by Random Dragon
The silence was broken only by the intermittent chirps of far-off birds, and the only sound close enough was the soft beating of a butterfly’s wings. It would flutter to and fro, randomly entering the locked eyes of the two sides. Eventually, it soared off to alight on a flower, leaving the creatures to whatever business they may have been engaged in.
“Jen, I’m scared,” began the young boy, hugging close to his sister, who appeared two or three years older than he. “What are they?”
“I’m not sure, hon. But, uh, don’t worry. It’ll be ok. Just…walk slowly with me,” she whispered reassuringly, placing a light hand on his head to ruffle his hair.
They both began to slink to the side, towards the forest. At the other side of the clearing, three large creatures stared back at them, just as wide-eyed and frightened as the children. Still keeping their curious eyes on the two furless, scaleless, upright animals, they whispered amongst themselves.
“Lentai, I’m scared,” huffed the smaller, scaled beast, rubbing up against his older sister. “What are they?”
“I’m not sure, hon. But, hey, don’t worry! It’ll be ok. What can two little animals do to two big, powerful, scary dragons?” she whispered in response, nudging him gently.
“I don’t know, you guys. I’ve never seen anything like them. Who knows if they’ve got claws or fire breath or poison skin?” the other piped up. They both looked over at him, the little one’s eyes filled with fear, and the elder sister’s full of annoyance.
“I know, Ginark. I was just trying to calm Tiy down. Jeez…” she sneered. The young gryphon frowned and shrugged, but came over closer to the dragons nonetheless, not wanting to be too close to the strange beasts.
“Wait!” snapped Lentai, her slit eyes lighting up. “What if we can study them, or capture them or something? We’d be sooo famous for discovering a new animal. C’mon, help me real quick,”
Ginark offered a hesitant “But…” just as Lentai began to stalk towards the treeline, motioning with her head for Ginark to approach from the rear. Sighing and muttering, he made his way over to the strange creatures, waiting for any other sort of sign. He glanced to where Lentai had been, but she was gone. Before he had any time to search for her, however, she burst from the trees right in front of the two creatures, frightening them and sending them backwards. The larger one hit the ground hard and rolled backwards, finally stopping to lay on its back in front of Ginark. Not knowing exactly what to do, he pressed a taloned claw down around the featherless creature, encasing it in a makeshift prison. Looking up, he saw that Lentai was crouched above the smaller one, eyeing him intently.
“What now, Professor Lentai?” Ginark shouted sarcastically.
“Well, I believe I know where to start. Being predatory creatures, there’s one thing we should test before all others,” she said with a grin, bringing herself to hover above the shivering little animal. “You know how the village has been short on food, right?”
“…Yeah…” Ginark said, beginning to see where the conversation was headed.
“Think of how famous we would be if we saved them from a lifetime of plants and rabbits. If we found a new food source, we’d be revered as heroes!” she shouted gleefully. By then, Tiy had padded his way over to his larger sister, sniffing at the animal and blinking his curious eyes. A short distance away, they heard Ginark’s exasperated sigh.
“I hate to admit it, but you’re right. We’re all skin and bones,” he began, leaning down to sniff his own captured creature. “You go ahead and try yours first. If it has poison skin, you’ll at least be in the history books for first discovering the new animal. Of course, you’ll be dead,” he trailed off grimly. Lentai glared at him, but steeled herself. Besides, only frogs were known to have poison skin, and these things looked nothing like a frog.
Lentai leaned her head down and wrapped her lips around the frightened creature’s midsection, lifting him up and tasting him. Quickly, however, she set him back down and spat to the side.
“Ugh…I don’t think it’s poison, but their outer skin tastes horrible,” she coughed and sputtered to Ginark. She turned her attention back to the animal and tried speaking to it. “I’m, uh, not going to hurt you. Can you take off your outer layer?” she drawled, speaking slowly in case it could understand him. He just stared at her for a moment, blinking. Suddenly, a voice burst out.
“Meewsmeghaghei! Keuuoiupiocpuiapuadkjhke!” the tiny creature hollered. Lentai just stared at him oddly. After a moment, she couldn’t hold it back anymore, and burst out laughing. Shaking her head, she nodded with finality to Ginark. “It can’t even speak the mountain tongue. Just a bunch of grunts and groans. I doubt it’s even intelligent enough to have a society.” Ginark just shrugged and nodded, urging her to continue.
The dragoness lowered her head again and bit gently into the upper layer. It came free easily, to her surprise, and she tossed it to the side. Doing the same to the lower layer, she decided she had gotten rid of the extra skin layers when she saw that the entire creature was now the same rosy pink hue. Licking her chops greedily, her stomach urging her on, Lentai nudged the animal with her snout, pushing it onto its stomach.
With a quick slurp, she had wrapped her tongue around its legs, and pulled them into her hot mouth. When she began to suck and taste the soft meat of the creature, Lentai couldn’t help but mmmmm softly, showing her acceptance of the newly discovered food.
Ginark just watched, though he was having a tough time keeping the large creature pinned down. It seemed to be going crazy, screaming nonsense words and reaching for the smaller one. Lentai ignored the commotion and gulped again, pulling the weakly struggling thing in up to its thighs. Tiy, being the curious little guy, tip-toed over and sniffed at the weird creature. Seeing that his sister was enjoying it, he assumed it probably wasn’t poison. So, he decided to have a taste, and wrapped his lips around an arm, getting most of it buried in his tiny mouth. This sent the little animal into a further panic, and he began to yank helplessly from every direction, trying to free himself from the two very young dragons.
Tiy enjoyed suckling on the meat for a while, but was a bit disappointed when it was yanked from his grasp. Lentai now had her meal in more than halfway, up to its chest. Her throat was already showing signs of bulging, and the entire length of it was squirming and struggling, making a perfect indent of the creature’s lower body in her flesh. Both of the creatures were now frantically screaming and waving, reaching hopelessly for each other across the distance of about twenty yards. Without another thought, Lentai cut off her food’s last sob with a powerful gulp, leaving only one arm, weak and wrinkled by Tiy’s saliva, dangling from her maw. The arm twitched once, then disappeared between her lips like a noodle, joining the rest of the peculiar animal in Lentai’s tight throat.
It was a bit of a struggle to completely swallow her prize, but Lentai was a stubborn dragoness. Tiy watched with wide, silent eyes as the struggling bulge made its way down his sister’s throat, looking like a perfect representation of the creature caught within. Finally, with an exasperated exhalation, Lentai managed to stuff the scrumptious beast into her belly. She breathed rapidly, rolling over onto her side. She was fairly small, even for a hatchling, and her plump gut practically oozed off to the side of her, about half the size of her entire body. She placed a delicate paw on her squirming tummy, ignoring the faint cries she couldn’t understand that came from within, and rubbed it slowly. Being young and immature, she took a deep breath, then raised her head and let out a huge, wet belch, smacking her lips and giggling afterwards. Tiy rolled over backwards with laughter, and Ginark couldn’t help but shake his head and chuckle after such a show.
With a soft grunt, Lentai invited Tiy to come closer. The little dragon rubbed up against his sister’s enormous gut, which was almost bigger than himself. He leaned against it with two paws, sniffing and licking it curiously. He giggled and pawed playfully at the distended belly whenever he heard a noise from inside or the creature’s struggles caused his leaning surface to jostle around. Finally, he remained content with laying against the stomach and licking it, continuing to observe the captured animal from outside.
“Mmmmpff…it feels so good inside, Ginark. Let’s just say no rabbit could ever put up a fight like that. All the way down your throat, it struggles and squirms as if it had any hope of escape. Kinda funny, really,” she smirked. “And I’ve never felt like this, my friend, with a huge, fat tummy full of tasty, meaty food, still kicking and squirming even as its curled up tight, waiting to perform its final role in the food chain.”
Taking that as an invitation to begin, Ginark removed his claw from the larger creature, which was now curled up and appeared to be crying. He hesitated, then removed the unappetizing outer layer with a single, sharp talon, stopping when the entire creature was a rosy pink. When it realized that it would soon be languishing in the huge bird’s hot belly, the creature began to scream and kick again. Wanting to end this soon (as his own stomach was growling terribly), Ginark looked for a way to consume the beast without taking any damage from the flailing limbs. Seeing that the head was the only thing not dangerous at the moment, his own head darted down with a quick, open-mouthed peck, and enveloped the furless thing up to its shoulders.
Ginark grunted as he found a bit of difficulty making his way over two orbs of flesh protruding from the chest. Obviously, they were meant for a situation like this, to act as a barrier so the creature could not be fit into a predator’s mouth. This, of course, meant that the species had been little more than food over the centuries, if it had developed a defense mechanism such as this. Not to be outdone by his friend Lentai, however, Ginark shook his head wildly and pressed the creature against the ground to get leverage. Finally, with a groan, the defensive, fleshy orbs disappeared into the gryphon’s maw. Another powerful gulp brought in the squirming creature up to its belly, and its arms were now pinned to its sides. With those out of the way, the going would be a little easier on the hungry gryphon.
With about half of the meaty animal now encased between Ginark’s beak, he lifted his head back high, so the lower portion of his meal stuck almost straight up. The gryphon began to “peck” at the air, opening his throat and darting his head forward just enough to slowly work the food-creature down his throat. It tasted so wonderful, he had to agree, with the helpless creature struggling in his mouth, rolling and twisting on his tongue. Anything that tasted this good, Ginark decided, was definitely meant to be food. The slow, steady pecks had vanquished the kicking legs, and at long lost, the twitching feet and toes disappeared between the victorious gryphon’s beak. Fluttering his wings and tilting his head back once more, the hungry bird sent the bulge in his throat lower and lower, until it disappeared above his ribcage.
The clearing was still and silent for a long while. Soon enough, however, Ginark clenched his eyes and let out a satisfied belch, his bloated, feathered belly clenching around the still-struggling meal. Tiy started giggling like crazy, and Lentai answered by patting her own stuffed tummy and letting out another belch loud enough to scare away the birds in the treetops. This was too much, and all three of them laughed raucously, Lentai and Ginark’s bellies swaying violently, sloshing the unfortunate creatures around. Finally, they settled down, and were content to lick their lips free of the flavor, continuing to hug and lick their own distended guts. The wriggling, desperate creatures inside were highly entertaining, and they simply would not come to terms with the fact that they were just food.
“Shouldn’t we go back and tell the village, Lent?” Ginark asked with a wicked grin.
“Sure, sure,” she chuckled, rolling over and hugging her belly. “After we rest for a bit. It’ll take me a few days or so to sleep this meal off.”
Ginark just chuckled in response, and they both lounged on the soft grass, their protruding bellies still sloshing high in the air as the two playful predators finally began to claim their prizes. Tiy, who hoped to gorge himself on the food-creatures someday, leapt up and fell asleep on his sister’s plump stomach, quickly rocked into slumber.