How big is this damned forest? Seriously, this is... more wood than a wood chuck can chuck even if he wanted to chuck it? Something like that. Lotta damn trees. I kick a nearby tree out of irritation and just a general bad mood before looking over my shoulder at my friend currently looking over a map. "So? What's the verdict?" He scratches his chin and after a moment of contemplation nods his head towards the east. "Should be a few more days in that direction. Right after we clear this forest there should be a town." After rolling up the map and putting it away he looks up through the green forest canopy. "From the looks of it we should be able to stock back up on provisions and maybe find some work. But it's getting late, so it'd probably be best to just go ahead and set up camp and get an early start in the morning." After flopping down on the ground and resting my back against a tree I stretch out my legs and wave a dismissing hand at my friend. "Sounds good to me. Go grab some wood for a fire then, manservant. I'm exhausted." While interlocking my fingers behind my head he sighs in response. "Sure thing, your highness. Want a book to read? Maybe a mint chocolate for your pillow?" My flicking tail gives away my interest. "...we actually have those things?" He sighs once again and shakes his head at me not picking up on the sarcasm. "No. No we don't." I click my tongue as he starts to walk away, stopping long enough to look back at me. "Try not to start a forest fire or something while I'm gone."
Bah. No faith in me whatsoever. Fine. See if I share any chocolate with him when I do get some, the prick. After a few moments of waiting and listening to the wind filter through the leaves overhead I let out a yawn and close my eyes. May as well take a nap while I'm doing nothing. Just as I'm about to doze off I start hearing the sound of rustling underbrush nearby. Assuming my friend has come back I just leave my eyes closed and let out another yawn before speaking. "About time. I mean, we're only surrounding by wood here." A few seconds of odd silence pass before I open my eyes and look in the direction of the sound I had heard. It's then that I lock eyes with some small, smaller than a child, dragon-like little girl peering at me from around a tree. Tiny knobs of red horns poke from a head of short cropped hair of the same color, and in her mouth, with patches of red scales at the cheeks, a limp, dead rat. "Uhhhh." The sudden noise I make at acknowledging her presence make her emit a loud squeak, dropping the rat from her mouth as she completely hides from me behind the tree. On one side a red, scaled tail wags slowly. From the other a clawed hand reaches around and pats the ground in a few spots before finding the dread rat, which she immediately snatches up and pulls back behind the tree. However her tail, now wagging back and forth a bit faster is still visible on the other side. ".....yeah. I can still see you, y'know?" Once again her face peeks out from behind the tree, looking at me with angry eyes and cheeks puffed out before letting out a not so threatening "Cha!". "I don't want your stupid rat, ya dumb lizard....thing." Seeming to think I meant otherwise, she hastily devoured the dead rat whole, leaving the tail hanging out of the corner of her mouth for a quick second before it too disappears. After making such a big show of it, I talk to her in a deadpan voice. "Oh woe is me. There is no more rat to be had. Surely, there is no god left in this cold and unforgiving world." After a few more moments of warily eyeing me she runs away on all fours into the underbrush.
Good. Now maybe I can get a little peace and quiet without the interruption of strange forest creatures thinking I want their latest catch. I close my eyes once more, hoping to catch a nap once more. Minutes pass while the sound of leaves in the wind once again usher me into a light doze. Except the intermittent sound something moving slowly closer to me catches my ears, interrupting my sleep once again. This time I open my eyes to see the little dragon girl only about a foot away from me with yet another dead rat in her mouth. When she notices that I'm looking at her she freezes with eyes wide, looking unsure of whether to flee or continue towards me. After letting out a mental sigh I muster up the calmest voice I can manage. "I'm not gonna hurt you, ya dumb lizard. I'm too tired for that." It seems to do the trick and she inches closer to me, dropping the rat on the ground next to my legs before moving backwards a bit to sit down, wagging that draconic tail back and forth behind her proudly. "Ummm thanks?" I lean forward from the tree and pick up the still warm rodent and offer it back to her. "Here. I wasn't seriously in need of a dead rat this evening." She puffs her cheeks back out again at me, looking a little irritated, but she comes closer once again to take her fresh kill back. After sitting down right next to my extended legs she swallows that rat just like the last. I smirk and take chance by reaching out and patting her on the head. "Ravenous little thing, aren't you?" Aside from a few slight flicks of the small wings on her back, she doesn't seem too averse to the petting as she lets out an affirming "Cha!".
It's then that my friend finally shows back up with bundles of wood of varying thicknesses under each arm. He tilts his head upon noticing the guest sitting next to me. "Huh. That's kind of rare. Didn't think I'd see a pseudodragon around here." Noticing the new voice, the little dragon girl jumps up and moves to put me in between herself and my friend, letting out once again a entirely not intimidating "Chaaaa!" He looks from her to me and gives me a scrutinizing face. "You're not going to try and cook the poor thing like the last animal that was trying to be friendly to you, are you?" Setting down the wood he had gathered, he gets to work on building a fire. "Nah. Too tired. Besides, this thing is actually kinda cool. She offered me rat." Noticing the way I talk with familiarity to my friend, the pseudodragon calms down and moves back to my legs, letting out a cute yawn before she stretches out and lays her head on my knees. "I guess she's so full she got sleepy." I reach down and pet her sleeping head, making her start to purr loudly. Noticing the purring, my friend starts talking while building the fire. "Despite looking like a some kind of pygmy dragon, they're almost like scaled cats. If memory serves, they usually end up being fancy pets. But they're really rare. Especially to see one out in the wild." Much of the end of what he says I barely hear as, just like the pseudodragon, the growing warmth of the fire and general comfy feel of the situation puts me to sleep.
The night passes by peacefully until the light of the morning sun gently wakes me. Looking down with sleep filled eyes I see that the dragon girl had moved to my lap in the night and that both of us were draped in a blanket. Feeling me stir, she wakes up as well and we both stretch our arms above our heads while letting out a yawn. "Nice of you to join the waking world." My friend, looking like he's been awake for at least a half hour already, talks to me in an oddly irritated tone while breaking down the camp. Just as I'm about to tell him it's too early in the morning to deal with his pissy attitude, he shows me his pack that has a large wet stain on it, making me realize how appropriate my thought was. "It seems your new friend had to go relieve herself in the middle of the night... on my backpack." I can't help but let out a snort and whisper. "Good job, you overgrown lizard." As I pat her on the head, she tilts it and gives a sleepy sounding "...chaaa?"
After packing things up, we start heading out once more into forest. Except now with an added tag-a-long riding on my left shoulder. "You aren't seriously thinking of keeping her, are you? I mean, we barely have the supplies to last for ourselves." I barely pay attention to my friend as I tear off a bit of my breakfast jerky, passing up the larger piece to pseudodragon which she happily eats while swinging her legs against my arm. "Especially if you keep giving her food." I shrug my shoulders, making her grin broadly with the rise and fall. "Why not? She's cute as all hell. And as a general rule of mine, anything that takes a leak on your shit is cool in my book. Isn't that right, Lizzy?" He looks back at me incredulously as I pat her head, making my head start to vibrate as she purrs. "You've even named her? And 'Lizzy'?" I can feel her tail against my back swishing happily as I shrug once again. "Yeah. Overgrown lizard. Lizzy." He gives me a resigned sigh leaves it at that while we continue walking.
Only a good thirty minutes of walking pass before we come upon a cozy looking cottage within a small clearing, looking rather out of place within these woods. But what catches our attention the most is an actual dragon woman tending to a garden in dirty overalls and work gloves. Noticing us she rises and offers us a friendly smile. "Oh? Now this is a rare sight. It's been ages since the last visitor we've had out here." Before we can respond back, Lizzy scrambles off of my shoulder and uses her wings to flutter slightly to the ground before running up to the woman, reaching her arms out while letting out excited and repeated "Chaa!"'s. Neither me or my friend can find any words to say at the current situation. But the eyes of the dragon woman go wide in surprise before she turns to the cottage and calls out. "Sweetheart! Come outside. Some nice strangers seem to have brought us a gift." Within a few moments a young dragon girl emerges from the home, and upon seeing the pseudodragon hugging the grown dragon womans legs, instantly becomes all smiles as she breaks into a run. The both of them then share in a delighted hug while the little girl squeals happily. "Jinx is back!" The mother pats her daughters head. "You should go tell the nice couple thank you for bring her back." The little girl, half again the size of the pseudodragon looks between me and my friend a moment before shyly walking up to us, hand in hand with her pet. "...thank you, nice lady. Thank you, nice man." I'm finally broken out of my daze, not even noticing the nod and polite smile of my friend. "A-ahhh y-yeah. Sure, kid. Umm...no problem." Having done what her mother told her to do, she quickly turns tail and runs back to her where the pseudodragon begins happily running around the two. The mother pats both of their heads before walking over to us, where she bows her head. "Thank you so much for bringing Jinx back. My daughter has been so upset for the past two days. Why, I haven't been so distraught since the last time some adventurer came to try and steal my hoard." She starts to giggle and hold her cheek in a hand. "As if I hadn't given up all that hoarding to settle down and have a family." In typical housewife fashion she starts to jabber on. "But, why don't you two stay until tomorrow. I can make us all nice supper." Feeling a lump well in my throat I wave my hands in front of me. "Ahh, n-no thank you. We, uhh actually are in a bit of hurry so... y'know, we have to be going. B-but thanks for the offer." After forcing a smile and bowing my head, I quickly make my exit.
I barely hear the few similar words as my own spoken by my friend before I hear him jog up next to me. A moment of silence passes before my friend finally speaks to me. "So... you alright?" I sniffle a little and wipe my nose while looking away from him. "Me? Yeah! Dandy. I had to go ahead and leave cus, I dunno. I think maybe something she was growing out there was triggering my allergies, you see." I sniffle once again and rub my eyes with a hand while still looking away. "Pfft and Jinx? That's a stupid fuckin' name. Probly the stupid kids idea." I mutter to myself under my breath. "Lizzy was objectively tons better." I feel a comforting hand on my head followed by a few strokes. Just as I'm about to brush it away and remind his stupid self once again that I'm fine, we get interrupted by the frantic and familiar cha's of the pseudodragon. She half run, half flutters up to me, looking a bit out of breath as she holds her closed claws out to me. "Eh? You got another rat for me or something, you overgrown lizard?" I kneel down, holding a hand under her claws. After dropping something stiff but soft feeling in my hand, she smiles broadly to me before running back towards the cottage. "So what did she just give you?" Looking in my hands I smirk and chuckle softly. "A bird that looks like it's been dead for quite a few days." He chuckles himself and turns to walk away. "Well, you all set?" I nod and sniffle one last time. "Yeah, let's blow this popsicle stand." After my friend starts to walk away, I pluck a single grey and white tail feather from the dead bird, leaving the bird itself on the ground while I put the feather into a pocket. After standing up I take a deep breath and exhale it slowly, smirking once more before turning and jogging to catch up to my childhood friend, to continue on in our journeys.