For a long moment, everything floats in space. I'm dead, floating through time, unbelieving. All sound is silenced.
My body breaks into a sprint, without my mind. I watch from within myself, my body controlled by an outside force. I fly over the ground, floating, just flying over the ground.
Things come back slowly as I run. I can feel my heartbeat. My lungs straining for air. My surroundings coming back slowly. A vibration in my throat. Then a scratching sensation in my vocal chords.
"RYAN! RYAN!" I'm screaming as I run. I'm back to earth. My legs sting as I fly down the outside path. People leap out of my way as I soar by.
I turn the corner, dart into the zoo. Around cages. I run face-to-face with the black Volatore Diossa.
His huge violet eyes gaze down at me, untrusting. I raise my hands, showing him I mean him no harm. He stretches his neck out, his beak just feet away from my face, and sniffs me.
"Where's Ryan?" I ask him, almost expecting an answer.
He looks at me, and in his throat resounds a long, low, hum. He looks up at the sky and back at me.
I glance around, and no one is nearby. Sparky's gone. So Ryan is too.
I take a deep breath.
"Don't hurt me." I step forward and reach out my hand. He growls, but I don't shy away. He hisses as I lay my hand on his beak and stroke the smoothness of it.
His eyes follow me as I walk around him. He's definitely larger than Sparky. And more frightening.
I get to his feet, where he's chained. He's stopped growling and watches me curiously.
My hands fumble along the chain. It's in a knot, but with some pulling and twisting, the bonds fall from his ankles.
He kicks out his legs, nearly scratching me, and leaps to his feet. He's unsteady, shaking himself free. He stretches his wings out, one hundred feet long, feeling the weightlessness. His eyes brighten like gems as he stretches his neck and opens his beak, tasting the sky. A great song escapes him, filling me up with such joy and pride I have to laugh.
He looks at me with his bright violet eyes, lowering his head and crest in a bow.
He respects me. I have his trust.
I jump onto his back and he takes into the air, straight upwards, feathers made of charcoal lifting us into the air.