Carpathia III: Episode 123: Blue

The Outlands, Yseri

Daily lunches outside the house were becoming routine and the blankets, bowls, and cutlery were always ready before Jacob arrived with his latest dish. Thus far, Kaoru was the only one who had found his place in the village, quickly taking to helping on the farms and learning about new varieties of crops and fruit trees that he was unaware of back at the Unassumed Lands. He, especially, appreciated the hearty meals that Jacob cooked every day.

The others, by contrast, were still finding their way, trying their hands at everything the village had to offer, from farming to fixing things, from working in shops to fishing. With the tension gradually melting away, it became easier for each of them to start envisioning themselves in various roles.

In the meantime, enjoying Jacob's meals and company was enough to occupy their time. This day, it was nearly time to clean up when an old friend, gone for several days, landed in the middle of the blanket.

Ryuu: Hiya!

Zet was the first to react, pouncing immediately on Ryuu, scooping him into his arms. Zet held Ryuu tight, cradling him in his arms and petting him like a puppy.

Zet: I missed you!

Ryuu gagged and began to struggle.

Ryuu: Too tight!

Zet gasped and released Ryuu right away. Ryuu staggered from Zet's lap and sat down near him.

Zet: I'm sorry!

Ryuu shook from head to tail, like a wet dog. Placing his paw on Zet's knee, Ryuu looked up at him longingly.

Ryuu: It's okay. I missed you too.

Amongst the group observing, Adell cleared his throat conspicuously, gaining Ryuu's attention.

Adell: Ryuu, did you find anything?

Ryuu turned and looked around at the rest of the group, as though he'd forgotten they were even there.

Ryuu: Oh! Yes, he should be here any min...

Before Ryuu could finish his sentence, a shadow passed overhead. Before anyone had a chance to look up, there was a resounding thud so forceful that even Jacob's heavy dutch ovens danced on the ground. For a moment, the others had trouble sitting up as well, and when they finally regained their composure and looked up, they were all confronted with a massive, blue beast.

Living with Ryuu did not prepare any of them for the scale of what they were witnessing. The dragon's head was as big as a large man's body and full of snaggley teeth. So tall it was that even with arm outstretched, it was doubtful that any of them could reach its nose. The body of the dragon was at least larger than a pair of train cars sitting side by side. Completing the picture was the spikey tail, which stretched as long as several city buses.

The group knew dragons. In their minds, they knew this dragon was not a threat. Nevertheless, everyone instinctively scooted back a few feet upon seeing the monstrous creature as it sat down and scratched itself with its hind leg. Even this sent vibrations through the ground beneath them. At last, it yawned and it's gaping maw looked as though it could easily accomodate a refrigerator. Unfortunately, his mouth also smelled of a refrigerator full of rotted meat.

Dragon: Mrrwrre grwbl wrbl.

Ryuu: Don't worry! He's nice!

Jaze: Did he just say something?

The dragon mercifully stopped scratching and grunted unintelligibly again.

Ryuu: Oh! I forgot to give him your language!

Ryuu turned to the blue dragon and, for awhile, each started grunting at each other in turn. Clearly, a conversation was taking place, though not one that any of them had any hope of deciphering. Finally, the blue dragon laid his head on the ground. Ryuu approached and laid his paw on the dragon's head for a few seconds.

Dragon: Greetings, fellow travelers. You may call me Blue.

Everyone glanced at each other, wondering who would speak first.

Artemis: Well, it certainly describes you.

Blue: True. I am blue. I think...

As though he had forgotten, Blue turned his head all the way around until he was looking at his own back.

Blue: Yes, I am blue.

Ryuu: That's his name in the dragon language anyway.

Blue leaned in close to Ryuu.

Blue: Little one, you said these are your friends, correct? Why do you keep that form when you are amongst them?

The others listened with great interest, knowing Ryuu had talked before about someday being able to change form. They were disappointed, however, when Ryuu responded with several grunts and growls. Dragon language, they were sure. They listened to the conversation, despite not knowing what was being said, until Ryuu began hopping excitedly in little circles. Again, Ryuu placed his paw on Blue's head, indicating that some sort of memory transfer was underway. When he was finished, Ryuu addressed the group.

Ryuu: I'll be right back!

With that, Ryuu darted into the house and closed the door, leaving everyone alone with Blue, who they still considered with some trepidation. Blue swished his tail as he sat, knocking over a fence and several fruit trees in the process.

Blue: I suppose I should change too. I'm a little big for this.

Blue smacked his lips and flicked his tongue several times as the others watched, transfixed. Expecting to see a transformation, they were disappointed at first. Blue turned his head and spat out bone fragments of several small animals and perhaps a few large ones, all of which landed somewhere amongst the fruit trees.

Blue: Forgive me. I am old and this may not sound pleasant.

Blue stood and spread his gnarled wings wide. He closed his eyes and his entire body tensed. Suddenly, there was a resounding "crack" and the others could swear that Blue seemd to become just a little smaller. Soon, the cracks came in several spurts, sounding as though a tree was collapsing nearby. Blue was definitely shrinking and changing his shape. His head shrank. His wings gradually disappeared. His tail became shorter. Finally, Blue was no longer a dragon, but a bearded, human-like figure with fish-like ears and a prodigious tail.

He was also entirely naked.

Blue: I hope this form will find you more comfortable.

Jacob scratched his head and adjusted his headband before speaking.

Jacob: Well, I reckon I have some old clothes that might fit.

Blue slowly sat on the ground as an awkward silence now permeated the air. Unlike Ryuu, who was gregarious and friendly, Blue was much more of a mystery, speaking very little. The others shifted uncomfortably on the ground, finishing up the last morsels of food from their bowls while eyeballing their new guest with trepidation.

Blue: I was a little older than Ryuu when I came here. Wishmaster tried to restrain me. He damaged my wings, but I was able to get away. I flew far away until...

Blue closed his eyes and his he suddenly slumped forward where he sat. The others waited intently for Blue to continue his story, expecting something dramatic forthcoming to warrant such a pause. However, nothing happened for quite some time. Then, finally, Blue started snoring.

Artemis: Is he asleep?!

Kaoru: I'd say he is.

Toma: Does anything normal ever happen on this planet?

Jaze: Not really, Toma, no.

As if to emphasize Jaze's response, Blue toppled onto his back and splat on the ground, still snoring.

Jacob: Well, that saves me offering him something to eat. I wonder how much food he needs in a day.

Their attention on Blue was suddenly removed when the front door of the house opened. What emerged was not the little dragon everyone knew, but a skinny, teenaged boy that none of them had ever seen before. He was a curious-looking individual, with red skin, white hair with a red streak down the center, and yellow eyes. This was enough to tell them that this was probably Ryuu in a brand new, humanoid form. However, everyone was especially distracted by one of his new features in particular as Ryuu hobbled out unsteadily on his two feet.

Ryuu: Walking on two feet is hard. Anyway... how do I look?

Nobody answered and instead stared wide-eyed at at Ryuu's crotch.

Ryuu: Something wrong?

Finally, of course, it was Kagurain who said what everyone else was thinking.

Kagurain: Ha ha! Your wee wee is two feet long!

If anything, Kagurain was underestimating. Quilyon covered Reuli's eyes with her hand while Ryuu looked down, examining himself.

Reuli: Hey! I wanna see!

Ryuu: I thought bigger was better?

Jaze: Not that big!

Kaoru rubbed his forehead.

Kaoru: Ryuu, please tell me this form isn't final.

Ryuu shifted uncomfortably on his feet as he scratched his neck.

Ryuu: No, it's not final. It will take a week or so before it becomes permanent. Until then, I can change things.

With that, Adell stood resolutely, straight and tall, as though ready to issue an important proclamation.

Adell: Okay, then! Ryuu, I will help you create the perfect wee wee!

Adell grinned merrily while rubbing his hands together.

Adell: I feel like my entire life has been preparation for this moment.

Ryuu tilted his head and his brand-new kitty ears fluttered on top of his head. Adell, however, turned to his side and extended his hand to Zet before doing anything else.

Adell: Come on, Zet, you should be involved in this too.

Without waiting for Zet to reciprocate, Adell grabbed Zet's paw and pulled him up. Dragging Zet along with him, Adell gave Ryuu a little push back toward the house. Before they were inside, Artemis followed them.

Artemis: The hell if I'm going to let him do this without me keeping him out of trouble!

Closing fast behind them, Artemis reached the door at the same time as the others and they all slipped inside and shut the door. The rest of the group stared at the door with fluttering eyelids.

Toma: Can this place possibly get any weir...

Before Toma could finish, Jaze clasped his hand over Toma's mouth.

Jaze: Don't. Just... don't say it.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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