Belonging to the Sky: Part Two
I woke drowsily with my fur ruffled and paws sore. As I blinked my eye open, I found myself meeting the vibrant coral gaze of a Skree. Skree... Uh oh! I jumped to my paws, my fur bushed up in fear and backed away. The petpet was perched on a small stone in front of me. Its head cocked curiously, and its clawed wings tucked to its sides. It took a few moments before I realised that it wasn't acting hostile.
The sun was highlighting its vibrant feathers and its talons glinted menacingly, although the only thing the hooked, sharp claws were digging into was the stone the Skree was sitting on.
"Hello..." I said nervously and the Skree let out a squawk. I suddenly realised that this was the same Skree Coal and the others had tried to catch the night before. Old scars crisscrossed the creatures muzzle and the feathers that plumed her long tail were torn around the edges and it seemed that she had been in more than one fight.
"What's your name?" I asked, wondering if she had an owner, although I seriously doubted it. The Skree narrowed her eyes and gave a short, low growl and I nodded, getting the message.
Hesitantly, I took a step closer and she raised her crest, baring vicious fangs and snarling like a Lupe. I froze in fear and realised that my heart was pounding.
"Relax, relax..." I whispered, more to myself than anyone else. My heartbeat slowed to a normal pace, my fur smoothed and I took a deep breath, my eyes closed, before taking another step closer. Opening my eyes, I saw that the Skree had relaxed, eyes half closed and tail swishing behind her. I took another step closer, making sure that I was calm, and she gave a little purr before hopping gracefully of the rock and gliding onto my shoulder with a satisfied yap. I'd finally made a friend.
Looking up at the brilliant sky above that looked like a blanket made of threads of pure sapphire and the shimmering, golden orb that floated over the horizon in the form of the sun and the free wisps of silvery cloud that streaked over the horizon, I knew there was only one name I could give my new friend.
"I think Skyheart has a nice ring to it, don't you?" I asked cautiously and the Skree nodded with a content purr. I smiled but my happy mood faded as I noticed that, although I had an official name, I didn't really... have a name. Hissi_33 didn't describe anything about me, including the fact that I wasn't a Hissi. Skyheart had much more meaning and expressed clearly how she acted and felt.
For a most of the day, I tried to build a nest at the top of the mountain but the winds were harsh and chilled me to the bone. Skyheart was my only warmth as the evening set in and my stomach grumbled unhappily after not being fed for the most part. The only things I'd managed to find in the jungle were some Tyrannian Water Beans and a Tentacle Sprout and Skyheart had found most of them. The fiery sunset swarmed over the horizon as I huddled under a rocky outcrop on the peak, Skyheart curled at my side. I started to miss the protection of my boulder where my old nest was but I shoved the doubtful thoughts away. That was not my home. But a little voice whispered in my head that I would have to find a real home eventually; somewhere I belonged...
As the evening dragged the sun away and drew out the cold, dark night from the shadows that seemed to swarm around every corner and crevice, glaring at me with invisible eyes as cold as ice. Skyheart was sound asleep but my consciousness refused to slip away so I could rest and every muscle in my body was aching from the chill of the night.
Finally, I heard heavy wing-beats stir the cold air as something landed nearby. For a heartbeat, fear flashed through me but then I calmed myself. Whoever it was might mean no harm... even though all the winged creatures I knew of that lived around here were generally hunters. Skyheart stirred beside me and raised her head with a low growl, her nostrils flaring as though she could smell the stranger. Shivering, I peered around the stone outcrop, expecting the worst.
"Looking for me?"
I jumped with a startled yelp as I heard a voice from the other side of the stone and spun around to see where the voice had come from. Aurora-green eyes glowed through the dim starlight as my gaze met that of a Draik with scales a blue as midnight.
"Who are you?" I demanded, using all my effort to stop my voice from shaking, yet unable to keep my paws from shivering. Looking closer, I saw that the Draik was wearing a small backpack and a golden necklace hung around her neck with a deep, dark purple crystal on the end. For some reason, the sight of the gem sent ice running through my spine but I hardly noticed it compared to the scars on her side.
"The name's Spirituss. You?" she asked in a surprisingly friendly tone. I paused.
"Hissi_33," I stated flatly, feeling my resentment for my name grow. The Draik cocked her head slightly.
"Do you like being called that or do you have a nickname?" she asked curiously. Narrowing my eyes, I shook my head, not really wanting to talk to the stranger anymore. "Ok... Mind if I call you Fang? That name seems to fit for some reason," she asked cheerily and I found myself nodding for no reason. What did it matter what she called me? I'd never meet her again.
"So, you look down. What's wrong?" Spirituss asked, sitting down and wrapping her sleek, spiked tail over her forepaws. I shivered as a gust of wind tore around the rock outcrop and reluctantly and with very little detail, explained what happened to me to the stranger.
"So you wanna fly, huh?" she asked with a mischievous glint in her gaze and I shifted uncomfortably, preparing myself to be mocked by the Draik but she simply stood up and smiled kindly. "I think I can help you there but I'll need to go to the village. Will you wait here?" she asked and I nodded, wondering if she wouldn't just leave and never come back. "Oh, and..." I cocked my head as she slid off her bag and rummaged through the contents. Eventually, she pulled out a blue and green striped scarf and handed it to me. "Keep that, you look like you need it." My eyes widened at the gift but before I could say anything, she spread her broad, tattered wings and launched into the night air.
Skyheart squawked with her head tilted to one side and I nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, that was weird..."
As I wrapped the scarf around my neck, instantly feeling the chill of the blistering wind fade into comfortable warmth, I couldn't hold back my scarce hopes that maybe this Draik wasn't just some weirdo who flew by and maybe there was some truth to what she said. Could she really help me fly? If so, how? Would she get a morphing potion to turn me into a pet with wings? Would she find some weird magic thing that would let me float up into the sky that I so desperately longed for? My mind clouded with questions and suspicions, I slowly slid into a deep sleep, scattered with dreams of flying high and finding the unknown beyond the stones and jungles of Tyrannia...
"Finally!" My head shot up when I heard a voice and as I blinked my bleary eyes to clear my vision, I saw a blue shape in front of me. I assumed it was Spirituss but when my vision cleared, I gasped and scrambled backwards, crashing into the rock behind me. It was Creek. Behind her, Rust and Coal followed, panting, their paws stained with dirt and their fur messy and ruffled as if they'd been tearing through the jungle all day. For all I knew, they had. Skyheart yelped as I accidentally stepped on her tail and she snarled furiously before her piercing gaze rested on the three Kyrii. She raised her crest and puffed out her feathers to look more intimidating and I felt a brief pang of satisfaction as fear crossed Rust's gaze for a heartbeat but my satisfaction was short-lived. The three pack-members began advancing on me, looking irritated and angry.
"What are you doing here?" I snarled, my fur bristling and my claws scraping the stone in fear and anger.
"We've been searching the whole jungle to find you!" Coal groaned, although I was sure he was exaggerating.
"Yeah, the elder got mad when he found out that you were gone so he sent us bring you back." Creek growled irritably.
"Come on, I wanna get back to the tunnels before sunset." Rust finished off their rant and I felt my defiance rising inside me like the water in a river flooding over the banks. How dare they try to force me back to the place where they threatened to chase me away?
"No way! I'm not coming back just so you can get out of trouble!" I retaliated, lashing my bushy tail and I could hear Skyheart snarling beside me, flaring her feathery wings.
"You don't have a choice, 33." Creek took a menacing step forward. "Or we'll make you."
To be continued...