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Tiny cream colored wings stretched slowly in the wind. They were still too small for flying but that didn’t stop the little foal from making an attempt anyway whenever the older colts took to the air. All of the flapping and prancing around was making him stronger each day; it would only be a couple more weeks before he was in the air.

As she sketched yet another portrait of the newest edition to the herd, Aine found that she couldn’t wait for that moment. She’d been out here for nearly a month now to observe the herd and get an idea on their habits and the little cream colored foal was her favorite by far. Whoever wrote the myths about Pegasus and their only coloring being white was horribly wrong; the herd had many of the same colored coats as regular horses and some that she’d never seen before.

Though she knew that getting attached to a wild Pegasus was a horrible idea, she couldn’t help herself. He’d been born on her second day into the observations and had officially anchored the herd to a small valley until he could fly. Not only did he make her job easier, but he was adorable.

His mother and the stallion of the group wouldn’t allow him to get very close or for her to get too close but she could see the curiosity in those big eyes whenever he dared to edge closer while his mother was looking the other way. It was never for long before he was chased back to the herd but she treasured those small moments.

Aine sighed slightly as she finished the small sketch and moved on to write down her observations for the afternoon. Much of it was the same as the past few days but she had all the time in the world to find changes. Since Echo was off on a hunt with her gryphon, she was allowed her own team out of the research department to scour the Rocky Mountains and observe any of the creatures they found for a few months.

Sometimes the work was tedious but she enjoyed it more than she did the hunting. Getting to camp out in such a beautiful place with her horse was also a plus. Home was so stifling sometimes with all of the hunters coming and going at all times of the day and her sister trying her hardest to keep the worst of it behind closed doors.

Aine loved Echo, she really did, but her sister didn’t always listen when she tried to explain that hiding it was pointless. Aine was the one with the most extensive medical knowledge, did most of the research for the various missions, and had accompanied her on plenty of hunts. They’d seen bloody scenes before, maybe not the massacres that some of the others had, but still bloody.

High on the mountain, she could at least relax and do a job without any stress. Having the only herd of Pegasus in the continental United States to follow around helped too. Based on the other observational journals that she glanced through, the herd had only migrated over from Europe about ten years ago with only the one stallion and three mares.

Others had to have migrated later because the herd was now around fifteen and the journals did say that the youngsters were eventually chased out like regular horse herds, especially young males.

That behavior made Aine curious though. If the youngsters were chased out, then there should be more herds up and down the mountain range. Pegasus herds don’t compete for land the same way horses do and the mountain range is huge. Over a ten year period, at least one smaller herd should have popped up.

So she sent her team to scour the mountains for any sign of another herd while she observed the one they did know about. The whole train of thought about the possibility of another herd brought her right back to her favorite foal.

Her gaze left the page she had been staring at while she thought and sought out the rascal. He was partially hidden by the long grass as he settled down for a nap, his mother hovering over him as usual. The journals before her had colored drawings paired with the best picture taken of each member of the herd and observations of behavior and personalities. She was keep track of the different personalities of the members but she was saving the official pictures until the end.

But she had already sketched and taken enough pictures to fill a memory card. There was still another month and a half to go before she had to go home, a lot could happen before then.

A giggle bubbled from her throat as she watched the foal startle himself in his sleep and jump up only to stumble and fall again. Her laughter had not only her own horse looking up from his grazing spot but at least four sets of ears twisted in her direction, including the little foal who she had been watching.

His head popped up over the grass again and stared right in her direction, as if scolding her for laughing at his silliness. Aine only giggled harder and picked her pencil back up to add a small white star between the eyes of his portrait.

She couldn’t wait to show Echo all of these drawings when she got home.


Next Creature: Kraken