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Runt of the Litter

Runt of the Litter

A purple nose, tipped with a small white egg tooth, broke free from the confines which had housed the baby for many months. Quickly following was a bright orange tongue, taking in the smells of the new world. The creature was assaulted by the bold odor of life. The scent filled the small burrow, and permeated into the newly opened egg case. The dragon struggled to break free, eager to explore. A second flicker of the tongue brought another smell which was curiously similar to her own. She knew instantly that she had siblings, and hatred sprang to life within her core. It was instinctual, and the baby dragon could not have denied if she wanted to. However, this dragon did not want to deny her malevolence; she wanted to revel in it.

Her brothers had hatched moments before her. They were larger, and were already stretching and flexing their wings, tails, and necks. The female quickly feigned an injured back leg, and hobbled around her egg shell with a whimper. It was a dangerous ruse. The brothers could have easily killed her together, but she hoped that they hated one another as much as she hated them. The males did not want to waste any energy on the already wounded female, and instead turned their malice on one another. The female dragon’s gamble had paid off.

​The two males attacked each other almost immediately. Jaws, which had never known resistance, tried to penetrate scales that had yet to harden. They fought like gods who had been stripped of their power; lost and unsure. One day these creatures would be the most magnificent creatures inhabiting Delphia, but in their infancy they seemed petty and awkward. One of them struck with his scorpion-like tail, but lacked the power to drive the barb into flesh.

​The female knew she would need energy to survive and escape the burrow alive. She started to eat her shell, every bite strengthening her jaw. She finished her shell quickly, and slowly made her way across the nest to the other two shells. There was no need to keep up the illusion of an injured leg; the males were too busy to pay her any attention. After devouring all three shells, the female dragon felt the need to sleep. She tried to fight against the urge, but was betrayed by her own body.

​ She woke to find the brothers still wrapped in battle. The eggshells had given her some much needed nutrients, and the rest had granted those nutrients time to absorb into her blood. The two males received neither food nor rest. They were too exhausted to even finish one another off. The female was completely in control of the nest.

​She did not immediately attack her siblings, but decided to watch them slowly suffer. Finally, the female fed on her brothers. She started with the softer parts, such as the eyes under arms. The second brother put up more of a fight than the first. He had just seen what had happened to his brother. Even so, he was no match for the fed and rested sister. She fed on them for the next few days.

​Finally, the female dragon decided to start her climb from the burrows. Her orange tongue flicked one last time. The smell of life had been replaced by the stench of death. She preferred it. She began her ascent; clawing through the moist earth. As her head broke free and light blinded her eyes for a moment, she felt fear for the first time. There were too many scents and too many things to see when her eyes finally adjusted.

​A soft voice called to her, and instantly eased her fears. It was her mother; she had been waiting for her lone survivor to emerge. The baby dragon climbed upon her mother’s back, safe under the large barbed tail that dangled over her. She would learn new and better ways to kill. The baby would grow, and fill the world of Delphia with the smell of death. It was a scent that would always remind her of her brothers.

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