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A Golden Beast

Contrary to his thoughts, his tone was tired. “This flight grows tedious. Remove your hooks from me.”

Smirking at him, she refused to even slow. Great brown wings moving across the night sky. Blocking his view of stars and the moon.

Where they belong. In daylight she’d be far out of place. Persecuted for whatever she is.

She gave him a rough shake, driving her claws deeper.

She thinks to remind me I’m her prey, does she? She knew she could as easily drop him as spare him.

When she’d glanced back down, his jaw clenched and a muscle there ticked decisively. Anger vivid on his face.

“You think to hold me captive, Harpie?” His rage was obvious. That blue-green look unwavering on her. Flexing his body, he ripped from her grasp.

She released him momentarily but captured him around the waist again.

He jerked around to face her, cutting his own flesh deeply in the process. Staring up at her purposefully, the ground far below him. A fall no mortal could survive.

Elsabet looked down, red eyes wide. Appalled he would rend his own skin so flagrantly. She studied the strange fragile creature she held in a viselike clasp. He was heavy, and she felt the hardness of his body in her grip. She cocked her head as she looked at him.

“It is a shame.” She murmured. “But I cannot jeopardize my mission for any mortal. No matter how…Interesting a one.”

That pendant was needed on the Lost Island to stave off the invaders. Much greater need than any lord wanting to wear a pretty trinket.

She thinks I don’t know its value.

Bast’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “The Dragon Eye.”

“What?” She hissed into his mind.

“It’s called the Dragon Eye, my trinket...Why do you seek it?”

“To save a people more precious than you, human.” She shook her head almost sadly. Reaching down she yanked the pendant loose from his hands. His torn shoulders and arms offering little resistance. It was as the sun was cresting the ridge that she released her grip on him. Watching him fall desolately.

He heard her thoughts. And for just a moment, she wished she could take it back.

Even in his shredded tunic with gold hair tousled, he was wildly handsome. She watched his strange expression as he looked up at her, dropping limply.

Totally calm...He was...peaceful.

Bafflement marked her face. Making him fight the smile pulling at his lips.

He gave her a chiding look. Angry at her choice. Or perhaps disappointed.

She started to turn in flight, reluctant to see his human body crushed in the trees.

Turning back from the body of water, she headed back toward LandingTown.

As she turned something scintillating caught her eye. She glanced down and watched flashes of vibrant gold erupting from where he’d been falling. Only seconds passed but it seemed an eternity as something rising within the pink and purple hues of the morning sun, stole her breath.

The rising sun shimmered like fire on the gold scales pouring over him in a layer of armor which clacked as it laid into place. Snapping together they interlaced over his shape as he lengthened and distorted.

His body tore apart. Until finally the giant creature blew out of the mist. Massive and graceful in flight. Giant wings longer then her and more proportioned were beautiful rather than terrifying. Its long neck unfolded.

She looked down on a head covered in horns. Watching her attentively, it moved its wings twice and rose to where she hovered. Her wings stilling in shock, she nearly plummeted as she watched his shape shifting before her.

Her body quaked as the rival rose to her height in only a few sweeping beats of his wings. His sharp teeth were gritted in rage.

And now the tables are turned. Flee little Harpie.

And she did…

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