I’m out nice and early the next morning, feeling the crisp breeze between my toes as I take slow steps through the dewy grass. The forest was bright from the morning sun and slowly rising fog. It was a perfect time to go exploring.
“Luvenia...!” I cringe as Ethne calls out to me from behind, “Wait for the rest of us, you’re showing us the way, aren’t you?”
I halt, anger now shivering up my spine as I turn to face Ethne and the ten or so fledglings behind her.
“I’m practically crawling. We’d all get there a lot quicker if you... I don’t know... transformed?” It’s probably the most words I’ll speak to her today.
Ethne glares and gives a disgusted look to her fellow females.
“Any other day, Luv,” Ginette, the small fiery red hed of the group, explains for me, “We need to look pretty, Thad and Sylvan will be watching. Any of us could be their mates.”
“Yeah, Luvenia, they need to find us looking our best. Laid out, eating berries, naked, and beautiful,” Ethne flicks a hand through her hair, her eyes closed in a fantasy she is no doubt playing out in her mind right now.
I just roll my eyes and turn around and walk even slower so they all keep pace. They were all wearing revealing ‘I’m-a-whore’ slave outfits that were delicate and easy to rip. Such a lie.
These girls loved to fly around and rough each other up, yet whenever Thaddeus or Sylvan came to visit, they became submissive little shits.
They wanted to supplicate themselves, bend over, sigh, and open their legs.
I already knew half of them had already been fucked by the princes.
Ethne was not one of them. Hence she was the most desperate. Ginette I liked the most, she was more boyish than all of them. However, when she wanted to fit in she pretended to follow along with the other girls.
I simply kept my distance from all of them.
They weren’t bad fledglings, they were just... really, really, irritating. Keeping my distance was wise of me. Whenever I stood close to them, all male eyes focused on me. My mother said I was born with an aura to attract men toward me. The other female Dragons didn’t appreciate losing the attention if I stood close by.
All the more reason to keep to myself.
It takes about two hours of painfully slow walking for us to reach our location. I show them the fresh berries by the river and all the boulders and flat rocks, smoothed over by the water. It was a perfect location for the girls to stretch out and flaunt their assets.
Once arrived I promptly disappear into the forest.
The only reason I stuck around this lot was to please my parents, so they didn’t worry about me. If they thought I had company, I would be able to explore the forest on my own without anyone looking for me.
Even the girls had no idea that I could transform, but today I decide to keep to my human form. It was too risky to transform with Thaddeus and Sylvan probably still on the hunt for a small black Dragon. I didn’t want them to line up the dots and figure out my secret. Last night was a close call; too close for my liking.
A few minutes into exploring the nearby forest, a small blue bird wisps down and lands on my shoulder from behind. It gives me a fright but I laugh when I realize it’s just Shai.
“How are you today, little Shai?” I ask the blue bird, knowing it’s not just any bird.
I’m sweet, Shai answers shortly, as usual. I knew she could only ever answer questions, not ask them. Nor could she speak without being spoken too. This was because she was truly a human cursed into being a bird.
I just had no idea who did this to her – and she refused to tell me.
“Have you had your morning flight?” I ask and she tweets before jumping onto my head, resting there.
Sure have, red cheeks, Shai teases me and I feel like laughing.
“You won’t ever forgive me for that blush I had when you caught me trying to relieve myself in the forest, will you?” I accuse her, and she tweets again.
Never, Luv, she gets comfortable and her presence makes me happy.
“Would you like to go exploring with me?” I ask.
Why else am I on your head, dull-witted Dragon, let’s go, Shai gets comfortable and I climb up the tallest nearby trees while she flys up with me.
Eventually after some time, I can’t help but decide to climb a tree closer to the berry bushes and the river to check on the girls. So I hop from branch to branch and settle at the very tip, with two feet precariously balanced on the thinner branches at the top. I squat and come to a slightly awkward but balanced position.
Shai flits down and rests on my right shoulder blade.
Did girls give you as much trouble when you were human, as much as they give me, Shai? I ask her through our mind link instead of out loud.
Bitches, Shai agrees.
How about boys, do you miss boys? I ask, curiously.
Always and never again, red cheeks, Shai sounds sad answering me. It makes me curious to find out more.
However, I forget to ask when my eyes narrow in on the two boys in their leather pants waltzing out of the forest with a girl on each arm.
So they had been here already, for some time too, it seemed.
I wasn’t too surprised.
I had known it, deep down I always had a knowing with these two. I could feel it. And now I could see it.
“Assholes,” I hiss through my teeth, not sure why every time I saw them flirting with other girls, my stomach would clench in rejection. I wanted to throw up, almost every time.
Pretty boys, Shai speaks and I look at her in shock.
“I didn’t ask you a question,” I snap, as a feather falls from one of her wings. She cringes in pain, “Be careful. Are you okay now?”
Yes, but I hate this curse, she whispers through my head and scuttles up next to where my neck curved to my shoulder and she rests against me.
Every time she talked without being asked a question, she’d be hurt in some mysterious way. Hence she talked so little.
I grab the blue feather that has fallen from her and I proceed to reach up, wanting to stick it in my hair.
“May I?” I ask her, politely.
Of course, Luv, Shai continues to rest on me as I fit the feather into my hair. Then I continue to watch the princes interact with the girls.
My eyes zone in on Ginette, she tries to get up and gracefully walk towards them but she trips on a protruding flat rock, which is not so flat after all. She tumbles to her knees, and Ethne starts laughing her head off to try and grab the prince’s attention.
My anger steadily rises and even Shai perks up and tweets out a shocked gasp.
"Bitch,” I whisper, watching as Thad and Slyvan pause from their conversation with some other girls to turn and see Ginette trying to stumble back up to her feet. Thad takes a step forward to help her but is too late. She is already up and she swings a punch at Ethne’s laughing mouth. Ethne dodges last minute and ends up tripping herself on the same rock.
Now both princes have decided to laugh at them, rather than help.
Shai abruptly flits off my shoulder and swoops down to the prince’s location. I hold my breath as she dives in fast and low, and I have no idea what she is intending...
I burst out laughing when I see a drop of white goo on Slyvan’s perfect midnight hair as she flys off.
The princes both glare after the bird and flames shoot out towards Shai, almost catching the end of her tail. I gasp as they nearly burn her up and I watch as she safely scatters into the trees.
A minute later she flies around the back way to secretly make it back up to my shoulder, proud of herself.
“You shit on his hair? Crazy bird,” I whisper, so proud of her at the same time.
I sure did, Shai answers me, proudly.
“I hate them, you know. All of them... oh, great,” I narrow my eyes onto what I think I’m witnessing.
Thaddeus is gazing up, all the way up, as if glaring at a flock of birds.
Except his gaze is focused upon one bird.
A blue bird sitting on my shoulder.
Luvenia, Thaddeus says my name in my head, as his accusing eyes hold mine.
Fucking hell, I didn’t plan on being harassed by the princes in the forest again. Yet they had found me. I had gotten too close.
At this stage I’m already scuttling down the tree as fast as I can.
“Sorry, Shai, I’m out of here,” I hit the bottom and start sprinting for home. She swoops down with me and then sits on a branch and tweets me goodbye.
As I dodge through the trees, trying to keep quiet, I listen carefully for any signs of the prince’s presence.
Luvenia! Thaddeus growls through my mind, what are you doing alone in the forest? Are you looking for danger?
I’m looking for silence – but I think it to myself. I don’t answer him directly.
I just sprint towards home. Eventually I’m out of breath and I find a log to rest on while my stomach feels like it’s been turned upside down.
I feel anxiety, I feel fear, I feel anger. I feel... riled up. Every time the princes were around, or I witnessed them or felt their presence... this happened.
I was shaken to my core, I was confused and I was emotional.
More so than I ever felt in my life.
I’ve blocked Thaddeus out, including Sylvan. The only danger of refusing to let them contact me, was that I was also refusing myself the ability to seek them out.
It meant I had no idea where they were, or if they were looking for me.
Once I’ve had my small rest break, I continue to make my way home.
I never see them.
All I know is that they are following.
I feel jittery as I run, I didn’t like they were suddenly paying so much attention to me.
The truth was... I–I didn’t want them to get to know me.
I wasn’t cold, or quiet, like I made everyone believe.
If they got to know me, they’d see just how much I was similar to... I was... argh.
Her passion was the same as mine, okay? I admit it. We both had the same temper, we both had the same anger, the same passion for independence.
I just couldn’t understand why Madeline lost hers.
And I was terrified that I’d lose mine.
The princes shook me up and I was willing to try everything in my power not to let them see it.