The sun had started to peak over the horizon when Serena caught the familiar smoky scents of her village. She sucked in the sweet scent of home but suddenly became aware of the Pegasus’s behind her. Her face was set back to a stern line as she led them inside.
Shadow pinned her ears and buried her face into Diablo's shoulder when she caught the scent of more elves. "I don't like this Diablo," she whispered to him.
He followed about four feet away from the elf, taking in the smells of the creatures. He watched the sun rise and then felt Shadow's touch and nuzzled her. "Don't worry, everything is alright," he whispered back.
Serena led the Pegasus’s into the elf village and sighed with contentment. Her brother, Rook, approached her, eyeing the black Pegasus’s wearily. "Why did you bring them here?" he asked in a rough voice.
"They need the leader's permission to pass through our territory plus the male has dislocated his wing," she explained, dismounting from her horse.
Rook looked up at the male Pegasus who appeared to be protecting a female one. "Where is your wing dislocated?" he asked in an even harsher tone.
Diablo grinned, he was thinking of a challenge but, he wanted in and out as badly as anything else. He stretched his broken wing, showing the blood pouring off of it. "That one," he said, in a deep and rash tone.
"You'll have to come with me," Rook narrowed his eyes at the black Pegasus. "The healer will patch you up. Your girlfriend can stay with my sister until we return."
Shadow pinned her ears and pawed the ground nervously when the male elf said that Diablo had to go with him. She was scared and didn't want her warrior friend to leave her side.
Diablo looked at Shadow, his own troubles coming into mind. He sighed, rubbing his head along Shadow's neck to assure her. "It's to heal my wing, and to leave faster. If anything happens, let out a cry, I will come," he whispered, walking away from Shadow to the elf. "Fine."
Rook gave a curt nod of approval and reached out to pat the female's shoulder but she had moved away. She is wild, he noted then turned his gaze to the male. He has had contact with people before. He turned and motioned the male to follow.
Diablo followed, his own notes are being written down in his mind. His eyes strolled around, his heavy body pressuring on his legs as he grew weak, not having anything to eat besides that Pegasus he killed along the way. The blood still made his spine shiver.
"Wait here," Rook said when they reached the entrance of one of the many tents. He disappeared into the tent. "I have a patient for you shaman," he spoke with a respectful bow.
A scraggy looking old lady looked at him. "I’ll be with him in a moment," she said before turning back to a sickly old man who looked about the same age as her.
Rook nodded and exited the tent. "What is your name Pegasus?" he asked.
Diablo listened to the chatter, his wing dripping as his head was held low to graze on what little grass must've been under his hooves. He looked up to Rook, his purple eyes glared. "Diablo," he said, proud of his name.
Rook stifled a laugh. "My name is Rook," he said to him.
Serena watched as Rook and the Pegasus disappeared amongst the tents. She sighed and turned to the female who stood shivering and watching her wearily. "Come on," she said. "I'll take you to the stables and we can feed you there. You look famished."
Shadow hesitated and looked to where Diablo had disappeared. Turning back to the elf, she followed along a few steps behind her.
She guided her horse into its stall when she had finished removing the saddle and brushing it. She piled some hay in the stall and filled the bucket with oats. Giving her horse one last pat, she grabbed a bundle of hay for the Pegasus who had chosen to wait outside.
Shadow was acutely aware of the suspicious stares that she got from each passing elf. She shuffled nervously and tried not to look threatening. But her attempts failed when a small elf boy threw a rock at her. She leapt away and snorted in alarm. The boy laughed and threw another rock. This time it made hard contact with her shin and she cried out in pain, tears started to roll down her face.
Diablo lifted his head quickly, shuffling his feet as his eyes showed worry. He heard Shadow's cry, his wings flapping desperately to fly off after her but he couldn't. "Shadow!" He snorted, his eyes filled now with anger.
The shaman came out of her tent and gave a dismissive nod towards Rook. Who turned and left her with the Pegasus. "Don't struggle Diablo," the shaman soothed and reached on of her wrinkly old hands to pat him. "It'll make the wound worse and it could possibly cripple you," she added.
Diablo looked around nervously and then kept still as the elf calmed him down, he listened from afar, his ears bent down as his tail lashed his side nervously. As he felt her hands touch him, his mind traveled far back to a long time ago, where he had contact with humans or creatures with hands. His wings spread slightly open. "It’s Shadow...she's crying….of fear," he snorted.
The shaman stroked Diablo's pelt and made her way back to where his wing was bleeding. "I can assure you that she'll be fine. She's needs to learn how to be strong without you," she spoke with years of wisdom as she leaned to inspect Diablo’s wing.
Serena heard the Pegasus’s distressed whinnies and rushed from the barn. She saw Blake, the elf boy, throwing stones at the Pegasus. He is mean to her, yet she still doesn't fight back. Interesting, she thought before dropping the hay and marching up to Blake.
"What do you think you're doing?" she spoke sharply and seized the boy's hand to pry a stone from his fingers.
Blake fought Serena's grip, but she was too strong. "I'm defending the village from this demon!" he shouted with triumph.
Serena rolled her eyes and released the boy. Big mistake. Blake ran right up to the frightened Pegasus and pounded her with his tiny fist.
Shadow cried out again and shrunk away from him. His blows didn't hurt so much as it scared her.
Serena rushed forward and grabbed Blake and carried him a distance away. She set him down and gave him a hard look. "First of all, defending the village is up to the warriors, not some little kid. Secondly, that Pegasus was minding her own business and you had no right to throw stones at her," she scolded.
The boy looked taken a back. "But I thought you hated black Pegasus’s," he whined, tears starting to pour down from his eyes.
"I do hate black Pegasus’s but I said that I would let them talk to the leader," Serena sighed impatiently and shooed Blake away. "Why am I telling you this? You're just a kid. Go play with the other boys and leave the black Pegasus alone."
Blake gave her one last uncertain look before he wiped away his tears and ran off in search of his friends.
Serena placed her hands on her hips and shook her head. Boys will be boys, she thought before returning to the female Pegasus.
Shadow sniffed the hay hungrily and didn't notice when the elf returned. She gave a surprised snorted and moved away from the hay.
"It's alright," Serena said holding up hands as a sign of defeat. "I'm not going to hurt you and neither will that little boy." She noticed that the Pegasus eyed the hay hungrily. "You can eat that, I got it for you," she said and leaned up against a nearby tree.
Shadow didn't need to be told twice, she walked back up to the food and dropped her head in and munched on it quietly. She flicked her tail as a sign of contentment, though her muscles were tense with uneasiness.
Serena watched the female Pegasus for a few minutes before speaking. "I guess that I'd better introduce myself now, since I'm not going to kill you. My name is Serena," she said.
Shadow didn't look up from her food. She didn't want to talk until Diablo was back by her side.
Diablo expanded his wing out for the elder, his eyes following her hand and then frowning. "It’s my job to care for the weak, although she's not weak she needs help."
"But how can the weak learn to be strong if they never learn to fight for themselves?" the shaman asked before she disappeared into her tent for a few moments and returning with some herb paste and bandages. She gently rubbed the paste onto Diablo's wing and wrapped the bandage around it. "I know what your true reason for flying North is," she spoke casually.
"They learn courage, and that is what strength is," he said, watching the elder walk in and out. He got startled by the bandages and herbs, pawing the ground with his hoof until he settled down. He raised his head up quickly as he heard the elder. "What?"
The shaman chuckled. "I'm a shaman, it's my job to know. Although the people here may not seem trustworthy, telling them stories is not going to help your case. When you and your friend present yourself to the leader, I highly suggest that you tell him the truth," she said. She rubbed Diablo's neck. "Now you might not be able to fly for several days but you can still continue your journey on foot. Your mare is waiting for you by the stables, go to her, it's not too far from here and don't act like you're keeping secrets, that'll only make the people suspect you more."
Diablo nodded, keeping in thought several days and suspicion. He quickly galloped off; his pounding hoof beats could be heard miles away as he then let out a low whine to Shadow as he drew near.
Shadow lifted her head when she heard Diablo's approach she let out a delighted whinny before running to greet him, ignoring Serena's baffled expression.
He nuzzled Shadow, looking at the wounds from the stones and then snorting, walking heavily to the elf. "Who touched her?" He demanded a response.
"It was a little boy!" Serena snapped. "Don't worry, I stopped him before he could hurt her too bad," she retorted.
Shadow trotted up to Diablo and stood beside him. "Thank you for helping me," she murmured and buried her face in Diablo's mane.
Serena had to strain to hear the black Pegasus’s soft words. "You're very welcome, now tell your boyfriend to lay off!"
Diablo snorted, looking at the elf as he stomped his hoof. "I'm Diablo, not boyfriend." He was raised too much in the heavens to know what boyfriend meant, only thinking if it as an insult.
Serena rolled her eyes. "Whatever, go ahead and eat whatever your girlfriend left you so we can go to the leader and get this over with," she huffed.
He shrugged, looking at the hay to see little left. He smiled, eating it all as he knew it’s better to just take what's given to you. Even though he was still hungry, he shrugged it off.
Shadow pinned her ears and flicked her tail in embarrassment. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be greedy with the food...." She looked away.
Diablo smiled. "Oh no it's okay! You see me? I could last years in hibernation!" He laughed, joking about himself.
Shadow smiled weakly at him but turned her head when she heard Serena flat out laughing. It wasn't a good-natured laugh either, it was a rude laugh. She flattened her ears and charged up to the elf. "Don't laugh at my friend!" she snorted in her face.
Serena staggered back looking confused.
Diablo looked confused, yet surprised and happy at Shadow for standing up. He trotted to the two and stocked his tongue out at the elf.
Serena narrowed her eyes and looked from the male to the female. She pushed past them and started leading them towards the leader's tent. "Come on, let's get this over with," she grumbled.
Diablo rolled his eyes, nudging Shadow to follow as he followed the elf.
© Copyright 2017 Miranda Reyes. All rights reserved.
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