CONFIDENCE (Stryx 10010) - Chapter 1

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CONFIDENCE (Stryx 10010)

by mischievous-akuma

Libraries: Adventure, Fantasy, Original Fiction, Series

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Dracostryx Training entry for Dracostryx (Inferno) 10010 [ 2/5 ]

Watching Inferno become stronger and confident around the yard pleased me. He had gone from a wobbling legged mess to constantly following me around the backyard whenever I was outside with him. He could not run and gallop around the yard so he made do with going for walks himself when I was not home. It explained why he did not run or fly away from the firefighters and myself when we exited the building where I purchased him a month ago. 

It was late when I arrived; it was going on for 10 o’clock by the time I walked home. The sun had just set behind the horizon and the stars came out to greet me. The moon peeked out from behind the trees in the horizon providing a little light to the now darkened surroundings. Street lights had lit the way home for me, while my neighbours had their porch lights on which illuminated the area between our houses. 

The flowering bushes that once stood between my neighbours yard and mine had been chopped down with the promise of replacing them come spring. I turned and followed the path I made on the side of the house towards the backyard. Fallen leaves crunched under my feet as I made my way towards where I knew Inferno would be waiting. The air was colder than it was in the day time, frost starting to slowly form on whatever surfaces it touched. Inferno liked to gather the fallen leaves to create a comfortable spot to sleep under the large tree in my backyard. 

Inferno's fire flecked yellow orbs met my blue ones as I approached. He had excellent eyesight even with little light. I had my black curly hair tucked under my warm woolen hat. He stood and came over to me in greeting as he clicked his beak to nibble slightly on the woolen jacket I was wearing. He always towered over me but had learned that he is a giant and I am small and delicate. 

I stroked his cheek in greeting ruffling his feathers. Inferno gained considerable confidence living here with me. It came as a shock to my neighbours when they realized I returned with a juvenile Harpia rather than a hatchling of a smaller breed. At first they were scared to sit outside in their yard so Inferno was weary of them in return. Eventually they grew used to each other and apples as a peace offering seemed to do the trick to gain Inferno’s trust.

I headed over to the shed and entered the combination into the lock. I kept everything neat and tidy so I knew exactly where my bow and arrows were. Inferno was preening his bright red feathers when I exited the shed and relocked it. He knew this was routine now; after work we would walk in the woods. His presence would spook prey and hopefully I could fire an arrow fast enough to catch something for him to eat. I always had two to three days worth of meat back at home in case we caught nothing. He could not catch anything himself as of yet but I hoped these trips would help strengthen his legs a little more. Every night we would walk a little further into the forest. I worried that if he grew any taller we would not be able to continue our hunts together.  

Tonight however I put that thought on the back burner as I notched an arrow. The air in the forest was warmer as the trees retained the warmth of the afternoon sun and blocked the cooler air that created the frost in the open fields. A fog crept low to the moss covered ground making it hard for me to see. I relied on Inferno’s good sense of hearing to detect any movement. With nothing in the area we continued a little deeper. 

Inferno waddled after me and then froze staring off into part of the woods. The fog was thick so I carefully crept over the moss watching my footing while listening for any movement in front of me. The advantage to hunting while there is fog is they can not see you, the disadvantage is you can not see them. A few sounds here and there told me it was small, most likely rabbit or grouse. 

When I got close enough to see the rabbits outline I fired my arrow. It hit and a terrible scream echoed through the forest as my aim was off. The wounded rabbit did not have long to suffer however before I bent down and snapped its neck. Inferno stumbled over to my side as fast as he could over the terrain. He was good on flat ground but when it came to rough ground he still needed practice balancing. 

I watched as he pulled the arrow out with precision, picking up the rabbit he held it in his beak for a moment before tossing it. He caught it once again so it was positioned to go down whole easier. Inferno bobbed his head as he swallowed it, using gravity to help it slide down. Satisfied he let out a content noise. I could tell it was time to head back as he looked tired. He flapped his wings to help balance himself over the rough terrain. 

The walk home with him was peaceful. We did not encounter any more prey as the rabbits screams must have alerted others. Inferno followed me all the way up to the back door of my house which was an indication that he was still hungry. Unlocking the door I retrieved the rest of his meal. While he tore into it, I quietly returned the bow and arrows to the shed. 

When I walked back towards him he was stripping the last of the meat off of the bone. It always amazed me when he did this. Finished with this meal he rubbed his beak on the lawn to clean any bits off before he came over to me. He nudged me in thanks before waddling off to his bed. “You are welcome,” I chuckled. I gave him one last glance before I strode over to the doorway. I needed to sleep myself. 


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