Babaris walked slowly through the ruins. He would tilt his head as he looked around, his expression unmoved. Tied down, I walked along side him with Vel on his other side. The blasted thing only gave me around 10 feet of freedom.
It might have been mostly my fault, to be entirely fair. Fitrees are rare creatures, and this one was particularly beautiful! Yes, they tend to attract weird humans. Yes, they tend to set things on fire when frightened. Yes, I got a little over excited.
But…Blackie did nothing to stop me! Therefore, not entirely my fault.
…now, how to convince Blackie it was his. Several angles and ideas popping in, but nothing quite fit. It is burning hard to have a partner smarter than you. Slowly, my mind drifted.
The scent of smoke was still hovering in the air. but it was distant leaving the clear smell of damp ground to fill the rest. Stones were covered with moss and grass making them soft under my feet. Wild animals either watched us with curiosity or ignored us completely. Huge deer with horns twice their size were playing in a clearing.
Even the trees seemed to be content to themselves, growing where they were without worrying about little obstacles like buildings.
I took a deep breath, etching the place in my memory.
“I would like to come back here someday.” I smiled. “When we are less pressed for time.”
“Are we pressed for time? I didn’t think we were in a hurry.” Vel leaned back to look at me from around Babaris.
“We…met some…” I scratched my chin, “old…” They definitely weren’t friends… “teachers. Teachers. And we are fleeing at moderate pace.”
“There are things older than you two? What, the Ancient Beasts?”
“Those died out long before anything still alive ‘s grandfather was conceived. No, they are just a pair of senile old men. And we’d rather be way far away from when they lose that final screw holding what’s left of their brains in place.” Blackie grumbled.
“Or at least as far from the last place we’d had the misfortune to see them since my dear teacher was never one to remain in one spot for long.” I never could keep track of that old man. Which reminds me, how was the dear child faring in following Vel-dear?
Turning to the north, I felt out for her. Bela-bel-dear seemed a bit confused, but was coming towards us all the same. Now that I was actually searching, I noticed a few stragglers that were also headed in this direction.
Surely a coincidence.
I patted Vel on the shoulder, carefully. It seemed like this dear lady would not let a good catch slip away.
Blackie met my eyes as he rolled his, smirking a little. I decided to help the girl out a little bit.
“Well, I find myself quite sure we have time for a short tour? Would you not agree my dears?”
“Fine, but don’t touch-” Blackie yanked on my “leash” hard, pulling me away from the very interesting statue I wanted to look at a bit closer. “anything.”
“Kill-joy.” I muttered under my breath. It was not as if everything crumbled from my touch.
Just most of it.
Vel roamed away from us as we wandered the lovely green and golden landscape of the ruins. I imagined what it looked like in the fall, the green leaves turning red and yellow, the skies a dusty blue-grey. Then snow would encase this place, further covering the remnants of civilization beneath it all. Sounds would muffle as it the world falls to sleep. Spring would come, the flowers bursting with colors.
Years would soon pass us by, for the moment, the days were new an interesting, which I doubt would change anytime soon with present company. How long will we have Vel? Humans live so quickly.
There he was, holding a leaf the size of his head. He looked over at us and waved it excitedly.
Kinry, my little scholar was very much like that. Always excited about the world we were in. My boy would find bugs and bones, there always seemed to some of those laying around in Heaven, and explain where each came from and why we should be just as excited as he was.
Vel continued his rampage as he found new plants, Blackie following close behind. There were a few times when Vel-dear would reach for something and Blackie would stop him, explaining what kind of poison it had, and others when I would see something fascinating only to get stopped by that completely unnecessary leash I was so rudely attached to.
Finally, we moved on.
“It is not in the feathered bird’s nature to be tethered. It is not in a fish to quietly drift. Nor be it here to be, as one might clearly see, a fair maiden caught and dried to forever long for the allure of the sky.”
“Boney-brat, if you can be quiet-” He paused, “if you can be still-” he completely stopped for a moment, the corners of his mouth twitching as he tapped his horn for a moment. “…I’ll carry you until we’re at the shore.”
It was an intriguing offer, one I had to seriously consider. Between being walked like a slave or a pet and taking a nap…
“I suppose that is an acceptable compromise.” I immediately hopped onto his back, nestling between his wings to settle in for a good, long slumber.