The journey to the part of the Shadow Moon Road that was closest to the Royal Capital was three and a half days by carriage.
The military exercise would take place a little further on. We were told that the entire journey would be over four days.
I was currently riding as a passenger on Marty’s running dragon.
He sat in the front and I sat behind him.
“So, we’ll arrive within a day on dragonback. It will be hard to go back to carriages once I get used to this.”
“Yes. Of course, we’re just going at the speed of an earth dragon now. We could actually go much faster.”
If you considered just the speed, flying dragons were the fastest, because they weren’t affected by the terrain. Running dragons were just a little slower.
As earth dragons were big and tough, they weren’t quite as quick in terms of mobility.
When it came to the sudden unleashing instantaneous force, running dragons were superior. Flying dragons took a while to fly at a stable speed, and were not as suited for short-distance travel.
“I guess matching your speed to the earth dragons is the most comfortable way to go.”
“But on the other hand, running dragons walk on just two legs, so they aren’t as stable when slowing down. It’s not something you have to care about with earth dragons, since they have four legs.”
We were all riding on the dragons that the Second-Years controlled.
Everyone was supposed to pair up with their roommate, but as it wasn’t an even number, anyone who was left would ride with the veteran Dragon Masters.
I had paired up with Marty previously, and so I rode with him again.
“A thought just hit me. What’s it like riding a running dragon who is going at full speed over a long distance?”
I had ridden with him short-distance a number of times, but not for half a day.
“Recently, we’ve been traveling for longer distances so that we’d be able to keep up during the military exercise. Riding a dragon that’s going at full speed is a life-threatening experience. I mean, it’s not really possible to concentrate that much for hours on end, is it? When going for long distances, you really have to know the movements of your dragon. If you can’t react to it instinctively, then you are likely to be thrown off once you lose focus.”
It was harder than I expected.
Mary controlled a running dragon. And it was quite gentle.
If it was just walking normally, the sounds its feet made were like ‘tap-tap-tap.’
In comparison, the sounds of an earth dragon walking were ‘boom-boom-boom.’ And the ground would shake. It really showed how light the running dragons were on their feet.
However, things started to change once they picked up speed.
The sounds became ‘thud-thud-thud,’ and then they became even faster.
That meant the rider would have to endure the up and down vibrations for a very long time.
“It starts to turn your stomach inside out.”
The dragons tried to run without swaying too much.
However, their bodies were much larger than humans.
Even a small amount of swaying was enough to shake up the insides of the rider.
“Good thing we’re allowed to go slowly.”
I didn’t want to start vomiting during our march.
“By the way, while many people think that riding on flying dragons is easy, they also have their problems.”
You couldn’t always predict the currents of the wind, and you could be unexpectedly pushed downward out of nowhere
Of course, it wouldn’t result in a crash landing, but the dragon would have to desperately flap its wings in order to regain its posture, and the rider had to hang on for dear life.
“I suppose it’s a test of one’s stamina, regardless of which dragon you are riding.”
It was often said that a human’s limit is what decided a dragon’s movements.
We departed in the morning and took three short breaks before arriving at the campsite that night.
Both the First-Years and Second-Years helped pitch the tents.
In spite of having just finishing such a tiring journey, we had to set up a place to cook and rest.