Hiyie was mad. It wasn’t fair. Their cheek pouches inflated and deflated to produce an upset croaking noise. They wouldn’t even give them a chance to prove themself. Every time they’d just say “You can join the hunt once you turn 16.” What’s four more years?
Hiyie stomped down the path to the lake amidst the jungle. Thick bushes followed the path. Trees only let little specks of sunlight through, but more light appeared the closer they got to the lake. Spiral lived there. Hiyie never took them to the village, the other kids would just poke them and try to get them to do something cute. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re a pet.
“-be wearing a spacesuit. I know Felwyn and Pah tested the air and all, but it still feels weird to walk around on a foreign planet in street clothes.”
What was that strange sound? Hiyie paused their angry croaks and listened.
“Well, I’m glad. Space suits are very awkward when you have hooves and horns.”
Hiyie determined that the sounds came from behind a thicket. Quiet as still air, they climbed up a tree to see what it was. They coiled their body around the trunk and spiraled upwards and onto the first branch viewing over the thicket.
Two beings stood on another path close to the one Hiyie had used, but obscured from view on the ground. The Alerosen purposely let the plants grow that way, it was an obstacle for the Dahri hunters, who couldn’t climb trees to get around like an Alerosa can. The two were speaking with each other but in a language Hiyie didn’t understand. It was loud and harsh and very annoying.
One had skin a similar color to the trees, hair like the clouds above them and wore something dark as the shadows beneath. Small orange wings hung on their back like fruits. The other had horns sticking out of their long hair and walked on hooves. Like a tall, less ugly Dahri.
If Hiyie came back with one of these strange creatures, they’d have to admit they’re a good enough hunter. They started to fill their cheek pouches with acid.
“Should we take some of these fruits with us?” the tree person said and Hiyie didn’t understand a word. Then tree person extended their tongue all the way up to the tree top where the fruits grew. That was weird, only Alerosen had tongues like that. But tree person didn’t use it like an Alerosa either. It didn’t shoot out and didn’t seem to be sticky as it had to wrap around the fruit. It was more like a weird mouth tentacle. Still, it made Hiyie swallow the acid again. Were these some sort of hybrids? Like a mix between Alerosa and… a Presence? Probably wouldn’t be a good idea to bring a corpse of their own kind to show off at home, even if just partially their kind. Hiyie decided to engage these creatures. They were just too curious to just leave and should they turn hostile, they could always just spit acid in their eyes and run. Hiyie’s tail curled around the branch and let the rest of them down until they could drop themself safely.
“Woah, it’s an alien!” the hooved one said, their hooves clacked on the ground as they stepped back.
“Vee-yah sa-yee e-yah sav-yee?” Hiyie asked.
“Uh, did- Did that sound mad to you?” the horned one asked the tree one.
“We should’ve brought Artami.” the two apparently made no effort to communicate with Hiyie.
“O-uae, vee-yah-seh e-yah as?” Hiyie mumbled and pointed to both of them. Then made a questioning gesture by placing their finger over their lips.
“Are they asking us to be quiet?” tree person asked. Hooved one knelt down to get to their eye level and just stared at them like they waited for something. They didn’t get it.
The hooved one pointed to themself and said: “Leigh.”
Was that what they were? Or was that their name?
Leigh then pointed to Hiyie.
Hiyie pointed to themself and said: “Hiyie.”
Leigh pointed to himself again and repeated: “Leigh,” then pointed back to them and said “Hiyie”
“Yah.” Hiyie affirmed. Then pointed to their own chest again and said: “Hiyie. Aes. Alerosa.” pointed to Leigh, “Leigh. Aes…”
Leigh looked to tree person. “You know what they asked?”
Tree person lifted their shoulders which seemed to suffice as an answer to Leigh.
Hiyie tried to elaborate and hoped they wouldn’t make it even more complicated.
“Hiyie aes Alerosa.” they stuck their tongue out a good bit and pointed to it. “Alerosa uen-yay.” Then pointed to tree person. “Ahn-yeh uen-yay.” Hiyie emphasized their pointing. “Alerosa?”
“I think I got it. Alerosa is what this kid’s people are called. Now Hiyie is confused and thinks you’re an Alerosa too because of your tongue.”
Leigh then pointed to the tree person and faced Hiyie. “Dakarai. Dakarai aes Akaname?”
So if Leigh got Hiyie’s question, this Dakarai was not an Alerosa. So they could’ve worrilessly killed them. Talking to them was frustrating but now Hiyie was too intrigued to find out what these strange people were doing here. Maybe they could kill them later. Hiyie wondered what their flesh would taste like.