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  from Dragon Story by Bailey Bergman

Chapter 1

“Alright…. Let’s do this again.” I laid my hand against the dead wood and closed my eyes tightly. I was trying to do magic without speaking the enchanting word. I been trying for weeks now and I had failed every single time. I never had enough focus or power to do so. I had been close last week and had spent hours working on it. The flame just kept slipping from my grasp and nothing happened again. 

Today, I concentrated on how the magic made me feel inside. The heat and pain that it would bring to my hand and body. The fire never burned me but I could feel the heat of it. I focused on the joy that it brought to me and the overwhelming excitement that filled my heart when I used magic. My mind reached out to Grim, my dragon, begging for him to share his magic with me. I always needed his help when doing magic. It was a part of our bond. Then it happened.

Heat started to bubble up from my toes and build in my stomach. The warmth spread down my arms, collecting at the ends of my fingers. Sparks started to shoot out of my fingertips. I focused harder, willing the fire to grow into something more. I wanted a full-blown inferno to start. Fire flowed out of my fingers into the wood, setting it a blaze. The fire danced across the wood, burning as it played. The blaze left soot in its wake, blackening the log with ash. 

I let out a joyful shout. We had done it! Then the fire suddenly stopped. The log sat blackened and dark. I frowned and shook my head. Once again, I had failed. It was always the same, failure after failure. 

Do not be sad, Gwen.” Grim spoke into my mind calmly. “We did it. Perhaps it was for a short time but we succeeded in our wishes. That was not a failure. We will do better next week.”

I looked up at Grim, who was looming over me, casting a large shadow over my work area. I smiled and laid my head against his great shoulder, running my hand over his pitch-black scales. “I suppose you are right. You are right a lot lately.”

Grim chuckled, a dark rumbling coming from his chest. “I do have wisdom from my ancestors to aid me.

I nodded. Then I realized it was well past noon. We had been out here for several hours. “We need to get back to the Academy.” I climbed onto his back and settled into the saddle that sat between his shoulders. It fit like a glove, worn down and shaped by many long rides. I quickly tied my legs into the stirrups, making sure they were secure. I then urged Grim into the sky.

Grim took one bounding leap and threw himself into the atmosphere, pushing off the ground with his legs. Clumps of dirt and grass shot from under his feet. His shadowy wings spread out and flapped twice before he was at the height we both desired. Then he opened his wings so we could glide. The wind caught under them and kept us aloft in the sky.

I surveyed the area as we headed back towards home and school. Forest spread out around below us, sprawling in every direction. It was a thick wooded land that had hills and valleys for miles and miles. Different types of tree grew in the area. Oaks and maples were the most numerous. Their broad leaves covered the ground below them, shielding the animals from sight. I could hear some of the animals moving below us. 

My heightened senses mixed with Grim's own powerful senses made me see and hear almost everything. I homed in on a squirrel scampering up a tree. Tiny claws dug into the wood, making a faint scratching noise that came up through the trees and into my ears.  

We continued followed the river as it wound its way through the woods, carving a path into the forest floor. The river flowed right through the Academy and powered our mills. To the north, you could see the mountain range that separated the cold, snowy tundra land from the warmer southern lands. 

This area was great for tra...

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