The following night passed rather uneventfully, save the occasional moments of me waking up to stir under my sheets. I was, at some point in my sleep though, woken up at the sound of my door clicking and the lights turning on. At that instant, honest, I shot out of bed, slamming my horned head into the bunk above me, instead of my usual, lethargic stirring before I'd actually wake up.
While I'll admit that that hurt a lot, I found my sudden ability to wake up then to be quite odd, because usually I'd take forever to actually wake up, unless I was in camp. It was what I liked to term as 'camp mode', which was those times where, in my peak, I could go for 48 hours with only 15 minutes of sleep, and was able to wake up instantaneously, which was to say, pretty much the opposite of how I usually worked.
But before I digress any further, let me continue. Snarling in obvious pain, I glared at the person who woke me up, only to see me somewhat-terrified father standing at the doorway, looking at me.
"Dad...?" I groaned, rubbing my head, "Oh jeez, what time is it..."
"Only about 5.30, Ryan." he said, walking in.
"Then what are you doing here...?"
"Well, the company needs me in at 6 today, and I need to get a shirt from your closet, so... Mind if I grab one?"
"Not at all." I said, yawning, revealing my sharp teeth and forked tongue.
Now, if you're wondering why my dad keeps clothes in my room, well, being in a moderately small house, my family tends to run out of space in their own closets, and since I'm the least concerned about fashion among the four of us, all three of my family members then to use the extra space around their own stuff, since I had the least clothes.
My dad hurried over to grab a shirt, but as he began to leave the room, he stopped. Putting the shirt down, he came over to the bedside next to my half-sleeping form, and gingerly put his hand on one of my wings.
"Now, listen, Ryan. Mom and I still love you, no matter what. I know you're different now, and I know that it's not just the physical changes. I've read the papers and the reports. If you ever lose your mind, you'll be damn sure your mother and I will drag you back here and re-brainwash you, you got that? I've heard about those 'clans' recruiting wayward dragons, and don't you even dare think about it, you understand?" he said in a firm, yet reassuring voice, placing heavy emphasis on 'think' .
I quickly got the message and gave him a quick look-over. My dad looked tired still, his slightly wrinkled face showing black rings under his eyes, indicating his lack of sleep. Could I have done that? I wondered.
"And by the way," he said, leaving the room, "don't even try skipping school today. You may be one of the first dragons around here, but that's no excuse."
Before I could even mouth a reply, he cut me off, saying, "People, will have to get used to you, like than Ethan fella on the news."
And with that, my dad left the room, closing the door on my muzzle. I stared at the door, wondering what had just happened.
My sleepy, half-conscious brain inside my scaly head half-wanted to stop for a moment to digest everything that my dad had just said, while the other half of my brain just wanted to get some sleep. While I was sleepy, I had no mood to sleep, and since I had a little time to kill, I decided to take a look around me room.
As a dragon now, everything in my room seemed slightly smaller than what I remembered it to be, with the walls of the room seeming more confining now. Part of me told me that I wanted to be free of this concrete prison in which I was trapped in, yet another part of me told me that this was home.
Pondering my new thoughts, I suddenly came to the notice of a set of folded, green shirt with a dark green collar, along with a pair of dark green pants. On the set of neatly folded clothes was a small note, which was probably written by my sister, judging from the handwriting
Here's your modified set of school uniform, all made and ready for you. Mom and I spent a good hour or so modifying some of your clothes, so please don't tear them, or I'll turn you into a handbag if you do. Mom wanted to only give you your school uniform back, since she and dad thought it'd be best that you get back to being a loser in school as soon as possible, so she'll leave the rest of your clothes on the dining room table for you when you get home. Also, as per our parent's (and my own) request, please don't eat anybody.
...yet, I haven't complied my hit list.
Either way, I'll see you tomorrow,.
Better than you,
I chuckled as I read the letter, before examining the set of modified uniform that was supposed to be made for me.
Unfolding the (ironically) dull-green shirt and pants, I could see that some holes in the back of the shirt were cut for my wings, and a hole was cut out for my tail, but seemed to be about it.
I crooned in mild disappointment that there was nothing for my spines, but I guessed they were supposed to say under my shirt, which wasn't hard since they didn't jut out at high angles. Instead, the seemed to remind me more of slightly curved rhombuses, albeit less square-ish.
They only thing left for me to do was to put on my ironically green school uniform, before clipping on my standard, bright yellow badge that said : RYAN EE YI JUN, STUDENT COUNCILOR, GREENVIEW SECONDARY SCHOOL. I sighed. The last thing I actually wanted to do on today was to get a roundhouse kick in the ass from the student body today, like every other day before, let alone go to school today. I felt like I was pioneering the first grenade-propelled rocket launch to the moon today by being probably the only dragon trying to resume a normal course of life, which was not something I wanted to do at that moment.
I stared myself down at the mirror, having a good look at myself. I bore absolutely no resemblance to my former self as I mapped my own image out in the mirror, taking a good look at everything from my tongue (which was now forked, might I add) to my tail, inspecting it all. I noticed that two of my teeth near the front of my muzzle looked slightly longer, and upon closer inspection, they felt like they were slightly hollow.
I gave them a little flick, testing them, and found them to produce and sound, unlike the rest of my teeth.
Grabbing my backpack off from my study table, I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed an apple, and then bit into it. As I was biting into it, I felt a strange tingling sensation in the roof of my mouth, and when I pulled the apple out, a small amount thick greenish-purple liquid had formed in the little depressions where my teeth had bitten into.
"Interesting..." I muttered to myself, taking another bite, "I must be venomous or something..."
Waltzing into the dining room, I soon found my watch and Student Council tie resting on the counter next to the table, and I picked those up, shoving my tie into my bag and strapping my trusty Timex Ironman watch on.
The watch had to be re-strapped about 2 holes more than its usual, which was surprising, since I barely seemed to get larger in terms of width. As far I was concerned, I was still leaning more towards being on the thinner and shorter side of dragons, with most standing at somewhere over 8 feet while I wasn't even 6 feet tall!
My Timex Ironman watch had to probably be the only watch I ever wore, with it being used for well over 3 years now. It's once bright green (yes, I like green, hush) rim was now more leaning towards being a dull, yellowish green, having been used under quite a few extreme conditions before. It's display was also no longer clear like it used to be, and was now covered with an assortment of scratches that lined across the digital display.
Still, it worked like it was just bought yesterday, and since I did so, I had every reason to keep the watch in use.
Funny though, that the only reason I actually wore my watch was because of the student council. In fact, ironically enough, almost all my habits seemed to have developed from spending three years in my school's student council, so much that it was a reflex action for me to raise my hand when a teacher needed a volunteer in class, and stuff like that.
Wearing a watch was one of those little things that I picked up in my early years when I was a nominee for the student council, and it stuck with me all the way 'till now.
You see, when I was a freshman in secondary school, I was one of the few students who were assessed to have 'leadership qualities', so to speak, and with that, the teachers happily entered my name into the list of nominees for the student council.
As a nominee for the student council, you were then sent for a large-scale selection program, which involved a series of physical, administrative and teamwork-straining tasks disguised as a leadership training camp, so conveniently organized by the student council.
Now, being a full-time student councilor at school, I had personally gone through the selection program and actually helped run it and assess new members too, and to be honest, it's not a pretty thing for both the people running the camp and the people in the camp.
The camp starts off in their first phase, the 'pre-camp' phase, in which the freshmen are grouped into their respective camp groups. Over the course of a few after-school sessions, the groups were required to complete several administrative tasks such as designing a group banner, delegating tasks and roles for the camp such as an in-charge for logistics, and planning for things such as field cooking.
All the while, those in charge of monitoring and getting to know the group would be assessing the group members, keeping tabs on them to check for any signs of leadership qualities that might be desirable for the student council. The council would then meet up after their group meetings to discuss and report anything to the teachers, before it would be recorded by a secretary and kept for later reference.
After that was the next phase, the 'camp' phase. This was probably the most grueling part of the camp, with it spanning over a short 48 hours. Most of us dreaded this phase of the selection process as everyone knew that they and the campers would be getting very little sleep, with the campers having to get by on 4 hours in 2 days, while the leaders had a range of time from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how the events in camp played out.
To add on to that, the camp was meant to be as physically and mentally exhausting as possible, with the first part of the camp starting with a rigorous but fun set of situational-based games used to assess the campers on their leadership qualities. Then afterwards, the camp would suddenly change from a fun, game-filled camp to a harsh, military-styled system that would last late into the night, meant to break the campers as much as possible. Pushups, shouting, and generally what the locals dubbed as 'tekan' (a Malay word meaing to hit, used as slang for abuse or being scolded ). It would generally progress to this point where everyone in the camp was exhausted, and once the campers pitched their tents and went to sleep, the councilors would then go ahead and review leadership qualities, before we all took a quick break.
It was after that that we would wake up the campers in the middle of the night to take them for a 2-kilomiter walk with things such as their tents, food supplies and things like that, all the way out to some random location for them to complete some task, before heading back to school. All this, while assesing the campers again.
After all that it was just followed by some more administrative crap before the campers were sent home around noon after a celebratory lunch, before the council would spend the rest of the day reviewing everything that was gathered from the camp and pre-camp phases.
And lastly, was the interview phase, in which the campers were called in one-by-one, so that they could be interviewed to see if they would make a good leader, before the teachers would finally make a conclusion of who would be in and out, after all the information gathered.
This was an insanely tiresome process in which we used to get our new recruits, but this process was one of the things I took part in that actually helped me to develop such habits over the course of the year.
But before we digress once more, as I looked at the clock I soon realized that I was still half an hour early for school, even though I had totally zoned out for a good hour or so, and I decided that it might've been a good idea to get there before the morning rush of students and cars, so as to have less people see me.
The rest of my breakfast was followed by two bowls of cereal and another apple before I was finally full, but once I finished I stepped out of the house, allowing the brisk morning air to caress my scales as a breeze blew by. My dad was already gone, as evident by the missing car on our driveway, and I realized that I couldn't fly with my backpack on my back because it seemed to obstruct my wings, which was proved when I tried to spread my wings open and realized that they wouldn't completely unfurl due to the bag.
However, after a few tries I settled on carrying my bag backwards, making it look like I was carrying a baby, before spreading my wings once more and giving them their first proper flap.