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Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns – Chapter 36


Devarius shook the small glass jar of liquid fire. He didn’t know what else to call it, but liquid fire sounded like a good name. In his hand was the most flammable oil known to man. It took a while to convince the wyvern to let him siphon off an entire jar of it, but not nearly as long as it took to convince Aquila. She had seemed horrified by the idea. Devarius knew the liquid would prove to be useful … he just wasn’t sure how yet. He knew to keep it away from the fire … and the red wyverns.

Paedyn strode over to Devarius. He pointed to the small jar.

“Is that the jar that goes boom?”

Devarius laughed. “That’s one way to put it. Yes, this is the liquid fire from the red wyvern’s mouth. I’ve been studying it … and it’s been dangerous.”

“Let me get this straight. The red wyverns can create fire, but they don’t know how?”

“I wouldn’t say that. They just don’t know how to do it on command. It’s a defense mechanism. Think of those lizards we played with as children. Remember when you grabbed their tail how it’d fall off.”

“Yeah,” Paedyn said.

“Well, this is the same thing. Those lizards couldn’t command their tail to snap off at any time, but when we’d grab it, an instinct took over and the tail snapped off.”

“So the only way to teach these wyverns to use their abilities is to threaten them? That doesn’t sound safe.”

Devarius smiled. “Yeah … it’s not the safest idea. I’m trying to think of ways to explain to the wyverns how to use their abilities without threatening them, but the lack of communication makes it hard.”

“Your wyvern … Ayla … understands you, right?”

“Yeah.”

“And she can communicate with them, right?” Paedyn asked.

“Yes.”

“Have her explain things to them.”

Devarius raised his eyebrows. “Do you really think I haven’t tried?”

Paedyn shrugged.

“Being scared isn’t exactly an easy emotion for one that large to feel on the spot.”

“Yeah … well, then we’re screwed.”

Devarius shook his head.

“Look, if we’re to beat the dragonriders, this is something we need to figure out. The alternative is throwing a bunch of glass jars at the dragons and have the wyverns breathe on them,” Paedyn said.

Devarius raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, no, don’t you look at me like that. I’m not your experiment.”

“It’ll be a small jar.” Devarius looked down. “Smaller than this … I want to save as much of this as we can.”

“What is their hot breath blowing on a glass jar supposed to accomplish? You can’t really believe that a little bit of fire will provoke the wyvern to start spewing it, do you?”

It was Devarius’s turn to shrug. “What could it hurt?”

Paedyn’s head dipped forward. “Me … it could hurt me.”

“Quit being such a baby. Just imagine the wyvern as a flying boat.”

“I was reluctant to ride the wyverns the first time because I wasn’t a fool. Then look what happened … everyone got hurt, including me. Now you want to intentionally make me go up into the sky and get hurt?”

Devarius shook his head. “Look, Paedyn. Everyone else went in the sky for hours to practice aerial combat. I’m asking you to go up there for five minutes to throw a small glass jar for the wyvern to blow on. Quit being such a baby.”

Paedyn grumbled all the way to the wyvern. Devarius explained the plan to Ayla, who communicated to the large red wyvern. Paedyn climbed atop the creature and glared down at Devarius, who handed him a small vial of liquid fire. The two men looked at each other for a long moment before the wyvern leapt into the air and soared into the sky.

Devarius took a step back until he bumped into someone behind him. He turned around to see Aquila scowling. Devarius smiled at her before leaning his head back to watch the sky. The wyvern crept high, then slowed to float horizontally. Paedyn appeared nervous as he threw the vial into the air. The wyvern waited several long seconds before exhaling a stream of breath. The heat shattered the vial, and a large flame masked the entire sky.

Devarius’s jaw dropped as he watched. He’d used a small vial, only a few milliliters of liquid, but the flame stretched for over a mile. Bright red flame, beautiful, and thin as it expanded forward, then backtracked toward the wyvern’s mouth. Paedyn clutched onto the wyvern’s neck as Aquila clutched onto Devarius’s arm. The whole scene lasted less than two minutes, but it seemed to stretch on for a lifetime.

Aquila and Devarius sat on the ground as they awaited Paedyn’s return. The wyvern landed ten feet in front of them and Paedyn climbed off, a large grin splitting his face, his arms outstretched to the sky.

“Did you see that? She makes one heck of a boat, don’t you think?” He laughed. “She’s a flying fire-boat.”

Devarius raised his eyebrows and his mouth hung open. “Did you actually enjoy yourself up there?”

“Yeah,” Paedyn said, his eyebrows raised and mouth parted. “Who doesn’t like fire?”

The wyvern turned away from them, head tilted toward the sky, its mouth constantly opening and closing. Devarius could see the heat of the exhalations departing the creature. He smiled.

“The wyvern is trying to recreate the fire,” Devarius said.

“Give him a target,” Aquila said.

“What?” Devarius asked.

“When you’re practicing archery, you can’t focus if you just shoot into the sky. You want a target. I remember before I had real targets, my older brother threw apples into the sky and I loosed arrows at them.”

“Do you have any apples?” Paedyn asked.

Devarius squinched his nose as he looked at the ground. He smiled when he found a pile of rocks. Turning to Ayla, he whispered to the wyvern, “Tell him to aim his fire at these rocks.”

The little wyvern titled her head, but nodded.

Devarius clutched a rock tightly as the wyvern turned around to glance at the rocks in his hand. The wyvern nodded before turning the other way. Devarius focused and threw the rock as hard as he could.

The wyvern opened its mouth, and Devarius could see heat exiting the creature, but no flames came. Devarius inhaled a breath, not wanting to get frustrated over it. He threw another rock. Like the first, it flew harmlessly into the air and back down to the ground. This time, however, a small puff of smoke exited the wyvern’s nostrils.

“You’re doing good.” Devarius beamed. “Focus a little harder. Try to think of this rock as a threat, a threat to your family.”

Devarius watched as Ayla translated. He clutched the third rock and threw it higher than the rest. The wyvern had to tilt its head further up to see it; it paused for a long second before exhaling. A large flame exited the creature’s mouth in a thin stream toward the rock. When the fire met the rock, it disintegrated.

Paedyn backed away a few steps. Aquila’s mouth dropped open. Devarius grinned.

“Again,” he whispered.

He threw another rock into the sky, and just like the previous, a large flame followed it, obliterating the rock into nothingness. Devarius threw the last five rocks in his hand, and each one was pulverized by flame.

Paedyn turned to him. “That was flametastic.”

Devarius laughed. “Now it’s time to find out what the other wyverns can do.”

“That sounds fun and all … but this wyvern still needs practice. We can’t just abandon him. We should help train him,” Paedyn said.

Devarius raised an eyebrow. “And who do we have that’s qualified to train a wyvern?”

Paedyn’s forehead creased. “I think I can manage.”

“You’re a pyromaniac.”

“Hey … you’re the one who enticed me with a flying boat that can shoot flames.”

“I thought you were scared of flying.”

Paedyn shrugged. “Eh … it’ll be worth it if I can catch things on fire. I can learn to love it.”


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