Wish Carriers

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Liffon Foxglove, the youngest in the Foxglove line, travels to Greenbrook to become a Wish Carrier. Upon arriving, he finds his father, the famous Fens Foxglove, has gone missing on a very important mission. Where has he gone? It's up to the young hummingbird and his new friend Lissa Gentian to find out what's going on. What they find may even be a threat to the Carriers, let alone Greenbrook and perhaps all of Herald itself.

Please feel free to comment. I have divided the chapters up according to basic word count, so they are rather long. When I totally finish everything, it will probably look a bit nicer.

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15. Stormy Weather

         A warm breeze ruffled Liffon’s feathers. He would have enjoyed it more had it been any other situation. His anxiety was starting to get the best of him. 
         Of course, he didn’t let it show on his face. He glanced behind him at Lissa, who sent him a small smile. He gave her a nervous grin in return, and averted his eyes. She tilted her head, non-verbally asking what was wrong, but he didn’t reply.
         Larx and Artemis flew behind her, engaged in conversation. Larx mock gasped and they both giggled. Artemis’ spectacles slipped off, but Larx caught then in her beak and gingerly placed them back on her friend’s tiny face. Artemis thanked her and Larx licked her cheek in response. Artemis blushed furiously, but Liffon didn’t see what happened next. 
         He turned back around and grimaced. He wasn’t as disgusted with the fact that there was romance going on behind him, as he was with the fact romance existed. He’d always pushed it away as if it were a parasite. In a way he felt it was, needing someone like that.
         Cirrus must have heard his sound of disgust. The stocky black-chin glanced behind him and leaned in closer to Liffon.
          “Pity, huh? I always thought I could hook up with one of them,” the larger bird commented.
          “Cirrus!” Kiffy exclaimed. He had been flying on the other side of Cirrus. “That’s really rude!”
Cirrus was surprised at the outburst. It appeared Lissa, Larx, and Artemis were as well - they had fallen sielnt and were listening.
          “Hens aren’t objects!” Kiffy all but shouted.
          “Alright! Alright!” Cirrus put up his feet defensively. “Sorry, jeez!”
         They all hung in silence for a while, flying in formation. Lissa, eager to break the awkwardness, suggested they land at a nearby park. There seemed to be lots of flowers they could harvest.
          “I’m not hungry,” Cirrus said sulkily. But he landed anyway to rest.
         The park was full of pigeons. Liffon had never seen so many in one place. There were humans around, but they were mostly feeding the fat gray birds. 
         After taking his fill off the pansies planted around the maple trees, he flitted over to the fountain. It was a nice fountain, modled after a natural stone one that made it look more like something he might find actually in nature. However, this was made of some kind of porous stone that was sturdy, yet cheap.
         The water on the second ledge was shallow enough to bathe in, so he did just that, flinging water all over his dirty feathers. It had been a while since he had a chance to do this.
         Lissa landed next to him, hopping about the accidental bird bath. Liffon looked up at her, but averted his eyes again, hopping to a higher ledge to preen himself.
         Lissa frowned angrily and growled. She would have none of this anymore.
          “What’s wrong?” she asked, fluttering up next to him. He jumped, but didn’t look up. He simply moved over to make room for her. “You know you can talk to me, you featherhead.”
         Liffon looked up at her and met her eyes. But after only a second, he looked away.
          “Something is bothering you, I know,” she stated. Liffon knew if he didn’t talk now, she would keep bothering him about it.
          “What if we don’t find Dad?” he asked, his voice cracking.
          “Oh, is that it?” Liffon shot her a confused look. “We’ll find him. That’s a promise.” 
         Liffon opened his beak to say something else, but she wouldn’t let him. “And we will find him on time.”
         He felt himself smile slightly and fluffed up to let the sun dry him out.
          “That’s more like it,” she said, nudging him. “Don’t worry so much.”
         That really did make him feel quite a bit better, Liffon admitted to himself. He often forgot how much support he had in his friends.
         Kiffy and Larx made their way over to the fountain, chatting along the way.
          “Hey, you seen Cirrus?” the white-eared hummingbird asked. She landed in the makeshift bath and showered herself, as well as Kiffy.
          “Hey, watch it!” he chuckled, flicking water back at her.
          “I havn’t seen him since he went off sulking,” Liffon offered.
          “He’s so frustrating sometimes,” Kiffy said with a frown.

         Cirrus was indeed still sulking. He had never been yelled at like that in front of his friends before. But then again, he had never had friends like Kiffy before. He had always hung out with birds around his size growing up, but as soon as he set foot in the Carrier’s complex, he suddenly became the biggest one there.
         At first that made him feel proud and strong, but now it just made him feel like an awkward and clumsy oaf of a bird. He could no longer be the tough bird he was at home around the blackbirds and jays. Heck, he had even made it in with the grackles at one point, but that didn’t matter now.
         Now he was part of something bigger than himself. He had tried to impress them all with his tough bird act, but that didn’t work here. Here, they had something important to do, and no one shallow like him had a place here.
         A wave of doubt swept over him. He hunched down and fluffed himself up as if that might guard him against these new feelings. What if they didn’t really need him anymore? What if he was just an extra unneeded piece of this puzzle that was left over after the whole picture was put together?
         It was frustrating feeling like this. He didn’t know what to do. Should he ask them if they even needed him anymore? His doubt spread through him like a disease. He felt it physically. His thoughts wandered to his mother back home. What if he couldn’t come through for her and his little sisters?
         His worrisome thoughts were cut short when Artemis landed next to him.
          “Are you okay?” she asked.
         Cirrus looked down at her. She was much smaller than he, even by his standards. Her glasses were massive on her face, which at first had made him giggle, but now they were simply a part of her.
         He turned to her, looking her straight in the eye. He had never been one to dance around a subject, even a tough one like this.
          “I’m sorry, okay?” he blurted out.
         She tilted her head, confused.
          “I said something rude about you before,” he added, finally looking away.
          “Oh that?” she smiled. “It’s okay, I already forgave you when you admitted Kiffy was right.”
         Cirrus looked at her, surprised. She just smiled back. This was something new for him, too. 
          “So, just like that?” he asked.
          “Just like that,” she nodded. Her smile still surprised him. He couldn’t get over this. “Now, come on. Liffon found a bath. We can all get cleaned up!”
         With that, she flew off. Cirrus followed her with his eyes as she fluttered off towards the fountain. They all seemed to be having a good time. He smiled and sighed, finally admitted he deserved to have that. It was time to stop punishing himself and go get cleaned up.
         Today was a new day, and Cirrus decided he was a new bird. 

          “Welcome back, Cirrus,” Lissa said as the larger bird landed in the bath. He looked down, still a bit ashamed, but set about cleaning himself up as well. “Oh cheer up,” she added, flicking some water at him.
         Liffon found himself smiling, which surprised him when he realized it.
          “Look at that, even Liffy’s smilin’,” Larx pointed out.
          “No I’m not,” he protested.
         Artemis giggled, which in turn, made Liffon smile again.
          “There it is,” Lissa said with a wink.
         Everyone was in a much better mood after they were all cleaned up. They lined up on the perch Liffon sat and preened in silence. Larx and Artemis took turns straightening each other’s feathers. Liffon glowered and turned away.
          “What’s wrong?” Lissa asked, seeing his expression.
          “Nothing,” he lied.
          “Not into romance?” she said, this time a bit quieter.
         Liffon blushed furiously and looked away, frowning loudly. Lissa chuckled at his reaction and began preening his head feathers.
          “Stop!” he hissed and nudged her away. The force of the action caused her to knock into Kiffy and the pair of them lost balance and splashed into the water below.
          “What was that for?” Kiffy demanded, sputtering. He quickly flipped over and shook himself off.
          “Liffon was trying to hide his embarrassment,” Lissa said with a huge grin.
          “Shut up!” Liffon exclaimed, crossing his wings across his chest in anger. He was still blushing. “Let’s get going already,” he added, fluttering off toward a nearby tree.
          “What’s got his feathers in a bunch?” Cirrus asked, watching him fly away.

         The next few days were spent tracking down leads of an out of place hummingbird. The group hoped they could find something that would help them to their goal.
         A family of sparrows told them they had seen a strange bird down by the river, but upon getting there, they found out it was just an escaped parrotlet.
         A flock of geese grazing on a large lawn told them there were stories of strange birds showing up around the park lately, but it turned out it was just a flock of warblers resting on their migration path to Canada.
         They even interrogated a butterfly that said she had seen a bird that looked like her and liked flowers more than she did, but it turned out just to be a rather fat bumble bee.
         The group was losing hope at getting any useful leads. There wasn’t much else they could do thought besides continuing to travel.
         Liffon racked his brain for anything that could be useful. He thought of his father and everything they used to do and talk about trying to think of some clue - something that might help them. In his frustration, he began to become more and more withdrawn.
         At first Kiffy didn’t Liffon’s sullen behavior, but when his friend began to stop eating, he started to worry. Kiffy had never considered himself of much worth, so when he could return a favor, he would jump at the chance. Not only that, but he hated seeing a friend so upset. There had to be something he could do.
         One evening the group stopped at a small waterfall near a creek. The surrounding woods was growing dark, so this was a relativly safe space to rest unless it started raining. Liffon had alighted on the opppsite side of the falls, away from the group. 
         Kiffy’s heart sank as he saw his friend’s face covered in worry. He fluttered off to a nearby blackberry bush and plucked a small berry. Being careful not to crush it, he fluttered back to where Liffon sat.
          “Liffon?” he chirped quietly, approaching him.
         The other bird looked up, a bit surprised. He didn’t say anything, but Kiffy knew he was listening.
          “I know things aren’t easy right now, but they will get better,” he said, placing the berry in front of the ruby-throat. Liffon looked at the berry, then at Kiffy, his eyes full of exhaustion.
          “Thanks,” Liffon chirped.
          “It’s a pleasure,” Kiffy replied with a nod. He turned to join the others who were taking drinks from the stream, but Liffon stopped him.
          “No, I mean it, Kiffy,” he said.
         Kiffy turned back to his friend, a small smile across his beak.
          “You’re welcome.”
         As he landed next to the others, Lissa looked up at him.
          “Is he doing okay?” she asked, worry painted on her features.
          “He’ll be fine,” Kiffy assured her.
         As if on signal, Liffon fluttered over looking a little better than before. Blackberry juice was splattered on his beak, making him look rather comical.
          “Blackberries? Where?” Larx asked excitedly.
         Liffon raised an eyebrow, wondering how she knew, but Kiffy stepped in and explained that they were on bushes just a bit away. Without waiting for any other instructions, Larx took off in search of them, and Artemis followed close behind.
         The sun set slowly casting long shadows between the leaves. Liffon was glad it wasn’t raining. He would much rather sleep in a concealed area near this waterfall; he found the sound of the flowing stream helped him sleep better when he was stressed. His mother often brought him to the stream to calm him down when he was a hatchling.
         But something wasn’t right. He looked up and frowned as clouds gathered in the sky. Lissa, seeing his actions, mimicked them and adopted her own frown to match.
          “A storm,” she stated. “Just what we need.” She took to the air and flitted off to find the two hens seeking blackberries.
         The wind picked up faster than she expected. She was knocked off course, chirping in dismay.
          “Larx! Artemis!” she shouted above the wind. She spotted the pair having their own flying issues. They tumbled around, holding onto each other for dear life.
         Finally, in a break of the wind, they managed to right themselves enough to fly back toward Lissa.
          “What’s going on?” Larx asked, out of breath.
          “We’ve got to find shelter,” Lissa explained.
         Then the rain came.
         Slow at first, then a massive sheet as if someone had dropped a bucket.
         Lissa was swept aside and felt the ground give beneath her. No, it wasn’t ground, it was water. Two similar plops told her that Larx and Artemis had experienced the same event.
          “Lissa!” she heart Artemis cry. “Lissa, where are you?”
         The Xanthus’ hummingbird was glad it was shallow. Even in the rain, she could stand in the slow moving water. She caught Artemis’ tail feathers in her beak and swing sideways enough to get her friend onto semi-dry land.
         As Larx managed to right herself, Kiffy landed with a sploosh! next to the trio. The other two boys were a bit more graceful, but the rain remedied that quickly.
          “We can’t stay here,” Liffon said, racing to take shelter under the leaves. The low-hanging branch he had chosen was fortunately drier than he expected.
          “There has to be somewhere safe,” Cirrus chirped, shaking water from his feathers.
         Before they could even brainstorm safe spots, a blast of wind carried them into the air. Instinctively, they all gathered close and clutched each other by any means possible. Liffon felt his heart leap to his throat at the ball of feathers flew like a leaf through the storm. The last thing he saw was a wide metal pipe until the all tumbled into it, sopping wet and cold, but at least they were together.

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