Eragon asks to begin studying magic, and Oromis drills him on basic manipulations of a floating ball of stream-water. When Eragon requests something more challenging, Oromis immobilizes his calves and tells him to free himself. Though Eragon succeeds, Oromis criticizes his spell—free my calves—for being absolute, having only two outcomes, success or death. Trying again with a counter-spell to reduce rather break Oromis’ enchantment, Eragon drains Oromis’ energy and realizes how disabled his teacher really is.
Newly withdrawn, Oromis tells Eragon and Saphira that they must speak only the ancient language from now on. Saphira bites Glaedr’s tail, annoying him, Eragon chastises her, and they argue. Later, Arya takes them on another tour of Ellesméra, and Eragon ventures to express his feelings for her. Arya brushes him off, and Saphira criticizes his boldness in attempting to court the elf princess.
Back in the treehouse, Orik appears, drunk and loquacious. They discuss Eragon’s crush on Arya, and Saphira gets Orik to reveal that he is engaged to a dwarf woman back home.