Devil May Cry © Capcom
Bestow a Goose Feather
Jason M. Lee
Kyrie hummed softly to herself as she carefully and steadily wove her crown of flowers, trying to remember how Mama had showed her.
She was also trying not to cry after hearing the comments from the other children.
That didn't stop her sniffling.
At least the pretty butterflies and buzzy bees didn't bother her too much, other than flitting to the flowers surrounding her. They were nicer, they didn't make fun of her because she was the only one at five years old who could hold a note the longest.
She liked singing. It's not her fault the teacher praised her the most. She didn't even want the praise!
Reaching out for another stem, Kyrie realized that her small pile had already run out. Pouting, she gently placed down the half-finished crown and stood up to gather more flowers, before catching bright blue eyes staring at her behind the berry bush.
Amber eyes stared back.
She was sure her surprised shriek could almost match the startled squawk from the blue eyes, as she quickly scooted away to hide behind a stump. She almost knocked over her small basket of lunch. Rustling from the bushes meant that whoever - or whatever - was in the leaves was also scooting back.
Trying to control her breathing like how Mama and her singing teacher taught her, Kyrie peeked around the stump, shaky fingers digging into the bark. She could be brave like Papa and Credo! (She's also heard stories of women who fought like men, as Granny Lenore told the other children from her seat at the central fountain. One was a young woman who fought with many knives and was a very good archer who could fire many arrows.)
Again, amber eyes met blue eyes.
Again, both scurried back to their hiding places.
'If that person is as scared as you, then this is silly!' Taking in a deep breath, Kyrie nodded to herself and forced herself to leave her hiding place. "H-Hello? I- I'm not going to hurt you!"
She could be brave! Slowly, she walked back towards her basket and crown before stopping partway, and waited. Papa always said that being patient - waiting - got better things.
She could also be patient!
She was happy that she didn't take a step back when whoever was hiding in the bushes came out, but she did stare.
A small dark blue snout, and then a batch of fluffy white fur over bright blue eyes, staring wide at her. Tiny wings that shimmered light blue fluttered over the body before tucking tightly, stubby tail swishing like when the horses were nervous. Hind legs sat down while the forelegs with streaks of red was carefully rearranged in front, like a dog paying attention. The whole body looked about her size, even just sitting.
"You're a baby dragon!" Kyrie squeaked softly, before immediately covering her mouth.
She and the other children had heard the tales, sometimes told by the traveling traders, sometimes told by the guards. How in places outside their village, dragons roamed the lands, flew in the skies, and swam in the oceans. Large, majestic, and terrifying creatures, how they tend to like shiny things, and how they were so wise that they sometimes taught people.
There was also tales of how some of the meaner dragons ate humans and their farm animals...
A slow blink, and then a cautious nod.
She couldn't help but giggle at the indignant snort upon her slip. She wasn't wrong, because the scales were a bit shiny, even under the shade of the tree.
"You're a boy dragon, aren't you?"
Another nod, puffing out his chest and almost preening like the prettier cats she'd sometimes see at the richer children's homes.
A loud growl sounded out, causing both of them to jump. Kyrie giggled again at the sudden bashful look coming from the baby dragon, head turned to the side while his left claw pawed at his snout.
"Are you hungry?" Clapping her hands, she slowly reached her basket and pulled out one of the pies Mama had tucked in. "Want to try? It's very yummy. Mama makes the best meat pies, because she fills it with lots of love."
Kyrie tried to think of how she was like coaxing one of the stray cats to her hands, and held very still as the small snout sniffed the pie. She tried not to move upon feeling warm air from his nose, and then the brush of his lips carefully picking up the food before slowly chewing it. Blue eyes blinked like the owls she sometimes saw at night, before he let out a soft trill that reminded her of singing. Pleased, Kyrie pulled out two more meat pies to share, the baby dragon happily eating his half after she split one apart.
Leaning against the curled warm body now napping away, Kyrie slowly continued working on her flower crown.
Papa also told stories of how sometimes, there were people who hated dragons, blaming them for any little misfortune as equally as the fae. Credo had scoffed at that before, but Papa was stern that if either of them were to ever encounter dragons, especially the kind ones, they were to keep quiet.
She remembered how Mama had quickly moved both of them away from one of the inns when a man was loudly boasting about slaying many dragons one time. Mama later told her that while there were dragons that didn't like humans, there were also others that either lived with humans or guarded humans.
"Like the Legendary D-Dark Dragon Sparda, Mama?" Kyrie asked as she helped stirred the pot for their evening meal. "But he has a sc-scary title!"
Mama held a finger to her lips with a wink. "Yes, like the Legendary Dark Dragon Sparda. Even though he has a scary title, my grandmama told me he has guarded over our lands for many years with kindness and wisdom. That is why we and some of our neighboring villages rarely have attacks, unlike several other towns and places further away. My grandmama also told me that 'dark' isn't always scary, that it can be as soothing as the peaceful nights when the stars are out - a comfortable blanket for little boys and girls like you."
"I wonder if I could meet him..." she wondered, stepping down from her stool. If Mama's grandmama said that the Legendary Dark Dragon Sparda protected people, then maybe he wasn't mean like the ones that gobbled people. "He sounds like a kind dragon."
All she got was a chuckle before being shooed away to set up the table.
This baby dragon was like her, a baby. Young and still learning of the world, so he was probably curious like she was at times. Which also meant that like her, he could also get hurt easily.
Get hurt by mean hunters who didn't care about kind dragons.
Kyrie promised to herself right there that she would never tell anyone about meeting her new friend. 'Even if Papa, Mama, or Credo asked, I'm not telling anyone.'
Feeling a soft rumbling, she realized that the baby dragon was now purring like a cat, and she giggled again.
'But...' She paused, glancing back at the still napping baby dragon, tail twitching like one of the sleeping market guard dogs. '...where is his papa or mama dragon?'
She let it go, going back to her humming and her flower crown. The breeze was nice, her tummy was full, and she had a new friend who wouldn't make fun of her singing.
She soon fell asleep, curling up next to dark blue scales that was warm and comfortable.
Kyrie woke up to both her mother calling her name, as well very heavy breathing and chirping. Groggily sitting up, she rubbed her eyes and froze upon seeing a very, very, very large blue eye looking straight at her.
The eye belonged to a very, very, very large - larger than the trees and her house! - dragon, also blue but more like the sky when the sun was shining bright, not the dark blue that matched the baby dragon's. The horns on both sides of the head seemed to put out blue and white flames, and Kyrie could just make out four wings that was on its body, tail barely seen from around the trees. Even his front claws had flames dancing along his arms. While she couldn't really make out the large dragon's expression, the feeling she got was similar to when the nobles sometimes walked through the streets, looking all important.
Except this dragon had the power to be really important.
And... stern, like when Papa was upset when she or Credo did something naughty.
"Kyrie..." Mama whispered behind her. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw her mama looking just a bit worried. "Slowly, walk back to me."
A quiet gulp, and Kyrie looked over to the baby dragon.
Who wasn't acting afraid at all, crouching in front of her while still chirping and squeaking loudly. As if trying to protect her, from the way his tiny wings were spread opened and tail moving about.
(Something in her chest warmed at that. She liked it.)
The large head swiveled a bit to look at the baby dragon, as if listening, making her wish she could understand what her new friend was saying. Although the longer the larger dragon listened, the more it seemed to be not as stern or cold. A little more... gentler.
Finally, the baby dragon was panting hard, as if finished saying his piece.
For a moment, stillness and little noise, other than a quick breeze. Slowly, the larger dragon lowered his head and gently nudged against the baby dragon, prompting a happy purr and returned nuzzling.
"You... You're his papa?" Kyrie quietly whispered, now standing close to the stump.
A surprised blink, and then a loud snort that caused both her and Mama to jump, but no other fire. "A bright daughter of yours," came the low rumble, a bit like the big stone wheels at the mill when grinding to make flour but deeper that made her chest feel funny.
Well, Papa did say there were stories of dragons teaching people...
Mama did a quick curtsy, like when she met someone important. "An inquisitive mind after her father, milord."
Another rumble that sounded scary. "You will not speak of this to others."
"Other than my husband and perhaps my son, never a breath to another soul, milord." Mama did another curtsy.
"Me, too!" Kyrie said loudly, doing her own wobbly curtsy. "I promise I won't tell others!"
"Very well." This time, his rumble made Kyrie think he was pleased, like when she and Credo were able to solve a tricky problem to show Papa. "Come, we must leave."
A disappointed chirp, and the little dragon reluctantly climbed up the scales on to his papa's back until he settled between the wings.
She didn't want to leave either, but if they stayed too long, the mean hunters would find them and she didn't want anything bad happen to them. Both of them had been kind with just talking with her and Mama. Chewing her lip, she fought back tears. "Will... Will we meet again?"
Bright blue eyes seemed to look at her gently, tilting his head at the sad and questioning trill, as if asking the same question. "...perhaps one day, little ones."
Kyrie felt just as sad, wrapping her arms around Mama's neck after being picked up before realizing something. "Wait!"
Wings paused on opening, both heads swiveling back to her.
"What..." She took in a deep breath, and looked directly at stormy blue eyes. If his papa could talk, then maybe... "What's your name? I'm Kyrie."
Small jaw worked a bit as he turned around, a squeak, and then a cough. With a funny noise that sounded like clearing his throat, he puffed up, his eyes shining brightly as he looked back at her.
"My name... is Nero."
A/N: So, uh... Inspiration by sneaky dudke's "Dragon May Cry" art on Twitter (hande "sneaky_dudke") of the Sparda boys as dragons, also on Tumblr (handle "sneakydudke"). Nero being a baby dragon was from the tweet of him responding "am potat" to dragon!Vergil's "explain your smolness."
Again, the trope "Dragons Are Demonic".
Title is from a Chinese proverb: 千里送鹅毛，礼轻情意重。 (qiānlĭ sòng émáo, lĭ qīng qíngyì zhòng.) "Travel a thousand miles to bestow a goose feather— a small gift may be a token of profound friendship." Basically, even the smallest of gifts can express the greatest of affections.
And, yeah, I like dragons. FITE ME.