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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10. The Shady Raven

          For the first time since he had been captured, Fens could now see the results of his absence from Greenbrook. While it was rather hard to see in the dark, he could sense the thirst the flowers and trees felt from lack of their precious wish energy. He was glad that he wasn't the only Carrier General. Greenbrook was but a single region in the Herald area. He wasn't exactly sure how large the affected area was, but it was clear that things were slowly dying. He had to get home fast.

          The bag full of wish bottles only slowed him down, but he knew Greenbrook needed them. He pushed on through the darkness despite his fatigue.

          The smell of rain filled the air and Fens hoped it wouldn't actually start to downpour. He picked up speed in an effort to race against it, but his hopes were shattered as a single drop hit him on the head.

          He grimaced, but pushed on. There was no time to rest or find shelter. With quick reflexes, he dodged between raindrops. It wasn't just luck that got him his position as General. He grinned at this thought.

          The drizzle soon became a downpour and Fens found it exceptionally hard to fly. Catching breaks under leaves, he tried to make his way into the shelter of the forest.

          Just a little farther! he insisted, pushing even harder to get home. I can't stop now.

          A sudden gust of wind knocked him sideways. He blinked and fluttered in place, surprised by the assault, but after a short pause he trudged on.

          The rain fell in sheets now. It was nearly impossible to see. Anyone else would have stopped already to wait out the storm, but a Carrier General was not one to give up that easily. A flash of lightning lit the scene and a loud clap of thunder followed seconds later.

          Three seconds, Fens counted. That means the storm is right on top of me already. His feathers were soaked through and his bag was growing heavier by the second, but still he didn't stop. I'm not a General if I can't travel through a simple storm!

          The wind began to pick up, blowing him this way and that. He was beginning to lose track of where he was going. A sudden wet force hit the side of his head with a loud Plat! Fens was knocked clear to the ground, which was now muddy and slimy. He quickly shook himself off and set off again, despite the loud clap of thunder that shook the trees behind him.

          The wind swirled around him, sending a spray of rain in his face. He wasn't sure which was he was facing now. Was it north, or east? The wind swept him up like a dry leaf and he felt himself carried across miles of unknown territory. He began to panic, fighting against the wind, but the power of nature defeated him. He folded his wings against his body, grasped his bag strap in his beak, closed his eyes, and prayed.

          The wind calmed after what seemed like hours and Fens came to a gentle stop on something that felt rather solid. It didn't smell like grass, but at least he wasn't being blown around anymore. He opened his eyes, but instantly after he did, he wished he hadn't. Two bright eyes raced towards him, growing bigger by the second. He gasped and tried to fly, but the beast was on him with a roar. The front grill sent him flying, and if it wasn't for the tree, he would have kept going. The last thing he heard was a glass shattering and his only thought was oh no...the bottles....

          He woke the next morning with a headache bigger than the SUV that had hit him. He lay there, his eyes closed, trying to calm the headache he had. He thanked Procne that there were no cats (or badgers, or falcons, or owls) around. Finally, he slowly opened his eyes and half wished he didn't. There was a broken bottle of wish energy on the ground beside him, and the other bottles had spilled out of his bag. He furrowed his brow with anxiety, glad the rest were't damaged and quickly gathered them back into the bag.

          He was sitting on a large beach, his rear in the sand. He had never seen sand before. Well, he had once or twice in Carrier training, but never in Greenbrook. Was he even in Greenbrook anymore?

          To clear his head, he did what all birds do when they are stressed or deep in thought. He began to preen himself. Slowly, his headache began to recede and his mind began to clear. Obviously he was not in Greenbrook anymore, so where was he? His feathers now minus as much sand as he could clean out, he set off toward the smell of salty air in hopes to find some kind of help.

          Fluttering nervously, he approached the vast openness of the shore. He'd never been in such an open space. The salty sea lapped at the shore as if trying to eat the sand. The whole thing reminded the hummingbird of a giant cat's mouth. He shuttered at the thought.

          A few strange looking birds trotted about the sands. They had rather long legs. Fens recognized them from a local killdeer family back in Greenbrook, but these birds were much larger than the ones he was used to seeing. He approached one cautiously, ever alert despite his tiredness.

          The bird, which appeared to be a sandpiper, paid no attention to the alien hummingbird. He seemed too busy picking about for small crabs and insects. Fens cleared his throat, trying to capture the other birds attention, but the sound of a hummingbird clearing his throat was apparently not loud enough for anyone or anything to hear. He tried again.

          "Excuse me, sir," Fens said. The sandpiper glanced up, expecting someone larger. His face mirrored surprise to find that it was instead a hummingbird.

          "Oh, hello!" the sandpiper exclaimed. "Who are you? I havn't seen you around these parts."

          "I'm a little lost," Fens explained, alighting on the sand next to the other bird.

          "I can see that!" the sandpiper smiled. "And a Carrier no less! The name's Atticus - Atticus Whiteleg."

          "Fens Foxglove," the hummingbird said with a nod. "You know about the Carriers?"

          "Who doesn't? Those little birds are the reason the plants are flourishing around here. What region are you from, little guy?"

          Fens adjusted his should strap, wishing the bag wasn't so heavy. "I'm from Greenbrook, in Herald," he explained.

          "Oh, is that the Cleveland area?" Atticus asked. "I have a cousin from there."

          "Cleveland...?" Fens raised an eyebrow up at the sandpiper. "Nevermind. Can you tell me where I am?"

          "You're in what the humans call Atlantic City, right on the New Jersey shore!" Atticus exclaimed, raising his wings enthusiastically.

          "Where is At-lan-ticks Sitty?" Fens asked. "It sounds like a nasty fly."

          "It's a big human city. I swear, you're going to love it."

          "I need to get home, though! I can't be here!" Fens began to panic. "You know where I'm from - that Cleveland thing. How do I get back there?"

           Before the sandpiper could answer, his stomach growled viciously. Atticus chuckled.

          "Here, have a sandflea," he offered, plucking the small custacean from the sand.

          "I prefer nectar..." Fens replied, motioning a no. "Are there any flowers around here?"

          "There's a few flower shops in the city I think," Atticus replied.

          Fens' stomach protested even louder. Finally, he gave in. "Alright, I'll have a sandgnat...or whatever they are called." The sandpiper smiled and handed him one. Fens took a bite and very gingerly at the creature. He hoped his stomach could take it - he was a devout vegetarian as most hummingbirds were. He had to take multiple bites because the sandflea was nearly the size of his head. He was always warned to not eat anything bigger than your own cranium, but he wasn't going to complain on such an empty stomach.

          "Cleveland is a rather long way from here," Atticus said after a pause. "How do you plan to get back there?"

          "Ahm naw' shurr," Fens answered, his mouth full of mole crab. He swallowed and continued. "I'm not sure. I can't believe I was blown that far by the wind. How far away is that?"

          "I think by human standards that's more than 100 miles," Atticus stated, digging through the sand for another sand flea. He found one and promptly swallowed it without even chewing. "That's probably 10 hours by wing, and that's if you don't stop for a break."

          "Ten hours?" Fens exclaimed. "I wouldn't be able to move after I got home!"

          "Well, maybe you can catch a ride on things humans use. What are they called?" The sandpiper thought for a moment. "Trains? Yeah, trains. They go pretty fast. That will get you home in a jiffy!"

          "Where can I find this...train?" Fens asked, tilting his head.

          Atticus paused for a moment. "I think the pigeons in the city might know. They hang around humans a lot."

          "Pigeons?" Fens had heard about them, but in Greenbrook they called them doves. He supposed they were the same thing. "They're the fat birds that go 'cuooocuooo?'"

          "That's them alright!" Atticus nodded.

          "Thank you," Fens bowed. "How can I ever repay you?"

          "Think nothing of it," the sandpiper replied, making a dismissive gesture. "Just keep up the good work and keep those plants looking sharp!"

          Fens thanked him again and fluttered off toward the city, a nervous feeling in his gut. He'd never been to a big city before, so he was hardly sure what to expect.

          The salty air got inside Fens' nose and made him think of sunflowers. He didn't much like sunflowers - their nectar was rather bland. The breeze made things a little rough, so he hurried along in an effort to reach shelter. The cries of hawks and falcons made him dart back and forth in apprehension.

          After what seemed like hours, he finally reached a busy street. Humans strolled along the sidewalk, glancing in shops and chatting with others. A flower shop caught his eye and he  darted over, perching under the awning in an effort to hide from high-flying eyes.

          The smell of the blooms beckoned him with visions of their delicious nectar. He felt himself drooling a little, but he shook his head. He needed to get home; he had no time for snacks! Well, maybe just a little sip....

          Fens suddenly got the very strange feeling that he was being watched. He glanced sideways toward the open shop door. Two pairs of green eyes stared back at him, unblinking. The cat, now knowing it had been spotted, took a last chance flying leap toward its prey. Fens burst forward, barely escaping its deadly claws. But he didn't stop - he kept flying as fast as he could.

          He didn't slow down until he was about a half mile down the block. He breathed a sigh of relief. He would have to be more careful if he was going to find this train thing.

          There was no shortage of pigeons in the city. In fact, everywhere Fens looked there was a pigeon. There were pigeons on the benches, pigeons on the roofs, pigeons on statues, and pigeons on trees. The question was, which one knew what a train was?

          Flitting around a few of the chubby birds that sat on a telephone wire, he tried to get their attention. But, the pigeons simply grumbled and went back to sleep. He tried speaking to a few that were picking on the ground for scraps left by some humans that had just eaten their lunch there, but they didn't even look up.

          Fluttering along the street, he spotted a large group of pigeons waddling around a circular grate that extended in a dome-shape. Fens had never seen anything like this, but he had also never been in a city before. He flapped over and landed lightly on the concrete surrounding the grate.

          "Hello?" he said, trying to get the attention of any one of the pigeons. A few glanced up and went back about napping or picking at the ground. One approached him, blinking confusedly.

          "Yes? What are you?" it said.

          "I'm Fens," the hummingbird explained. "I'm looking for a train."

          "I don't know anything about trains," it said, acting rather suspicious as if the train was some big secret. "Don't ask me about them!" it shouted, flapping away quickly.

 

          Frustrated at his bad luck so far, he came to rest in a small park. He alighted in a maple and looked over the scene below him. Why was it so hard to find out about human transportation? He sighed, and fluffed up his feathers, thinking about his next move.

          His musings were interrupted by a slight movement on the branch. He turned to see a rather large bird, black as night, watching him. It moved closer, its dark eyes piercing through him. His first instinct was to move away, but the trunk of the tree was a little closer than he imagined.

          "'Ey, relax, little birdy," the raven said. "I'm naht gonna hurt'chu."

          "How do I know that?" Fens asked, pushing himself against the tree trunk.

          "I been wahtchin' you fer a while," it replied, "and I think I can help you."

          The truth was that this raven had been watching Fens for a while. In all reality, she'd been following him since he entered the city. Having spotted a rather unusual visitor, she immediatly decided that he was of some use to her. In fact, he was of very much use.

          "How, by eating me?" Fens spat, attempting to climb the trunk.

          "Hahdly," she replied. "I can help you find your train."

          "You can?" Fens' expression changed from fear to hopeful, but quickly switched to skepticism. "I mean, what do I have to do to get this information?" He knew this type all too well. They would require a favor to gain anything of use.

          "Yah my kinda bird," the raven smiled. "It's naht too hahd, I prawmiss." She drew closer to Fens, extending a foot in greeting. "Th'name's Blackfoot. Lucinda Blackfoot."

          "Fens," the hummingbird answered, returning the foot-shake. He raised an eyebrow in expectation.

          "I see you're a bird of business," Lucinda chuckled. "The task's simple. All you have to do is get an egg for me."

          "An egg?" Fens asked, perplexed.

"There's a mighty big falcon that has some eggs I'd like," the black bird ruffled her feathers in excitement. "Those eggs ah rathuh tasty, so get me one, and I'll show you your train."

          Fens hated the idea if stealing eggs from other birds, or any creature for that matter, but he was desperate. "Fine," he conceded. "I'll do it."

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