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A Dragon's Magic

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Magical energy tickled her fingertips and she swallowed, her palms sweaty inside of her gloves. Her hand twisted against the long staff and her fingers tightened around the smooth wood. Her magical staff never let her down, so she knew there was no reason to be nervous, but so much rode on this final test.

"Ochako!"

She gasped, turning around to face the voice which called to her. "Mom!" she said, looking the older woman up and down. She couldn't see anyone once she stepped into the test field.

Her mother smiled gently, handing her her hat. "I didn't want you to forget this."

"My hat!" she said, her hand covering her mouth. "It's lucky! Who knows how things would've gone without it!" Laughing, she placed the hat on her head, pulling the sides down with her hands. "There we go! Outfit complete!" Her long pink dress fell just above her knees, covered by her dark leggings. The outfit was highlighted by the black belt hooked around her waist, and black boots covering her feet up to her ankles. Now it was complete with her dark pink cloak and hat.

"Perfect!" Her mother laughed, and Ochako couldn't help herself; she dashed forward, wrapping her arms around the woman one final time. "O-Oh!"

"I love you, Mom," she said quietly.

"I love you too sweetheart. You're going to do amazing!"

"Mhm!" Ochako nodded, her brown eyes glistening with determination. "After today, I'm going to be a professional mage. A true adult!"

"I know you're going to be amazing. We'll be cheering for you!" she smiled, gently pulling back. Her fingers gripped around Ochako's shoulders. "I'm so proud of you."

"I know," she smiled.

Her mother gently cupped her cheeks. "She would be proud of you too."

"I know," Ochako repeated, her voice much quieter this time.

She missed her grandmother terribly. She missed her stories, her laugh, her smile... her grandmother always believed in her; believed she could do whatever she wanted to do.

But now wasn't the time to focus on her grief. She was an adult now, taking a step forward towards her career.

Her mother and father trained her for this day for as long as she could remember. Ochako was to be a white mage, a healer. Taking over her parents’ clinic was what she considered to be her fate, as it was planned since she began studying magic. It worked out she supposed; elemental magic never really was her thing, and she wasn't interested in being a part of the village guard.

And yet... it didn't feel perfect, like someone pressed a puzzle piece into a spot where it only mostly fit; not horrible, but not correct either.

There was no going back now.

"Good luck, sweetheart!" Her mother smiled, stepping back.

"Thanks Mom," she nodded.

It was time.

She clutched her staff and stepped out onto the test field. The ground was soft against her boots as she made her way to the middle of the circle. The test field was really more like an arena, surrounded by stands for spectators to enjoy a show. Today however, the tests for magic licenses were private, open only to the students' family and the Mage Elders.

"Uraraka Ochako. White mage. Specialization in healing and protection spells. 18 years of age. Testing for her professional magic license." The Elder's voice boomed into the stadium, the sound echoing around her.

She bowed to them. "Thank you for accepting my application."

A kind, older woman spoke. "There was absolutely no reason not to. Given your lineage and expertise, we aren't in the least bit concerned."

Ochako bit her lip, her heart racing. "Right!" she nodded. She knew she could pass this test with flying colors.

She glanced to the side, both of her parents smiling at her from the stands. Neither looked nervous, and she was glad they both had faith in her. A bittersweet feeling tugged on her heart, she truly wished her grandmother could've been there, smiling with her parents.

The white mage test was arguably much easier than the elemental test. Elementals needed to prove they could harness the power of a variety of elements, or be incredibly proficient in one. It often included a battle of some sort, since many elementals went on to become village guards.

White mages however only were required to heal a person and show off protection spells, at least in her village. White mages were often capable of a variety of spells, but generally they were ones which didn't assist with day to day village life.

"We'll begin with protection spells," the Elder said. "Go ahead."

Ochako nodded and held out her staff.

"Protect!" she called out, her hand buzzing with energy. She could always feel her magic trailing down her spine, the energy coursing through her veins. Her hand glowed white and pink, the colors of her aura, unique to only her. Every white mages' color was different, and Ochako was blessed with pink. A pink, see-through shield made entirely of magical energy swirled in front of her hand, protecting her.

The Elders clapped. One older man stepped forward. "Splendid, Uraraka. Continuing on." He held up a short wand. "Fire!" The man called out, small fireballs shooting her way.

She gasped, holding her shield in place as she brought her other hand to her staff. "Reflect!" she said, a shimmer glazing over the shield as the fireball deflected off and shot back towards the Elder.

"Fantastic!" he said, swirling his wand around in front of him to pull the magical energy back inside. "A quick thinker."

She swallowed, a small bead of sweat dripping down her forehead. "Thank you," she breathed.

"Next, we need a full shield!" The older woman called out.

Ochako nodded, keeping both hands gripped around her staff. "Shell!" The pink shield grew in size, encasing her body completely.

"Absolutely fantastic. You use magic with such ease."

"Well, I have my staff to thank for that," she smiled. Magic was a strange force of energy. It existed, yes... but for humans, it was impossible to channel unless it was through a magical object, like her staff.

However, humans were lucky it worked at all; many creatures, elves, dwarves, goblins and others did not have the capability at all. Magic was a fickle force, only gifting its presence to those deemed worthy. There were some humans who struggled, even if they possessed a magical object.

"Indeed," the Elder woman nodded, pushing herself up. "Now, can you break my shield," she said. Her own staff, far longer than Ochako's, was held out in front of her, encasing herself in a green shield.

"Dispel!" Ochako cried out, pointing towards the shield around the woman. Pink energy shot from the end of the staff, breaking the green barrier the woman created.

"Perfection," she smiled. "The test is going quite well. Finally, you will use your healing magic. Step towards us."

Ochako nodded, doing as she was told. Her boots pressed against the soft ground, stepping towards the woman.

"Please, heal my wound," she said, holding out her arm. There was a large gash in her forearm, bruising already formed around the cut. Ochako honestly couldn't believe she hadn't noticed it before... but it was a great deal smaller than she expected.

Perhaps this test was more of a formality than she originally realized.

She swallowed, closing her eyes as she gently rest the head of her staff against the woman's arm. "Cure," she whispered. Pink particles flowed around the woman's skin, and Ochako slowly moved the staff over the gash. The particles danced across the wound, sewing it shut with their energy, the cut disappearing from her pale skin.

"Beautiful," the Elder woman spoke, pulling her arm away. "Not a mark left. Please, return to the center so we can continue the test."

Continue? Ochako tried to hide the confusion on her face. The healing spell was meant to be the last thing... was there something else?

She clutched her staff tightly, hands trembling as she returned to the middle of the circle. She wished to look her parents in the eye, but she didn't want to seem weak.

She turned to face the Elders once again, her brown eyes wide. "Is there anything you wish to show us we have not asked for?"

Swallowing, Ochako looked down at her feet. For promising mages, they offered them a chance to show off any other skills they may have, Ochako completely forgot until this very moment.

And... there was one thing...

"Yes. There is something I can show," she smiled. Aiming her staff down towards her feet, she tapped the side of one foot. "Float." She quickly moved to the other foot, repeating the word. Pink particles glistened around her feet, her body feeling far lighter as she raised herself off the ground. "Gravity magic," she smiled.

Her body hovered in the air for a few moments, rising up above the ground. She couldn't go very high, but it was impressive as it was, being able to control her body weight through her magic. Gravity spells generally weren't used on people. It was a rare trait for a white mage to possess, most used invisibility spells or other types of blocking magic.

"Release," she called out softly, lowering herself to the ground.

From the stadium, she heard her parents clap, the Elders quickly joining in.

The Elder woman glanced towards the two men next to her, the three of them nodding. "I think it's safe to say you passed with flying colors," she smiled. Tapping her staff against the paper, it rolled up and she floated it towards her. "Congratulations, Uraraka Ochako, you are officially a professional white mage!"

Reaching out, she pulled the paper towards her chest. "Thank you!" she smiled, bowing her head. "Thank you so much."

"Thank yourself," the Elder man spoke. "You are the one who trained hard and succeeded at this task."

"Right," she smiled and turned towards her parents, holding the small scroll up. "I did it!" she cheered.

The Elder woman laughed softly. "You are now free to practice magic as you please. Please be safe and review the Rules of Magic. If you break any of them, you are subject to having your license revoked... not that we're actually worried about that with you," she smiled.

"Of course not!" She worked too hard to give it up now. She glanced down at the roll up scroll. Though it was simply paper, it felt heavy in her hand.

She completed her training. This was her life now. She knew it would be, had always known...

"Thank you," she spoke again, bowing her head.

"Congratulations."

As she made her way out of the training field, she missed the feeling of floating suddenly, her body feeling heavy, her boots scuffing against the dirt.

She was happy! She was!

"There's our girl!" Her father's loud voice boomed on the other side of the gateway, and she smiled, waving before dashing forward to hug him.

"Papa!" she said, and he picked her up and twirled her around.

"Gravity magic! Since when have you been practicing that?" her father smiled.

"I wanted to surprise you!" she giggled. "Did it work?"

"It certainly did! And you used it on yourself no less!"

"We're very proud of you Ochako." Her mother's smile was so bright, and Ochako felt her heart throb with excitement.

"We couldn't have asked for a better daughter. You're going to be the perfect successor to our healing clinic!" her father smiled.

"I'm... so happy!" she said, her eyes glancing down for a moment. Her mother blinked, her brow furrowing. Did she notice the way Ochako's face turned away for a moment?

"Why don't we celebrate? It's your 18th birthday and you've got your professional license, so... I think some fun is in order!" Her mother clapped her hands together, her smile pulling across her face.

"Yes! We must celebrate. Your mother did bake you a cake!" he said.

"That was supposed to be a surprise!" she whined, gently hitting her husband on the arm.

"A cake!" Her brown eyes twinkled. "We gotta get home and eat it right now!" she said, holding her staff and scroll close to her chest.

"Mhm!" Her mother placed her arm around her. "Let's get you home and frame this!" she said, pulling the scroll from her hand. "We can put it right next to mine and your father's!" she said.

Everything was so happy, everything should've felt so right. She was an adult now, a professional mage.

So why did her chest feel so heavy?