School Trip to
"Everyone!" Kabocha called, "Please
get in line for a head-count." The tall teacher that was already greying
despite his scant 25 years looked uptight like usual. Beside him, the other
teacher Mikan was busy counting. Her messy buns seemed to come more undone
with every movement of her head.
"1,2...3,4... ... 24, 25.Everyone is here." she said.
"Ok everyone. We're here today to visit Darkling Dawn so you all can learn
what goes on in dragon adoption facilities. We'll be getting a tour from a
real dragonrider and will even get a glimpse of the eggs in the hatching
sands. Be on your best behaviour. I don't want a repeat of last year when we
got banned from Tripaldi."
"Should you have said that?" Mikan whispered.
"Why not?" Kabocha asked, massaging his temples because of a stress-induced
"Wouldn't it be better to work with positive conditioning, like offering a
reward to the one that behaves best."
Kabocha looked at her, "Only fear of a punishment can keep these wild kids
But before Mikan could complain about the vicious circle of distrust and
rebellion the wingrider that would show them around, D'cien of blue Snith,
appeared and started the tour. He was an open, friendly young man that
instantly caught the attention of the students and kept them entertained
with little jokes and tall tales of what went on during training.
"Ringo." Nashi whispered.
The two best friends were standing at the back of the group, as far away
from the teachers as they possibly could. Nashi played with his blond
hair, a clear sign he was planning something and Ringo too felt that they'd
listened long enough.
"Nothing exciting's gonna happen here, right?"
"I wouldn't count on it. But have you seen that sign there?" Nashi asked.
Ringo looked and a smile widened on his face when he read the words
"Let's go." he said.
Not far from the two troublemakers, Momo was glued to D'cien's lips. She
couldn't wait to tell everyone in the orphanage about the dragons and the
riders. It was a coincidence really that she caught a few of the words Nashi
and Ringo uttered, but automatically her eyes too wandered to the sign.
She waited for a moment and felt the two of them pass behind her. She could
tell the teachers. But by then they'd be gone. And besides, she wanted to
see the firelizards too. Maybe she'd even impress one and get to take it
back to show to her friends.
Quickly Momo looked around and then she too shuffled toward the other
hallway and vanished, following the boys.
"And we now conclude our tour with a
look at the hatching caverns. We currently have two dams on the sands, with
a total of 30 eggs between them. Please split up in groups of 5 to enter and
keep your voices down." D'cien ended his speech.
"You heard it." Mikan smiled, "Groups of five."
Kabocha performed the headcount this time and the results did not make him
unwind one bit.
"there's three of them missing." he sighed, "This is exactly what happened
last year. I hope we'll find them soon."
"I doubt they'd get into any real trouble." Mikan said.
"Last year they ran into the hatching cavern unsupervised, spooked the dam
and cracked an egg. The hatchling nearly died."
"Oh." Mikan said.
"We need to find them quick." Kabocha said.
"I need to stay here with the rest." D'cien said, "But I can arrange for
someone to take you around." he added.
D'ciens eyes unfocused and not much later another rider appeared. "This is
my brother V'nen." D'cien said, "He'll help you as much as he can. The other
dragons will also keep an eye out."
"I think I saw them leave." One of the kids suddenly said.
"What? When?" Kabocha asked, "Why didn't you tell us?"
"I felt a little breeze of someone passing. I didn't look back." Ichigo
defended himself .
"It's good that you remember, Ichigo. Where was that?" Mikan asked, trying
to be stern.
"Near the place where he told us about the incident with the storm and
"The main corridor near Z'na's room." D'cien nodded.
"I'll take them." V'nen said.
Nashi carefully opened the door.
They'd walked for quite a while in the long hallway. There hadn't been any
other doors. So this should be the firelizard door. But you never knew,
maybe the signs were wrong, or there'd be someone inside who knew they
shouldn't be there.
But there wasn't.
"Wow! Look at that!" Ringo called when he saw the large tables filled with
sand above several fires. "How many eggs do you think might be in here?"
"More than two for sure." Nashi laughed.
"Which table are you going to try?"
The two of them stopped when the hinges of the door creaked. They looked up,
feeling they'd been caught and would have to suffer a huge punishment
because of it. But it was only Momo who put her head through the door.
"Wow!" she said.
"Are you alone?" Ringo asked.
"Did you tell anyone you left?" Nashi added.
"Of course not! I want one for myself too!"
Momo entered and stared at the tables. At first she could only see the sand
in them, but suddenly she noticed little white spots where just a hint of
eggshell peeked through.
She ran to the one nearest to her and said:
"Do we just take them?"
"If they don't hatch we can always keep them near a fire like this." Ringo
"And why stop at one?" Nashi grinned, "I'm gonna take two."
"At least one of them is bound to hatch." Momo nodded.
Each of them grabbed two of the eggs, covered them with cloth and placed
them gently in their pockets. They stepped back into the hallways and closed
"Whereto now?" Nashi asked.
"Didn't you have a plan?" Ringo cried.
"We just have to get to the hatching sands." Momo said, "At least that was
where the dragonrider said they'd end the tour. And I want to see the big
"Where do you think it is?" Ringo asked.
"We'll just follow the signs again." Nashi shrugged.
Ichigo rushed right behind the
dragonrider, urging him to go faster. He hoped his negligence would mean the
others got into trouble, or something really bad happened. He'd heard what
had happened last year and the thought of dragon eggs spilling out yolk like
the chicken eggs he was so used to seeing seemed horrendous.
He hadn't really wanted to stop the three of them when they'd stepped away
because he thought they'd just look into some living chambers and join the
group again. He didn't think they'd be gone for long. If he had he might
have tried to stop them.
"It was around here!" he called.
"The firelizard hearts." V'nen nodded.
"Please let nothing bad have happened." Kabocha prayed.
"They probably just looked around." Mikan said.
Suddenly the three lost pupils ran out a corridor right in front of them.
"You!" Kabocha called.
"Are you alright?" Mikan asked.
"What happened?" Ichigo added.
"We just got a little lost... looking for the bathroom." Nashi started,
trying to make the most of his appearance, but at that exact time the
firelizard eggs decided to hatch.
"What's that?" Kabocha called, trying to keep the one that had launched
itself toward his upper leg from scratching him.
"Firelizards." V'nen said dryly.
"Some help please?" Mikan called when one of them attached itself to her
Momo, Nashi and Ringo tried to keep the baby firelizards from moving out,
but they were hungry and didn't take well to the restrictive hands.
"Feed them and they'll calm down." V'nen said, stuffing some meat rolls into
The chirps of the firelizards immediately lessened and their efforts to get
food focused onto the hands. Soon all of them were feeding one of them.
"It's customary that you name them now." V'nen remarked.
"Name?" Kabocha asked.
"They're yours now."
Kabocha nearly dropped the creature in his hands. Mikan wondered about the
beauty of imprinting and the teenagers just got big smiles on their faces
and started talking amongst themselves, the word 'cool' coming up a lot.
"Mine is going to be Fredrich." Nashi said, stroking the little blue on the
"Mine will be Tassle." Momo smiled and hugged her little green firelizard.
"Daujae." Ichigo said, scratching the blue firelizard's throat, "And he's
going to be big." he laughed.
"I'm gonna call mine Okinawa." Ringo said, opening his hands to let everyone
see the small white creature that had already fallen asleep.
"No fair!" Nashi called, "Why did you get the rare one!"
"What about yours, teacher?" Momo asked.
Mikan looked at the green crooning reptile in her hands and decided: "Bersui,
"Only because I can't give it away." Kabocha sighed, "This one will be
Ekonomi." The brown lizard in his hands chirped and looked like he wasn't as
sleepy as his siblings.
"If you would all follow me now please." V'nen said.
"V'nen!" C'rin called.
"Where are you taking them?"
"Back to the group." V'nen added, "Three of them got lost and the others
were looking for them."
"And they managed to impress a firelizard each?"
"Well it was more of an accident..." V'nen started.
"Doesn't matter, doesn't matter." C'rin smiled, "I'm rather interested in
seeing what will happen when they'd stand for one of the clutches." He
turned to the others, "How would you like that?"
The teenagers threw more 'cools' and 'awesomes' around and even though
Kabocha looked hesitant, Mikan pulled him aside.
"Someone will need to watch the students. And think about it. Next year you
might be busy teaching dragonrider's kids about the outside world."
"I doubt that would be an improvement."
"Forget cell phones, imagine how you could cheat with your own firelizard!"
"And yet you haven't said no." Mikan smiled.