Chapter 3: The Unicorn

The Hunt had disturbed the forest, there was whispers of a strange creature crashing through the trees and of an expanse of green that was broken through. The Unicorn stayed by her protected pool for a long time, only hearing snatches of the rumors as the birds flew by. She remembered more than a single Hunt, but the birds only spoke of one. Perhaps only one was estranged to them. The broken forest worried her, damage to the forest could eventually lead to the forest itself dying, and perhaps even herself fading away. 

Gathering her courage the Unicorn walked through the trees in the direction of the Hunt,  before long she saw evidence of the creature the forest animals had been speaking of. Trees were broken, some toppled, the underbrush was trampled, and oddly in some places, singed. The trail led away from the edge of the forest and was much closer than the place where she'd first seen the Hunt. 

Cautiously she picked her way along the burned trail, noticing the lack of hoof prints, the Hunt must have run through on it’s own. Ducking around a few fallen tree branches, the Unicorn entered a small clearing. A blast of heat flew over her head and she ducked to the ground. 

“Go away!” A rasping voice cried out, followed by another burst of heat. The Unicorn looked up to see a bright blaze of fire fly past. 

“Stop it, you’ll burn the forest down!” She cried, lurching to her feet. She leapt into the sunlight of the clearing to greet the creature. It was a young Lizard, his scales shining like embers in the sun. The Unicorn’s head only came up to his shoulder, her horn the only thing lessening their height difference. 

“Great Lizard, what are you doing in my forest?” She asked. 

“I am no mere lizard!” The Lizard snarled, fire snaking around his teeth. “I am a Dragon, part of a noble family! The Men took my family. I will take my revenge on them!” 

“Men?” The unicorn didn’t know the word. “I’m sorry Great Dragon. There are no Men here.” 

The Dragon reached his head back, stretching his leathery wings out. He pulled out the thorns that were stuck there with his teeth, snarling at each one. 

“The Men that did this live in their fortress. They wouldn’t come this far into the trees. But they are in the forest. I saw a hunting pack while I was flying over it.”

“The Hunt? Those creatures are Men?”

“Yes, they hunt for smaller animals for food and game.” The Dragon stretched his wings. The Unicorn shook her head, shaking out the thoughts of the Hunt, or the Men. 

“I can help you with that,” she said, gesturing at the tattered wings. She stepped closer, stretching up with her horn, tapping it against the wings. The horn flashed silver, sealing up the wounds on the wings. The Dragon seemed to relax a little, reaching for the thorns in the other wings. As soon as he pulled them all out the Unicorn healed his wings. 

“Thank you for doing that. I must go now.” The Dragon said, standing. 

“Where are you going?”

“To take revenge.” The Dragon spread his wings. 

“Won’t they put thorns in your wings again?” The Unicorn asked. The Dragon faltered slightly, his wings lowering. 

“Come back with me, we can come up with a plan to find your family.” The Unicorn offered, it had been so long since she had had company, she wondered if she had remembered to phrase it politely. “I do mean—“ 

The Dragons wings folded completely, tucked against his back. 

“I suppose I will need a plan. Lead the way.”

The Unicorn looked at the Dragon critically.

“Do you have any transformation magic?” She asked. “Most immortal creatures do.” 

“Yes, but I haven’t learned to use it,” The Dragon ducked his head. The Unicorn began to walk into the forest, 

“Follow me, you have time to learn.”

The End

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