A Big Shiny Blue Marble Ch. 18byTaLtos6©
***Well, it's a wide story over a big world. What can I say? 0_o
Book of the Dragon Part 3
Yuan had left the mouth of the river behind weeks ago now, working her way along the coast in little hops toward the still populous ruin of Hong Kong. She'd flitted among the bays and inlets before finally climbing out over the coastal islands on her way to something nebulous in her mind.
Faced with many unknowns, she set her strategy at conserving her strength and energy as she climbed at about 80 miles per hour, struggling a little with the westerly winds which were not to her liking for this coastal work. They would blow her out to sea before she was ready, though when she was, they were a blessing. Finally finding the jet stream at just over twenty-five thousand feet, she'd turned east and let the wind take her.
She soared mostly after that, barely moving her wings, her mind falling into a sort of autopilot state where she could drowse and yet still make corrections. Her bearing changed a little almost constantly to allow for the curvature of the Earth, though on a flat map, it would work out at very near to 090 degrees and her course took her to Maui, though she didn't know its name. It had just been a speck on the old map that she'd memorized.
She was more than a little relieved to see it, since it proved that her mother's memories had been accurate, and after almost two days of high flight with nothing but water in her view, it was a relief to see any land at all. She saw it from high above and coming upon the group of islands a little unexpectedly, she was too high and spent a long while gliding downward in large spirals.
Finding little human habitation, she remained there for about a month, flying to one of the neighboring islands where there was a little more human settlement to learn what she could. She was careful, not wanting too much interaction with them. For one thing, she hadn't really given any thought to any sort of a story about her sudden appearance and she found the people there a little too interested in where the young woman had come from.
For another thing, she felt a little guilty about 'lifting' the occasional sheep to eat. And the operative word here was lifting. A fast swoop out of the darkness and she had her meal, removing the head with one snap of her long jaws. The herder would find nothing but the head the next day and if he was observant, he'd maybe find a little of the animal's blood as she'd carried it off shoulders down a little to allow the blood to run out.
It was a good thing that she'd done it too, for it had forced her to give some thought to finding a little shelter -- a place to eat and sleep and gather her strength. She'd never undertaken something such as this before, and the trip across had so far taken quite a bit out of her due to the cold temperatures at the altitudes that she'd had to maintain. With that in mind and feeling a little stuffed with a bellyful of mutton, she'd fought off the urge to doze and had gone looking for a place to hole up.
That had been one of the best decisions that she'd ever made, because not long after finding one that wasn't full of hundreds of years' worth of bat dung, and after cleaning it out and bringing some deadfall branches that she'd found in the nearby forest, she'd gone back to the other island nearby, grabbed two ewes in the middle of the night and flown off to her cave as the normally fairly constant trade winds slackened off markedly enough for her to notice it during her flight.
She'd flown right through a sudden rain squall. She hadn't expected that or the cold rain that it carried to lash her with. It wasn't a daunting thing, it had just really startled her to come low over a ridge and find herself in severe turbulence being pelted hard with cold rain. Once she was through it, she flew even faster back to her cave. But when she got there, she found someone else in residence, huddled in a corner and shivering.
After getting in through the 'door', which was something of a tight and awkward fit for her in this form, she set the ewes down and moved a little closer to get a look at what she recognized instantly as a rather small example of the problem that her mother had told that she'd have to deal with.
She was looking at a cold, wet, miserable, and now very much frightened young female demon who tried to back herself further into the corner that she was already fully backed into. Yuan tilted her long head and looked quietly for a few moments, wanting to see the madness, and wild rage that these creatures exhibited as they decimated struggling human populations and laid waste to everything in their sight.
The thing sniffled and hurriedly wiped a tear from her eye, quite obviously trying to summon up something threatening in her desperation. Yuan would have smirked, but it wasn't really a possible expression for her in this shape. Speaking carried its own difficulties. The way that Yuan was right then, she supposed that if the demon got the drop on her to attack right then, it would have been difficult for her to defend, but she knew that she could change that in a heartbeat. Right now, the creature looked as though she'd have a little trouble coming out on top in a wrestling match with a moth, never mind a dragon.
"You do not look like that much of a threat," she said quietly as she picked up a piece of wood to stir the ashes of the little fire with. The demon stared at her, but didn't comprehend what she'd said in her native Chinese dialect. There was no hope for the fire, so Yuan lifted a few sticks and set them into place and a moment later her thoughts had the heap burning once more and she looked to see her companion a little better.
What she saw was not pretty, as obviously beaten-up and distressed as she was. The girl had arrived in the same confusion as the rest when they'd materialized here, but for some reason, she hadn't been taken with the crazy madness which the others had. At one point, she'd been beset by two males, but she'd managed to kill one and badly injure the second before she'd gotten away unseen and hidden herself away in the forest of a neighboring island while the rest had all gone looking for things to rape and kill. She didn't know it, but they'd found no one and nothing and had killed each other off in their insanity.
Now she was here, having flown across in a one of the squalls pushed by a fast moving cold front, tired, weak and beaten. Her eyes widened at the sight of the dragon, lit as she was by the flare of the fire. She could see fine in the dark, but in this light, the effect was a little dramatic and she stared as the beast scuttled over to one of the bodies of her prey.
In some ways, Yuan was a little mistaken. The demon was not altogether defenseless -- she was just near the end of her long rope. Enough tragedy had already befallen her. To suddenly find oneself thrown into a mass of howling mad demons and dumped out into somewhere nothing like what she'd left, to be assaulted before she'd even known what was happening, and then to crawl into a wet hole in some rocks to find oneself looking at ... whatever sort of beast was there with her just pushed her out on her own personal ledge quite a ways.
"If you can sit there and behave yourself," Yuan said as she began to work on getting the cut in with her long nails which would allow her to pull back the hide, "I can give you something to eat, and I will share my place and the warmth of my fire. I need to know more of your kind."
She finished with the hide and broke the shoulder joint, reaching with her nails again to cut the limb free. That done, Yuan looked at the demon again. "I am sent to help others in the killing of ones such as you, but I see nothing here which needs killing, other than for food, and I think that something like you are would not taste very good at all." She chuckled and slowly held out the meat.
The demon wouldn't take it, being frozen in her fear.
Yuan thought about it for a moment, "There is no humor here to share, is there? Not like this with you in terror." The demon's eyes grew even wider as Yuan changed then into a human-looking female -- who still held out the meat as though it weighed little, since to her, it did.
"Maybe you can find your courage to take it if I give it like this. Here, take it. I have no wish to lay it in the dirt, but I will not hold it for you while you eat, friend."
The demon had no idea what was said, but she hadn't eaten in a week, other than the small things that she could catch easily, and most of those were not remembering. She began to reach out cautiously.
"Go on," Yuan smiled, "Take it. I see your teeth. What you have in your mouth is not for chewing on grass, and here is food."
The demon girl tried not to snatch it, suddenly not wanting to offend, and she managed it -- barely. When she had it in both of her hands, she looked at it, and then at Yuan for a moment as her benefactor smiled back and nodded in encouragement.
Everything on this world that she'd found herself on looked so lovely, she thought, but nothing had been that way for her. Males had tried to rape and hurt her, the few humans that she'd seen had either run, or they shot arrows at her. She had a tear in one of her wings as proof of their kindness and hospitality. And now this changeable beast offered her food?
She decided that she had little choice. She didn't even possess the strength anymore to fly out through the doorway past the smiling beast, and even if she could, what then? She nodded once and began to eat, her stomach winning the contest.
After the first of it, she began to try to speak to Yuan, who smiled, but obviously couldn't understand her either. They shrugged to each other and sat eating.
Yuan held up her hand after a few minutes and with a few of the longer pieces of wood, she made a way to hold the meat above the flames, and she set two large pieces on them. She stopped to listen after a moment and the demon did as well.
Yuan was a native of Southeast Asia, and as such, she was quite familiar with monsoons and was even acquainted with the occasional typhoon. She was not at all prepared for something like the Kona Storms of Hawaii.
The winds began again a few seconds later, though they were now reversed, and the real rain began.
Yuan stepped to the doorway and held out her hands to let what poured off the rocks above wash them. After a moment, she stepped outside, and the demon gaped as she heard Yuan's laughter.
"Come," she said beckoning and sticking her head back inside the shelter, "it is warm for the moment. I know that it will grow cold in only a minute, but come and see."
The demon set the meat down carefully and though she didn't understand the words, she liked the happy sounds that the other made, and drawn by her curiosity, she came forward and stood in the doorway. The spray which wet her from Yuan's body was indeed warm. She couldn't believe it.
Yuan beckoned for her to join her in it and though she was still cautious, she stepped out into the downpour and smiled up at Yuan, who was using the opportunity to wash.
The female demon considered for a moment, and then, since she knew that she was filthy and didn't like the way that she smelled to herself, she did the same as the other girl. She managed shy smiles and even a little laughter a few seconds later and to her amazement, she found herself holding her wings out so that Yuan could wash them for her.
It didn't last much longer however, Yuan had been correct. The rain turned cold only a couple of minutes later and they stepped back inside, but at least they could laugh a little. Yuan had long glossy black hair, but she stared at how much the demon girl had. It was wild and long, and, as she looked, it came to Yuan that this was a mane in a very real sense. The girl stood smiling and squeezing what looked like gallons of water from her hair. As they stood to let the rain run off a little, Yuan saw the wounds on the demon, a few rips and tears in her skin and a hole in the leathery smoothness of one wing. She didn't know what had caused them, but she had more of a clue now why this girl had felt such fear.
She laid her hands on the demon's shoulders and when the demon looked at her questioningly, Yuan smiled and held up one palm. She stepped back a little and reached for an injured forearm and with a light touch, only the barest contact, she mended what had been done. The demon gasped and stared, but Yuan only smiled and looked for another injury, methodically searching and repairing as she went. The tear in the wing was a bit of a challenge, but Yuan managed it by placing one hand on either side of the membrane for a moment.
The demon squeaked a little in joy, and then looked embarrassed until Yuan laughed.
She almost missed the misshapen tail. The girl had tried to get away during the fight, but one of the males had seized her by the tail to drag her back and he'd snapped a segment. It had been nothing but a dull throb that she'd dragged behind her ever since. Yuan reached for it, but her touch caused her companion to hiss in pain, and her reflex as she'd pulled away showed Yuan the gash in her haunch.
She spoke in a low and even tone and in a moment, the demon had relaxed so that she allowed Yuan to lead her to the ledge where they had met. Yuan demonstrated that she wanted the girl to place her palms on the ledge. "You will have to trust in me for a moment," she said in the same tone, "only a moment for each hurt, nothing more, I hope."
She looked searchingly into the demon's eyes, and after a nervous moment, the girl nodded, though she didn't understand. She only knew that this person was kind to her and hadn't done anything but good for her so far, so she decided to allow it.
Yuan slowly reached down and lifted the tail very slowly and with great care to inspect what she could, and after a moment's thought, she knew that she wouldn't have to fuse the segments. She placed her hands on the break and though the girl hissed quietly and looked back with worry, she still nodded to indicate that she trusted Yuan.
Yuan slowly wrapped her fingers around the injury, moving back a little to stand next to the demon as she held up the tail so that what she was doing was visible to its owner. She muttered low in her throat and the demon sighed, and without thinking, really, she leaned her head against Yuan, who kept right on muttering and sighing on her hands. What the demon felt was warmth and comfort and she reached to place her arm over Yuan's shoulder, wanting to lean on her a little more. Yuan understood and didn't mind as she went on.
The demon opened her eyes in a little surprise and amazement to find that she had been leaning on Yuan like that, but Yuan only grinned and held up the tail, completely mended and uninjured once more. The demon stared and smiled, wanting to hug Yuan, but Yuan held up her hand and pointed to indicate that there was one last injury to deal with, and the demon nodded as she placed her palms on the ledge once more.
Yuan sank down to a squat with a smile to herself. This was turning into something which she didn't mind, this trip. At least so far, she thought. She hadn't really been terribly enthused about doing it, but it had been her mother's instructions to her that it had to be done. Now it was looking to her as though she might have made a friend out of this one, and as long as no one was trying to kill her or anything like that, she didn't mind helping someone if it could be done as easily as this. Humans were more difficult to repair than this girl.
She took a close look at the wound, and stood up to reach outside for a bit of rain water, since she would want to have her hands wet for this, not wanting to risk even the chance of leaving a scar. Some places, like arms and calves weren't a concern, but faces, breasts and haunches were more of a special case for this.
Yuan tried to remain impassive, but even though they couldn't understand one another, she found that the girl was likable, and with all of the mud and filth washed off, she was really very pretty -- for what she was, of course. Yuan didn't mind seeing all of those sharp, bright teeth when her friend here smiled at her shyly, but she was sure that a look like that would cause most humans to lose their minds if they didn't faint.
She ran her wet finger along the line of the wound and held the fingers to either side of that one hovering just over the edges. It took a bit of doing, but as she worked slowly, the center groove of the gash rose up to where it ought to be, and the edges pulled into a line where it all closed.
She got up to run to the doorway again for more water and came back with a comforting smile for the demon. She just hoped that the last part would go well.
She needed three passes to make this right, working slowly and carefully and then she needed to check. She closed her eyes and ran her fingers over the place lengthwise and then across in several places along where it had been, trying to make sure that there wouldn't be any ridges or scars. She couldn't feel any, but that wasn't the definitive proof yet.
She backed away a little, holding the girl's hips and turning her a little this way and that, trying to see if there would be any welts or unevenness. A female -- any female, would want to die a little if the bottom that she'd considered an asset since puberty ended up looking unsightly and remained that way. Yuan had the ability to repair this girl. She was determined to do it well, so that not even the noonday sun would show that there had ever been an injury here.
Satisfied, but not certain, she wanted to feel for any temperature change which might tell her that there was something still not healed. That would leave a dent over time, and Yuan wanted to do this well for the girl. She didn't know the specifics here, but to her, it looked as though her companion had been through a shitstorm somehow, and from what she could tell of her, what had happened hadn't been earned.
She leaned in and licked very slowly along the now invisible line of the injury, trying to sense for coolness. This was something which she wouldn't normally do for most, but now it was also something of a point of pride for her to leave this perfect.
The demon surprised her a little, moaning softly and Yuan almost had to stop for the smile which she'd had to fight off when that tail moved to brush her cheek softly.
Yuan's opinion of herself was that because of what she was, she would likely find few -- if any at all -- who would want to have anything to do with her. Her mother the dragon had known of this, and had prepared her so that she might be able to take what she could get -- if it ever even happened.
"When one is young," the ancient dragon said, "one finds many chances at love and pleasure. For me, it seemed for a time that every time that I took to the air, I found myself in the company of others who wished for me. But time and age -- and the decline of our kind now brings me only empty skies and memories. For you it is most unfair, daughter. You will soon be the only one, from what I feel. That is why you will learn the ways of pleasure of all sorts with anyone, so that you may find perhaps one to hang the hopes of your young heart on."
Yuan sighed as she went, trying to decide if it was what she wanted, but in the end, it was too soon anyway, so she enjoyed what she had here and licked only a little more, deciding that she liked this demon girl and her fine little ass, but she didn't want to ruin anything if they were beginning a friendship at all. Her hand brushed against something and she looked down for a moment. There was a rather thick leather band around the demon's calf, just under the knee. She didn't know what it was or why it was there, but it was the only thing that this girl wore.