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Tarantula’s Terrarium

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A Sandwing-Nightwing hybrid stands in rows of flowers, smiling to herself as iridescent butterflies float around her


Tula hadn’t imagined opening a flower shop would be the way to meet dragons, and yet, here she was. She'd had opened it years back, just after the whole mess surrounding Queen Oasis started, a way to lay low as she was of enlistment age and had run from the army. Over the war's course, however, she decided she loved the quiet and calm life being a florist delivered. So, there she stayed, helping to make other dragons' days just that touch more extraordinary.

She was one of the older members of Possibility and had practically kept the place together, bringing everyone closer in her workshops or the market stand her wife made, handing flowers to the dragonets who played in the market. She was also responsible for the sudden increase of hybrids in her neighbourhood, but she kept that one further back in her mind. And yet, while she was cherished for her craft, never would the old Sandwing think it would bring her so much fame.

Her first ‘famous’ customer came just before the war’s end, as a drenched Nightwing sauntered in out of the worst storm the town of Possibility had experienced and slammed a razor-sharp disk just between her talons. 

“Is this ‘that old Miss Tula’s most quaint flower shop’?” They growled, almost half-heartedly, in an accent she couldn’t quite place.

“Why, yes, it is.” She smiled oddly at the soaked dragon, handing them a towel from beneath the counter. They took it angrily and she sighed, sliding her talons nonchalantly towards her hidden knives. Tarantula pulled herself back into her Kindly-Old-Florist character with a giggle, “Did you have any trouble finding me?” 

“Yes, because who’d check the store called Tarantula’s Terrarium for flowers?” They mocked, voice muffled as they towel down their snout, nearly ripping the rag in their talons before freezing. “But what if she doesn’t like flowers? What if she’s deathly allergic and she takes one look at them and then starts to choke and then she whispers with her last breath that she hates me and would never love me because I’m a murderer? What if-

Tula cut off their mental breakdown right there, already seeing where the dragonet was going. “Young love?” She inquired.

The dragon huffed in surprise before pulling themselves back into an aloof persona. “Look, miss. Say I’m trying to impress a very special dragon, what would you recommend?”

Tula cocked her head. “Hypothetically?”

They nodded.

“Well, if I was trying to get a dragon to be my girlfriend-“

-To impress them.

“-To impress them, I’d put meaning into every petal. Maybe starting by taking something core to them and representing that in the bouquet?”

The dragonet sighed, “She’s just so amazing, you know? She’s gorgeous and her scales are just so mesmerizing as they shift, you just can’t look away and she’s just so colourful but her core is as dark and jaded as the blackest of rocks and she’s just so stern and won’t take any of my crap.” They grinned, tracing something absentmindedly on the counter. “And I think I love her.”

Tula smiled, cupping the Nightwing's talons. They startled out of their stupor, glancing up with ebony eyes. “I do believe I have something for you.”

The Sandwing led them to the greenhouse behind the counter, parting the beaded curtain to reveal her shop’s terrarium of plants. She softly batted a bumblebee from her snout with a smile, huffing in thought, “Now, where to start?” 

After a few minutes of walking around in circles, the Nightwing seemingly having remarks on every petal that she showed them, they finally found themselves in front of a small plant.

“I think you’re going to like this one,” Tula beckoned, bursting into laughter as the smaller dragon excitedly dropped their precariously balanced pots with a thump to see, only to slow in confusion. 

It was a tiny black flower, not anything noteworthy and not anything comparable to the extravagance of the foliage they already had.

The Nightwing puffed, "And what's so special about this flower?"

Tula chuckled in excitement, "Well, for one, it's extremely hard to come by, had to trudge through the rainforest to find it. Two, it has a wonderful meaning: do not mind the dark if you've found someone to be your moon. Does that ring any bells?"

The younger dragon snorted, "I think it does."

"And third, it has quite a neat trick. Put down that lantern and come over here."

The Sandwing shielded them from the light's glow with her purple star-spotted wings as they stared intensely at the black petals. After a minute in the dark, the Nightwing shifted awkwardly, about to say something when a soft glow caught their eye.

Each petal was alight in patterns of soft pink, purple and green swirls and dots of light. The black dragon fell silent, carefully perching a petal on a jet claw in awe.

"What are they called?" They whispered.

"Firefly flowers. They're one of my favourites." Tula smirked at the dragonet's delicate fascination as they twirled the petal tenderly. She had to turn her head to hide her happiness, they seemed so content. With a cough, she turned back, "Do you think she'll like them?"

They looked up at the bespectacled Sandwing, grinning. "I think she will."

"Come on then, let's make some arrangements."


A few moons later, one early morning, a letter arrived on the Tarantula’s Terrarium's doorstep. It read:

 

To Miss Tula,

She absolutely loved them, thank you so much!

~ Deathbringer (Queen Glory's new bodyguard!)

 

Folded deep inside was a gingerly pressed Firefly flower petal.

Tula smiled and went back to cleaning.

Chapter Text

The town of Possibility was lost in celebration, and it was driving Tula- or Tarantula-, the florist, straight up the wall. Order after order was coming in, even her wife was getting in on it. For days, the silver scaled and jasper-spotted Nightwing had been dashing around the town’s square, handing out free samples to the dragonets and up-selling her wonderful wife’s shop to any dragon who wanted to listen.

“—And, Cryo needs an arrangement for their daughter’s return-”

“Quasar.”

“—Plus, Expanse requested ‘something special’ for the banquet next week-”

Quasar.

“—Furybreaker wants flowers for his husband, but he’s allergic to pollen, so I’m thinking you-”

Quasar!

The Nightwing startled, turning in confusion towards her exhausted wife. She sighed painfully, “ Oh, my moon.” Quasar pulled her wife close to her, covering her wing with her own. “ My sand, my air, my water, my earth. I’m sorry, I know you’re overworked, I’ve made it worse.”

Tula smiled, puffing in contentment. “I don’t blame you.” She pressed a kiss on the soft platinum scales of her wife’s ear, pulling away. “The war’s over. Dragons are celebrating, and it’s my job to help them. It’s just a lot.”

Quasar thoughtfully huffed, “Do you want me to stay here today?” She pulled at the latch of her bag, slipping it off of her misty rose scales and setting it onto the stone floor. “I can work in the shop while you go and nest! Does that sound good?”

“No, my rose. I’ll be fine. You go and be the best glassworker in all of Pyrrhia and tomorrow we can stay in.”

The albino Nightwing giggled, “I’ll be back at dusk, love.” They nuzzled snouts before she pulled back on her bag of scraps. “And, I’ll get us dinner!” she called, dashing out the door.

Tula smirked, picking up her plants and getting ready to start the day, as the beaded curtain swished open. She turned in amusement, expecting to see her wife dashing back in to retrieve some forgotten item.

Instead, a regalia Nightwing dragonet was gazing around in amazement. The little black dragon strutted up to inspect the arrangements, cooing at the hummingbirds and bumblebees that were dancing out of the way.  “I foresaw that this place would be nice, but I didn’t understand how nice it would be!” The customer laughed, a butterfly fluttering around them.

Fatespeaker is grinning, holding a pot of flowers up to the golden light as butterflies frolic around her. A few landing on the hanging pots of yellow blooms and one brave enough to rest on her snout

Tula blushed. “Why, thank you, little one.” She quickly looked the Nightwing over, “Can I help you?”

The dark dragon puffed up, grinning with pride. “Why yes, you can! I’m here on important academy business! Do you know about Jade Academy?” 

“Yes, I do!” she cried in fake amazement. The Nightwing grinned even wider. “What the amazing dragonets of destiny need in flowers, I’ll be happy to provide!” She declared.

“Wonderful!” The dragonet cheered, clapping. “My name’s Fatespeaker, I’m the official Jade Mountain Academy helper! I had an amazing vision of these beautiful plants in our library, and that you’d know exactly what we should plant.”

The Sandwing reached out to shake the Nightwing’s talons. “Tarantula, but please call me Tula,” She pushed the greenhouse curtain apart with her wing. “Would you like to see our selection?”

Fatespeaker nodded vigorously and dipped inside.


With talons full of jasmine, aloe vera, gardenia and lavender, the dragons tucked each into a large flight-safe bag. Tula instructed on each, “—Now, you’ll want to keep the aloe vera in dry soil, and a not too sunny place. The lavender, you keep fully in the sun and, again not to much water,—” She scrawled each instruction onto paper as Fatespeaker listened in earnest.

Tula carefully folded the paper and placed it in the bag. “And, if you need any help, I’m only a short flight away.” She grinned, pushing the bag into the dragon's grey talons. “Will this be all?”

For the first time during her visit, Fatespeaker looked uncertain. “I believe so,” She grimaced, “Well, thank you very much, Miss Tula, I’ll—”

The Sandwing snatched up the Nightwing's talons before she could turn away. “Hey,” She whispered, pulling the dragonet’s claws apart. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

She huffed, “I came here for official business, but…”

Tarantula dropped the other dragon’s talons. “But, there’s also something else.”

Fatespeaker smiled, running a claw across a band of silver scales. “Yeah.”

“Someone else?”

Yeah.”

“Well,” The bespectacled dragon smiled, “Do you want to talk about it?”

The smaller dragon chortled, “Couldn’t hurt.” She groaned, “Well, this dragon, he was turned down by this other dragon, and we talked. And, I like him, and we’re going to see where we end up.”

“That sounds like a good thing,” Tula puffed, “Is there something wrong?”

“I’ve been told I’m a bit impulsive,” the Nightwing admitted, “And I’m worried he thinks I’m not fully invested in us. I want to show him I thought this through. I want to show him that I care.”

“If he doesn’t know you care, maybe you shouldn’t.”

Fatespeaker laughed, “I know that, and he knows that, but thanks. I just thought this would be a way to show it,” She worried at her teeth with her smoky black tongue. “You think that it’s a bad idea? I haven’t had any visions telling me either way. I just feel…”

“Lost.”

She nodded.

Tula hummed, “If you two care about each other, then I feel you should go for it. And, if you feel that flowers will help you, then flowers you’ll get.”

She grinned. “Thank you!” She looked thoughtful for a moment before gasping, “There was another meaning! To my vision! The library represented Starflight, and I knew to come here for your assistance! I’m so smart! I need to get these flowers for him because it’s my destiny!” Fatespeaker practically pranced in glee, “Oh, this is the best day ever! Thank you!”

The Sandwing laughed, joy contagious as they began work on another arrangement.

After a few hours of deliberating, they finally decided on chocolate cosmos’, trailing jade, bird’s nest cactus and a few springs of monkey grass. With the project finished and the small bird moon, sitting on the horizon, Tula was ready to send the dragonet along her way.

Fatespeaker beamed, offering nonstop thanks to the Sandwing and making her way.

Tula puffed, ready to close up the shop before she stopped. Swearing, she grabbed a ribbon off the counter and chased off after the Nightwing.

“Fatespeaker!” she called.

The dragonet turned around with a start and touched down, black wings folding on her back in waiting.

Tula reached into the flight bag, pulling out the arrangement before lovingly tying the silver-spotted ribbon around its center. She smiled, placing it back with a sigh.

“What’s that for?” Fatespeaker breathed, playing with the star-strung string.

“For good luck.” Tula smiled. “Where I come from, we’d tie ribbons to our horns when in times of need. This one asks for guidance and clarity.”

“Well, I don’t need that! I already know I was sent here to give them to Starflight!”

The hybrid scoffed, “Yes, but.” She pointed to Fatespeaker’s silver ankle, to a ring of shiny scales almost an exact replica of the glass beaded anklets her wife sold. “I thought it would help give this gift true meaning, as you already have one.”

Fatespeaker gasped, “Wow!” The dragon suddenly yelped, squeezing her eyes shut and placing her talons on her temples, “I’m having a vision! I have to give this to him because it’s just like my scales! He’ll know exactly how much thought I put into it when he sees it!”

“Yes, that’s literally what I just said.”

He’s blind, but still! ” Fatespeaker squealed, pulling the older dragon into a hug, “Thank you, Miss Tula! You’re always welcome at the Jade Mountain Academy!”

Tula smiled, pulling away. “And you are always welcome here.”

She waved her off with a grin. Looking up over the horizon where the dragonet had disappeared, Tula sighed, turned away and trotted back to her shop under the dusk sky.

Chapter Text

Soft moonlight flickered through the windows of Tarantula’s Terrarium, Tarantula — Tula — the Sandwing florist, and her wife Quasar, an albino Nightwing who worked as a glassblower and worried about things semi-professionally, were giggling and joking, tails twinned like newlyweds. They exchanged their pruning shears and spray bottles back and forth between the plants, riotous laughter echoed through the greenhouse. 

Quasar!” Tula howled, nearly squishing the flowers in her talons. “Please love, you’ll have me splitting my scales! I’m too young to go!”

Her wife smirked, taking her shears to the bushes. “I’m sorry, moon, but-” She sniped the purple flowers with a flourish- “ -Lilac the ability to stop!”

The Sandwing burst once again into laughter, “ Aloe you very much, but please, I'm in physical pain!”

Quasar rolled her vermilion eyes. “You’re fine, sweetpea, get clover it.”

“Seriously, I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Quasar swirled around, eyes wide, nearly knocking over the maple in her panic. “I’ll go get Mayfly! Stay right here!”

Tula grabbed her tail before she could dash off. “Whoah, I’m fine. Sorry for scaring you,” The bespectacled dragon sighed, ducking her head. “I guess I was just pollen your tail?”

Quasar groaned as her wife rolled on the floor, cackling. With a sigh, she plopped down to the ground next to the Sandwing, twining their tails together again, “If I stop making bad puns will you— ” she nuzzled their snouts together, feeling her wife’s smile against her scales- “--stop giving me heart attacks every five minutes?”

Tula cocked her head in deliberation before pressing a kiss to her wife’s snout plate. “It’s a deal.”

Quasar & Tula are happily nuzzling & kissing each other, wearing their wedding bands under the rows of flowers of Tarantula’s Terrarium, lit by fireflies. The lyrics of “I’d like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly, It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep, ‘cause everything is never as it seems” from Fireflies by Owl City are written around them

They lay there for a while, softly kissing and embracing, watching the greenhouse’s pollinators dance by, till a sharp bang echoed through the shelves. The wives’ eyes snapped open, Quasar’s wings falling over top of her wife’s, hiding the smaller dragon from view.

Hidden among the shrubbery, the two locked talons, Quasar glancing in concern towards her love. “Burglars?” she whispered.

Tarantula strained her hearing, picking up the noises that her wife couldn’t. Irritated shouts and grumbling. But, she could hear laughter as well. Tarantula puffed, “Don’t think so.”

“Well, whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it’s bud news!”

Her wife rolled her eyes so hard, Quasar could only see the blacks. “That’s it.” Tarantula pushed the other dragon off of her, snuffing out the lantern while the Nightwing floundered in the dirt. “I’m gonna go get stabbed by burglars.”

Quasar gasped, “But, you promised!”

“And you broke it,” Tarantula answered, pushing her way towards the main shop. She swiped up a pruning knife, before rounding the final shelf, venomous Sandwing barb poised as she prowled forward.

Luckily for Fatespeaker, who was seconds away from getting her teeth cut out, her voice was nearly unforgettable as she squealed: “-And, just imagine the look on his face when he sees what you got! Well, you don’t have to, I can just tell you right now!-”

Tula silently walked back into the greenhouse, putting the knife down and furling her tail back into a friendly spiral, pulling on a tired-yet-happy-florist persona before she loudly strolled over to the shop. Quasar ran up to meet her at the door, the two turning to stare at the intruders, Tula looking very much exhausted and her wife pulling off a very well executed beleaguered smile.

Hello, Miss Tula!” Squealed Fatespeaker, jumping up to pull the dragon into a wing crushing hug.

The Sandwing huffed, “And hello to you too, little one.” She smiled, glancing over at the other dragonet, whose wings were hunched up and their tail twitching sharply. Soft patterns glowed on their scales, which Tula swiftly recognized as those of Seawing royalty. Inclining her head, she sighed drowsily, “What brings you two to break into my shop this fine morning?”

The Seawing growled, “Nothing. And, we were just on our way. Right, Fatespeaker?”

Fatespeaker laughed, “Oh, you’re so funny, Tsunami! Miss Tula! I. Had. A. Vision .”

“For the last time, there are no such things as visions!” Tsunami roared.

“Is too!” The dark dragon pouted, suddenly turning back towards the Sandwing with the same enthusiasm as before. “But, I saw that you’d be able to help my friend with her boyfriend, and-!” Fatespeaker’s eyes went wide. “Wait! I’m having another vision! The… the… the…!” She yelped, jumping a meter up in the air, “The gift needs more! Oh! This’ gonna be wonderful! Tsunami! Stay. Right. Here. See you, Miss Tula!” The three dragons barely had time to process Fatespeaker’s declaration before she was out the door, probably off to terrorize the rest of the town.

Tsunami puffed, “Sorry about her.” The dragonet’s tail swished over the sand floor, her talons angrily pulling at the vines scattered through the shop. “Fatespeaker’s been raving on about you since she got back. Seems like she got a wonderful idea to drag us here to harass you in the middle of the night.”

Tula laughed, “Nonsense! Must be dawn by now!”

Quasar snorted, breathing sparks into the lanterns surrounding the cashier station. Her scales shimmered in the new golden light. Smiling, she reached out to shake the princess’ talons. “The name’s Quasar and this is my amazing wife, Tula.”  

Tula smiled, shaking Tsunami’s talons, “Is there anything we can help you with today?”

The Seawing princess growled, “My boyfriend is a moron and impossible to buy for his hatching day. Do you have a flower for that?”

The glassblower smirked. “Probably.”

“Wait, seriously?”

“The language of flowers is very complex. And quite a bit of it is negative. Butterfly weed just straight-up means: we should get divorced .”

“You’re telling me I can passive-aggressively tell dragons to fly out to sea without getting yelled at?” Tsunami perked up, eyes bright with interest.

Quasar laughed, “That’s ridiculously easy to do. It’s actually hard to not say something rude when making arrangements.”

Tula sighed, shifting her talons overtop her wife’s. “When Quasar made her first bouquet for me, it said: your eyes look like frogs & I don’t like your nose. She was so embarrassed she refused to speak to me for a week.” 

Her wife groaned, scales flushing deeply as she softly mumbled something about betrayal and how she’d promised not to tell anyone to the floor.

Tsunami laughed, “You think we could make something like that?”

Tula smirked, nodding towards the dragonet. “Let’s see what we can do.”


“I’m sorry, but it means what?!”

Tula laughed at the Seawing’s bewilderment, “It means: leave your husband and come be gay in the rainforest with me .”

Tsunami roared, “That is a very specific meaning.”

She smiled. “I actually read up on that one, it was a very specific situation.”

The aqua scale dragon hummed, “You think we could put it in there? It does look nice.”

“It is pretty romantic if muddling the message. So far you’ve just got increasingly elaborate ways to say how stupidly perfect he is,” Tula remarked, “But, it is very pretty so there’s that.”

Tsunami smiled as the older dragon called for her wife to add Ginger-Dragonfly flowers to the pot. A loud crash slammed through the greenhouse as Quasar called out she was fine! Nothing happened! Don’t come over here!

Tula sighed, “Moons, I love her.”

The dragonet turned towards the Sandwing with a huff, “How does that work, anyway?”

Tarantula blinked very, very slowly.  “ Whatever do you mean? I love her. That’s how it works.”

The Seawing stepped back with a start, wings snapping up defensively as she hastily continued, quickly realizing she’d most definitely lose a fight with the old, kind florist. “But, Nightwings have that superiority complex bigger than the Claws of the Clouds mountains and Sandwings have equally strict family structures. Doesn’t that make your relationship difficult?” Tsunami hissed, shifting her weight back and forth.

It was at that moment Tarantula realized that this conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and her wife’s relationship. She breathed out, “ Well, it did make for some awkward moments early on, but once we got good communication up, it made things much easier. Besides, neither Quasar or I were ever fans of the strictness of our tribes' relationships. I have no desire to fawn and my wife has no desire to be fawned over.” She smirked. “Any reason you ask?”

“I-!” Tsunami groaned, painfully facepalming herself into the wooden work table, scales glowing softly in irritation. “ Son of a scorpion, Fatespeaker was right, you are good.”

“I wanted to be a therapist when I was a young dragon, I know all the tricks of the trade.” Tula laughed, pushing her glasses up her snout. “Now, what’s on your mind, young one?”

A heavy pause, the elderly dragon peered over towards her. She sighed, “Do you think I’m a bad girlfriend?”

Tula blinked. “I think you’re quite alright. Who made you think that?”

“Nobody,” The princess grumbled, “just, Riptide has some pretty strict views surrounding relationships.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning, he ‘fawns on me’ constantly and doesn’t let me care for him!” Tsunami snarled, slashing her talons across the table. “I’ve never been one for rules, and he just has to follow every courtship ritual to a tee! He didn’t even want me to get him something for his hatching day! Said I shouldn’t bother because he’s male!” She slammed her claws down, plants jumping slightly into the air.

Tula puffed in thought, steadying the table with her wing. While most tribes had the males — the smaller, more docile gender — caring for their female mates, Seawings were exceptionally strict about their gender roles. The male dragons would wait on their mates’ every want and need, often getting nothing in return. It wasn't exactly the fairest system, and she could easily see why the Dragonet of Destiny, the ones campaigning for equality between all tribes, would despise it. “Have you tried talking to him?” Tula sighed after a long while.

“Of course I’ve talked to him!”

“But, have you talked to him?”

“We’re saying the exact same thing.”

The Sandwing smiled, “I see where you’re confused. Have you sat down and had an honest conversation about this?”

Tsunami grinned before it sharply fell from her face. “I see what the problem is, but, how do I even bring it up?”

She grinned. “Flowers are always good conversation starters. How about we make an arrangement for this, instead?”

Tsunami snarked: “Like there’s a flower that means get over here and rethink your entire culture ?”

“That would be Curl-claw, I believe.”

After a pause, the two dragons burst out into laughter, Tsunami doubling over on the table while Tula had her snout smashed into her talons. 

That !” The Princess howled, “is a very specific meaning!”

Giggling, she wiped away a tear from her eye. “It was a very specific situation.”

Their laughter could be heard in the drowsy streets outside, echoing in the ears of the dragons of Possibility, slowly waking as the sun crested over the horizon.

Chapter Text

Happy chatter bounced off of the cobblestone streets as the dragons of Possibility dispersed under the moonlit sky. A handful of dragons stayed behind, plucking glowing glass lanterns and silver ivy to decorate the tall palm trees and lining the bridge over the Great Five-Tail River. Sitting off to the side of the organized chaos was the elderly Sandwing hybrid Tarantula— or Tula, as most knew her— softly humming a nonsensical tune while she danced flowers over the stage. With a sigh, she stepped back to admire her handy work, finally nodding before moseying back towards the centre of the town’s square.

A crystalline Skywing stood in the middle of it all, directing his fellow dragons and shouting suggestions and compliments with vigour. Expanse huffed, slowly dragging his claws across the twin bands over his horns. He was one of the younger founders of Possibility and was an absolute sensation in the music world, his partners often cooking up their own routines on the spot. They’d often come to Tula for decorations, even if the pollen often left Furybreaker, Expanse’s husband, sneezing for days afterward. Tula was proud to say that she’d often played drums for the nestmates, earning her a small following in their shadow.

Her wings fell over his. Expanse yelped, wings flailing in a start. Turning on his talons, the ballerina fell as far away as possible from Tula. A heavy breath later, the Skywing coloured crimson, breathing out ash in embarrassment. He glanced behind the florist.

Expanse grinned, cheerfully whistling, “looks wonderful, Tunes! ‘S gonna be great for tomorrow!”

“Really? Lives up to your stupidly high standards?” Tula snarked.

You of all dragons should know nothing lives up to my expectations,” he laughed, swirling smoke into the air. “Although, your tambourine playing is more than adequate.”

Tula blushed, smirking as she looked up at the sky. “This’ll be the first two Full Moon Festival in a while, yah? Can’t wait to see your special routine, love.”

“It’s gonna be perfect! It has to be!” The ballerina chimed, “It’s the first Full Moon Festival since…”

The dragons’ eyes widened in recognition, she huffed, “...since everybody got brainwashed by a genocidal tyrant?”

Expanse groaned, “yeah. That .”

Sighing, Tula smiled. “Well then, this’ll be important to bring everyone back together.” She puffed in discomfort, looking around at the town square. With a start, the Sandwing noticed an uncomfortable lack of two dragons. “How are your spouses doing?”

Instead of instantly fawning over his lovers, as he was prone to do, Expanse grimaced. “Cryo’s doing better nowadays, but Mayfly’s not sure when they’re gonna be flying again.”

“It’s a when now?”

That got a smile out of him. “Cryo wouldn’t allow themselves to be grounded if it would save the world! Furybreaker, on the other claw…” The small dragon sighed, “he’s still guilty over being brainwashed and leaving Cryo when they were so sick.”

Tula growled, “ likewise. I can’t believe I made an arrangement for that scorpion-stung dictator.”

Expanse howled, “you what !”

“I know. I know. I can’t believe myself either. Just thought that it would make him feel better but sure .”

Nah. That’ll leave him in stitches!” He grinned. “They’re both coming out tomorrow, though!”

The florist beamed. “No wonder you’re so giddy!” Tula giggled as the younger dragon blushed, protectively tucking him under her wing. “You’re gonna do amazing, love.”

Expanse smiles, tucked under Tula's wing. Soft streams of smoke are swirling from his nostrils as he's lit by lanterns around the town's square

He puffed, “Speaking of love.”

“My moon!” Quasar pranced over to her wife, scales like stars in the lantern-light. “ My sand, my air, my water, my earth! I-!

Tula tutted, Expanse slithering out from under the florist’s grasp as she pulled her wife aside, “ What did you do now?

“I found a dragonet,” said Quasar. “Can we keep it?”

Tula rolled her eyes but centred a soft kiss to the glassblower’s snout. Then she scanned the thinning crowd for the latest victim of Quasar’s help.

Her wife beckoned over a shimmering blue dragonet. “This is Winter and he is ours now! I always wanted an angsty child!”

A small irritated dragon came stalking over to Quasar, snarling at the other dragons who darted in and out of his way, a perfect picture of a non-local’s arrogance. Yet, Tarantula's eyes narrowed as the Icewing scanned the crowd, Maastricht blue eyes landing on the buffet table’s knives. Not arrogant, prepared. Time to charm and disarm. 

Tarantula danced forward to meet the Icewing with a grin. “Why hello, little one!” she laughed, shaking Winter’s rose-sharp talons, kindly forcing herself between him and the table. “Fancy some squirrel pops?”

Winter growled, snapping his claws away from the larger dragon’s grip. “ Look. Are you the owner of Tarrantula’s Terrarium?” He snarled, shifting his weight into what Tarantula instantly recognized as an Icewing defensive stance.

Tarantula could feel her eyes harden. “I am. Can I help you, or do I have to escort you out of the city?”

With a groan, the dragonet sat back, clawing open a small wolfskin pouch around his ankle. Slipping Tarantula a rolled-up leaf of paper, Winter practically collapsed against the table, pushing away the florist’s worried wing. “ I just flew here from Jade Mountain in three hours on no sleep and I need to be back before the sun rises. I need the most elaborate arrangement you have ever made and I need it within two hours.”

Whistling, Quasar strolled up behind the florist, glancing over the torn slip of paper. Tula’s moon-scaled wife frowned. “What’s this about a disembowelled polar bear?”

He snapped, “That’s why I’m here.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m a glassblower and my wonderful wife’s a florist. We don’t have much in the way of animal expertise. There are a few veterinarians in town, though.”

“No.” Tula smiled, running a claw over the sharp calligraphy of Winter’s list. A list cataloguing the young dragons attempts to show a Qibli and Moon how much he loved them. He challenged a Mudwing shop owner to a fight to the death for Moon’s honour after they tried to swindle his partner out of her scrolls. They were escorted out of the market by the guards. He attempted to establish a Circle system at Jade Mountain, just to show all of the other dragons how superior his loves were. He got a stern talking-to from Moon as Qibli attempted to chisel the markings off the wall, then got chewed out by Sunny, who never chewed out anyone. He… “I’m sorry, but what does a drawing of a scavenger in a flower crown, frolicking in a river have to do with your failed romantic conquests?”

“And what does that have to do with the disembowelled polar bear?” Quasar huffed in pure confusion.

The Icewing’s snout went celestial blue, hissing as he snatched the paper out of the Sandwing’s talons. “It’s nothing. Listen, are you helping me, or not?”

“I’m still concerned about the polar bear!”

Winter snorted, “I’ve been trying to show them how much I care the Icewing way, but I don’t think it’s coming across.” With a sigh, he snapped up a deep-fried scorpion, tearing off its stinger in agitation. “Tomorrow's the Full Moon Festival, all that love and togetherness and Qibli’s all excited and lovey-dovey. It’s the perfect time to surprise them. Since the polar bear didn’t work.”

Tula hummed, stealing another squirrel. “Was it fresh?”

Scorpion bits were all over his talons as he smacked them into the sand. “Of course it was fresh!  It was alive, mostly! What do you take me for?”

Quasar slowly blinked. “You gave them a live, partially disembowelled polar bear?”

“A polar bear’s liver is a great gift in the Icewing Kingdom.” The dragonet huffed, shaking food bits off his claws. “But Qibli screamed and stabbed it to death before I could present it.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry about that, little one,” Tula sighed, tucking her wings over the Icewing who hissed like an angry cobra. “I’m sure we can make your partner’s the perfect arrangement! Quasar!” She harked.

Her wife grinned, pulling herself into a mock soldier stance, saluting.

Snorting, she smiled wide, “Let’s go make this dragonet the best arrangement under the three moons!”


Moon grumbled, stretching out her wings as she buried her nose into the soft leaf nest. She sighed reaching over to nuzzle the warm dragon to her left, who was snoring loud enough to wake a herd of elephants. Brain sleep drunk she grumbled, twining her tail over to wrap around the snow cold dragon being spooned by her partner, only to find a cold divot in the palm leaves.

The Nightwing jerked awake, scanning the cave for her Icewing boyfriend. Gone, not even a trace. Mentally screaming, Moon quickly turned, jabbing the Sandwing awake. “Qibli. Qibli! Qibli, where’s Winter?”

Groaning, the outclaw snorted indignantly, rolling over and going back to snoring.

“Qibli, I don’t want another polar bear incident. Where’s Winter?

In the early morning light, soft thoughts began floating down the corridor, useless to her until…

Son of a starfish, what has that Icewing done?!

Swearing, Moonwatcher scrambled out of the cave, only to be immediately met by what seemed to be a giant shrub. From which, out poked her boyfriend. 

“Happy Full Moon,” Winter growled. “I got you a polar bear pitcher plant.” The Icewing attempted to shift what Moon now saw to be the most elaborate arrangement of plants she’d ever seen. She could even pick out some of the meanings. Love, loyalty, happiness, hope. Another shift shook through the flowers as Winter attempted to lean in for a nuzzle, he huffed, “Please help me, I’m stuck.”

Chapter Text

Snowy howling winds battered the glass walls of Tarantula’s Terrarium’s greenhouse, nearly drowning out the rambunctious laughter within. The bonfire lit up the shelves of succulents and blooms in a warm glow as tiny dragonets dashed in and out of the shadows. Tula— Or Tarantula, the elderly hybrid owner of the florist shop— smiled at the younger dragons’ enthusiasm in the midst of this freak storm. 

Stoking the embers, Tula turned the squirrel-pops over, mouth-watering at the warm, homey smell. Popping a few onto her plate, she turned to the second dragon tending to the flames. 

Azured— the shipwright daughter of Furybreaker, Cryo, and Expanse— was bouncing between the boiling cauldron of water and spooning cocoa powder and marshmallows into drinking bowls. Tasting the air, the Icewing-Skywing hybrid cocked her head with a smile, snatching a snack from Tula's plate.

Tula gasped in indignation as Azured loudly crunched on the breaded treat, smirking at her old egg-minder. 

“Honestly,” huffed Tula. “You’ve changed since you were a dragonet.”

“But I’ve always been stealing your food?”

“Yes, but you used to have some style about it.”

The azure dragon grinned. “Guess I've gotten rusty!” The two dragons snickered as the younger hybrid finally poured the water for hot chocolate. 

Snacks are ready!”

A few scattered cheers were kicked up, mainly by the tiny dragonets who quickly darted over at the mention of food. The dragons of the greenhouse gathered, snatching up the food and drinks before going back to huddling in their warm groups.  It was so cold outside that even the tropical warmth of the orchid nooks was failing. The Rainwings, in particular, were feeling it.  

Tula looked over the meat she’d managed to save, slid most of it to one side of her plate, and scarfed down the rest. Turning to take apart the makeshift grill, out of the corner of her eye Tarantula spotted a blue-scaled thief snaking their way towards the set-aside foods.

She snatched up the plate. Azured pouted childishly, honey-sweet eyes as she attempted to grab the bowl back. 

Tula tutted, pulling the plate further away from the brindle dragon, smirking. “Sloppy, indeed. These are for your ren, and you know it.” 

With a groan, the shipwright dropped her act, sinking back in front of the fire. “Cryo doesn’t need to know I ate their squirrel.” 

“Just like they don’t need to know you’re engaged?”

Azured went beryl, glaring at the elderly florist. “I’m gonna tell them!”

“It’s been a week, little one,” she sighed, sliding the young dragon under her wing. “You need to tell them. All of them.”

“But you know how strict they are about marriage ceremonies!” Azured groaned, standing up from underneath the florist’s wing to angrily throw another log onto the bonfire. Glaring at the flames, she sighed. “I just want to marry Pauldine, that’s all I want to do. I don’t want to slaughter fifteen goats— I don’t want to not speak to her for a moon— I don’t want to eat some stupid love plant. I just want to marry the dragon I love, is that so hard?”

Tula breathed out slowly, “I know, love. I know you’re nervous, but I for one know that your parents will support you, no matter what. It’s a thorn, it hurts now, but you just need to yank it out.  You’ll feel much better in the long run.”

We’re engaged — It’s just two words, why can’t I say them?”

The Sandwing smiled. “Words are hard, it's why I went into flowers.”

Azured laughed. Tula tried her damnedest not to grin at her success, simply puffing in contentment. 

A sharp wind cut through the dragons’ chatter as the greenhouse doors swished open, stragglers stumbling in from the storm escorted by a certain scaleless Icewing. 

Cryo sighed, sliding out of their makeshift coat, “that’s everybody.” Shaking the snow from their wings they gestured loosely towards the ten or so similarly snow-soaked dragons. The Sandwings, Seawings and one particularly miserable-looking Rainwing quickly darted towards the fire or their family members.

Tula moved forward to meet the diamond-backed dragon, sliding them the plate of saved food. Cryo smiled, popping some into their mouth before handing the elderly dragon a few. “That’s the last excursion for now,” they sighed. “Wind’s picking up. ‘S too dangerous to go out again.” 

“No sign of her?” 

They huffed, “no. But Quasar’s the smartest dragon I’ve ever met, she’s probably just hunkered down in her shop with Empyrean.”

“Thanks for looking for her, Cryo.”

Tula’s fretting was suddenly interrupted by a loud cry of: “Oh my moons! You’re Cryo!?

The two dragons grinned as the golden Icewing turned towards the slim Seawing straggler with their usual musical flair. “I might be.”

“Stars above!” The Seawing’s jaw dropped, bioluminescent scales lighting up sharply as they squealed, “Anemone! Anemone, We got rescued by Sixteen Odd Fireflies! You’re my favourite band! This is the best day of my life!”

She snorted, “you must be from out of town if you don’t recognize Cryo?”

The dragonet turned with a start and nearly died of a heart attack. “You! You’re Tarantula! You did the drum solo for Bad Moons Rising! It’s the best song of all time!”

Pike stands in front of rows of golden flowers as he stares, stunned into the middle distance, looking like he's about to have a heart attack as his scales glow

As the small Seawing hyperventilated, the other, a large pale-blue and pink dragonet stepped forward. “You’re Tarantula? The one Fatespeaker won’t shut up about?”

“That does sound like her, yes.”

“Anemone.” The dragonet reached out to shake the florist’s talons. “And I need you to make a dragon fall in love with me. Nope, wait, that sounded animus and creepy! I need you to make an arrangement to make her understand that I love her.”

“Now, because Fatespeaker sent you, I’m just going to ask you straight out: Are they blind?”

She blinked. “Yes. She also has an impaired sense of smell.”

Tula huffed, “well then. Here’s an idea. It’s a little unusual so hear me out: not flowers .” 

Anemone looked quizzically at her. “But I came here to get flowers?! You always give flowers!”

The Sandwing sighed in soft frustration, all the dragons that showed up at her door nowadays seemed to have lost their common sense years ago. “Yes, but she can’t see them and she can’t smell them. Those are the things dragons like about flowers.”

But —!”

“Okay, calm down. You’re trying to court her? What have you tried so far?” she puffed thoughtfully as her thoughts raced: Tula, you were a therapist for fifteen years, you’ve got this. Don’t laugh at your customers.

She grinned maniacally like someone had told a horrible joke. “Nothing.”

Tula choked down a surprised snort, You don’t got this! “well, I see how she could have misconstrued that. Alright, what’s she like? What’s your history? Tell me about this dragon and I’m sure somebody else can help you.”

The young princess groaned, “her name’s Tamarin, she’s in my year at the academy. And, everybody in her winglet died, so they folded her into ours for the last part of the year. And, Sunny said that a good practice to recognize my privilege and arrogance would be to read to my fellow clawmates. And she just listens!” Anemone’s scales blushed brightly as she glanced back towards the Sandwing.

She cocked her head with a badly disguised smirk. “Not to put a damper on you or anything, darling, but maybe that’s because you’re reading her homework?”

“But there’s more!”

“Good! What is it?”

“It turns out I’m gay! And she’s just so hot! She likes scrolls and fruit! And when she blushes she turns into a rainbow!”

“Anemone,” said Tula, patiently.  “Is your intended a … Rainwing?”

“Yes?! And I didn’t think I was tribe-crossing, but I guess I am?”

“If she’s a Rainwing then why are you even here?”  Tula fought the urge to cover her face with her wings, and settled for tapping her claws into the dirt floor beside Anemone. “To tell a Rainwing you like them, just go up and say: I like you. Give her a mango or something!”

“Is that part of their courtship ritual?”

Tula barely managed to suppress a pained whine.  “No. That’s what I’m telling you. They don’t have any courtship rituals. They just really like mangos!”

“It’s true,” offered one of the Rainwings shivering over the hot chocolate.  “We just really like mangos!”

Anemone held very still and took a long minute to process this. “So. You’re telling me that I’ve been staring at her hopelessly because she’s blind, for five moons and agonizing over the perfect gift for my traditional Seawing declaration of love when all I needed to do was go up to her and use words?”

“...Yeah, pretty much.”

Moons above!

Tula reached for her abandoned plate:  “Have a squirrel-pop!”  

As Anemone was having her mental breakdown and Doctor Mayfly begrudgingly treated Pike for Sixteen Odd Fireflies-induced shock, another sharp wind slashed through the greenhouse. Tula glanced up with a start as Quasar darted in out of the storm. Laughing in relief, she darted forward to snatch her wife up in a bone-crushing hug. Snow falling off of the Nightwing’s wings as she flapped them in a desperate attempt to keep upright.

Quasar smiled, lovingly kissing her wife before sighing, “I’m so sorry for worrying you, my moon. I’ll never do it ever again.”

“Yes, because you’re never leaving my sight ever again!”

The Nightwing snorted, slipping the smaller dragon into a more manageable position as she raised up her bag which was stuffed full of firestone blankets to the cheers of the trapped dragons.

Tula sighed, turning towards the two Seawings. “I think we’re hunkering down for the night, care to join us?”

Pike glanced towards the larger dragonet, before dropping suddenly into a defensive position as the palm tree outside smacked against the glass in the wind. The two dragons shared a look before carefully nodding, following the wives toward the warm bonfire.

Off to the side of the chaos, Cryo sighed, shifting a wing over their daughter. “Well, I think we’ve learned a very important lesson about speaking your mind.” They chuckled, tucking the two of them out of the heat. “Haven’t we?

Azured grinned. “Yep! Also, I’m marrying Paludine in three moons!” 

“You what!” 


Warm sunlight was dappled across the smooth shale as the Rainwings of Jade Mountain lounged in the light. Siamang stretched out over the unclaimed leaves, sighing as Tamarin, a pastel rose-pink with lavender spots, slowly felt her way through the cavern towards the makeshift nest.

Boto grinned, sliding over to make room for the slightly scared dragon.

The dragonets lay in silence for a while, the other Rainwings glancing between one another with big smiles as Kinkajou finally decided to ask what was on everyone's mind. “What’s got you all pink and purple today?!”

Tamarin blushed yellow with a laugh, “I’ve got a date with Anemone next week! We’re flying out to the Skywing coast for sushi!”

Coconut grimaced a green-brown. “You’re eating sushi?”

She’s eating sushi, I’m bringing a fruit basket.”

Siamang laughed deeply as the sun shone on their indigo scales, “oh, good sun-time! That took longer than a sloth going down to make its weekly poop!” 

“Yeah, she’s been staring at you for five moons!” Kinkajou chimed, grinning goldenly as she threw her wing over the larger dragonet.

Really?” Tamarin cocked her head with interest as she swished her tail in the sun, landing on Boto’s snout. “Why didn’t she say anything?”

With a sneeze, Tamarin’s tail fell from his nose. Boto sighed, “you know how the other tribes are! They just can’t get it in their slug brains that it’s so much nicer to kiss whoever they want and eat mangos.”

The now lemon coloured Siamang laughed sweetly, spreading their large wings over all of their cuddle-mates, “speaking of which, are we on for tonight’s cuddle puddle?”

“Think so! Although Anemone’s reading me the last part of her mom’s book tonight, so I’ll be a bit late. I'm making her some fruit skewers for the occasion!” With a chuckle, Tamarin pressed quick kisses to all of her loves before standing to make her way back towards the main school area.

“Hey, Tam-Tam!” Kinkajou called. Tamarin smiled as she paused, turning her ear towards her girlfriend. The small dragonet beamed. “After your date, why don’t you invite your new girlfriend to our next cuddle session?”

Tamarin blushed hot pink, flecks of gold sprouting on her skin. The young dragon smiled wide enough to fit the moons in her mouth. “I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

Chapter Text

In the growing light of dawn, the gerbera daisies in the corner of Tarantula’s Terrarium were blooming with vigour under the watchful eye of their owner. Grinning, she cooed over the canary petals as she pruned them into shape. Tula sighed, absentmindedly swiping her talons over her snout to shake the slight dreariness from her mind, only to get a noseful of pollen and plant dust. 

After nearly coughing her lungs out, the Sandwing groaned, staring solemnly at the slightly scarred flowers while she slid slowly to the floor. At least she had a few new sprouts by the entrance that she could plant with the now ruined ones. With a huff, Tula tapped the small black scales under eye in thought, pushing herself to her feet, flinching at the slight creak of her joints. 

Moons, she was getting too old for this.

Tula’s talons tapped over the floor as she danced her way through the organized chaos of her greenhouse, brushing her wings lovingly over blossoms in turn. The soft pattern settled into her mind like rain off a shaled roof, something which came into sharp focus for the elderly hybrid when the tapping continued after she paused over the alyssums.

Her eyes went sharp as she froze in surprise.

Forcing her body to relax, Tarantula curled the petals over in her claws, reaching carefully for the secateurs resting on the nearby tool bench. The pruning shears would likely be enough of a deterrent to make the intruder pause, and if not, the florist wasn’t some wilting flower herself.

The sharp smell of burning beeswax sliced through her mental plans. Pausing in confusion, Tarantula turned her head upwards, narrowly missing a glowing golden drop of melted glass landing on her nose.

Tarantula blinked slowly.

“Oh… melty.” Came a slightly surprised, yet resigned voice from above.

Looking up towards the green-glass panels above her, Tarantula squinted slightly to see a glowing metallic dragon distorted in the early light. The accused stuck their head through an opened window near the peak of the roof, turning their uncannily blue eyes towards the Sandwing, eying her up and down.

“Can I help you?” Tula sighed, absentmindedly kicking a cup of loose sand over the bright glass glob. 

A pause. “WHAT ?!” Shouted the blue-eyed Skywing.

With an exacerbated groan, she repeated the question. Compared to Sandwings, other tribes were practically deaf; Tula often forgot to raise her voice for the other species of dragons. “Can I help you!” she shouted.  

Blue-eyes squinted suspiciously. “ARE FLOWERS FIREPROOF?!” they shouted.

“Not typically, no!” Tula shouted back, cocking her head in amusement. After a moment’s thought, adding: “ Why didn’t you just come through the front door ?!”

BECAUSE FLOWERS AREN’T TYPICALLY FIREPROOF!

She snorted. “Wait—just… hold on.” Huffing out smoke, Tula stretched her star-spotted wings before carefully taking off in the cramped space. She twisted up through the crisscrossing vines until she could push her way out of the window. The elderly dragon squinted in the morning light.

The first thing she noticed was the sheer amount of heat coming off of the dragonet, who was now flapping just a few feet above the roof, glancing awkwardly between the elderly florist and the cooling glass pane, which had glooped downwards with gravity. Tula smiled softly. “My wife’s a glassblower, it’s fine. Now: who are you, why are you here, and how did you burn a hole in my roof ?” 

UMM, Peril: she/her, flowers, and firescales!”  The dragonet—Peril—had a manic half-smile and too-wide eyes.

“Do you happen to be one of Fatespeaker’s friends?”

That gave Peril some pause. “ Technically! ?”

Well then, she was in for a long day. With a snort, the Sandwing pulled out her mental ‘Fatespeaker’s Friends’ checklist. “I’m just going to assume there’s some relationship issue.”

Peril nodded, grinning like the dragon who just noticed the tarantula-wasp she was about to step on. 

“And you want to give them flowers?” Tula smiled, shifting the situation around in her head, waiting for the punchline.

“Uh-huh!”

“Are they blind, lacking a sense of smell, or deathly allergic to pollen?” 

Blinking in confusion, Peril puffed out a breath of dark smoke. “Not that I’m aware of?” she said like it was the stupidest question she’d ever heard. “Why would I go to a flower shop if he was allergic to pollen?”

Yes, this was her favourite customer yet. She could understand why Quasar had a habit of adopting strays that caught her eye. 

Breezing past the implications of her previous inquiry, Tula hoped beyond hope that this wasn’t the part where she got smacked in the face by her customer’s cultural stupidity. “What tribe? ‘Cause Icewings don’t do flowers,” she quizzed.

The dragonet’s gaze went slightly glassy as she sadly mumbled under her breath that poor polar bear, before snapping back to reality with a wave of Tula’s wing. “Umm, he’s a Mudwing, and I’m pretty sure Mudwings give flowers?”

Moons above, there was a god! “Yes, they do! You’re already doing better than ninety percent of the dragons who came here!” Tula nearly threw her arms around the too-hot Skwing, only just stopping herself from that act of near-suicide by Peril flapping backwards suddenly, giving the Sandwing an odd look. Because of course, she didn’t understand that Tula had spent the last few moons making arrangements for dragons who literally couldn’t appreciate them and how it was slowly driving her insane. 

“...So— you’ll help me?” Peril yipped in apprehension, face blushing orangey-purple as she presumably questioned how senile a dragon had to be to willingly attempt to hug someone who’d set them on fire.

“Well, it’ll take some creativity, seeing as you won’t be able to handle any of my stock-” Peril nodded in understanding, grimacing slightly- “-but I’m sure we can find a workaround.” 

Glancing over the rolling roofs of Possibility, Tula hummed in thought, gaze unconsciously settling on the twin peaks of Sharp Sights Glassworks silhouetted in the sun. 

And as sharp as her wife’s works, the idea came to her: “Glass flowers!” she chirped suddenly, throwing Peril off balance as she whirled around at the sudden noise, snout colouring a pale yellow.

“What?”

Tula puffed, “They don’t need to be actual flowers! Just something along those lines.” She grinned, shifting her wings in thought. “And I do believe that glassworks are common gifts among noble Mudwings.”

“No, like what, I’ll just MELT through them type of what.”  Smoke puffed out of Peril’s mouth as she sighed.

“I’m concerned about your lack of faith in my wife’s products.” 

Cocking her head to the side, the dragonet gestured loosely towards the still cooling panel she’d partly melted.

“Those panels were manufactured by that beetled-eyed Glaze and I’m delighted that my wife put him out of business,” the florist practically snarled, quietly kicking the offending glass in disgust.

Eyes going wide, Peril nodded slowly as her face went an un-Skywing cobalt-blue. “Alright then,” she chimed in the heavy silence. “You’ve convinced me. Where exactly do we get glass flowers?”

With a smile, she quickly called down for her young intern, Pufferfish, to man the counter. Tula then pushed off of the roof, hanging lazily in the air as she pointed her long tail towards her wife’s workshop on the other side of town before the two dragons swooped down the length of the roof and into the sky above the city.

The Skywing had to slow down considerably for Tula, who herself was flying along at a leisurely pace, scanning the waking world in the amber light. As she watched the rainbow menagerie of the dragons below her, Tula turned a Fuschia eye towards the dragon flying alongside her who was similarly glaring down the dragons below her, nose a thoughtful dark blue.

Tula hummed, “If you don’t mind me asking, and I haven’t hung around many Skywings for a while but are the changing colours a new thing, or…?”

Peril went the colour of a moss-covered log, not-so-subtly looking as far away as possible from the florist. “My father was a Rainwing, so apparently I turn colours!” she squawked out in an attempt to play it cool. “And no one ever noticed because I didn’t use to feel shame!”

Snorting, Tula glanced back towards her dusk sky wings. “My mother was a Nightwing, and my wife says I have a bad habit of lurking ominously in shadows.” She was rewarded with a small supportive smirk from her fellow hybrid.

Shifting their trajectory, Tula swooped them downwards towards the cobblestone streets, Peril nearly overshooting their target before touching down alongside her in front of the stone walls of Sharp Sights Glassworks. 

Tasting the forge-warm air, Tarantula smiled, gesturing her customer forward into the brightly lit display room through the open doorway. Each piece of coloured glass caught the light, warping in to fill the whole room in fantastical colours. She led Peril proudly past some of her favourite pieces—a stained glass hanging of the moment the moons appear on the horizon, a flat pane inlaid with talon-prints from all of the tribes of Pyrrhia, and a beautiful mural of a hoard of dragons taking off in flight—before coming to rest at the unmanned sales counter, a silver-painted bell sitting on the table.

Ringing it, Tula called: “Quasar! I have a quite-the-interesting customer here for you!”

A loud crash emanated from the doorway behind the counter, Tarantula and Peril both flinched at the sound of shattered glass and swearing.

Quasar, you utterly useless lesbian!” shouted Empyrean from the depths of the dark forge.

Peril hissed with badly disguised laughter as Tula gestured with her wing in a loose that’s my wife motion, glancing up with a modicum of surprise when it was Empyrean, not her wife, who stepped into the doorway.

The Sciros-apple coloured Skywing grinned, flipping up the dark protective lenses on her glasses, turning her good eye towards the two of them, whistling with her trademark lisp, “Haven’t seen a firescale in years, let alone one this old! Have they stopped chucking eggs off cliffs, ‘cause they chucked my egg off a cliff!?” she overshared.

“Not really, no.”

Empyrean sighed, “of course not, but we Scrambleds gotta stick together!” she smiled as wide as she could with her damaged jaw.

“Scrambleds?” Peril paused her absentminded scratching of the sand floors, scales going grapefruit as she puffed.

“Like eggs,” Tula chimed in.

Self-consciously, the glassworker raised her mangled pastel pink arm to her snout, dragging it across the scarred side of her face, blushing enough to turn her light freckles the same colour as her scales. “Still workshopping it. Not exactly many other dragons I can bounce ideas off of, but I need something to call myself!”

As the two dragons bonded over how horrible their tribe was, Tula turned her head as Quasar tumbled through the doorway, trailing shimmering pieces of chandelier as she glared at her wife. “You’re not supposed to be here!” she hissed, platinum scales cherry as her favourite fruit. “You know love makes me clumsy!”

Quasar very quickly fell silent with a sweet kiss to the scar across the left side of her face. Tucking the larger blushing dragon under her wing, Tula turned back towards the two Skywings, who were avidly trading name ideas, coughing softly as the two snapped back to attention.

“Well, as I’m sure you two have already acquainted yourselves—”

Quasar! She’s a Scrambled like me !!” Interrupted Empyrean with a screech, wings flapping with excitement. “Well, not exactly like me cause she wasn’t thrown off a cliff, and she can’t levitate things with her mind, but she’s sort of like me!!”

The young dragonet huffed black smoke, snout going pale. “You’re an animus?”

“Not a good one,” she groaned. “I mean, they threw my egg off a cliff for a reason, but it also did something with my brain so now I can’t exactly do spells, I just go oh no! The intricate glass chandelier we’ve been working on for weeks is going to crash and then it all of a sudden doesn’t. Well,” she glared at the elderly Nightwing with an irritated snort. “Most of the time.”

With an irritated twitch of her tail, the remaining shards of the chandelier slipped off Quasar, the Nightwing mumbling something about love and being a completely functional lesbian, thank you very much under her breath.

Empyrean groaned, talons twitching sharply. “Still didn’t stop us from losing customers after that whole murderous Nightwing King from legend fiasco.”

Tula sighed, cutting over top of the strawberry splattered Skywing’s jubilation because she had plans that she hoped to potentially get back to. “ I was wondering if we might discuss potential solutions for Peril’s relationship issues.” She nodded towards the scorching dragonet. “Care to enlighten us about your Mudwing love?”

Hissing, Peril blushed as dark as Liatris blooms. “Well, I’m technically not LEGALLY allowed to know this, but my boyfriend is going to be a guest of honour at a thing that I totally didn’t eavesdrop on to find out about… and I want to go with him,” she groaned, scraping her claws over the floor, probably a nervous tick. “He's like, SUPER hot and charming, and he can bench press a moon-blessed mountain. And he convinced me to see a therapist, because of my horrible trauma and abusive upbringing, and he’s stuck by me, and I just want to do something fun with him!”

“Ranunculus, snapdragon, and sunflowers,” Tula, listed with a smile. “It’s a wonderful pallet, Peril. He sounds amazing.”

Peril cocked her head to the side. “I’m sorry, what?”

“They’re flowers, sweetie. Ranunculus says that you’re radiant with charm, or as you put it: super hot. Snapdragon symbolizes graciousness and strength, and sunflowers mean pure thoughts and dedicated love. Sound familiar?”

A pause, the dragonet coloured a beautiful Rose Pompadour. “ It really does. You’re like, really good at this?” 

Tula snorted sweetly, “why thank you, little one. Now—” —she turned towards the two glass workers,— “Chinstrap specializes in flowers, doesn’t she? Where is she?”

Quasar hummed, “making a trade for some new colours for a client. Should be back soon.”

“Why don’t I head back to my shop, grab her some references, and head back here?” 

And then stay very far away from your disaster lesbian.” Empyrean hastily added, sharply glaring at Quasar.

The Sandwing laughed, “I’ll stay far away from our disaster lesbian.” She pressed another kiss to her wife’s brow, puffing in thought. “There’s a new cafe run by this lovely Rainwing couple I wanted to check out. How about I catch up on some writing and check back up on you at noon?”

With an approving wave from Empyrean, Tula ducked her head, turning towards the Skywing dragonet. “You’re in good claws. Take care of my customer!” She called, trodding out of the doorway and opening up her wings to the sky.


Peril ended up coming along with Tula to the coffee shop, complaining about being bored and hungry when Tula dropped by with the flower samples. The two dragons landed in front of the Bean me Up cafe, the Skywing wobbling oddly alongside her as she clutched the glassblowers’ gifts of firescale-proof cups to her chest.

Tula ducked inside for their order, grabbing herself a wonderfully artisanal sprinkled Mocha with cocoa powder, and the specialty drink: a fruity smelling blackberry iced-tea for Peril. Meeting the dragonet back outside, the two settled down under the shade of a nearby palm tree, out of the way of the foot traffic outside of the bustling shops.

Humming, she sipped the rich chocolate drink, placing the glass down on an even patch of ground, looking the gold-coloured Skywing over.

“So. You do realize there are emotions other than shame right?”

The dragonet very quickly went a displeased green, clutching her now steaming ice tea sharply. “I know, but I started with shame!” she squawked.

“Oh,” Tula grimaced, sliding her wing as close as she could to Peril in support. “Oh, honey. You want to talk about it?”

Peril’s eyes seemed to steam at the florist’s words. “You know,” she coughed out smoke, clearing her throat, “no one’s ever asked me that!”

Oh, honey! You need a better support structure! Like, friends?” Tula lamented, itching to reach out and hold the small dragonet. “Maybe Empyrean? You two can Skywing it up?”

Peril snorted, snout flecking a lively pink. “So far she seems pretty nice if a little over-excited. I do have friends, though.”

“Friends are supposed to be dragons you can talk to! My old friends weren’t like that: they tried to kill me, so I stabbed them. You need to make sure you don’t have friends like that.” Tula instructed, sipping her Mocha while gesturing loosely with her talons.

“Sorry, what ?”

Moving forward, why don’t you talk to your friends, and if you feel they need stabbing after you talk to them, then you shouldn’t be friends.” she huffed, meaningfully catching the dragonet’s eye. “If you don’t feel safe talking to your friends, then they’re not your friends.”

Looking the florist over, Peril slowly nodded, colouring a safe rich blue, sipping her tea slowly.

Tula finished her Mocha swiftly, munching on a lemon bar as a sharp shout of “MISS TULA! MISS TARANTULA! OH MY MOONS, MISS TARANTULA!” snapped her back to attention.

Jumping to her feet, Tarantula got up just in time to be nearly barrelled over by her young intern. Pufferfish’s scales stood up like her namesake as she hyperventilated in the older hybrid’s arms.

“MISS TARANTULA! MISS TARANTULA, OH MY MOONS MISS TARANTULA, THEREWASTHISMESSAGNERANDTHEYSTOPPEDBYANDIALREADYSAIDYESTOITBUTITWASFROMTHESANDWINGPALACEANDIPANICkEDANDSAIDPLEASETELLQUEENTHORNIMHERBIGGESTFANANDTHANKSFORBRINGINGPIECETOPYRRIAANDTHATWEDDOANYTHINGFORHERANDTHENTHEYJUSTSAIDTHATSGOODTOHEARANDTHENGAVEMETHISLETTERANDTOOKOFFANDONLYTHENIREALIZEDTHATITWASIMPORTANTANDI— !”

“Okay, calm down! Sweetie, you’re having a panic attack.” Tarantula pulled Pufferfish’s talons to hers, running her claws over the sensitive scales of her palms. “Hey, listen to me. Listen to me. What’re five things you can see?”

NIMiniminaminam!” Pufferfish screeched, scales flashing sharply in jumbled aquatic.

“Shh, I know, I know,” she sighed, shifting them into a sitting position, covering her with her wing. “But I need you to do this with me, alright. Breathe in, and out. Can you tell me now?”

“I—There’s a beetle over there, and my claws and your claws, and that weird cobblestone over there, and that scorpion constellation you have on your wing.” Pufferfish choked out, moving their joint talons over her wet face.

“That’s good, you’re doing amazing, little one.” She glanced over at Peril, gesturing her to bring over her half cup of tea. “Now, what are four things you can feel with your body?”

“I-umm, sand and stone, and your wing, and,” she snorted sharply, coughing while dragging her talons across her face. “An ant.”

Tula huffed, “we might be sitting on an anthill, wait!” She sat back up, turning her tail over to check. “Nope. Just a singular stupid ant. Can you keep going?”

Pufferfish nodded, breathing deeper and more rhythmic.

“What are three things you can hear?”

“That bakery doorbell, m-my heart, and that other dragon you were eating with.”

“Good, good. Two things you can smell?”

The young dragon tasted the air, cocking her head in confusion. “Lemons? And coffee.”

Peril stepped forward with her drink placing it carefully in front of the older dragons as Tula finished, reaching out to slide the tea over to the young Seawing. “And one thing you can taste.”

Pufferfish and Tula are lying down in the clearing, Pufferfish tucked under the florist's wing while clutching desperately at the cup of tea as Tula looks her over in worry

Clutching it to her lips, Pufferfish took a large gulp, face lighting up, literally. “Oh, that’s really good!” Sliding it back to the young Skywing after taking another sip. “Where’d you get it from?”

With a slight grumble, Peril picked the drink back up awkwardly. “It’s from the Rainwing cafe down the road.”

“Oh! I’ll have to try them!”

Tula puffed, “if you’re safe enough to talk about it. What was the thing that was important that you were panicking about?”

Blushing brightly, she pulled out a stamped letter from the bag strapped to her back, handing it face up to show the Sandwing royal insignia: a scorpion circling a cut sapphire. 

Cutting the wax off with her talon, Tula opened the letter scanning it over in shock.

 

To Mrs. Tarantula of Possibility

Owner of Tarantula’s Terrarium

 

The Social Secretariat of  Queen Thorn’s Stronghold does you the honour of requesting your assistance in providing floral arrangements for the upcoming nuptials of the glorious Queen Thorn the Peacebringer and her righteous intended, Prince Smolder of the Line of Disgrace. It is expected that you will be delighted to donate your services.  Required shall be a bridal crown, a groom’s garland, and garlands and crowns appropriate for an attending guard of approximately twenty-five. Also, a hundred and ninety table arrangements.  

 

The wedding is scheduled for the calendar of the fifth moon after festival.  

 

Please confirm your obedience,

 

The Rt. Hon. Gila Monster, 

Deputy Social Secretary to her Majesty

 

In sharper, fine writing underneath read:

 

Obedience is not required. Gila Monster is a power-hungry lunatic drunk off of her position we keep in a cage only to let out to make us sound royal.

Please let us know if you actually want to do this, and confirm a time within the next moon for a design consultation.

You will be paid.

 

With respect,

Prince Smolder

 

From behind her, Peril chirped, “Hey! That’s the thing I’m not legally allowed to know about! That's SO weird! HEY MISS TULA! ISN’T THAT WEIRD!”

Oh, but Tarantula wasn’t listening.

Prince Smolder.

That was a name that took her back. 

And definitely not in a good way.

Prince Smolder.

Prince Smolder.

How in all the moons was that name there?

And not burnt to ashes or stuffed over that grotesque throne.

Prince Smolder.

She’d fled Burn’s court years back when she saw how the moons were turning, fearing the death of her friends, her family.

Herself.

And that scorpion-stung moron refused to flee with her.

Prince Smolder.

She had made peace with that fifteen years ago.

Prince moons-falling Smolder.

“Miss Tula!?”

Tarantula’s head snapped up as she stared at the too-hot Skywing in front of her, whose name seemed to slip her mind. “Therapy’s over!” she squeaked.

“But we—?”

Therapy’s over! I need to go… go!” she squawked, jumping to her feet and taking off into the midday sky.

Chapter Text

Quasar was worried.

Quasar was worried a lot.

Usually, things turned out to be fine, but Quasar put that down to the force of her worrying.

That was the only thing she was good for.

She could only worry about the dirt that always collected under the counter.

About the flowers that she always knocked over when she walked over them.

About scaring away customers with a too-loud voice and too pale scales.

About not getting food on the table, letting her family starve again.

About not being good enough for her wife.

About not being good enough for anyone.

About—

She snapped back to attention, the twitter of the small hummingbird sulking on the table in front of her harmonizing with the small voice in the back of her head that reminded her to breathe.

Quasar would swear it sounded like her wife’s honey-sweet songs.

Focus, it sung, focus, break the problem down into dragonet’s flaps and go from there. You don’t need to take the world on your wings.

The tiny Costa’s hummingbird puffed, reaching over to sharply peck the Nightwing on the sensitive webbing between her claws.

Starvomit! You’re a little monstrosity, aren’t you!? ” she snarled, clutching her talons dramatically to her chest. “I oughta—!”

The sharp clang of the song-worn shop bell stopped her.  Pufferfish was doing her usual scurry-panic into the shop. “Please don’t kill the hummingbird, Ms. Quasar! Ms. Tula says we need them to pollinate the flowers!” Pufferfish trilled as if her throat had been magically turned into an untuned flute.

“Most of them. But this one’s a little sand viper. We can totally get rid of it, Tula will never know! Talons ‘n tails, she might even thank us!”

Orrrrrrrrrrrr…” Pufferfish squawked. “It could make her more upset, cause she’s been lurking in the workroom all the week and I really don’t wanna know what happens if she leaves it.”

A heavy silence filled the shop as Quasar finished the cleaning hummingbird feeder. She turned to place it on its rightful hook, making a disinterested swat at the hummingbird, which she had decided to name Buzzer Bailey, with her tail.

But Pufferfish hadn’t given up.  “You know how you and Tula always talk about how open communication is the key to a healthy relationship? You should go talk to her!” All the puff went out of her frill. “I don’t wanna,” she muttered, swishing her short tail in the sand. “...She scares me.

Quasar blinked.

Tula had been ‘lurking in the workroom’ ever since she’d gotten the royal message. Inside was an order for one of the largest events the shop had ever taken. And while the few moons worth of work would make most dragons twist up their tails, that sort of challenge was something her fuzzy-spider-darling of a wife would revel in.

So that ruled out the order itself. Quasar was getting the sinking suspicion that it was the wedding instead.  A Sandwing wedding.

Tula had a past. Quasar knew Tula had a past. And that was all Quasar knew about Tula’s past. She guessed it had something to do with serving in the Sandwing army, ‘cause most horrible Sandwing things did.

In shorter words, things were going up the Diamond Spray River, and Quasar had no idea how to fix it.

But panicking did nothing to help either her or Pufferfish.  They both nearly leaped out of their scales when the shop bell chimed once more.

Two dragonets strode in out of the early dawn light. Backlit by the desert sun, Quasar could barely make out their forms before the smaller stepped forward, squinting ocean-green eyes against the harsh shine of the Nightwing’s scales.

“Quasar!” Pike stepped forward into Quasar’s half wing hug.

“Pike! Lovely to see you again!” she laughed, squeezing the skinny Seawing tight. “I haven’t seen you since last moon!”

“Yeah, yeah,” he snorted, rolling his eyes. “Your crab boil was great, and the leftovers went over amazingly at school. Barracuda literally said they’d murder us all for another taste, sooooooo…”

“I’ll make you another batch soon enough.” Quasar smiled, ruffling the small Seawing tendrils by his ears. She turned, “And you brought a friend!”

Said friend stiffened as when they turned to him, golden eyes flickering up to meet her vermilion ones. His small smile didn’t seem to reach the rest of his face. “It’s Turtle, ma‘am.”

“Well, I’m delighted to meet you, Turtle!” Quasar chirped, blatantly ignoring the grey Seawing’s glare of please don’t adopt another dragon, moons above. “What brings you two here this early?”

“It’s about the Sandwing Royal wedding.”

A loud thud came from behind her. Quasar sighed, tuning out the shocked exclamations from the customers, turning around to scoop up the small Seawing. She slipped into the open greenhouse, depositing Pufferfish in her fainting nest, tucking her tight in the soft blankets. After pausing long enough to gather her thoughts, she slunk back into the front room, clearing her throat.

What’s this about the Sandwing Royal Wedding?

Turtle gulped, “are we in trouble?

“No! No, you aren’t,” she assured, pulling her wings tight to her body to keep them from fidgeting. “The wedding’s a touchy subject around here, for reasons I’ve yet to decipher.”

“What under the moons happened to Puff?!” Pike started, moving to dash heroically to young hybrid’s rescue. “Are they sick? Is it contagious? Do you need me to fetch water? I ’m great at fetching water! I’ll––!

Quasar snapped out a wing, forcing the dragonet to skid to a stop, eyes sharp and wide. “Pufferfish has acute fainting goat syndrome, she gets like this when she gets too stressed. Best thing to do is to leave her to come to at her own pace. Though she’d be appreciative of your worry,” she rushed to explain, curling her whip-thin tail over his talons, slowing his racing mind. She puffed, “now, an explanation from you two would be in order?”

The emerald dragonet sighed, “I swear we didn’t mean to cause this much trouble.”

“It’s been a weird week.”

Pike popped up, “We came here for therapy ‘cause Turtle’s mom’s a squid-sucker,” he swore.

With a groan, Turtle quietly corrected: “no. We came here to get garlands for the wedding .”

“Also cause his mother’s a squid-sucker.”

Pike.” The stripes across Turtle’s stomach flashed as he swatted at the smaller dragon with his thick tail. “Pike, do you want to be executed for crimes against the crown? Cause this’ how you get executed for crimes against the crown.”

“You know I can understand Aquatic perfectly, right?”

Pike blinked. “You can?” he flashed.

“Mandatory learning for Enclave members. Back on topic, Turtle’s mom’s a squid-sucker and also queen?”

Why does everyone here wanna be executed for crimes against the crown?!

The grey Seawing grinned, flicking out a wing dramatically. “Now you’re getting it! So I’m thinking we adopt him into the family.”

“I like your glide, son.” she grinned even wider, the two turning their twinned stares towards Turtle.

“My family is fine, okay!” he hissed, scales flaring sharply. “My family is fine. My mom just gets us all confused from time to time, but it’s fine. I didn’t want to go anyways!

The smile slipped from her face. “Okay, I’m lost. I’m lost, but I think something serious is happening. Do you want a nest? I remember Seawing’s like to nest when they’re stressed.”

What? I’m not stressed,” Turtle said, trembling with stress.

“Could’a fooled me,” the Nightwing snorted. “Alright, I’m gonna take a stab at it if you’re not gonna explain. Let me know where I’m off: So you weren’t invited to the wedding and were super happy about that, cause ack: other dragons, but then realized that being left out of stuff sucks, and probably had a panic attack about it, cause you’ve spent your entire life trying to be overlooked and not pull the wrong tail, but now that you’ve succeeded you realize that this isn’t actually what you want to spend your entire life doing, and then confided in someone else and they were like super reasonable about it and you were like what? A reasonable solution to my problems? Animuscraft. And now you’re here and you really don’t want to be here and now your brain’s being a slime weasel and you can’t make it stop?”

Turtle gaped at the moon-pale dragon. “Yeah…

“Do you wanna rethink that snuggle thing?”

“...Yeah,” he sniffed, voice cracking.

“Aww honey,” Quasar consoled, opening her sunrise pink wings wide. “Come here.”

It was only after she’d moved the armful of a sobbing Seawing dragonet into a more comfortable panic attack spot that she realized she might’ve overdone it. Just a tad.

Sniffling, Turtle questioned, “how’d ya know all that? You can’t read minds, can you? ” he shot up, cringing away to look her fearfully in the eye.

Quasar huffed, “thankfully no, don’t need more things to worry about.” she tucked the young dragon under her chin, reaching a wing around Pike as well, who snuggled himself up to Turtle, humming. “As for how I know, it’s basically just the story of my life.”

Turtle huffed, eyes slipping closed. “...how do you make the bad thoughts stop?”

“I’m gonna be brutally honest here, son. They don’t ever stop.”

Turtle deflated in her arms.

“But they can get better. Moons above, I swear it gets better. It takes a stupid amount of work, and a lot of therapy, and some awesome pharmaceuticals, but it gets so much better .”

With a flinch, Turtle slid out of her hug, gulping. “But my mom says that the only dragons on drugs are too crazy to be helped anyway and we should just lock them up in the coral reefs?! I don’t wanna be crazy! I’m not crazy, am I!?”

I am going to murder your so-called mother.

NO! Crimes against the crown! Crimes against the crown!!!

Turtle.” Pike snapped. “Turtle. Is Moon crazy?”

“What?! No of course not!”

“Well, I happen to know she’s on five different medications for migraines, anxiety, and depression. What about now?”

“Moon’s not crazy,” he snarled. “Moon takes them to help her be herself. She has all these powers, and she had a really weird upbringing, and she just needs them to be… ohhhh…

Yep.” Quasar popped, sitting up to stretch and totally not to bask in her victory.

Ohh… my mom’s a squid-sucker,” Turtle moaned.

“Your mom’s not a squid-sucker.”

But you just said—!

“No, no. Your old mom’s a squid-sucker. I’m your new mom now, and I’m most certainly not. I have a lot of other problems, but that’s not one!” she grinned, grabbing his black talons.

Snorting, Turtle cocked his head to the side, smiling wide in pure confusion. “You planning on adopting my thirty-one other brothers too?”

Quasar squealed in delight, pulling the two dragonets into a tight hug, cutting off Pike’s aborted shut up Turtle gesture. “I love my thirty-two new children!” She paused, nodding in sudden seriousness. “I need a bigger house.”

Turtle burst out into laughter, face split into a nearly manic grin. “I live at Jade Mountain, but I’d be so happy to come to live here!”

Pike huffed, moving to lean against the other dragonet as much as possible as the two of them were trapped in Quasar’s boa constrictor of a hug. “Family dinner’s every other week, mandatory attendance. ” 

“You love me and you know it,” Quasar chirped, smacking him playfully in the back. She sighed, “but in all seriousness if you’re staying at the Academy: do you have a therapist or counsellor you can speak to?”

“We should really get one of those.”

Pike rolled his eyes, nodding in agreement. “Could talk to your friends? I’m sure Qibli could recommend some good therapists.”

Quasar hummed, “Yes! Open communication is a keystone of all healthy relationships! You should always talk with the dragons you love about the stuff that’s bothering yoouuuuu— OH WAIT!


The Nightwing quickly found her way to the backroom. Customers weren’t usually allowed back there, given it was enchanted to keep itself cold enough you could see your own breath and the fact that it was an absolute mess.

More so now than ever, as almost all of the available surface area was covered in half-finished arrangements for the Royal Wedding. Purple and blue petals where scattered over the floor, and a large unfinished arch nearly brushed the ceiling, long drooping glass beads looking like water droplets in the low light.

And right in the center of the chaos was her wife, Tula, splayed out in a scorpion-like lurking pose, softly hissing.

“Uhhhhhhhh... hi?”

The hissing grew louder.

Quasar gulped, nearly stepping back into the warmth of the greenhouse, before stopping. Shaking her head, she stood up straight, stepping forward into the cold. “Look, love, I’m not gonna lie: you look like fewmet.”

A snort. “Gee, thanks.”

“See, that’s the problem. That’s the most coherent sentence you’ve said all week.”

Tula paused. She sat up, only slightly, turning her bright eyes towards her wife, smiling in quiet bewilderment. “It’s been a week?”

She’d successfully stepped her way over to her wife, tucking her up in a tight embrace, Quasar buried her head in Tula’s frill. “Something’s wrong, and I wanna help. But I can’t help cause I don’t know what’s happening. Please tell me what’s happening, cause—”

“—open communication is a keystone in all healthy relationships,” Tula finished for her. “That’s the only thing you remember from therapy, isn’t it?”

No. I also now know not to eat leaves off the ground, that’s something.” Quasar giggled, suddenly pausing. “ Don’t try to distract me, Tunes.

Humming, Quasar felt her wife sigh, “worth a shot. Please, Quasar. You don’t want to know.”

“Try me.”


Tarantula was already old when the war started. Old enough that bloodshed had already seeped into her scales, old enough that she barely batted an eye when the recruitment calls were sent out.

Pyrrhia was always in some sort of war, and this one wasn’t shaping up to be any different.

That was until Burn seized the palace.

That was when Tarantula knew she was going to die.

She’d known for a long time if she was being honest.

The sharp crunch of sand marked her opponent’s arrival. Burn was never one for subtlety. You couldn’t exactly be subtle when you were prone to disembowelling your fellow dragons and stuffing their star-spotted wings on the mantle.

Just as an example.

“Never marked you as a sentimental time, General. Reminiscing about the good old times?” she snorted, a sharp flick of her wing marking the arrival of her semi-loyal guard, the two touching down on the jagged terrain on either side of her. 

“Who said I was? No, I’m just enjoying the sea breeze,” she hummed, turning to face the open skies. “You know, the ocean looks wonderful from up here. Can almost see the waves.”

Liar.” Burn snarled, stepping forward. “I saw you discussing treason with that cleverclaws brother of mine.” She groaned, rubbing a claw against her temple, “Moons above, he was such a headache, I was so satisfying to get him to finally shut up.”

Slash.

Tarantula struck.  

Blood splattered across the sandy clifftop. Her opponent stumbled backwards in surprise, dark eye flickering to the jagged gash that now tore through her side. An animalistic snarl filled the air as it lept.

Tarantula didn’t dodge in time. It slammed straight into her chest. Gasping, she went over backwards, tasting blood in her mouth. Pinned against the rocks, her stinger went straight through its wing. 

Scratching its underbelly, Tarantula rolled. Pulling the other dragon with her. 

She heard the sharp crack of its skull as she slammed it against the ground.

Clean and easy.

She was so close she could see every scale on Burn’s bloodied face.

She raised her talons.

Tarantula had taught Burn to fight.

Tarantula had taught all the royal dragonets to fight.

It was the quiet job they’d given her after she’d slaughtered an army of Skywings for them.

She didn’t expect to like it really.

But she did.

She loved teaching the little dragonets.

She loved their curious minds and too-big wings.

She even loved Burn, back when she was small enough that her murderousness was cute.     

She loved—

Burn slammed a leg up into Tarantula’s hip socket. Pain exploded upwards as she reared up with a cry. There was an arm around her neck, and she felt herself being twisted to the ground.

Oh god. 

Oh god.

Burn roared, her claws arching upwards, silver in the three moons’ light. Arching down, down, down.

Burn’s wing spasmed sharply, falling limp. With a scream, she clutched desperately at the growing ink stain on her bone-white wings.

Tarantula’s venom was barely lethal. But moons above, did it sting like a wasp.

The two guards came booming over as their lead collapsed, twitching like a dying spider. Tarantula breathed. 

In. 

Out.

And rolled herself off the cliff and into the fog-filled sky.

Tula stands, bleeding, staring up at Burn, who is similarly coated in blood.


Quasar stared.

Quasar stared for a long time.

“Ummm…. Wow.”

“Yep.”

Quasar puffed, “You knew the Sandwing princess?”

A small smile fluttered onto Tula’s face. “And the princes too, I was a better mother to them than Oasis ever was,” she snarled.

“...Is this what’s bothering you?” She coaxed, fighting the urge to fold in on herself and hold onto her wife for the next thousand years.

“I thought Burn killed him. He was always my favourite, you know? He was the king of treasure hunts when he was small, he absolutely hates me bringing that up. And he was whip-smart and sweet and… I thought Burn killed him. She said she killed him.”

Quasar smiled, tucking herself into her wife’s wings.

She could feel the Sandwing’s heartbeat as she sighed, “...I know you wanna be a mom, my pink-star. I know you wanna be a mom, but every time you save another dragonet, I’m so scared it’s gonna happen again.” She sobbed, “ I’m so scared I’m gonna lose someone I love again.

“Oh, my moon !” Quasar wept. “ My sand, my air, my water, my earth. I promise I’ll never let that happen again. I’ll take on the entire world before I let that happen to you.”

Tula snorted, “please don’t, you’re terrible with weaponry.” She laughed, “remember that afternoon with the squirrel and the steak knife?”

Quasar cackled, tears still falling as she held her wife closer. “Oh, the property damage suits!”

Tula captured Quasar’s talons in her own, bringing them to her chest. “Love, I know you want to be a mom, but you’re already the best mother I know. Any dragonet would be ecstatic to have you.”

“Speaking of which, I may have adopted thirty-two new children.”

Quasar’s claws fell to the ground with a thump, as Tula stood up in disbelief. “I leave you alone for five minutes.”

“Actually, you left me alone for a week, that’s a perfectly reasonable amount of time for me to procure thirty-two new kids.”

And that’s how Quasar found herself in a Seawing stress cuddle in their upstairs nest, Pufferfish doing her best starfish impression, and Turtle and Pike curled together like tangled bits of seaweed in Quasar’s wings. She looked up at Tula, who was curled into a mildly threatening ball of spikes, as Sandwings do, right next to the dragonets and never felt more in love.


If you had given Winter an infinite amount of diamonds and told him to bet on how he was going to get into trouble today: never in a million years would he say Turtle does something stupid.

Kinkajou? Sure, not surprising.

Peril? An average morning.

But Turtle.

Turtle?

That was the stupidest thing Winter had ever heard, and he grew up with Icicle.

After sending the Academy into yet another panic, Qibli stepped forward with the animus-enchanted chalk slate, which simply read:

Gone. Be back soon.

Very specific, thank you, Turtle.

And of course, something going on with the Jade Winglet meant that all of them were quarantine to the Great Hall, to keep an eye on them.  

In other words, Winter was having a very stupid day.

The sudden shouts and pandemonium coming from the entrance probably meant it was about to get even stupider.

Quarantine was swiftly broken as both Kinkajou and Qibli dashed to the cave entrance. Winter snorted, before being dragged along by an equally confused Moon, who was making the squinty face she usually made when something was off. 

At first, Winter thought Queen Snowfall had sent her ambassadors for yet another check-up as he rounded the stalagmites. The three dragons each glimmered like ice in the early morning light, but Winter recognized the soft low-to-the-ground way Turtle held himself after a moment.

Both him and Pike were adorned in moon-white flowers, bands around their horns and wrists. Hidden among the petals were water-like beads of glass, large and small, refracting the light into shimmering rainbows.

They looked like they were attending a wedding, not escaping from school.

Tsunami stepped forward from behind him, similarly looking confused as a polar bear in the rainforest. “...Quasar?”

That’s when Winter recognized the third dragon, scales pale enough she’d blended right in with the two dragonets attire.

“Oh, I remember you! Tsunami, right? Sorry to cause all this fuss, but y’all really need an onsite counsellor.” Quasar snorted, reaching into her black scraps pouch on her chest. Taking out a bundle of papers, she handed them to the bewildered princess. “Some papers I need you to sign.”

“For what?”

“Transfering Turtle's legal guardianship on your records to myself and my wife.”

“Oh no.” Winter denied, shaking his head, dark eyes wide.

Moon cocked her head towards her boyfriend, eyes still fixed on the albino Nightwing. “What is it, my snowflake?”

NO! I CAN’T BE RELATED TO TURTLE!? ” He shrieked.

Pike burst out laughing, desperately clutching at his chest.

“PIKE WAS BAD ENOUGH, BUT TURTLE?!”