Chapter 1: Training With Theian
Me and Alex were playing on the swingset. Alex swung back and forth while I just sat on the swing, looking at my finger that I wrapped in a band aid.
"So Jake, how does it feel man? To be one of us?" Asked Alex as he slowed his swinging down.
" I said, trying to come up with an answer. "I
really feel different.
"Oh." Alex said, sounding disappointed.
"Wha-What's wrong? Was that not the right answer?" I asked
Alex shook his head. "No, it's not that. It's just that I remember when I had to do the ceremony."
"Yeah. You weren't scared at all, were you?" I asked smiling.
Alex smiled back, shaking his head again. "Nope. And you know why Jake? 'Cause I felt honored. I was so happy that I'd finally get to be of use to Dad."
Alex stood up. He walked in front of me and put his hands on my shoulders. He looked me right in the eyes, smiling excitedly.
"I want to help dad. But I'm gonna need your help to do it. Will you help me Jake?"
"Yeah!" I answered eagerly.
While Alex and me talked, we saw Theian, in his human form walking toward us, his hands slipped into his pants pockets. I wondered what he might want.
"What's up Theian?" I asked curiously.
"Your father wants to see you boys. Let's go." Theian said in his usual grumpy voice.
Me and Alex looked at each other. Alex shrugged his shoulders and followed behind Theian. I wondered what Dad might want so I hopped off the swing and ran to join Alex and Theian.
Theian led us down to the basement. Everyone was sitting in their chairs waiting for us.
"Alex, Jakol. Please be seated." Dad commanded.
Me, Alex, and Theian took our seats. Everyone sat quietly, waiting for my Dad to say something.
"Well now that Jakol is able to join our ranks, I think it's finally time for our plans to commence." Said my Dad.
"So we're finally going to take this world, eh? Where do we start?" Z'haer asked, leaning forward in his chair.
" I think it would be best if we start somewhere that doesn't have a lot of people. It will be a good test of our mettle before tackling one of the bigger areas of this world." Dad suggested.
"Agreed." Eig'nia added. "If we start big, we risk bringing too much unnecessary attention to ourselves. It might be best if we start small. Then work our way up."
"So how do we decide where to start?" Girido asked.
My dad cleared his throat. "I was just about to get to that. Girido, Z'haer, Eig'nia, you three will search for an appropriate place to begin our conquest."
"Then what about us Dad?" I asked anxiously. "What do me, Alex, and Theian get to do?"
"Yes?" Alex said excitedly.
"You boys will begin your training with Theian." My dad ordered.
Wait what? What did Dad mean by "training"? We were just as ready for this as Girido, Eig'nia, Z'haer, and Theian were. Why did we need training?!"
"Aww come on Dad! Me and Alex, we don't need training!" I whined.
"Jakol, are you disobeying an order from your father?" Dad asked, raising one of his eyebrows and giving me "the stare".
I shivered in fear. Dad giving me "the stare" was always his way of telling me that I was being out of line. Whenever he gave me that stare, I knew that I shouldn't say anything else.
" I said timidly, looking away from dad.
"Very good. Well then, you have your orders. So let us begin."
Once that was done, we all left the basement together and headed out onto the porch. Z'haer, Eig'nia, and Girido turned into their dragon forms and launched into the sky. Me, Alex, and Theian stayed on the ground as we watched the three of them fly into the distance.
"Aw man!" Alex pouted, kicking the ground. "This sucks! I waited three years for this and now I have to train?! I thought I'd finally get the chance to help Dad!"
"But you are helping him Alex. Your father needs you boys to be at your absolute best for this." Said Theian.
"Now, to begin, I think I'll first have you fight each other. I want to see what you two can do so fight at your absolute best." Theian said, taking a seat at the picnic table by the house.
"Okay." Alex and me both said at the same time.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt a small pain in my back as my wings came out of my back and ripped through my shirt. My tail tore the back of my shorts open, wagging around a little bit.
When I opened my eyes, I saw that Alex was standing in front of me, also in his half-dragon form. His long, red tail whipped around behind him and he flapped his wings a few times. Once Alex was done flexing his wings, he shut his eyes again. He groaned in pain as red scales popped up all over his body. His arms and legs grew bigger and his nose and mouth grew out into a snout. Claws grew from his fingers and toes with one claw on the back of each foot. Two horns grew from his head as his hair grew longer. And finally, a row of spikes grew from his tail and ran up to his head. When his transformation was over, Alex looked like a dragon but he was still as big as a human. It wasn't often that I got to see this form but seeing it this time made me feel nervous. I knew that in this form, Alex was much stronger than me. Even if we were just training, I still felt scared.
"Alright. Are we ready? Begin!" Theian shouted.
I ran straight at Alex. I threw my fist at him but he blocked it with his scaled arm. I pulled my arm back and tried to hit Alex with my other fist but he blocked again. Alex then swung his fist at me. I put both arms in front of my face, crossing them together so they looked like an X. Alex punched the back of my right wrist. I felt a large jolt of pain from his scaly fist travel through my arm. I held my arm in pain, groaning as I tried to get the pain to stop. Before I had time to get everything together, Alex pulled his fist back.
"Alex! Wait, wait, wait! Time out, time out, time"
But it was too late. Alex drove his fist into my face, knocking me off my feet. I fell to the ground, now using my aching arm to cover the side of my face that Alex hit with my good arm.
"That was mean Alex! I said time out!" I yelled at him, rubbing the cheek Alex hit.
"But Theian said we need to fight at our absolute best. I'm just trying to bring my best." Said Alex.
"That's not what I meant. I don't want you two to fight as if you're trying to kill the other. It's just training. If Jake needs a time out, we allow him a time out." Theian replied.
"Alright...Sorry man." Alex said.
"It's okay. My arm and my face are feeling a little better anyway." I said, getting back on my feet.
I dusted myself off and looked over at Alex. I flexed my wings a little bit, same for my tail and then I started to flap my wings. With each beat, I started to elevate higher and higher into the air until I was almost higher than the fence.
"You better get ready Alex." I said, feeling a little more confident. "This time I'm giving it my best too."
Before I could go any higher, Theian called my name. He told me to descend back to the ground because he didn't want anyone walking past to find out I was a half-dragon. I flapped my wings slower until I was back on the ground.
"Alex, the same goes for you." Theian said strictly.
" Alex said pouting.
"Wait a sec! I have an idea!" Alex said excited.
"Alright Jake! I'm going to shoot a fireball at you. You try and send it back to me okay?"
I didn't know about this. I was never any good when it came to controlling things like water and fire even though dad always said that was my special power as a half-dragon. When I was younger, I thought my powers were something incredibly awesome. I wanted to show them off to as many of my friends as I could but each time I did they'd get hurt.
I remembered back when we lived in Michigan. I had a friend from first grade who the older kids always picked on. He was a short, black haired boy with really pale skin. Whenever he would get picked on, I'd rush to his rescue. I would transform in front of the bullies and that would be enough to scare them and get them to leave him alone. Eventually, no one would even try and pick on him with me around.
One day after school, he wanted me to show him some more of my dragon powers. He told me I was awesome, like a real life superhero. Hearing that made me even more anxious to show them to him. We headed around to the back of the school and I turned into my half-dragon form. I took a deep breath and a stream of fire erupted from my mouth. I put my hand out and it stayed in mid air. I moved my arm up and the fire followed it. I swung my arm back and forth, the flame closely following its every move. I couldn't believe it: It might actually work this time I thought to myself. However, something happened.
I didn't know how or why but somehow, my flame ended up hitting his right arm, badly burning it. He fell over, screaming and crying really, really loudly as he held his arm in pain. I rushed over to help him but he swung his arm at me, screaming that I should leave him alone.
The teachers found him and he was taken to the hospital. The next day, news of me burning his arm spread through the school. Most of the kids didn't even speak to me and those who did would say mean things to me and push me down. When I saw my friend, I saw that he had a cast over his entire arm. I tried to tell him that it was an accident but he wouldn't listen.
"Leave me alone
" Was all he said to me.
A couple days later, the bullying got so bad that I was pulled out of that school and we moved to California. Since then I told myself that I was never ever going to use my powers ever again, no matter what.
I really don't want to." I said sadly.
"You don't want to? But
why?" Alex asked.
I don't want my fire to hurt anyone anymore. I'm not gonna do it." I answered.
"But Jake, the more you use your fire, the more you'll get used to it. After awhile, it'll just come naturally to you." Theian explained.
"Yeah!" Alex agreed. "So c'mon! You can do it! And don't forget, I'm tough! I can take it!"
" I said, although I was still a little unsure. "
Alright. I'll give it a try."
I put my arms out in front of me. I gulped, hoping that I wouldn't mess up this time. Alex took in a lot of air and launched a stream of fire at me. I watched carefully as the fire got closer towards me. Once it was like an inch or two from my hand, it turned into a small ball and just sat there, hovering in front of my hand. I moved my hand up in front of my face and the fire ball followed. Slowly, I moved my hand back and forth and the fire followed along. I smiled. I couldn't believe it.
"I did it!" I cheered. "I really did it! I learned how to control fire!"
"We'll see about that." Said Theian. "Now send the fire back to Alex."
"Alright! I can do this now!" I said confidently.
My legs leaned forward and I pulled my arm back, the flame still following it. With enough force, I gave it a big push, sending it flying back at Alex.
"Jake, wait that's too fast!" Alex called out.
Before I had time to stop it, the ball of fire hit Alex in the stomach, burning up part of his shirt. He fell to his knees and held his sides in pain. Both me and Theian rushed over to him.
"Alex, I'm sorry! Are you okay?" I asked, worried, kneeling down next to him.
"I'm fine!" He said, sounding a little like he was in pain. "It's a good thing I was in this form 'cause I barely felt anything."
Even though Alex said he was okay, I knew him better than that. He was lying. That was something I never understood about Alex: Why did he always try so hard to be tough? Even when we were little, he never told anyone, not even me, when he was hurt. Not when he fell, or even when he'd get into fights with other kids . He would just stand up and say that he was fine, even if he sounded like he was about to cry. I wished that he wouldn't do that and that he'd let me know if he got hurt so I could try to help him.
Still hunched over, holding his stomach, Alex walked to the picnic table and sat down. He turned back into his human form, removing one hand from his stomach and panting loudly.
"Alex, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to burn you." I said as I sat down next to him.
"It's okay Jake. I'm not angry at you. I'm alright." Said Alex. "Honestly, I really didn't feel much."
"You're lucky you were in that form when that happened." Theian said, walking over and taking a seat next to us. "Had you been in your human form, you wouldn't be sitting here right now."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You see Jake, while it's true that fire can hurt dragons just as it can humans, a dragon's thick scales prevent it from suffering third degree burns. To a dragon, being burned is about the same as being punched." Explained Theian.
"Wow!" I said amazed. "I wish I had a transformation like that. That would be so cool!"
Alex laughed. "Well Jake, you have to be born like I was in order to have this form. Maybe if Saulstrance was your mom instead of your dad
"Eww! Alex, that's gross!" I gagged, giving Alex a slight push. Thanks to Alex, all I could think of then was my dad in a dress, wearing makeup.
Alex and I laughed at that thought for a bit. Once we stopped laughing, I looked over at Theian who was staring into the sky, looking serious. I wondered why he wasn't laughing with us. In fact, I didn't think I ever saw him laugh once since he came to work under my dad. He always looked so angry. I think the adults knew why Theian was like that but I didn't think me or Alex did. He never really talked to anyone either. Whenever he did talk to someone, he usually just shouted at them and it was usually Girido he shouted at.
Theian noticed that I was watching him. He turned towards me. "What? What's up?" He asked.
"Oh! I just wanted to ask if we could take a break for a bit?"
"Hmm? Oh, umm
sure, I guess." Theian answered in a clueless voice like he wasn't even thinking of the answer before he gave it.
"That sounds good." Said Alex as he stood up. "I'll be right back Jake. I'm gonna go get your birthday present."
"You got me a birthday present?" I asked a little surprised.
"Yeah! I think you're really gonna like it man!" He said as he ran into the house.
While I waited for Alex to come back out with my present, I sat on the picnic table with Theian. Theian turned his attention back to the sky. We sat there quietly for a few seconds while I tried to think of something for us to talk about. Then I figured it out and it was actually something that I wanted to ask him for a long time.
"Hey, Theian?" I asked.
"Yeah?" Theian replied.
"Why did you decide to work for my dad?" I asked again.
Theian didn't answer for a few seconds. I thought maybe he didn't want to tell me. I started to quietly turn around before he finally spoke.
" The word rolled out of his mouth.
"There's somebody I want to kill. I've never met him before but
let's just say he did something really bad." Theian explained.
"I'll tell you when you're a little older, Jake."
"No, I want to know now! I'm not a little kid anymore Theian! You don't have to hide it from me!" I demanded, quickly rising up from my seat.
Theian closed his eyes and sighed with his mouth still closed. There were another few seconds where we didn't say anything but then he finally answered.
he killed my mom. That's why I'm here. Happy now kid?"
wasn't what I expected to hear. I didn't even know what to say to him. I always thought there must have been something, some reason Theian always seemed so grumpy but
I never thought that was the reason.
I'm sorry. I didn't know." I said quietly.
"Well now you do."
I went back to the spot I was sitting in. As soon as I sat down, I turned around and looked at Theian who this time was staring at the ground. He looked so sad. I felt really guilty for making him tell me exactly what happened. I tried to think of a way to cheer him up.
"Hey Theian, don't feel too bad. I don't have a mom either." I said softly, trying to be as nice as I could.
"Yeah but it's not exactly the same. You still have a family: Your dad and your brother. Me, I don't have anyone." Theian replied back.
Wait, I know!" I exclaimed, jumping back onto my feet.
Theian turned to me. "How about this?" I started. "I'll be your family! I might not be able to be your mom but I could be like your little brother! What do you say?" I smiled, trying my best to make him feel better.
Theian laughed a little, something that surprised me.
"If only it was that simple. But thank you Jake." He said to me.
After that, Alex came back out, carrying a big box in a bag. He placed it on the table.
"Here you go Jake." Alex smiled.
Judging from how big the box was, I had a pretty good idea of what he got me. I grabbed the sides of the bag and pulled the bag down, revealing my birthday present. When I saw it, my mouth dropped in excitement.
"A Playstation 5?!" I shouted, not believing what was right in front of me.
"Alex, you're the best big brother ever! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!" I said happily, hugging Alex tightly.
" Alex said breathless. "Just
squeezing so tight."
"Oh, sorry." I laughed, letting go of Alex.
"By the way Alex, did you get me any cool games for my PS5?" I asked anxiously.
"Sorry Jake, I spent all my money on this. But hey, we could go to Gamestop tomorrow and get some games." Said Alex.
"Okay! Hey Theian, do you want to go with us?" I asked.
I guess after we're done training." Theian answered although he didn't sound too sure about it.
"Cool! You can fly us to the mall then!" I said in an excited voice, thinking about how cool it would be to fly on a dragon's back.
"Wait, now hold on! I didn't say anything about "
"But how else are we going to get to the mall? Our wings aren't as strong as yours are Theian." Alex teased, interrupting Theian.
"And what about me?! How will I be able to avoid showing my true form in front of a group of people?!" Theian said angrily.
Good question." Alex said. "Well, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"You little brats." Theian groaned, putting his hand over part of his face and shaking his head. "Let's just get back to your training."
And so our training started again. This time, Theian had me and Alex fight each other in our human forms. Neither of us understood why Theian would have us fight as humans but he explained that, since the two of us had both dragon and human blood, we should learn to fight not just as dragons but as humans too if we really wanted to be stronger. Our training continued until the sun started to set. By then, me and Alex were both really tired.
"Alright, I'd say that's enough for today. Good job, you two." Theian complimented.
Alex and I thanked Theian and we went into the kitchen to get ourselves each a glass of water. I smiled. I felt like I was already starting to feel a little bit stronger. Training with Theian and Alex also made me feel more confident about using my half-dragon powers again. But I still had to wonder how much longer we would have to train and when I'd finally get to help dad and the others.