Despite traveling way too fast, Sunshine kept up for the entire day. She must also be using runes to assist as she didn’t flap her wings any faster when we sped up. Although, they did change angle a bit.
We reached the far side of the ocean by the end of the day. It was easier to cover more area today, as I assumed Melsy wouldn’t be hiding underwater, and I only looked when nearing a Gaia Tree.
Since arriving at shore, I haven’t sensed any more angels or harpies. Instead, it seems like this Gaia Tree has no inhabitants other than the resident dryad.
I can guess why. The surrounding shore has several dragonfolk inhabitants. I can see their mounding, hill-like “mountain” burrows even before I sensed their presence. Some mounds are even taller than the nearest Gaia Tree. It’s quite the spectacle.
Sunshine, contrary to my amazement at the scene, is in total awe and terror. She cowers behind me wherever I go. Her fingers grab large handfuls of my shirt as she literally sticks to my heels like a lost puppy.
“It’s fine, they aren’t going to do anything.” I pat her head to console her.
She lets out a content chirp, but cowers again as soon as I withdraw my hand. Good grief.
Well, we should eat and sleep, another long day tomorrow.
The night is uneventful, although I yanked down the makeshift blanket to let out some heat halfway through the night. This girl is a furnace. Wow. I woke up sweating several times and had to readjust to cool down. She refused to sleep anywhere except sprawled on top of me.
Is she nervous about the land? Dragonfolk? Other Dryads? I’ll have to ask in the morning.
In no time, the sun starts to rise. I feel like maybe I didn’t get as much sleep as normal.
No use in crying over it. What am I going to do, leave her here? That’s like asking one of my bearfolk sons to go hunt an orckin, or… leaving a ten-year-old in a grocery store. Not that anyone will get that reference here. My inner monologue really is getting out of control these days. Where is Melsy!!!! I need someone to keep me sane! (Editor’s Note: Too late for that.)
“Okay, time to get up!” Today, I won’t even be gentle waking her up. I push her off me as I roll out of bed. She snuggles right back in the hammock. Gah. This is going to be painful if I have to force wake her up every day.
I give her a few minutes, roll up the cloth, and get the food ready.
“Alright.” I tilt the hammock until she falls out. Just like yesterday, she goes full panic mode for a few seconds. After that, she realizes she’s fine, and that I’m standing there looking at her.
She hugs me. With both her arms and wings. It’s so nice and comfortable, like being wrapped in a giant, warm, plush blanket. So cute! I guess I’ll keep you. Hoh man, she’s so cute and fluffy. I pet her head, and she finally relinquishes me. Her head feathers are also so plush, downy, and soft. It’s like putting your hand in a microfleece pillow. Not even the beds in the Gaia trees are quite so soft. Maybe she molts and we can make pillows from her feathers? Is that humane? Maybe that’s gross.
As soon as we’re no longer touching, her eyes dart around until I prompt her to eat. I can see where she’s looking. Either she knows to be wary of mountains, or she can sense the dragonfolk, and is guarded against them.
“Can you sense them?” I inquire. I’d like to ease her fears about dragonfolk. That said, I suspect that there will be some battling in the near future. If there is enough dragonfolk in this area to not have any bearfolk or orckin, then there is sure to be some active dragonfolk with a sense of superiority similar to Melsy before our marriage. She just saw everyone as food. Or as a nuisance? Do all dragonfolk dislike eating? All I know is what Dubhe has told me, and from Melsy’s Freudian slips. Melsy never liked talking about her past, nor her race.
Sunshine nods, and slowly nibbles her half of the nut. I notice she isn’t drinking the soupy center. I made sure to give her plenty, as she probably needs more energy than me.
“Do you not like the nut milk?” I point to it. She tilts her head in response. “If you like it, drink up!”
She looks down at the nut milk, then back at me and fidgets. She’s groaning now.
“You don’t need to drink it if you don’t like it. So dramatic. Pour it in mine if you aren’t going to drink it. Either way, we need to hurry up.” I prompt her to stop fussing and move along with the morning.
She looks around nervously and makes some weird chirping noises and groans a bit more before drinking it up.
Her face is in total bliss now. What was the big deal? If you like it that much, then drink it readily. Goddess help me. This girl is completely confusing and nonsensical. Also, I’m getting the impression that she can’t talk. I guess that is okay?
“Okay, finish up, we’re leaving as soon as I’m done packing the hammock.” Warning her out of her stupor.
Seems she can eat quickly when pushed. She devours the rest of the nut flesh before I am even halfway done packing the hammock.
Another day of searching. We will need to go slower today. Although, I have both a sense of unease and a sense that I’ll find Melsy today. It’s a bit like the feelings of anticipation and dread from a first date. I’m excited, but will it go well? I need to find her first, though.
That said, with this many dragonfolk around, I suspect this is their ‘town’ of sorts. If there is anywhere comfortable for Melsy to run away to, maybe it would be back to her roots and family? I guess that depends on her history with them.
“Okay, Sunshine, let’s go!” Announcing our departure, I watch her pump her fists. It’s interesting since I don’t think she can put her hands above her head due to the membrane. The oddities of biology.
With that, we “fish in a sock” into the sky.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading and all the support! I am very sick right now. Please forgive me.