Flare lay beside the massive wooden doors outside drowsily twirling his black tail in the warm sunlight. Sun rays bounced off his armor like scaled pelt warming him through and through. He snorted, blowing smoke rings from his nostrils. This was Flare’s favorite activity accept for eating himself silly (the few times he could get away with it.)
Flare gave a contented smoky sigh that blew more smoke, only this time in the form of a shapeless cloud forming from his toothy mouth. Yes this was the life for him….
Suddenly the two wooden doors trembled and he jumped out of the way as a group of students came out of the castle. An auburn haired head caught his eye in bobbing in the mass of students. Recognition lit his eyes aflame as he recognized his master Emily Flameheart.
There were many auburn haired girls as well as blonde, brown, and black within the walls of Ridgeway. Was this actually Emily or some other girl he was possibly mistaking for his master?
Flare felt the pull of a magical force against his scales in the direction of Emily. Yes, it was her. He thought as he scratched at a particularly itchy scale.
The adult who was leading the group turned towards the students after she’d led them a good ways off and began to address them with several expressive hand motions. It was the Magical Companion Teacher.
Flare let his wings sag as far down his scaly flanks as they would go as his wing muscles relaxed in the warm sun. Breathing out a plume of dark smoke that drifted on the sunlit morning air he laid his head next to his relaxed wings and slowly closed his eyes.
No sooner had he done so then the gentle pull on his scales became not so gentle and on his masters magically called will he jumped up to his taloned feet. Flare heaved a deep fiery breath in annoyance. His master better be getting him away from bathing sun puddles for a good reason. Like maybe food.
Trying to walk as slowly he began his descent closer to Emily muttering his disagreement in German all the while. Unfortunately for him, Emily wasn’t being very patient and the magical pull of his master’s call made him break into a loping run.
Arriving at Emily’s feet he skidded to a stop and dropped his head down to her eye level. Emily gave a small smile and walking away motioned for him to follow. Flare much would rather lay down for a good roll on the grassy cloud, but when Emily motioned his scales trembled and he lurched forward at his master’s command.
Treading on the back of Emily’s heels he followed her until she came to an abrupt stop at a large shed next to the castle. The Magical Companion Teacher took out a thick key and turning it in the shed’s lock slid the door open. Emily and several classmates walked inside while the teacher followed giving instructions.
Hence her name, the “Magical Companion Teacher” taught the children about the magical pets that they’d brought to Ridgway.
Curiously Flare stuck his large head in only to pull back a second later when something from behind him butted him. Snarling and tail thrashing he pulled quickly away and turned to glare aggressively at a white horse with a spiral horn. Next to the Unicorn was a white winged horse with a flowing mane and tail.
It looked like some of the Magical Companions that students had brought were Pegasus and Unicorns. There were also others, Flare noted while hi scratched at his itchy scale again. There were Pegasus, Unicorns, Pegacorns, (a mix between a Pegasus and a Unicorn.) Dragons, Phoenixes, Hippogriffs, Griffins, and many more!
Flare clawed the ground with one scaly forehand leaving claw marks in his wake. He certainly wouldn’t be getting much peace and quiet around here when a bunch of Magical Companions were making so much noise.
A griffin gave a low roar and batted the end of Flare’s long tail playfully. His snarl growing wider to reveal rows of hooked fangs, he lifted his tail and let it fall with a heavy wumph! beside the playful griffin.
Low whimpers of fear in its eagle throat the griffin retreated quickly away from the fuming German Hooked Tooth. Cursing in German Flare plopped down on his haunches next to the shed to continue scratching at his itchy scale.
Just when he was starting to settle down the students came back out of the shed armed with riding gear. Flare glanced around nervously. This didn’t look to good.
Emily walked over and slung a large saddle over his back. Flare fumed clawing the ground even more. He had been right- this wasn’t good.
Tightening the saddles straps Emily fit the stirrups the appropriate length for her legs and grabbing the saddle horn hoisted herself up into the saddle. Next she slid a pair of thickly built reins over his head and tightened them. Flare tried to give a very unappreciative growl, only to choke as Emily pulled on the reigns.
Swallowing his growl but still unappreciative, Flare plopped down with Emily on top of him. “Hey!” Yelled Emily as Flare laid his head on his hands with a disgruntled snore.
Flare didn’t feel like flying right now.
A crack came from over his head and something slithered briefly over his tough hide where his itching was making him jump up with a start. On his feet now he reared up onto his haunches with his wings flapping madly. Emily shrieked as Flare’s wings batted her head lightly but with still with force.
Tightening her grip on the reigns and yelling as madly as Flare’s beating wings Emily dug her heels into Flare’s sides to make him stop. Unfortunately she wasn’t quick enough and was slung off to cling to Flare’s slippery scaled neck.
Emily’s shrieks rang in his ears and he dropped down to all fours with his claws sinking into the grassy cloud just as if it were a giant marshmallow. Emily loosened her grip on the reigns enough for him to breathe regularly as he got used to the feeling of a saddle nestled between his wings and reigns tightened to his face.
After awhile Flare heard Emily cooing reassuringly in his bat like ridged ear. He flicked his ear and followed the command she was giving him.
Emily guided him around with nudges from her heels and turns from the reigns. He was occasionally awarded with a gentle pat on the neck when he did as she said and went the way she told him to without any commotion. It took awhile to understand what to do but in the end, Flare had the basics.
When the sun was well into the sky the Magical Companion teacher blew a whistle and they all dismounted. Emily slid off and removed the saddle and reigns carefully from Flare. Opening back up the shed all the students piled in to wax and clean their equipment before closing up the shed and leaving for their next class.
Flare growled happily and rolled around in the grass like a dog at play. Finally he could reach his torturous itchy scale! Sitting back up he shook the grass from his wings and sat lazily in the warm rays of sunlight gathered around him. A shrill noise sounded in the distance….
He flicked his batty ears ignoring it. There it was again… This time Flare turned his head toward the noise. It was leading off the cloud that Ridgway sat on and into the distance.
What was it?