It’s not just a mix, but virtually every permutation. Some with arms and wings, some with just 2 wings, some with no arms and 2 sets of wings. Some with normal feet, some with talons.
“Hm, great water barrier has long kept out Humes. Dargonkin afraid of what lies below; they rarely venture out.” A wizened harpy steps forward. Wait, dargonkin? Er, well, whatever. “Fled here to avoid dargonkin, but you bring their smell?”
“Ah, uh, if it makes you feel better, I can go rinse in the water?” I mean, it’s not like I meant to go unbathed. It just hasn’t been a priority.
“NO!” I’m not so sure of their gender, but the screech from this harpy’s mouth sounded like the result of a woman screaming, a car braking, and an eagle’s cry all rolled into one. Pretty sure I shouldn’t go bathe. “We mustn’t disturb the slumbering nor toiling depths. Let them rest.”
I suddenly feel like I’m in some sort of fantasy RPG. I mean, it feels like they’re going to give me a quest now to prove my friendliness. That would be annoying right now.
“Humes, humes usually quite harmless. Dargonkin, like to munch on us. Catch us in the air, and CHOMP.” The harpy thumps her wings on the large branch below her for effect. “You are hume, but smell like dargonkin.” Ulg.
What do I even say here? I mean, I guess I could try the next tree. What if all of them above the water are like this though?
“You can’t chomp though? Hm. White and blue runes. Hm. You may stay. We will feed, you sleep, then leave. No dargonkin, no danger.” The harpy waves a wing and flaps away to another branch.
I don’t know what happened, but okay? I find a decent spot for my hammock and drape the large cloth over it from a branch above to protect from any rain. You never know when it’ll rain these days. Although, it does seem scheduled sometimes. I’m probably overthinking it.
Time to get some sleep.
I hear some rustling next to me and open my eyes. All of a sudden this feels like a manga from my previous world. It’s going to be some girl curious about everything, and she isn’t going to let me sleep, right?
Yes, two saucer eyes are looking at me over the edge of the hammock. Sighs. She watches me for a moment. Instead of hair on her head, she has very fine, long, wispy feathers. It could be hair. I’m a bit captivated by its beauty. Nah, it has to be feathers. It’s sort of a blonde in the middle of each strand, but colors out to pastel pinks and blues. Her hair flows as it disappears and I hear rustling below. What is she…
Hey! That’s my bag!
I leap out of the hammock, nearly spinning out of control and landing right on her.
“Eeep!” She pulls her hands out of my bag, jerking away hard enough that she falls back on her butt.
She isn’t an angel, nor is she a harpy. She’s a bit of a mix. She has a face and torso of a hume, but what bust she has is clearly muscle. Her hands are normal for the most part, but remind me of a succubus’s claws. They have sharp talon-like nails but they clearly have the dexterity of a hume’s fingers. She was just shuffling through my bag, after all. That takes some dexterity to do. It doesn’t look like they have much strength behind them though, based on the size of her forearms. Finally, behind her, are massive, powerful wings that are larger than the rest of her body, even folded up. I’d expect to see them on an angel. Those feathers are full-fledged, and sparkle light blue and light pink as if there are metal flecks in them.
“Uh,” come on Tristain, you should be used to this, you have kids. Multiple times, you’ve had kids. “Let me show you what I have in there.” I smile at her, then reach for the bag. A thin, feathered tail flicks away from the bag, curling behind her, away from my encroaching hand. Its feathers are much like her “hair.”
She smiles back, responding with: “Mmmm!” Before nodding. As she adjusts to watch, I notice her lower half appears mostly hume, but like her hands, she has talon-like claws for nails. Her heels also appear to have a solid, pointed edge. Definitely not meant for grabbing anything, but probably is much better for sticking a landing.
“Lets see,” I announce each item as I take it out. “This a Lillia Fruit, it’s the last one I have. Very delicious. Probably very nutritious as well. This is a spear made out of Lillia wood. Well, probably Lillia bones.” I’m sure I’m smiling sadly as I screw the pieces together. It was one Lillia gave me before she changed. It has three parts that screw together to make it about six feet long. “These are some clothes, and this is a memento of my wife. I’m searching for her right now.” That’s it, just some clothes and a circuit board. Nothing more. I keep that little container of the mini fruits on my hip. I still don’t know what to use them for.
I suddenly realize how depressing the contents of my bag are. Three-quarters of the items are from lost significant others. I mean, eventually, I’ll get back to Lillia, but she’s at least a week in the other direction, or who knows how far away forward.
She brushes my cheek with one of her hands. I didn’t realize at first, but her mostly hume arms have feathers coming off the bottom half, and a thin, translucent membrane can be seen under them. It reaches from her wrists to her ribs. I look back at her hand and notice it’s wet. Ah, I hadn’t realized I was crying.
“Sorry,” I eke out and get back into the hammock after shoving the contents of my bag back where they belong. She sits there watching me.
I hear her plodding off as I slowly drift to sleep.
Author’s Note: Thanks for the support! Sorry for the late post… Editor made me rewrite some parts of the chapter. Rightly so. I appreciate the hard work he does.