Chapter 36. Spring Break
“Kolo?” Jona tapped on her door and slowly opened it. It was dark in her room, that alone was unusual, she disliked the dark. “Kolo?”
“Jona, she left.” It was Professor Vale. “There was an emergency call to her and her brother. It came by way of Dragon Corps.”
“What was the news?”
“I’m sorry Jona, I do not know, even if I did, I would not be at liberty to divulge the information.”
Jona sagged a little. The Professor was correct, he could not tell Jona anything.
But Jona could ask. First, he needed to change his clothes to rider uniform. Get a little riding practice in, maybe find where she lived at the same time.
Walking to the door that led to the long curving stairs, he saw a note on his bed when he walked by the open door.
Breaking the seal and unfolding the neatly folded parchment, he read in the swooping quill-style that was uniquely Kolo’s.
”I am sorry I did not get to say good-bye. I will be back soon. There was a family event that the leader of our clan called all the swimmers together. I will watch for your name in the race postings for the school newsletter.
I will be back before you graduate.
I am joking. I will be back in two weeks on the first of the month.
She knew she would alarm him with the first part.
He would pay her back for that little trick and started to set up the payback.
Walking out into the courtyard, he found his normal ride had failed finals and was on Academic Probation, including sports, until she made the test up and the grades improved and considered worthy of a dragon of her age.
Not wanting to try to connect with another, he turned and walked back to the common area, wearing his armor, to look for his ride and give Eva a little abuse, his first year he had all the tests taken care of, he never thought he would outshine his ride.
”Eva?” he spoke to a familiar shape, but the face when the dragon turned around was not her.
“Oh, excuse me.” Shaking his head. He was getting too distracted and did not recognize his own friends.
“Eva is in the caves, studying, she is not taking visitors, especially your kind.” A wyvern hissed. “She failed because of you. She should have been flying with a dragon rider. Not a pink-skinned biped-human.”
Derisive laughter followed him when Jona walked away. A small, green pine cone sailed past him. When he was fifteen-paces away.
“Hey!” Jona turned around, but the dragons were all engaged in conversation with their backs to him.
Not seeing the culprit, he walked off with the sounds of subtle snickering and comment of “Human” following him.
Humiliated, he just walked to the student store, a couple of half-dragons were inside buying snacks nodded at him.
“I saw what happened.” The one called Summer looked down as she spoke. She was a pretty girl who often hid in the library and read every chance she had, her golden eyes blinked in bright light when she had to focus on distances greater than her arm’s length.
“The one with the silver rosettes threw the pine cone at you from his far side.” She blinked behind a set of glasses. “They are not dragons of honor like they say they are. They would not pass any test if they are ever investigated for their contempt for humans. I know, they don’t like me either.”
“Why don’t they like you?” Jona blinked. “You are pretty.”
“They are racers, and don’t think anyone is worthy unless they are riders or rides.” She looked at Jona. “Like you. But you talk to me. Why?”
“Because I think you are nice.” Jona said. “I have seen you in the library helping others.”
“That’s because they asked. I don’t go outside much. I don’t ever know what to say to people.” Summer looked down. “I am not as pretty as some girls. Like Kolo, I have seen you hang around her. Are you mated to her?”
“ME? Hah… no. I have to study in school, I have a few studies to catch up on. My mom and dad are off in trade somewhere. My dad is an artisan of iron and copper, they are in another country getting trade.” Jona said. “I am going to stay here for the spring break and study and practice racing.”
“Eva has been grounded for grades by Professor Vale. She has to study her human history.” Summer giggled. “Humans have a short history, too.”
“Can you help her study? I would study with you, she is my ride and I need her to race after spring break.”
“You would study with me?” Summer gasped. No one ever asked her. “Why would you study with me?”
“Well, the last time, Kolo helped me study, another dragon friend in my dorm helped point me the right way to study for Professor Krular and his tests.”
“Was that Obon?” Summer smiled when Jona nodded. “I like him, he cuddled with me once when I had a bad week. He is studying for a healer’s title, you know.”
Summer blushed lightly.
“No, I didn’t. But, yes, it was Obon who helped me.” Jona smiled. “I never thought a dragon could blush.”
“I am not all dragon.” She looked down. “I am neither human or dragon according to some of the clans, except my mom and dad.”
Summer Set, the part-human, part-dragon, looked at the floor as if the tile would do something.
Jona pondered a moment, the way his father treated other people, strangers that came into his shop, people from far places.
Tall, short, thin as blades of grass or as stout as a barrel, Aed Samhain believed they were all worth to pay the best attention he could give.
Jona knew that was the right thing to do. And Summer had fallen to the crime of the family that told her she was worth less than that.
“Summer,” Jona smiled. “Kolo and I are not mates.”
Jona paused and thought a moment as she looked at him.
“You are as bright as the sun in the sky and twice as warm. I think I would like to be your friend.” He said.
Summer smiled widely, something Jona would remember for years later. The day he made a friend who had a deep fear of others.
Together they sat, she told him of the guides to study for the different professors.
“In here, this library, all the answers to all the tests of all the professors are just sitting here to be looked at.” Summer smiled. “This is where they store past tests and get the questions for the next ones.”
They studied for weeks, Jona and Eve sat with Summer and studied with the shy student, and Professor Vale nodded each time the pair came in late, almost on the last grain of the hour-glass before curfew.
Each test that followed in the spring, Jona remembered. He had just seen the answers, talked about them with Summer and Eve.
His grades became the pride of his house, Professor Vale wrote his parents who sent care packages with letters of pride and toys for Sprite.
Kolo wrote, saying she was proud of him as well and would be returning within the week.
For the first time in his life, Jona felt he had something to make him happy.
The Green Man sat one afternoon and poured Jona a large ale of the newest vintage, giggling slightly.(He had already consumed two bottles himself.) Pointing out something to the young DragonMaster.
No one just gave the happiness to him, Jona did it for himself.