"I found this place yesterday," Alin said excitedly, pushing branches aside and quickly ducking under them. Jaik tried to duck under the branch before it flew back, but he still ended up with a face-full of the needle-like leaves. The scales on young meras were much softer than on older ones, but the two young boys enjoyed coming home with 'battle wounds'.
"Do we have to do any flying to get there?" Jaik asked eagerly, glancing at the sky. His flying skills were about as good as a baby bird's, but he still enjoyed it.
"There's a cliff that we can climb or we can fly up the side of it," Alin replied. "You probably want to fly though, right?"
"Is it high?" Jaik asked, suddenly worried that he might fall. Alin laughed at him and pressed on through the one tree that they'd been fighting through for at least ten minutes. It had a lot of branches, and then there was the bird nest they'd found...
"It's not too high," Alin replied after thinking about it for a few minutes. He pushed out the other side with a shout of glee and held aside the last few branches with his tail so Jaik could climb out easily. In front of him, he could see a very tall cliff-face. He hoped that his wings would be able to make it up there. But Alin was looking at a small ledge about halfway up.
"Were you thinking about the height or looking at it when I asked you that question?" Jaik asked, stretching his wings out to prepare them for the flight. He would've had them out already if not for the branches that surely would have pierced the thin membrane of his wings.
"Looking at it," Alin admitted with a smile in his voice. Laughing, Jaik spun him around and hugged him.
"I might be able to fly up but I don't know about landing," Jaik said after looking up at the ledge for a few moments.
"I'll help you land," Alin offered. "I mean, I even have to help you land on the roof so I can help you land on that ledge. And it's bigger than it looks from here."
"You're only saying that because you have that freaky good eyesight," Jaik protested, walking up to the cliff-face and resting his palms against it. The rock was smooth from years of wind, and warm from the light of the sun that had been up now for half the day. He had to fight the urge to press his face against it.
"Leave some love for me," Alin joked, and Jaik blushed and pulled away from the cliff-face in shock.
"You never say that word," he pointed out, feeling a rush of excitement through him.
"Well, I just did," Alin informed him. "I love you, Jaik Fer- I still can't say your last name properly."
"And I love you, Alin I don't know your last name," Jaik replied after blushing and giggling from the bubbly feeling in his chest that those words evoked.
"Alright, enough blushing and mushy stuff," Alin shrugged after a few minutes of blushing and awkward feelings. Jaik knew that he couldn't handle his emotions well and preferred not to dwell on them, while Jaik himself could spend many hours feeling an emotion at its strongest.
"Right, to the thing you found," Jaik decided, glancing at his skin and noticing the bright pink tone of it. It always got like that around Alin for some reason.
The two of them flew up the cliff-face and Alin landed on the ledge before folding his wings behind him and holding his arms out for Jaik to land in. The fire mera hovered above him and then dropped, falling into his arms.
"We'll work on landing after I show you this thing," Alin decided, and set him down before leading the way along the ledge to a crack in the rock that really resembled a set of doors.
"Is it a door to a magical land?" Jaik asked, his green eyes sparkling and wide with awe.
"This is a magical land, in case you haven't noticed," Alin laughed, gesturing to their wings and scales. "We're essentially dragons."
"Oh, right," Jaik remembered. "But a magical land has magical places and caves and groves and stuff so it could be one of them."
"Maybe it's the home of a real dragon," Alin theorised. "But I can't get the doors open. I've tried knocking and everything."
"Have you tried saying 'Open Sesame'?" Jaik suggested.
"This is a magical thing, that phrase only works in Arabia or wherever that movie was set," Alin replied. "But it's worth a shot." Standing in front of the crack, he held his hands with his palms facing the rock and said, "Open Sesame!" Nothing happened.
"It was worth a shot," Jaik consoled him, seeing the look of excitement on Alin's face quickly fade to disappointment.
"It's just a dumb rock," Alin grumbled, swiping at the rock and losing half of his claw-tips in the process.
"Sorry, rock," Jaik said apologetically, and pushed him aside to hug the rock like he'd been going to earlier. "I guess we're not the right magical creatures that you'll reveal your secrets to." Alin had already taken off and Jaik flew off after him, trying to catch up to the disgruntled air mera. His sclaes glowed a dull orange colour, but he was so intent on finding Alin that he didn't notice it. Not even when one single tendril snaked its way out of his wrist.
"That was the day my power started to look more like it does now," Jaik recalled, smiling fondly at the memory. His glow was that same orange that it had been that day, and just like that day it was fear over Alin. What was he doing here?