Chapter 5: The Unicorn

The Unicorn watched quietly as the Dragon curled his tail about himself and settled into sleep. The rumbling growl that escaped his throat was strangely soothing. The Unicorn paced to the spring, settling in her usual spot, the grass formed into a sort of nest. Tucking her legs beneath her she rested her head on the ground, closing her eyes and letting the snores of the Dragon lull her to sleep.

It was the silence that woke her. The Unicorn raised her head to see that the spot the Dragon had occupied in the night was vacant. No birds flew by, no other creatures stirred, though that was normal. She stepped to her feet, stretching her legs one at a time, lifting her head to the sky. A large shadow flew across the sun, circling the clearing. 

"Great Dragon!" She called out to him, watching the graceful swoops he made through the sky. He didn't say anything to acknowledge he heard her, but his flight path grew smaller and closer to the ground until he reached his position outside the clearing. 

"Good morning Unicorn." He said, bowing his head. The Unicorn tossed her head,

"That's enough of that, Great Dragon. You are as noble a creature as I, come in to the clearing. I will teach you to transform." She gestured towards the center of the clearing. Tentatively the Dragon took a step into the clearing. The Unicorn shook her head again. "There is no spell, you are welcome to walk normally."

"I don't want to break it," the Dragon growled. The Unicorn stamped one of her hooves, frustrated. 

"It's not made of ice!" She cried. The Dragon looked taken aback. 

"I never said it was!" He growled. 

"Then step your tail into this clearing and I will show you how to transform." 

The Dragon huffed, sending out a stream of hot air towards the Unicorn, and stepped into the clearing without much more fuss. 

"Thank you. Now, the key to transforming is to will yourself into the shape you wish to be." The Unicorn began her lesson. She quickly transformed into one of her favorite shapes, a snow-white fox, a dark blaze on it's forehead giving away her horn. "Give it a try, I always find a creature you're familiar with is the easiest, but you may try this one. The fox, you can use me as an example. Go on.”

The Unicorn sat with her tail tucked around her paws, the Dragon nodded, closing his eyes. She saw him tense up, his neck straining. After a moment she stopped him.

“You're straining yourself too much. Don't think about the creature as another being. You are a fox, feel the grass beneath your paws, the wind in your fur. Let yourself melt into your new form, sink into it. Relax.” She felt her voice grow soft, trying to emulate the feeling she was describing.

The dragon relaxed, she saw him take a breath, his sides expanding. As he exhaled he shrunk impossibly, becoming fox sized. Deep red fur bristled out, his scaled and spikes retreating beneath it. The Dragon opened his eyes, still a deep gold and slitted. Twin tufts of pale fur stood out between his ears, reminiscent of his horns. He was still taller than the Unicorn, she still only came up to his shoulder but because his neck was considerably shorter now, she could look him in the eye.

“You did it Great Dragon!” She said, surprised that he had figured it out so quickly.

“I did?” He looked down at himself, leaping off the ground. “I did!” He ran to the other side of the clearing and back with a whoop. The Unicorn noted that he was still very young, compared to others of his species, younger even than she, millennia behind her peers, though not so young as the Dragon. She watched him gallumph about the clearing. He paused at the spring, admiring his reflection in the glassy surface of the water. The Unicorn strolled casually to his side, sitting beside him. They looked together at their reflections. One of the Dragon’s ears had cocked to one side and the fur standing up on his forehead made him look somewhat devilish. Her fur was glossier than his, the dark blaze adding mystery. Like he had, the Unicorn had retained her eyes, violet and doe like. She saw the Dragon looking towards her reflection and dipped a paw into the water, flipping it up to splash him.

“That's enough admiration,” she scolded, a twinkle in her eye. “We know how it looks. How does it feel?”

“Not as strange as I'd thought,” he mused. “Just different.”

“It's still you,” the Unicorn said, resting her chin on her paws. “Just a different shaped you.”

“I want to keep working,” the Dragon began to circle around. “Choose another shape for me.”

“Alright,” the Unicorn rose to her feet and transformed into her sparrow form, the one she’d worn to discover the Hunt. “How about a bird?”

The End

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