Chapter 39. Summer in Spring
Yawning and stretching in his bed the next morning, Jona sighed. He felt exhausted the night before and went to bed while Kolo, her brother and Professor Vale sat up and talked late into the night.
The first class in the spring quarter began with social studies of dragons and humans, something at first that Jona felt was boring, but while the tall human woman instructed, she spoke of wars and prejudice.
Dragons, older and wiser than the human race, the humans had one thing more.
They had determination to live.
Like siblings, respected and at times hated each other, the human and dragon populations drifted apart in some ways and merged in others.
A complex relationship that developed since before the dawn of history.
And Professor Altair was already talking about homework.
A whisper at Jona’s shoulder.
“We can study together.” It was Summer. “You have that look people get before they scream and run away from something.”
Jona stifled a laugh, he would have denied it, but she was correct, the social history of humans and dragons promised to be a difficult class.
“We will meet in the library, no one will bother us there.” She said softly while the professor droned on about the good natures of man and dragon were often lost in the passage of time.
He nodded, Professor Altair spoke of how legends in dragon lore and human mythology remembered the relationship between a dragon and an intelligent girl that grows up, turning away from the great friendship they had developed.
The dragon, who stood next to the young human during great raids by great robbers from the sea that sailed in great ships.
Only when the dragon Kl’qlpff, who humans called “Puff” told the Pirate King of the raids, who then forced the rogue corsairs to lower their flags and leave forever.
Songs and legends, bards wrote about it all, then faded from even that.
“One day, the story will return,” She said. “It will come by way of bards and storytellers.”
It struck a chord in Jona, like the baby dragon Sprite who adopted him when he drove a cart of smelly peat behind a flatulent ox the previous summer.
Summer walked with him down the path to the library and they talked of how dragons had existed for so long, why they were so long-lived and if there would fully be peace.
She sat at a broad stone table, polished by a thousand years of forelegs and arms rubbing on it. Padded stone seats, wicker chairs, and a myriad of other perches surrounded the giant round disk to accommodate the different clans and species.
Kola sat in with them, his studies of human laws confused him.
Eva lounged, reading an architecture textbook for her classes, but it kept hitting her in the face as she dozed while trying to read it. Looking around to see if anyone noticed, she would go back to reading the same page.
“Summer,” Jona whispered. “What page are we on?”
She giggle quietly.
“You keep looking at Eva. She will give herself a brain injury if she keeps hitting herself with the book.”
Kola laughed, overhearing the whisper and looked at the dozing race dragon.
“Jona, I think you ran her too hard yesterday, she is not used to the exercise after being off the team when she dropped her grades.” Kola nudged him.
“Kola, shush.” The librarian, a human adult male with a heavy leather tunic studded with metal book-shaped rivets in different colors. “You are keeping others from studying. Eva, if you need sleep, go to your room, you are starting to snore and are being a disturbance.”
Eva shook herself awake and apologized, for the fifth time tried to read the same page.
“Jona, we are on page four, paragraph five.” She flipped the pages for him. “This is what the professor will test on in a couple of days. It is easy to memorize if you follow this trick to keep it in mind.”
She taught him a mnemonic to keep the lesson in his head.
“My brother took Professor Altair’s class, she goes in order, always. It is how history happened, it is how she teaches, so this memoria technica trick will help you in the test.” Summer smiled at him.
Memorizing the pattern she taught him, he looked up and saw the librarian standing there with his arms crossed. For a moment, Jona swore the librarian would make good on his threats of ouster from the study area but the man nodded with a small smile, the long beard swung with the movement when the barrel chested keeper of the books turned away and moved across the floor towards other students.
In two hours, Jona watched the big hour-glass turn again in the mechanical teamwork of dragon and human timekeeper in the front of the library. He felt more interested after every discussion that Summer, Kola (despite it not being his subject. Jona suspected Kola had a crush on her and wanted her to notice him.)and he had, the history of dragonkind was more than just words, Jona felt them.
The history resonated with the young Dragon Master, more than his parents imagined might happen.
Jona was learning.
They spent hours in the library, Summer, Jona and Kola, joined by Eva who studied long hours to keep her grades up.
Eva was happiest when flying, her studies were marginal when she flew and failed to study, but it was no more or less than what all the friends and students went through daily.
But as professors universally instructed, they were not there to fail anyone, neither were they there to pass without teaching.
Eva worked hard at both of her skills and kept talking to professors who would help.
The summer break was coming up in short order and finals were intense. Professor Vale, Professor Cush, and especially the Green Man wizard were all driving points home with verbal hammers.
Homework was coming fast and furious, Summer and Jona continued to study with a singular thought. The Csu and Gorgons were far from the minds of dragon and human students alike.
Races were a regular topic, the teams of the intraschool competitors complained they were not ready for the speeds they needed to win not only the school championship but to outspeed any other teams from other schools around the world.
Jona pointed out that other schools were having the same problems. Rumors came from visitors to the other schools.
All students, everywhere lacked free time to just relax and play.
All was study and learn.
By the equinox of spring, they were feeling ready. Lessons were familiar, preparatory tests were easier each passing week.
Jona felt ready for the next chapter of the year.
Looking at his grades on the great central post, Jona smiled.
His grades were good enough, Jona Samhain had new rivets that the school awarded him for his tunic. Two silver, three gold, one emerald-green.
He wondered what the green meant and made note to ask Professor Vale of his house.
It was a year of mind-boggling, life changing lessons.
Jona the future dragon master smiled and walked back to his room.