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Venom Scars

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   Betelgeuse snapped at the ropes near the top of his wings, tearing through the fibers. When he managed to rip thorugh it, he shook the rest of the binding off. Stretching his wings out, he sighed. “Finally.” He muttered, hopping before flapping his wings to get himself off the ground. He flew up until he found another of the platforms, made of tree branches woven together with flowering vines. His claws clicked against the wood as he landed himself, reaching out a talon to pick one of the flowers off the vines. He examined it closely before putting it up to his snout to smell it, then set it down. He hadn’t thought the rainforest kingdom would look like this, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.

   He curled his tail as he looked around. In the foliage there were huts made from vines and broad leaves, and there were more platforms like the one he was sitting on scattered around. Around him, there was a cacophony of noises, from exotic birds to poisonous bugs all making outlandish noises. Betelgeuse stopped breathing a second just to listen more closely to the blanket of all the sounds mixing together.

   Betelgeuse flew to another platform, a little closer to the jungle floor. This seemed to be near the edges of the kingdom, since he couldn’t see any dragons out and about, like he’s used to seeing in populated areas. He decided to go and look for a more central part of the kingdom. Though, he didn’t really have a good idea where to go- he didn’t know where he was, or what direction he was facing. So he just decided to pick a direction, spread his wings, and took off that way. But it was a little harder than he’d thought.

   It didn’t take too long for his wings to start catching on vines that hung low from trees, causing him to have to stop to untangle his wings. Flight seemed to be a very inefficient option, so he took to the ground, continuing on foot. It felt like it had just rained, as when he took his steps, his foot would sink a little and water would well up around his talons. The entire atmosphere felt like it held moisture. And, though he’d only ever seen snow, he decided he liked rain. It wasn’t cold- more like a tropic, warm kind of wet, completely different than taking a dive in the freezing cold waters of the ice kingdom.

   As the weeds and low-hanging vines started to thin out, he thought he might be reaching a more populated place in the forest. But as the trees started to become fewer and farther between, he felt something was off, maybe he had gone in the wrong direction. Then he looked up and saw the ocean. “Of course. Just my luck.” He sighed, sitting down in the long, green grass. Patches of orange bloomed at the tip of his tail, a simple sign of irritation.

   “Hello?”

   He stiffened as he heard a voice in some sort of foreign accent. He carefully stood up, looking around to try and identify who had said it, and where they were. But he remained silent. “You! Hey!” Betelgeuse’s ears lowered as he looked to his right. He saw a bright red and teal dragon heading for him. Finally, another rainwing!

   “Oh, hey! I’m kind of lost, do you know the way back to the village?”

   The brightly colored dragon stopped a few feet away, now looking confused. “The village?” 

   And then he noticed. This wasn’t a rainwing. Her scales were different. There was a sash draped across her chest, tied together near her front legs. She had a second pair of horns and, upon closer inspection, the wings that were flat against the dragon’s sides weren’t actually two- there were four there. He had never seen anything like her in all the scrolls he’d read in school. “Wh… wait. Who… who are you? What are you?”

   The dragon seemed confused as to why he was asking so many questions. “Maria, but call me Miss Pantala. And I’m a silkwing..? I’m not from this continent. I thought you dragons knew about us.”

   “No, I- I’ve never heard of other continents before, what are you talking about?”

   “You’ve never heard about the legend of Clearsight?”

   “No..?”

   It seemed to click for Maria, maybe it was a different continent than she’d thought. “Oh. Well, I suppose I might as well make myself at home here. Do you know where this is?”

   “Well, not really. I’m kind of lost. But I do know that we’re somewhere on the edge of the rainforest kingdom.” 

   “And where is that, exactly?” 

   “Southern Pyrrhia- That’s our continent. I’d be willing to bet it’s different from yours.”

   “Oh, most definitely. We don’t have any forests on my continent.”

   “Hm.” Betelgeuse sighed. “Well, since we’re both lost, you wanna come with me to help find the village?” 

   “Sure. Haven’t got much else to do.”

   “Alright, let’s go, then.”

   With that, the two started heading back into the forest. As they ventured back into the forest, they remained silent. Though it wasn't uncomfortable, like most of the silence Betelgeuse had heard before. It felt cozy, it felt right. No words being exchanged just helped him fully take in the ambience of the jungle. 

   It wasn't too long before they had made it far enough into the brush and foliage to begin hearing a murmur of multiple voices of dragons. This gave them a bit of a new energy that the warm, calm ambience the rainforest had taken away.  At that, they picked up the speed, knowing they were close to where they wanted to go. Pushing one last bush out of the way and looking up, they knew they'd found it. 

   "Damn..."