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Rated: E · Book · Action/Adventure · #2217001
The Story continues.
#1012678 added June 28, 2021 at 3:46pm
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The Avians prepare for war pt 2
         “YAAAAA,” a black feathered tengu shouts as he charges ahead, aiming his spear towards Drake’s back.

         The spear tip brushes against Drakes tunic as he spins, clasp the pole-arm and flings it into the ground. Hands gripping the spear, tengu’s feet lifts off the ground as he is vaulted into the air as the spear falls to the grass.

         A gust of wind bellows through the training field as two harpies sprint side by side and open-winged towards their foe. Drake digs his feet beneath the spear it and kicks it towards the charging harpies knocking them in the head. Crashing onto their backs, the spear spins in the air and deep blue feathered tengu catches it and charges straight for drake. Stepping past the prone harpies, the tengu twirls the spear over his head, around his waist, slides and swings the spear downward. The spear swoops past drake as he leans to the side and leaps away from another swing.

         Stepping backwards, Drake ducts and sidesteps the tengu’s attack while he held his sword at his side. Drake swings his crystal blade upward parrying a spear thrust and quickly dashes forward and palm strikes the Avian in the chest. The Avian crashes on his back, shuffles to stand again but stops when his sees Drake’s sword pointed at his nose.

         “What’s your name?” Drake asks holding his blade at the Tengu’s apprehensive face.

         “Ean”

         “Have any parents Ean?”

         “They died in war after they gave birth to me.” Ean says as his hand slowly clasps his spear. “Ever since, I sculp a dragon statue from wood and set it on fire just to tell myself what I’ll do when the chance comes,”

         The tengu launches the spear towards drake and Drake knocks it away with a swift swing.

         “So, you set a statue on fire to help you sleep at night.” Drake says holding his sword at ready. “I admire your dedication but you haven’t actually faced a dragon and based on what I’ve seen from your last attack. I’m sure that you’ll be the statue that’ll be set on fire.”

         “Say what you will featherless,” Ean says as a single wing beat propels him into the air. Spinning to a halt in mid-air, the blue feather flaps his wings and propels himself towards Drake at full speed. “You’ll be the first to experience my revenge!”

         Drake cracks a half smile and he lowers his sword. Just as the tengu soars from the sky just above ground spinning as he aimed to tackle Drake, Drake raises his free hand, opens his palm and caught the tengu by the face. Knees bent; he skids back on the grass a few feet before sliding to a halt. Ean’s shocked look amused Drake before he clenched the tengu’s face and slammed his body onto the grass.

         Drake pats the dust from his trousers as Ean rolls to a kneeling position. Placing his palm over his pain ridden face, Ean’s watery eyes glare at Drake from between his fingers.

         “Don’t give me that look,” Drake says twisting his wrist. “I’m sure the dragons won’t be as offensive when they’re burning you alive.”

         Ean lowers his hand and his offended scowl turns into an angry grin as a harpy flapped behind Drake. Noticing the grim expression, Drake spins just as a harpies metallic claw tears a piece of tunic from his shoulder as she swoops above. Looking up, Drake sees the purple and gold feathered harpy vigorously flap her wings with her metallic talons shining under the sun. She turns and hones in on her opponent opening her claws for another strike. Flapping her wings, she throws her metallic talons forward. Drake, however, threw his sword into the grass, bends his knees and leaps holding up his hands. Drake clasps the yellow ankles of the female avian, yanks her down and drives her talons into the grass. Smelling the fresh berry scent coming from her feathers, Drake rises and meets the amethyst eyed harpy in the face. He stares at her quietly for a few moments as she blinked her eyes in disbelief.

         “What the. I can’t…get…free”

         Looking down, she jerks her legs several times struggling to pull out her talons but to no avail.

         “What’s your name?” Drake asks eyeing the plushy cheek harpy.

         “C…C…Camelia”

         “You seem like an innocent type of girl who wouldn’t get her hands dirty with something like this,” Drake says. “Any reason why you’re fighting?”

         The girl bashfully turns her head away occasionally glancing at Drake too embarrassed to answer.

         “T…to…get married.” She says bashfully curving her wing over her mouth.

         “Married?” Drake says with a confused look on his face. “Why would you have to fight and nearly lose your life so you can get married?”

         Then a spear thwacks into the ground near Drake’s feet and he backs away as a white feathered Tengu lands, yanks the spear from the ground, twirls it over his head and points it at Drake.

         “So we can be wed,” The blonde tengu boastfully shouts. “Avian law demands that only those who’ve fought to defend the nation has the right of matrimony.”

         “Damien,” Camelia shouts with an elated smile. Her cheeks flush red as her merry heart jumped in her chest seeing her mate. The white winged tengu slams his spear onto the ground, turns and grabs the soft edge of her purple feathers and gently kisses them as he gazes into her eyes.

         “Soon we’ll be wed my heart,” Damian says.

         “Oh, Damien I can’t wait.” She says shaking her hips while covering her face with her wing.

         Heh, they’ve totally forgotten about me. Drake chuckles. I wonder if it ever occurred to the guy that she’s still stuck in the ground. I guess I have to burst their bubble.

         Drake dashes towards the two snatching his ruby sword along the way. Raising his foot, he thrust kicks the tengu in the back. The feathered tengu jolts forward and bangs his head against his lovers and they collapse onto the ground. Drake steps up to the couple holding his sword in his hand.

         “Um…I don’t really understand much about relationships,” Drake says scratching his head. “But I don’t think yall are supposed to be that distracted in a middle of a battle.”

         As he stands over the groaning couple he notices a shadow overtaking him. He looks above and squints his eyes as he sees the winged shadowy figure quickly descends towards him. Realizing what it was, he quickly leaps away as a harpy slams onto the grass with her wings open. Glancing down, he sees several tears in his tunic and he worriedly looks back at the red feathered harpy. Rising to her taloned feet, she stood tall, fierce, ready for battle with several scars over her wings and a bandage wrapped over her left eye.

         She bends her knees, narrows her eye on her prey and launches forward with a wing beat. Drake, expecting a serious fight, raises his sword at ready and the harpy spins in midair and throws and roundhouse kick. Drake swings his blade and the metallic talon collides in brilliant sparks. Drake stumbles back from sheer force and the harpie stomps a talon in the grass raises her other leg and throws speed blurring kicks. Drake shifts quickly from left to right but is struck in the shoulder as she leaps, front flips for a heel drop. Drake leaps away as she misses and her heel slams into the ground.

         Rubbing his bruised shoulder Drake eyed the rugged harpie as she stood and glared at him with her one eye.

         “I guess you’re the strongest in the troop,” Drake says rotating his arm to wring away the sting.

         “Your name,” the harpie says in a threating but feminine voice.

         “Isn’t it a little early to ask me my name?” Drake says chuckling. We’ve just met.”

         “I’m not up for your silly games.” With a swift beat of her wings, she vaulted into the air, front-flips towards Drake and thrusts her metal talon forward.

         “We’ll see who’s playing,” drake mumbles as he takes a step back, clasps his sword at his side and swung with all his might. Sparks erupt as his sword smashes against her metal talon and both lock into a fierce struggle. Grunting in frustration, the harpie’s leg tighten as she feels the seering heat from drakes burning blade. Drake cracks a confident sneer as his sword burst into flames that escaped from his blade and reached for her feathered leg.

         Seeing her feathers ignite the tough harpy gasps before backflipping away. Smoke ebbed from her leg as she lands and she quickly dropped and rolled in the grass patting away the smoldering flames. Drake stands from his ready stance as the red feathered harpy rise to a knee and shot offended glare his direction.

         “Hey don’t get mad at me. You are fighting dragons after all. I figured I’d give you a small taste of what they can do you. Cause they did it to me.”

         Angrily clasping her knee, the one eyed harpy stood to her feet and removed the bandage from her face revealing the claw slash over her eye.

         “As you can see, I’ve tasted more of them than you ever did. For someone who claims to know about dragons you certainly fight like one and even carry their powers.”

         “Are you calling me a dragon?” Drake laughed at the notion.

         “Well, if you’re not a dragon then what?” Then she points an accusatory wing at him. “Show me your true form.”

         “What are you talking about…” Drake’s eyes narrow in suspicion.

         “Don’t play ignorant,” she spits, “Other than humans, every race carries their native form that they can transform into. You’re not human.”

         “What makes you so sure?” Drake asks raising an eyebrow.

         “Because if you were, you’d be gasping for air right now.”

         Drake confusingly glance at the harpie, trying to understand what she’s saying.

         “Look,” she sighs. “We’re are leagues above the ground close to the roof of Endina itself. We harpies have holes over our noses to inhale more air since its thin at this height. Humans don’t have that ability therefore, if they aren’t aided by a harpie, they’d simply pass out.” And since I don’t see anything helping you breathe, you must be a dragon.”

         She’s right. Drake thought as he stared down at his palm. I almost forgot that I wasn’t human since I came here. Ever since I left the quarry, I’ve been finding out things that I’d thought I already knew. Why?

         Drake lowered his hand and looked at the harpie.

         “Show me your real form.” The harpie demanded.

         “I don’t know.” Drake said softly.

         “What!?”

         “I said I don’t know,” Drake shouted in frustration. “I don’t know what I am.”

         “Then that’s a serious problem.” The harpie said planting a dorsal wing on her hip. “I don’t trust anyone who can’t even tell who they are themselves. And we’re supposed to go into battle with you? This is nuts.”

         Then she, disapprovingly turns her back to Drake and folds her arms.

         “Ask all you like but I’m not telling you my name.”

         “Hmph,” Drake scoffs at the harpy with narrowed eyes. “Your words are as sharp as your talons…Hazel.”

         The red feathered harpy spins around, with her deep red eyes widened in shock. The rest of the troop gasps in shock as they looked at each other in bewilderment. Even the instructor was shocked as he stood silent with his arms folded.

         “H..How did you know my name.”

         “You fight well enough, but when you can’t meet the cut, you turn to insults and shame. Just because I don’t know what I am, doesn’t mean I don’t know who I am. Instead chiding me about my heritage, try figuring out your own flaws. I know more about your technique than you know about my race.”

         Rage anger swells within the feathered woman and her teeth clench in rage. Screaming in heated emotion she charges towards Drake with her talons.

         “YOU’LL PAY FOR INSULTING ME!!”

         She leaps high into the air with wings wide open and thrusts her talons towards the young warrior.

         Drake sneers as he bends his knees and vanish in step of speed, just as Hazels talon nearly touches him. The woman skids to a halt and quickly turned around to face her opponent. She looked to the left and right to find her opponent, but to no avail.

         “LOOK OUT!” Cody shouts as he tackles Hazel to the ground just as Drake, descending from the air, thrusts his blade into the ground where Hazel once stood.

         “Get off of me, Cody!” Hazel scowls, shoving the boy off her back.
The harpy staggers to her feet, glaring as Drake yanked his crystal edge from the grass and hoists it over his shoulder.

         “You know,” Drake says rotating his neck and shoulders, “I fought several dragons before coming here, one of which nearly killed me, and so far, all you’ve managed to do is tear a piece of my tunic. I’m not convinced that you’re attacking me with everything you have.”

         Drake holds out his hands and scribbles HEATSWELL in burning letters. His body erupts in smokeless flames as his muscles tighten. He glares at the entire troupe with his burning eyes as he holds his sword at ready.

         “If you want to know who I am, then attack me with all that you have.”

         Hazels face turn from a scowling glare to an angry grin.

         “Well…if you insist,”

         The harpy wraps her wings over her body like a cloak and springs them open revealing CYCLONEBLAST in green swirling letters.

         Drakes’ eyes widen in shock as a burst of wind punched his chest and sends him sliding back a few feet. With a swift wingbeat, the harpie leaps into the air and soars towards Drake with the verse hovering in front of her face. Blasts of wind erupts from each letter and drake leaped side to side avoiding balls of wind as the bore holes into the grass.

         They can use verses without writing them? He though to himself.

         He vaults away from a projectile punching a hole in a grass, lands and felt a sudden rush of wind brush across his back. He turns around to see Camelia, the purple feathered harpie with her wings already open with TORNADO floating in front of her. Drake only saw her for a brief moment as her body vanished in an howling vortex. Feet sliding in the grass, Drake covers his eyes as winds kick grass and dust in his face. The young man takes a few steps back to escape the rapid spinning cyclone but the white feathered Tengu Damien thrust kicked him in the back jolting Drake straight into the tornado.

         “Hah, see how that feels,” The tengu shouted as he lands staring at the tornado. Camelia flies around the vortex and lands next to her lover while Hazel walked up beside them. Together, they stare as the tornado roared proudly in front of them while grass spiraled within its vortex.

         “Idiot,” Hazel laughed. “He should’ve known better to challenge us.”

         The instructor stood neutral with his muscular arms folded gazing at the vortex.

         “INCINERATE!” Drakes voice boomed withing the raging tornado as a thin streams of fire spiral up the wind funnel. Suddenly, the entire twister erupts into a spinning inferno with blades of fire arching from top. The sky reddens as the bright flames nearly overtake the sunlight. Waves of heat bursting from the mighty inferno. The entire troop backs away as Drake calmly walks out of the twister. Eyes burning with intensity, he holds his sword at his side while he raises his free hand and snaps his fingers. Like an unraveling coil, the burning twister dissipates into thin air leaving everyone in the troop in silent shock.

         Drake pats the dust of his pants and shoulders, clasps his blade and dashes towards Hazel, Cameile and Damion. Swooping between them, Drake close lines Damion square in the gut. The tengu’s hands and feet nearly meet as Drake hurls him across the field and tumbles through the grass.

         “D…Damion!” Camelie worriedly shouts as Drake spins and sweep kicks her feathered calves. The purple harpy’s feet jolt into the sky and she slams on her back.

         “Damn You!!” Hazel shouts as she swings her talon straight for Drakes’ face who’s still squatting. Her talon swops beneath Drake’s feet as he leaps over the attack and she spins again for a second roundhouse kick. Raising his hand, Drake catches her ankle mid-flight.

         “How?!”

         Drake smiles as he pulls her ankle and flung her across the plain. Hazel twists her body and lands in the grass and she slides to a halt. Heaving on her knees and wings, sweat poured from her face as she raised her head and gazed at Drake standing over her with his sword in hand. For a while, they exchange strong gazes at each other. Hazel saw the hard look in Drakes eyes it was the look of a man who faced many hardships but, at the same time, held the determination to push on; no matter what. That look alone makes her relent as she lowers her head in an exhausted pant.
“Forgive me,” She says, rising to her feet and placing a wing over her chest. “I’ve misjudged you. I realize now that we will eventually die and return to Endina. It’s who we are that makes a difference in the world, long after we’re gone.”

         Drake’s sword shatters into pieces as he dismisses it and holds out his hand for a shake. Hazel extends a wing and Drake grabs it feeling the rough prickling feathers in his palm.
“Drake Ryft,” he says with a firm pump, “It was fun learning about all of you…Cody, Ean Camile, Damion and…Hazel.”

         “How did you know my name,” Hazel said in shock.

         Drake chuckles as releases her wing and picks up the bandage she took off her face and holds it out to her, making sure to show her name embroidered into the bandage with a heart behind it.

         “Your mother did an excellent job making this for you.”

         The young woman stares shockingly at the bandage in Drakes hand and breaks into incessant laughter.

         “Your right on all except for one,” She laughed, “My father made this for me.” She takes the bandage and held it in both of her hands as she longingly stares at love and care put into the bandage. “He was the one who nursed my wounds.”

         Then a slow clap interrupts the group and all of them turned around to see the instructor clapping while approvingly nodding his head.

         “That’s what I like to see chickees,” He shouts, “Ya actually learned something today. Now hustle up. We got eagle riding classes next.”

         Later that day, at the southern edge of whistle top island, an eagle’s shadow momentarily blots the shining sun as it soars above the group. Everyone watches in awe as it’s call proudly blare through the skies. Beating its wings, it flies in circles as the instructor stands near the ledge. A light breeze brushes across the area as several harpies busily drop large nuts near the instructor.

         “Alright, I need one of you to step forward!” the instructor shouts staring at the squad.

         A scared silence swept across them as they shared glances with each other.

         “Cody! Over here,” The instructor shouts.

         The youth rushes towards the Tengu and, as a salute, slaps his chest.

         “Jump off the pier,”

         Starring at the edge of the platform cutting off into open blue, Cody swallowed a lump in his throat and woorily looked up at his instructor.

         “Don’t just stand there!” The instructor says sharply, while impatiently tapping his feet. “Get moving! Or do I have to give you the treatment?”

         “N…N…No sir…,” the young man replies as he trembles in fear.

         Drake standing near the rest of the iron crows stares at Cody as he slowly walks on the pier.

         “By the skies,” Hazel shakes her head with her firm wing on her hip, “He’s chocking again,”

         “He’ll never be able to fly at that rate.” Ean said scratching his head. “We’re going to be here forever.”

         “What’s the problem?” Drake asks looking at the troupe. “He can fly right?”

         Hazel turns her head and stares at Drake through the side of her good eye.

         “Birds are born to fly, but they have to learn how. It’s the same for Avians.”

         She turns back around and stares at Cody as he stands at the edge of the pier.

         “He still hasn’t mastered it yet?” she continues.

         “How do you learn?” Drake asks raising an eyebrow.

         Hazel didn’t answer, but she turned to Drake and gave a mischievous grin as she pointed to the instructor who’s stepping behind Cody.

         The instructor calmly folds his arms as he glowered at a hesitant Cody who stared fearfully down the cliff side. Looking down, he could scarcely see the ocean beneath as it vanished under a passing cloud. Shacking from his fearful gaze, Cody turns towards the instructor.

         “Umm…s…s..sir? I don’t think…”

         Arms folded, the instructor raises his leg and kicked cody off the pier.

         “AAAAAHHHH,” Cody’s voice trails off in the distance.

         “Whoah,” Drake shouts as he rushes past the troupe. Stepping onto the pier he shoves past the instructor and looks down.

         “What did you that for?” Drake shouts casting an accusatory glance at the instructor.
The instructor ignores him place two fingers in his mouth and whistles loud. The eagle circling above immediately closes its wings and dives swooping past Drake in an intense blast of wind. Drake rushes towards the pier and peers below as the eagle quickly descends towards the falling tengu opens its wings and curve upward, catching him on his back.

         “We do it to everyone.” The instructor shrugged.

         Drake casts a confusing look at the Tengu.

         “Did the eagle ever miss?”

         Recalling past events, the instructor’s eyes shift upward before nodding.

         “A few times.” He calmly says.

         Drake stares at the instructor in disbelief.

         “Look, if you’re going to live at this height, then you have to learn how to fly. There are six, islands and we own three of them. Between these islands, we need to hunt, find water, and protect ourselves from dragons. If you can’t fly, then you’re as good as dead anyway.”
Several squeaks tear through the sky as the eagle flaps past the pear unleashing a brief but powerful gust that ruffles Drake’s red tunic. As it passes Cody collapses onto the ground and rolls on his face as the eagle flew away. Panting, he lies still on the grass as his body quivered in shocking fear.

         “Alright Cody, get your feathered butt off the ground and do it again. You need to learn how to fly in the open skies before you can fly an eagle.”

         “Y..Y..Yes…S…S…Sir!,” Cody barely made out, still trembling on the ground.

         “What’s wrong with you!?” The instructor angrily shouted, scowling at the prone tengu. “You’re an avian for heaven’s sake. With feathers! Why are you acting like wingless coward?”

         “I’m sorry sir,” Cody says, as tears well in his eyes drips onto the blades of grass.

         “No!” the instructor shouts as he reaches, grabs his shoulder and flips the boy on his back, “I’m not accepting any more sorrys. I want answers. Every time we come out here, I have to waste valuable time to get you, to fly in the open skies. When you do manage to learn and crawl back to your nest, you unlearn everything, and I mean everything I’ve taught you.” The instructor snatches his tunic and yanked him close to his face. “I’m tired of it Cody.” He says in a lower tone. “I have to lead all of you into battle and every second I waste on you is a second I don’t have to teach the rest of you how to fly your eagles. So, I want to know why am I wasting my time.”
Cody looks up at the instructor fierce and annoyed eyes as tears fall from his.

         “Because I’m a failure sir!”

         “NOT GOOD ENOUGH!” The instructor shouted. “STOP SAYING THE THINGS YOU THINK I WANT TO HEAR TO GET
ME OFF YOUR BACK! WHY…ARE…YOU…WEAK!!

         “Because…”

         “ANSWER ME LIKE YOU GOT A PAIR,”

         “BECAUSE MY FATHER FELL OFF THE ISLAND TRYING TO SAVE ME!” Cody’s voice boomed through the training camp with his teary eyes shut tight.

         A silence settled within the area as the howling winds mixed with the eagle’ flapping wings.

         “He…was a featherless and I didn’t know how to fly yet. During a wyvern attack I was blown off the cliff and he jumped and caught me and tied me to a vine. He knew it was too heavy for him so he let himself go and I never saw him again. Every time we fly it reminds me of him and I get scared and have nightmares at night.”

         The instructor sighs as he releases Cody’s dingy tunic and he collapses onto the ground. He then turns around, walks a few feet away and stares into the distant sky.

         Drake somberly stares at Cody as he cries and sobs, while swiping the tears away with his forearm. He couldn’t say anything as one thing he knew for sure, that someone dying close to you can forever change you. Often into something that others don’t understand. He remembered the battle against Celta and her sister. The tears she shed that day made him realize that.

         Drake walks up beside the instructor near the pier and stares off into the distance as well.

         “I knew his father.” The instructor says in a low tone. “We…fought alongside each other through a lot of battles. When he started losing his feathers, he and his family was exiled to greenpeace.” The instructor lowers his head and scratched it as he takes in a deep breath. “I…never approved of the kings edict, but I understood why. Still…to banish a man and his family to one of the most dangerous places in Avia after nearly giving his life to save ours…It sickened me to my gut. So I took him and his wife to whistle bottom forest while Cody was allowed to stay because he wasn’t affected by the plague. I didn’t know that happened to him.”

         “I was there when the dragons attacked.” Drake said. “They seem like loyal people. Can’t they just stay where they are?”

         “Its too risky…once you lose your feathers you’re pretty much useless against flying targets. I understand the edict its just…”

         “Anyone you know was affect by the plague?”

         “My sister Ura.” The instructor nodded. “She was affected when she was born so, she never knew how to fly.”

         The instructor looks at Drake.

         “Look I need your help with Cody. He has to overcome his phobia otherwise he won’t stand a chance out there.”

         “Sure, I’ll help but, what can I do with something like that? I’m not someone who can cure phobia you know.”

         “Well that’s where you’re wrong.” The instructor says as he turns around. “Cody, stand up!”

         Cody works himself to his feet wiping the tears off his face and patting the grass of his dingy tunic and sandals. The instructor calmly saunters up to the youth with his hands clasped behind his back. He stops a few feet away and stares at him for a few moments. Cody didn’t look directly into the instructor’s hawkish eyes but took nervous glances, being carful to not to frustrate the instructor.

         “Cody,” The instructor says. “This may seem…out of character for me, but…” The instructor opens his arms and wraps it around Cody’s arms and wings. With a reassuring slap on his back, the instructor silently hugged Cody. The youth’s eyes widen in shock as his feels the instructors vice grip around his arms and back.

         “I understand what you’ve been through.” He says patting his back. “The war and plague have taken a lot from us. Family, friends, associates…even the people we don’t get along with. Don’t take what I do personally. I’m doing what I can to make all of you as strong as you can possibly be.”

         The instructor squeezes Cody and lifts him off the ground. Cody’s feet dangled above grass as his chest tighten and breaths shallows.

         “Um…Sir? You’re squeezing me too tight.

         “Understand what I just said Cody…don’t…take…this…personal.”

         Then Cody’s eyes widen in horror seeing the instructor’s sneer filled smile.

         “N..N…N...NOOOOOO!”

         Squeezing Cody in his arms, the instructor spins in place as the youthful tengu’s sandaled feet swings about parallel to the grass. Opening his arms, the instructor releases Cody and the young tengu’s arms flail about as he soars over the peer and down the island with a rope tied around his waist.

         “Whoah!” Drake shouts as he runs up to the pier stopping a few feet shy of the edge. “You threw him off again!? And how did you tie that rope around him?”

         Then a click sounds as the instructor sneakily latched a brown leather bracelet around his ankle. Drake looks down at his ankle and also sees the stack of rope quickly winding down to its last circle. Drake head shockingly darts directly at the instructor with a panicked look and the instructor just waved with a smile.

         The rope tightens and Drakes feet jerks backward. He slams on his face as the rope drags him off the pier. Adrenaline makes his heart beat like a humming bird as his nails scratch the wood to hold on, but he slips off the pier and plummets with a rope tied around his ankle.

         “Ahh, I love my work.” The instructor says.

         “Are you sure that was a good idea?” A purple feathered harpy says walking up beside him with her brilliant wings folded like arms. She had a beautiful yet experienced look on her face as leather straps neatly spiraled up her talons. “Neither of them can fly.”

         “That’s where you’re wrong tailfeather…Everyone can fly,”

         Screaming at the top of his lungs, Drake’s body spins out of control as his arms and legs flail about. Endless sky was all he could see as he feels the wind envelope his entire body. Although spinning out of control, he felt weightless, but couldn’t tell which way was up anymore.

         “WHOAAAAAAAAAAA,”

         Drake, Fane says in his mind, calm yourself and your body. You must gain control of your descent.

         “EASY FOR YOU TO SAY!” Drake blurted out.

         Remember the leap you took into the wind current? This is no different. Now open your arms and legs and hold them still.

         Drake thrusts open his arm and legs and his flipping and spinning slows to where he could see the distant blue sea below. His rapidly beating heart rushes as he passes through a cloud feeling the cooling mist hit his face.

         “WHAT DO I DO NOW?”

         You need to find young Cody. Fane said. The instructor tied you to him.

         “How can I find him…I don’t know how to move.”

         Listen carefully Drake. While keeping your arms open, cup your right hand.
Drake did what he said and he spun left.

         Now cup your left hand.

         Drake cups his left hand and he feels wind pass through his palm forcing his body to turn right.

         “Okay I think I got it.”

         Drake spins his body where he could see the rope flapping in the air. In the distance, a few feet below, he sees Cody spinning head first toward the ocean with his wings dangling along his back.

         “I see him but how can I get too him?”

         Make sure your head is pointed directly at him. Fane says.

         “Ok…what now?”

         Now straighten your whole body like a stiff board and you’ll fall faster toward him. Hurry…you don’t have much time.

         Slapping his palms at his side and his feet close together, Drake jets downward towards the youth and he reached and grabbed onto the youth’s tunic as both quickly plummet headfirst. Drake confusingly stare at the youth’s quiet face, his motionless body and the slobber exiting his gapping mouth.

         “Shoot he’s out cold. HEY WAKE UP!!” Drake shouted.

         He shook Cody several times calling out to him just as many but there was no response. With little options left, Drake slaps Cody in the face rocking his head.

         “COME ON WERE GOING TO DIE IF YOU DON’T WAKE UP!”

         Drake slaps Cody several times shaking him and calling out to him. The stinging slaps manages to rouse Cody from his slumber and he blinks his eyes several times to wake himself. His eyes widens realizing what was happening and he screams.

         “Ahhhhhhh, WERE FALLING,”

         “YOU NEED TO FLY RIGHT NOW,”

         The winds beating against their heads muffled their hearing as they plummet closer and closer to the ocean.

         “I can’t…I’m not strong enough we’ve been falling for too long. My wings wont be able to stop the descent.”

         “You said you’re not strong enough?” Drake ask.

         Cody nods his head.

         Ok Drake think. What do I have that can help him? Verses…

         “That’s it Drake says. Verses. You got any verses that can help you?”

         “Only a useless light verse,” Cody said shaking his head.

         “Shoot! Ok ummmm.”

         Drake panickily went through all of the verses in his mind and he quickly finds a solution.

         “I got it!”

         Drake quickly writes Heatswell on Cody’s chest and Double beneath it. Soon a surge of flames erupts from the tengu’s wings and his muscles tighten as they burn within.

         “Whoa, what did you do to me?” Cody says.

         “You feel that right? You should be stronger now.”

         “O..Okay,” Cody says as he opens his wings, but horrific thoughts flooded his mind. He could see his fathers screaming face as he disappeared into a cloud while he dangle from a thin vine. His wings ceases and they remain open stiffened in fear.

         “I..I…I can’t…I’m scared…My father.”

         “No…No…No…No…No…No. Look at me.” Drake stutters in a panic as he yanks the tengu close to his face.

         Cody’s tears descends upward as they near the ocean.

         “What was the face of your father when he fell?” Drake asks.

         “He…was afraid.”

         “That’s not true!” Drake shouts. “Do you remember him screaming?”

         Cody thought for a short while before answering.

         “…No,”

         “Stop allowing fear tell you what you saw that day. You were scared at the time I know. I’ve seen someone die protecting me as well and I saw the look she had on her face as well. Remember,” Drake continued. “What was the look he had on his face?”

         Cody closes his eyes and thought back when his father disappeared into the clouds.

         “I remember that…he wasn’t screaming,” Cody says. “He was…smiling at me?”

         Cody opens his eyes and looks at Drake.

         “He was happy!” Cody says as heartfelt tears well in his eyes.

         “He wanted me to live. He fought hard so I could live and carry on… My father loved me!”

         “And what did he want you to do?”

         “He wanted me to fly!”

         “THEN FLYYY!!” Drake shouted with all his might.

         Just as they were about hit the water, Cody regains control over his fear and his wings. The youth wrap his arms around Drake’s waist spins around and with a mighty beat of his wings, the tengu kicks two pillars of water into the sky as he quickly ascends with Drake in tow. Feeling the burning surge of Drakes verses course through his body, vigorously flap his wings speeding into the sky just as fast as he was falling.

         “Look at me father! Watch me as I fly for you!
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