Wow; don't know why I didn't start reading this earlier! Another excellently written story. And the dialouge is good for a story with fan-submitted characters (not that that's a shot at any fan-character stories; this is just my opinion). I'm interested to learn more about the Reich and Lao Shi's (he doesn't have an "e" in his name, btw) experience on the Isle of Draco.
Oh, and just two minor qualms: that one part where you halted the description of the scenery as Laura was looking out that window was a bit confusing (I can understand why you did that, but it just kind of messed with the pace of the story as I read it), and you seem to be fond of using pauses (i.e. "..."). It kind of confused me in a mental-perception sense as I was reading some of the dialouge.
Otherwise, though, this is a great story. Keep it up!
Last Edit: Jan 2, 2007 16:41:33 GMT -5 by Max Power
Thank you all for your kind words and stuff!!!!!! =)
Finally finished the new chapter. It's the longest chapter I've ever written in my life. XD I hope it's worth it...
The Dragon Chronicles Part 1: The Surrogate Cavalry Chapter 4: A Blossoming Adulation
None of the eight dragons knew this name– they had never even heard of him. However, given the evident prestige of Atticus Stevenson’s academy, plus the old man’s near-overwhelming presence when he entered the room, they determined that whoever he was, he must be important. He DID survive the Dragon Summit killings, after all– that counted for something, didn’t it?
“Lao Shi,” Atticus continued, “was once known better as the Chinese Dragon. When he became older, he and his family immigrated to the United States, where he had a daughter, who eventually had a son– Jake Long, the current American Dragon. Or... at least he WAS the American Dragon... but he happens to be among the many dragons that are still reportedly missing after the attack on the Isle of Draco. At the time, Lao was Mr. Long’s Dragon Master– although that will obviously change.”
“When I found that Mr. Shi was still among the living, I knew that he must come here. I had already, at this point, decided upon bringing the eight of you here to be trained, and I had the feeling that, in the long run, he would be very beneficial to you all.”
Atticus paused and turned to Lao. “Well, I believe that this is all you need me for. Please speak to the students about whatever you wish– and carry out some training if you’d like.” He handed the old man a small slip of paper. “Here are their names, and their known specific abilities. It should be of some use to you.” And with that, he nodded, bowed to Lao Shi, and hurried out of the room.
After he left, the classmates and their teacher sat there in utter silence, no one saying a word to another... that is, until Lao Shi finally broke the silence.
“So... you are the children destined to save the magical world?” he spoke in a near whisper.
“That’s what we’ve been told,” said Shade.
“Very well, then. I suppose that if we plan on getting anything accomplished, we had better get started.” He wheeled around and headed off towards the front door of the academy, saying not a word. However, it was evident that he wanted the kids to follow him– and they did, slightly reluctantly, yet without question.
When they stepped outside, they realized that this was, in effect, the first time they had been outside the academy. It was a bright, sunny day– yet it was also slightly cold; maybe about fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, the front-outside area of the academy was, if you were expecting much, a bit disappointing. There was a paved black by the entrance of the school, which curved away and stretched off towards the horizon. Needless to say, it was a long road. The amount of greenery that spanned the area was immense. A grassy lawn sat in front of the academy, complete with a mid-sized, blue-water lake in its center. The lawn was extremely well-trimmed– near to perfection, as if it was maintained by some sort of magic. A lush, dense oak tree forest was visible in the distance– giving the students the impression that the academy was well-hidden, and that there was rarely a visitor that lumbered down that long road.
The eight of them continued to follow Lao, until he paused at the edge of the lawn. “Since I am unsure if my chair will be able to roll in the grass,” he said, glancing down at the wheels of his chair, “I will observe from here. Now, all of you– please enter the lawn and form a line.”
They all did so, without question. Lao Shi stared at each of them individually, seemingly sizing them up in his mind. After about a minute or so, he turned to Raffi, “Your name is Raffi, correct?”
“Why... yeah, it is,” Raffi was astounded, as were the other seven. How did he know their names already? He had only glanced at the slip of paper Atticus had given him for a mere few seconds– no more than ten. How could he already identify them out of a crowd?
“Step forward, please.”
In a slightly reluctant manner, Raffi did step forward. She crossed her arms nervously, wondering why she had been chosen. Was she some kind of example? What were Lao’s motives?
Lao reached out his left arm and pointed to Shade. “Shade, I presume?”
Shade nodded, saying not a word. “Please join Raffi,” Lao said. Shade stepped forward, joining Raffi by her side.
“Any idea of what we’re doing?” he whispered to her.
“Not a clue.”
“Do know that I can hear you,” interrupted Lao Shi in a slightly perplexed tone. “My hearing may not be what it used to, but I am not deaf.”
“Sorry,” Shade’s gaze lowered to the ground.
“Yeah, sorry,” followed Raffi.
“Now,” Lao began, “here is what I want you two to do. Face each other,” he directed. And after they did so, he continued, “A piece of paper can only tell me so much. I would like to test your true abilities in battle.”
“Wait... you want me to fight her?!” exclaimed Shade.
“First and foremost– do not speak while you are being spoken to by your Dragon Master, Shade,” leered Lao. “Now, as for your question, let me begin by asking the eight of you a question of my own. Why are you here?”
Kay raised her hand.
“We’re here to save the magical world.”
“Precisely. But let me ask you this, Kay– will you, as an individual, be doing this on your own?”
“Of course not! All eight of us are going to fight together, as a team!” said Kay.
“Exactly. Thank you, Kay,” he then turned to the entire group, although it seemed that, most of all, he was addressing Shade. “Team. That is what you are. You will never have to fight a friend, because both of you are committed to the same overall cause. See,” now he was speaking to Shade and Raffi, “why would I have you, Shade, fight Raffi, if she is in fact your partner, your teammate? What good would it do to train the eight of you to fight as individuals... when in all, there will rarely be a time when you are fighting alone? Am I understood?”
“Yes, Mr. Shi,” they murmured in agreement.
“Please, call me Master Shi. Now... Raffi and Shade, listen carefully.”
The old man wheeled himself a few feet away, to a pedestal on which sat a series of buttons. “You two shall work together– as a team– to face whatever it is that is your opponent. To the remaining six of you– observe carefully, for you all will be paired accordingly and will face similar challenges.”
He turned his head back to Raffi and Shade. “Are you ready?”
Raffi nodded in confidence. Shade glanced over at her for a moment, and then nodded as well.
“So we begin,” Lao pressed one of the buttons.
A nearby section of the lawn suddenly opened up, folding off to the sides. An elevator-like platform rose up from the pit, with a large, metallic figure atop it. Upon further examination, the students determined it to be a robot of some sort. It had sharp, claw-like hands connected to four long arms. Else, it had the appearance similar to that of a human.
It didn’t seem too imposing to Raffi and Shade, nor to anyone else. They had, after all, defeated the robotic arms earlier that day with minimal effort. Why would this be any different?
The robot continued to stand there, motionless, which prompted James to turn to Lao and ask, “It isn’t doing anything... is the robot defective or something?”
Lao Shi provided no answer. Instead, he merely put a finger to his mouth, signifying that James be quiet, and continued to eye the event with a sense of trepidation in his gaze.
Shade turned to Raffi. “Maybe we should... walk over to it or something...”
“Sure,” agreed Raffi, her gaze not leaving their immobile opponent.
Slowly and cautiously, they walked toward the robot, until they were standing right next to it. Upon closer observation, they found that the robot was actually in a kneeling position. It also appeared to have eyes, although they were closed tightly.
Raffi grinned. “Hah, this is a joke! This thing isn’t even turned on!” she laughed, patting the robot on its foot and turning to Shade.
Upon this action, the robot’s eyes snapped open, revealing a pair of fluorescent, glowing green eyes. Shade saw all of this unfolding, yet he was in such a shock that he had frozen in place– unable to move or say anything.
Raffi saw his gaze, though– and his gaze told her that something was amiss. “Shade...,” she whispered, “what’s wrong?” From Shade, there came no answer.
“Raffi! Behind you!” Ash screamed from the rest of the group. They, too, had been watching this startling new revelation.
Raffi turned slowly... and stared up into the lifeless eyes of the once-thought-to-be-immobile robot.
<Target acquired> the robot spoke in a monotonous voice. <Initiating flamethrower>
“Raffi!” yelled Lao Shi, attempting at one point to move from his wheelchair, but then realizing his predicament. “Get out of there!”
There was a whirring noise that was emitted by the robot– inferentially signifying the powering-up of the flamethrower. Suddenly, the whirring stopped. The robot opened its mouth, which was now glowing a deep orange.
Raffi shut her eyes tightly, bracing for impact, shutting out all the voices telling her to move. She wished she could... but just as Shade had been, she was frozen in shock. And for the longest time, she stood there, bracing herself for the worst. And then she felt something. But it wasn’t pain. It felt like... wind. It was like wind rushing through her hair.
She slowly opened her eyes, and the image of the moving ground from high in the air filled her vision. She was flying! She felt a firm grip around her waist, and she looked down to see two blue, muscular arms around her– the arms of a dragon.
“It’s alright, Raffi. I’ve got you,” said Shade reassuringly.
Raffi let out a long, strained sigh, glad she was okay. She stared back up at Shade. He had saved her... from death... and somehow, it all felt... right, like this was the way it was supposed to be all along.
Shade soared through the air in a u-shape, as they began to descend back towards the academy. If ever the robot had used its flamethrower, it had ceased to do so now, as it merely stood there, awaiting its opponents’ return.
“Raffi,” Shade spoke again, “you’re gonna need to change into your dragon form. I think we can take this thing out– but we’ll have to do it together.”
Raffi nodded in agreement. She concentrate on her dragon form, feeling the changes ripple across her body, and she opened her newly enhanced eyes to find herself just a few feet from the ground.
Shade, seeing that she was fully prepared for battle, released her from his grip, and the two of them flew headlong into the robot, knocking it to the ground. However, just as quickly as it had been seemingly knocked out of submission, the robot’s metallic legs bent at what could be considered the kneecap, and the robot sprung back to its feet.
The two dragons hovered in the air nearby and turned toward each other. “Raffi, if this thing’s like most robots, it could probably be taken out pretty easily with an open flame. Go on ahead and see if you can stop it there. I’ll be right behind you,” instructed Shade.
Raffi posed no resistance to the proposition, and sped through the air toward their opponent once more, Shade in tow. She reared back, and sent a large ball of orange fire directly at the robot’s head. It impacted quickly and rapidly, knocking the robot back a few feet. However, despite the contact, their opponent did not seem phased. In fact... it seemed as if it had actually absorbed Raffi’s blow and added it to its own energy.
“Whoa, not good,” Raffi commented as she flew past the robot. She soared a few feet higher, and paused to wait for Shade. “Fire isn’t gonna work,” she sighed as soon as Shade reached er.
“So I noticed,” muttered Shade, turning his gaze to the awaiting robot.
“Well... any ideas?”
Shade nodded. “I do have one. But you’re gonna have to trust me on this.”
“Okay... what is it?” she asked.
“We’re gonna go stand right in front of it.”
Raffi was silent for a few moments. “Wait... why would we do that?” she finally spoke. “We’d be killed!”
“What, you don’t trust me?” Shade flashed a grin.
“I’d trust you if this didn’t seem so reckless.”
“Fine,” Shade turned away. “I’m going in there. Whether you want to come or not is up to you.” He flew to the ground, and walked over to the robot.
Raffi sighed heavily. “If he really knows what he’s doing... I guess I can believe him.” She joined him by the robot.
Soon, they were both standing directly in front of the metallic monster. Upon noticing them, the robot’s mouth opened once more.
<Targets acquired> it spoke again. <Flamethrower initiated>
“Wait for it...,” said Shade, his eyes transfixed upon the robot– predominately its mouth, which had begun to glow a deep red.
At these words, Shade threw upon his mouth and unleashed a flowing stream of ice. The ice shot inside the robot’s mouth, and seemed to put out he glowing red color that was emitted. Shade didn’t stop there, however, as he transferred the ice to the other parts of the robot’s structure. Within seconds, it had been covered with an entire sheet of blue ice– rendering it immobile where it stood, defeated.
Shade let out a long sigh of triumph. He reverted back to his human form, and turned around to Raffi, who had already done the same. She walked quickly over to him. “You did it!” she laughed, a huge grin spread across her face. Upon reaching him, they both hugged– and were caught up in this embrace for what seemed like an eternity. But they pulled away quickly thereafter, after realizing what they had just done.
“No, Raffi,” Shade said, his face flushed red with what appeared to be slight embarrassment. “We did it.”
“Well, actually...,” started Raffi, “I didn’t do anything. You’re the one that brought the thing down in the end...”
“True, but if you hadn’t tried fire on it, I never would’ve thought of using ice...”
“So you’re saying that because I screwed up, we beat it?”
“I could say that,” he gave her a playful nudge on the shoulder.
“You’re mean!” Raffi laughed. She turned away and ran back to the rest of their classmates, who were cheering and waving back by the school. Even Lao Shi had broken into a subtle applause, a sense of fulfillment covering his face.
“You two were awesome!” Kay greeted them as soon as they had both reached the group.
“And did you guys see Shade save Raffi?!?” said Ash. “Wasn’t that sooooooo cute?!”
“Ash!” yelled Raffi.
“Wasn’t me,” Ash muttered, her head down and finger pointed to James, who promptly smacked her lightly on the back of the head.
“Raffi and Shade... please come here,” Lao Shi motioned. Everyone became quiet as Raffi and Shade walked over to their teacher.
“Well done,” he nodded to the both of them. He then spoke to Shade. “That was very reckless of you, don’t you think?”
“Master Shi, with all due respect, I knew what I was doing,” grinned Shade. “As soon as that thing was fully powered up, I was gonna, you know, cool it off a bit.”
“...I was talking about saving Raffi.”
“Oh yeah,” Shade blushed. “That.”
“And while it was quite reckless and could’ve cost both of you your lives,” Lao said, “it was one of the most unselfish and brave actions you could’ve taken. And for that, I am sure that Raffi is eternally grateful.”
Shade’s eyes darted to his side to see Raffi nodding slightly.
“You both did very well,” he continued, “and now I am sure you would appreciate some rest. Please, have a seat with the rest of us as we view the next duo face their enemy.”
They both did sit down– although Shade went off with James and Raffi with Ash. “Now then,” said Lao Shi, staring around at the other six, “who shall we have go next?”
Each and every one of those that still had to go averted their eyes from the old man’s gaze. Kay even began to whistle.
“Ah, so I see,” said Lao. “Hm... well, since the thought of this has been intriguing me for a good while now, I would like for Kate and Jay to go next.”
This came as a bit of a surprise to the eight, including Jay and Kate themselves. Everyone had figured that they would not participate in the training just yet– especially considering that both of them had never even been in their dragon forms, let alone fought in them. Surely he wasn’t serious.
It soon became apparent, however, that Lao Shi had meant what he had said. And thus, the two newest participants stepped forward. Kate seemed to be in a decent mood; she was apparently over the initial shock of finding out about her dragon powers. On the other hand, Jay still seemed rather far away– as if he was in more of an apathetic sort of state. He had been this way ever since Warburton had taken him into the other room to explain to him the circumstances by which they were at the academy.
“I understand that neither of you have ever used your dragon powers, is this correct?” asked Lao.
“Yeah... actually, we didn’t even know we had them until today...,” Kate said with a slight laugh. Jay nodded in agreement.
“We will make this training a bit easier, then,” Lao stated. He once again wheeled over to the control pedestal. Upon pressing a different button, a few red and white bullseye targets rose from the ground near where the robot that Raffi and Shade had fought with earlier had stood. He turned back to Jay and Kate. “I take it that you will require help in becoming your dragon selves?”
“That would be helpful,” said Kate.
“Very well– this should not be too difficult,” he moved back over to them. “The key is, when it is your first time, to cut off all other distractions and visualize yourself as a dragon. It will obviously take some imagination– considering that you do not know the look of your dragon form. It should work, though– as it should tap into your power and release it... although it requires immense concentration during your first time. It will become easier the more you utilize your powers. Now, focus.”
Kate and Jay nodded, and both closed their eyes. “Concentrate,” Jay whispered. “Hm, easy for him to say.”
“Shh,” shushed Kate.
Jay felt a tingling sensation all over his body, and there was suddenly a warm feeling to it. His eyes snapped open, and the sensation dulled.
“Do not break your concentration,” Lao said. “It will never work if you do not concentrate fully.”
Jay sighed and stared over at Kate. She seemed... relaxed. Not a part of her body moved. Then, all of a sudden, she began to glow a dark green. Thick vines shot from her fingertips, spreading and covering every inch of her body. Once the vines were done spreading, they snapped off, as if by some kind of tremendous force. And when the vines fell away, they revealed a plant-green dragon, roughly seven feet tall. It was, with the exception of the color, a mirror image of the other dragons.
“I did it!” Kate exclaimed, looking her changed self over. “This feels... awesome!”
“...interesting,” said Lao Shi, as he closely examined Kate’s dragon form.
“What is it?” she asked, confused.
“A dragon of your sort... is quite rare,” he explained. “In fact, I have actually met only one other in my life– former Councillor Oslo, of the Dragon Council. If only he were still alive... perhaps I would know more about your... sort...”
“I don’t get it,” said Kate. “What’s so special about me?”
“Well,” Lao Shi’s awed gaze lowered to the ground, as he seemed to try and find the right words to say, “you, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, are not like the other dragons here. Most of the world’s dragon population have predominantly two types of elemental abilities– fire and ice. A smaller portion has power over electricity. But your power– yours is extremely rare. In fact, only one in every ten thousand dragons have the power you have.”
“To put it quite simply, Kate, you have the power over the earth,” he said.
“Yes, the earth. You have control of all that makes it up. Nature. From the plants to the dirt ground. And with this power comes an even greater amenity.”
“What’s that?” asked Kate, a wide smile spread across her face.
“The ability to heal yourself and those around you. It is an amazing power– and is something that near-to-all magical creatures long for,” he paused, and then said, “You are very fortunate, Kate.”
“Well, thank you... I think.”
“It will be a bit difficult, though, as I have never trained someone of your stature. I pray you provide me with your patience in the coming days, and I am sure that, in the near future, you will be able to harness and utilize your powers to the best of your ability.”
Lao turned to Jay. “Now, let us evaluate your dragon form. I am sure you can do it– Kate was able to, after all. Just concentrate and you will have no problem.”
Jay nodded. “Concentrate... right...,” he closed his eyes, attempting to shut out everything. In his mind, he pictured... well, he pictured Kate’s dragon form, actually. He was obviously quite certain that he would not look anything like Kate– especially after hearing Lao Shi’s speech about the irregularity of Kate’s power.
After a few seconds, the warm, tingling feeling that he had felt earlier resurfaced. This time, however, Kay was not caught off guard, and thus was able to maintain his concentration. The tingling suddenly grew extremely esoteric in feeling. He had the sudden urge to look himself over and figure out what was happening with him. He fought this, though, as he predicted that his teacher would likely be a bit irritated with him if he broke his concentration once more. And so he stayed there, motionless– even after the warm sensation had long since dulled.
“Jay, you may open your eyes now– it is over...,” came Lao Shi’s voice.
Jay’s eyes fluttered open. He felt... strange, like he was still himself, yet he wasn’t. He stared down at himself... in an expression that soon changed to excitement and awe.
The initial change he noticed was his height. Jay was normally a tall boy– probably around 6"1. However, in his new height, he towered over the ground at about a half a foot more. His body was near-entirely red, with the exception of his underbelly, which happened to be white. He also noticed the orthodox features– the claws, the tail, and most of all, the wings.
“Very good!” Lao Shi congratulated him.
“Thanks...,” said Jay, still in awe of himself.
“Judging by your color, I believe your elemental power is fire,” inferred Lao. “Now, Jay and Kate, face me.”
The two newest dragons both did so. Lao, after taking a few moments to collect his thoughts, said, “Now then, I am sure that you know your objective.” He turned to the lawn once more, which was now full of the red and white bullseyes. “Take out the targets in any way you can. Since this is the first time you will be utilizing your powers, I have altered the settings on this session in order to make it virtually impossible to be injured, or for there to be other distractions. Simply hit the bullseye targets– either by forve or by your other abilities. Are you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” said Kate. Jay mouthed the word ‘yes,’ signifying that he, too, was ready.
“Go then,” said Lao.
At first, both of the novice dragons went about this on foot– as if they had forgotten that they now had wings. Jay seemed to be the first to remember this, though, as he paused, and then beat his red wings four times. He slowly began to rise into the air, but was only able to reach about five feet up, at which point he merely hovered, unable to move anywhere else. Disheartened, he touched back onto the ground. He looked over to see Kate lowering herself as well. She had experienced the same problem.
“Well...,” Jay sighed.
“Wanna try a running start?” suggested Kate.
Jay laughed and nodded. “Couldn’t hurt... I hope.”
And so they began to run– Jay a bit faster than Kate, although she was still able to keep a respectable pace. “We’ll jump on the count of three,” Kate said. “When we’re airborne, start beating your wings as fast as you can. It’ll hopefully give us enough momentum to stay in flight. Ready?”
“Ready,” stated Jay, unwavering.
“One... two... three!”
They both leapt into the air and began their attempt to fly. At first they, once again, began to lower to the ground. But after this initial discouragement, and upon a bit more determination, they soon began to rise again. Soon enough, both of them were soaring through the air– not as gracefully as the more experienced dragons had done, but it was well enough to keep them airborne.
“Good!” Lao Shi called from the edge of the lawn. “Now, each of you– choose a separate bullseye and take it out any way you can without using any special abilities!”
It seemed that Jay and Kate were trying to avoid the ground targets so as to preserve their flight, and thus they both chose elevated targets– one that had risen on a long pole from which Shade and Raffi’s robot opponent had stood, and another that was perched on a branch of a nearby tree. Kate had chosen the target on the tree, while Jay chose the remaining one.
“Alright,” whispered Jay to himself, “Master Shi said that my element was fire... well, that would explain the warm sensation I felt. But... if I’m not allowed to use it right now, then what can I do?” He stared down at his claws, and then an idea popped into his head. “These things seem pretty sharp... I’m sure they could cut these targets. It’ll be like an axe cutting through wood.”
And so he tried it, slashing his right claw against the wooden surface of the bullseye. The target splintered upon impact, and fell off the pole and onto the ground. Jay pumped his arm in triumph. “Man... these things ARE sharp...”
Meanwhile, Kate was hovering directly in front of the tree that held the other target. “The easy thing to do,” she thought out loud, “would probably be to use my claws like Jay did. But I already know that works. I’ll bet it’ll impress Master Shi more if I could figure out another way.” She examined herself over, and fixed her eyes on her twitching tail. “And I know exactly what to use.”
Kate raised her spiked tail so that it was directly above her head. She swung her tail quickly, almost like cracking a whip, and smashed the bullseye in. Kate was astounded. “Wow, this thing is probably stronger than the rest of my body– and I think that’s saying a lot!”
“Jay and Kate,” called Lao Shi, “you did well. Now, this time, use your dragon abilities on the ground targets. This may prove to be a more difficult task than the last, but I am confident that both of you shall be able to handle it.”
Jay and Kate both nodded, and flew down to two bullseyes that sat on the lawn side by side. “So...,” started Jay, “I guess I just... breathe fire on it or something?”
“Yeah... and I’m supposed to... do something involving nature,” said a thoroughly confused Kate. She knew from Lao that she had power over the earth. But how did she use it? Lao had only told her that she had the power– she wasn’t sure how to actually use it. It was the same way with Jay, although he had a better idea of what to do.
He began to concentrate once more, attempting to search deep within the far reaches of his conscience for the fire-breathing ability. Then he, all of a sudden, found what he believed to be this power. He thought this because he had begun to feel that familiar warm sensation once more. “Alright,” he said, with a hint of uncertainty, “here’s goes nothing!” He threw his head back, and shot a ball of flame at the target. The fireball was roughly the size of a watermelon– not as large as, say, an experienced dragon’s fireball. However, it was still enough. Upon impact, the target was engulfed in a bright orange flame. Still burning, it fell off the pole and to the ground.
“Easy,” laughed Jay, impressed and content with his newfound ability.
“Makes me wish I had your power,” Kate said with a half-hearted smile.
“Shoot, Kate... I’m sure your power– whatever it is– is ten times better than mine...”
“Even if it supposedly is, I still don’t know how to use it...,” sighed Kate.
“Well... just do what I did! Search inside yourself for your power. You’ll know it when you find it, believe me. It’ll feel... different. It’ll be same sensation you experienced when you first became a dragon,” Jay explained.
“Wow, Jay... you sure do know a lot about this...”
“Hm? Oh yeah, well... I mean, think about it– what you’re about to do I just did myself– I should now, shouldn’t I?”
“Ah... yeah, guess you’re right...,” she turned away, and focused on her target. She relapsed once more into the near-familiar state of concentration and relaxation, searching herself for the power.
She found it rather quickly– more so than Jay did, that is. She felt, like Jay had said she would, a similar sensation to the one she’d felt earlier on in the day. Without any sort of hesitance, she decided to activate it– whatever it was.
From her fingertips shot the same vines that had covered her when she first became a dragon. She grabbed the vines with her claws, and swung them like a whip. The vines made contact with the bullseye target, splintering the wood just as she had done with her tail earlier. The vines then retracted back into her fingertips just as quickly as they had appeared.
Kate sighed, and turned to see Jay looking on in awe. “Wow... that’s a pretty awesome power...” he said.
“Thanks,” acknowledged Kate, smiling at her fascinating accomplishment. Both of them, satisfied with their seemingly harnessed abilities, strode off together to meet back up with Lao Shi, who also had a satisfied look on his face.
“I am impressed with the progress the two of you have made today,” he greeted them. “So, considering that you seemed to complete these tasks with relative ease, we shall try something a bit more difficult at training tomorrow.”
“Sounds good,” said Kate. “We’ll take anything you throw at us.”
Lao nodded, and then turned so that he faced the entire group. “Unfortunately, it looks as if we are out of time for today. Should you have arrived at the academy at an earlier time, we may have been able to allow everyone a chance. But it is getting late, and evenings at the academy are, as I’ve been told by Atticus, are reserved for students’ free time, with the occasional night class. So, I shall leave the eight of you to that– we will pick up where we left off tomorrow morning at ten. Am I clear?”
“Yes, Master Shi,” they said in unison.
“Very good. You are dismissed.”
With these words, the students departed, heading for the academy’s front doors. Within their group, there was talk of the day’s activities and happenings– mostly centered around either Shade’s act of heroism in saving Raffi, of Jay and Kate’s first time using their powers, and even of Lao Shi’s peculiar reaction to the discovering of Kate’s power.
When they stepped inside the academy, they were met at the foor of the grand staircase by Atticus Stevenson. “Ah, children, welcome back,” he greeted them warmly. “I trust that you all learned some valuable lessons from Master Shi?”
“Yes sir, we did,” replied Shade.
“Good, then. As I’m sure he’s told you already, you all will meet with him again at ten tomorrow morning, at the very same spot,” he said. “Now, for the remainder of the evening– as it is custom with most evenings at the academy– you have your free time. During this time, most of the amenities around the academy are available for use. What those amenities are, I’d suggest you find out for yourselves. I’d recommend exploring the grounds tonight– become familiar with your surroundings, as you will likely be here for a good while. I ask, however, that you keep out of the specifically marked rooms– the ones that read ‘Staff Only.’ While there may be times that you will be permitted to enter these rooms, they are off-limits at this point in time. Curfew is at midnight. You are all expected to be in your rooms at this point. There is no set time for light-out in your rooms, however, given that your schedules can become a bit hectic at times, I would suggest getting as much sleep as possible.”
He stared around at all of them. “Are there any questions?” The students all shook their heads.
“Splendid. Now, one last thing– we were able to make contact with each and every one of your parents or legal guardians and inform them of your situation– those of you whose parents already knew you were all dragons were told the honest truth, while those who did not know were told that you were at a prep school for excellent students. They all have agreed, and they all will be sending some of your belongings to the school, such as clothes, in the coming days. A few have insisted upon coming to the academy to drop these items off, while others have said that they will simply send them via airmail. Either way, you should all have your personal belongings here in a day or two. If you cannot wait that long, do recall that we have a convenience store in the east wing of the school, so you may stop there if you so desire.”
He clasped his hands together. “Well, I believe that is all I have to tell you all. Please make yourselves at home here, and should I not see your during the remainder of the day, I will then see you all in the morning.” And with that, Atticus turned and left, leaving the eight kids to ponder their next actions.
There came a prolonged silence soon afterward. James met this awkward pause with a long stretch, followed by a yawn. “I’m tired. Got no sleep last night. I think I’ll just pass on the whole ‘exploring the school’ thing. I’ll see you guys in the morning.” He started up the stairs to his dorm room.
“Sleep does sound kinda good...,” Kate said. “Later, everyone.” She followed James up the stairs.
“Well, I guess that leaves the six of us,” Ash stated, turning to the remnants of the group. “So... where should we go?”
“Hm... well, I dunno about the rest of you,” said Shade, “but I’m hungry. There’s gotta be a cafeteria or something around here...”
“There’s another hallway over there...,” Kay pointed out. “It’d probably be a good idea to go check it out.”
They nodded together in agreement, and the six of them set out down this previously undiscovered corridor, in hopes of finding the cafeteria and other such places.
Kay and Shade led the way, attempting to navigate through the academy by means of using a few of the directional arrows that were implanted across the grounds. Ash and Raffi followed, Ash talking to Raffi about sporadically different topics– even though, it appeared, Raffi did not seem to be paying much attention to her. Her eyes, instead, seemed transfixed ahead of her– her mind teeming with thoughts of Shade. Despite the overall outcome of Shade and Raffi’s battle with the robot, and the fact that she had indirectly contributed decently to the eventual defeat of this opponent, she still felt as if she had, really, done nothing– she had, instead, left herself vulnerable to attack and had almost got herself killed. If it hadn’t been for Shade...
And then there was Jay and Laura in the back of this group, hands clasped together as they walked along sleepily. This had been, in reality, the first time that the two lovers had been able to be with each other since they arrived at the academy, and while they wanted to take this in as best as they could– although they both were so worn out from the day’s activities that they could barely speak a word to one another.
Finally, after a good deal of traveling along these narrow corridors that frequented the academy, the six of them finally began to pass some of the amenities that Atticus had mentioned. There was a pool that was half the size of an Olympic-sized one, with an adjacent weight room. Further along sat the convenience store Atticus had spoken of, and then, finally, the cafeteria.
There was not very many people in the cafeteria at this point in time– mostly because, they inferred, the students were on their semester breaks and thus only a few were in the school anyway. There were about 20 circular tables in the cafeteria, each equipped with eight seats. On the far side of the room, there was a large bar-like spot, which was, in effect, where they were to order. Upon seeing this spot, Shade walked briskly over to the bar, while the other five stayed back, waiting for him to return. He did return a few moments later, holding a small silver package. “Ah, Pop Tarts...,” he said, “Best food ever created.”
“I’d disagree with you,” said Kay, “but frankly, I’m too tired to. Let’s go back and crash in the rooms for a while... we’ve still got five hours before curfew, so we can come back later if we want...”
There came a murmur of agreement from everyone else (all except Shade, who was as content as he’d ever be with his newfound source of calories), and they all began to head back to the dorms.
In about five minutes, they had reached their sleeping quarters. “We’ll come over and tell you guys if we end up doing anything,” said Kay as she opened up the door to her room. Laura, after exchanging a quick kiss with Jay, slid through the open door, and Ash opened the door to her and Raffi’s dorm. She stepped inside as well, leaving just Jay, Shade, Raffi, and Kay outside in the hallway.
“Alright, sounds good,” Shade said, nodding to Kay. Nodding back, she, too, stepped inside her room. Jay, bidding everyone good-night, opened the door to the boys’ dorm room, where James was already passed out on his bed.
Shade was about to retire to his room, when he was stopped by a voice from behind him. “Um... Shade?”
Shade turned around. It was Raffi. “Hey, Raffi... what’s up?”
“Well...,” Raffi’s gaze lowered to the ground, “I just... kinda wanted to... thank you for saving my life...”
Shade took a step closer to her and put his hands on her shoulders. “Raffi, you don’t need to thank me– really. I’m sure you would’ve done the same thing for me...”
“But that’s just it,” said Raffi. “I’m not sure if I would’ve... I guess I’m just not as... brave as you are.”
“Well, Raffi... people can do great things in tight situations– things they never knew they could do. Don’t doubt yourself; like I said, I’m positive you would’ve done the same thing for me.”
“...Shade,” Raffi said, her eyes finally meeting Shade’s, her gaze intertwined with his, “Thank you.”
There was a silence that followed, as the two stood there, each trying to find the words to say. Soon, though, Shade finally said. “Well, I should get to bed... good night.” He took his hands off of her shoulders, and walked inside his room, closing the door gently behind him.
“Yeah... good night,”whispered Raffi. She, too, stepped inside her dorm.
Post by ADJLFanatic on Jan 26, 2007 22:31:46 GMT -5
AWWWWW you are TOTALLY good at romantic moments, Kevin. I am CEREAL (I mean serious :fup:..), that was like... a 'to-die-for' scenario. I am like being cereal with you, that was totally awesome! And I'm glad you updated a day before my birthday. *sniff* I feel so touched. XD AND HAH. YOU WERE RIGHT. Shade does saved Raffi from tehhh DOOOMMM. Mwahahaha. That was like... wowness. It feels like I was actually there...
... I mean... pshh. So it felt realistic. :fup: XD Well, point is... You. Awesome. Writer. Kevin. I really can't wait for the next chapter now. OHHH BOYYY. *dances* For me is a jolly good fouirteeniee. xD
WWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOW that was uuubeerrr cute! Shade and Raffi lurvieeee. ^^ And those better be mint choco chip Pop Tarts. :fup: That was the cutiest.... Or competes with the cutiest chapters, WITH AWESOME ACTION TOO. You really are doing well on this, please continue soon. XP PLEAASEEEEEE.....
The Dragon Chronicles Part 1: The Surrogate Cavalry Chapter 5: A Tentative Delay
The boy, upon awakening, did not know where he was. He did notice that it was pitch black– a never-ending dark abyss that stretched as far as the eye could see. This frightened him slightly, but he then paused, concentrated, and formed a small flickering flame– enough to light the room ever-so-slightly. He blinked, his head throbbing rhythmically, feeling as if it had been beat upon by some blunt object.
He moaned, rising to his full height. He stared around at his surroundings, noticing nothing except for the fact that he seemed to be inside a small room of sorts. There was what appeared to be a single door a few paces ahead of him, but even with the light, he couldn’t be quite sure.
A sharp pain went spearing through his conscience, causing him to cry out and clutch at his head. Once it had subsided slightly, he began an attempt to recall how he had gotten there in the first place. But when he tried, there was nothing. It was almost as if there was a gaping chasm in his memory– he remembered only up to the attacks on Dragon Summit.
The attacks! Of course! He remembered the explosion, and then the panic it had caused. But he and around fifteen others had been underground at that point, so the blast had not affected them. Still, they all had tried to venture outside, to see what was going on– whether or not they would be facing the cold expression of death when they finally reached the outdoors area of the Isle of Draco. But then... that’s all he recalled. Everything after that up to his waking up just a few moments prior was completely blank.
The boy groaned. How long had he been unconscious? It could’ve been days– and where were his accomplices? Were they like him?– shut up in a dark room with no idea where they were?
He had begun to set out towards the nearby door, in hopes of obtaining a better idea of where he was. However, before he was able to even reach for the door handle, the door itself was thrown open, and a dark shadow-like figure appeared in the doorway, a dim light illuminating it slightly from outside the room.
The boy could not see the figure clearly– he could merely notice its height and its large, seemingly-muscular structure. “What? Who’s there? Where am I?” the boy demanded, staring at the shadow-like being.
There came no immediate answer from the figure– instead, a crackling, static-like sound was heard. The boy inferred that it was some sort of communication device– a walkie-talkie, such as a policeman might use.
“Marcus, what’s your status?” came a weathered, decidedly male voice amidst the static.
“Oh, nothing,” spoke the figure in a plain masculine voice. “One of our captives has awakened.”
“The long boy. Jake.”
“Ah, I see. Well now, I trust that you will take care of this without difficulty?” The man who had first addressed the figure said in confidence through the walkie-talkie.
The man, Marcus, chuckled sinisterly. “Don’t think anything of it, sir.” There was a clicking noise– likely Marcus switching off the walkie-talkie.
“I don’t know who you think you are,” the boy said, “but you guys have chosen the wrong dude to mess with. Dragon– UP!”
He had expected to, at these words, change into his dragon form, and take out this man on his way to freedom. However, after a few moments of nothing, it became apparent that, for whatever reason, this power that the boy possessed had been rendered dormant.
The man chuckled again. “Fascinating, isn’t it? This room is specially designed to hinder all latent abilities you might have– in your case, your ability to become your dragon self. You will need to do much more than that to escape from this place.”
“But... what is this place...?” the boy asked, bemused.
“Mr. Long, you are being held captive inside the headquarters of the most powerful organization in the world– the Reich,” said the man. “I would tell you more, but my leader has given me specific instructions to keep ALL of you unconscious, so as to prevent you from escaping...”
“ALL of us? You mean, the other dragons are being held captive too? What kind of sick prison are you guys running here?! And why am I a part of it?!”
The man provided no answer. He, instead, ran his left hand along the wall of the room, paused, and apparently pressed a button that was fixed there. Upon this, a misty gas was emitted from the room’s ceiling, slowly filling the room to its full volume.
The boy began to feel drowsy, his eyelids feeling equivalent to large weights. He glanced over at the doorway, to see that the man had since left the room, closing the door behind him. “No,” he gasped, falling to his knees, and soon after onto his stomach, as the gas filled his lungs. His head made sharp contact with the ground, which knocked him out cold before the sleeping gas could even take its entire toll on his conscious.
The man grinned outside of the room. He pulled a white hood over his neatly-combed brown hair, a hood that matched the snow-white robe that covered him from head to toe. “Sleep tight, American Dragon...,” he said malevolently, and made his way down a long, white-walled hallway with little illumination– where he was going, no one could be certain.
The eight’s first night spent in the Stevenson Academy of Excellence was actually quite uneventful, to say the least. The boys’ room was as quiet as could be– Shade and Jay were, after all, decently exhausted from their encounters with Lao Shi’s training program (Shade was a bit more tired, considering he did a lot more fighting), and James had basically been knocked out since seven. The girls’ rooms were slightly more active, but were still remotely quiet. Kate was as James was– conked out on her bed in the far corner, while Laura and Kay had talked for a few minutes before they, too, retired to bed. It was Ash and Raffi’s room that was slightly more full of sound. This was particularly amusing, considering that it was Ash that was doing most of the talking. And, being the “hopeless romantic” that she claimed to be, much of Ash’s conversations began with either the words “Raffi”, “Shade”, or the two names put together. For some odd reason, it would appear that, on the outside, Ash was the student at the school that seemed more impetuous and relentless at this possibly surreptitious adulation– even though Raffi would have no part of it, and denied everything that Ash would say. Ash claimed that she had a sort of ‘sixth sense’ with this sort of thing– discovering the secret and unspoken, yet near-evident relationship that was supposedly blossoming between the two schoolmates. And the more and more she would torture Raffi with these accusations, that “she was secretly in love with Shade” and “the two of them should get together”, the less Raffi fought it. Perhaps, she thought, Ash would cease this if she decided to just kind of go along with what Ash said. Or perhaps it was that Raffi, as Ash had hinted, really DID like Shade– she just didn’t know how exactly to tell him. Maybe she was afraid of rejection– especially if it turned out that Shade did not feel the same way. There, however, was no real way to tell at that point, as Raffi was the only person that truly knew which of these it was.
The next morning, they all woke up gradually– Kate and James a bit earlier, considering that they had gone to bed earlier. By about nine, everyone was awake, had showered, and were ready to go down to breakfast and, later on, their next session of training with Lao Shi. They all met outside of their rooms, and set off towards the cafeteria. The group was, for the most part, in a large mass of six, as everyone finally seemed to be venturing out of their comfort zones and were talking to those that they hadn’t known prior to coming to the academy. Ash and Raffi hung back, following groggily, with their eyes half closed.
James stared back at them. “What’s the matter, you two? Didn’t get enough sleep last night?”
Raffi scowled and pointed an accusing finger at Ash. “Her fault. She wouldn’t shut up all night...”
“No one says you had to listen to me...,” said Ash sleepily.
“I didn’t really have a choice,” Raffi sighed.
“Well... just try and make sure it doesn’t affect your performance at training,” Shade said. “Maybe breakfast is just the thing you need...”
Ash and Raffi nodded in agreement, and the group continued towards the cafeteria, walking briskly until they finally did reach it. The cafeteria itself was slightly more crowded than it had been the night before, as a few of the tables were occupied by other kids about their age– likely, they inferred, the students of the academy that had chosen not to go home over their semester breaks, and thus were walled up inside the school’s boundaries for a few weeks.
Shade was the first to make his way over to the counter from which they ordered, as he had done the same the previous night. The other seven followed him, scanning over the menu that was suspended above the counter, trying to determine what they would want.
Soon, after they all had received their breakfast, they made their way over to a vacant table. Upon sitting down, Kay immediately yelled over at Shade. “Hey, Shade... remember when you had said that pop tarts are the best food ever created, and I said I would disagree with you, but I was too tired?”
“Yeah...,” replied Shade, looking up from the two packs of pop tarts he had sitting in front of him.
“Well, I’ve decided to let you know that I’m NOT too tired now, and that coffee cake happens to be the best food ever.”
Shade eyed Kay’s breakfast, which consisted of two pieces of coffee cake and a cup of coffee. “How can you drink coffee with that stuff?! Do you WANT a caffeine overload?”
“Of course I do!” Kay smiled. “It’s the only thing that gets me through the day!”
“Wow... I’m gonna try and stay as far away as possible from you in about fifteen minutes,” Laura called from the other side of the table.
The entire table laughed, and then all focused on their respective breakfasts. They ate in silence for about five minutes, until a dark-haired boy of about their age walked over to them. “Hey, um... is this seat taken?” he asked Kay, who was seated at the end of the group, with a seat left vacant next to her.
“Well... um...,” Kay stared up at the boy, almost stuttering, but with no understandable words coming out of her mouth.
“No... it isn’t taken; you can sit down,” Ash spoke for her, wearing a sly, scheming smile on her face.
“Thanks...,” the boy sat down next to Kay, setting down a carton of orange juice and a bagel. “So...,” he turned to Kay and Ash, “you guys are those dragons that Atticus told us about, right? The ones that are supposed to fight the Reich...”
“Yeah, that’s us...,” said Kay, finally able to speak.
“Wow... you guys must be pretty strong, then... I’m Will... Will Brownell.”
“Hi... I’m Kay... and this is Ash...”
“Awesome. So, Kay... how long are you guys gonna be here at the academy?” asked Will.
“I dunno...,” whispered Kay.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we don’t really know how long we’ll be,” Ash said. “All we know is that we’re being trained to fight the Reich... and at the rate we’re going, I don’t think we’ll be leaving anytime soon...”
“Ah, I see. You guys probably have training in a bit then, don’t you?” he said to Kay.
She nodded. “Yeah, at ten.”
“Alright then,” said Will, crumpling his carton in his hand and standing up. “Do you think you’ll be coming back here for lunch?”
“Probably...” said Kay. “Do you think we might see you then?”
“Count on it,” Will smiled. “See you later...” He walked away to a group of guys standing near the doorway to the cafeteria. One of them seemed to make some kind of good-natured remark to Will as he reached them, and they all laughed as they left the room.
As soon as he was completely out of sight, Ash chuckled and turned to Kay, saying, “Is it just me, or was he totally into you?”
“What?! No... you think so?” said Kay, her face flushed red.
“C’mon, Kay, I KNOW so... did I ever tell you how I got Raffi and Shade together?”
“Wait... Raffi and Shade are a couple?!” asked a surprised Kay.
“Well... no, not yet,” admitted Ash. “But under my guidance, they will, just watch...”
“You know that you’re hopeless, Ash... right?” James leaned over so that he was nearer to the two girls.
“James, I don’t even wanna hear it... I mean, I’m sorry that there’s no one around here that’s interested in you...” sneered Ash.
James clasped at his chest sarcastically, as if shot by an invisible arrow. “Ow, you got me...,” he joked. “But on that account... hey, speak for yourself.”
“Hah! You doubt me?! I’ll bet there’s all kinds of guys here that would give anything for me to like them...”
“Really, now?” grinned James. “Name one...”
But before Ash could come up with any kind of answer, Shade stood up at the end of the table. “If everyone’s done, then I’d suggest we get to training... I’m sure Master Shi wouldn’t appreciate us being late...”
The other eight nodded in agreement, and they all arose and, after depositing their breakfast’s remains in the nearby trash bins, and then headed out of the cafeteria’s doors and off towards the front door of the academy, which led them outside to the front lawn of the academy. The bright sun’s warm rays shone down upon them as soon as they exited the building– which felt great, as compared to the slightly chilling atmosphere of the cafeteria from which they had just left. The lawn was covered in mid-morning dew, and the trees and sky were alive with the chirping and fluttering of a variety of birds that were, as Kay explained, native to the area. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, which was the opposite of the previous day, where the surplus of clouds had made the air outside feel a bit morose.
Out by the lawn, in the exact spot they had met the previous day, was Lao Shi. As they walked up, he nodded to them in recognition of their arrival, and then spoke first. “Good morning, students. I trust that you had an enjoyable first night and have obtained enough rest for our training today...”
“Yes, Master Shi. Well... most of us did,” Shade spoke for the group, glancing over at Ash and Raffi, who both averted their gazes to the ground in slight embarrassment..
“That is good to hear. Now, as I said yesterday, we shall now begin a continuation of the training we carried out before. However, since there is still much to do and limited time to do it in, I would like at this time for the remaining four students that have not participated yet– if I’m not mistaken, this would include Laura, Ashleigh, James, and Kay.” Lao Shi motioned for the four he had just named to step forward. And they all did so– slightly reluctantly, however, as they had recalled Raffi and Shade’s engagement with the fire-breathing robot from the day before. Would their training be as intense, as difficult? They sure did hope not, but it was all in Master Shi’s hands at this point.
“Dragon forms, please,” Lao Shi instructed, hinting that he wanted them to be ready for whatever he chose to be their opponent.
Quickly and amenable, all four of them morphed into their compelling alter egos, ready for the subtle enemy that they would soon face. Lao Shi once more wheeled his chair over to the control pedestal nearby, and then called over to them in as loud of a voice as he could muster. “Are you all ready, then?”
All four of them nodded in sync, signifying that they were all prepared. Some were getting the first real look at the others’ dragon forms– especially considering that, under the last circumstances in which they used them, it was difficult to get a good view of them, as they had been instead fighting for their lives. Everyone seemed to be most intrigued, it seemed, by James’s form, which was quite similar to that of the Dark Dragon’s– a dragon they had been taught to fight. Still, they decided to ignore this at this point, and looked back at Lao Shi.
“Alright,” Lao Shi began to explain their task, “in the last meeting we had, I spoke to you all on the importance of teamwork. Now, quick question– what comprises a team?” Upon seeing Raffi’s hand rise, he nodded to her. “Yes, Raffi?”
“Well... a team is, I guess, a group of people who are all devoted to the same cause... people who must and will work together for the benefit of themselves and possibly others... and a good team’s members will do almost anything for their teammates, no matter what the consequences might be,” Raffi said, the last few words seemingly directed towards one person in particular– and, at this point, everyone appeared to know who that ‘someone’ was.
“Hm, that is a decent definition, I would say,” Lao Sh said. “Would you all agree with what she has just said?”
“It sounded good to me,” nodded James. The others murmured in agreement.
“Yes, I would agree with her, too,” said Lao Shi. “There is more to a team, but Raffi named the main aspects. Now, perhaps you might be asking yourselves why I am speaking so much of teamwork?”
“Well, yeah... it’s getting kinda redundant, I guess,” Kate agreed.
“Yes, well... if I told you why right now, I probably would begin to run out of lessons to teach you, so we shall speak more on this topic after the four of you complete your training session. Now,” he pressed one of the buttons on the pedestal, “let us begin.”
Much akin to the entrance that the robot Raffi and Shade had fought had made, eight small, metallic podiums rose from the lawn, each with an even smaller, robotic-looking, eight-legged creatures. They appeared to be approximately the size of a small dog, and seemed to be mere robotic spiders, complete with dull green eyes that barely even showed any sign of life. (Not that the robots were alive, that is.) The moment the pedestals stopped rising, the spiders scattered, scuttling across the lawn, and then formed a two-by-four rectangular shape, with each spider separated from the others next to them by about twenty feet. Ash, Kay, James, and Laura noticed that, in relation to the other features on the lawn (such as the trees), the spiders had formed these lines at about mid-lawn, where there were no other possible obstacles in their vicinity.
The four dragons stared at this strange unfolding, and then back at Lao Shi. “Um... Master Shi,” asked James, “what exactly are we supposed to do?”
“Have patience. Why don’t you turn back around and see your opponents now...”
They did, and were taken aback by another arcane happening. The dull green eyes of the spiders had now emitted a long, piercing green laser-light, one from each eye. Then, the spiders began to move slightly, basically rotating around where they sat, so that the lasers were like spotlights, and they formed a sort of gauntlet in between them– what with the lasers covering many parts of the area between them– aerial and on the ground– and could be inferred as much akin to that of a gauntlet in which a man would run through a narrow row of people, as each would beat the runner with belts and other sharp, stinging objects. And, every so often, one of the spiders would turn 180 degrees to its rear, and would shine its lasers there for a split second– so as to, it seemed, ward off any attacker that might be approaching it from the rear.
The four dragons looked on in dismay and in awe. These lasers would surely hurt– why else would they be utilized? Were they to attempt a flight through the spiders?– maneuvering through these obstacles on their way to the end of the course?
This seemed to be the common inference by the students, but, before they could carry out this supposed action, Lao Shi spoke once more, “Here is your task. Those spiders are, obviously, equipped with two lasers– so there are sixteen beams in total. Your job is to destroy, or at least inactivate, the spiders, thus ceasing the laser beams.”
They nodded. It didn’t sound easy, but it made sense...
“Now, a few quick precautions. First and foremost– prolonged skin exposure to these lasers is quite undesirable. To be quite blatant, try not to be hit by them at all, for it may cause a great deal of pain, and you might be sent to the infirmary, if need be. Let’s pray that it does not come to that...”
“Also, you may notice that, every once in a while, the spiders turn their lasers to the area behind them. This is done to prevent any sneak-attacks from behind– so do not think that you will be able to simply walk up behind them. It will not be that easy.”
The four dragons all let out a collective groan. Well, of COURSE it wouldn’t be that easy– in fact, at that moment, it looked near-impossible! Still, they knew that they would be necessary to finish this task– and, of course, the other four dragons in the group had completed their training sessions. How would it look to Lao Shi if they were to not able to do as he had commanded? Not good, that was for sure.
And so, the dragons formed a tight huddle, as they attempted to plot out their courses of action. “Does anyone have any great ideas?” James asked, his face buried in his hands.
“Well... I’m not sure how it benefits you guys,” spoke Kay, “but I– well, my whole clan, actually– can run extremely fast on all fours, faster than just about any dragon can fly. I think that, if I can get a large enough head-start, I might be able to take out an entire row of the spiders from the rear, before their lasers can turn around and hit me.”
“Nice!!” said Ash. “Do you think you could take out the other row too?”
“Um... I’m not so sure that I should...,” replied Kay. “I mean, this is supposed to be a team effort... how would it look to Master Shi if I did all the work? He’d probably be a little disappointed with all of us...”
“Yeah, you have a point there. Well... so what can the rest of us do??”
“Well, I don’t mean to brag,” grinned James, “but I, in my previous training, have honed some decent aerial techniques in terms of being able to maneuver through obstacles such as these... so I think I might be able to help out pretty well.”
“Good for you two, then,” Ash said. “But that stills leaves Laura and I, and we don’t exactly have some ‘special ability’ to help us...” Laura nodded in agreement.
“I have an idea,” said James. “Kay can take out the first row– four spiders. I can work on the middle two in the other row, and you two can work on one each– the two on the ends of the row. That way, you’ll only have to worry about one spider and can focus on it all your attention. Fair enough?”
“Guess so,” mumbled Laura.
“Okay, it’s settled, then!” said Kay, straightening up as if she was about to leave the huddle. “Let’s try and do this as quickly as we can– I want to try and impress Master Shi!”
“Alright! You guys ready?” James asked Ash and Laura. They nodded slowly.
They sprang into action, Kay setting herself up about twenty feet from the nearest row. She seemed to relapse into a strong mental concentration, staring ahead at the row of four spiders she was to take out. James took his place high in the sky, well above the reach of the lasers. He positioned himself above the two spiders he was to defeat, and seemed to be plotting his next move– it looked as if, at that point, he was going to attempt a kamikaze-like attack on his opponents, although this could only be inferred at this point. Laura and Ash, meanwhile, stood well-behind their respective spider, with unsure looks on their faces– as if they still were unsure of how to do what they were about to do.
Kay decided to go first. She dropped to all fours, and every muscle in her body seemed to tense up. After a few moments of this, she, quite suddenly, sprang forward, and began running at a speed that would rival even the fastest animals on earth. Running to the left side of the row of spiders (the side that was usually behind the aim of the lasers), she reached and stretched out her right claw. Soon, she was a black-and-blue blur, and almost seemed to fly past the row of spiders. Upon running past the final spider, she skidded (and I use this term quite literally) to a halt, and spun back around to see the damage she had caused.
The onlookers watched in awe as the heads of the spiders slid off the torso and fell to the ground. The lasers ceased to shine after this, and the spiders’ bodies began to spark and malfunction. Kay grinned triumphantly, and stared up in James’s direction, as if to say ‘Your turn.’
James surprised everyone by diving headfirst right into the crossfire of the lasers. Of course, without the spiders on the other side of the gauntlet, this was slightly easier to do– but it still looked difficult. He put on quite a show– turning end-over-end over the lasers’ aims, avoiding some with only inches to spare... although even then, he seemed to be avoiding them with such a grace that it almost appeared as if he was not even the least bit worried that he would ever be hit. Suddenly, he almost seemed to hover in-between the two middle spiders, and let loose a huge black flame– first at the one on the left, and then quickly at the one on his right. He then flew vertically upwards, and then hovered above to see if he had accomplished his task.
As it turned out, he had. While the spiders themselves were not destroyed (as with Raffi and Shade’s robot, they were immune against fire-type attacks), the blast he emitted had melted and destroyed the laser-wielding green eyes. So, after this, the spiders began to run around blindly, as they could not see a thing. They ran into the aim of the remaining spiders’ lasers, and were then destroyed.
James laughed. “Wow, I wasn’t expecting for that to happen... alright, Ash and Laura! Bring it on home!”
Laura laughed nervously. “Easy for him to say,” she muttered, and turned to Ash. “Well... you ready?”
“I’m just about as ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s do this.”
“Yeah, okay... do we have a plan?” asked Laura.
“Not really. Just sprint in there and try to take them out– I think I’m gonna try what Kay did– knock off its head or something. That look, like, ten times easier than what James did.” said Ash.
“Sounds good; I think I’ll try that too. You ready?”
The two dragons took off– flying low to the ground. They were approaching the spiders from the rear, so they didn’t have much time before the lasers turned to their direction. They would have to work quickly.
They both reached the spiders at the same time, and feverishly began their attempts to destroy their opponents. Laura had been preparing for her arrival beforehand, and, like Kay, already had a claw outstretched before she reached the spider. With one powerful slash, she beheaded the spider, rendering it immobile and unable to shoot its lasers anymore. Now, there was only one remaining– the four dragons had almost defeated it!
But Ash, for whatever reason, had not done as Laura had done. She instead stopped behind the spider, and seemed to be rethinking what she had planned to do. She raised a claw, intending to strike the spider from the rear.
However, just as she was about to do so, the spider’s lasers turned onto her, and she was stricken in the arm by the right laser. Ash cried out in pain, and staggered back, clutching her left arm in protest. She, shortly after, fell backwards onto the ground, and cried out once more.
“Ash, no!” Laura rushed to her side. James and Kay joined her– Kay first taking out the final spider quickly, as to avoid any more injuries.
“Ash! Are you okay? C’mon, talk to me!” yelled James, grabbing her unhurt arm and clutching it tight.
“Damn, it hurts!!” moaned Ash, reverting back to her human form, in hope that her injury would be gone. Unfortunately, it was still there– and now it hurt more than ever. (In her dragon form, she had a higher tolerance for pain.) The other three, too, became their human selves, and a few moments later, Shade, Raffi, Kate, and Jay joined them as well.
“We saw what happened,” Shade said. “Is she hurt bad?”
“I don’t know! She won’t take her hand off where it hit her!” exclaimed James.
Shade kneeled down next to Ash. “Ash, this is for your own good. You gotta let me see it...”
Fighting back tears, Ash slowly nodded. She removed her shaking hand from her arm, and revealed a deep-red gash, about the size of a baseball. The hand that she had been covering the abrasion with was covered in blood on the palm, and as soon as Shade had gotten a good look at it, she clamped that hand back over her wound.
“Ash, you’re gonna have to get your hand off of it,” Shade said. He turned to the other six kids. “Do any of you have something we could use for a tourniquet?”
“I have a handkerchief...,” Kate said, reaching into her jeans pocket and taking out a long, black handkerchief.
“That’ll do nicely, thanks,” said Shade. Upon taking it, he wrapped it tightly around Ash’s bleeding arm. “I need everyone to stand back, please,” he said. Everyone obeyed, and then Shade quickly changed into his dragon form. “Master Shi could not come out to see you because of the grass, so he gave me orders to take you to the infirmary. Okay?”
Ash grimaced, and nodded slowly.
“Alright.” Shade scooped up Ash in his arms. “Everyone else, Master Shi says that this ends training. You guys can go on inside for lunch... I’ll met you all in there.” And with that, he took off towards the academy. Lao Shi had already gone inside– likely heading down to the infirmary so that he could meet Shade and Ash there.
The six remaining students merely stood there for a few moments, seemingly attempting to absorb what had just happened and what Shade had just commanded them to do. Finally, Jay spoke, “Well, we might as well go on to lunch, then...”
And so they did, although not many words were spoken on the way there. Kay did speak to James at one point, however, saying something to the extent of, “Wow... Shade’s really becoming a great leader... first he saved Raffi, and now this!”
Once again, when the students entered the cafeteria, much of the tables already had occupants– just as it had been that morning for breakfast. The table that they had sat at that morning was once again vacant, and so the six of them took their seats there, and after setting down some of their things, went up to the line for lunch. Upon coming back, they found Shade, sitting there with his hands in his lap.
“Hey, guys...,” he greeted them, looking up so as to acknowledge them when they reached him.
“Hey, Shade...,” said Kay. “How’s Ash?”
“She’s gonna be fine,” Shade grinned. “That tourniquet really helped, according to the nurse. They’re gonna put something a bit more sterile on her arm, though, among some other things... and she might be back with us by dinner tonight.”
“That’s good,” nodded Raffi. “Will she be able to train with us, though?”
“I don’t know... Master Shi is staying with Ash right now, so he’s going to make the decision and let us know tonight...,” and when he said this, his eyes brightened. “Oh! That reminds me! First of all, our afternoon training session is cancelled because of all this...”
“Oh yeah!” laughed Jay, with a hysteric smile. Laura jabbed him in the side, shaking her head.
“...however,” continued Shade, “Master Shi did request that we meet in the lobby at seven o’clock tonight, for a short time. So... if you guys aren’t at all busy (and you really shouldn’t be), I’d recommend coming and listening to what he has to say. It may have something to do with our future training sessions, and maybe even of our assignments and missions once we leave the academy.”
“Alright... so we have some free time until then?” asked Kate.
“It would appear so. I have basically no idea as to what I’m gonna do now with all this time, but... you guys do, I’m sure.”
“Eh... not really,” James said. There came a sound of indifference from the rest of the group, signifying that they really had nothing to do either.
“Well... there still is a lot outside the academy that we haven’t seen yet... maybe we should do some exploring together...” suggested Raffi.
“You guys go on ahead...,” Jay said, “I think I’m gonna go rest upstairs for a bit.”
“You sure?” asked Laura, with a concerned look on her face.
“Oh... yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me...,” he replied. He stood up from the table, and put his hand on Laura’s shoulder. “I’ll see you later...” And with this, he exited the cafeteria.
“Okay then,” spoke Shade. “Do you guys wanna finish eating, and then head on outside?”
“Sounds good to me,” nodded Kate. And so, the six remaining dragon students went back to their lunches, hurrying slightly so that they could get outside as soon as possible.
A few minutes later, Kay felt a tapping on her shoulder. “I know I already asked you this earlier this morning, but... is this seat taken?”
Kay turned around to see Will once more, standing there behind her with a broad grin on his face.
“Um... no, it isn’t!” said Kay.
“Wow, you were actually able to answer me this time!” he laughed as he sat down.
“Yeah... sorry about that; you kinda caught me off guard.”
“That’s okay.” Will seemed to be looking around. “What happened to that friend of yours? The one that was sitting with you this morning...?”
“Oh, Ash? She had an... accident at training this morning.”
“Really? Wow, is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s fine... or so we’ve been told,” Kay trailed off. Then her eyes snapped into focus. “Oh, hey! There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you– why are you here at the academy?”
“Me? Well, I’m the same as many of the students here– I’m a wizard.”
“Wizard, as in, like, Harry Potter?”
“Shoot... Harry Potter’s got nothin’ on me...,” laughed Will.
“Haha... that’s awesome!” smiled Kay. She paused for a moment, looking thoughtful, before saying, “We’re about to go outside for a bit, because our training was cancelled. Would you... maybe... like to come along with us?”
“Well,” Will said, “my friends were going to the pool today, and I’m not really into that sort of thing, so... sure, why not?”
“Great! I think we’re about to leave now... everyone seems to be done eating.”
And they were. So, everyone stood up and walked from the table, on their way to the outdoors. They had formed a mostly tight mass of kids as they walked through the hallways, with Kay introducing Will to the other members of the group.
Soon, they reached the backdoor of the academy. Upon exiting the school, they came across a park-like atmosphere– which is what they had hoped for.
They stepped out onto the grass. “Hehe... you know what I’ll bet...?” spoke James to the group in particular.
“What?” asked Laura.
“I’ll bet that... if I was to say we were gonna play Tag, and I was to tell Kate that she was ‘it,’ she would NEVER catch me, or anyone else playing.”
“Hah... that’s a pretty dumb bet,” laughed Kate.
“Is it now?” James walked over to Kate. “Well... we’ll see about that. ‘Cause guess what?”
James patted Kate on the shoulder, and then sprinted away, laughing gleefully as he did so.
“You are SO dead...,” Kate yelled. She took off after.
“Oh! Count me in to play, too!” Laura exclaimed, joining them on the lawn. Will and Kay soon followed.
Shade grinned as he watched the game unfold. But then, he stared over at Raffi, who apparently had decided not to partake in this game. “Raffi... you okay?”
“Oh, um... yeah, I’m fine. I guess... I’m not usually too good at these kinds of games...,” replied Raffi, who almost seemed as if she had been startled by Shade’s arrival.
“Yeah... I’m not playing because I want to give the other guys a chance.. I mean, because of my totally awesome athletic abilities and all, and I don’t wanna be the glory-getter or anything...”
“I see...,” chuckled Raffi. She paused, and then said, “Hey, Shade?”
“Hm?” Shade grunted, as he eyed the game of Tag.
“There’s... something kinda important that I wanted to tell you...”
“Raffi, I already said it– you don’t need to thank me anymore for saving you!”
“But... that’s not what I was talking about...”
“Oh. Alright... um, what is it?”
“Well... I guess that it’s really hard to say, actually, but... the thing is, Shade, I feel like I might be...”
“You might be... what?” asked Shade with a bewildered look upon his face.
The warning had come from James, who was running towards them, with Kate hot on his heels. Not seeing Raffi, he smacked right into her, and the two of them fell to the ground.
Kate walked over to the grounded James and touched him on the head. “You’re it, superstar.” Laughing, she walked back over to the other players.
“Ehhhhh...,” James groaned, pulling himself up from the ground. “Sorry ‘bout that, Raffi...,” he offered a hand to help her up.
“Thanks...,” sighed Raffi. She took his hand and stood up.
“Wow, Raffi... are you psychic or something?” asked Shade.
“I don’t think so... why?”
“Well, you said that you ‘might be falling’... and then you fell. Wow... do you have any other visions?”
Raffi sighed heavily. “Uhhh... no. Never mind, Shade.”
Shade stared at her for a few moments, shrugged, and returned to watching the game.
After a few more minutes, the players were exhausted, and decided to call it quits. Everyone headed inside, back to their dorms.
“Well, I’m gonna go meet back up with my friends,” Will told Kay. “Maybe I’ll see you later...?”
“Sure... I hope so,” smiled Kay.
Will smiled back, waved, and headed off toward the pool.
Meanwhile, the six dragons continued off towards their dorms, but suddenly paused, for a door in the hallway had abruptly opened and had nearly hit Laura.
They were surprised to find that it was Jay that stepped out of it.
“...Jay?” asked Laura.
“Oh! Hi, guys! Haha, you scared me...”
“I thought you were going up to bed...,” said Shade skeptically.
“Hm? Oh, yeah... I was! But then... Atticus called and said that our parents had delivered our belongings, so I went to find him. I already got mine, though. Your guys’ stuff was sent over to the office, because you were outside. I’d suggest going and picking them up...”
“Ah... alright,” Raffi said. “Let’s go, then...”
And so, the seven of them set off to retrieve their belongings, and then would relax in their dorms for the remainder of the afternoon– awaiting the evening, when they would be updated on Ash’s condition, and to find out more of their duties at the academy.
Post by ADJLFanatic on Feb 15, 2007 21:57:21 GMT -5
Haaah, I think I might be falling? Wow, that's rich... Shade thinks Raffi's psychic. HAHAHA!!! *rofl* XD And omgizzle, Kay and Will. Why does it sound like that they're going to be together? AAAAH. SO MUCH LOVE. Yaaaayzz. And awww, poor Ash. The weirdo did have it coming. *patpat..run!!*
Anyway. WOW. NICE CHAPTER. I so can't wait for the next. HAHI'MSOHYPER. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LIKE UPDATED. *shakes* YOU. ARE. GREAT. WRITER. AAAAH! ...Update soon!
*Rubs Raffi's head* I WANT TO BE PHSYCIC TOO. XDD Verry nice chapter, and SHADE TO THE RESCUE. I liked it. And I could tell someone would step in to the who telling of luurrrvvv. :fup: Continue soon. NOW.
ICHTHYANDER: ADJL scored 635K likes on Disney plus in India, which is more likes than Kim Possible, because Kim Possible has 250K likes! Note that Disney plus has recently appeared in India, namely, on April 3!
Apr 12, 2020 7:43:35 GMT -5