Clashes and rattling of chains opened the following day for me. Several dragon with the help of half dragons, had begun to lift a large combination of chains and ropes towards the ceiling of the cave, causing a huge amount of noise in the process. They were building a complex net with those and left only two spaces free of them, while closing the opening between two of the larger pillars in the outer ring if of the cave. Those spaces weren't that large, half dragons and griffins still should be small enough to be able to fit through them with their wings being open. The cave itself was mostly empty besides the dragons with the net and the guards which were present around the clock.
Marko was awake already and sat besides Tanja, while chatting a bit. Nick too was there and tried to watch the work of the dragons with his flashlight. A short stretch, a yawn and the noises my armor made, caused Nick to hold it towards me, blinding me for a short second until he realized what he did. Marko and Tanja were apparently to deep in their chat, as neither of them seemed to notice that.
"Good morning everyone." I yawned again, while coming closer.
"Good morning Rob." Tanja replied, while to other two nodded, "Slept well enough in that armor?"
"Absolutely. It is more comfortable than it looks like and you?" I answered.
"Mostly good, though the noise woke us up to early. What are they doing anyway? Can't see anything without a light." Tanja replied with a bit annoyance in her voice.
"They're building a small racetrack for training." Marko explained, "We can't train while the patrols are up. Makes them a bit nervous and distracts them to much from their duty. The council decided to modify some of our supplies, so we have an area where we can train. At least a bit. Goes nothing about flying without restriction."
"In the middle of the night?" Nick asked confused.
"Well I don't actually now how late it is. Though I don't think that they'll do that. Actually I bet that it is past midday." Marko replied, "Which means that the canteen is open for sure and I really could need something to eat."
"That makes two of us." I added.
"Can we join? I too could am hungry and I bet Nick is too." Tanja asked, to which Nick agreed.
"Why not? Climb on our backs and we'll bring you down." Marko offered, which both happily agreed to.
We both helped them to climb onto our backs and waited for them to give a signal that they found something to hold on. Tanja had the easy turn on this one, as my armor provided several spots to hold on, while Nick hugged Markos neck. We dropped from the edge as they gave their ok and glided towards the tunnel which let into the canteen, avoiding several patrols on our way downwards.
A few groups of humans were already up and each was let by a half dragon, guiding them around through the cave. The look on their faces went in both directions. One half was amazed by their surroundings and the fact that they were living with dragons and other myths, while the other half went into the opposite direction. Though all of them were somewhat intimidated as they walked past the large armored dragons, avoiding direct eye contact.
Marko made his landing next to one group, which was about to enter the tunnel, followed by me afterwards. That disturbed the group a bit and caused the half dragon to growl slightly, but nodded regardless. Eyes were on all four of us and whispers arouse as we walked with them into the tunnel.
"Did you see that armor?" One said.
"Damn monsters." Came from another. Whispered but still hearable.
These comments went on until we reached the canteen and went into the side which was solely occupied by myths, while the humans and their guides went into the other half. The majority of the myths apparently were from the tower and shared our sleep rhythm. We went to the place I had eaten with Jason the day before and signalized the kitchen that we were there. Though it took some while with all the people around here and it wasn't the food that arrived at our place.
"Hi people, may I sit with you?" Martin asked, still in human form, "They doesn't need my help over there and I feel a bit lost without something to do."
"Be our guest." Marko replied and slipped a bit to the side, allowing Martin to sit down with us, "And they don't need you in there? Waste of talent over here."
"Ah it's ok. They are a team and know how to work together. I would disrupt their rhythm anyways." Martin explained and added a bit frustrated "Though I need something to do and I can't fly in this dark cave."
"No need for light if you can see in the dark." I chuckled to that comment, earning a few glares from the surrounding non dragons, "But yeah. I get your point."
"Well three tiers are lit and I'm grateful for that. Though the guards aren't so excited of that." Martin replied, while our meals finally arrived.
"Yeah. I noticed that too yesterday. The darkness is one of the many defenses of this city and should give us an advantage should anything happen. The guards naturally are angry about that, as it means more danger and work for them." Marko noted, while we were eating.
"Though won't be for long." A voice behind me said, while closing in towards us, "We'll sent the myths to their cities later and darken the cave when the last one leaves."
The voice belonged to Jason who stood behind me and watched examined his surroundings. He again wore the cloth he had worn yesterday and was in company of the black councilor, though he was more or less disinterested in the current scene.
"How comes?" Marko asked surprised.
"The others need to train too and we have to little space for all of them, not to speak of the danger which the caves and its darkness offers." Jason explained, "The councils have decided to split the schools for now and go on as normal. Which means that you all should collect addresses soon, because there will be no time when we open the portals."
"As if they needed them." The black councilor snorted.
"Ah shut your mouth Fonaar. That advise is from me and they may take it or not." Jason snapped at Fonaar and both went out of the canteen afterwards, practically yelling at each other.
"Well and there I thought we would had have more time with each other." Tanja said sadly, "Was as good as it lasted, except the part with 'the Others'."
"Yeah me too." I replied, "Though I hope that it's a while until your departure and that we find something to write. I for sure can't remember such things for long."
"Me neither." Nick laughed, "I have Tanja for that. Note such things on my phone normally but that's still in the plane."
"If it's still intact that means." Marko mentioned, "The attack could have destroyed it and we still are focusing on the tower. Which leaves the possibilities open for the moment."
The rest of the meal was quickly devoured, chatting about other topics. It lightened the mood a bit, but the imminent parting put some dampener on it. Marko and I left after some time, talking about the plan for today and promised them to give my farewell should the time come. The work with the nets at the ceiling was finished by now, leaving a racetrack in shape of a U and the cave in a welcome silence.
"Ah good they finished their work." Marko said, "It's time for a bit fitness and flight training. We.."
"Marko!" Jim yelled, as he landed next to us, "Jason has news about the tower and Arthur. He wants to talk with us about this."
"Ok, let me just finish with Rob." He answered and looked to me again, "Fly twenty rounds, more if you feel like it. I'll try to return before you finish and have fun."
"Great." I said to myself as both of them flew towards the council. I was about to start as the half dragons of my circle landed next to me, chatting with each other.
"Oh good morning Rob, or evening. Which is more fitting." Monica said and the others nodded, "How are you?"
"Fine, except for the twenty rounds I have to fly. That will take the whole day." I huffed, "And you?"
"Better than you apparently. Though Jessica and I have to visit the armory later." She replied not very excited, "Hope is doesn't takes as long as I fear."
"You'll see." Frank said, "You are smaller than Rob. I bet it takes not half as long."
"Still to long." Jessica snorted, "Lets go. I want to have this over as fast as possible."
"Well, have fun then Rob." Linh added, "Hope it won't take as long."
"You could join, it's not so boring with someone." I offered hopefully.
"I would love to, but Jim had some sparring in mind for Frank and Me." She replied, "See it this way. You can choose your pace. Would hate to sprint through this."
"I get your point." I replied thoughtfully, "Still annoying though."
They gave me their farewell and went on, leaving me with my task of flying. Nothing against that. But doing the same thing over and over again, didn't excite me that much.
I took of and headed for a random point in the track, thinking about the oncoming task and the situation at hand. The track itself was wide enough to allow wide curves and added enough height to drop or rise a few meters. I came past one of the holes in the nets and it surely was meant for half dragons. One hole was big enough to fit the whole wingspan of one though it was close, but way to small for me and my wingspan.
The first round was done after a few minutes and I was about to begin the second as a roar from below me got my attention. Fonaar was approaching and stopped next to me, forcing me to back up a bit. He surely had an angry look on his face and snarled from time to time. A quick look around of him ended on me and I gulped as he came a bit nearer.
"Well well well what do we have here. Looks like a whelp with a task." He snarled further, "How about we make this whole think a bit more interesting."
"And that would be?" I asked cautiously.
"You'll chase me and this whole thing will end should you catch me." Fonaar answered arrogantly, "Though you'll notice that this may not be as easy as it seems."
"And if I don't want to?" I asked further.
"Then we'll see how much that nice clean armor of yours can withstand." He snorted, as he started, "On it! Catch me whelp!"
He flew away and I followed as fast as I could. Granted he intimidated me a bit, but the chance to finish this task fast was alluring and how difficult could it be to catch a larger dragon?
Very difficult. Two flaps with his wings and he was way out of reach for me, causing me to flap mine faster to close in on him. Which proofed kind of useless as he jumped further away should I approach more than a few meters. This went on for the first two rounds, after which he started to taunt me. He even slowed down, allowing me to catch up, only to shot away shortly after. I bet that this wasn't his first time doing this, as he knew where to push and he managed it to get me furious enough to follow him further, using every chance he offered me.
Sharper turns around the pillars and faster flapping of my wings were helpful for a while, but were exhausting after a short time. He flew half a round in front in the meantime, still taunting and laughing at my useless tries to catch him. But I kept flying and followed him regardless of the outcome. Anger had been replaced by eagerness, boredom by determination and I only focused on one thing. Catching this arrogant dragon!
Blood rushed though my body and the world shrank until nothing but this track and Fonaar remained, with me pursuing him. Round after round we flew, sharpening the turns even further with only centimeters to spare. We switched heights from time to time, roared at each other and even breathed fire. Everything only to distract our opponent.
Our chase went on and on, way past the twenty rounds as my back began to hurt and my wings began to become heavier, while his stamina didn't seemed to decrease at all. Panting had started a while ago and my body heated more and more up, making it more difficult to navigate. I had to take the curves in a bigger radius and slowed down more and more, giving my opponent an additional advantage. Though I wouldn't stop until I got him, this thought was everything that held me in the air at the moment.
"What's up Whelp?" He taunted further, "Are we getting exhausted?"
I didn't reply to that, saving my energy for a last push. Every round repeated itself with me flying down into the U-turn and him being on the opposite side of the wall, where he would slow down to roar at me again. Though I had a different plan this time, one that surely must surprise him.
The last turn ended, leaving me with my target in front of me. Straight in line with me and one of the small holes which are meant for half dragons. He slowed down as planned and again roared and laughed at me, taunting me for my slowness and exhaustion. Which abruptly stopped as I started a corkscrew, pressed wings and legs onto my body and shot straight through the hole, tackling Fonaar in the process.
"No!" He screamed in rage, throwing me away from him, "You little worm had to cheat to get me, now you'll pay."
I fell in the meantime, to exhausted to flap my wings or even glide with them. Leaving me to the mercy of Fonaar's rage, which surely would be unpleasant.
But neither did he get me nor did I fall to my death. Huge claws gripped me and gently carried me to the ground, while different roars were hearable. The claws connected to golden scales, which belong to someone I knew but couldn't name at the moment. My thoughts went slowly but steadily and began to replace my determination, allowing me to think about other things as pursing Fonaar.
I hadn't even touched the ground for more than a few seconds as several buckets of water were emptied above me, robbing my body of unnecessary heat and finally managed me to snap out of my trance. I shook my head and looked around slowly, still to exhausted to do more than that. Jason and the brass councilor were chasing Fonaar through the cave, while several half dragons continued to cool me down with water and a few medics stood ready to act should I pass out.
"Are you ok Rob?" Marko who was approaching asked.
"Not ssssure." I replied, after a minute of collecting the strength to answer, "How long did I chasssse him?"
"Three or four hours at max speed and without pause." He replied worried, "We let you fly as we noticed that you could take that, though we hadn't planed that Fonaar chased you afterwards. Nice move by the way."
"Which one. Sssstill a bit groggy." I asked, noticing the hissing.
"Your corkscrew. Amazing maneuver and something most wouldn't dare especially with your condition." Marko answered and stepped back as Jason arrived, who apparently managed it to scare Fonaar away.
"You pulled quite a stunt up there. Excellent work Rob, though you hadn't to do it. Fonaar wasn't allowed to train, nor to push you past your limits. Which in contrary are much higher than I had anticipated." Jason said cheerfully, "No more exercises for today, you earned your rest."
"Great, at leasssst one good thing." I huffed causing both to laugh, "Jasssson what'ssss with the hissssing, doessss that sssstop ssssometimessss? Pretty annoying."
"It should go away in a few minutes. It's the excitement, let that cool down and your hissing should go away." Jason explained chuckling, "I'll carry you to your cave if you like."
"That would be nicccce." I replied, "I'm tired enough to ssssleep while sssstanding."
Was what I wanted to say, but I only managed 'enough' before everything went dark and sleep took me in it sweet embrace. Though it went uneventful, but refreshing nonetheless. I awoke in front of my cave with the everyone around me and oddly enough a lot of empty buckets. My armor too laid next to me, stored on several scaffolds
"A look there, our champ wakes up." Was the first thing I heard, not sure who had said it.
"Slowly there Rob, take your time." Frank said with a bucket full of water in his hands. "Your circulation collapsed and I bet that you have sore muscles. Who wouldn't have after that race."
He was right about that, my back hurt and my wings weren't much better, though else I was fine. My legs were a bit weak, but tail and neck felt to be ok. The water looked alluring and my intention must have been easy to guess, as Frank held the bucket in a way I could drink out of. Satisfaction was reached after three more.
"That's enough thanks." I said this time without his, "How long was I out?"
"The whole last day." Nick said bluntly, "Jason tried to wake you up for almost an hour before he gave up."
That caused several snickers in the group, which stopped after a moment. There must have been more, than just trying. I in the meantime was pretty shocked that I was out for a whole day and amazed by the look of Jessica and Monica in their new armor.
"And else? Did I miss anything?" I asked further, but immediately regretting it by the looks on their faces
"The plane was destroyed on the attack. Our planed way of return ceased to exist, along with our stuff." Monica answered, "And Tanja, Nick and Stefan wish you well, they had to left yesterday despite their pleas to stay until you wake up. They left a note with their numbers here though."
"Great." I huffed, "Get raced into unconsciousness and miss the time my friends are leaving. Just great. Well at least I have their numbers to call them later."
"Marko has the note should you search for it." Jessica added, "By the way he wants to see you. He is down there in the plaza and talks to the humans the whole time. Said he needs something from you."
"Well I should go then. No need to keep him waiting I guess." I thought out loud, "Nice armor by the way ladies."
That did the trick as both of them looked away shyly and it was a safe bet that both would be bright red by now, if scales would allow that. The way down was a bit boring and I would have preferred to glide, but I didn't trust my wings that much at the moment. Patrols flew past me and a lot of dragons were asleep in their caves. Getting back to my old sleeping rhythm was one of the things that were on top of my list, only second place behind returning to my parents and only close in front of flying again.
Lights were off on most of the lower tiers and only remained on at the plaza and tier one, illuminating the humans that stood around Marko. It weren't that many, but enough to cause Markos head to swing around on a frequently basis. A slight look of relieve sneaked on his face as I came in sight and he nodded as I stopped near him, while answering another question from the humans.
"Yes, we are as old as the human race. If not older as some claim." He said to someone in the crowd, "And yes. We hate the though about conflicts, but we won't hesitate to defend us should we have to."
"How comes that we never noticed that you exist?" Another asked.
"Oh you have. Think about it. Myths about us existed since centuries and as such doesn't come from nowhere. At least the good ones." He sighed, apparently repeating the answers already, "Has anyone a question that don't has something to do with us being myths or if we can breath fire?"
"Is it to late to join you?" A woman asked and earned strange looks for it.
"That's a very good question, though I may not be able to answer it this time. As it is no. We select people over the years and ship them to an isolated place. We call this the circle and it repeats every three years." Marko explained, "Though our current situation may change that, but no promises here."
"Is this the dragon who fainted yesterday?" Another asked.
"Yes I am." I answered, "Though I bet you too were after that torture."
"Why aren't you monster eating us?" Someone yelled.
"Do you have this question often?" I asked Marko who again sighed.
"Every single group and sometimes even twice." He replied, "Though this group is better than most, but very jumpy about topics. Someone else?"
"When can we go home?" A man in the first row asked.
"The very moment the councils gives their go. Our plan got screwed up and we plan to let you free as quick as possible." Marko answered, "As for now it's important that you wait and enjoy our hospitality."
This game went on for half an hour until Marko released them and we got time to talk ourselves. Though we had to get onto the second tier to be alone, as some of the humans didn't stop to ask questions and walked with us until we vanished into the dark.
"Good thing that is over for today." Marko started relieved, "Had my fare share and I know why Jim didn't wanted to continue. You wouldn't believe what questions they ask."
"I think it's better that I don't know any." I said, "Jessica said you would need something from me?"
"Your help with the groups. Though not today anymore." He sighed again, "You're free to do what you want for today. Jason wanted something too, but your sleep somewhat prevented that and he's in council meetings now ."
"Free time and sore wings great." I huffed amused, "Well then. Here I come canteen. I'm in need for a good steak."
"Have fun with that." Marko chuckled but yawned afterwards, "I'm tired and need a bit of sleep. Train a bit with magic if you want to kill time."
"Good idea! Will do." I said, "And have a good night."
"Thanks Rob. We'll continue tomorrow." He yawned as he flew away.
The idea was not bad and I surely had enough objects in it to practice. I hadn't used it for days and improvement is always good, especially if you need it. Something I forgot about was the swarm of humans, who were approaching as I came into a better lit area. Wings would be quite handy now and I thought about using them for a second, but went against it eventually. The way from the ramp to the canteen takes about five minutes on foot and that, I thought, was manageable.
How wrong I was. Each one of them bombarded me with questions and non of them seemed to grow tired of it while I was on my way. I reached the canteen annoyed and frustrated, but in one piece and most of the humans stayed out as they noticed that it was full with the following change of guards. Most of them nodded towards me as I searched for a empty place and a meal was organized shortly after.
I left the canteen half a cow later, followed by some guards who were at the start of their patrol. The meal had helped a lot and my wings didn't feel as heavy as before, hopefully allowing me to bypass the humans. They were already waiting and used the time to interrogate other dragons on their way down. I managed to skip two tiers and landed in the dark of the third, away from the danger of being asked to death, though I still had a long way in front of me.
It took an hour to reach the highest tier, skipping every second tier. I practically jumped over it to spare my wings from unnecessary movement and looked around to find the library. It stood to the right and had two large places to train between it and the armory, followed by a whole lot more training places. Though the actual library took in almost a third of the space up here and that didn't included the size it was in the inside.
The layout matched the one in the tower, but here we had row besides row with enough place for one to hover in between. The system they sorted their books too was similar and it didn't take much time to find the book I was looking for. A more detailed version about or powers and it was for easy to read for starters on top of that. Other dragons stood were they had pulled their books out, causing me to shrug and do the same. The few half dragons on the other hand were sitting in comfortable looking chairs in a zone which was meant for reading.
The book was a bit heavier to handle and it took me several tries to get it to hover in front of me, causing a few suppressed chuckles along the line. It became easier as I opened it and started to read, though I still hadn't the training to let it hover without thinking about it. I started to read through it and pushed my thoughts more and more into the book, trying to withdraw as much attention from the book as possible. That did the trick after a while, whereas the content of the book became clearer with every minute and I had stopped thinking about the book by chapter nine, concentrating on new things to do with my powers.
Time didn't really play a role in this cave and I was deeply studying before a voice from the side ripped me out of my trance. Which was funny, as I never really focused that much on studies. It was kind of surprising that two more books with references were hovering beside the book I started to read.
The voice again turned out to be Jason again, though this time not in company of Fonaar. Something I was quite glade about. A white half dragoness was with him this time, who wore some kind of Kevlar armor instead of the bulky one everyone else was wearing. An emblem on her shoulder showed two dragon wings, which were connected through an eye in the middle and three stars above it. Her stance somewhat suggested that she was either a higher person in the guard or at least in the army.
"Good morning Rob. How are your wings?" Jason began, causing me to gasp as I realized which time we had, "Up all night eh? Though it doesn't really surprise me after the long nap you took. Anyways, may I introduce you to Miranda? She is the captain of our newly founded scout division and would like to talk to you about a proposal. Miranda?"
"Good day Mr. Newr." She began and smiled slightly, seeing my surprised look. "Or is Rob better?"
"Please go with Rob, I'm not really used to be addressed to with my surname." I replied in unease.
"As you wish. I witnessed your little stunt yesterday and talked with Jason about it." She continued, "We want to test if you can pull that of again. We need a bit of brute force in our teams and I can't let go of a chance to get my claws on an agile dragon."
"Straight to the point? What would be my tasks in it and how would it affect my normal life?" I asked curiously.
"Surveillance of an area, collection of information and extraction from persons of importance. To name a few. We work in the dark and we don't favor to fight if we can avoid one. As for your normal life. You'll work for the time you're here and I'll put you on the list afterwards. It means that you're on call when you are at home. We'll transport you here should something happen." Miranda explained, "The momentary situation could be such a case and I need the manpower."
"So I can live normally, but must come should something happen?" I asked.
"Yes, we know about your coming studies and will try to keep you out of duty as best as we can, but no promises that we can avoid this every time. The Others weren't that aggressive in decades and I fear that it'll get worse over the time." She answered, "And before you ask. We'll naturally pay for your work and you'll get half of it on your off time. Enough to pay your studies and live from the remains."
"Sounds good so far. When would you like to test me?" I asked, causing Jason to snicker.
"I'll must organize a few things before we can start." Miranda answered, "Wait at your cave and put your armor back one, I need you in it anyways."
With that she trotted out of the library, letting me and Jason stand there. The books returned to their places afterwards, while Jason waited for me to be ready.
"She surely know how to pick her crew." Jason chuckled, "Are you sure that you want to join?"
"Won't hurt if I try." I replied shrugging, "Besides I must do something and scouting was something a liked in the army anyways."
"Your call." Jason said, "Now lets get the armor on, that surely will take a while."
The time in the library was enough for my wings to be fully usable again, which made the way back to my cave a matter of minutes. Though it got me thinking about how long I was in there. Frank and Linh were standing in front of the neighboring cave and watched our approach, but were to slow to vanish and of such were helping to put my armor on. It still took a while and they had to take a few plates of several times until everything fitted as it should.
"Geez. I hope our isn't as difficult to handle as his." Frank muttered and added, "Our turn with the armory today."
"Have fun then." I repeated smiling, "I'm sure the other two explained what awaits you up there."
"Oh they have and I'm not really looking forward for it." Linh said, shivering a bit.
Frank and Linh left after a short while and headed for the canteen, closely followed by Monica and Jessica. Jason too left after half an hour and headed to a meeting, while mumbling something about a hearing against Fonaar. I waited there in the meantime, while taking a nap. But only for a short time as a tingling in my nostril woke me up, causing me to sneeze and I burned a small area in front of me. A quick glance around, snarling, showed that it was Miranda who did it.
"No sleep at work Rob." She said, "Now. Would you follow me please? There are a few things I want to test and not as much time as I would like to have for it."
She took of and I followed her closely, leaving only meters to spare, as we rose above the patrols and other fliers. The net had changed over the time I was asleep, as the track changed from the U-form to a simple round track. The space outside the net was used for racing, while the one in the middle was occupied by some kind of slalom track. Which itself was separated into three lanes, with different spaces between obstacles. The obstacles were fixated by a few chains and weights, while the whole thing had a giant net below should one fall. Two lanes were already occupied by half dragons who wore similar armor as Miranda and all of them darted around the obstacles with different velocities. We both though hovered at the empty lane, which still looked somewhat difficult for someone of my size.
"Isn't this a bit small for me?" I asked confused.
"There is enough place for you to fly, but only barely." Miranda answered, "Don't try to think while flying through, let your instincts act as you let them yesterday. Jason and I are sure that you can do this one easily and the next one with a bit of effort. Try it and you'll see."
"I'll. Though it may take a while." I replied, took a deep breath and began.
The first few obstacles were easy to bypass. The space between them was wide enough to allow a few corrections and made it simple to pass through. Though this ended with the forth. Space for corrections became rarer and almost vanished after the sixth, causing me to pass in a way that non were necessary. It work until the tenth obstacle, where I rammed it and hit the next one behind. I landed in the net below after a short drop and Miranda was near me before I knew it.
"Excellent Rob. Wouldn't have thought that you make it past the fifth." She said with a strange excitement in her voice.
"I thought I could do the first lane easily?" I asked confused, while regaining height.
"I lied a bit there. Full dragons normally aren't that agile to switch their path that fast." She replied, laughing, "You thought you could do it and you did. Well almost."
"Well. Thanks I guess." I huffed in reply, "Should I try it again?"
"Why, yes! Try as often as you like and I'll watch." She answered, "You're in if you make it."
I returned to the start and tried it again, inspired by this revelation. It went better this time and I managed it to fly past the eleventh before I crashed again, but didn't stop there. Try after try I became better, though some failed spectacularly and I was past the fourteenth obstacle before I knew it. Now only one remained. A hole with the size of a half dragon.
My first two tries ended with me hanging in it, my third was canceled as I missed the hole and the fourth again ended in the net. Activity at the other lanes had pretty much ceased by now and everyone was watching as I tried to fly through something that was way to small for me. I didn't even noticed it as I only had eyes for the lane and the last obstacle.
I began anew, past the first and second obstacle. Pressed my left wing onto my side for a second to pass the third and swung around to avoid the fourth. A short drop cleared the way past the fifth and a sudden climb across the sixth, leaving me with a narrow gap for seven and eight. I went through them with a quick flip to either sides and swung around the ninth, almost feeling the metal on my hide. Ten and eleven were avoided by another pair height changes, followed by a sharp turn to the right around the twelfth. Thirteen and fourteen leaded into extremely narrow turns, which pushed my back into it bendable limits. This time though I took the momentum with me, shot out of the last turn and repeated the move I used on Fonaar, without thinking.
The crowed cheered as I flew through it and I let out a loud roar of victory, as I dug my claws into the net opposite to the hole. Excitement flew through me again as Miranda arrived, who herself held onto the net beside me.
"Welcome to the team Rob." She said with a celebrating voice, "Hope you had as much fun as we had."
"I ssurely had." I replied, trying to suppress the his as good as possible, "Next time I'll try the ssecond one."
"We'll see about that." She laughed, "Now come. Your emblem is missing and you earned it."
She guided me towards the armory where Charles worked at Linhs armor. Linh didn't look that excited and I snickered as I imagined here with the white glowing metal on her head. Frank and Issac weren't around and I was pretty sure, that they were sealing Franks claws. Charles sent us further into the armory and on of the engravers began to work with one of my armor plates, slowly pulling fine but visible lines in the strong metal. The emblem was engraved after a few minutes and we left the armory again, after Miranda gave her thanks to the engraver and Charles.
"Now we only need to find you a squad." Miranda explained as we were in the air again, "And I think I know in which one I put you into."
We arrived in front of a larger hall on the opposite side of the cave and entered it after Miranda had opened the large doors which let into it. The hall was more of a lobby that separated into two more halls. One that let towards draconic intelligence and one to the scout division. Both were crammed with electronics of all kind and I had to be careful not to touch anything accidentally. Even a large map of the world was in here, marked with different notes about hideouts and knows stations of the 'Others'. Each of the work spaces were occupied by three half dragons, each working at their computers and processing data.
"How do you manage to stay in contact with the upper world? Jason said that there were no direct connections." I asked confused.
"There aren't. We get our data from hard drives, which arrive through our personal portal." Miranda explained as we walked past several stations, earning me a few irritated looks, "It may not be the most optimal way and a respond to emergencies is slow at best, but better than nothing in any case."
"I see. But what do I do here? I can hardly work at a computer and I take up to much space." I replied.
"You are meeting your teammates in the ready room. Those who get us the data we need." She explained further, "The 'Others' are pushing and I need at least one team that can operate. Your task in this case would be to defend the other two while they do their job."
The hall connected to a smaller intersection which itself let to a larger room, full of books, consoles and other thinks to kill time. Only two half dragons were in it at the moment and both were sitting around lazily. The one sat at a table and worked on a laptop, while the other laid on the coach and painted on his tablet computer.
Both had scale colors I hadn't seen before, though I couldn't decide if that was the most interesting part or the fact that both had hair on their heads. The one on the couch had gray scales, though some patches that were lit, somehow did shine in a pearly coloration and ranged from all mixes of blue and green. The scales on his belly had a similar effect, though they were much brighter. His head featured a larger pair of horns which stuck out of the back of it and a smaller one which emerged at the tip of his muzzle. Two more grew out of the middle of his wings. Orange markings on his neck and head added to his look, while the spade at the end of his tail seemed fitting. Pointy ears and the brown hair seemed to be out of place at first, but only for a short time. His friendly smile underlined his whole appearance.
The other half dragon, too had gray scales but in a darker shade and without the shimmering effect of his teammate. His belly though was white and a small line of orange did separate the colors of the belly and the rest of his body. He featured no horns, but a thick mane of brown hair on his head and he too had pointy ears. A noticeable difference was that he still wore clothes beneath his armor, which consisted out of a red shirt and a blue jeans. A small object stuck out off one of his pockets and looked almost like a smaller screwdriver.
Both looked up from their work as we entered the room, filling the room with a tense but peaceful silence.
"Rob may I introduce. Edge and Rekalnus." Miranda said after a few seconds, "Edge and Rekalnus. This is Rob. He'll work with you from now on.
"Pleased to meet you two." I greeted unsure, "Hope that I don't cause that much trouble in the beginning."
"You'll be fine. Everyone started this sometimes and no one was master in it from the beginning." Rekalnus replied, "To be honest. I'm work here since one and a half year and still haven't figured everything out. Same with Edge here."
"The whole division is new and the tasks for us a far from being polished, though I don't mind a bit." Edge added, "Just do what we do and you should be fine, mostly."
Both laughed at that comment and we began to chat eagerly together. Miranda left halfway through as pressing matters erupted.
"Now tell us Rob. What did you do before turning into a dragon?" Edge asked.
"Mostly school and work. Had planned to visit a university after the holidays." I answered, "Lets say the holidays didn't quite work out as planned."
"Neither did ours, didn't it Edge?" Rekalnus chuckled, causing both to laugh again, "Though we were traveling on a boat back then. Oh and you may call me Rex if you like."
"So much happened in the three years since we turned." Rex sighed, "I opened a small hideout in the south of phoenix. Was a nice little hangar and quite a relaxing place to stay. Though it didn't really work for long."
"The 'Others'" I asked cautiously.
"Yes. They found us and destroyed the whole place afterwards. We evacuated quickly enough and no one was hurt, though we had to retreat into the cities." Rex explained, "Am here since two years and eagerly waiting to return to the surface for longer as a few hours."
"Same here, mostly. They attacked one of the hideouts I was in, though we could escape before they got us. I traveled across the earth for a while and settled here afterwards. Rex got me into the scout division." Edge continued further, "Though a bit of action would be good sometimes. Our last trip was two days ago."
"No worries about me being a full dragon?" I replied curiously.
"Miranda wouldn't have picked you if she wasn't sure about you." Rex answered, "It's good enough for me and I'm quite interested into your performance."
"Me too." Edge added, "The little stunt you pulled yesterday was great and the look on Fonaar's face was priceless. You know what? Lets head down into the canteen and celebrate a bit. Nothing much to do anyways."
The idea was great and we headed towards it after both had packed away what they were using. We sat there for hours, chatting about out lives. Marko and Frank, who wore the standard armor, joined us a bit later. Though the atmosphere didn't hold for long, as Miranda approached. She held a piece of paper in her claws, which she handed to Frank and then sent him and Marko away, leaving us waiting for a reason.
"Gentleman, welcome in very active duty." She opened coldly, "We received various reports about myths who attacked innocent humans in plain side of others. Furthermore they simultaneously captured every relative of the passengers of flight PDG-894."
"Does that mean what I guess it means?" I asked shocked.
"Yes. The councils openly declared war." Miranda answered pluntely, "And Rob. They have your parents."