(If you're new here, the first chapter of Fireborn is Wings on His Fingers. Feel free to click over to there if you'd prefer to read the story in order.)_________________
Orchid flew toward the kitchen-shelter, pushing to fly fast, and higher than she needed to, because it felt good to grab the wind with her wings. She loved flying fast, with the wind rushing against her face. She wondered what it would be like to be unable to fly–would it be as joyous to climb, or run, or swim? She couldn’t imagine it, always being trapped by gravity.
She wondered what it might be like to suddenly realize you were fireborn. Would the magic be like flying, joyous and irresistible? Why else would someone play with it when everyone was so scared?
Too soon, she saw the cluster of sunshades below her and dove downward, pulling into a spiral as she slowed for landing. Below her, she saw two women standing, waving their arms, obviously arguing. She slowed more, dropping close enough to hear them yelling.
“Joy, you better keep your little slut away from my son!” The tall woman with vines twining around her shoulders waved wildly.
“How dare you! Skimmer is 15, my little Willow’s still a child. You keep your young <i>man</i> away from my baby.” She shook her finger in the other’s face. This woman had orange and gold tattoos--silly looking fish, Orchid remembered from lunch.
“Have you looked at her lately? She’s no child. And she’s been trying to seduce my little boy!” As Orchid circled, she got a better view of the pattern of the tattoos on her front, and recognized Firefly. Up close, it was the insects that you noticed, more than the vines.
“Your son has bewitched her. I’ve never seen her act like this.” Joy advanced toward Firefly.
“How dare you make nasty digs at my son?”
“Fine–I’ll say it outright! Skimmer is the fireborn!”
Orchid swooped lower, trying to remember which one was Skimmer.
A third woman, one with circle tattoos stepped out from under the sunshade. “Skimmer?” Her voice rose sharply.
Orchid thought about the tattoos on the kids she’d met. No one her age was called Skimmer–but there was that teenager with tattoos of the tiny, weird insects that walked on water.
“How dare you accuse my child–“ Firefly balled up a fist, and started to swing.
Orchid gaped–they were going to hit each other! She realized she was flying at just about the right height and speed to distract them, and the grass wasn’t really heavy. She let go one bundle, then as it was falling, realized that a fight would have given her time to go warn Skimmer. Too late–if she didn’t want big trouble with her mother, she had to follow up on her interruption.
The bundle of grass came right at Firefly’s face, and she stepped back and batted it away. Orchid swooped down. “Oh, I’m sorry–these are heavier than I thought, and I lost my grip.” She ducked her head and tried to look embarrassed, using the motion to look under the sunshade for her mother. Mist would know full well she’d never drop something so light accidentally, but luckily she wasn’t in sight. “Is everyone ok?” She dropped the other three bundles between the two women, and hovered in front of Firefly. “I didn’t hurt you, did I? I’m so sorry!”
“No, I’m fine.”
Joy ignored Orchid and turned to the woman with the circle tattoos, “Ripple, where’s Eel? We’re going to get to the bottom of this!”
“Are you sure you’re OK?” Orchid asked.
Joy and Ripple started to walk away, and Firefly waved her hand at Orchid, motioning her away. “I’m fine. It’s ok, you can head back out.” Orchid backed away from her rather wildly waving hand, and Firefly headed after the other two women, totally ignoring her.
Orchid smiled–that suited her fine. She left the bundles of grass where they had fallen and rose up again, circling, looking for Skimmer. She had to find him before the Mayor did.
Fireborn continues with Worried Parents
Ok, that's it for this week, unless I get $10 in donations. If you can't afford to donate, but know other people who would enjoy the story, please refer them. I'll also publish the next chapter early if I get 10 comments from new people.
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