Today would be the day!
[Heaven-Struck-Sparks] fluttered ahead and above, holding a delicious treat just out of reach. It smoldered so sweetly, the aroma tickling both of his senses. She was not going to keep it from him today! [Growth] self strained his stumpy limbs, blunt claws digging into the dirt as he charged through the garden grass, using all of his strength to quickly drag his heavy shell. [Renewal] self struck out, straining the length of his thin body as he tried to capture the end of the treat.
[Heaven-Struck-Sparks] had flown out of reach. Cheater! With two sets of eyes, he tracked the waving stick of aromatic wood, so very far away. From both mouths, he let out a simultaneous chirp and hiss of complaint. Only crackling and popping sounds answered him, the laughter of his foe. Zhengui was cunning though, together he/they saw the fairy droop in the air tired by her load. She would have to land and burn soon!
Zhengui lunged, only to find his stubby claws churning air. The fairy had tricked him again, there was a hole here! Tipping forward, he flailed for purchase. Around him, grass stirred and a single stalk bent as to grasp his shell, but he was too heavy! [Renewal] self hissed a recrimination as they pitched into the hole.
Cold hands grasped his shell before his snout could hit the moist dirt at the bottom, and he found himself hauled up, the world spinning wildly as he rose up into the air. He looked up and let out a plaintive chirp as he saw Mother looking down at him. [Renewal] self let out a happy hiss, and nuzzled at the gray ring on her finger, knowing that it held many treats. He didn’t need that stupid stick anyway, Mother always had treats!
Mother sighed, making the mouth sounds down at him. Zhengui could not understand the mouth sounds, but he felt like Mother was disappointed. He let out an apologetic squeak, [Growth] self would pay attention next time! [Renewal] hissed softly. He blamed [Growth]! No Fair, he was just trying to get first treats!
Mother shook her head, shifting to hold him in the crook of her elbow. Beside her, the other human [Dying-Sun-Embers] made some mouth sounds, and Mother laughed. He glared across at his foe, the tricky fairy, hovering by her human’s shoulder, the last fragments of wood burning and popping in her fire. [Heaven-Struck-Sparks] crackled, laughing at him. He would show her one day! His Mother was better than her human anyway, even if her hands were cold. One day, he would make mouth sounds that would make Mother laugh too!
[Renewal] preened as Mother absently brushed her thumb over his brow ridge. Mother made sounds again, and though he did not understand the noises, he could feel her intent. It was time to visit [Old Mossy Mountain]. No wonder Mother had not gotten treats out yet. [Old Mossy Mountain] had the best treats of all! [Renewal] hissed one last challenge to their foe as they left [Dying-Sun-Embers]’ home, who snapped and sparked all too cheerfully back. Next Time!
As they left, Zhengui nestled more deeply into the crook of Mother’s arm. Both of his selves watched the other humans that Mother passed by with curious eyes. Humans were very strange, most of them were weird and blurry, it was very hard to tell what they were without looking very closely! Mother was even more difficult to see, Zhengui could not name her at all! But that was okay, because she was Mother and that was a good enough name, just like his. He was the Zhengui, the precious, and that was more important than his nature.
Still, he wriggled in her grip, serpentine eyes gazing up at Mother’s face. He wandered why she was different though. It had to be very hard not to know yourself. He wondered if that was why Mother was sad sometimes. It was always the worst right after [Lonely-Royal-Serpent] spent the afternoon shouting their nature at Mother. [Lonely-Royal-Serpent] was scary, and Zhengui did not like her much, even if she was kin to [King-Killer-Jewel], who had very pretty scales.
Mother liked her though, so Zhengui would try not be scared! Mother looked down at him then, so he chirped happily, nipping at her dress. Mother should cheer up! It was time to visit [Old Mossy Mountain] and they would have fun. Zhengui would get treats, and Mother would get to listen to the noises. Even if he didn’t understand, he knew Mother liked listening to the mountain rumble.
Mother smiled, sensing his intent, even if she didn’t really understand either. That was okay though, because he could feel the wind rippling. Hooray! Mother was going to fly the rest of the way! Zhengui saw the other humans looking at mother with envy. Silly humans, obviously you aren’t as good as Mother. You had better not be mean though, or Zhengui would bite you!
Mother rose into the sky then, and Zhengui chirped and hissed with joy, he couldn’t wait to go to the garden!