“Brush! Why didn’t you wait for the call?”
I stormed over to Brush, now laying in the tall grass with his body severed in half. His glossy wings were both bent in all the wrong angles, and most of his hair had been scorched off from the dragon’s breath.
He coughed out blood. “I heard a bird go ‘tweet’ and I thought it was you! It’s very misleading, you know. Like, if you’re gonna give a bird call, that’s fine, but just don’t do it in a place where the bird population is like, a million-”
“You charged a wood dragon by yourself! You had plenty of time to stop once you realized no one else was charging, but you still went.”
I knelt down next to him. “Between you and I Brush, I think your performance levels are decreasing.”
He propped himself up on his elbow, slightly wincing. “Hey! Mistakes were made, but in the end you know I’ll always be your best soldier.” He winked.
I groaned. “Sadly, this is true.” I winked back. “Alright, let’s get you fixed up.
“Yes please. I hate the feeling of missing half my body- ooh look I think I moved one of my toes!”
I rolled my eyes, reaching into a small leather pack tucked inside my fauld and pulled out what looked like a handful of sparkling transparent sand. Then, reverently kneeling down at Brush’s side, I muttered a prayer of healing as I let the cool substance trickle through my fingers and across his wound. A warm glow radiated from his wounded flesh the second the particles made contact with it. I closed my eyes out of respect and privacy as Brush’s body began to fuse back together.
After a few minutes I opened my eyes to see Brush still laying on the ground grinning, but thankfully in one piece. “Oh dang it, it worked.” I helped him to his feet. “How do you feel?”
“Considering the fact that I’ve just been healed with the princess’s personal pixie dust... not too bad.” He grinned with a cocky look on his face.
I blushed. “There’s nothing special about my pixie dust, it’s just the same as everyone else’s!”
“I don’t think so, I think you guys put something special in there. That felt...” He paused, thinking of an appropriate word, “...rejuvenating!”
I laughed, “Oh really? Maybe I should chop you in half again so you can feel ‘rejuvenated’ once more.”
“Hm, I won’t test my luck. Besides, you wouldn’t waste your ‘royal pixie dust’ on me again anyways.”
“You have a point there, we are in a shortage you know.” I stared into the distance, scanning the length of a mountain range partially faded in the beams of the sunlight dusk. Particles of pollen and fuzzy seeds drifted through the air, lit up by the rays of sun hitting my face. “This is so beautiful... why can’t we just stay here forever?”
Brush gave me a sympathetic look. As clueless as he could be sometimes, he was a good friend. “We’re a mess, aren’t we? The kingdom, I mean.”
“It’s true. More than my father would care to admit.” I closed my eyes, not wanting to see the worry in his face. He had practically read my mind. Even the piece and quiet down here in the gorge couldn’t completely pull my mind away from the problems at hand. I took a shaky breath, “But we’ll pull through! Just like we always do, you’ll see.”
“I don’t know Arsh, the things I’ve heard... this doesn’t seem like the kind of stuff we usually face. I’ve heard... rumors, of a new presence in the land-”
“Well maybe you shouldn’t always believe what you hear. Some people just like to spread confusion and fear.”
Even as I argued against him, I knew he was right. The amount of dragon attacks that Arbor had suffered this year alone exceeded that of the last ten years. But the thought of admitting it was even scarier to me than the attacks themselves. And that wasn't even to mention the other disturbances that had started.
I looked at Brush with despair. "I know, Brush. I know things are different. And I'm trying to convince my father, but you know how he is."
He nodded in understanding.
The subject was beginning to make me uneasy. "Do you think you're ready to head back?"
He smiled, "Yeah, I'm curious to see how well you actually 'healed' me."
I was grateful that he had lightened the mood again. He was really good at that.
"Where are the others?" He asked.
"I already sent The Hunt back because we didn't kill that wood dragon, thanks to you."
He blushed. "... right."
"Well come on, I can't be late for my hearing with my dad! I'm gonna try to convince him to take some more action against said disturbances."
We broke into a swift run, fluttering our wings and gradually descending off the ground in a rapid horizontal pace headed North to the forest.
The last bit of sunlight had just vanished behind the distant mountain's peak when we reached Arbor.
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