“Poor Quickspirit, it’s too hot for you out there! I should have left you at home to stay cool.”
Quickspirit buzzes sadly.
“I’m really sorry, Quick. You’re my first animal friend, how was I supposed to know? I think I’m going to have to take you to Eliza!”
I sigh. My first month with my first animal friend, and he’s already sick? I must be a terrible owner. Quickspirit seems to read my thoughts, because he lands on my shoulder and tickles my cheek with his wings.
Meanwhile, Sophie is also dealing with a sick firefly.
“Caesar, is something wrong? You haven’t been flying as fast as me. Let’s take a break, okay?”
I sit on a stray branch and let Caesar sit on my lap for a few minutes before heading home.
About halfway there, he begins to fly even slower, and his usually bright orange light dims.
“Here, I’ll hold you and then you don’t have to fly, okay?” I cradle him in my arms, and change course. We’re going to Eliza’s.
I fiddle with my leaf journal while I wait for Eliza to come out with Quickspirit again.
Another fairy is here with me, along with brunette receptionist. It’s been a bit since Quickspirit was carried to Eliza. The fairy beside me must be really worried about her Animal Friend. She was here before me, and it’s been about an hour since I got here.
I’m so bored and worried I’ve begun tapping out Mainland campfire songs on the arm of my chair.
I wouldn’t even think of leaving Caesar here alone, not even for a short while, so I’m staying (even in the seats are terribly uncomfortable). The orange-haired girl sitting next to me is drumming rhythms out on the arm of her chair.
She must know a lot of songs.
I wonder if Raven will be up for tea on Sunday.
The receptionist has been staring at the same page of a book for the last five minutes.
“Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap, TAAAAAAAAP!!!!”
The orange-haired girl has now begun singing quietly. I’m not sure if she realizes it.
“Sophie Eveningflame, Caesar is ready to be picked up!”
Thank goodness! One more second with the tapping girl and I’d have gone crazy.
I stand up, brush off my long skirt, and walk towards the nurse who is holding Caesar in his arms.
“He’s going to be a little sore, and may not feel like himself for a few days, but then he’s going to be as energetic as usual!”
“Oh, thank you very much!”
I pay and walk away, just as the tapping girl collects her Animal Friend too.
“Here you go, Quickspirit. Raw honeycombs, just how you like ’em!”
I sit down at my table.
Quickspirit quickly flutters up and sits at the opposite end.
“Um, Quick, isn’t your bowl on the floor?” I drizzle honey onto my peanut butter sandwich. I look at him again. When he doesn’t budge, I sigh.
“Fine, I’ll carry you back down.” I pick him up and set him back down on the floor again, patting his head affectionately as I return to my seat.
No use! He simply flies back, but instead of sitting at the far end of the table, he sits right in front of my plate.
“Fine, you can sit here for now and eat later.”
I grab my honey jar and move to put it back on the shelf. Before I can get up from my seat, Quick is nuzzling my arm.
“Wait, you want…some of my honey??”
Quick flies around the room excitedly.
“Um, okay?” Maybe I’ve been feeding him the wrong thing.
I hold the honey swirly thing out to him.
Usually, Quick devours his raw honeycombs. Maybe he’s got a new taste for refined honey. That must be it. He is a growing firefly, after all. Maybe I’ll try to talk to him tomorrow.
“What’s the matter, Caesar? Don’t you want to go to bed and get some nice, peaceful sleep?”
This is my third attempt to get Caesar into his bed, and I’m more tired than him at this point.
Throwing my hands up, I give in.
“Okay, fine. You may sleep where you please tonight.”
I’m exhausted, so I fall ungracefully into bed, pulling my powder blue comforter over my chin. Once I’m comfortable, Caesar lands on my shoulder, tickling my face with his gossamer wings.
“Where did I put that jingling Animal Languages manual? I know I had it last month. And then I put it over there, but the shelf broke so I moved it over there, so it should be right… here!”
I walk back to Quick, now holding the manual. I flip to the page titled ‘Fireflies and Dragonflies’.
“Okay, so I have to get down like this,” I move down until I’m on my hands and knees, level with Quickspirit, who looks at me quizzically.
“Now, I have to move my wings in the desired pattern. Okay, sounds easy. Humiliating, but easy.”
Quick is staring at me like I’m insane.
I quickly flip to the page on interpreting firefly light signals, and settle in for a long morning of firefly-speak.
“Eat, Caesar. Aren’t you hungry? You need to eat something.”
Caesar shakes his little head when I push a bowl of clover honey closer to him.
“You’re quite picky, you know. Maybe you’ll be more hungry after a morning fly!” I grab a purple leash from my coat rack.
I manage to slip the leash over his head with little struggle. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a big mistake, as I am quickly dragged out the door behind him as he flies away.
“Wait, you mean you’re not Quickspirit??”
Not-Quickspirit signals no.
“Well, who are you? And where’s Quickspirit? Wait, not the pale girl! That’s your owner? Wouldn’t have taken her for the firefly type!”
Not-Quickspirit flies around my head in excited circles.
“Well, we need to find her, don’t we? Quickspirit has to be with her! C’mon, let’s go!” I fly out my window and leave Not-Quickspirit to catch up.
This is not how I imagined spending my morning. French toast and a nice bubble bath, yes, being towed along by a large firefly who is definitely trying to kill me, no.
Many fairies are looking at me like I’m insane. At least, I assume they are. Honestly, everything has turned into a blur. At least Caesar has stopped running me into branches.
“C’mon Not-Quickspirit, I know he’s around here, I can sense him!”
I’m yelling over my shoulder at Not-Quickspirit to try to hurry him up, so I don’t see the pale girl being pulled towards me. Unfortunately, I do feel her. With a loud smack, she hits me, knocking both of us right out of the air.
The force of the impact shoves the air out of my lungs, as well as the thoughts out of my head. We both go tumbling towards the flowery forest floor of Springtime Orchard.
I did not think I would survive that.
“Oh, thank goodness! Dirt! Grass!” I am currently kissing anything in sight, which is very unusual for me. Then again, I don’t think there are any etiquette books that cover how to act after having your life taken into the evil little paws of a demented firefly.
“You’re alright, then?”
“Huh?” I look around for the fairy talking to me.
I see a strangely familiar fairy leaning up against a tree.
Is that the tapping girl? But how did she find me? Is she what I ran into?
“Anyway, I was just here to get my firefly, Quickspirit.” When she says this, I realise she’s holding Caesar, who is still wearing his leash.
“But isn’t that my firefly?”
“That’s what Eliza thought. There must have been a mix up at the doctor’s.”
“Oh. Does that mean you have my Caesar?”
“Yep.” She holds him out to me.
“Have you missed me?” I ask, cooing at Caesar. He nods.
“I’m sorry about running into you. I meant to find you, but not like this.”
“I’m the one that actually hit you, I should be apologizing. Also, I’m sorry for kidnapping your firefly, in a way. No hard feelings?”
“Nope! My name’s Sarah, by the way, and we should both probably get to the healing talents.”
And that was the start to a very long and very strange friendship.