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“Aaric! Aairc, she’s waking up!” I heard Cuppa’s shrill voice in my head. My eyes opened and I found myself laying in a tent with a small candle. It was dark outside and I had a raging headache.
“Aaric?” I mumbled. His crouched form filled the opening of the tent and he had a cup of steaming liquid in his hands.
“Here, Tia. Drink this. It will help you with your headache,” He knelt beside me and put his arm around my back and lifted me upright enough so that I could drink.
“How did you know I had a headache?” I rasped, clutching his shirt in my hands to help steady myself.
“You and I are both telepathic, Tia. Your mind is in pain. I can feel it.” He held the cup closer to my lips.
“What is this?” I eyed the blue goop in the cup.
“Roseanne calls it ‘Spoo’. It’s a concoction i made up myself for my own headaches. The method you used to find Kethsa was the same method I tried to find you with at first. I had the same symptoms you now have.” He sat down and pulled me into his lap.
I leaned into his chest and took the cup. “You like me.” I said softly, swallowing the blue gunk. It tasted like sugar cookies that have too much salt in them.
“Of course I like you. You’re a nice person.” He looked down at me.
Choking down the last of the Spoo, I said, “I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I know, but it was worth a shot wasn’t it?” He smiled.
“Where are we?” I asked, standing up.
“We’re halfway to the sea. I followed you and found you laying there with Kethsa in your hands. Both of you were unconscious. He’s still asleep, and I gave him the antidote to the poison that was in that web. Nasty spiders. Anyways, I carried you to Roseanne and we tied you to her back. It got dark and we stopped here for the night. Have you ever been inside the forest during the night?” Aaric stood up beside me and held open the tent door.
I walked outside and was instantly dazzled by the glowing plants. The needless and leaves on the trees glowed a gentle green, and the fungus and other plant-life on the ground glowed a mixture of blues, purples, and browns.
“Aaric, it’s beautiful!” I walked out into the small clearing in front of the tent.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” Cuppa mused. “So is that boy that you have drooling on you.” She laughed.
“What do you mean?” I asked her, letting her land on my shoulder.
“The whole time you’ve been out of it, he’s been a nervous wreck. Look at the ground! There are feathers everywhere! He was so distressed that he was molting!” Cuppa laughed and flapped her wings.
“Was not!” He protested, kicking one of the black feathers away. I bent down and picked another one up and walked over to him.
“So this isn’t yours?” I grinned, trailing the feather over his cheek and his jaw.
“Maybe.” He admitted and leaned against a tree with his arms crossed.
“It’s true. The only reason I didn’t let him ride on my back and hold you up is because his prickly feathers kept materializing and falling out!” Roseanne snorted.
“You guys are being mean to me.” Aaric stifled a smile and scrubbed the heal of his boot into the ground.
“We love you, Aaric!” I laughed and patted Roseanne’s nose.
“You mean, you love Aaric.” She whinnied and swished her tail.
“Say that again, Rosie?” Aaric raised one of his eyebrows.
I grabbed her nose and said in a high pitched voice, “Nothing, Aaric!”
“All right, Rosie.” He chuckled and went back into the tent.
Roseanne glared at me and huffed. I let go of her nose. “Sorry,”
She rolled her eyes and laid down by the tent and Cuppa curled up on Roseanne’s side.
“Hello?” Kethsa peeped.
“Hey there, little guy! Feeling better?” I watched him jump out of one of Roseanne’s saddlebags which were now laying on the ground on the other side of the tent.
“Yes, much better. Thank you for saving me.” He flitted around my head.
“What did you try to go get?” I asked, frowning. Why didn’t I mind-speak? The words came out of my mouth.
“I wanted to tell my cousin about you and he was stuck in the spiderweb and I tried to get him out.” Kethsa said bitterly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said softly.
“It’s not your fault. The Mespa in your tent is mind-searching you.” Kethsa said plainly.
“What?” I imagined all the pain i had ever suffered from and replicated it in my head. Aaric cried out and I watched his silhouette crumple.
“Aaric!” I roared, my skin becoming scaly and sharp. I crouched in a cat-like position and snarled, my fangs jutting from my mouth and my claws cutting through the moss on the ground.
“Tia it’s not what you think!” He fell backwards and tried to crawl to the other side of the tent.
“Then what is it?” I hissed. It felt like flames were boiling in my throat.
“I’m sorry. I had no right to go into your mind like that. I was finding your life story and seeing how much you knew of the prophecy. I’m sorry.” He sounded like he felt bad for what he had done.
“He’s lying.” Kethsa informed me.
“Liar!” I screamed. The heat in my chest forced its way out of my mouth and flames overshadowed me.
“I was looking to see if you had ever been in love.” The words dripped from his mouth lethargically and he looked at his hands.
“He’s telling the truth.” Kethsa reassured me.
The scales and claws disappeared and I crawled into the tent and sat next to Aaric.
“Why didn’t you tell me that the first time?” I asked.
“Because I was embarrassed.” He looked upset.
“For being caught, or for what you were caught doing?”
“Both.” I could tell that I had hurt him.
“Why didn’t you just ask me?”
“You might have lied to me, and because the question was embarrassing.”
“So you took no regard to my privacy and went searching for my secrets?”
“That’s messed up.” I grimaced.
“I know, I’m sorry.” He apologized again. I got up and walked out of the tent.
“Cuppa, Kethsa, let’s go.” I said stiffly.
Neither of them said anything, they just followed me. I tromped through the glowing forest for hours. The first sun had begun to rise when I stopped. Pricking my finger on the knife that I kept hidden in my boot, I put a drop of blood on my each article of clothing that I was wearing and put my knife back in my boot.
The back of my shirt melted into my skin and sizable membrane wings sprouted from my shoulder blades. Kethsa was astonished, but Cuppa just looked bored. I flapped my wings twice to test them and sprung into the air. Pumping my wings, I rose above most of the trees and began flying east, away from the first sun. In a few hours, the second sun would rise in front of me, but it wasn’t as bright as the first sun; it wouldn’t harm my retinas. Cuppa easily kept up with e, but Kethsa was having a tougher time. I let him hold onto my shirt so he could sty with us.
We traveled like this for the entire day, and the second set was almost set. The trees had gotten taller and Kethsa said that there were small groups of creatures in the trees. I flew a bit higher, just to be safe.
“Tia! Look out!” Kethsa cried. I dived and hit a rope net face first. I screamed and flailed as I fell. Branches snapped and leaves rained as I hit the forest like a fallen meteor. Another rope net stretched out under me and I hit it with a muffled thump. Cuppa slashed at the ropes, desperately trying to free me from my cocooning imprisonment. A dart hit the side of her neck and she shrieked.
“Cuppa!” I tried the grab her as her eyes rolled back into her head and she tumbled off of the net. Her little body glanced off branches and she fell into the hidden darkness of the forest.
A guttural voice barked orders in an unrecognizable language. A human-like form filled my vision.
The creature had a longer jaw than humans would and its features jutted out. Its skin was a tanned orange color and it had a black spotted pattern on its head and chest. Its irises were neon red. Other than those few abnormalities, it looked surprisingly human.
It has a dart in his hand. It looked just like the one that had hit Cuppa.
“Please, don’t hurt me!” I cried into its head. The creature’s eyes got so large they looked like baby tomatoes. It stepped back and said something to the other thing behind me. The other spotted man replied in the same language he had been spoken to in.
then he turned to me and said, “You speak the language of the humans. Yet, you have wings. How is that so?”
“I am special.” I said vaguely. I was mystified. The leopard man spoke in my language!
“I have read about you in our holy book. It is called ‘Suukmyou’. It means ‘Foretold Future’ in your language. I believe you to be the child whom was born of the heavens. You have come to rid our world of darkness, have you not?” The man inquired.
“I am the prophecy child you speak of.” I said boldly.