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I tied my apron on and walked out to the front of Smithy's shop. My Lieka, Cuppa, was sitting on the cashier in the front of the store. I began the boring chore of sweeping the stained floor. Cuppa watched me with her big black eyes and hiccuped.
"Hello, Cuppa. And how are you this fine morning?" I asked the bald creature. She blinked slowly and sat up, her tail swinging over to knock a glass on the floor. It smashed into a billion tiny fragments and Cuppa jumped into the air with alarm. Her bat-like wings snapped out and caught her fall. She glared at the shattered glass and flew over to land on my shoulder.
"Silly Cuppa!" I laughed and swept up the broken pieces and scooped all of the grime out into the packed road. Then I began my chore of wiping the big window in the front of the shop. I enjoyed cleaning the window because I could watch all the people walk by. There were people of all races. I looked for people I knew through the jumble of travelers. There were the red headed twins from the pottery shop. Their mother made beautiful dishes. There was the chubby freckled boy who always left slugs on my doorstep. He thought it would disgust me, but I didn't really care. Cuppa ate the slugs and that saved time from having to take her out hunting.
By then I had finished cleaning the window and I could see my reflection in the glass. I look pretty in a viscous way, with my large dark green eyes and my bright white skin. Cuppa was sitting on my shoulder all haunched over. Her tail would occasionally tap my silver blond hair. It was in a braid that fell down to my waist. I had asked Smithy why my skin was white, and splotchy like his. He said that I was a different race. I must have come from the mountains. I slung my apron up onto the chair behind the counter and looked at my clothes. I was wearing a tight black shirt with short sleeves. It had a white wolf paw print on it, and the print took up my entire chest. Smithy had rolled his eyes when I had asked for it. His exact words were, "Tia, when you wear it, it takes a while to tell what the pattern is. You have," He paused momentarily and ran his hand over his hair. "You have curves." He finally continued. Exactly, I thought to myself. I was also wearing black cotton pants that were baggy around the calf but tight at my thighs. The bottoms of my pants were neatly tucked into the tops of my knee-high leather boots, also black. I didn't have a speck of dust on me. I smiled sweetly at my reflection and Smithy walked up behind me.
"Beautiful." He said quietly. I couldn't tell if he was talking about my reflection or the window.
"Thank you." I said plainly.
He glared at Cuppa. "Why is that wretched thing in my store?" He grumbled, walking back to work on the neighbors plow.
"She's not that bad!" I complained. "I haven't seen a single mouse since I found her."
"Tia, she found you. She fell in your window during a storm."
"Pessimist." I muttered.
"I heard that!" Smithy lied.
I sat at on the stool by counter and noticed that a black haired man had been watching me. He walked towards the shop and came inside.
"Hello?" A deep voice bounced through my brain and I looked up with alarm.
"You are her." He said. Cuppa hissed.
"Excuse me, sir?" I said sweetly, with a slight frown on my face.
"Your the prophecy child." He said, his bright eyes scrutinizing me.
I belted out a fuax lie and shook my head. "What were you, a court jester with a sick sense of humor?" I sneered. Inside, I was terrified. This man had figured out what I am. Cuppa's back arched and she snarled at the tall man. He was tall and had lithe, tight muscles.
"You are her." He repeated.
"The prophecy child is supposed to be found by a raven-man." I raised an eyebrow. "And we both know that there has never been one before."
"There wasn't, until me. You are her. I am Aaric Ravensbite. At your service, my lady." He bowed.
"Show me." I said, the courage had left my voice and was replaced with awe.
I watched as Aaric's bright white skin became covered in little black dots. The dots progressed from dots into full grown feathers and his tall, handsome figure had crumpled into a black bird.
"Caw, caw," The bird rasped. In a few seconds he was back in the form of a man.
"It is true." I murmured in awe. I examined his face more closely and noticed a jagged scar that ran from his forehead to his ear. He had dark red irises.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Smithy roared.
"The girl." Aaric replied.
"Smithy, go talk to him away from the window." I said softly.
The two men left and Cuppa turned to me with her large, dark eyes.
"You should go with Aaric." She thought to me. That was another way I knew that I was the prophecy child. I could talk to animals.
"The prophecy. I know. But what about Smithy?" I argued.
"You and Smithy both knew that this day would come. You prepared for it, remember? There's a shoulder pack that has all of your clothes besides the ones you're wearing, and your dagger. I'll come with you to make sure nothing happens." Cuppa insisted.
"Okay, Cuppa. I love you."
"I love you too, Momma." She nuzzled the side of my face and licked it with her long, slimy tongue.
Cuppa was just like any other Lieka you expected to see. She was about the size and shape of a cat, and has no hair. Her skin is a camouflage pattern of light blues, grays, and white. She has large, dark eyes that had abnormally large pupils, and only a small bit of her iris showed. Her irises were iridescent silver, if you could see them. She has a bony tail about the length of my arm and large wings. Her wings look as if they are made of merely skin, membrane, and thin, hallow bones– which is exactly what they are made from. She has two fangs that protrude from her upper lip slightly, but the rest of her teeth don't show until she yawns or hisses.
About a year ago, a bad storm came raging through the town. It uprooted trees and blew down most of the houses. I was in my room watching the wind wreak havoc when a tiny Lieka came tumbling through the air. She crashed through the screening on my window and landed on my bed. It was Cuppa. At the time, she was so small I could fit her in the palm of my hand.
"Tia," Smithy called for me hoarsely.
"See? Smithy knows that you need to go with Aaric. Plus, Aaric seems honest enough to me. And I'm a Lieka, I can sense these things, T." Cuppa added.
"Cuppa! Shhh! If I look like I'm having a conversation with my brain and I keep looking at you like this, they'll figure me out! Hush!"
"Sorry, Momma. Just don't respond. You still do want my advice. I'm not stupid you know."
"Yeah, okay." I admitted. Cuppa was the only friend I had ever had besides Smithy. And Smithy was more of a father anyways.
"Is it time to go Smithy?" I asked softly.
"Tactful." Cuppa smirked.
I ignored her.
"Yes. You will be leaving with Aaric today. Your destiny awaits. Remember the training I gave you. And don't let your Lieka bite him!" Smithy glared at Cuppa.
"If I were going to bite anyone, it would be him. The bat-brain." Cuppa hissed.
"Pipe down, Cuppa." I said quickly.
"Go get your pack from your room." Smithy ordered.
I turned and marched up the stairs to my bedroom.
"We are going to go on an adventure! How exciting! I wonder if slugs taste different in different places. What if we meet more Liekas? What would they say, seeing me on your shoulder like a parrot?" Cuppa worried excitedly.
"I don't know. Liekas are supposed to be viscous. Which is something that you aren't." I added, laughing.
"I am too viscous! Your just my mother. I'm not viscous to you." She persisted.
"Okay, Cuppa." I smiled and patted her shoulder. I snatched up my shoulder bag and hefted it on. It wasn't too heavy, but it would be awkward to travel with. I walked down the stairs and looked at the pictures on the wall. I continued down the stairs and found myself standing in front of Aaric.