Citrus tries to gain wings with a potion... the results are not quite what she had in mind.
Chapter 1: Grounded
I can't fly. I never have and never will, as I have no wings. The other Rainwings say it's no big deal, but I can tell they are lying. Even so, I go through my day normally, of picking fruit. I always picked the fruit in just the right way, so that it comes off without a scratch, but sometimes I can't help but think it would be easier if I could just fly instead of having to climb.
My little sister, Olive flew up to me. I only knew this because we tried spitting on targets for fun and our venoms matched. Why is the rest of my tribe too lazy to tell me who my sisters are? Why can't they just try to keep things in order? I slightly slipped, almost falling off the tree. " Whoa, need any help there?" Said Olive, watching with shock and concern. " You should have been a healer or a witchdoctor.." She said. " Then you wouldn't have to worry about flying." I winced, as the subject was a sore one for me, having no wings and all.
" No, I need a sense of adventure, being a medic is boring since the only injuries are splinters and rashes plus witchdoctor stuff is too magical and whatever for me. I prefer the adventurous life on these trees, with the wind in my scales." I said, plucking a purple and yellow fruit off of the tree and putting it in a basket. " If you say so.." Olive said, a ripple of light blue forming near her ears and horns. I hate it when others think I'm disabled or something. I just want to prove I'm just as good as I would be with wings but I know she's just concerned for my health. After a day of rather eventful working, I curled up on my leaf and turned a forest green as I slept.
The next morning, I headed out to my work as usual. Today was the day before Riverfest, where all of the tribe goes down to the river to feast and play in the water if they want to. The pressure on us today is high as we all gather the food we will feast on with the rest of the tribe. Even the Queen will be there, and she will want high-quality food.
I looked at the other dragons, flying up to the most perfect and high trees, while I was smacking bushes for berries. Then I looked at the old Vine Tree, the biggest tree we Rainwings know of and it is near impossible to fly to it's yummy fruit due to the sheer amounts of vines. Only 4 dragons have gotten fruit from it this year. I then realized this is my chance. I can prove I have just as much worth and maybe make a few more friends. Lime, one of my friends looked over to me like I was crazy. " You aren't climbing up there. You're not going to climb that tree, Citrus." He said, looking dizzily up at the big tree. I ignored him and sunk my talons into the big tree, getting a grip. " Ok, fine then, just call if you need help." He said, walking away. " Will do!" I said, climbing up.
The thick vines were heavy and annoying, trying to block everything near them. Then, I saw them. The beautiful ripe yellow cone-shaped fruit that were sweet and fresh. They only grow on trees like these, as I was told. We were going to have the best Riverfest we have had in years! Then, suddenly, the branch I had clung onto, snapped, sending me falling down. I screeched as part of my spine broke and I twisted in agony. I roared out " Lime! Call the medic! Now! Please.. help.". My vision went blurry, my scales a monotone grey as Lime and the others rushed down.
I woke up in a bed, during Riverfest. My spine felt better, not quite healed, but quite magically healed. I looked around. I was in the witchdoctor's hut, surrounded by potions on high wooden shelves that were inside a hollowed-out tree. My bed was covered in thick leather blankets and exotic smells reached my nose as I sniffed around. A letter was one the end of the bed.
I picked it up and it was clearly addresses to me. I read it out loud, since nobody was around to hear me. " Dear, Citrus. We couldn't heal your wounds with out normal care..." Yes, normal care. A few leaves and ice. ".. So we took you to the witchdoctor. Thankfully, he was able to cure you with a mend bones potion. Please don't touch anything until he comes back and don't remove that leaf on your back, the potion needs time to work and we couldn't risk an overdose of potion. But to repeat, don't touch anything, especially the potions. Try to get some sl-"
My talk was interrupted as Olive burst into the room, slamming with crude wooden door open. " Citrus, you ok!? I was so worried about you! The medic said they couldn't fix it and I was about to faint..." Said Olive, hugging me. " Aw, thank you for being concerned, I was getting lonely." I said. That was partly true at least, but I wasn't that lonely and she did interrupt me. But it does feel nice to know the somebody cares. " I finally get to choose my career this Riverfest and I'm thinking about being a witchdoctor. After all, your back isn't bleeding horridly anymore. It's like magic, I bet it could do anything!" Anything. Anything at all. That rung a bell in my head. I could get wings, I could fit in for once! As soon as Olive left, I got out of bed, wincing slightly at the pain. I looked around at each of the bottles with brightly-colored liquids in them. Belly Ache Relief... No... Tree growing... No... Becoming a scavenger.. Oh NO.... Then I looked a little higher and spotted another potion, this one filled with an indigo liquid labeled " Grow Wings". I smiled as I popped open the potion and drank it...
Unaware to the label that said, " Unfinished"
Chapter 2: Chicken Wings
As I licked my licks, I felt an odd feeling on my back and extreme sleepiness. My head felt like it was spinning on the inside, so I laid down on the bed. Happiness flowed through me, because I would no longer be the one flightless dragon. Perhaps with these new wings, I could be the best dragon at the fruit picking contest. As sleep closed around me, I suddenly realized I might miss the contest and I struggled to find anything to keep myself awake. No luck, just more potions and a glass. I couldn't resist the urge to simply sleep and fell down on the ground, a tingling starting.
When I came to be, I was on the floor. A thin layer of dust clung to my belly from the floor. Uck, does the witchdoctor ever mop his floor!? Then I remembered the potion and everything else. I looked quickly to my back, only to see a clump of feathers the same bright gold color as the rest of my scales. Well, there's nothing wrong with feathered wings, those can still fly quite well. But something sort of disturbed me, I couldn't reach the top shelf anymore, except when I was on my back claws, reaching up. Was I shorter? I looked to the rest of my body and saw nothing of note. Maybe the potion was just a dud.
I looked at the empty bottle and sweated a little. The bottle was completely empty and I had drank it all when he told me not to. I ran outside and scampered up a tree, grabbing some of the purple fruit and squeezing it's juice into the glass. As I turned over the glass to put it back, I saw an incomplete label on it. Surely that means that it's just a dud, nothing worse. I sighed a little, but was still a little excited over the little flight-like feathers on my back. I, however, knew I couldn't go to the festival with these awkward little feathers and smallness, it would be very embarrassing to go while looking like I had smothered chicken feathers all over my back and the witchdoctor might recognize the potion. I just decided to head home and maybe go out later.
Several hours past as I waited for the festival to end. My spine felt a lot better, not at all painful, so I removed the leaf from my back, wincing at first at an exposed wound, but getting used to it quick enough. It was very boring waiting around inside, very boring like most things in this tribe. Most of the time, we have nothing better to do than our jobs and eating. The whole tribe worked like clockwork, except on this special day which I was missing. I pictured Lime, Olive, Mangrove and the others all having so much fun at Riverfest, while I sat in the corner, pretending this dud of a potion will ever work.
I looked at my back again, looking at the same old, same old. I jittered for a second against my will and saw more feathers quickly grow there, along with a bit of muscle. I flapped the near-useless so far feathers with excitement, jumping around, hoping to fly like a young dragonet would. As a fell down again, I realized I couldn't change the color of the feathers, as my body flashed red with pain. It was very odd, but I found more feathers on my tail. Maybe the potion had side-effects. I think it is surely nothing to worry about, as much else had happened before due to potions. A few tail-feathers was no big deal. But weirder yet, I think I maybe got a little smaller, but I was not sure of this yet. I figured I could get some sun time while everybody was gone, only to find Peach, one of the other Rainwings she worked with, at her door with a bunch of flowers with a stone tablet that said, " Hope you get better.". Most Rainwings don't know how to read, much less write, but Peach took a lot of time out of her free time to work on writing. She was much more exciting than most of the other dragons, as she tried new things instead of doing the same things day-in day-out. I even learned to read because of her.
All of a sudden, she dropped the flowers and stone and her maw dropped. " Peach, are you ok?" I said, backing off slightly. " W-why do you have a-a b-beak!?" She said, ready to run away. Wait, what, a beak!? I'm pretty sure I don't have beak, but as I looked into a puddle, I saw a dreadfully long one where my maw is supposed to be. " Wha-!?" I said before Peach ran of like crazy.
Chapter 3: A Snowball in Summer
I rubbed this long...beak where my maw should be. This is not natural at all. I looked at my claws, and they were perfectly normal. Peach shivered as I took a step forward. " Oh come on, don't be a chicken..." I stopped for a second, looking at my other claws, my back ones. They were chicken-like legs. Well, I guess I'll be a chicken if this doesn't stop. This was certainly the work of that potion, and I think I should get him right now, even if I do get in trouble. Wait, but if the effects are unreversable? I would be stuck not only a chicken, but a hated one at that.
Then I realized, even if it was reversible, I would have to make it through a crowd of dragons, ones that would be happy to have a little meat in a while. And with the state I was in, I already look like a bit of poultry.
I shook again, my body morphing faster than before. I looked back at my body and noticed I was several inches smaller again. My wing feathers moved onto my arms, my claws retracting. My belly scales turned into fluffy feathers and I stood on my two back legs. I can't take any more of this, I have to reverse all of this. I scampered onto a branch, but it was much harder without my front talons sharp and mobile.
I looked down and spotted the witchdoctor curled around a tree, his scales a pale calm blue. Sun-bathing, an easy time to get his attention. The witchdoctor is quite overworked and he enjoys this one day as his only day off. I carefully took a step forward and shook a bit as more feathers grew around me and my arms became wings. My beak shrank into a shorter size. I looked almost completely like a chicken, besides my bright color. But the other dragons had never seen a live chicken, not like me, because they never explore just a little outside the forest. They would never recognize me in this state. But I have to go on, because I don't want to be a chicken, not at all. I went to go out, but tripped on my weird feet, falling into the crowd. Then, I saw Olive lick her maw and show her big shiny teeth.
I screeched as she nearly bit off my tiny feathered tail and then grabbed me. " I have this fruit-bird! Look how bright it is, maybe it will be as tasty as fruit!" She said, lifting me up. Olive turned her coat olive-green with a little bit of yellow, hinting at content with her catch. The queen sniffed me and then started bringing me over to the fire. " Wait!" I wanted to say, but all that came out was a concerned cluck. No, I don't want to be roasted, I don't want to die.
I kicked up some dust in her eyes, making her drop me. I ran through the crowd, several dragons hissing at me and shooting darts. The queen rubbed her eyes and flecked some dust out of her eyes. The witchdoctor woke up quickly, flashes of orange surprise going through his scales. " What is going on here!?" He said, stamping his talon. Lime picked me up by my leg, showing me to him. The witchdoctor scampered up to me and poured some of the herbs he had over my feathers, which shone oddly under the liquidfied herbs.
" Citrus." He said, taking me out of Lime's arms. Olive stared out in the crowd " What do you mean about Citrus!? Is that chicken-thing Citrus?!" She yelled from far away. " Yes, she is. What did I say about the potions, Citrus? You didn't listen and now look what happened. Chaos!" He said, half-glaring at me. I felt a pang of guilt run through me, looking at the dragons that have outright ruined the festival to get to me. Riverfest was ruined.
I looked back to the witchdoctor and clucked, trying to form a sorry, but failing. I ruffled my feathers and shook once more, a chicken waddle forming and my tail becoming feathers. The tips of my feathers started to turn a white color. The witchdoctor frowned at me. " We can reverse this before tonight... We just need some Swamp Snaps." He said. " Would anybody be willing to go get some from the Mudwing kingdom, and feed it to Citrus? The effects will be reserved in a few minutes."
Nobody budged, not even Olive and I died a little on the inside.I raised my wing and the witchdoctor smiled. " I thought so." He said, putting me down. I ran as fast as I could, but my feathers kept bleaching, turning into normal chicken feathers. The Mudwing Kingdom stood before me, and I ran in, starting to lose my breath. I couldn't quit now, or I'd be poultry forever. Or worse, become a Mudwing's meal. I heard they go through several cows in a week in their appetite. I continued to run, and saw a Swamp Snap. I moved forward, but I looked at myself for a second. Almost completely white and my waddle starting to turn red.
My vision went fuzzy and my tired tiny legs failed me. As laid in front of the Snap, just out of reach, I wondered if I would lose myself when I became a full bird. But just as I thought it was over, Olive came and picked me up, moving me to the snap. " Hmm?" I tried to sat but came out as a small squabble. " Just eat, I want my friend back." She said, pointing at the plant. With no hesitation, I ate the plant and saw relief as the my feathers started turning back to their colors. With no words needed, I knew my friend had forgiven me.
The next day was surprisingly normal, nobody even mentioning the whole chicken-thing, and I prefer it that way. I looked at the other dragons fly, but didn't feel quite as envious. I mean, I'm pretty special in my own way too, because how many dragons are born without wings?
I forgave everybody for showing up like that and we agreed to have Riverfest soon after we repair some of the leaf-houses. But I found myself yearning for that danger again in my everyday life. To be tired out of my mind, to be in real fun-yet-daring adventures. One day, I knew I would leave the jungle, and seek out my true destiny.
The End ( I told you it was short :P.)