remaining time to rest before next class. Most of you did well so don’t worry about whether you passed. And for those who didn’t pass. Well… I’ll make sure you have all the training time you need to make up for it.” Lt. Tekar grinned ominously.

As all the students got up to go Jarid felt a hand on his shoulder and a cold, sinking feeling in his gut. He turned to see Lt. Keldor.

“Congratulations Jarid. You did very well. The way you used the dragons’ size and aggression against them was impressive. Indeed, I can’t think of anyone in this class more qualified than you to take on a dragon in combat.”

Jarid gulped. “Um, sir. Do I have to…” He started, but the Lt. slapped him on the back. “Ah ha, ha! We might even see someone put up a decent fight this year,” he laughed as he walked away.

Jarid had never done so well or felt so defeated before. He slowly trudged back to the Black Squad dorms to tell everyone what had happened.

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

“Shoot. I meant to warn you about the winner fighting a young dragon for its scales ahead of time, but it completely slipped my mind. Sorry.” Ethan apologised.

“It’s ok. We can’t change the past. But perhaps there is something we can do to avoid this future. Any ideas?” Jarid looked around the group but none of them had any helpful suggestions.

Finally, Ben put a hand on Jarid’s shoulder. “Listen, I know this will be hard for you, but try to knock the dragon out or incapacitate it in some way. Tell them there is no need to kill the dragon now that you’ve defeated it. If they still insist that you must kill it, then I suppose you’ll have to make a choice.

“I know you’re worried that they might think you are unfit to be a dragon rider if you can’t kill a monster. But we all know that there is no one more deserving of the title than you.”

“We’ll be with you no matter what,” Felicia added, and the others all nodded in agreement.

“Thanks you guys, I think I’m going to stay here for the night after classes are over. I know it might be a bit awkward for you, but could you guys visit Vapor for me? I would appreciate it if you would keep her company, especially you Airel. I hope you can become friends with her so that, when the choosing ceremony comes around, you can trust her to keep you safe.”

Airel looked a bit uncomfortable but nodded anyway. Jarid hoped that the two of them would make a good team. Next year it would be his turn with Smolder as his dragon.

The rest of the day went by in a blur and as night grew near, his dread of what would happen increased. The others left to see Vapor and Jarid sat in his room trying to think of a way to get out of fighting the next day.

He thought of hiding or pretending to get lost while on a walk. Even injuring himself so he wouldn’t have to participate, but it would be far too easy for the academy to find and heal him. It looked like he had no choice but to fight the dragon and either defy the academy or end the young dragon’s life. If he refused to follow their orders, he knew there were many in the academy who would use his defiance as an excuse to expel him.

“Urgh. Why did I have to go and get myself into this mess. Why didn’t I just let one of those dragons hit me at the start. It was so easy and yet I just had to mess it up.” He punched his desk in frustration and slumped back in his chair.

“Do you want some help then?” a deep voice asked. Jarid looked up to find Gunther standing in the doorway.

“Sorry sir. I was just thinking about the tests, sir.” Jarid stood and saluted. He doubted a squad leader at this academy would understand if he told him the real reason.

Gunther nodded and sat on the bed gesturing for Jarid to take a seat next to him. “I know this place is unforgiving and that goes especially for you, but if something is bothering you, your squad is here to help,” He said in a soft tone.

Jarid sighed and looked down at the floor. “It’s not something they can help me with. I don’t want to drag them into the consequences of my beliefs, or my mistakes. When it comes down to the really hard decisions, I am responsible for this whole squad. I can’t be putting all of us at risk because of my petty choices and stupid mistakes.

“I am the only one to blame if something bad happens because I didn’t want to k… to do something,” he cried as he felt the frustration and hopelessness building again.

“Mistakes happen. Even if you were the best leader in the world you can’t make the right choice every time. I’ve seen people killed many times because of mistakes. Even my best friend and partner was killed because of a foolish choice I made. A mistake I will regret for the rest of my life.”

Jarid could hardly believe that this strong and wise man in front of him had ever made mistakes like he had. But he could see the pain and regret in his hazel eyes. Gunther wasn’t done speaking yet though.

“No matter how much you regret what you’ve done. It is even worse to let your past prevent you from being who you are in the future. The only thing you can do is use everything you’ve got. What you know, what you believe, and what your own instincts tell you. Learn from your mistakes so you can make a better choice in the future. That is how we turn the defeat of a mistake into the victory of growth.”

Gunther stood and walked towards the door but paused as he placed his hand on the handle.

“If you want my personal opinion though. The choices you regret the most are those that go against what you believe. Everyone has regrets boy, just don’t let them make you do something you’ll regret even more,” He said solemnly as he left the room.

Jarid took a moment to think about what Gunther had said, then he took a deep breath and nodded to himself. Once he defeated the dragon, he’d refuse to kill it.

If he got kicked out for that so be it. He refused to compromise his beliefs.


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Fri Jun 07, 2024 11:46 pm
KateHardy wrote a review...



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Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm Kate and I'm here to leave a quick review!!


First Impression

Well this is setting itself up quite neatly here for a pivotal moment for poor Jarid. I love the setup so far. I think you do a wonderful job building up this fight and the fight itself was also really written nicely, keeping track of the dragons and Jarid well so that we can fully experience it. The emotions on display are also really nicely done there.d

Anyway let's get right to: Kate's Line by Line Reactions;

Chaos.

That was the only way to describe what happened next. Jarid knew these were unlike any dragons he had encountered before. Their snarls were pure rage and had no comprehensible meaning. They were nothing like the dragons in the stalls or even the half starved younger dragons Jarid had seen up to this point. These dragons seemed to have a deep seated hatred for humans and the reason was obvious.

Their wings were missing.


Oh no. I knew this was going to go badly and the dragons were not going to be doing too well but that is something else entirely. Cutting the limbs of of a creature, especially something as important as wings just shouldn't possibly be legal surely.

Something deep in Jarid’s gut twisted at the sight, but he had no time to feel sick as a Flame Wing was already bearing down on him. Jarid barely managed to scramble and dive out of the way as the furious dragon barreled past. He felt the dull impact of his body hitting the ground and the taste of dirt in his mouth. His heart was beating loudly in his scull and for a moment he simply laid there. His face pale as he gazed at the scene before him.

Some students tried to group together and fight back, but any who came near were struck down by a dragon’s tail or sliced up by their claws. Dragon fire and even a bit of lighting flew all over the arena. Jarid could see a few student he knew tossed through the air like they were nothing. Others screamed as they were trampled under dragon talons.


Well looks like this is going to be a tough situation but with no one in actual danger of dying there is no way we're going to be rooting for anyone but the dragons here surely. The only good outcome is if the kids get knocked out fast before they can damage the dragons too much, they themselves won't be all that hurt thanks to the armor.

Normally this would have terrified Jarid, but he felt numb. Then a Sand Wing spotted him and charged. Suddenly none of it mattered anymore. Now all he could think about was surviving.

In a split second everything snapped into focus, and he analyzed the situation. It was hard for most dragons to change their direction when charging full speed. This was especially true for Sand Wings who had slow acceleration but devastating power.

Jarid faked dodging to the right then leapt left, remaining on his feet while the Sand Wing tripped from trying to change direction so suddenly. Jarid felt the thud of the adult dragon’s heavy body hitting the ground right up through his boots.


Well poor Jarid having to put aside feeling for just a moment and actually think of his own survival there. Definitely not a situation you would wish on anyone to have to process.

Now he quickly glanced around at the other dragons.

Of the ten dragons, six were Flame Wings, two were Storm Wings and two were Sand Wings. Sand wings were strong and tough but a bit slower and had no fire or lightning. Many of the students were focusing on the second Sand Wing, and some even tried climbing on its back to hide.

What they didn’t see was that they were being surrounded by the two Storm Wings and three of the Flame Wings who had realised that one of them was being ganged up on. There was a small explosion as the dragons attacked with fire and lightning seemingly without regard for their fellow dragon. Or perhaps they simply knew the Sand Wing could withstand the blow.


Well loving the little details about the dragon species there, its enhancing this combat just a bit more to know what exactly these dragons are capable of and seeing their tactics in this fight.

From what Jarid knew Flame Wings were immune to fire and had hard scales while being about average dragon speed. They also had one of, if not, the hottest dragon fire of any tribe. Meanwhile Storm Wings had tough wings and could store up electricity as well as generate small amounts of it using magic. They were also about average dragon speed.

Then he noticed that while most of the dragons were concentrating on the group attacking the Sand Wing, two of the remaining Flame Wings were attacking the smaller groups and single students outside the ring.

He watched as one of them pounced on a student who had broken from his group. The student screamed in fear as the dragon brought him to its mouth. But as the dragon’s jaws clamped around him a barrier of wind encased him and blew him into the stands.


Well looks like that's one eliminated. I'd say this part got just a little bit clunky here and could do with just a bit of rewriting cause the information is a bit too much and takes us away for a moment from the actual tension of the fight.

The dragon snorted and focused on chasing down the remaining members of the small group the student had left. But Jarid had no time to watch as the remaining Flame Wing had singled him out and was coming at him.

It roared as a stream of fire came from its mouth. Jarid rolled to the right and sprang back up to his feet. The dragon leapt at him with its claws outstretched. Jarid had seen Shadow pounce the same way many times and he knew the way to avoid it. He charged straight forward and slid as the dragon sailed over him. Landing with an earthshaking thud behind him. He turned around quickly as the dragon spun around and attacked again, this time swiping at him with its claws and tail.


Well looks like this is going to be a difficult little fight, especially for Jarid who I'm sure doesn't really want to hurt them even if at this point humans have done so much damage the dragons have literally become the feral wild animals they think they are.

Jarid had faced young dragons, including Shadow, many times before, but this was different. Its claws were a lot bigger and heavier, and it was surprisingly fast for something of its size. Still, he did his best to doge and partially deflect it’s strikes using wind magic until it made and error and overextended.

There was a pressure point on the side of their head just below the horns. The bones there were softer where their jaw connected to their skull. Jarid ducked under the dragon’s swipe and jumped up grabbing onto the dragon’s horn. Just before it could swat him like an annoying bug, he slammed his fist into that soft spot. The dragon’s eyes widened and rolled back into its head as it went limp and thudded to the ground.


Well looks like Jarid's knowledge is coming in handy there and at least it was a painless way to knock the dragon out though I hope no one is now going to try and gang up on this poor dragon and do worse damage to it while its defenseless.

Jarid had barely landed when he had to roll away as a jet of fire seared the ground where he had been standing. The Sand Wing that had missed him earlier was back on its feet and this time it was approaching much more slowly and methodically.

Jarid knew that if he was cornered it would be game over. He dodged another blast of flame and sprinted towards the center of the arena. Jarid glance back to check where the Sand Wing was and barely turned back in time to dodge the talon swiping at his face. He slid underneath and dived just as a pair of jaws clamped down where he had been just a half second before.

Then he dodged another stream of flame from his left and all of a sudden it seemed like there were dragons everywhere. He dodged two more streams of fire breath as at least six dragons attacked him all at once.


Hmm well it seems sensing he is the greatest threat for the moment all the dragons they're all ganging up on him, this is going to be an interesting fight, even with all the other thoughts that make this confrontation much more horrible.

For some reason it reminded him of the one (and only) time he had been put in charge of the kindergarten kids at his school. They had wanted to play tag, but it was all of them verses him. He kept leading them all in and dodging away at the last second, making them all run into each other and get in each other’s way.

Now he led the dragons into each others way, dodging their attacks at the last second and using wind magic to redirect their blows to hit one another.

Enraged they tried to shove each other aside in an attempt to crush the puny insect that dared taunt them. If he ever got far enough away from them, one of the other dragons would start blasting fire or lighting at him. Then Jarid felt his back hit a wall. He had been cornered!


Well looks like this is not going to end too well, I'm going to assume a pack of large dragons breathing fire and lightning is much harder to defend against than kids from kindergarten.

The dragons chasing him redoubled their efforts and shoving. This caused one of them to trip and fly headlong into the wall. Jarid wondered if the armor they had handed out could really protect him from getting smooshed against a wall by a fully grown dragon, but he didn’t want to find out.

Jumping as high as he could he kicked off the wall as the dragon slammed into it. He cleared the dragon but before he could hit the ground, one of the other dragons slammed him with its tail. He felt the armor kick in as it softened the blow enough that he was only winded. Then he felt like a weightless cloud for a moment as the wind magic carried him to the stands.


Well yeah that confirm that this armor is really functioning very well there and the dragons really were the ones in the most danger of being seriously injured there. Let's see what the rest of the kids are going to be doing.

The fight had all happened so fast he hadn’t even had time to think, let alone see how the other students were doing. After the armor set him down on the benches he sat up to see who was left, but before he could look one of the instructors knelt down next to him and began asking questions like, “how do you feel?” and “where does it hurt?” while prodding and poking him to see if there were any major injuries that needed to be healed.

“I’m fine, really. I just got winded that’s all,” Jarid groaned breathlessly, in the hopes he would stop prodding him. Then Jarid looked down at the arena, barely catching a glimpse of the dragons as they disappeared back into their cages.

“What happened? Why are the dragons getting caged up again?”


Oooh that was quick, well that would explain a bit about why there were all six dragons on him, it seems the others were knocked out just that quickly, which bodes well for the poor dragons at least although now if he wins he's going to suffer horribly being forced to fight a younger dragon.

The instructor looked down at him and smiled. “The test is over. They need to be sent back to the colosseum in the capital.”

Jarid was confused for a moment then it dawned on him. “Was I the last one left in the arena?” He asked in shock.

The instructor chuckled. “Yes, and you lasted quite a bit longer too.”

Then Lt. Keldor called everyone together. “Alright boys! Let’s take a look at how you did. In first place, of course, we have Jarid!” He said sweeping his hand in Jarid’s direction.


Well looks like Jarid did in fact prove himself the strongest in that moment there although I meant he irony is its through actually knowing about the dragons which most of these instructors also do not.

“He not only survived the longest but gets bonus points for taking down one of the dragons.”

Some of the students respectfully clapped for him but most of them just scowled at him. He knew that they probably felt upstaged by a nobody, and it was only made worse by the fact that he was a commoner.

Jarid scratched the back of his neck and looked down awkwardly. It felt a bit embarrassing to get singled out like this.

It was fine though; he’d have to do poorly on the next part of the test anyways in order to avoid having to kill the young dragon. So, their anger and jealousy should be somewhat abated. Still, he’d have to be more careful not to get caught up in the moment again.


Well this is good thinking here, and I think ultimately a good thing too. Jarid knowing he has to do badly later on to not harm the poor young dragon and also being the one allowed to do it by earning this position. I love that he acknoledge he got a bit carried away too.

Lt. Keldor was just finishing calling out the rankings of the students as Jarid berated himself for winning.

“…and you need to remember that bravery without a plan is just stupidity.”

Lt. Keldor sighed. “That’s all for the rankings on the first part of the exam. Now I’m sure you’re all wondering what the next part of the exam entails and I will get to that, but first there is a secret about the second part of the exam that you all need to know.”

Some of the students looked excited while others looked nervous.


Well this is horrible. I hope its not going to be more torture for the poor dragons but knowing the absolute clowns that run this school I won't be surprised by much at this point.

“The secret of the second part of the exam is…” He paused for dramatic effect.

“There is no second part!” He announced with glee.

Jarid felt his blood run cold.

“Wait!” One of the other students called. “Don’t you need to test our knowledge about dragon weaknesses? How to counter them with magic? All that stuff?”

Lt. Keldor looked at them all seriously. “The whole point of this training is so that you can handle yourselves if one of your dragons decides to rebel or you don’t have yours when you encounter a wild dragon. Knowing things in your head means nothing if it all falls apart as soon as you step onto the battlefield.


Of course yup that checks out. The best way to prepare people to fight is ensure they are not actually prepared in the first place. I'm sure that contributes greatly to people being very dumb to the facts about the dragons and fearing them needlessly.

“This test was to see how you applied what you have learned and how you react to a real and unwinnable situation. Take this lesson to heart, all of you. Next time this happens it might be on a real battlefield, and I doubt a wild dragon will give you a second chance.”

Then he brightened up a bit. “Now I’m sure you are all tired, so use the remaining time to rest before next class. Most of you did well so don’t worry about whether you passed. And for those who didn’t pass. Well… I’ll make sure you have all the training time you need to make up for it.” Lt. Tekar grinned ominously.

As all the students got up to go Jarid felt a hand on his shoulder and a cold, sinking feeling in his gut. He turned to see Lt. Keldor.


Well looks like now Jarid is going to have to play a very interesting role as the one that conquered the dragons the most and the one that also wants to hurt the dragons the least. This has to be the most horrible position you could be in honestly.

“Congratulations Jarid. You did very well. The way you used the dragons’ size and aggression against them was impressive. Indeed, I can’t think of anyone in this class more qualified than you to take on a dragon in combat.”

Jarid gulped. “Um, sir. Do I have to…” He started, but the Lt. slapped him on the back. “Ah ha, ha! We might even see someone put up a decent fight this year,” he laughed as he walked away.

Jarid had never done so well or felt so defeated before. He slowly trudged back to the Black Squad dorms to tell everyone what had happened.


Well looks like that's not going to bode well at all. I think you do a good job showcasing how conflicted poor Jarid is about the whole affair and in general how tough it is for him to have to face this scenario. This is going to be a big, big mess no matter how it goes.

“Shoot. I meant to warn you about the winner fighting a young dragon for its scales ahead of time, but it completely slipped my mind. Sorry.” Ethan apologised.

“It’s ok. We can’t change the past. But perhaps there is something we can do to avoid this future. Any ideas?” Jarid looked around the group but none of them had any helpful suggestions.

Finally, Ben put a hand on Jarid’s shoulder. “Listen, I know this will be hard for you, but try to knock the dragon out or incapacitate it in some way. Tell them there is no need to kill the dragon now that you’ve defeated it. If they still insist that you must kill it, then I suppose you’ll have to make a choice.


Well looks like this is going to be a very tough line to walk here, the only way this is going to end up going well is if Jarid manages to but up a good fight and also a good talk with this dragon hoping that being a young one, it won't be as far gone as the adults were.

“I know you’re worried that they might think you are unfit to be a dragon rider if you can’t kill a monster. But we all know that there is no one more deserving of the title than you.”

“We’ll be with you no matter what,” Felicia added, and the others all nodded in agreement.

“Thanks you guys, I think I’m going to stay here for the night after classes are over. I know it might be a bit awkward for you, but could you guys visit Vapor for me? I would appreciate it if you would keep her company, especially you Airel. I hope you can become friends with her so that, when the choosing ceremony comes around, you can trust her to keep you safe.”


Well looks like that's a bit of a big ask, interesting choice by Jarid to just ask them to go off on their own, makes me wonder what he's gotta do here. There must be something going on here that we don't fully know about yet.

Airel looked a bit uncomfortable but nodded anyway. Jarid hoped that the two of them would make a good team. Next year it would be his turn with Smolder as his dragon.

The rest of the day went by in a blur and as night grew near, his dread of what would happen increased. The others left to see Vapor and Jarid sat in his room trying to think of a way to get out of fighting the next day.

He thought of hiding or pretending to get lost while on a walk. Even injuring himself so he wouldn’t have to participate, but it would be far too easy for the academy to find and heal him. It looked like he had no choice but to fight the dragon and either defy the academy or end the young dragon’s life. If he refused to follow their orders, he knew there were many in the academy who would use his defiance as an excuse to expel him.


AHh I love the portrayal of this mental battle here, and the very rational thoughts he has to go through, instead of just thinking eh could get away with it through the power of talking or them actually letting him spare the dragon in some way. I just hope he doesn't end up with like Smolder to fight because that would be a different level of messy.

“Urgh. Why did I have to go and get myself into this mess. Why didn’t I just let one of those dragons hit me at the start. It was so easy and yet I just had to mess it up.” He punched his desk in frustration and slumped back in his chair.

“Do you want some help then?” a deep voice asked. Jarid looked up to find Gunther standing in the doorway.

“Sorry sir. I was just thinking about the tests, sir.” Jarid stood and saluted. He doubted a squad leader at this academy would understand if he told him the real reason.


Well looks like we're meeting the squad trainer there who got a brief mention earlier. He appears to be one of the better ones from the actual academy staff if he created a squad as open minded as Black Squad so let's see if there's some good advice here.

Gunther nodded and sat on the bed gesturing for Jarid to take a seat next to him. “I know this place is unforgiving and that goes especially for you, but if something is bothering you, your squad is here to help,” He said in a soft tone.

Jarid sighed and looked down at the floor. “It’s not something they can help me with. I don’t want to drag them into the consequences of my beliefs, or my mistakes. When it comes down to the really hard decisions, I am responsible for this whole squad. I can’t be putting all of us at risk because of my petty choices and stupid mistakes.

“I am the only one to blame if something bad happens because I didn’t want to k… to do something,” he cried as he felt the frustration and hopelessness building again.


Well it looks like Jarid can't be fully upfront with Gunther which definitely makes sense but it seems he is asking for help to the extent that he can and Gunther is proving to be as much of a help as you could hope for in a situation where the complications go this deep.

“Mistakes happen. Even if you were the best leader in the world you can’t make the right choice every time. I’ve seen people killed many times because of mistakes. Even my best friend and partner was killed because of a foolish choice I made. A mistake I will regret for the rest of my life.”

Jarid could hardly believe that this strong and wise man in front of him had ever made mistakes like he had. But he could see the pain and regret in his hazel eyes. Gunther wasn’t done speaking yet though.

“No matter how much you regret what you’ve done. It is even worse to let your past prevent you from being who you are in the future. The only thing you can do is use everything you’ve got. What you know, what you believe, and what your own instincts tell you. Learn from your mistakes so you can make a better choice in the future. That is how we turn the defeat of a mistake into the victory of growth.”


Well that's some real good advice there and an even better way of actually going ahead and presenting said advice showcasing that even the ones that appear to be infallible have made mistakes and the difference is that they learnt from it and were able to get better.

Gunther stood and walked towards the door but paused as he placed his hand on the handle.

“If you want my personal opinion though. The choices you regret the most are those that go against what you believe. Everyone has regrets boy, just don’t let them make you do something you’ll regret even more,” He said solemnly as he left the room.

Jarid took a moment to think about what Gunther had said, then he took a deep breath and nodded to himself. Once he defeated the dragon, he’d refuse to kill it.

If he got kicked out for that so be it. He refused to compromise his beliefs.


Oooh well that's a real nugget to end on there. A true statement in all walks of life even if its not a dragon killing you're thinking off but certainly one that I'm sure Jarid appreciates greatly in this moment specifically.

Aaand that's it for this oneee!!!

Overall

Overall I think we've got ourselves a powerful chapter leading up to what feels like its going to be a pivotal moment with an impact that will be felt all across the ret of this tale. Let's see what shall take place in that one then.

As always remember to: Take what you think was helpful and forget the rest!

Stay Safe and Have a Nice Day!
Kate


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dragonight9 says...


This was my "wise mentor" moment and I was so nervous about messing it up. Your comments here showed me that I don't have to worry so thanks :)



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Thu Apr 18, 2024 6:26 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

I'd like to continue my review of this great story today! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

This chapter was incredible! You wrote out the action so well; it was easy to follow and super exciting all the way through! Like when Jarid was cornered -ah, what a moment! Then, seeing his struggle with the idea of killing a young dragon, and his conversation with Gunther, was a satisfying thing to read. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Again, nothing much to complain about! Just one thing I noticed here:

“Urgh. Why did I have to go and get myself into this mess. Why didn’t I just let one of those dragons hit me at the start.”


Those questions are just missing some question marks. That is all, great writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Oh, man, where to begin? Okay, first, just want to say...

Chaos.


Perfect way to open the chapter, haha. Reading through the fight, as I mentioned, the action was incredible. You even managed to weave in some great, informative details about the dragons as it went on. Like their strengths and weaknesses, how Jarid interprets each move, and of course the most chilling revelation...

Their wings were missing.


Oof -now that is just plain cruel. It's great in the sense that it still helps the reader empathize with the dragons, even as they're attacking the main character, and it also justifies the dragons' rage and desperation.

Ah, and great sensory notes here:

He felt the dull impact of his body hitting the ground and the taste of dirt in his mouth. His heart was beating loudly in his [skull] and for a moment he simply laid there. His face pale as he gazed at the scene before him.


[Minor error I didn't catch before, "skull" was misspelled]. Anyway, this was a great way to build up the moment. The taste of dirt, the blur after hitting his head; I love reading vivid details like this, they really make scenes pop.

As the trial ends, there was a lot of wisdom coming from multiple characters, regarding their performance and what will happen in the near future. Like from Keldor here:

“…and you need to remember that bravery without a plan is just stupidity.”


That one also made me laugh, then more from Jarid:

“We can’t change the past. But perhaps there is something we can do to avoid this future.


I don’t want to drag them into the consequences of my beliefs, or my mistakes. When it comes down to the really hard decisions, I am responsible for this whole squad. I can’t be putting all of us at risk because of my petty choices and stupid mistakes.


That first line stuck out to me. I feel like it could apply to more than just that conversation, like the conflict between humans and dragons in this academy at large. And I quite enjoy that.

The second chunk there was really noble of Jarid to say, showing how much is weighing on him as he tries to make the right choice, and how it easily leads to him deprecating himself in the process. Something not just worth empathizing over, but realistic and relatable as well.

And finally, Gunther's response was perfect. The remark about his own mistakes and losing his "friend," who I would guess is his dragon, was a nice hint toward what his backstory may look like. His remark about moving forward despite making mistakes was also great, and this conclusion was brilliant:

“If you want my personal opinion though. The choices you regret the most are those that go against what you believe. Everyone has regrets boy, just don’t let them make you do something you’ll regret even more,”


If he got kicked out for that so be it. He refused to compromise his beliefs.


Yes, yes, yes! It feels like Jarid has been needing to hear this for a while, for a variety of reasons, but especially now. And now that it's right here, and so well-put, was just such a satisfying moment in this chapter and Wing 3 thus far. Brilliant work on everybody's words in this exchange, it was all just incredible

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, awesome chapter, nicely done! :D

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dragonight9 says...


I always wanted to put in a 'wise teacher' moment but was worried that I wasn't wise enough myself to come up with one. So glad this worked out the way it did.

I really want to dive deeper into Gunther's backstory a bit, but I haven't found a good spot to do it yet. I want to use it to teach Jarid a lesson about how foolish it is to believe you can save everyone (even if you are an overpowered main character).

I'm almost done editing the next few chapters so we'll see how that goes. Thanks again for the awesome review! ;)




All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe