"So, because I swallowed the stone-of-not-flying, I am currently, um, not flying," Nelda babbled as she backed away from the advancing creature. Every time she said 'flying' the monster seemed to flinch and become angrier.
"So anyway, I am Nelda a priestess of Machina. This is HoneyBeard and BugleHead who didn't really plan to be here today."
The creature stopped. "I am Echidna."
"Oh, ah, that's a lovely name. Guys, isn't that a lovely name?"
"Most people never introduce themselves. They are to busy with the 'aaargh', and 'it's a monster', and 'run away!'" She raised her hands and waved them in a pantomime of panic.
"Monster? Oh no. You are clearly a lovely young, ah, lady. And such pretty scales. Clearly a very refined member of the, ah, dragon family."
Echidna stopped and tilted her head. "Yes. Nice of you to notice. I am Drakaina."
[What-ania?] "So, it's been a lovely visit…."
Echidna began to weep. "But none of the dragons will court me because—sob—of my deformity!"
"Oh, oh." Nelda reached forward to pat Echidna's shoulder, but it was a couple of feet too high of the ground on her wyrm-like body. "But. I. don't. see… anything wrong with you?"
"How can you say that? Look at this flimsy little head and what are these even for." She indicated her ample bare breasts. "And worst of all, I can't fly!"
"Um, much as a minor priestess like me would hesitate to make a comparison but I have some of the same, um, equipment—and I couldn't fly until a few days ago."
Echidna's eyes lit up. Actually literally lit up, as if small candle flames were flickering inside them. "You mean you actually did fly?" Spinning to the satyrs, "Did she?"
BugleHead just squeaked. HoneyBeard managed to stutter out a reply. "Yes, she was pretty terrible at it but we were definitely up in the clouds. The big dragon saw it too, that's w-where we met her."
Echidna swivels back to Nelda. "Neld-ah. How did you do it?"
"Well I, ah, took a herb. I don't have any actually on me, but I could get you some and, uh, bring it back here. Maybe." [So long as you don't kill us first.] Nelda attempted to smile but her whole face felt rigid and tight.
Echidna coiled up the upper part of her body and leaned one arm on the coil. "I like that idea, but you might be a trickster. You might never come back. And I cannot have it known that I, a Drakaina, was fooled by some mere furry creature."
"Oh, but sister don't you see?" Nelda gambled. "I have the great fortune to be related to you to this great family albeit distantly. Can you not see the resemblance?"
Echidna looked baffled.
Nelda pointed back and forth. The eyes, the mouth, the hair? The with a sigh she took out her hair tie and pulled her scrub top over her head and took off her bra. "What about that," she said, embarrassed. "Look familiar?"
Echidna jaw dropped, a lot further than a jaw should be able to drop. "You have them too!"
"Exactly." Nelda folder her arms over her breasts clutching her clothing in her hand. "So obviously it is my first duty to help my great, transcendent sister of the dragon race."
"Drakaina, sister. A female dragon."
"Oh, see, see! In my ignorance, I didn't even know that. I obviously have so much to gain by doing even the smallest of favors for my marvelous, but obviously probably distant, family member." Nelda babbled on scrabbling for a compelling point to make, "And if this herb can give flight to one as, um, humble as this one—I can only imagine with great thing that it will achieve with you?" Nelda was afraid she had somewhat overdone things, but Echidna tilted her head in the other direction and seemed to be pondering her argument.
"I concede the logic of what you say," Echidna said. "I can think of two ways to further assure your completion of this little quest. One would be if I were to hold onto one of your little followers here…" There was an awkward silence. "But that one smells bad, and that one looks irksome."
"Uh, yes," Nelda said. "I can confirm that. But I did sort of accidentally fly away with them, so I am obliged… get them back home."
"It is good that you feel this sense of obligation. Such is the nature of an elevated soul. And while it may vex me that the flighted attach such esteem to their state, it is something I do acknowledge and hence aspire to."
Echidna took a deep breath in through her flaring nostrils and sneezed. It was starting to smell a bit 'goaty' up in this cave.
"Instead I will require this. You will give me your solemn oath. And to return with this herb, and preferably the means to cultivate it. And when you do I shall reward you with a great treasure." She smiled a wide and toothy smile, that while more human in dimension was certainly draconic in its character.
"Treasure?" piped up BugleHead.
HoneyBeard smacked him. "Shhh, the crazy people are talking."
"So," said Nelda. "It would really just be an honor to assist. I don't need any treasure."
BugleHead's ears drooped.
"Oh, I think this will interest you, little sister," the monster said with a smirk. "If you return with what you promise, I shall give you the horn of a unicorn."
"Okay, wow. That would be amazing?" Nelda hoped her dazed confusion would be mistaken for shock and awe. [What fucking use is a unicorn horn. I could make the world's most ironic dildo, maybe?] "Well, this has been great, but I should get right onto that herb, bush, collecting thing then, shouldn't I? So which way is the exit?"
The lazy loops of wyrm body writhed out of the way revealing another larger tunnel on the other side of the cave.
"But also remember baby sister, dear," Echidna called after them. "If you fail me I shall assuage my humiliation by calling for all of dragonkind to hunt you down and erase from Mirth the slightest sooty sign that you ever existed."
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