The Migration

Dragon migration, what a sight to behold—unless said dragons decide to take a dump, covering the town, the trees and of course, the people in a gruesome, repugnant stench.

Every year, the town’s folk celebrate in the streets. Volunteers hung up banners and flags created by the local school children, erecting marquees of every colour and food stalls from every continent.

People from all walks of life come together to watch and say goodbye to the dragon’s, wishing them well in the hopes that they would come back next year, maybe with two or three babies in tow.

Usually, I’d spend the celebration with Nyx. Still, as the newest member of The Draeam, she’d spent the last week preparing for the migration, and right now, she’d most likely be soaring about in the sky with the other riders, making sure the wild dragons find their way safely.

I look up, expecting to see her, the body of her dragon, Pia, glistening, a golden smudge against the clear blue, but all I see is the pink underbellies of the Hockhorn dragons—the first of the ten species to leave.

“Watch out! Incoming!”

A shout rings out, and I jump, grabbing my umbrella. The sun shines through the canvas, tinting my skin a plush, plum purple, and I clutch the handle, waiting for the revolting rain to fall.

“I’m just kidding; it's me.”

A face appears, upside down, her black curls dangling, dripping like liquid midnight. A blush kisses her pale cheeks, and a scattering of freckles brush her nose and under her eyes like stars. My foot swings out, and I kick her shin, satisfied when she gives a little yelp and relieved at the giggles that follow. Nyx grins, and my heart flutters, stoking the small, eternal fire within.

Retracting the umbrella, I try to steady my hands, my voice. “You little shi—”

“Language.” Nyx teases. She bows, flourishing her hand out, twisting it like a waving royal. “Here.”

I gasp. “You found them?”

In her left hand—her only hand—Nyx holds a bouquet of bright, beautiful Bire. Electric blue fills my eyes, their petals round, wide like the flame of a candle. “What— Why?”

“You said you needed them…for your experiments.”

“Yes,” I say, dragging out the word. Stars, they are so pretty, so elusive and ridiculous to find and have lots of hidden qualities—potential healing properties, but...

I frown and take the flowers, curling my fingers around the course, lilac stems. “but you must have missed the start of your first migration to get these.”

“I sure did,” she says, then her eyes widen, and she slaps her hand over her mouth. “No, that came out wrong. I meant I was happy to get them...the flowers...for you. I have next year's migration to enjoy.”

A cheer swells from the surrounding crowd, and a nearby child squeals, clapping her hands, a bright, delighted smile on her face as the Suntooth Dragons fly over, their golden bellies and wings of fire blazing the sky.

Nyx watches their passing, chewing on the tip of her thumb. I touch her arm and squeeze. “I’m sorry,”

“For what?” she says, a little too quickly, “What is one migration to the possible cure for Dragon Pox?”

A heat bursts under my skin. “I don't know about that.”

“Oh, you doubt yourself too much. You're great.”

“As are you.” I press the flowers against my chest. “If I—”

The little girl screams, her finger pointing towards the sky. A Suntooth dragon plummets towards the watching crowd, twisting a twirling, fire spitting from its body, bursting into clouds of black smoke.

People gasp and swear, pulling their children and loved ones close.

“Where are—” Nyx begins, but a roar cuts her off. A dragon passes over the crowd, and I recognise the green beast—Bea and her rider Jasmine.

The crowd applauds as the pair rise towards the rogue dragon.

I nudge Nyx. “You should go. Go help.”

“No, they’ll be fine.”

Fire explodes from the Suntooth’s mouth, and Bea dives, her and Jasmine tumbling behind a tree.

“Thank you for the flowers.” I say quickly and shove Nyx’s shoulder. She stumbles forward a few steps. “Now go!”

Nyx grins, kisses my cheek, then runs off, disappearing behind a red marquee. A few seconds later, Pia soars into the sky, her golden body and blazing wings a true sight to behold.

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