Nestor, after the success of Spyro, Spike, and Ember's first gliding session, made sure to schedule a few more of them for the future, as it was clear that the trio liked trying to master the art of gliding and made many attempts to reach the area that he had been standing on while he watched them. He was still surprised that Ember was the one that figured out how to glide, when both of her brothers had made several attempts to master what he had shown them, but at the same time he was proud of her for figuring out what she needed to do and then showing her siblings what they were doing wrong, so they could follow her lead. Gavin and Lindar were also amazed by what they had seen, as it was unusual for young dragons to figure out the basics of gliding at the age of three months, especially since the two of them had been older when they managed to master the basics, but they were also proud of them. Nestor was sure that all of the dragons that lived in the five lands that made up the Dragon Realms had taken a long time to master the basics of gliding, before eventually mastering the technique, and that they would be surprised when he told them that Spyro, Spike, and Ember had been able to figure out the basics much sooner than everyone else.
He had to call off the first gliding session thirty minutes after Ember's first attempt, because despite the fact that the trio was eager to master the art of gliding, and get to where he was standing, they were still hatchlings and didn't have the energy that an adult dragon had, as the trio eventually yawned and fell asleep on the top of the tower. He, Gavin, and Lindar had been expecting this to happen from the moment they started the lesson, as it was common for dragons at this age to tire out easily, before they used the tower to get up to where the trio were resting, allowing them to gently lift them off the stone and take them back to the courtyard once more. As Nestor expected Sparx, Talon, and Cinder followed after them for a few moments, to make sure their friends were alright, and when they set the trio down where they normally slept the three dragonflies came to a stop and fell asleep where they normally rested, so they could wake up the moment Spyro and his siblings woke up. Nestor was happy to see that, because most dragonflies kept a good bit of distance from the dragons they were supposed to be protecting, until those dragons became adults anyway, and from what he could see it appeared that Sparx and his friends didn't care about that, as they were closer to the trio than any other member of their species had done in the past, and that gave him hope for the future.
Once he was sure that the trio was sleeping soundly, and their dragonflies were resting as well, Nestor left the area that they slept in and returned to the tower they had used for their first gliding, where he, Gavin, and Lindar picked up the pillows that they had set down and stored them inside the box they had been pulled out of, so they could be moved to another part of the Artisans homeworld until they were needed again.
"Those three are quite amazing," Gavin commented, though as he said that he picked up a pair of pillows and walked over to the iron container that the pillows were usually kept in, while at the same time he noticed Nestor and Lindar look at him for a moment, causing him to gesture to the tower for a few seconds, "I mean, normally it takes a young dragon a few months to learn the basics of gliding and start to perform a couple of moves after watching one of us show them how it's done, and yet Ember was able to figure it out in no time, by observing what her brothers were doing wrong. I have no doubts that, by the time a normal young dragon is supposed to master the basics, those three will be performing tricks as they attempt to truly master the art of gliding, and who knows, they might be speaking like a proper dragon in no time as well, especially with all the scrolls and tomes Argus and the others are showing them."
"I would have to agree with you, Gavin." Lindar said, where he put the pillows he was carrying down on top of the ones that Gavin had just put down, before they moved a little and let Nestor add a few more to the pile, "Spyro, Spike, and Ember all show great promise, especially since they were able to learn the basics of gliding in such a short period of time, and it only makes me curious about what they can do in the future, when they complete our lessons and move onto what the other Leaders have to offer them."
"Titan will no doubt work on their combat skills, considering that he's the Leader of the Peace Keepers," Nestor stated, as he knew that Titan was eagerly awaiting the day that he allowed the trio to visit his homeworld for their first combat training session, which wouldn't be until after they were a year old, before he thought about the others, "Cosmos will show them the magical power that he has access to and what a Magic Crafters dragon can do, Bruno will likely try to teach them about the swamp they call home and some of the creatures that they tend to, and the strength that is required to do their jobs, and Lateef might show them the world of dreams that he and the other Dream Weavers watch over. It will take some time for the trio to learn everything that the other Leaders have to teach them, or show them in some cases, and, since those lessons won't happen until Spyro, Spike, and Ember are older we have more than enough time to get them ready for what the other homeworlds have to offer them."
"By the time that happens, and they turn one year old, I have no doubt that those three will have mastered the art of gliding." Lindar replied, showing that, after seeing how well the trio had done in their first gliding lesson, he had faith in their abilities and was eager to see what they did next, though that was before a thought came to him, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the next lesson you have in mind for them one that revolves around trusting your dragonfly? Or am I thinking of something that is completely different?"
Nestor knew what Lindar was speaking of, as all young dragons eventually needed to bond with their dragonflies at some point in time, since dragonflies protected them from whatever dangers they might face, and that one of his lessons would have involved that aspect, allowing Spyro, Spike, and Ember to bond with Sparx, Talon, and Cinder.
"The next lesson I have in mind for them is related to their dragonflies, that is correct." Nestor replied, as he decided to answer Lindar's question first, because that was the polite thing to do, before lifting the last pair of pillows off the ground and returned them to the container they were storing them in, "However, I will not be doing that just yet, rather I will wait for them to be a little older so they can better understand the instructions for that particular lesson, and give the other Artisans dragons time to put together what I have in mind."
Gavin and Lindar glanced at each other for a moment, as they weren't sure what Nestor had in mind for the three young dragons that were peacefully sleeping in the nearby courtyard, but at the same time they knew that he wouldn't do anything that would hurt them, so they decided that they might as well keep their mouths shut and see what their Leader had in store for the trio, and see if there was anything either of them could do to help him prepare for whatever lesson he was thinking about.
In the following weeks Nestor discovered that Spyro, Spike, and Ember were very happy to learn that he had scheduled a few more gliding sessions for them, so they could continue to improve their skills and, eventually, master the technique he had shown them during their first session. In order to keep things interesting Nestor didn't use the tower every time they gathered for their gliding practice, as one time he used some of the stone walkways of Town Square, where some of the stones were the same height, and other times they went to Dark Hollow, to practice the same thing that the tower in Stone Hill would give them. They even used the central area of the Artisans homeworld from time to time, where Nestor would have the trio jump from one of the higher points to a lower point, just to give them some additional practice, and for the most part the three young dragons enjoyed the small challenges that he was offering them, especially since he told them that they could tackle the harder challenges that the other homeworlds offered when they were older. He also intended on taking them to one of the flight areas, which were small enchanted islands near the main landmass that made up the homeworlds, in the future, as it would allow the trio to learn how to fly for real and prepare them for when they were older, when they matured into adult dragons.
When they weren't busy trying to master the art of gliding, and weren't resting from their activities, Spyro, Spike, and Ember found themselves hanging out with the other Artisans dragons, who either let them run around and have fun or puled over some scrolls to continue their reading and speaking lessons. Nestor could tell that Spyro and Ember only went along with those lessons so they could understand everything he and the other dragons were saying, while Spike continued to enjoy the adventure stories that he discovered, much to the joy of the inhabitants of Dark Hollow. They were okay with two of the trio not caring about reading, because that meant their passions were different than what Argus and his fellow scribes did with the majority of their time, and they were eager to see what professions caught the attention of Spyro and Ember. Spike, on the other hand, seemed to have the air of a dragon that might take to the written word in some manner, be it simply being a librarian or a scribe, but for now they had no idea what his future held for him and were more than willing to wait for a few years, so they could see if their thoughts about him were correct. Nestor had no idea if Spike would turn out like Argus and the other dragons of Dark Hollow, since it seemed like he just enjoyed reading the scrolls and tomes that were brought to him, but at the same time he was also willing to wait a few years to see what profession he took to.
While all that was happening Nestor and the couple of Artisans dragons that he talked to, and told them what his idea was for the trio's next lesson, continued working on the area that would serve as the next test for the three young dragons and their dragonflies. Of course he didn't tell Spyro, Spike, and Ember what he and the others were doing, as that would defeat the point of this exercise, but they did enlist the aid of Sparx, Talon, and Cinder when they got close to the area being finished, as they were the ones that needed to know what was going on. What they were doing was building a temporary maze for the three young dragons to run through, one that was located on another small island near the one they lived on and was accessed by a portal that didn't get used very much, and they intended to stock the maze with three items, one for each of the dragonflies to lead their respective dragon to. The dragonflies would be the guides for this bonding exercise, as they would know where all three items were located and would know the full layout of the maze, so they could bypass the small hazards that were scattered throughout the maze and safely lead their respective dragon to the item they had been assigned, before making their way out again. Lindar, who was going to be present during the lesson, intended to time the trio and see how quickly they made it through the maze, and then, once all three of them had collected their first item, he and Nestor would return the items and have the dragonflies lead the trio to a new item, until all three of them had found each item at least once.
That was the reason they were waiting for the trio to be around six months old before showing them the maze, that way they understood what was going on and knew the rules that were attached to this challenge, though when that day arrived Nestor approached the three young dragons, who stopped what they were doing and approached him, as they knew he had to have something new for them to do.
"Hello little ones. Are you ready for today's lesson?" Nestor asked, because a few days before the maze was finished he had told the trio that he had a new lesson for them and that it would be in a couple of days, and he could see, from just looking at them, that Spyro, Spike, and Ember were excited to see what he had in mind for them, "Good, then follow me and I'll lead you to where we'll be holding the lesson that I mentioned a few days ago."
Nestor made his way out of Stone Hill, the area that the trio spent a lot of their free time in, with the three young dragons and their dragonflies following after him, though as they returned to the Artisans homeworld Spyro and his siblings found Lindar standing by the large wooden door that all of them were sure was enchanted to remain shut, only to be surprised when they discovered that the door was actually open. On the other side of the door rested a large area that was much like the courtyard that they spent a good portion of their time in, only larger than what they had seen so far, and there were about seven new portals scattered around the area, each leading to a location that none of them had been to yet, though Spike noticed that the one in the middle seemed more important than the others, and it even had a large tree behind it for some reason. Unfortunately that portal wasn't their destination, even though it appeared that Nestor stared at it for a few seconds, but in the end they turned towards the portal that was to the right of the now opened door and walked through it, where they reappeared on an island that seemed to be a fair distance away from the land the Artisans dragons lived on, while also being close enough to be considered one of the realms that Nestor watched over. Spyro, Spike, and Ember found that the area around them was just like the rest of the Artisans homeworld, well taken care of and full of life, along with some amazing stonework that reminded them of what they had seen so far in the towers and the walls of Stone Hill.
In fact the only thing that surprised them was the large stone walls that Nestor and Lindar were standing near, which had a single opening that appeared to be an entrance, and while the stonework on it was as ornate and amazing as everything else they had seen they knew that there was something special about this place, hence the reason that Nestor brought them out here in the first place.
"Today we will be doing something different," Nestor said, to which he turned around and faced the trio, who were staring at the maze that was behind him, though he wasn't surprised by that, as they hadn't seen this structure before and had every right to be interested in what was in front of them, before they focused on him for a moment, "What lies in front of us is a maze, where I have hidden three items throughout the various rooms that the maze has, and each of you will have to go in and retrieve one of the items, one at a time to be exact, all while trusting your dragonflies and following their directions to safely reach the item they are tasked with leading you to. This test is one that will allow you to bond with your dragonflies, by working with them to complete the challenge we have designed for you, and, based on what I've seen so far, I have no doubt that all three of you will impress us with your skills and ability to work as a team. Spyro, would you like to be the first one to enter the maze?"
"Sure." Spyro replied, though while he was surprised by part of this test, where Nestor wanted him and his siblings to take turns tackling the maze, he was sure that all three of them would be able to overcome whatever was inside the maze and claim the items that had been placed inside the structure, before he turned his head slightly, "Come on Sparx!"
Sparx buzzed happily as he flew into the maze, slow enough for Spyro to follow him without losing him, and Spyro charged into the structure not a few seconds later, where Spike and Ember sat down as they waited for the pair to return with the item that Sparx knew the location of. The first thing that Spyro noticed was that there were three paths for him to take, where each of them had to lead to one of the items that Nestor had placed inside the maze, and looked up at Sparx to see which of the paths he needed to take, where he spotted his dragonfly heading down the path on his left and made sure to follow him. What impressed him was the fact that the walls of the maze were tall enough to prevent him from climbing over them and ignoring the lesson that Nestor wanted them to learn, not that he was thinking of ruining all the effort the older dragons had put into building this area, and was more than willing to follow Sparx as he lead the way through the maze. Something that interested him was the first room that they came to, as it appeared that there were large rooms that were scattered throughout the maze, though what really caught his attention was the large tree that was in the area Sparx had brought him to, but for the most part it didn't seem the item he was looking for was in this area, which meant that he needed to move on and find the real area the item was resting in.
Of course, in order to do that, he needed Sparx to show him the way through the maze, though before he could do anything he heard some buzzing and found his friend flying through the air with a trio of birds following after him, no doubt trying to eat him. Spyro knew that Nestor wouldn't have allowed them to run the maze if these birds were here, since they seemed to like dragonflies, which meant they must have arrived while Nestor and Lindar were gathering him and his siblings for today's lesson, and it didn't appear that they were in the mood to leave. Still, the birds were trying to eat his friend and he wasn't about to let that happen, so he called out to Sparx and readied himself, where Sparx figured out what he was doing and shifted his course so the birds would be on Spyro's level, who charged at the birds with the intent to scare them off. Not a few seconds later he determined that it was the smart move to make, as the trio of birds chickened out the moment they noticed him charging at them and flew off, either to another part of the maze or they were leaving the island, never to return, but Spyro didn't care as he made sure that Sparx was okay, who was perfectly fine since none of the birds had gotten close enough to bite him.
With that done, and Sparx was ready to move on, Spyro headed down the path that was opposite of the opening they had emerged from and continued to follow after Sparx as he made his way through the maze, where they doubled back once, something that Spyro determined was a test of patience, before they found another room. This time around there was nothing special about the room, as it seemed to be full of grass with a single stone pedestal that was his height, but Spyro grinned as he spotted a red gemstone that was resting on the pedestal, which, based on what Sparx was doing with his buzzing, had to be the item they had come for. The only thing that worried Spyro was the fact that he had no idea how he was supposed to retrieve the gemstone, other than picking it up with his mouth, but that was when he was surprised by what Sparx did, as his friend tapped the item and it bounced into the air, only to come to a stop above Spyro's back, which told him that Nestor had really thought of everything. With the item collected, and there being only one entrance for them to take, Spyro turned around and followed Sparx as he lead the way back to the entrance of the maze, though the two of them were smiling all the way, as they were happy to complete Nestor's test.
When they walked out of the maze a few moments later, thanks to Sparx quickly leading the way out, Nestor nodded his head and Lindar stopped one of his clocks, apparently stating that it took nearly five minutes to get the item and return to the start, which was a common score for most dragons when they tried this for the first time, but Spyro didn't let the score get to him as he sat down near Ember and let Spike and Talon take their turn.
Spike had seen his brother head down the first left he and Sparx had come to, which meant that there weren't any items down that way, and Talon directed him down the right path, where he carefully followed his friend as he kept his eyes open for any signs of danger. The only reason he thought about danger is because he could have sworn that he heard the sounds of some birds nearby, more specifically a while after Spyro and Sparx had entered the maze, so he was curious as to whether or not he'd face something similar along the path that Talon was leading him down. He was sure that Spyro marveled at the size of the walls, something he didn't do since he knew it was designed to keep them contained in the maze, but at the same time he was impressed by the fact that Nestor and the other Artisans dragons had built this maze in such a short period of time, or maybe it had always been on this island and they had restored it for him and his siblings. Based on the scrolls and tomes he had read so far, which he understood bits and pieces of, he didn't recall seeing a mention of this place, though that told him that the older dragons had likely hidden the knowledge of this place so young dragons didn't find out what the path was before they learned how to bond with their dragonflies, a smart move on their part since he was sure that someone must have tried that in the past.
Talon's buzzing interrupted his thoughts for a moment, where he found that he had nearly walked into a small hole in the floor and that his friend had stopped him from falling into the trap that had been placed for him, though from the looks of it Spike had to guess that it wasn't very deep, meaning it was supposed to slow him down and wasn't designed to hurt anyone that came down this path. As such he just jumped over the small gap and moved forward, knowing that Talon knew the way to the item he was supposed to get and that he wouldn't lead him into a trap that would actually hurt him, but he had to admit that this test was just as fun as when they were learning how to glide. Talon's path, as it turned out, had a few more traps along the way, where Spike found that none of them were designed to hurt whoever took this path, just like the first one, and it was rather easy to get around them, but at the same time he was having fun and knew that, from seeing how his friend was moving and buzzing, that Talon was having fun as well, despite this being a test for the two of them. He was sure that Spyro and Sparx had some fun when they were searching for their item, just like he was sure that Ember and Cinder would do the same thing when they had their turn, before he focused on the opening that was in front of him and looked at the room Talon had brought him to.
There was a small stone dragon statue in the center of the room, one that was about half the height of Nestor and the other Artisans dragons, and Spike could tell, from the vest that the statue was wearing, and the quill in his left hand, that it must have been made to represent a scholar or a scribe. What caught his attention was the red gemstone that was resting in the statue's open right hand, which Talon was pointing at, meaning that they had found the item that Nestor wanted them to recover, but before doing anything Spike walked around the statue, to make sure there weren't any traps and to see if he could find a way up to the statue's hand. What surprised him was the fact that there was a small set of steps leading up to where the hand was located, so he carefully climbed up them and found that none of the steps triggered anything, before he reached the top step and stared at the gemstone that was in front of him, where he tapped it and found it floating above his back, which was nice since he was sure it was too big to fit inside his mouth. The moment he had the gemstone he glided down to the entrance that Talon was waiting near and followed him through the path that they had taken to reach the statue, as if they were running from some sort of trap, before finally emerging at the entrance that his siblings were sitting in front of.
Once he emerged from the maze, and let Nestor take the gemstone from him, like Spyro had done when he finished his attempt, Lindar stopped a second clock and stated that his time was around the time that his brother had set, though Spike simply smiled as he sat down next to Spyro as Ember and Cinder readied themselves for their attempt.
"So, we're heading straight?" Ember asked, as she knew that if Spyro had headed down the path on the left, and Spike had gone down the path on the right, than that meant that she and Cinder would have to go down the path in front of them and face whatever obstacles Nestor and the others had left for them.
Cinder buzzed for a few seconds, to confirm Ember's question as she walked, before flying forward and resuming his task of guiding her to the gemstone that was the item she needed to find and recover, something she had determined based on the fact that both of her brothers had found gemstones at the end of their path and the fact that Nestor had used them to inspire the three of them when they were learning how to glide. She was also sure that there would be a trap or two waiting for her, because Spike had been happy when he emerged from his portion of the maze and that meant he must have had something that was like those adventure stories he liked to read, so she was making sure she was prepared for whatever was in front of her. Sure enough she found a gap in the floor, a shallow one that would catch an unsuspecting dragon off guard, which she jumped over with ease, a few dead ends that made her backtrack, and even a wooden copy of some sort of green creature that the older dragons must have known about, but she simply walked around that obstacle and continued forward. Cinder continued to lead the way, pointing her at some of the obstacles that Nestor and the other Artisans dragons had created, and Ember either jumped over them, moved around them, or just ignored them so she could focus on finding the gemstone that she was supposed to be looking for.
Eventually she found a decent sized room with a number of wooden copies of the same green creature that she had seen earlier, each of them holding a wooden copy of the gemstone she was looking for, but that proved to be quite easy to overcome, as she found the real gemstone rather quickly. All she had to do was tackle the wooden obstacle and the gemstone fell down to her level, where she tapped it with one of her claws, allowing it to take it's position above her back, before she and Cinder made their way out of the maze by retracing their path. It didn't take them long to return to the entrance of the maze, where Spyro, Spike, Sparx, and Talon cheered at them for completing their portion of the maze as well, while Nestor took the gemstone and Lindar took down her time as well, before stating that all three of them had been so close to each other that there was no clear winner, if one considered this to be a race. Ember decided not to care about her time, since that wasn't the main reason behind this test, and smiled as she joined her brothers, as they had done well in bonding with their dragonflies and had done exactly what Nestor had asked of them, so for now all three of them were happy with what they had done.
Nestor, on the other hand, smiled as well as he informed the trio that they had done well and that they deserved a break before they tried the maze again, with different paths next time, though he could tell that the bonds between the three young dragons and their dragonflies had been strengthened by this test, which made him eager to see what else the trio would show him and the other Artisans dragons in the months to come.