The days that followed Spyro, Spike, and Ember's latest visit to the Peace Keepers homeworld, where they were shown the three techniques that a young dragon used to defend themselves with, were the same as the days that lead up to that visit, where the trio spent their days mastering Nestor's lessons and pursuing their own interests. When they weren't busy doing all of that they used a good portion of their free time to try their hand at going through the motions of the techniques that Titan and Trondo had shown them, but also made sure that they didn't get too crazy with their attempts to master the art of fighting. Out of all of them Ember was the most excited about the idea of practicing her skills and improving, though Spyro and Spike joined her in the area near the dragon head structure that contained the portal to Nevin's castle and joined her in her attempts to master the techniques they had been shown. Nestor was more than willing to let them practice the combat skills they had been shown, hence the reason he allowed them to set up a few dummies in the area that Ember wanted to practice in, that way, if one of the dummies went flying, it could be easily recovered and put back where it had been before someone ran into it.
Spike had been sure that Nestor, being the Leader of the Artisans dragons, would have stopped them from trying to master the techniques they had been shown during the lessons Titan had given them, mostly because the Artisans dragons were peaceful and didn't fight anyone, but he guessed that Nestor was making an exception for now, and that when the three of them were older the rules would be slightly different.
Their combat practices didn't stop Spike from returning to the library of Dark Hollow and continuing his studies, as he was more interested in what the books and scrolls had for him than what Ember and Spyro were trying to master, but he also knew that being able to defend himself was important and made an effort to learn the techniques as well. Spyro spent the rest of his free time trying to prank the other Artisans dragons, something that they were getting used to these days, with the same tactics he had used before their latest visit to the Peace Keepers homeworld, meaning that if one of his pranks failed the clean up would be rather easy. Ember, of course, refused to do much else than trying to master the techniques they had been shown, revealing that she was really interested in learning how to fight, but she also spent some time helping the other dragons, where she thought about what she was doing and tried to think of a better way to pull off the charge attack and mastering how to dodge incoming attacks. Nestor, despite not being much of a warrior himself, was impressed by the fact that she was willing to put forth so much of her time and energy to master the three techniques they had been taught, along with improving her skills here and there, but he was sure that, in time, she would reach a point where she was satisfied with her skills and stop her training.
Spyro and Spike showed good promise as well, which he was glad to see since they were purple dragons, but for the most part he let Titan and Trondo be the judges of their progress, since he wasn't a warrior at all and didn't know the ins and outs like they did, though he was sure that the pair would be happy with the trio's progress the next time they visited the land of the Peace Keepers.
Argus and the other scholars were happy to see Spike's progress as he moved onto a new section of the library, which just showed them that he was definitely a scholar at heart, and that they were willing to assist him in whatever studies he was pursuing at any given moment. One thing that caught Spike's attention were some of the older tomes that mentioned that the dragons once called another land home, almost a thousand years ago if his calculations were correct, where he added those books and scrolls to the list, since they had caught his interest, which meant that he was going to read them at some point and learn about the land the dragons used to call home, and possibly why they were forced to move to the islands they now called home. He assumed they had been forced to move by some force, either someone else or an event they weren't expecting, but he knew that, in time, he would crack open those tomes and discover why the dragons had come to these islands, he just had to get through what he was studying at the moment, before he could think about moving onto a brand new subject. That was what the other scholars did, they focused on a single subject and didn't switch until they were done with whatever topic or subject they were on, and he was eager to follow what they were doing while creating his own style, so he could be more efficient in his studies, causing his friends to nod as all of them continued their various studies like nothing had changed.
Nestor, in addition to watching the trio as they went about their daily lives and focused on what interested them at the moment, took some time to talk with the other Artisans dragons and discuss what they were going to do in the near future, in terms of seeing what sort of artistic skills the trio had. He was positive that they knew what Spike was interested in spending his life pursuing, based on what they had seen so far, but Spyro and Ember remained a mystery to him and the other Artisans dragons, meaning there was a chance they could take up an instrument, make pottery, or even take up acting for the rest of their lives. The only way they would know what the trio's talents were was by offering them a few exercises and seeing what happened when all three of them tried to follow some of the other dragons, which was why they were planning on setting aside a day to see what sort of talent Spyro, Spike, and Ember had inside them. It was the same thing they did with all of the young dragons that hatched in the Artisans homeworld, let them get used to seeing what the adults did with their lives and then, when they were old enough, see what sort of artistic talent they had so they could follow their dreams. Of course it took years for them to learn how to do their chosen professions and understand what they needed so they could make their art, but that was the process that he and the other Artisans dragons went through when they were young, so it only made sense for the trio to experience it as well.
One thing was certain, he and the other Artisans dragons would have a better understanding of what sort of future Spyro and Ember might be heading towards after seeing the results of them attempting to learn how to make art for the first time, regardless of what profession they decide to try first.
Spyro, Spike, and Ember stood near the tunnel that would take them to the tower that contained the whirlwind that would allow them to access the portal to Town Square, which was where Nestor said they would be spending a good portion of their day, rather than heading out to see another homeworld and learn something else. It had been about five months since their visit to the land of the Peace Keepers, where they attempted to learn the basics of combat in their current forms, something that they had been practicing off and on as the weeks went by, but all three of them had been expecting to head to another homeworld this time around. They had been surprised when Nestor told them that they wouldn't be leaving for one of the other lands for this next lesson, meaning that it was something that only the Artisans dragons could teach them, which only confused them since they were sure they had learned everything they could possibly learn from Nestor and the others. What surprised them even more was the fact that Nestor has asked that they leave their stuff in Stone Hill, before coming to this area to wait for him, so Spyro wrapped his scarf around his book, Ember sighed as she removed her bracers, and Spike set his satchel down, with all of his writing materials inside it, before they used the exit whirlwind to return to this part of their homeworld, where they waited for Nestor to arrive.
"So, what do you think we'll be doing today?" Spyro asked, because unlike the last couple of lessons they had been given, and the last few places they had visited, there had been some warning about what they were going to be doing or at least some idea of what sort of lesson they would be learning, but today was different, as none of them had any idea what Nestor had planned for them, other than that they would be spending the day in Town Square.
"Well, I was hoping that we'd either head back to Titan's land for more training or visit Cosmos to see what sort of spells he can teach us." Ember replied, though while the first part of her statement was what she wanted to do, so she could improve her skills and see if there was more for her to learn from Titan and Trondo, the second part was more in line with what Spike was interested in, as she knew he wanted to learn magic at some point, especially after seeing that his sphere revealed he had the talent to do so, "But now I'm not sure what we'll be doing."
"I think we'll be tackling the professions of the other Artisans dragons," Spike said, as he had been thinking about why they had to leave their stuff behind and an idea of why that would be the case had dawned on him, because Nestor didn't want them to ruin their gifts with the various objects that they would be working with today, though that all depended on whether or not he was right.
Spyro and Ember glanced at each other for a few seconds, as they hadn't considered the fact that maybe Nestor and the other Artisans dragons wanted to see what sort of artistic talent they had, which actually made sense when they thought about it, but before they could say anything they spotted Nestor walking towards them, which meant that he would tell them what they would be doing today.
"I see you three are ready to heard what I have in store for you today." Nestor said, where a smile appeared on his face for a moment, as he knew that the trio had been disappointed when he asked them to meet him near this tunnel and not the tunnel that lead to the dock, but right now it appeared that their interest in what he had planned for them was more than enough to overrule their other thoughts, hence the reason he started walking into the tunnel and had the trio follow after him once more, "Instead of heading to one of the other homeworlds, and seeing how well you three do in regards to their professions, I thought that we would spend the day seeing what sort of artistic talent you three possess, by having Nils, Thor, and some of the others test your skills."
"So we're going to spend the day learning how to sculpt and whatnot?" Ember inquired, though while she was a little surprised that this was what Nestor had in mind for them she was also surprised that Spike's guess was right on target, something that told her she should trust her brother when he made suggestions.
"That's what we'll be doing." Nestor replied, where he made sure the trio used the whirlwind to get to the top of the tower, before following them up to the top so he could lead them right into the portal, so they could appear at the entrance of Town Square, which was when he moved forward once more, "All Artisans dragons do this when they're between the ages of four and five, as it helps both them and their elders determine which profession they might be interested or talented in, though there are instances where it might be a year or two more for that talent to come to the surface and reveal itself."
"What will we be making?" Spyro asked, as he was under the impression that the test seemed to be the same year after year and that Nestor would have an idea of what they would be facing, though at the same time there was the chance that he could be told nothing, leaving them confused as to what they would be doing.
"That's up to Nils, Thor, and the others, and it changes every time we do this," Nestor said, as that was the truth, it was up to the experts of the arts that the trio would be learning from as to what items they would be making, so there wasn't much he could tell them at this point, "but I'm sure that all three of you will do just fine, and that you'll be able to make whatever they ask for to the best of your abilities."
Spyro, Spike, and Ember glanced at each other for a moment as they came to a stop, where Nestor would help them climb up to the next level so they could move on to where the others were waiting, because they knew they had no experience in this sort of thing and were a little worried they would insult the experts with whatever they made. Nestor didn't seem worried about that sort of thing, rather his statement made it seem like bad attempts were acceptable and that they would improve as time went by, which only made them curious what the experts would say when they finally reached the end of this test. Fortunately it didn't take them long to reach the area that Nestor was leading them to, where they found Nils standing near a few stones that had some hammers and chisels in front of them, while at the same time Thor was near him, where some clay was resting near him, along with a few clay jars and some brushes. It appeared that the trio had two options to chose from, either use the hammer and chisel to make a sculpture of some kind, or use the clay to make a pot or something and then paint it at some point, but that was what their first impressions were and those could be wrong, so they said nothing as Nestor lead them to where the experts were standing.
"Ah, Spyro, Spike, Ember, it's good to see you three again," Nils commented, as while the trio lived in the Artisans homeworld they didn't see everyone every single day, and it had been a while since they had seen Nils and the dragons of Town Square, hence the reason he had said that statement, before gesturing to the stones near him, "As Nestor no doubt told you, today we'll be seeing what sort of artistic talent you have, though there is more than just creating a sculpture out of stone or making pots out of clay, as we also have a few canvases that you can paint on and a few instruments that you can try out, along with some other objects as well. There's no requirement as to how many professions you try today, rather you should look at them and see which ones speak to you, then go on from there and create whatever you feel like, be it a sculpture, a painting, a painted pot, or something else."
Spike was rather surprised by what Nils had said, though before he and his siblings could really say anything a few of the older dragons that were near them approached the area that they would be working in and started to show how each of the professions worked. He understood what they were doing the moment they started, as they were giving brief demonstrations on what each of them did for a living and were explaining the methods as they went, so the three of them would have an idea of what to do when they finally started their attempts at making art. Delbin, being the only painter here since Nevin was busy in his castle, again, showed them how to use the brush on the canvas that he was working on, Nils held up his own hammer and chisel for a few seconds before chipping away at the stone that he picked out, where it took him a few moments to make a dragon's head from the stone, and Thor sprayed some water on the clay and started to form a pot, showing them the techniques he had learned over the years. The other dragons that were present did the same thing, taking a few seconds or moments to show the trio how each of them worked on their professions and the various techniques that one learned while working in their field, before eventually stopping so the next dragon could step forward, eventually leaving the trio as the only ones left, indicating that it was time for them to start.
Ember sighed as she approached the stones that Nils had been working on, figuring that she might as well see if anything came to mind as she worked on one of the remaining stones, though she wasn't surprised to see that Spike was already walking around the area, staring at the other tools, before making a decision. She honestly didn't see why Nestor and the others wanted Spike to do this test as well, when it was clear that he was a scholar and was focused on all the things he could study, but she had to guess that they didn't want him to feel left out, even though he knew what he would be doing for the rest of his life, and he seemed fine with taking a break and trying something else out. Spyro, on the other hand, walked over to where the clay pots were sitting and stared at the clay for a few seconds, as if he was trying to figure out what he should do, before picking out some clay and moved it to the area that Thor had been working in, though it was hard to tell if he had picked that out simply because this test didn't interest him or if he really wanted to be a ceramicist like Thor when he was older, though she really doubted the second option would come to pass. From what she had seen Spyro wasn't the type to just sit down and enjoy spending his entire life working on pots and other things that were made out of clay, he liked to be part of the action, regardless of what that was, so Ember knew that his interests would be something that wasn't present today, he just had to be patient and he'd find his passion soon enough.
After a few moments Spike seemed to stop and picked out what he wanted to work with, where Ember was surprised to find that her brother picked out the same thing she was doing, but she had to assume that he was curious about this sort of thing and wasn't following what Nestor and the others had told them to do. In the end she pushed that from her mind and focused on the stone that was in front of her, where she sat down and lifted the hammer and chisel with her front legs, which would be her arms and hands when she was older, before she connected the two with the stone and started chipping small sections of it off. She honestly had no idea what she was even trying to make, as the only thing she could think about transferring into the stone was Cinder, her dragonfly, but that seemed like something that would take a lot of time and effort to learn about, before she could even make something like that, so she let her mind wander while she slowly removed bits of the stone. While this happened she had to wonder if Spike would have this problem as well, where he couldn't decide on what he wanted to craft from the stone, but at the same time she knew that, thanks to all the studies Spike had done over the years, it was possible that he might have a better idea of what to make due to all the stuff he could have read about. Spyro, of course, was molding the clay in front of him to the best of his ability, though she did see that he must have given up on trying to make a pot, as it seemed like a dish or plate of some kind, but she pushed that to the back of her mind as she focused on the stone once more.
Since this was her first time trying something like this, and had no idea how to actually use a hammer and chisel on a stone like what was in front of her, Ember ended up breaking off large chunks on accident and occasionally glared at them for a few seconds, mostly in annoyance over the fact that this was harder than she thought it would be, before returning to what she had picked out. Even with large bits of the stone falling here and there, and showing her lack of skill in this field, she was determined to finish what she started, even if she still had no idea what she was even trying to make, and it didn't seem like the experts were angry with her for breaking the stone, rather it seemed like they were expecting this sort of thing and were curious as to what she was going to do next. It took her a few minutes of pausing and studying the modified stone before she could figure out what she was attempting to make, to the best of her ability anyway, as it appeared that she was trying to make a weapon of some kind, maybe like Titan's battle-axe or Trondo's dagger, but all she had right now was a crude handle, or what she assumed was a handle. She could tell that following in Nils' footsteps wasn't for her, as she wasn't doing a good job turning the stone into a work of art, but at the same time she figured she might as well finish what she was working on, before moving to one of the other stations to see if one of the other types of art was something that would click with her and the talent the experts were looking out for.
"So, what are you making?" a voice asked, where Ember stopped what she was doing for a few seconds and found that Nils had actually walked away from where the other experts were standing, as he was standing near her and was looking at the stone that she happened to be working on at the moment.
"Honestly, I have no idea at this point." Ember replied, as she figured she might as well be truthful about this sort of thing, especially since it was one of the experts asking her what she was doing, before turning her attention back to the stone that was in front of her, which Nils was studying.
"It looks like you were going for a crystalline scepter of some kind, if the gemstone at the top is any indication," Nils said, as that was what the sculpture looked like to him, even though the scepter itself was crude and reflected Ember's current skill level, but at the same time he was curious as to why she would make something like this, since there weren't that many scepters in the Dragon Realms and the only ones that he knew about were listed in one of the tomes that Argus and the other scholars constantly looked over.
"Well, if it's a scepter, it's not one that's described in the scroll that contains all the scepter we know about," Spike commented, as he had paused what he was doing the moment he noticed that Nils had come over to see what they were doing and had taken a moment to look at what Ember had made, though he wasn't messing around with his statement, as the scroll in question described, in detail, the known scepters of the Dragon Realms and any other land the dragons had visited in the past, even if some of them likely didn't exist anymore, and this wasn't like the ones on the list, "Still, I think you did a good job on your first attempt at trying to make a sculpture, regardless of the fact that you chose to make a scepter for some odd reason."
"And what is that... thing... that you made?" Ember asked, as she had glanced at the area that Spike had been working in and found out what his sculpture was like, though she was confused as to what it was, because it looked like he had been going for making a horse's head for some reason, though it wasn't shaped like a normal horse's head.
"It's supposed to be a horse's head, I think," Spike replied, because he had been working on his sculpture without really thinking about it and was a little surprised by the bust that was sitting in front of him, even if was crude like Ember's sculpture was, though he could tell that Nils was curious about what he had made as well, since he had moved from staring at the scepter and was now staring at the bust, "I just got all of the characteristics wrong."
Ember glanced at the bust that Spike had chiseled out of the stone and found that it looked like what she assumed was a mare of some kind, one that was unrealistic when she thought about what a mare actually looked like, and the hair it had, despite being crude due to her brother's lack of skills, seemed to be styled in some manner, something that screamed 'scholar' to her.
"Despite getting the characteristics wrong, I believe you did a good job as well," Nils commented, as he could see that, while this sort of profession wasn't for Spike and Ember, their first attempts at learning this sort of thing was to be admired, because their crude sculptures awakened some inspiration inside him, something that the other experts had to be feeling at the moment, before he thought about something else, "So, Spyro, what are you making?"
"A plate or a dish of some kind," Spyro replied, though while that was true, as he had a clay object that was roughly the size of his head resting in front of him, he carefully manipulated part of it to resemble a dragon's head, to the best of his ability anyway, and used some of the paint to decorate what he was making, "with the head of a dragon resting in the direct center of it."
True enough Spyro was making a black scaled dragon with a ruby colored chest area, with a few silver-white colored horns attached to the head, while also possessing emerald colored eyes, though Ember really had no idea where he got the idea to make such a thing in the first place, even if the dragon in question was showing off a toothy grin and was just as crude as what she and Spike had made.
"It looks great." Thor said, as he had been studying what Spyro was doing with his clay and the paint, just like Nils had been watching Spike and Ember while they were working, and they were both impressed by what the trio was able to do with a limited amount of knowledge on each profession they could have picked, before he glanced at Spyro's work again and gestured for the young dragon to move back, "Here, allow me."
Spyro, Spike, and Ember watched as Thor loosed a short burst of fire onto the clay, hardening it to the point where it couldn't be messed with and looked like most of the plates and pots that he had made in the past, though once that was done he turned off his fire and smiled once more.
"There, now your art is complete." Thor stated, though he could see that Spyro, despite originally being unsure about his first attempt, was happy to have something to remind him of his first attempt at making art, something that Nils agreed with, as he promised Spike and Ember that he'd help carry the sculptures to the area they called home, so they could be set somewhere safe for the future.
Spyro glanced at his siblings for a moment, as he was a little surprised that Nestor and the others would let them take their creations back to their area of Stone Hill, the area that they called home and slept in almost every night, but he guessed that this was a way to remind them of their first attempt and to install in them the desire to never give up. He wasn't sure that this sort of thing was for him, just like he could tell that Spike and Ember weren't going to be sculptures or ceramicists in the future, but he was happy with his first attempt at this sort of thing and was curious as to what Nestor and the other Leaders had for them in the future, especially since this wasn't something they were expecting. At the same time he could tell that Spike and Ember were more interested in studying the sculptures that they had made, so they could figure out what caused them to create the scepter and the strange horse bust, something he was more than willing to let his siblings do on their own, as he had no idea how he was supposed to help them. Either way all three of them were excited to try their hands at a few more of the other activities the experts had brought for them to mess with, to see if they had any artistic talent like Nils, Thor, and the remaining experts that were sitting nearby thought they might have.
In the end he and his siblings would be looking towards the future and whatever Nestor had in store for them next, especially after what they had seen so far during their last couple of visits to the various homeworlds that made up the Dragon Realms, and they were sure that whatever happened next would be exciting as well.