poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

I told my friend about this, and he really wants to see it. can i email it/use it? Just want to check for copyrights.

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*Sunstalker*

 

Everything changed when the Crit nation attacked!!

 

 

 All hail the vampyre goddess Nyx

 

 

You can email him the link to this thread, but I'd rather you not copy it.

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

Understood. Thanks!

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*Sunstalker*

 

Everything changed when the Crit nation attacked!!

 

 

 All hail the vampyre goddess Nyx

 

 

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

I don't even watch Avengers, and yet this is one of the best fanfics I have read.

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•Inkblot•

 

Being unoriginal here!

Not sure if I'm happy with this chapter or not. Doreen is kinda tricky for me to write. Oh well.

 

Chapter 7: Nutshells and Scraps


Squirrel Girl


   The rising sun woke Doreen up the next morning, streaming through the window of Alpine’s guest bedroom. Instead of beds, long wide ledges covered in bear skins ran along the two of the walls; Doreen and Black Widow occupied one, and Tony, Cap, and Bucky were spread out on the other. They were all still asleep, which surprised Doreen a little.

 

   She carefully pulled her scaly tail out from under Black Widow and rolled off the ledge, claws clicking on the stone floor. She stretched her wings, watching for a moment as swirls of lavender and violet poured across the cool blue surface, then trotted over to the room’s single window and pushed it open.

 

   She shivered at the cold air, breath rising in billowy plumes as she stuck her head out the window and called out in Squirrelese.

 

   It took a minute, and then a little red-furred squirrel approached hesitantly. “(You...you’re a talking dragon?)”

 

   “(Yep.)”

 

   The squirrel stopped, eyeing the nearest tree. “(This is some kind of trick, right? You learned to mimic Squirrelese to lure unwitting squirrels to their doom, or…)”

 

   “(Oh, no,)” Doreen said. She flicked her tail reassuringly. “(I would never eat someone. Some of my best friends are squirrels, and besides, I don’t even eat meat.)”

 

   “(Okaay….)” The squirrel approached a few feet more, but he was clearly still nervous. “(What do you want?)”

 

   “(I’m looking for someone called Wickerwist,)” Doreen explained. “(You know her?)”

 

   “(Oh! Yeah! ...Why do you want her?)”

 

   “(To talk. She’s been helping me out with some stuff. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna eat her either.)”

 

   The squirrel hesitated, then sighed. “(I guess...I’ll go get her.)” He darted off, looking relieved to be away from her. Doreen frowned; even squirrels she didn’t know were usually not afraid of her. Of course, she also wasn’t usually an apex predator, so that probably had something to do with it.

 

   The little redfur returned a few minutes later, Wickerwist on his tail, and scampered off to observe from a big old ash tree near the house. Wicker waved a greeting in Tailspeak, jumping up to the windowsill with a walnut in her mouth. “(Thought you might like something to eat,)” she said, cracking the nut with her powerful teeth and holding it towards Doreen, “(what with other dragons being meat-eaters ‘n’ all. Ain’t much for someone your size, but it’ll be a start.)”

 

   “(Thanks,)” Doreen said, popping the nut into her mouth and twitching her tail to imply gratitude. She could have cracked it herself--jaw strength was included under “proportional strength of a squirrel”--but Wicker wouldn’t know that. “(It actually wasn’t too bad last night, ‘cause Quagmire made this really awesome vegetable stew, but I’ll probably need a lot of help from you and your friends for the next little while, since I doubt that’s going to be a regular thing and I don’t know where any of the good foraging spots are.)”

 

   “(Noted.)”

 

   “(Wickerwist, ma’am?)” the red-furred squirrel called from his tree. “(Are you sure this is safe?)”

 

   Wicker sighed. “(Yes,)” she called back. “(I spent near all of yesterday with Doreen. Do I look eaten to you?)” The sounds in the name Doreen, of course, were unpronounceable to squirrels; she had a Squirrelese version of her name (courtesy of original squirrel sidekick Monkey Joe) which translated to something like “green-acorn liaison-warrior.”

 

   Wicker turned back to Doreen. “(Ignore Twitch--he’s scared of everything. So what can I help you with today, chitterwings?)”

 

   Doreen flicked her tail ponderously. “(I believe the plan is to investigate the place Vibrant found us and see if we can figure out how the heck we got here. Mesa was gonna help us with that, but she’s probably got her hands full with all the assassins who were running around last night. And she got injured, I think.)”

 

   Wicker nodded. “(You remember much else ‘bout before you showed up in the forest?)”

 

   “(Not really. Just the name of the guy we were fighting,)” Doreen answered, thinking hard. “Doctor Eston Taggart,” she added in English (that being another name that used non-squirrel sounds).

 

   “(Hmm. Looks like your other Avengers are still asleep. D’ya want me to send out a team to check if there are more random dragons appearing out in the forest?)” Doreen nodded, so Wickerwist turned towards the ash tree Twitch was watching from. “(Hey, Malarkey! Will you go get me, oh, Chet Hawkslayer, Hysteria Twist, Catkin Stormblessed, Blizzard Ashley, and…)” She paused, considering. “(Ninja Master Squint-eye?)”

 

   “(Squint-eye? Are you sure?)” Twitch ran from one end of his branch to the other and back.

 

   “(Of course I’m sure,)” Wicker chattered, flicking her tail in the way that meant annoyance. “(He’s eccentric, but he’s competent.)”

 

   Twitch nodded uncertainly and scampered off.

 

   Behind Doreen, someone shifted. She glanced over as Captain America stretched.

 

   “(Huh. They’re finally waking up,)” Wicker noted. “(I should probably let you go. I ought to find some more grub before Twitch and the others get back, anyway. Meet you in a couple hours to share info?)”

 

   “(Sounds good!)” Doreen answered. Wicker jumped down from the windowsill and scampered off, waving a farewell with her tail. Doreen waved back, then turned around. “Good morning,” she said quietly.

 

   “Morning,” Cap mumbled. He yawned, a bit of smoke drifting from his mouth, and pushed himself into a sitting position.

 

   “I didn’t expect to be up before you guys,” Doreen remarked.

 

   Cap shrugged. “Tony didn’t stop talking until nearly midnight. He does that sometimes. And Bucky and Nat were fighting off assassins.”

 

   “That would explain it. Should we wake them up?”

 

   He shook his head. “No, they need the extra sleep. I don’t think any of them sleeps enough in general.”

 

   “Why not?”

 

   “Natasha has insomnia, Bucky has insomnia…” he listed. “I think Tony just gets into a project and forgets to go to bed.” He hesitated. “I don’t know if it’s a scientist thing or a Stark thing, but Howard used to do that too.”

 

   “Oh yeah, I always forget you were friends with Tony’s dad,” Doreen said. Cap shrugged.

 

   A gust of cold air skittered into the room, and Doreen shivered. She quickly pulled the window closed.

 

   “So are you up before everyone else often?” Doreen questioned.

 

   “Yeah. I--” Cap broke off as Tony rolled over, muttering in his sleep. “We should probably go in another room.”

 

   Doreen followed him out into the hall, tail swishing cheerfully. “So what do you do when you’re up early?”

 

   He shrugged again. “Make breakfast. Train. Paint the shield.”

 

   “Wait, paint the shield?”

 

   His ears twitched. “...Yeah. The paint’s not bulletproof.”

 

   Alpine glanced up as they entered the main room, but didn’t say anything. She and Mesa sat side by side at a counter, cutting apart a small deer with their claws. Mesa held her blistered left wing out from her body slightly, and her snout was visibly scratched up. Apart from them, the room was empty.

 

   “Morning!” Doreen called cheerfully.

 

   “Good morning,” Mesa replied, looking up briefly before returning her attention to Alpine. “Is this an isolated occurrence, though, or are they striking against the whole Initiative?”

 

   Alpine tilted her head skeptically, plumes of smoke drifting from her mouth as she spoke. “It must be the whole Initiative. Why would they send assassins after us specifically?”

 

   Mesa shrugged with her wings, then winced and quickly stopped moving them. “Maybe we’re closer than we thought. Regardless, we need to get a message to the Director as fast as possible. When’s Redtail making his rounds?”

 

   “He was just here the day before yesterday, remember?” Alpine pointed out. She looked hesitant as she offered, “I could take it myself….”

 

   “No,” Mesa said firmly. “Your dragonets are already stressed enough. They need you here. I’ll pay one of the kids in town to take it. Flatiron is pretty reliable, or maybe Rhodochrosite.”

 

   Alpine nodded thoughtfully. “If you think we can trust them with top secret material. I’ll draft the report after breakfast.”

 

   “Top secret?” Doreen asked curiously.

 

   Alpine and Mesa looked at each other. “For the Blazing Initiative,” Alpine explained. “You...you know I’m a member, right? Didn’t I tell you that last night?”

 

   “You did,” Cap confirmed.

 

   “It’s really just a routine report, urgent but not super secret since the Claws already know they tried to kill us,” Mesa clarified, “but we’d rather not panic the whole town over something that’s not going to affect them.” She shrugged. “It’s really only because official reports are supposed to be secret.”

   

   Doreen wasn’t sure she understood that, but Cap nodded like it made perfect sense to him. Stretching his wings, he went to sit down next to the table. Doreen followed, not sure what else to do.

 

   A couple minutes later, there was a thump outside, and Karst pushed open the door. She stepped inside, followed by another, larger MudWing with cinnamon-brown scales, claw scars on his face, and a large bag slung across his shoulders.

 

   “Good morning, Dr. Rush,” Mesa said. She stood up, wiping her talons on a rag.

 

   The other MudWing grunted, marching across the room to set his bag by the fire. “You said there were two patients?”

 

   Mesa nodded. “Spider’s still asleep.”

 

   “Well, somebody go wake her up. Not you, Mesa, you get over here.”

 

   “I’ll get her,” Cap volunteered. He stood and vanished into the hall.

 

   Doreen pushed herself to her feet and trotted over to Rush with Mesa. She watched with interest as Rush began pulling jars of powder out of his bag and mixing them together. “So you’re a doctor, huh?” she asked.

 

   “Yeah. Why?”

 

   Doreen shrugged, vaguely noticing the dark blue pouring across her hands (claws? paws? talons?). “No reason. It’s pretty cool, though. Where’d you learn?”

 

   He eyed her suspiciously as he began inspecting the burns on Mesa’s wing. “The Queen Otter Institute of Healing and Medicine.”

 

   “Sounds cool. In the Mud Kingdom, right?”

 

   Rush released Mesa’s wing and looked around. He picked up an iron pot from next to the fireplace and handed it to Doreen, scowling. “Why don’t you take this outside and fill it up with snow?”

 

   Doreen wilted slightly. “Right, of course, sorry,” she said quickly. “Didn’t mean to bother you. I really like to talk, you know? So I sometimes forget that...not everybody….” She trailed off as his glare darkened. “Sorry.” She took the pot from him and hurried outside.

 

   As she began packing snow into the pot, pausing every now and then to warm her hands (or whatever) under her wings, a squirrel called out to her from the trees.

 

   Setting down the pot, Doreen hurried over. The squirrel was a grey-furred female with white speckles on her tail, and she carried a couple of acorns.

 

   “(You called?)” Doreen asked.

 

   The squirrel flicked her tail in the affirmative, holding out the acorns. “(So you’re Wickerwist’s dragon friend. Seems like you impressed Twitch Malarkey quite a bit. I’m Blizzard Ashley, by the way. Whatcha squeak by?)”

 

   “(Doreen,)” she answered, taking the acorns and flicking the Tailspeak sign for thanks. “(You’re one of the ones Wickerwist sent for, right? You guys find anything?)”

 

   “(Nutshells and scraps,)” Blizzard reported. “(My littermate Catkin says he found traces of blood from one of the freezing-death-breath dragons that live up north. He’s tryna track it now, sent me to come find you.)”

 

   “(How can you tell it’s IceWing blood?)” Doreen wondered. She hoped Bucky hadn’t gotten hurt in the fight last night.

 

   “(They’ve got this weird sky-colored blood, you know? None of the other kinds of dragon have that.)”

 

   Doreen flicked her tail in the sign for “weird.” Blizzard shrugged like, “I know, right?”

 

   “(Well, my team’s not awake yet,)” Doreen stated. “(I need to wait for them. You guys go keep investigating, and we’ll come see what you’ve found later.)”

 

   “(You got it, boss. We find anything weirder, we’ll come get you, okay?)”

 

   “(Okay.)”

 

   Blizzard Ashley scampered off into the trees. Doreen popped the acorns into her mouth, chewing on them as she rushed back to finish filling the pot of snow.

 

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

Huh, that went through fast.

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

this is amazing!

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 ₮ł₲ɆⱤ

      

 triplet with Rune and Time. 

 

est.[June21st][2017] ☆2,820☆

Never be afraid to be yourself,

  For we're all wonderfully unique,

     In our own way. 

    

 

Rip.

  

 

 

  

   

 

 

 

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

hey uh, before I post the next chapter, is anyone still interested in reading this?

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

uhh

 

someone starred this since i last looked at it so i'm gonna take that as a yes

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

it's likely too late but yes

 

y e s i am very interested in this

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Grey

 

She/Her

 

My hobbies include hiding from face-to-face interaction, obsessing over fictional content, and wasting away on the internet. I tend to be inactive on these forums and in real life.

 

 

Queen of Sarcasm

 

 

No, you're not too late!! I'm still working on this, but the filter doesn't like the next chapter very much. I'm gonna test some things and see if I can get it to go through.

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

Alright. I'm going to split this chapter up into two separate parts, since there are a couple things that the filter might be snagging on and I'm not sure which it is. 

 

Chapter 8: Footprints


Iron Man


“Well,” Tony said, surveying the area behind Quagmire’s tavern. “There was definitely a fight here.”


Steve gave him a flat look. “Right, because we didn’t already know that.”


The snow was churned up by frantic footsteps, and in places spattered with blood in scarlet and azure. Two trails of footprints crossed over each other as they led away from the scene, one of them stained with blue blood.


Doreen crouched next to one of the blue-stained patches of snow, and the squirrel on her shoulder scrambled to her head for a better look. “Wow, Blizz was right,” she said to the squirrel. “That is so weird.” She reached out to poke the splash of blood, the scales on her hands shifting colors to match it.


“Don’t touch that,” Tony interrupted, stepping over to put a hand on her shoulder. “There could be bloodborne diseases.” She quickly pulled back, and he bent down to inspect it himself. “Interesting. Do they have hemocyanin instead of hemoglobin?”


“Could be. Or maybe like a natural pigmented antifreeze or something,” Doreen theorized. She paused. “If it is hemocyanin then do IceWings do that horseshoe crab thing where their blood can detect bacteria?”


She and Tony simultaneously looked over at Bucky with speculative expressions. The IceWing blinked at them in alarm, the spikes around his head bristling.


“Let’s find out later,” Cap urged, stepping forward. “If we want to find out why we’re here, we should keep moving.”


“Chuk cuk chuaa!” Doreen’s squirrel agreed--or at least it sounded like an agreement to Tony.


“How philosophical,” Tony observed as he straightened. “‘Where did we come from? Why are we here? What happens when we die?’ Aagh, my hands are cold.” He held his hands out and awkwardly coughed out a plume of flame above them, rubbing them together to try to get some feeling back into them.


There you guys are!” someone called, and Tony turned to see Vibrant winging around the corner of the tavern. “Quagmire told me you were over at Alpine’s place, but Lammergeier said you left. No way are you leaving me out of this, nothing interesting ever happens around--” She cut off, scales changing from orange and gold to acid green as she noticed the blood on the snow. “--here.”


“You don’t find assassination attempts interesting?” Tony asked innocently.


Assassination?” Vibrant squeaked. “Who’s--did anybody--whose blood is this? Where’s Spider? And Mesa, I didn’t see Mesa inside, is--”


“Everyone’s alive,” Steve interrupted, shooting a glare at Tony. “Natasha and Mesa are both hurt, but they’re with a doctor, and Bucky drove the assassins off before they could hurt anyone else.”


The little RainWing sighed in relief, then raised an eyebrow. “Most of this is IceWing blood…and there’s kind of a lot of it….”


Bucky shrugged. “Nobody said the assassins didn’t get hurt.”


“Chrrk!” Doreen’s squirrel called. Doreen tilted her head and translated, “Catkin says we should get a move on.”


They set off into the forest, the squirrel leading them along the trail of footprints left behind by the fleeing assassins.


Doreen called for them to halt about half a mile later. The snow was sparser this deep in the woods, but the footprints they were following were still clearly visible.


The area was churned up, but not in a way that clearly said “fight scene” like the backyard of the tavern. One of the dead bushes along the trail was crushed in, like someone had fallen over into it--someone who wasn’t one of the two assassins, judging by the footprint trails. And leading away from the bush…


“There’s another set of footprints,” Tony realized.


“Chit chrrt,” the squirrel responded, making a face Tony could have sworn was exasperated.


“Woah, no need to be so salty,” Doreen told the squirrel. “You said we needed to come see ‘something weird with the tracks.’ You didn’t say what.”


Steve bounded over to where the new trail joined the others, carefully avoiding stepping on any of the prints. “Bigger feet than the other two--closer to the size of an adult,” he reported. “Probably not an IceWing.” He glanced up at the sky, then turned back to the team. “Spread out. Look for any more footprints. The canopy here is probably too thick to fly through, which means our mystery dragon likely walked here.”


“Unless they got teleported here like you guys did,” Vibrant interjected. She had scrambled up a tree as soon as they’d stopped moving, her scales changing to match the bark.


“That’s a possibility. But for now we’re going to work under the assumption that it’s not the case.”


“Okay.” Vibrant tipped her head. “What do you want me to do?”


Steve blinked at her as if he wasn’t sure what to tell her.


“Keep watch,” Bucky suggested. “Wait up there and call out to us if you see anyone coming.”


Steve nodded, giving him a grateful look. “Let’s go.”


The group spread out, scouring the area for any signs of life. They searched through the snowy forest for about twenty minutes before regrouping below Vibrant’s tree.


“Find anything?” Cap asked.


Tony shook his head. “There’s nothing out there. No footprints, no claw marks...nothing.”


“I didn’t see anything except the trail leading away,” Bucky confirmed.


“I found this,” Doreen offered, holding up a black dragon scale. “Over by the bush. No new tracks though.”


Cap nodded in approval. “Good work, kid.” Indigo and yellow bloomed across Doreen’s scales at the praise.


Tony sat back and frowned up at the canopy thoughtfully. Sunlight shone through the branches, especially in their leafless early-spring state, but they were woven densely enough that a dragon bigger than Vibrant likely couldn’t get through even with their wings closed. (Probably not humans with flying suits, either, although he really had no clue what scale they were working with here. They didn’t seem to be bigger in comparison to plants and things, but maybe everything was bigger on this planet. Or maybe dragons were a lot smaller than the stories said--they’d presumably have to be, to fly as well as they were. Unless the whole race functioned on the same principle as Doctor Strange’s cloak. Stupid wizards, always ruining the laws of physics.)


Not relevant, Tony, he chided himself. There probably would be a hole in the canopy if someone had fallen through--and a dragon might not be able to survive that fall, although he didn’t know how durable they were. No footprints, no way they could have flown in…he folded his arms. “We might actually be looking at another situation like ours.”


“About dang time we found a lead,” Bucky muttered.


“That scientist, maybe?” Steve theorized.


“I hope so,” Tony said. “If anyone knows how to get us back, he will.” The plan had been for this to be a quick mission, but they’d already been gone for maybe eighteen hours; Pepper was going to kill him when he got back. Gosh, he missed her.


“Let’s split up to cover more ground,” Cap decided. “Bucky and I will keep following the assassins. Tony, Doreen, Vibrant, you check out the place we were found and see if there’s anything there. We’ll meet back at the tavern when we’re done.”

 

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

Yay!

 

Chapter 8 part 2:

 

--------------------------------------------


Scents of roasted meat and smoke hit Tony as he walked into the tavern a while later. It was more crowded than it had been the day before: dragons were seated at nearly every table, scales of mud-brown and fire-orange and sandy-gold glowing in the sunlight that streamed through the large windows. A handful of dragons moved between tables, delivering trays of drinks and meals.


Vibrant led them to an unoccupied table near the bar, ducking around patrons and calling cheerful greetings to the waitstaff. Rejecting the sitting mats that dragons used in place of chairs, she jumped straight onto the table and sat down there, curling her tail around her back feet.


“Hey, you know Quagmire doesn’t like you on the tables,” Karst called out from the bar, but she didn’t seem too concerned about it. She nodded to Tony and Doreen as she passed a drink to a SkyWing--the one who’d snapped at Bucky earlier, Tony thought, although it was hard to tell.


Sitting down, Tony rested his hands on the table. Walking around in the snow hadn’t left him as cold as it should have, probably due to a dragon’s internal fire, but it was still enough to make some of his old injuries ache.


“How’s Mesa?” Karst asked suddenly. “Is she alright?”


“She’s fine,” Tony answered absently. “She’s still at Alpine’s place.”


One of the waitresses, a SandWing, looked up at Karst. “Did something happen to Mesa?”


Karst waved a hand dismissively. “Just a training accident. The doctor’s taking care of it.”


Interesting, Tony noted. She’s a lot better at lying than Quagmire or Mallow.


A few minutes later, Steve and Bucky entered the tavern, followed closely by Natasha and Mesa. Both of Nat’s arms were wrapped with bandages, but at least she was apparently allowed to walk again--the MudWing doctor had forbidden her from moving all morning, instead insisting that she keep her frostbreath-damaged arm in a cauldron of warm water.


Vibrant glanced up, grinning, and waved at them with a bright green wing. Unfortunately, it seemed the SkyWing from yesterday--pale horns, dark red legs against an orange body, a little scuffed-looking--had also noticed them. “You again?” he growled at Bucky as they walked by. “Your kind isn’t welcome here.”


Mesa sighed heavily. “Ibex, all dragons are welcome in this establishment. Unless you bought the place out while I wasn’t looking?” She tilted her head at the SkyWing--Ibex--witheringly.


“Here in this town,” he snapped, snorting out a cloud of smoke. “IceWings aren’t welcome in Cloud Valley.”


Bucky gave him a resigned look. “I don’t want a fight.”


“Then you shouldn’t have come here!”


Most of the tavern’s patrons were staring at them by now. Steve stepped forward, glaring at Ibex. “Here we go,” Tony muttered.


But Natasha intervened before things could get any worse. “Hey,” she said, putting a hand on Steve’s shoulder. “I think we have more important things to worry about.”


Steve growled, but nodded and stepped away. “You’re right.” He sighed and led the group forwards. Ibex opened his mouth to say more, but a glare from Mesa shut him up quickly. He sat back, angrily drinking from his mug, as they walked away from him.


“That’s right. I’d almost forgotten how protective you get of your pet assassin,” Tony said as Steve stepped up next to him. Bucky looked considerably more offended by this than by anything Ibex had said.


Vibrant looked at Tony, startled. “He’s what now?”


“Later,” Natasha interjected, shooting Tony a dark look.


“Hey Karst,” Mesa called, “is anyone using the private lounge?”


Karst shook her head. “Don’t think so, May. You guys go ahead and use it. I’ll send over some food as soon as someone’s available.”


Mesa nodded in gratitude, then turned to the humans. “Come with me, you five.”

 

 

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

Even more yay! I'm kind of surprised that all went through.

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

I really like this! And side note, if anyone wants science things on dragons, check out Science's The SCIENCE! of Icewings. (/343725)

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~+Rexy+~

 

Queen of all things Jurassic Park and anime related

Status: Semi-Active

 

#RememberHurricane

#LGBTQ+

LunaStar, Gulfstream, Violet ~Forum Sis

 

OC's:

 

Aquila/Zeus

Crocodile

Python

Cactus

Kuchikori

Borealis

Prismatic

Souleater

Myscelia Ethusa

Mendica

Hornet

I just gotta tell you, I burst out laughing when I saw that title. Love it, Oncilla. 

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SNAPPLE  

 

the risk i took was calculated,

but man,

am i bad at math

 

 

WoF Naming List: /347880

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

I just realized the pun in the title.

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~+Rexy+~

 

Queen of all things Jurassic Park and anime related

Status: Semi-Active

 

#RememberHurricane

#LGBTQ+

LunaStar, Gulfstream, Violet ~Forum Sis

 

OC's:

 

Aquila/Zeus

Crocodile

Python

Cactus

Kuchikori

Borealis

Prismatic

Souleater

Myscelia Ethusa

Mendica

Hornet

Oncilla, this is amazing! Please keep writing more!

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                      Paradise 

 

SilkWing NightWing Rainwing

        Glorybringer forever!

  Christian reader Artist Musician  

                 #remember Hurricane 

forum bro: Zane

This is GREAT! :stars in eyes:

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~+Rexy+~

 

Queen of all things Jurassic Park and anime related

Status: Semi-Active

 

#RememberHurricane

#LGBTQ+

LunaStar, Gulfstream, Violet ~Forum Sis

 

OC's:

 

Aquila/Zeus

Crocodile

Python

Cactus

Kuchikori

Borealis

Prismatic

Souleater

Myscelia Ethusa

Mendica

Hornet

oncilla I don’t know if you’re still writing this but lemme just say I love it and wow that’s some dedication, this thread’s been around for a while holy heck

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m i r i 

✱ thanks for the laughs 

✱ goodbye comerades let’s get this bread 

it's a year old tomorrow  ovo

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

happy birthday to the most ambitious crossover event of all time

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m i r i 

✱ thanks for the laughs 

✱ goodbye comerades let’s get this bread 

I've never seen Avengers, but I just read the whole thing in one sitting and oh my gosh I LOVE IT!

 

 

This is really good!

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~Fairydragon~

             She/Her

 

 

We will never be forgotten

for we've all played our parts

and if the memories are erased

they'll still be in our hearts

happy (late) birthday to the coolest crossfic ever!

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~+Rexy+~

 

Queen of all things Jurassic Park and anime related

Status: Semi-Active

 

#RememberHurricane

#LGBTQ+

LunaStar, Gulfstream, Violet ~Forum Sis

 

OC's:

 

Aquila/Zeus

Crocodile

Python

Cactus

Kuchikori

Borealis

Prismatic

Souleater

Myscelia Ethusa

Mendica

Hornet

 

Chapter 9: Closer to Truth

 

Black Widow


Mesa escorted the humans through the crowd, nodding to staff members as she went, and into a door in the back wall of the room. The sunlit dining space beyond seemed a bit neater and more refined than the main area, as though meant for higher-status customers. Shelves displayed wood carvings and metal sculptures, and most of the floorspace was taken up by a large, ornate-legged table. The wall to their left had a fireplace and a door with “Employees Only” printed on it in neat red letters; the remaining two had large windows set in them.

 

Mesa shot a blast of flame into the fireplace, lighting the logs piled there. “I’ll be back in a moment,” she said. “I don’t want to look as if I’m overtly meeting with you--people would ask questions. Vibrant, come on.” Mesa stepped back out of the room, Vibrant on her heels, and brightly called over her shoulder, “Food will be along shortly!” She shut the door behind her, and the rest of them filled in around the table.

 

“Nat, you want to go first?” Steve asked, nodding to her.

 

She dipped her head slightly. “Alright. While you four were out running around, Mesa and I expanded on your cover stories.” Folding her hands together on the table, she explained the backstories she’d developed for them: she was a semi-well-off merchant’s daughter, Metalseeker was a NightWing engineer who’d decided to travel outside the kingdom, Squirrel was his enthusiastic apprentice, and Elk and Eagle had grown up together in a city called Possibility, which was supposedly one of the only places where all seven Pyrrhian tribes coexisted. “The closer your legend is to the truth, the easier it’ll be to keep straight,” she explained. “Especially on such short notice.” Especially for such inexperienced operatives as some of you are, she meant, but she didn’t say that. “Feel free to make changes, but keep it plausible and check with Mesa or Quagmire. Remember, nobody knows who we are here, and we’re going to keep it that way.”

 

It wasn’t long before Mesa returned through the “Employees Only” door, a stack of bowls in one arm and the handle of a pot of soup held in her mouth. Vibrant wasn’t with her. Joining them at the table, the MudWing served them each a bowl of soup, pushed the pot into the center of the table, and asked, “So what did you find?”

 

Cap quickly summed up what they’d discovered, up until the point they’d split up into two groups.

 

Natasha listened intently. “Taggart,” she speculated, as soon as he’d finished. “If someone else really was brought here, chances are good it was him.”

 

Bucky looked up at her in surprise. “Eston Taggart. He’s HYDRA?”

 

“That’s what you said during the briefing.” Natasha frowned, trying to remember what she knew about him. “He was a weapons scientist for SHIELD, worked on the Project Insight Helicarriers. He went on the run after we blew up the Triskelion, but he wasn’t supposed to be a threat.”

 

“Clearly,” Tony remarked, “we were wrong about that.”

 

“We couldn’t have known this was going to happen,” she pointed out.

 

“This’ll be an easy mission, you said. Bring a friend, you said,” he added scornfully.

 

She rolled her eyes at him. “For a genius, you have a remarkable inability to tell when someone’s joking.”

 

Doreen’s squirrel squeaked. Natasha glanced at it curiously, and Tony jumped--it seemed he’d forgotten the thing was there.

 

“Wicker wants to know why we were going after him,” Doreen reported. She’d picked all the meat out of her soup and piled it next to her bowl, Natasha noticed. “If Taggart wasn’t supposed to be a threat when he went on the run, and we didn’t know he was capable of this, why were we fighting him?”

 

“He was making bombs,” Steve answered slowly, looking as if he was also trying to remember. “One of them detonated in transit, killed the driver and injured several civilians. That brought him onto our radar.”

 

“And the Wakandan Design Group tracked a break-in at their Outreach Centre a couple weeks ago back to him,” Bucky added.

 

The humans all nodded, remembrance dawning. But Mesa, on the other hand, looked utterly bewildered. “You’ve convinced me you’re not Pyrrhian, I think,” she said. “I understood about five words in the last four sentences, and I speak fluent espionage.” Wickerwist chirped in agreement.

 

“You didn’t find him, though,” Natasha said.

 

Steve shook his head. “No. Bucky and I followed the assassins for a while, but we lost their trail a few miles northeast of here where they stopped walking and started flying.”

 

Bucky shrugged helplessly. “I can track a man a long way on foot, but in the air there’s nothing I can do.”

 

Mesa cursed. “So the Shadow Claws probably just got an alien weaponsmith dropped into their claws. Perfect.”

 

“You wouldn’t happen to know where the Shadow Claws are based, would you?” Natasha asked.

 

Mesa shook her head, frustrated. “We’ve been looking for them for years. We think they have a base somewhere around here, but nobody knows where.” Standing up, she started to pace. “I’m sorry, you guys. I know you wanted to stay hidden, but I’m going to have to report this whole mess to the Blazing Initiative leadership.”

 

They all exchanged dismayed looks. All of them had been hoping not to attract any attention.

 

“Tell us more,” Steve requested. “Are they trustworthy?”

 

“Yes, of course. They’re working for the betterment of Pyrrhia,” Mesa insisted. “The queens talonpicked the council members for their loyalty and dedication, and the Director is practically Queen Thorn’s right-claw dragon. Uh...you do know who Queen Thorn is, right?”

 

“Yes, Quagmire told us about her,” Tony answered.

 

Steve looked around at the rest of the team. “I don’t see that we have a choice in this.”

 

“Maybe this is a good thing,” Doreen pointed out. “The more people who know about this, the faster we’ll get answers on it, right?”

 

“Or the faster we’ll get locked up in some government laboratory,” Bucky countered darkly.

 

“Anyone who gets close enough to try that will wish they hadn’t,” Steve asserted fiercely.

 

“The Director wouldn’t do that anyway,” Mesa said. “He’s a good dragon, whether you believe me or not.” The MudWing detective sat up a little taller, frowning resolutely at the group. “And anyway, this is a matter of public safety. It’s not up for debate.”

 

“That’s fair.” Steve folded his arms on the table. “Anyone have anything else to report? Tony, did you find anything?”

 

Tony shrugged. “Trees. Snow. Absolutely nothing useful.”

 

“A dead end, then.”

 

“Yup.”

 

“I’ll ask the squirrels to look for any secret lairs in the area,” Doreen offered. “I might have to spend a couple hours coordinating, though, since these ones don’t know me yet. And, uh…” She turned to Mesa. “Can you ask the tavern customers not to eat the squirrels?”

 

Mesa nodded. “I’ll tell them Karst is running an experiment. It’ll be more believable than ‘the squirrels are all working for the Blazing Initiative now so please leave them alone,’ at least.”

 

“Is Karst a scientist?” Tony asked, looking suddenly very interested.

 

“Not formally, but yes.” Mesa shrugged. “Anyway, if there’s nothing else you need to tell me, I have to go write another letter before Flatiron leaves.”

 

Steve nodded. “Alright.” He looked up at the other Avengers. “Everyone take a break for a couple hours. If you have any flashes of insight on how to find Taggart, let me know, and in the meantime, try to stay out of trouble.”

 

“You can keep using the guest room, but don’t get in the way of the kitchen staff and stay out of the other upstairs rooms,” Mesa added, standing up and taking the soup pot. “If you have any questions, ask me or my sibs.” With that, she left the room.

 

“Welp, I’mma go start networking, then,” Doreen said, jumping to her feet. “C’mon, Wicker!” She scampered off. Tony followed her more slowly and, after a moment, so did Bucky.

 

Natasha took a drink of her soup, watching them go, and then turned to Steve. “You really think we’re gonna be able to get back?”

 

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “But you can be darn well sure we won’t stop trying.”

 

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

well that went through fast

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

poke

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

yeet

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Such is the path of a dreamer: I find my way by moonlight.

 

~Oncilla~

 

Queen of Non SequiturBookwyrmsPangolinsand Bones

 

Trash Squad, WerewolfGASTER FOLLOWER

 

Writer, roleplayer, nerd

 

WoFMBer Dec. 2014-Mar. 2019

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