Learning to Fly (7 Hunters)

By MTopaz


Part 2

Several weeks later

Ezra sat in a meadow while Nathan healed his broken leg. He never looked up, too embarrassed to meet the healer’s eyes.

“There! You’re all set, Ezra. Don’t put too much stress or strain on it for a few days.”

“Thank you, Nathan. I seem to be giving your healing powers quite a workout lately.”

“That’s okay. I need the practice.”

Ezra sat up on all fours, testing his newly repaired leg before changing into human form.

Buck came up behind him and put an arm around his shoulder. “So. Same time tomorrow?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Maybe the next day?”

“Not tomorrow, the next day, or any other day. This is a futile effort, Buck. JD says I am the right age and should be able to fly with ease. We’ve observed the flight capabilities of every bird and possibly every winged insect in all of Itreya Proper and its surrounding environs. Apparently, none of them fly in a manner similar enough to dragons for me to learn it from them. I am still only able to glide a very short distance—something I was able to do before we started all our observations. I’ve made absolutely no progress. I do not wish to continue with foolish dreams that only frustrate me and everyone around me.”

“But, Ezra, you know that ain’t how we feel! We’ll do anything we can to help ya.”

“While I greatly appreciate the effort, I do not think there’s anything you can do to help me. I don’t think anyone can.”

Two days later

“Your Majesty. You wanted to see me?”

It suddenly struck King Michael that this was the first time he had been alone with his newest Hunter, Ezra. He actually hadn’t had a chance to spend any time with JD, either. His duties as sovereign had kept him busy of late, but that was no excuse. The Hunters were the Crown’s personal warriors—and often became his closest friends. “Ezra. Call me ‘Your Majesty’ at official functions, but in informal situations the Hunters have never been required or expected to stand on ceremony with their ruler. Call me Michael.”

“Of course, Sire.”

Michael smirked at that. Ezra was going to be fun to break in. “I find myself in need of an escort for an excursion into the countryside. Since I became king, the Council won’t let me go anywhere alone.”

“Surely, Chris Larabee, as the leader of the Hunters, should be consulted rather than me.”

“I’ve been seeing entirely too much of Chris’s face, of late. Besides, this would give me a chance to get to know you better. It’s not a dangerous mission or anything—just a little sightseeing.” He’d be able to kill two birds with one stone.

“If Your Majesty is certain…”

“I am. And it’s Michael.”

“Of course.”

“Meet me at the stables tomorrow at sunrise.”

Later that day

“You’re going out with only JD and Ezra?”

The king hid his smile at Chris’s discomfort. Sometimes the man took his job entirely too seriously. “You don’t trust them to watch out for me?”

“They’ve only just been chosen, Michael. They’ve barely had any training.”

“It’s not a dangerous mission, Chris. And it’s not like I can’t take care of myself. Just because I’m king, doesn’t mean I’m a bumbling idiot. You and Buck trained me, so if I’m lacking in any particular fighting skills, it’s your fault.”

Chris sighed in frustration. Michael was always so stubborn.

Michael took pity on him. “Don’t worry. I just want to show them around, get to know them better. And maybe I can help Ezra with his little problem.”

“Problem? You mean the flying?”

“Yes. Although why no one felt it was important to let the king know one of his Hunters was having a problem, I cannot guess. It’s a good thing that nothing escapes my attention in Itreya. Nothing.” Michael gave Chris one of his patented I-am-still-in-charge glares. “Anything that affects my Hunters, affects me.”

“What are you planning?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

Chris pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “They should’ve nicknamed you Michael the Stubborn.”

“You’d know about stubborn, wouldn’t you? Really. Don’t worry. I have a plan.”

Part 3