Month 12

Feeding: Every three days. Dragons are strong enough to kill culls of large domestic animals such as cows and horses, although it is uncommon for those animals to be available. Dragons now have large appetites and are likely to take long naps after eating.

General Care: Bathing every third day, oiling every other day. Grinding teeth are fully developed at this point, and partners must watch out for burns and bit tongues.

Size: The dragons reach 63 inches at the withers, or chin-height on a person of six feet. With their necks included, dragons tower considerably over all but the tallest people. The dragons are large enough for small and medium sized riders to fit comfortably on their backs between the ridges, making everyone even more anxious for sanctioned manned flights.

Training: At the beginning of month 12, the dragons learn to flame. The original group of dragons waiting to month 13 to try flaming, hoping that the golds—who may be slower to mature—would begin producing the enzyme required to process the phosphorous rock dubbed fire-stone.

The greens and male dragons are given a demonstration by one of the older dragons on how to chew the phosphorous rock and belch up the gas and ignite it into a flame. Throughout the month, flying drills are light as dragons learn to control their second stomach from the ground, get a feel for the flames, master maintaining and sizing a flame, and control the regurgitation of the excess stone.

Of the younger two artificial clutches, the gold partners are pulled aside to discuss the differences in their dragons with the scientists. It is presumed that Kitti Ping engineered the golds to lack the enzyme. The gold partners will review flame-thrower operation and begin working with the engineers to develop something useable in the air.

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