Chapter 37. Return of Kolo
His fourth straight ace on the written tests, Eva also had begun to dance in the shadows of the library, making Summer laugh against her will.
The evening rides were more complex as Eva and Jona prepared for the upcoming spring race. Long rides, through the mountain canyons of the volcanic places in the world.
One morning, after they had studied in the library, Summer smiled and acted as if she wanted to ask something while they studied, debated and joked with each other while they studied human and dragon art history.
Finally, Summer asked the question that burned in her heart.
“Can I ride with you sometime?” She asked while looking down.
Jona and Eva exchanged looks and nodded.
“Yes! We’d be happy to do it.” Eva smiled. “I owe you a lot of rides for the help you have given us to put us back on the team.”
Summer laughed nervously.
The three of the friends walked down to the meadow, chatting as they walked. Summer Set told a joke with a pun in the twisted end. `
Laughing, they stopped by the cave of riders and fliers. Jona and Summer put on goggles and flight helmet. She laughed at herself when she looked in a mirror.
“You really wear these?”
“Yeah, we do. Imagine being hit in the face with a bug at the speeds that Eva uses when she flies around trees and such.”
“Oh.” She backed up a step when Jona clipped on his armor and leather vest.
“Not to worry, I always wear this, it is team colors and shows my awards.”
“I want to know what all these rivets are for.” She smiled and ran her fingers over the decorated, embossed metal studs.
“Training, Distance. Personal best” He went down the different leather panels and studs. “I don’t have any of the good ones of gold or gems. I have only raced house races, first-year students don’t race between schools. Only houses. So far, we have won as a team, lost a few individual competitions. Eva has not lost anything.” Jona smiled as he walked up to Summer and laced the leather strap under her chin. “Keep this snug. If it blows off, you won’t be able to look around.
They walked out of the rider’s ready room where Eva sat with her own helmet.
Even Jona laughed.
“Feeling cautious?” He said to the other half of his race team.
“Yes,” Eva said. “We have some rides that like to get physical flying around today. I’m not worried, but if we get a little bumpy, I want to be ready.”
“Um…” Summer looked alarmed. “Should I be worried?”
“No, we will stay slow and close.” Eva answered. “You will have a good time. Have you ever seen the ocean beach from above?”
“But that is so far!” Summer gasped, her eyes wide behind the goggles.
“Eva can make it to the beach and back in less time than it takes you to look up books and sit down for a read.” Jona grinned.
“Wow. Even my brother doesn’t go that fast, and he is a skimmer.” Summer boggled.
“Skimmer?” Jona asked.
“Skimmers are between swimmers and fliers.” Eva answered, Summer nodding. “They barely touch the water, leaping across and gliding on a cushion of air. It is a rare talent.”
“Climb up!” Jona showed Summer where she could hold on to Eva’s scales.
“Hold on to something tight!” Eva said, looking around.
A push-off and her wings extended, with two flaps they were airborne.
Summer squealed with glee that Jona first took as alarm.
Banking around the canyons slowly, Summer looked down and held on so tight, Jona saw her knuckles blanch.
Out over the canyon, the three friends flew, ride and rider with a guest.
Swiftly they descended from the high mountain range to the lowlands.
Summer gasped when Eva flew over a cliff and the white-capped waters of the breaking waves filled her view of white sand beaches as far as she could see.
Slow enough for a walk, Eva smiled and used the wind coming off the ocean for lift, barely twitching a wingtip.
The great wings of the dragon lifted them up while she took them back to the meadow. Snow showed below them and Summer turned to Jona, complaining her nose was getting cold when Eva settled and landed.
“Hello Jona.” A familiar voice sounded behind him when he helped Summer off Eva’s saddle.
Holding out a dark and sweetened confection, her favorite treat, the sparkling eyes that made Jona laugh like he was a child during the weeks of bonfire lit up his life.
Kolo had returned.