Chapter 27. Jona Hates Logs
Every one, dragon and human, male or female dragged in after six hours to eat lunch.
The Green Wizard stood in the door with his arms crossed, having watched the chaos that was the effort to put the logs in the holes.
They had pushed, pulled, used ropes and the water dragon- twice the size of a normal full grown male human and named after his ancestor, Kraken- used knots to keep the ropes from slipping.
Big levers made from saplings the students rolled, dragged, sledged, wedged the logs into place.
Each one of the students were tired to their core, on the eating tables behind the Green Wizard, piles of mashed potatos, vegetables that steamed with fresh salted butter sitting in bowls, large meat-plates with fish and roast-beast.
“Stop!” The green leaves in his beard trembled with the force of his command. “You have failed the test. Only six of twelve I see are in place as directed.”
“But sir,” Jona spoke. “They are larger than all of us.”
Jona spoke the truth. One log was so large across that he could stand at the cut end and rest his chin on the bark, and his toes would barely be at the ground.
And for a human, Jona grew into a tall youth. The tree, the Wizard alluded that it was a branch off the main trunk in his lectures, was enormous.
And yet, the Green Man tapped his leaf-sprouting staff on the ground, and the succulent foods… vanished.
Replaced with pitchers of ice water, weak teas and bread. Cheeses on plates, but only just enough.
In the glen, each log lifted out of their respective holes and floated up to the landing on the hill above and neatly stacked themselves.
The old man did not need them to do the work, it was a test, as he said.
“I instructed each of you to work as a team, to use your strengths. And yet?” He looked to each and every one of the small class of students. “You spend all your time crawling around in the mud like children, getting aches and pains, covered in slime, bugs, fungus.”
The Wizard plucked a mushroom out of the hair of a human girl, Zeva, and sniffed it.
“Death’s head mushroom. Very deadly. But not ready for class. That’s next week.” He said, tossing it to the earth, where it walked back to where it came from.
“Precocious young fruit, that was. Rather persnickety.” Then looking back at the class. “You will eat what is on your plates and no more. Then return to the hill again. There will be a six-hour test again, no breaks. Twelve logs, one in to each hole. Then you can eat the meals of champions, but not until you have finished to my satisfaction.”
The eyes of the Green Wizard passed over each grimy and exhausted face of the students.
“But mister Wizard, the day has been long now.”
“Then go home. You wish to learn about each other, every dragon lives on the wish of human, every human lives as long as a dragon wills it. No one can live without the other in this world, some humans have taken upon themselves to rid the world of dragon-kind. They will kill other humans in the hunt for dragon. You must find a way to work together. “ He looked around “Go eat. I will lecture while you are in there.”
They all filed in. The bread was fresh and warm with a crackly crust of herbs and salt crystals. A woman came in and carried plates of bread, putting a large slice on each plate in front of the humans and dragons. Two large slices for the larger dragons, a whole loaf for Kraken, the largest of the students.
While they ate, the Green Wizard, the wise man of the mountain began to walk along the tables.
“You all dragged the logs down that hill.” He looked around. “Koan, why did you use ropes to drag?”
“Sir, we could not roll them all the way, there is no room to do so, we would flatten the entire forest.”
“Aye, that would be true. What options did you have?”
“We could have carried them.”
“Ach! No!” The grandfatherly eyes beneath the white eyebrows got big. “One of you slip, the log comes down and I have no more class.”
“We cannot make them float as you do.” Jona said.
“No?” The old man stroked his beard. “I must be teaching wrongly. I thought I taught medicine and critical thinking.”
“Sir.” Kraken spoke up after stuffing a loaf of bread with the scant, cold meat that was on his plate. “We pushed and tried to lift.”
“Did you?” He stroked his beard again. “Did you try to lift it together?”
“That was dangerous, like you said.” Jona said.
“Aye,” The old man nodded. “But you have both ropes and some of you have wings?”
The entire room went quiet.
The Green Wizard smiled softly.
“A dragon has lifting power well beyond what even they know. That small dragon on your shoulder, Jona, could lift you off your feet if she had to.”
“I think Sprite is male.” Jona corrected.
“Oh. Well, still the truth is there.” The old man nodded. “How many flyers of your size or larger is in this room?”
Again, the room went silent.
“You have six hours.” The mentor said and stood in the room. “By my calculations, if you do it correctly, you will finish in less than one-hour. The food you saw before, will be waiting for you and the day finished. You will be free for the next two days.”
Never had Jona eaten so quickly, and still he was not the first to finish as dragons and humans gathered outside to plan their mission.
As predicted by their mentor, they were done in less than an hour.