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One, two, duck, glide, freeze in the burning sensation of being watched, and— damn it! The fire vines again! And the other dragons… I removed myself from the obstacle course shamefully and tried to slink out of the spotlight, but my flight professor had no mercy.

“Come on, Demna! This is only the third obstacle! If you want to pass the midterm, you'll have to get a bit farther than that!” he scolded. I nodded quickly, looking at the floor. Lyster, this jock who just gleamed with confidence, stepped up to the stage, but I still felt everyone’s gaze. As I came closer to the professor, he addressed me more softly. “I don’t understand why you’ve been performing so poorly. Your entrance exam was excellent!”

“Oh, um.” I swallowed. “I guess it’s hard for me to think, um, with everyone watching.”

And at this point I hadn’t noticed Grondin lurking in the corner, but he poked his head in.

“You can hardly think at all!” he snorted. I huffed, and the professor glared at him.

“Stop that, Grondin,” he said. “And Demna, whatever it is that’s getting in your way, I’m sorry, but you're going to have to get it under control. You have a lot of potential, and you can’t let that go to waste.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll try, professor,” I offered, already secure in my impending doom. He seemed satisfied with that, and then turned back to Lyster, who had already finished the course.

I passed by Grondin again, bracing myself for another insult, but all he did was glare, his eyes searching with hostility. I narrowed my eyes and ignored his gaze, trying to blend in again.

~~~

“Alright, now that you’ve sorted yourselves into groups, I guess that means you three are together, you three are together, you three are together…” He continued. “And, er, I suppose that leaves you two.”

I scowled, conveniently sitting next Grondin. As always, we were the leftovers.

The professor rolled open a huge map, clouds crawling across the surface, emerging from one edge and disappearing when they reached the other. It was labelled, “Troposphere, Sub-layer 8, Genesia, Hyla”, and had several red points scattered across the clouds.

“Your mission is to travel to whichever one of these red points that I assign you; they’re the lairs of cumulus serpents. Normally slothful creatures, unless you go to steal their water gems, which is what you’re going to do. Make sure you take one each,” he said. “This is an exercise in stealth and strength. Trust me, you don’t want to get caught.”

As the class dispersed and a murmur of preparation settled through the air, I scratched the ground and turned to the professor.

“Um, isn’t that how they hydrate? Will they be okay?” I asked. The professor laughed.

“Oh, they’ll be fine, alright. Water gems are actually made of charmed ice, among other elements, and don’t actually hydrate anyone. But cloud serpents certainly enjoy the, ah, recreational effects of it,” he replied. Grondin snorted as the professor turned away.

“I’m sure ‘cloud serpents’ aren't the only ones who go crazy about the stuff,” he snickered. I raised an eyebrow.

“Um, yeah… Er, we may want to put together a plan, if you’re up for that, because it looks like we’re in trouble if we get caught,” I said. Grondin turned, towering above me.

“You’re right. We are in trouble if we get caught, Demna. You’d better not screw up here, because I’m not going to bloody my claws for some weakling’s sake,” he growled. I shivered, not sure if it was in fear or anger.

“I— I’ll pull us through,” I said, and gulped. “And I’ll be pulling your weight too, coward.”

He growled and pulled away, rolling his eyes.

“Let’s just get this over with.” He pulled out the map. “The lair is an hour’s flight from here, and will likely move a bit northwest, based on the wind current here. Once there, the water gems are usually kept near the top center of the cloud, so we can just strike from above. It should be a piece of cake.”
Next

Group projects for dragons are just as terrible as they are for humans.

Characters:

Demna: female, indigo dragon. 
Grondin: male, dark green dragon.
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:iconkeithedwardbaucum:
KeithEdwardBaucum Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
This is cool.
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:iconfreee-way:
Freee-way Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :D
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:iconsamuelsama:
SamuelSama Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016   Writer
Hey fellow writer! Saw this and I quite liked your writing style so I decided to comment.

I like your dialogue. A lot of writers fall into stiff, stilted dialogue but you've managed to give yours some personality and flair. That's always a big plus for me. I also like the way you started with Demna's inner thoughts. It was hectic, but enough for me to know that the character was in some sort of obstacle course.

Now I think that the beginning could've been vastly improved if there were some explanation of the setting. I wasn't sure where it was taking place -- was it in the sky or in a closed course? It wasn't easy to tell. This issue also ties into my other piece of criticism: your pacing. Your pacing is much, much, much too fast. Everything flies by within mere moments and I can't take anything in. I don't really know what's going on outside of dragons and a mission. I don't know anything about their situation, the setting, the characters... Your story could use more padding, and by peppering these details throughout, you can solve all of these problems at once.

The fact that I have no idea what these characters look like left me wondering what species they were. Obviously they're dragons, which I can infer by the description and the groups that this has been placed in, but that's not the way to get the audience to know these are dragons. Describe their appearances in your story. Not all at once, mind you, but some details here and there. Like in the beginning, mention the wind beneath Demna's scaled, indigo wings. Mention some things about Grondin.
"He came into the room, thrusting his thick, curved horns..."
Or something like that to give us an idea of his appearance. Definitely do not have your character, Demna, describe through the narrative everything about his appearance. Since Demna knows Grondin, she wouldn't be looking at him so thoroughly. However, if Demna comes across something she's never seen before, dedicate two or three sentences to her frantically looking over the character.

First person is tricky but a lot of fun and I really enjoy how personal it can get with your OCs. Like I said, I really like your writing style, but there are some things that need major hammering out. Still, you did a good job here, and reading your dialogue is fun. ^^
Hope anything I've said here helps!
----
I'd appreciate having you look over one of my pieces and giving me a similar review, friend! =)
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:iconfreee-way:
Freee-way Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the feedback! This is certainly helpful! Haha, you're right, I definitely tend towards more minimalist writing and that does get in the way sometimes. Thanks for advising me on how to get around that! And I'm really glad you enjoyed my dialogue! I'll certainly work to improve!
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December 9, 2016
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