Chapter 1: 1
The world was quiet this morning, and the sky had not yet risen from being pinky-yellow to the orange of the rising sun. Off-white clouds flowed through the sky, dotted with wind and spreading themselves out, blanketing the early morning. From the sky, if one were to look down, three silhouettes were to be reflected from the sky above - a small flock of Stryx. While all of the three had wings, only one could fly, and so they had made the choice together to walk along the ground, seeking treasures and mysterious objects.
One, an Anseri with a long and beautiful tail, stopped the party so she could preen herself. Digging through the dirt was NOT her style, but she would tolerate it, if she had to. Darudette let out a trumpeting sigh, ruffling her wings and bending her head to once again flip over small pebbles and root through dry grasses. "Do we have to be out here?" Her voice was tired, and melodramatic - it caused her companions to roll their eyes. "I'd prefer to be at the lake, swimming and splashing! This dry weather does horrible things to my plumage." She indignantly (and somehow, proudly) puffed out the crest of feathers that created horns on the top of her head, continuing to dig, despite her former complaints. The tufts of feathers on her head shook as she ripped up small tufts of grass, brushing away worms and beetles that rose from the grasses. She did eventually get more into the task, unearthing several shining rocks that she found pretty - while they weren't exactly particularly valuable, she seemed proud of them, and decided to sit atop the small pile, preening her feathers proudly and watching the others scavenge. Finally she turned her gaze on one of her companions. "Mooney, have you found anything yet?"
Next to her, the stout Korora chuckled. "Darudette, this isn't so bad! I know you don't hate it as much as you claim too, after all -" Mooney squinted one of his eyes closed and peered into the hollowed out knot of a tree, looking inside. "You never know what you'll find!" Deeming it safe, he stuck his beak into the hole of the tree and scooped out a hidden cache of old, rusted coins. "Aha!" His exclamation of joy at his find wasn't seen as amazing by Darudette, who made a grossed out face at the grimy pile of coins. "And yes, as you can see," he waved his wing at the coins, "I have indeed!" He went back to poking around, this time rooting through dropped evergreen needles, turning the soil up with his strong, clawed feet, raking deep furrows through the earth. He bent his head down curiously swiveling it from side to side when he unearthed a mollusk. He watched the small creature slowly pull itself past his waiting beak, at least until the third companion of the trio came by, sleek, shining feathers reflecting the dawn sunlight.
Moxie, a Rhakos with tufts atop her head, stood above Mooney and the snail. Her dark coat faded out into bright purple, pink, and blue accents, with what seemed like small particles of mica shining in the feathers of her tail. She squinted at the snail, then looked back at Mooney. "I bet you I can dig up more snails than you!" she remarked haughtily, holding her head and glowing eyes high. Suddenly, their scavenger hunt was more than just that - it was a competition.
Mooney smiled, and nodded. "You're on!" While Darudette cheered them on from the sidelines - er, from her throne of shiny rocks. Moxie went to a clump of moss at the roots of an incredibly tall oak, using the long talons on the ends of her wings to carefully peel back strips of it, searching for snails while not wanting to crush them in her haste. Piles of pebbles came along in her search, while Mooney dug around behind her. Moxie scooped everything interesting in one pile to the left - groups of old metal buttons, pins, anything and everything with a slight bit of weight to it. And to the right stood an ever-growing pile of snails, crawling all over each other.
The sun had mostly risen in the sky when Darudette yawned dramatically, calling an end to their snail-scavenging race. Moxie sat proudly next to a pile of snails that she was actively corralling into a small hole she had dug for them, whereas Mooney's pile was freely roaming all over the place. Both of their groupings of snails were quite formidable, and Moxie, grinning with surety that she had a win in the bag, beckoned Darudette over to count (or, in better terms, guesstimate) the contents of the snail piles. The swan like Styrx clucked, rolled her eyes, and waddled over anyway, where she proceeded to ponder for a moment over the critters. After a few tense moments with both Mooney and Moxie staring at her, Darudette threw her wings up in the air. "I have no idea!" she nearly honked the words, and with a sigh, waved her wings dismissively. "Just bring back both piles."
And so, the trio (with the two contestants staring at each other) scooped up their various treasures, and decided to walk onto their next destination. Along the way though, Mooney and Moxie couldn't help but bicker - with the long-suffering Darudette melodramatically wringing her feathers and sighing between them.
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