Alae Valley's Anguis Has a Heart - 3
The sky was blue in the early morning when Anguis sat on a zmey for a casual ride. It had become a habit to fly with a companion every morning to enjoy the cold wind and see what it would bring them.
Anguis had long learnt how to read the sky, and he could see that rain awaited them in the late afternoon. His senses also tingled, saying that zmey should fly lower.
As he said that, zmey immediately dived down, surprising him. He knew that zmey didn’t mean to hurt him, it was just a friendly teasing. He laughed, enjoying the buzzing in his ears.
”Hey, Anguis. Can we play a bit? Just a little before we go back to the valley?” Zmey whined, trying to act cute with its big build and menacing yellow eyes.
Every day, Anguis would choose another companion, and today was finally her turn. She wanted to make the most of it.
Anguis chuckled and nodded. ”How do you want to play?”
She blinked, slowly gliding through the clouds. ”Let’s do some spins. Multiple spins. I want to practice them, and I know that you like them. I could also breathe a little fire too.” She cocked the eye that observed Anguis who seemed to be in a daze. She knew that he was imagining it right now.
He was always full of ideas that youngsters like her couldn’t comprehend. Well, he was taught by Aestus himself, the wisest dragon in the flight.
”Sure, let’s do it. I feel I can do it today.” Anguis nodded and caught her firmly by her scales. It was noteworthy to say that Anguis rode dragons bareback.
She giggled, letting out a few puffs as she descended below the clouds and started spinning. First just one, to get used to the sensation. Then two in a row, which made her excited and she roared, her mouth full of smoke. Soon, she spinned thirteen times in a row, spitting out fire to create a trail of her path.
Then she stopped and turned around to see her masterpiece. It didn’t exactly go as she wanted.
The curves were cut through because she had her wings wide open. Anguis, breathing deeply to compose himself because he did not expect such ferocity, patted her comfortingly. ”Don’t worry, it’ll be better next time.”
Zmey nodded and slowly went back to the valley. They landed and Anguis nimbly jumped down, then caressed zmey on her cheek before leaving to catch some fish in the nearby river that went through the valley.
After he did that, he roasted it and cleaned up after himself. Leaving carcasses was not nice. He had to bury them to help the land nurture itself.
He roamed around until he saw that the sun moved quite a bit. It would soon be the time for his lessons with Aestus. He hurried to the secluded cave that was near the end of the valley.
For as long as he knew him, Aestus loved being alone, so not many disturbed him until it was absolutely necessary or he came out himself to find the Leader or the Senior for a talk.
Before he entered the cave, he paid attention to the carvings on the entrance. He recognised all of the symbols and he felt proud of it.
”Anguis, come inside quickly.” A warm voice echoed from the cave. It made Anguis feel welcomed. He remembered this voice from his childhood. He sang him lullabies when he was a toddler, regularly let him mount him, fed him freshly made food.
Anguis slowly entered and after walking a bit, he entered the dwelling. It was wide and had a high ceiling. On one side were wooden shelves full of books that Aestus kept and translated for Anguis specifically.
He saw a man who reached almost the top of the shelf with the extension of his tail which was pure black in colour. His scales were small and delicate.
The man had short black hair and eyes, his contours actually quite rough. He wore a leather shirt that covered his upper body. Anguis knew the story about this particular form since he was small.
When Aestus was younger, he researched many books on magic and found that one of them held the instructions for a potion that would transform you into your desired appearance. It was meant to be a form of concealment, as it would make a Mage that would use it either another person or he could turn into an animal for some time.
Aestus ensured that he had all the ingredients and made batches after batches of the potion. He was a wyrm, so when he transformed into a man, he looked completely normal.
Thus, he brought batches of the potion and went his way towards the capital of the Vetustas, Caelum.
He smuggled in as a human, and well, since the valley was full of treasures, he had no lack of money. He bought books in bulks and a big carriage that would carry them. Within days, he raided the whole capital.
What ate him was that he couldn’t get his hands on the books from the First Magi Academy and the palace, so he went back to the valley with the spoils, making sure that no one would be able to follow him.
A month later, he came to the capital directly as a wyrm, and found a potential Dragon Rider that was suitable for him. It was a young boy of just six years, and accidentally, he was the youngest prince. The prince had a mark of a Dragon Rider, and readily accepted the wyrm that came to him.
He stayed with him for years, and when the prince was near his death, he revealed his human form.
Then he told the prince his reason for coming.
At that, the prince ordered that all the books in the palace be copied as compensation for the dragon because he loved reading. Of course, nobody found out about his ability to transform.
In return, the prince asked for one thing.
He wanted one potion too, so that he could turn into a dragon for a short time. Aestus sneaked out of the palace with him, that seventy three years old man and gave him a potion.
He watched as the prince turned into a majestic quetzalcoatl and flew into the sky, enjoying the last wisps of life. After he turned back, they went back to the palace, and three days later, he passed away.
Aestus stayed until he got his books, and then he went away. Of course, as much as Aestus made it seem easy, Anguis was aware that it was a journey full of danger.
Even after that, as generations passed, Aestus sneaked into the Academy multiple times until he hit his limit. The potion wasn’t effective enough anymore.
Risking it all, he made an extremely concentrated version of the potion and drank it. Then he went to the Academy, became a student and studied with apprentice Mages for 10 years before becoming an official Mage.
Then he got all the books and carefully and secretly transcribed them one by one, stuffing each finished book into a dimensional pocket he made. When his mission was finished, it had passed more than fifty years and he slipped out of his tower, leaving a simple message.
‘It’s my time to go.’
Everyone understood it as his dying message, and this was perfect for him.
He came to the Alae valley in his human form, but everyone knew him, so no dragon was alarmed. A couple days later, he woke up as half-wyrm, half-human.
The potion had a side-effect, making him retain half his human appearance. Luckily, he brought everything he owned with him, and so he had clothes to wear because he became more sensitive to the cold.
All of the clothes Anguis was wearing were also made by Aestus.
Anguis sighed, wondering how the capital looked now. He knew its appearance from two hundred years ago because Aestus drew it and hung it on one of the walls of the cave.
”Anguis, sit down. Today, you’ll be learning a new type of magic.”