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Nend Ardhon Chronicles

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Chapter 2 – Growing up

Byia had a peaceful and happy life while growing up. She was never alone because Teera worked on a back office where she had a big Clinic and Byia was always next to her. Byia found out a few Moons later that her mother’s Clinic was a very important section of the Healing Facility that was right next door of their house.

Her older brother, Paullu, was always studying some weird books or peacefully reading an Adventure book. Once in a while, Byia saw him playing on the left wall of his room, magically transformed into a huge screen, every time he wanted to play a game. She was still too little to understand or to play it, but she liked to watch. Most of the games were with a Surface Dragon, that moved along the prairie doing things, imitating Paullu’s movements.

One of the things that Byia liked the most, was when her father placed her on his back and took her for a ride outside the City. Teera always hated that, because she was afraid that the love of adventure from Sergge, was passed to her beloved daughter. Little she knew that it was exactly what was happening, not because of Sergge, but because Byia used to love her travels in space, on her former life, and those rides with her father, always made her particularly happy. The open waters resembled a lot with the quietude of the deep space, that Byia’s former self loved so much.

The memories of Byia’s past life were blocked since the first day she saw Magic, but every now and then, Byia had a dream during her sleep, or she remembered something that she wasn’t supposed to know anything about.

When Byia was three Tides-old, she woke up from a very vivid dream and made a drawing of a Chessboard and the pieces. Such kind of game didn’t exist on the Nend Ardhon World, but she explained the rules to Sergge, that put it in writing. He was also the one that made that idea of her’s into reality, by using his Magic to make a board out of smooth rock, and the pieces as well. To protect her, he went with that game to the House of Commerce but pretended to be the one who invented it. Soon, the game was being sold all over their Underwater World, and there were also rumours that the Surface Dragons were also buying it.

Sergge predicted that when Byia would be four Tides-old, she would be a very rich Water Dragon, that’s why all the money from those selling’s was placed in a Fund Account opened by him, and Byia could only access it when she would be sixteen Tides-old when she would become a grown-up. No one outside her family knew anything about it, not even her older brother, because her parents knew that the distracted youngster could babble about it to someone. Nevertheless, Byia instructed her father to make another Fund Account to her older brother, so that he too, could receive half of the money she was gaining every day.

Teera Calla always wondered how her little daughter could be so mature about things such as money and the future because she explained that money could help Paullu on his studies, and hers, when she decided what occupation to follow.

As soon as Byia was strong enough to swim by herself, she began exploring the vicinities of her house, all alone, when she caught her mother off guard. By that time, she was two Tides-old, but she was supposed to be an independent swimmer as soon as she made one Tide. Teera explained to her that because she kept on throwing up the baby algae when she was a few Moons old, only a small portion of the food stayed in her stomach and that delayed Byia’s growth.

On one of those escapades, Byia saw the changing in the water around her and on the Underwater City, with the automatic activation of the Dome Shield around the City to stop the strong currents, that occurred at a determined time of the rotation of the World when the two suns could influence the water on the Nend Ardhon World. Byia made a mental note to always be inside a Dome Shield, because the strength of the currents hitting the Shield, were scary.

She knew already that a Moon was a measure of time for the thirty-two nights the big moon on the sky above her Underwater City took to be completely visible, but the Tide system was a different matter. It occurred like clockwork, every three hundred and eighty-four nights, without a fail, since the beginning of times.

Byia learned by reading on a book that female Water Dragons were always bigger and stronger than the males, with normally twelve-meter-long, while the males were only nine or ten meters long. Females were stronger, but males were faster. Except for Byia. Because of her low size of nearly two meters, she was faster than a male but weaker than a female of her age that was three meters long. Surprisingly, she was very good with Magic, understanding the complexities of High-Level Magic and memorizing the words that helped on the concentration to use those Magics.

The only problem for her was understanding the mental language the Water Dragons used. She was supposed to be able to speak mentally by the age of one Tide-old, but she took another Tide to be able to do it. Her parents always found intriguing that every time they tried to mentally talk with her, she would answer with strange words or phrases, in a weird language. She began doing that as a joke, and it stuck.

Byia was also very knowledged regarding Dragons Society, Science, History, Astronomy and Healing Concepts. Teera had a lot of books at the Clinic waiting room, and Byia read them all, asking her mother for more advanced books on those matters because she wanted to understand them a little better. Seeing a toddler of three Tides-old peacefully seated at a chair in the waiting room of the Clinic and reading such advanced books, was always a subject of curiosity and wonder, from the staff working there or a patient.

In more than one occasion, Teera saw her little daughter discussing the subjects on a book with a patient, either a normal citizen or a Scholar on that matter, that found it intriguing that such a young female Dragon had so many interesting theories and interpretations of a subject that he took years to understand and to fully grasp.

The funny thing is that Byia learned the runic letters that Water Dragons use with her older brother, because she was always next to him when he was reading, asking a bunch of questions every time she saw a different rune on a page of one of his books.

By the time Byia was four Tides-old, she was sited with her family having lunch, looking puzzled to a dish in front of her. She knew that animal, and she never liked the idea of eating it. She pointed at the dish and asked:

- “Mother, this is not my pet Nim, is it? Because he sure resembles with him, it even has a small dot on the lower fin!”

- “No, you know very well that I promised never to cook one or your Farm animals that you stubbornly keep on the back of our house, on that fence you and your father made. I really can’t understand why you like to play and talk with food!”

Byia shrugged while pinching the food with one claw.

- “I don’t see them as food, and I like to play with them. They also seem to like it…”

Teera slapped Bya’s paw with her tail and warned her:

- “Do you mind stopping taking pieces of the table to eat? I saw your tail taking a huge chunk! Really, why do you like so much to eat these plants? I can never have my furniture complete, there is always a hole, somewhere!”

- “But it’s not my fault if you buy on the store furniture made with these sweet plants! They are so yummy, that I can’t resist!”

Teera Calla made a throw-up face:

- “Blargh! I never saw a Water Dragon that liked these sweet plants! No one else eats them, they are only good for decorations or furniture! Maybe it’s my fault because I was the one to mix these plants on your baby food. I was desperate to make you eat without you throwing up everything!”

Byia spread over her plate a bunch of new leaves that her tail took from the table and licked her lips while pointing her trident fork at the food.

- “Maybe it’s really your fault, so now you can’t blame me! Come here, your sweet leaves! I mean, food! Heheheh!”

Teera tilted her head and remembered her little daughter about one event that she didn’t like a single bit.

- “Remember that I always told you the younger leaves of that plant have so much Healing Magic that they are normally used to make remedies and potions, besides furniture? Remember last Moon, when you ate so much of my new kitchen cabinet, that you began to glow in your bedroom because you were so full of Magic that you lost control? What happened to your room, you remember?”

- “I… Yeah, it blew up completely. At least I got rid of all those plants that you placed in there, I now have just one wall with plants and the rest of the room it’s really neat, like Paullu’s room!”

Sergge holds his laughter when he saw the pleasure face of Byia while his wife was almost throwing up.

- “Pff… Byia, I think this is a good day for teaching you a couple of new moves. You are going to school next Tide and considering that you will be smaller than most males in there, I would prefer if you learned how to defend yourself.”

Byia frowned at Paullu that was smiling at her because he enjoyed very much to restrain her every time they trained. She pointed her fork and warned him:

- “If you dare to hold me on the ground again, I am going to make you regret it! You will never have a peaceful sleep because I will bite your ear every night!”

Paullu kept on grinning and Sergge smiled. He always liked to see them bickering with each other because he knew that all those threats and teasing, were because they loved each other.

After lunch, Byia was on the back garden, with her claws ready and her tail twisted like a screw, stuck on the ground. Paullu was smiling and with his tail pointing upwards. He never really feared Byia’s speed when she used her tail in that way to make her jump like a spring into his direction because he could predict her movements, considering they were training ever since Byia was two Tides-old and he was seven.

Paullu was nine Tides-old, and Byia should be bigger than him, but she was not. Her development was delayed because she was stubborn as a baby, always spitting and throwing up her food, until her mother mixed with the baby food, a couple of new leaves from a closet. Those leaves were from a plant that because of its sweetness, no Water Dragon liked to eat it, that was why it was normally used to make furniture, household items and decorations. Surprisingly, the baby Byia loved the new mix and she began to eat everything Teera gave her, if there were some of those leaves, of course.

Sergge made a couple of movements for Byia to try, and when he shouted ’Start!’, Byia didn’t move. She kept on staring at Paullu, waiting. Her older brother waited for her to move, and after a couple of minutes, he was bored. She looked like a statue, and not even with their father saying her to attack, she budged.

Paullu made a slight smile and with a strong push from his back legs, fired in Byia’s direction. On the last two seconds, before Paullu reached her, something in Byia’s mind triggered and all her training of a space cadet took over. She used her tail to jump to the left while grabbing Paullu’s left paw. With a gentle push to the ground, Paullu shifted direction, and crashed his face on the ground, with Byia jumping on him and placing one front paw on the back of Paullu’s neck, pulling his left arm back with her left paw, used her right leg to pull his right leg back, and her tail wrapped his, pulling it back as well. Byia kept on pulling a little Paullu’s arm, leg and tail, making him scream of pain. If he tried to roll over to get free, she would pull a little more. Paullu finally stopped struggling and tapped the ground with his free paw, quitting. Byia released him and jumped back, waiting for a sudden attack. Not that Paullu ever did that, but her former life training made her react like that.

Sergge was astonished. He never saw a Water Dragon using the tail as an extra limb. Normally, tails were only used to change directions while swimming or to slap someone. Not too hard, because it was considered a rude act, to use a tail like that. Byia was the first Water Dragon to twist her tail like a screw and use it to increase her jump speed. And now, she used her tail to completely restrain Paulu’s tail, and she even pulled it, to make him quit.

Sergge approached and touched Paullu’s arm, leg and tail, to be sure he was alright. Despite his hurt pride, everything seemed fine. He then faced Byia and noticed the redness on Byia’s eyes, a strong indicator that she was angry.

Byia was never able to hide or disguise her emotions, because her eyes kept on changing colours, according to her mood. Sergge knew that it was a trait of Teera’s family, that his wife never had, but it seems his daughter had it. It was a strong affinity with Magic, that ran on Teera’s family for generations. The last one to have the colour-change eyes, was Teera’s great-grandmother, a powerful and famous Healer. There was even a statue in the City and a street with her name.

Sergge approached Byia and waited for her to calm down. When her eyes were light blue again, he spoke:

- “I think you are more than ready for entering school next Tide, but remember, you can’t use the knowledge that I am passing to you, to hurt others. Use it only in self-defence, and always as a last resort. It’s better if you get hurt if that would mean using your moves to hurt someone that wouldn’t be able to outstand the pain you can inflict. Understood?”

Byia slowly nodded, in complete silence. Her father always said that at the beginning of her training, but that was the first time he was saying in the middle of it. Probably because she didn’t hold back and totally ruled over her older brother. She approached Paullu and asked:

- “Are you ok? I don’t really know how I did that, I think I was annoyed because you were always beating me up.”

Paullu made an awkward smile.

- “Yeah, I guess I deserved it. I wasn’t expecting you did that, that’s for sure. I was thinking that you would jump in my direction to attack me first like you normally do, but this time you waited for me. You took me completely off guard. You were amazing, sis. Shall we go another turn? Better to make sure it wasn’t luck, right?”

Byia smiled and went to her spot again, doing her usual stance, her tail twisted and stuck on the ground, her body lowered and both front paws with the claws pointing forward.

- “Come, older brother, I won’t hurt you… much! Heheheh!”

From their left side, a familiar voice was heard:

- “Go, Byia, smash his head! Ahahah!”

Paullu turned around, looking annoyed. He recognized that mocking tone anywhere. Looking from the top of the small wall that separated both houses, there he was, Guyi Mohryi, their neighbour.

Guyi Mohryi was born on the same day as Byia, but he was bigger than her, at least one meter. He came out from his egg before Byia and was on his mother’s paws when Byia was being carried home by her mother. He saw the little female sleeping and he was mesmerized by the radiance that was coming from her body, that his baby mind thought at the moment, it was the scales reflecting the light from the Nursery. As the Tides went by, he realized that it was because sometimes Byia loses control of her Magic and began to glow a little. She was his best friend, and they were often together. Secretly, he wanted more, and sometimes had problems hiding his feelings. Lucky for him, Byia was completely dense about such kind of matters.

Because Byia was smaller than most females of her age, she never liked to play the more physical games the females played, like kicking a round rock ball through a ring at three-meters high. Byia often got hurt with that game. Instead, she enjoyed racing against the males. At least, until they start refusing racing with her and began to avoid her. Except for Guyi Mohryi. He took as a personal matter to win her in a race and was trying it for the last four Tides, without success. With all his training, he was the fastest male of his age, in the City.

Byia waved one paw at her friend, with a big smile.

- “Hello, Guyi! You will be next, right after I take him down again!”

Guyi shook both front paws.

- “Don’t worry, I am fine just watching from here!”

Byia smiled and faced Paullu again, waiting for his move.

Late in the afternoon, Byia was reading a book about Deep Water Physics, when Teera arrived from work. She tilted her head when she saw Paullu studying on the dinner table and Byia next to him, reading. Sergge was nowhere to be seen.

- “Byia, where is your father? He normally waits for me to go to work.”

- “A message arrived, and he said it was an emergency. He left a note for you on one of the kitchen closets.”

Teera dashed to the kitchen and she turned pale at the message. She read it again and again and she finally took a deep breath and concentrated, sending a mental message to her husband.

- “…||… Where are you, you crazy? You were supposed to be working at your desk, not joining a search Party to find a lost Explorer!...||…

After a couple of seconds, a faint message reached her, as if Sergge was too far away, almost at the limit of their Mental Link.

- “…||… I am sorry, dear, but my friend Caddy is missing for several days. The Guild received a message today from a witness that saw something disturbing in the Abyssal Pit area by the time Caddy went missing. You know that he would do the same for me. I may be gone for several days, but I will return with him or with some answers about his disappearance. ...||…”

- “…||… Ok, but be careful and come back as fast as you can! ...||…

A very faint answer reached Teera’s mind.

- …||… I… will… love…||…

That was the last time Teera talked with Sergge.

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