Arc 3: A city where 4 clans reside in peace.
"If you worry what Xiao Bai will think, mind you, she’s the one suggesting. Isn’t it uncomfortable living under the sun and wind? Stay in my spare room, en? We want nothing from each other and both like another. If anything you’d be living closer to her.
“Enough, Female. You’ve been at it for 5 days.”
I’m just afraid Caden will pounce me in my sleep. I know you’re a level weaker to win against him but- ever heard of mental support? You’re the only strong one free to live with me and won’t grope me at night!
Muhr sighed. The female before him was too persistent and tempting with her offers. “Your male returns. I leave.”
Ash tried to nod excitedly before running off. ‘Tried’ because she was too stiff before her self-claimed idol. However, as an identically stiff character, he got her enthusiasm loud and clear.
I should be living with QingQing, not her! She wasn’t even forceful, why did I agree? Should I call her back and refuse?
But something about her hostile gaze slowly warming up made him want to fulfill her mischievous whims.
I’m the only male who’ll never fall for her scam intimacy. I should stick along to warn other males, or she'd break too many hearts.
She lives alone and earns her food on her own, right? Should I hunt for her?
It's a return of providing me with a roof, of course.
Will she even accept? After all, she’s strong enough to hunt herself.
It was another regular morning for Ash and Zayn to start a light chit-chat:
“Had I not know any better, I’d deem you a snake. How do you twist your whole body like that?”
“It’s called yoga, dumbass. Every ape knows how to do it.”
“Lies. My QingQing has so much difficulty following you. You even know so many details of our lives, some unknown even by ourselves, as if you receive legacies like that snake bastard. Although I’ve never heard of any snake female in my life, you're suspicious.”
"Female beastmen can’t survive alone until they come of age. As snake fathers don’t care for children and throw them away in less than 10 days of birth, no wonder all died. How’ll you see one? Sus? Me? Will it kill you to approve I work hard?
“You? Work hard? Carrying around all sizes of pointy objects? Pss~ Hunt an antelope before my eyes then I’ll see.”
Why’s Bai here? Even the snake tagged along? Ash only wanted to show Zayn she’s good enough in archery to kill antelopes. So she asked Zayn out in the jungle. Why they were hiding in a bush behind a herd of antelope while the other two secure a seat on a tree and when she agreed to ‘compete’ against Zayn- a carnivorous hunter was beyond her.
Caden’s tail is even surrounding me like a shield. The hell is going on here?
When Ash saw Zayn fixing his stance, she forced herself to focus. What’s done was done. She could use this moment to honor humanity.
If my basic knowledge about animals is correct, felines target their prey specifically. They won’t chase a different one even if they’re standing closer or calmer.
The competitors chose their targets.
They’d stalk and pounce from behind a bush or tree.
Ash lowered her body behind long grasses.
Lions and tigers pounce and bite their prey on spot. Contrarily, cheetahs and leopards chase their prey into exhaustion before killing. If so, Zayn will give chase.
She adjusted her arrow silently.
It will waste his time. If his confidence is from his speed, he forgets my advantage.
Narrowing her eyes, she pulled on her bowstring.
Humans lack in strength and speed, but have excellent intelligence and weapons.
Her arrow and Zayn’s silhouette left their spot on QingQing’s signal.
‘This’ is how humans overpower natural hunters like Zayn- ‘Poison Arrows’
When Ash first used her thorns on birds and they went limp, she thought their poison was life threatening. After saving Bai, she was informed that the wolves actually managed to recover in half an hour and fled. This proved they have paralysis effect. Rubbing the green edges on arrow heads she invented her own version of tranquilizer. Until Ash is capable of killing on spot using arrows or spears, she decided to use these.
While Zayn chased after his antelope like flashes of brown and yellow roaming around, her arrow hit her prey on the stomach. Startled, it tried running, but the poison’s effect was instantaneous, knocking it down. Before she could grab it however, Caden’s tail warped around her and pulled her on the tree.
“Let me go, crazy snake! I need to bring it here before he's back!” Ash cursed at the feared feral.
The startled Caden quickly recovered, answering lazily, “No need. You won” Then he patted her head, “Good job.”
QingQing too giggled with a cheerful clap. “Yes, yes, the rule was: whose prey falls to the ground first wins. Look there, Zayn is glaring. Hahaha.”
When did they even add- Fu** it. This is chance to poke fun at Zayn.
“To think a leopard with 2 damn stripes lost to a female in hunting because he was too arrogant. Hahaha.”
Caden let out a soft chuckle and decided to join the slander, “Serves him right.”
“You run in circles along the fences every day. It’s dizzying to watch. My savior at least rests after every 3 rounds.” Muhr handed an animal hide bag full of round objects to Ash after tying the skirt she gave him the other day around his waist. He felt a need to sew more skirts as he’s living with an outsider female now.
“O hello Muhr~ You brought fruits again? Thank you.” She ignored my words... It irked him.
“Me, half for your little ‘savior’. I know. But as always there’ll be 3 portions. Here, this is yours.” Yeah, that’s how she divides it.
Ash looked at his naturally frowned brows as he ate his apple in a stiff manner. Is ‘stalking’ his only definition of pursuing? He doesn’t even give the gifts he brings to her himself. Will he remain this rigid and unromantic for the rest of his life? In the novel, even when he mates after 4 years from now and continues to live with Fl, his nature never changed. It’s such a waste of that face.
A: “Hey hot stuff.”
Muhr moved his sharp gaze to her.
M: “What stuff is hot?”
A: “I called you handsome.”
A hint of red crept up to his tanned cheeks as he averted gaze and bit on his apple, “Dofefr tok lydaf (Don’t ever talk like that.)”
So he knows how to blush? Cute.
“Go on a date with me?”
Those sharp eyes returned on her. “What’s that?”
“An outing a male and a female goes on to spend quality time, alone.”
The half chewed apple inside his mouth fell to the ground as his jaw hung open. Ash couldn’t hold back the wave of laughter. Spending a few nights together helped her nerves enough to be able to laugh in front of him nowadays.
M: “Watch your words female. Even so, I’ll only go one dates with my savior.”
Ash scoffed, “Do you know anything about feminine likes and wishes? I’m the only person offering help, not even asking for compensation, yet you refuse? This is exactly why you eagles suffer so much in the path of romance.” Ah, don’t glare like that idol, your eyes shoot lava!
When he still didn’t bulge, she thought of bribing him: “I’ll make you your favorite food.”
M: “What do you really want?”
A: ”A flight. It was fun last time.”
M: “...You don’t know my favorite food.”
Does that mean he’ll take me if I guess right? An eagle’s favorite, huh?
A: “Fish?” He shook his head.
A: “Birds? Rabbits? Lambs?” A snide smile stretched the corner of his lips.
He’s mocking me? I’ll definitely-
A: “What else can good ol’ ME feed YOU? Livers?” He froze.
Wow. That’s so random. There were livers in eagle diet? I only mentioned it because we have some leftover...
She ran into her side of the Ell with a squeal, prompting Muir to shake his head in disbelieve. He stood outside for a while, involuntarily listening in to the chaos she was creating around QingQing for the livers to be heated, her dress to be chosen, her hair to be made etc.
“Oi Muhr!” He almost jumped in surprise when her face popped out of the window he was standing blank-minded by the side of. “I have a yellow coat, a white and a black one. Which do you think suits me the best?” The sweet smell of her post-workout sweat almost blew him away. Caught too of guard he just pointed at the black one- “My color...” to which she flashed him an almost too gleeful smile. It took him a while to realize what he had done, so to not make the same mistake ever again, he stepped away from the window with a flushed face.
Snakes and eagles are natural enemies. Muhr was even poisoned by Caden. Moreover, he had seen the snake force himself on both females of the house making his hatred rise to no bound. Although she’d have no choice if Caden wants her, Ash choosing him as protection against said snake stroked his ego. Should I let her have her way just for today? He held the bag of remaining apples and was about to transform, deeply thinking, when Ash jumped on his back out of nowhere.
How’s she so sneaky? Half of the time I can’t sense her movements at all.
A: “Alright. Ash has fastened her seatbelt. Birdbrain can take off in 5-4-3-”
M: “Don’t call me that. Put the livers inside this bag so they’re secured. Are you aware that you have an alien vocabulary?”
A: “Duh. 3-2-1.”
What does that even... Ugh, whatever. He took off.
I never expected to witness something this stunning when I agreed to fly to this hill top.
A: ”The flight was slow and steadier than last time. You’re getting better, keep it up!”
Specks of weeds and moss were all over the place we landed in, thin yet strong water current flowing through the rocks. The sun was on its way to dusk, painting the world in an orange hue. “This place is perfect for a date, let’s sit over there.” Despite all, the one pushing the place to perfection was ‘her’.
I’ve known her for nearly a month, even shared some meals and a roof with her. But never was she someone worth focusing on. I’d rather spend my day sneaking glances at the kind and pretty female I love.
Today, as I was here alone with her, I had no choice but to see ‘her’. For the first time noticing that she was no part pure like her sister. She was the stunning one, her frame small yet sturdy. If my savior had skin as fair as snow, she has… as...
A: “Oi Birdbrain, look at the water. It shines gold like your eyes.”
Yes. Just like sunrays on water surface. The color radiates warmth. Her hair and eyes were the same color as me, but shinier, like a night full of stars.
A: “Sunset looks so beautiful from here...”
Hair done in odd twists and pulled in a ponytail made her facial features pop out. Were her eyes always this sharp? Did I not notice because she keeps her hair messy all the time?
A: “Bai heard about our date and insisted on braiding my hair and applying eye-liner. Hey eagle-eye, complement a female when you see difference in her appearance, ok?”
She was getting more expressive around me. I had this thought. Why does seeing little changes in that previously tense face make me feel the same way I do when I’m flying?
A: “A ride on you feels like I’ve grown wings of my own. I feel wild and free. The harsh wind brushing past my skin makes my adrenaline rush like crazy! Don’t be too mad at me for craving this feeling now and then, eh? It’s quite addicting.”
Is that how I feel watching her dark eyes sparkle as she smiles? That can’t be.
QingQing is the love of my life, any feeling of mine belongs to her and only her.
A: “Aigoo, our Birdbrain... so stiff and quiet~ trying to turn into a rock? It’s turned dark already and all the talking was done by me. Females will be bored sh*tless by you. Look at me. Then speak. Don’t think. Just say ‘anything’ that comes to mind.”
M: “You’re stunning under the moonlight.” What? Did I just say that?!
For a moment she was looking at me as if she had seen the dead. Then she suddenly lit up and slapped my back. Is that even a gesture a female makes?
A: “The first thing you say after wasting so much time on a date is that outright cheesy line? Way to become a flirt!”
Sometimes I don’t understand her words at all. So I silently watched her slide closer and tap a wild fruit on my lips, “Knock-Knock, eagle dearie. If you’re on a date, try to feed her like this.” I opened wide to take the whole thing in but she held onto it until I took a bite. Did her fingers that just brushed my mouth taste sweeter than the fruit itself? Must be my mistake. A: “No female can eat an apple whole, idiot. Hold it so she can bite.”
After blindly searching for a while in the dark, she took one of my hands and gently held it. In my large rough hold, hers felt like a petite cotton flower.
A: “Hold hands like this when she’s talking, walking or just sitting by your side.”
I had never touched a female’s hand before. It was so very soft, for a moment I was afraid I might crush it if I use the slightest strength. Putting her free hand under my chin she made my gaze turn away from our entangled hands up to her face.
A: ”Make eye contact and smile. Females find males with eyes like you charming.”
Isn’t she such a scam? Females are afraid of eyes like ours; the sole reason why eagles are so unpopular in my opinion. I hated my eyes.
But hers? I couldn’t help but watch as her ocean deep eyes slowly closed their lids, leaving fair skin to glow in their place. Her plump lips curved into a lazy smile. Something doesn’t feel right. She’s showing me what to do with ‘my female’, right? My heart leaped to the top of my throat when she leaned in.
I didn't know what she meant to do. She was so very close, I could taste her breath. If I only- Caught up in a haze I slightly leaned in too, almost raised my hand for her...
Just to meet with cool air as a small head landed on my shoulder.
A: “Whether it’s day or night, females love to stare in the sky... with their lover. Let her lean like this.”
Did I just lose myself in a daydream? The female in front of me is Ash, Ash! Not my savior! Ignorant of my anxiety, she kept blabbering on about romance in that position. Albeit cursing myself internally, my mind kept drifting to her voice. She sounded different when she let her guard down and relaxed. It was... enchanting.
A: “All... is considered... romant-yawn... to..”
M: “Tired? Get on my back and rest I’ll take you home.”
A: “Mm, thanks. Keep up the soft tone... If I like it-yawn-any female would.”
Is that so... On my way back, her words kept ringing in my head. For some reason I couldn’t stop smiling. She asked me to smile more anyway.
Upon reaching the Elle, I saw was QingQing impatiently pacing the yard, Caden and Zayn standing at the main door. Seeing me, her lovely face visibly relaxed. Whereas Zayn yelled, “Where do you think-mmph!”
She held his mouth, whispering, “Shush. Can’t you see she’s asleep?” then turned back to me. “Thank you for taking care of jiejie, Muhr ge. You’re sleeping in her section too, right? Go on in.” I nodded before stepping inside.
Did she just willingly talk to me?
Ash was right. If I stick with her, my savior will warm up to me!