Featuring Angel, Rory, Cloud (Hunt), and Speckle.
2424 words. Collab with Tomboy-kei.
“You may be going a little too fast Cloud, you’re going to hit the coast edge!” Speckle shouted out to the fun having bat with few things on his mind. Worrying a bit, Angel could only vaguely see what was going on in front of her as she sighed, leading the way while also keeping an eye on Rory. She felt slightly bad that he had been roped along on the misadventures but it was water he was trying to have a sip of in favor of not becoming rider jerky.
“Well, Cloud is at least having the time of his life.” As the edge of the island came clearer, she hopped off, the beetle clicking it’s mandiables at her as she held the stick down so the suffering bug could be consumed as they had a look around the island of sort.
It was quite large, a good amount of foliage more cluttered on this one compared to the one they came from. What looked to be ground was a reddish blue color, with something hard underneath. Assumed to just be the compressed earth from the years.
“The island is pretty.” Angel eventually said out loud, partially keeping an eye on her sky noodle who was worriedly chasing the light hybrid bat.
Hit the coast edge? Not a problem, Cloud thought. He was a dragon, he could handle a little tumble. It would be fun to see the beached whirligig. Rory, per usual, sighed at his dragon’s antics. He was very used to these misadventures at this point. It was like a constant state of being with Cloud hanging around like an unlucky charm. He slowed the beetle down and let it have the flailing bug. As it was distracted, Rory leapt off, hoping it didn’t feel like snipping at his ankles as well. He looked around at the island. The ground had a beautiful striped texture with a shallow sand covering dipping into each nook and cranny. There was moss, algae, plantlife, and greenery in full–no bugs that he could see, though. For once, this island seemed like a nice place. “And no ants,” Rory chipped in. “Beautiful indeed!” Maybe they could camp here or take a nap.
The water trickling from above seemed crystal clear, but when he felt it with his hands, it was warm to the touch. He only knew of cold spring water. He looked over at Cloud, his designated taste-tester. Cloud had his own way of doing things. The dragon and beetle combo scooted into the island at full force, the beetle angling upwards from the smooth, sloping ground. It shot out of the water like a bullet. Cloud dropped off onto the island while the beetle continued to arc above them. When it reached the apex of its journey, the beetle unfurled its smooth elytra to reveal a pair of wings. It fluttered off into the distance, clearly done with this whole thing. Rory really didn’t need to know that they could fly. Cloud was delighted by the whole thing, though sad that the whirligig wouldn’t stay for dinner. It would be the meal, of course.
Without being told, Cloud dunked his head into one of the water streams. Without saying anything, he made a face and stuck out his tongue. Even he didn’t like the taste of this stuff. With their shared senses, Rory could tell it was fresh water–but there was something off about it.
Pawing at some of the strange beach texture and greenery to see if any for once smaller bugs would come out to be admired, it was odd having none come crawling out of places. Not that far away they would just be dropping out of trees or spinning through the water like broken ducks that never touched. Not here though, even out in the water it had become vacant and quiet, all bug life abandoned and left on their previous island.
“The water is quite warm.” Speckle told Angel, getting a confused head tilt as she swished her tail into the warm water and confirmed her flying noodle was correct. Maybe there was a hot spring nearby? She didn’t recall one being out here but places could of course blend together in her mind map, or maybe spawn? She long ago stopped questioning the ways of the chronoscape.
“That’s odd….. Digging her claws into the sand, Speckle was tugging at what looked like loose rocks and a single tree-like structure sticking out on a smaller island not far from where they were.
It was very straight, occasionally swaying, with what looked like moss growing from the top. It was an odd thing, which was what her dragon thought too and he was tugging and eventually bit.The moment he bit what was hard and not tasty, the island shifted. Angel bracing herself as she looked around, wondering what ancient god did they disturb from their slumber. ANd more so what sort of ancient god would fall asleep out in the water?
“What did you do, Speckle?!” She called out to him, water flowing away from them as it looked and felt like the island was raising up.
“I bit the stick, it tasted like bugs.” Quicking coming over to gather everyone up and wrap them together for more steadiness, with Speckle holding the trio together it was comforting if you ignored the shaking earth under their feet. She didn’t need to think twice about climbing on though, there was a bit more space for the other two, but it was clearly time to take to the air
Rory watched Speckle prepare for flight and, before he even said anything to Cloud, the wyvern swooped his Rider up onto the winds. This time I didn’t do it, Cloud said, almost proudly. This mischief was entirely on Speckle. The bat was still tired, though not as much as Rory at this point. He could fly without issue if he absolutely needed to, and this was certainly an occasion that called for it.
As the group abandoned the island, it shuddered to life. The mossy ground lifted up to reveal a spiraled, branched structure. Water flowed from the pores and dips of what looked like a peach and red shell. Whatever was inside didn’t lift itself completely out just yet, but two stalks emerged from the water, tipped in huge black eyes. It peered at them without emotion. The top of two red claws emerged, with the larger of the two snapping ominously.
“Fly out of its reach!” he called out to the other two, though he doubted it was necessary.
Already on that thought process without needing to be told to do so, Speckle dove away. Rather agile for being so large but he had plenty of time weaving his way through the vast ocean where people were more than happy to throw others and unwanted junk overboard without care of what may lurk beneath the water’s surface.
“Where should we go, Angel?” The ocean dragon asked his rider, but for now she wasn’t sure. It wasn’t like she engaged in battle often, usually taking down prey so much smaller and more dumb and harmless then a giant…. Something. Shelled something that was very displeased with it’s ‘guests’ that arrived unannounced.
“Stay close to Rory and Cloud, I worry about them.” Nodding, and dodging another snap of the large claws that emerged from the water, slowly but with great force, the wyrm dragon weaved away and back to where the other pair were. Where Rory or Cloud wanted to go, he’d follow for now and keep them from nose diving from exhaustion.
“Let’s head back to the mainland, at least there the bugs were manageable big.” Though merely suggestion, Speckle just wanted away from this upset crustacean that had been resting out in the water.
Within the chaos, Cloud suddenly realized that the warm ‘water’ he had been drinking was not spring water at all. What was it, then?! He started to fly erratically, completely concerned for his past self. The movements dodged any crab snaps, so it almost appeared to be intentional. It was a coincidence, of course.
Between wanting to barf and wanting to flee, Rory realized the other two were following their ‘lead,’ or at least just flying close to them. He wasn’t exactly good at that sort of thing, but he would do his best. He hoped Cloud would hear him through all the internal strife. Let’s get away from the lake! The bat whined, not out of fear but just from everything it was dealing with right now. This was too much, and this bug was too big and not for eating, and he wanted a nice cozy bed, and he wanted some delicious bugs that Rory was not letting him have, and the list went on. I’ll let you eat some ants once we reach shore, the Rider encouraged him. The bat swooped out of the snip zone and flapped onto ground. It kept going even afterwards, further inland, hoping the bugs would become more delicious that way. If the fake island was capable of scuttling out of water, then perhaps they’d lose it if they flew fast enough.
Spiralling in the air, avoiding the snips and snaps from the angry creature that was slowly chasing them, Speckle was enjoying the adventure but it also bored him as he easily outran the larger creature who was still waking from it’s long held sleep. They kept close behind the pair of light rider and light dragon who were leading the way, appearing to take his suggestion of going back to the mainland they arrived on as it was the safest they had come across so far. It may be filled with giant bugs, but the bugs were manageable.
With many other lands farther away, it was probably the only idea there was at the moment. Half of the group was exhausted and more than likely becoming dehydrated, while Angel and Speckle were just doing their best to help the two lost in the wilderness. They often didn’t offer their assistance so it was an all around not good time for anyone involved.
“Should he call Scylla?” Speckle asked his rider as he turned his head to see her, getting a deep sigh from Angel. She agreed in the end though, knowing it was the best choice they had is they really wanted to help. She was trying to avoid it, but apparently it couldn’t be avoided.
As they came close to land, Angel hopped off the dragon. Her feet dug into the sand as she slid quite a distance, kicking up a few big ants in the way and making a small path where she slid but in the end it appeared fine as she shook herself off.
While the mainland had more bugs, it would have to do as a sanctuary. Hopefully the ants were the worst they encountered, other than that crab…and those beetles…really, hopefully they didn’t encounter anything else. Going back to the beach seemed like their best bet, since the bugs only got bigger the further inland they went. Their water problem was still unsolved, they still weren’t home, and they weren’t rested at all. Except maybe Cloud, but he would probably catch pneumonia within the day from all the water he swallowed in his sleep. Rory wanted to ask what Scylla was; something dangerous? A benevolent protector? A ferryman that would take him home? Hopefully something that would allow him to drink or rest.
Cloud also made a less-than-graceful landing. Rather than leave a trail, a puff of dust erupted where he landed and a small crater formed. He was quite tired, so any landing would do. Rory looked to the other two and sheepishly asked, “Is it alright to camp here for a time?”
Sitting herself down on the beach as she watched the giant fall she best equated to a meteorite hitting the surface and leaving behind a big hole where it landed. It was… kinda of amusing seeing the tired dragon make a spectacularly bad landing but she also felt quite bad as the choice she was about to offer could have been just suggested in the start and all of this could have been avoided. She just didn’t like having people in her home, that was understandable right?
“That’s fine, I was going to ask if you possibly wanted to rest inside my den? It’s not the greatest of places but it’s well furnished and the bed is soft and big? And we do have food and water inside, just not a lot of it and it’s mostly fish food wise.” Speckle nodded, agreeing it was indeed a home and he enjoyed staying in there. The bed was even big enough for him to lay in, and even kicked Angel out of the bed if he was feeling especially moody that day and Angel felt bad for bossing him around.
Rory sighed and dismounted. He saw Angel look at Cloud with concern and quickly clarified. “Don’t worry, he always lands like that.” He patted Cloud’s neck and the dragon nodded happily. Bad landings were his specialty. Bat landings, you might say. The thought of a big, soft bed made Rory nearly fall asleep right on the spot. The rest of the den could be rotten and full of holes, as long as the bed was nice, he would be glad. “I would be honored to be a guest in your den. Though…can I ask where it is? Further inland?” He scratched his head, wondering if they would have to brave the bugs again. Cloud was still very grumpy that he hadn’t snacked on any yet.
“If you say so, just make sure he doesn’t get hurt now. Then how will you fly around on him?” Still enjoyed a sit in the warm sand, as the other two males joined them and had a short rest of their own she stretched up like a dog, before she headed off to the edge to touched at the water. ANgel knew not much was needed for her to call upon her home to her, even to the surface, but for the unfamiliar like Cloud and Rory it would be different from their point of view.
“Oh no, they’ll be up in a moment. So get ready~”