Chapter 37

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Chapter Thirty-seven

Jaxx and Ciarran landed in the forest clearing. Commander Zionn and Bard Melaniya were already there, waiting. They were joined a few moments later by Kiellan, Asherr, and their dragons.

Jaxx looked at the other boys suspiciously, wondering what they were doing there. They had flat out refused to team up with him ever since the spider incident. Were they being punished for something?

The Commander beckoned them all closer. "This area is infested with dream spinners," he said. "Their web is laced with magic and when their prey touches it, the victim falls into a dazed state which allows the spider to attack it without a struggle."

Jaxx's shoulders slumped. More spiders. He gave Kiellan and Asherr a sideways glance. He could tell from their smirks that they were thinking of the last time they had hunted spiders together. His face burned at the memory.

"For humans, the effect is said to be rather pleasant, at least for most people," the Commander said. "It makes them go into a relaxed, dream-like state. The magic from the web is harmless, but it is still considered enemy magic, so Jaxx should be able to use his dragon's magic. The spell from the web does not last very long and normally wears off without any lasting ill effects after several hours. However, the spider's bite is venomous. Do not let yourself be bitten."

Jaxx looked around apprehensively. He wondered how large and fast these spiders were.

The Commander glowered at Jaxx from under his shaggy eyebrows. "These two young men have volunteered to help with our experiment. One of them will touch the web to go into the dream state and you will use your magic to release him from the trance. The other will watch for spiders and kill any that try to attack."

Kiellan and Asherr nudged each other, whispering and laughing.

"Did you hear about that girl last year at the graduation celebration?" Jaxx heard Asherr say. "She tripped and fell into a huge web while she was dancing. She thought she was a balloon and was afraid she was going to float away. They finally tied one end of a string to her finger and the other end to a chair to make her feel safe."

"I heard about that," said Kiellan. "I can't wait to try it for myself."

Jaxx rolled his eyes.

Commander Zionn looked at the boys sternly. "This is not a game. You were chosen for this task because Lord Drakkar thought you had the maturity to handle it. Was he wrong?"

Kiellan and Asherr looked at the ground sheepishly. "No sir."

The Commander narrowed his eyes. "I should hope not. Now, remind me what your elementals and talents are."

Asherr stepped forward. "Sir, I am Asherr, Rider of Canth. My element is water and I am able to stun the enemy with ice magic."

The Commander turned toward the other boy. "And you?"

"Sir, I am Kiellan, Rider of Nazar. My element is fire and I create a dome of fire that kills what enemies come within my range."

The Commander nodded. "Asherr, Rider of Canth, you will touch the web," he said, "and Kiellan, Rider of Nazar, you will stand ready in case of attack."

Kiellan made a disappointed noise, causing the trainer to look at him sharply. "Do you think we are playing here?" he asked.

"No sir," Kiellan said. He looked away and shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot while Commander Zionn continued to glare at him.

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