The sun shone bright into the sky as the life went by.
Under the clear blue sky and the mid-summer sun, a village went by. Apes inhabited this village, and they all lived their lives into their rustic houses, made out of wood, rock, and straw. All of them quite humble, but all of them perfect for their lives in there.
They all took care of their own lives in there, with the hunters of the village coming back, carrying fish and even some deer from the nearby forest, which would all be cooked and turned into a wonderful meal for everyone. The women of the village were also minding their own affairs, working with the clay and the straw to make pots, baskets, hats, and they were sewing tissues. Some of them were taking care of small gardens, which contained either small flowers, or some veggies, or medicinal herbs, used for a variety of purposes.
While the adults were minding their affairs and taking care of their responsibilities, their young were playing around, many of them without a single care in the world. These young ones wore only loincloths and other simple clothes made of animal pelts, much like everyone else into the village. They were simply kids being kids; acting as if they didn’t had a single thing in the world to care about besides having fun the most they could. All of the young ones walked around, with the smaller toddlers running around and being goofy.
The ones who were nearing their teenage years, however, gathered, all of them talking about things, like their first lessons in fighting and hunting, and the times that they would spend trying to get the attention of that special girl they wanted to spend time with. If not that, then they were playing more mature games, like making some bets, seeing who could climb higher into the trees on the border of the village, or then some wrestling matches, or some hunter/hunted games. After all, that was part of entering the teenage years, gathering with others of your own age, do and talk about the things that would be part of the future. That was the regular behavior for recent teenagers.
However, there was one young soul into the village that didn’t followed that same logic. It wasn’t due to lack of interest, it was because it seemed that the others didn’t quite wanted to be near this one. He wished to interact with others as much as anyone else of his own age would. The problem was that he was not very much like the other ones of his own age, at least not in that ape village.
The young four-legged being was walking as he looked around at the village. His golden horns were shining slightly into the sun of the afternoon, it matched perfectly with the rest of his body, both his purple body scales, and the golden color of the plates of his underbelly. His long tail moved behind him, ending into a spear-shaped, golden tailblade. His purple eyes were moving into the place, as he looked at the village, and he could not avoid a feeling of sadness as he saw everyone walk out of the way as he approached, almost as if they were afraid of getting trampled or bitten if they remained on his path.
Spyro knew what it was about, and he knew that it was because he was not what the rest of the apes were. He was a dragon. A purple one, by that matter. That was enough to make most of the apes in there to be highly hesitant to be near him, and to walk away whenever he came near or passed by.
Of course, it was possible that the current company for his small stroll had something to do with it…
“You know, I think you guys didn’t needed to come with me.” Spyro said as he looked to his sides, to the six burly and armed apes that were walking by his sides, all and each one of them with an unfriendly look in the face.
They were all slightly bigger than the average ape, not as big as Gaul, but they all were imposing, of course, the weapons that they carried helped in their hands helped to sell the image of a group that you wouldn’t want to mess with.
“I could very well have walked across the village all by myself. I don’t think there would be danger in here.” Spyro continued, as he walked, and the six apes continued to follow his movements, forming a ring around him, as if to protect him from any danger that could possibly come on his direction.
“I’m sorry, mister Spyro.” Said the nearest ape to him, with hazelnut-brown fur, and carrying an axe that looked like it could easily cut another ape in two. “But king Gaul left very clear instructions for us to always be with you whenever you went outside.”
“Yeah, I know what dad said.” Spyro said, “But I still think that you don’t need to be so close.”
Spyro continued to walk across the village with the personal guard that his father had assigned to him walking by his side. They had been with him for a few years, they all were soldiers that his father knew and trusted, and they had the mission to keep an eye on him and make sure that no problem would come to him. They had a double work of bodyguards and babysitters.
Spyro had already told his father that he didn’t needed them, but the big ape was adamant, and made it clear that they would be with Spyro at any time that he would be walking into the village or out of it, and that he would not be going anywhere without them. This, of course, was quite annoying to the young dragon, who as leaving his young years to enter into the near teenage years, when he started to value his own privacy and space.
Still, Spyro understood, deep down, that his father just wanted him to be safe. Even though Spyro was not a kid anymore and thought that maybe, just maybe, he didn’t needed that much protection.
Well, Spyro knew that he could do nothing about it, not with the clear instructions his father left for them. The purple dragon could only sigh as he continued to walk and the ring of armed apes continue to follow his movements as he walked across the center of the village. The other apes all walked out of the way, but that didn’t meant that they wouldn’t give him any form of attention. Even though Spyro actually preferred they didn’t.
Spyro’s hearing was sensitive, he could pick up the whispering that was going among the apes outside of the circle around him, and he could feel their eyes on him as he passed. Most of it was hard to hear and to understand correctly, but still, Spyro had a good idea of what they were saying by the expressions on their faces and by the tone they used.
Spyro had spent his whole life among other apes, and during most of it, the apes that were close to him and to his father always were nice to him. However, as he grew, Spyro noticed that not all the apes seemed to want to be nice to him. Actually, Spyro started to realize that most of them seemed to want to keep distance from him.
When he was ten, his father finally started to explain to him better about the war. About the situation that the apes had with the dragons, and about their evil purple king. That was also the day when Gaul revealed to Spyro that he was not an ape, but a dragon, and that he was adopted.
Spyro couldn’t say that many of these revelations came as great shock to him, but he knew that after that day he started to see the world with different eyes. Now he was much more aware of the feelings of mistrust, fear, and even anger that other apes seemed to have towards him. Also, he now could understand much better the reason why they seemed to want to stay away from him, and also to keep their own children away from him.
Spyro grew up with little to no friends of his own age, and he was sure that this would not change in the close future. Still, Spyro barely paid them very much attention. He had already grew used to having the other apes avoiding him and casting him those glances from over their shoulders, as well as having them whispering behind his back, thinking that he could not quite hear them.
For all Spyro knew, they could continue with their lives. He barely even minded any of them…
Spyro continued to walk with his guard, and soon, they were passing by the center of the village, and they continued to walk. They passed by it, and by the houses, and by the small shops that were in the place, and soon, they were moving in direction to the edge of the village.
As soon as they moved out, the apes seemed to tense up, as if they were expecting much more danger outside of the village than inside of it. Spyro simply rolled his eyes, as he thought that he was probably in pretty much the same amount of danger if he was either inside or outside of the village.
They continued to walk, and soon, they were at a bit of a distance from the village, and walking in direction to the trees that were on the verge of it. As they walked, the ground was starting to become a bit more irregular, and those with a sensitive enough nose could pick up the smell of the stale water.
They were approaching a swamp.
As they approached, they stopped a few yards away from the edge of the swamp, and they stood there, as Spyro took a step forward, shortly walking out of the protective circle of apes, and he looked forward. He took a deep breath, and he let out a scream.
Several birds, surprised and startled, flew off the nearby trees, as they voice of the young dragon echoed into the trees and inside of the swamp. One of the apes who was forming Spyro’s cohort put a finger on his ear as he made an expression as if it was hurting a bit. The young dragon had quite some powerful lungs.
Spyro waited, as he looked at the trees ahead and minutes passed. Spyro was about to take a great breath to call out again, when he noticed a small glowing dot flying in his direction. The purple dragon knew what it was, and he smiled to himself as the dot flew on his direction, before it stopped at a few feet of him.
“Hey, Spyro!” Said the creature who had just arrived with a masculine and young voice. The creature had the upper body of a humanoid nature, with a pair of arms, a big head with two antenna, and four insect-like wings on its’ back. Its’ lower body consisted into a segmented insect-like tail, and its whole body was yellow and glowed with a weak golden luminosity.
“Hi Sparx.” Spyro said, greeting his small dragonfly friend. He and Sparx had met a few years ago, during a time when Spyro had eloped from home, wandered too deep into the forest, and entered into the swamp. The two had met completely by chance, and while they had been deeply scared of each other at first sight, they soon grew attached to each other, and they started to play around a bit.
Spyro remembered very well that day. It was the day when he learned about dragonflies, and the day when he had made his first real friend. It was indeed a very good day for the young dragon, even if later on his father put him grounded for a whole month for walking out home hidden and without permission.
Sparx had greeted the purple dragon with a surprisingly strong and deep voice. If one were to compare both ages of the two creatures, they would conclude that while Spyro would be on beginning of his teenage years (13, 14), Sparx was mostly in the middle of it (15, 16). This age difference was something that many would say that they were unlikely of becoming friends, or that it would be unusual. However, there was nothing like that. Apparently, Sparx was kind of a pariah among his own race, and didn’t had many friends his own age. As a result, he and Spyro got along almost immediately after knowing each other, that is, after the initial scare of coming face to face with a real-life dragon had passed.
“So, how you doing?” Sparx asked the younger dragon, resting an arm on his nose as who would be leaning on a table.
“Same old. Dad still travelling, but he might come back soon.” Sparx said to him, and he gestured behind himself. “Meanwhile, I’m stuck with my nannies.” He was referring to the apes that his father had made into Spyro’s personal guard. Sparx looked up at them, and he waved.
The apes waved back at the dragonfly just briefly. They already knew Sparx, for Spyro frequently met up with him. After all, Sparx was probably the first and only friend that Spyro has had, once the rest of the village was either too suspicious or scared of getting near him or letting their young do the same.
“So, what will we do today?” Spyro asked him, and Sparx chuckled at the dragon.
“Well, there was a guy last week that doubted that I knew a dragon who could crush him if he made fun of me.” Sparx said, “I could take you there and we both show him just how wrong he is.”
“Young Master Spyro can’t move too far from the village.” One of the apes said. “King Gaul left clear instructions that he would have to stay within the limits of the village and away from danger.”
Spyro rolled his eyes, and he really wished that his father had not been so specific on his instructions to the guards or that they were not so diligent in following them.
Sparx only looked to them, and he said, “You guys are some major joy killers, did you knew that?”
“We are just following King Gaul’s orders.” The guard said, “Our duty is to make sure Spyro is safe, and that involves keeping watch over him and preventing him from doing things that would put him in danger, like walking into the swamp.”
“Excuse me!” Sparx said, “My home is not dangerous! It is a very nice place where you can enjoy the strong scent of nature and swim into the waters for a refreshing day! Well, of course you have to watch out for the deeper part, because some snakes lurk in there… It also has some very good fruits from which you can eat! Even though some of them are poisonous… And it also has a very soft soil where you can sit, lay and walk all you want! As long as you are aware not to step into quicksand…”
The guards only looked at the two teenagers with a “not amused” expression, and the guard said. “I’m sorry, but going to the swamp is out of question. If Gaul finds out we let Spyro wander in there he will have our heads for sure.”
Spyro sighed, and Sparx only looked at him. “Man, and I thought that being the son of a king would actually be cool.” Sparx said, to which Spyro answered:
“Well, it is not as cool if the king is paranoid with your safety all the time.”
“So… what do we do now?” Sparx asked, and a little silence came, as the dragon smirked and said:
“Would you like have some more heart cashews?”
“Oh! Nice! I love those! I have been dreaming about them ever since we got them last week!” Sparx said in delight, but the apes who were with Spyro actually shared a worried look among themselves.
“Huuh, Master Spyro?” One of them said, “I’m not sure if it is a good idea…”
“Why not?” Spyro asked him, “It is inside the limits of the village and you will be able to keep an eye on me all the time. You won’t be disobeying any order that dad gave, and you surely won’t get in trouble.”
“But the heart cashews-”
“Are one of the best fruits in the whole village, and that is why I want to get some of them.” Spyro said, “So, dad said to you that you should make sure I was safe, but he also said that, as long as it was within the ranges of the village’s territory, I could go to anywhere I wanted and you could not stop me, ain’t I right?” Spyro had a smirk on his face as he said that, and he knew that he had made a score by the expressions of the guards.
They seemed like they didn’t really had a choice but do what Spyro wanted in that occasion, because now the orders that his father gave them were working on his favor. He turned back to his dragonfly friend, Spyro asked:
“Wanna go get some heart cashews?”
“Count me in!” Sparx said, Spyro smiled at him, and he said:
“Race to see who gets there first? First one to arrive has to give half of the heart cashews he gets to the other” They looked at each other for a few moments, before both of them sprint forward in running (or buzzing, in Sparx’s case). The guards soon had to rush to be able to keep up with them, the six of them with the feeling that they were going to regret being so dutiful in following their king’s orders.
Spyro and Sparx both were ahead of them, and the guards soon saw themselves struggling to be able to keep up with the two teens.
The purple dragon and the buzzing glowing dot following him soon were passing inside the village, and as they ran, they startled a few of the apes who were taking care of their own affairs inside of the village.
“What is this!?”
Sparx and Spyro barely gave any attention to them. Well, Sparx didn’t, while Spyro was caring enough to say some “Careful!”, “Purple dragon passing!”, “Excuse me!”, and even an occasional “I’m sorry!”
Meanwhile, the guards came right after them, and apologized better with the other apes in behalf of the young purple dragon they were guarding, before going on his direction.
“You know, if Gaul left someone to watch that dragon, he could at least also have made them do it inside of the hut.” One female ape said to another as they watched the guards running after the purple dragon and his glowing, small dragonfly friend.
“You know, Gaul should have arranged a cage to put that dragon in while he is away, instead of letting him walk around as he pleases.” The other female ape answered, and the first female could only not in agreement…
Spyro was able to get a good running start, but Sparx was famous for his own flying speed (or so he claimed), and he soon was proving to make the purple dragon have a run for his money (so to speak). Spyro was actually starting to pant a little as he ran, while Sparx looked back at him as he flew on his back, almost as someone who was doing the back swim. He had a tranquil expression in his face as he waved to the purple dragon.
Spyro had a fierce expression on his face as he snorted, and started to put all the effort he could into running faster, and he was actually able to gain some terrain. They were already moving to the opposite end of the village, in a direction very far from the swamp, with the apes behind them calling out for them to “slow down”.
As they raced, Sparx had dropped the act of the easy race, but he was still smiling as he looked at the purple dragon. “I hope you get plenty of them for yourself, dude.” The dragonfly said, “After all, the more of them you get the more of them you’ll give me, and the less of them I’ll have to get myself!”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Spyro said as he dashed across the ground, and he knew that he was not in the mood for losing to Sparx. He knew that, even with his arguments, his father was not going to be happy about Spyro going to pick heart cashews without the proper help after what nearly happened around two months ago. If Spyro was going to get into trouble for doing that once his father got back, he could at least win Sparx in this, so he would not have this over getting into trouble.
They continued to race, and after a while, they could spot some trees at a distance, tall and with purple colored leaves on them. Once they saw it, Sparx smiled as he licked his chops. “I can’t wait to be able to eat some of these delicious things that my dear purple friend caught for me.”
“Yeah, that will be nice.” Spyro said, “But they will be your dessert, because first you will eat my dust!” Suddenly, the purple dragon made a running dash forward, actually raising some dirt and blades of grass into the air, and this temporarily slowed down the dragonfly, who was coughing.
“H-Hey! Gah, pthuh! No fair!” Sparx said, but Spyro barely gave him attention, as he continued to race towards the trees with purple leaves, which came closer and closer as he ran in their direction, and as they did, Spyro could feel a familiar aroma as he approached. He didn’t had time to enjoy it as he knew that he had to arrive there before Sparx could caught up with him, and he could almost taste the victory, and it was almost as good as the heart cashews themselves.
Spyro was able to get a good advantage ahead, but now Sparx had recovered from the dirty and grass, and he was looking forward to the purple butt in front of him. “Just watch me, my scaly friend.” Sparx said as he took a mad dash forward, buzzing his wings as fast as he could and moving forward and straight just like a missile.
There was a moment in which he and Spyro were head to head, and they were both struggling to see who would lose their strength first and allow the other to get there first.
“Hey, Spyro!” Sparx said, as both of them continued to run. “Purpledragonslappedsayswhat!”
“What?” Spyro said, and immediately, Sparx slapped him into nose with a surprising strength for a creature his size in comparison with the purple dragon. This threw Spyro off balance enough for him to trip in his own legs and stumble into the ground. The purple dragon slid into the ground as he stumbled, some grass getting in his mouth as he slid in the ground, before he stopped and was able to look up, just in time to see Sparx buzz and swarm around the trunks of these trees.
“I won! I won! Who rocks? Sparx rocks! Oh yeah! The dragonfly rules!”
“Hey!” Spyro said, as he spat out grass from his mouth and got up. “It wasn’t fair! You slapped me in the face!” Spyro said as he ran in direction to the dragonfly, meanwhile Sparx was making a small dance in the air.
“Oh what? You said something, Spyro? I can’t hear you above all of the winning!” He dragonfly said, and he added: “You know what this means! You will have to give me half of all of the fruits you can get from these trees!”
“No I don’t!” Spyro said, as the apes finally were able to reach them, all of them panting slightly as they reach the two teenagers. “You played dirty! You didn’t won!”
“Yes I did! I arrived first.”
“Because you slapped me!” Spyro said, and the apes only looked at each other as they saw the teenagers having another argument.
“Sorry, you never mentioned any rules.” Sparx said in his defense, “Make sure to get a lot of them.” He added with a smirk.
“Why? You can’t even eat that much, I mean, look at your size.”
“Oh, playing the size card once more huh?” Sparx said, “Well, I’m pretty sure that I can surprise you, my dear friend.”
“Okay, enough of this.” One of the guards said, and the two turned to him. “You two ended this race and I think that I’ve done my exercises of the day.” He said, “Can we just finish this and go home.”
“Oh, we will! Right after I have a few of those for me!” Sparx said pointing to the branches of the high trees, filled with purple leaves. However, Sparx was pointing to something else that could be seen in the branches, some red speckles among the purple leaves.
“Well, you can get them.” Another one of the apes said, “When we get back into the tribe and get some help and equipment for that.”
“Oh, come one guys.” Spyro said, “They are right on the point of being picked! Just feel the smell!”
The purple dragon was referring to the aroma that was fluctuating in the air around them, coming from the branches of the trees. It was a sweet aroma and this kind of smell was unmistakable. It was the aroma of ripe heart cashews, ready to be removed from the tree and ate.
“Yes, but going in the trees to get them without any equipment can be dangerous. Don’t you remember two months ago?”
“I was kind of hopping we all could forget that.” Spyro said as he looked away, and Sparx said:
“I know that I won’t!” He had a smile on his face as he remembered that scene. “Man, I didn’t know that a dragon’s voice could get that squeakily!” and he laughed a little at the memory of the embarrassing experience that Spyro had.
“Well, king Gaul has surely not forgotten.” The guard said, and he looked at the purple dragon. “And he also knows that if you hadn’t received help in time it could have gotten far worse! Some apes had broken bones from a situation like that!” He said, and he turned around, “You see this?” He said as he let them see a long scar on his back. “This was from one time that I tried to get into one of these trees all by myself because a friend of mine dared me.”
Spyro only rolled his eyes, and he said, “Come on guys, I’m not letting that thing get me again! I’m smarter than that now. Nothing is going to happen.”
“You are right, because if anything happens to you, something a lot worse is going to happen to us, and that’s why you are not getting in there by yourself. If you want, we can get someone to come here and pick up a few fruits, or you can wait a few more days for the harvesters come and get a few. I am sure that they will make a special price for you. After all, that is one of the perks of being the king’s son.” The ape looked at Sparx as he said that last line, and the dragonfly only looked back at him.
Sparx then shared one look with Spyro, and after a few seconds, they both sighed. “You truly are joy killers.” Spyro said, and the Apex simply rolled their eyes as they were turning around and getting ready to leave, when Sparx suddenly said.
“Well, I have to say that I admire it.” He was now in full view of the apes. “It really is something to admire the way that you guys follow so diligently the orders of Spyro’s dad.” He said, as if to infatuate the apes. “You guys should ask for a raise.”
The apes shared a look among themselves, and at least two of them were actually agreeing with the small dragonfly. “Your point is?”
“I mean, you all are just so dedicated!” Sparx said, continuing to infatuate the apes with his talking. “You follow the little purple rascal whenever he goes, have to make sure that he is safe and well at all the time, and you need to make sure that he does not gets into troubles. I mean, caring for a teenager is already hard, and imagine if this teenager is such a rascal like Spyro, and it he also has a certain dragonfly partner-in-crime that supports him in his actions.” He said, almost as if he was making a monologue. “For instance, distracting you guys so he can have the chance to climb the tree without you guys seeing.”
“WHAT!?” The apes all said at the same time, and they turned around, seeing that Spyro was nowhere to be see. They looked up, and they could spot the young purple dragon gripping into the bark of the trunk as he was climbing into the tree in direction to the branches and to the prize that was hanging from there.
“Hey! Get down from there!” One of the guards said, and another turned to Sparx.
The dragonfly simply laughed, and he buzzed away, flying very near to his friend.
“Thanks, dude.” Spyro said to his dragonfly friend.
“What would you do without old Sparx in here?” The dragonfly said, “Just remember to get a lot of these fruits for me.”
“Yeah, you can at least try to get a few of them by yourself, since we are both going up there.”
“Yeah, I guess I could, but I don’t need to try much because you will give me half of yours.”
Spyro stopped for a moment, and he looked at Sparx. “You know what? Why don’t we both get as many as we can and later we split them evenly between us?”
“Hmmmm.” Sparx said.
“Or, I can get down right now, forget about this whole situation and wait one more week until the harvesters come for the cashews.”
“Okay fine, deal.” Sparx said, and he took ahead buzzing, while Spyro continued to climb the tree. The young purple dragon was skilled in climbing, a consequence of having grew up among apes and among so many trees. According to some, Spyro had learned how to climb a few weeks after having fully mastered the art of crawling, and of course, the fact that he had talons that could dig into the wood and give him a better grip of the bark helped a lot.
“Get back down here you little troublemaker!”
The guards continued to scream at the purple dragon who continued only to climb into the tree, indirection to the branches, where were both the fruits and the vines.
“King Gaul will have our heads if anything happen to a scale of his body.” One guard said, and he quickly moved in direction to the trunk and started to climb. Seeing him do that, the other five guards shared a look, and soon they all were moving in direction to the trunk, putting their weapons in their backs or into their mouths as they tested to see if they could get a good grip of that trunk before they started to climb.
Spyro already has a starting advantage, but the apes had the advantage of being more experienced in climbing and being somewhat nimbler, even with their weapons weighing them down. They were able to cover some more terrain as they climbed, even thought Spyro was, on his own, very nimble and fast on his own right. By the time Spyro was three-quarters on his way to the first branches, the guards were halfway and right on his tail.
“I swear that if I was Gaul I would ground this purple dragon.” One of the guards said as he climbed, and another one said something. It was hard to understand for he had an axe held in his teeth as he used both hands and feet to climb, but it was clear that it was an agreement. Meanwhile, Spyro was on the first line to reach the branches, and he could already see his prize ahead.
Heart cashews were fruits that grew up from these trees, and they were easy to spot once you got close enough, for they had an intense scarlet color. They sprouted upside down and they hanged from the branches into lines of green material, and they had a single seed in them that was on the point that was opposite to the one they hanged from the trees. This seed was black in color and it had the shape of a heart. These fruits exhaled a sweet scent in the air that was very characteristic for them, and that would always made Spyro’s mouth water as he could only think of taking a bite in these delicious things.
Spyro liked his chops as he was firming his claws more securely into the bark of the tree as he climbed more and more, soon covering the distance that separated him from the fruit. He stopped at a certain distance, as he looked at the branch from which the fruits were hanging, and to the purple vines that were swirling around it, covered into thorns.
Spyro tensed as he looked at that vines, and he knew that he would have to be careful in approaching. The last thing he wanted was to go through what he did two months ago…
Spyro approached very slowly, he was making sure to approach the branch as carefully as possible, and soon, the guards were right behind him, the first one saying:
“You are in trouble once we get back to the ground...”
“Shhhh!” Spyro said to him in a hush, as he saw that, with the sound of his voice, one of the vines had moved very slightly, almost like a snake around a branch. A few moments passed, and the vine went back to be still in the branch, and Spyro sighed, and he went back into approaching, until he reached the branch and was now aiming to walk on it, threading as slowly as he dared.
As he moved, the vines around his limbs moved very slowly, and Spyro knew that he had to be careful in there. Spyro soon reached the first of the heart cashews, and he carefully moved on to pick it with his paw. He was able to get a good grip at the red, pear-shaped fruit, and was able to pull it gently, until it disconnected from the line it was and came off in Spyro’s paw.
The vines moved slightly at this, but they didn’t seemed to be doing anything else than that. Spyro sighed as he held the fruit in his paw, and moved it in direction to his body. He was now bending his arm/foreleg to form an improvised space where he would be able to carry the fruits, as he continued to move in the branch with only three paws.
Meanwhile, Sparx was ahead, and he was pulling at one heart cashew until it came off from the branch, and the dragonfly carried it carefully, before flying with it back in direction to the ground. Sparx could not carry many at a time, so each one he took off he had to carry to the ground and leave in the base of the tree before flying back in direction to the branches to take off another one.
Three of the fruits were already in a small pile in the base of the tree. Spyro was somewhat envious of Sparx, since the dragonfly could buzz around with his wings and go up and down the tree in the blink of an eye. Spyro really wished that he knew how to fly…
Spyro was distracted, and he didn’t noticed when his tail brushed in one of the vines. Immediately, it started to move, and Spyro could feel something brushing into his tail, he got startled and looked back, seeing the vine trying to wrap around his tail. Instinctively, Spyro pulled his tail out of its reach, and the vine lashed in the air, as if searching for the thing it was trying to wrap around.
Spyro continued to move, now a bit faster as the vines were moving into the branch as if they were snakes. The initial touch seemed to have caught them to “wake up” to the fact that there was something in the branch.
“Careful man!” Sparx said as he pulled on yet another heart cashew out of the branch. “Don’t want them to get you again, do you?” He said the last part with a smile, and he buzzed downwards, Spyro could only snort, as he knew that it would be not funny if they did. Spyro continued to walk carefully, and he was able to reach a few more heart cashews. He was able to stretch his neck to be able to reach for the cashews and get them with his mouth, carefully pulling them out of their spots and adding them to the ones he was carrying.
The apes were looking at the purple dragon, and they were particularly worried as the purple dragon was now putting his neck very close to the branch and of the vines in it. If Gaul came back from his last campaign and found his purple dragon son choked to death or with a broken neck, the simians were all sure that their own families would not even be able to identify their bodies by the time the big king of apes was done with them.
“This is just great.” One of the apes said as he removed his axe from his mouth and started to walk into the branch, being very careful not to step into any of the vines that moved in the branch like serpents. He was walking in direction to the purple dragon, aiming to reach him to, at least, prevent him from getting killed over a few fruits.
Meanwhile, Spyro continued to remove the cashews from the branch, his foreleg now had some of them, and it was making it hard for him to carry them all. Spyro looked at the cashews he had gathered, and looked back at the branch, still with a lot of fruit, but also with the vines moving around over the place. He decided that now it would be a good time to come down.
He started to move carefully into the branch, and he found it to be rather difficult while carrying the cashews and considering that the branch didn’t had enough space for him to turn around while on all fours. The purple dragon was basically only walking backwards in direction to the place where he came from, so, it was not surprising that he ended up stepping in one of the moving vines.
Immediately, the vine reacted by wrapping around Spyro’s leg. The thorns were malleable, but they still could cause the sensation of something pinching lightly on his scales, and the feeling of the constriction was enough for the purple dragon to let out a surprised yelp and look back.
“H-hey! Let go!” Spyro said, and as he tried to get free from the vine, he bumped into another one, that tied around his other hind leg. “Gah! Stop that!” Spyro said as he tried to break free, and in the process, he dropped the heart cashews that he had gathered and let them fall in direction to the ground.
Spyro was now struggling effectively against the vines, as another one tied both of his forelegs and made the purple dragon to nearly drop into the branch as he was now held from both sides by the vines. He suddenly felt something rubbing against his backside, and he felt his blood run cold.
Oh no… Spyro thought. No, no, no! Not that! Not again!
Spyro immediately lashed his tail, trying to fend off these assailants, but he only managed to get another vine to tie his tail and hold it at the side, as other vines continued to rub his butt.
Spyro felt his breathing getting heavier and faster, and he felt a sense of the purest dread, as he knew what was coming next, and so did everyone who was watching.
Suddenly, it came.
A vine lashed on his backside, hitting it like a whip, and making the purple dragon cry out in surprise and in pain.
That was only the first, for then another vine lashed on his backside, and then they continued that, lashing the purple dragon’s butt.
Spyro felt his face burning in embarrassment as the vines now were spanking him, and meanwhile, he was crying out.
“Gaaah! Stop! Stop it!” He cried out, but the vines didn’t felt sorry for him in the slightest, and they only continued to lash at his butt with strength. “H-help!” Spyro cried out “Someone help me!”
The others around only looked at it, and Sparx, who was floating nearby, started to laugh hard at it. It was just as funny as it was when the same thing happened two months ago!
“Q-quit it, Sparx!” Spyro cried out as the vines continued to lash at his backside, and he turned his head to the apes who companied him. “G-guys! Help me!”
The apes shared a look among themselves, and some of them were actually snickering at each other. Maybe they thought that this was what Spyro deserved for bringing problem to them by doing something like that. This habit of the vines of constricting enemies and lashing at them was something that the tree had developed as a defense mechanism against anything that could harm it. It was the reason why it could be dangerous to try to get the heart cashews if you didn’t had the experience, the equipment, and if you were all by yourself.
Even though it was a way of defending against any dangers that could harm the tree by making potential threats move away, it could sometimes lead to some situations like the one that the purple dragon was facing in the moment.
The apes all looked as Spyro continued to be punished by the vines, much like a young chimp being spanked by its parents, and crying out a lot as he received this.
“T-this is not funny!” Spyro cried out. “Get me out of here!”
“Should we do it now?” One ape asked.
“I guess it is better, the vines look like they are getting more vicious.”
Indeed, once the supposed threat was not retreating from the tree, the vines were assuming that they needed to attack stronger for the threat to go away. As a result, they were lashing faster and more furiously at the target, and Spyro felt like soon they would start breaking his skin.
Fortunately to him, right at that moment, the ape who had walked into the branch finally decided to act, he positioned himself so he would not step on any vines, and he swung his axe with precision, cutting these two vines clean off. The vines lashed out at their severed parts, but were unable to reach or hit anything else.
“Ohhhh.” Spyro whined as his butt felt numb and his face was burning in shame.
“Well, I guess that I could say that I warned you, but the vines kind of already did that for me.” The ape said, as he proceeded to cut off the vines that were holding on Spyro’s limbs, freeing him as the vines loosened once they were cut and feel down to the ground, while the rest of them lashed around.
“Ouhhhhh…” Spyro said as he tried to stand, but with the numbness on his backside, it was a bit hard to stand on his hind legs, but soon he was able to stand properly, all of that under the gaze of that ape, who seemed to be having fun with that.
“Lets get down now.” The ape said, “Careful not to step on any more of them.” He said that with a bit of irony, as if that whole situation was a great game to him. Spyro knew well that he probably had fun seeing Spyro go through that, much like everyone else who saw it. Sparx was openly laughing as he pointed at Spyro.
“Just like last time!” He said as he continued to laugh hard for the whole situation. “Man, the tree really know how to give others a good lesson!”
Spyro felt his face burning, and he avoided eye contact with anyone as he walked back in the branch in direction to the trunk, and as he climbed down back to the ground. It was a bit hard with the pain on his tail area, and he need the help of one of the guards one or two times, but he was able to reach it and he was still avoiding looking at anyone.
“Well, I guess the tree once more showed that it can beat a dragon.” Sparx said, and he winked at the purple dragon, and Spyro only snorted and looked away, feeling that at any moment his face could ignite. He knew that the dragonfly was not going to let it go easily. He had just let go of the event of two months before, and now the very same event had repeated, and this was enough to make Spyro worry about it, for he knew that the dragonfly was going to make a new round of jokes.
“Well, now that we went through it all and we have a good laugh, I guess we can now share our hoard from the tree.”
Spyro sighed, and looked around, and he saw the heart cashews that he had dropped. They were slightly splattered into the ground due to the fall, and Spyro groaned to himself. They probably wouldn’t be that good to eat now that they were like that, and this reduced their total number of fruit to only the ones that Sparx had got.
Sparx followed Spyro’s gaze, and he stayed in silence for a while, before saying. “So, which one of these will be mine?”
“We cant’ eat them anymore.”
“What? Only because they got a little of grass in them? Man, you need to stop being such a wuss.” The dragonfly said, and Spyro only rolled his eyes at him, and he said:
“Well, I know that I won’t eat those.”
Sparx looked at him, and he saw the cashews in there, they should be around eight, and he looked at his own cashews, and they were only four. The dragonfly turned to Spyro, and he said, “Wanna trade?”
Spyro looked at him for a few moments, and he shrugged as he said, “Yeah, sure.”
Soon Sparx was on the place where the crimson-colored cashews had fallen, and he was feasting in one, getting himself smeared in the juice as he gobbled the pulp of that fruit. Meanwhile, Spyro was sitting with the cashews that Sparx had gathered, all of them perfect and not damaged in any way. That was the way that Spyro preferred, the heart cashews became strange when they were damaged, with their pulp becoming mushy and their taste changing to something more acid.
Spyro was glad that he had gotten some of them that were not damaged. Sparx could have the others, and he seemed to like very much of them. Spyro looked at his own, and picked one of his paw, bringing it to his muzzle. The sweet scent reached Spyro’s nose, and almost made him moan, and his mouth was watering in anticipation.
Spyro opened his mouth and gave a bite into the fruit. Heart cashews were known for their particular color, and for the heart-shaped seed that they had in them, both which gave them their name. Other than that, they were slightly famous for their sweet taste with some acidic notes. It was a delicious and unmistakable taste, and after you chewed and swallowed, they left a characteristic aftertaste.
Spyro almost moaned again as he bit the cashews, passing through the crimson covering and reaching for the sweet, pinkish pulp inside. The heart cashews were Spyro’s favorite fruit, and the purple dragon really would jump to the chance of getting one of them. In fact, just the opportunity to be able to taste one now made worth what he had just went through with the tree, and he would do it again if he could get more of them.
Spyro chewed and swallowed, and he didn’t even gave the aftertaste time to come before he gave another bite. In five bites, he had finished the cashew, leaving behind only the seed shaped like a heart. Spyro put it into the ground, and he was already feeling the aftertaste. Kind of bitter, with mostly sweet, like the pulp, but different.
Spyro reached out for another one, and he started to eat. All the while, the apes that formed his guard were keeping an eye on him.
“Just look at him…” Said one ape, the same who got Spyro free from the vines up there. “All happy juts because of a bunch of fruits. He seems just like a chimp.”
“Yeah.” Another ape agreed, “If chimps had scales, wings, talons, horns, and teeth so sharp that they could possibly rip out the head of an adult ape if they actually tried.”
The guards shared a chuckle, and the first one who spoke said, “But, seriously, I think that Spyro is actually a nice kid.”
“Yeah, but he keeps getting into trouble. Yesterday we had to save him from being mauled by some merchants who claimed that he had trashed their stands.”
“Yeah, but it was an accident.” The ape said on his defense. “Spyro did seemed like he felt bad for doing that.”
“Yeah that is true.” A third ape said. “Also, I don’t think the damage was that bad for them to want to maul him.”
The apes remained in silence after that, and they reflected on the fact that sometimes it seemed that the other apes searched for reasons to blame Spyro of something, or maybe even made up reasons, as if Spyro’s mere presence was enough to cause unfortunate events. Almost as if they thought that Spyro was somehow cursed, or something of the like.
The fact was that many in the village didn’t trusted a purple dragon, even the ones who claimed not to have anything against Spyro seemed not to want to be close to him. The guards knew that, because when they were first assigned to that job, some of them shared of the very same opinion.
“I can’t believe we have been responsible for Spyro for five years already.” The first ape said.
“I can’t believe on how much that dragonfly can eat!” Said another ape, who had been looking at Sparx, who had just finished gobbling the third heart cashew, leaving behind only the seeds behind.
Soon Spyro too was finished with his cashews, and all that was left behind was the seeds, and Spyro sighed in contentment as he gathered to four seeds, all shaped like small hearts, in his paw.
“Man! That was good.” Spyro said to himself, and he looked over, seeing Sparx laying in the ground with his belly in the air. The belly of that dragonfly was comically bloated, and there was no sign that the heart cashews had ever existed besides of the stains of their juices in the floor and the seeds left behind by the gluttonous invertebrate.
Spyro chuckled, got back on his feet, and walked to the dragonfly, and he stopped with his head just above Sparx. “Man, you really ate them all.” Spyro said, half-amused, half-stunned.
“I felt full after a while, but I knew that if I stopped eating I was going to regret it.” Sparx said, and right after, he let out a surprisingly loud belch. Spyro could only laugh at this. That was one of the main reasons why he enjoyed being with Sparx, that glowing bug constantly found a way to make him smile and laugh.
“Okay then.” One guard said, approaching the dragon and dragonfly. “You both kids had your heart cashews, now I guess we can go back to the village now, right?”
“Even because…” Another guard said, looking at the sun. “It is almost time for your training, mister Spyro.”
“Oh, right!” Spyro said; this had almost slipped his mind. He looked at Sparx, certainly to full to fly right now, and he picked him up and placed him on top of his head, in between his horns. Next, he picked up the seeds that Sparx had left behind, and collected them all on his paw.
The guards looked at him as he did that, and Spyro simply said: “What? The seeds are almost as good as the fruit.”
In fact, the pulp of the fruit was not the only thing that could be eaten. Once they were cleaned, toasted, and rightly seasoned, the seeds of the heart cashews made a fine nut that was a very nice snack. It was another thing that Spyro really liked, and that made the heart cashews by his favorite fruit.
Once they had it ready, the guard once more formed a ring around Spyro as they were now scouting him back into the village. Spyro, on his side, could only roll his eyes as he wondered why they still did that.
Well, probably because his father ran a tight ship when it came into keeping him safe, and the instructions he gave them were really specific. Soon, they were walking back into the village, six apes forming a ring, a purple dragon in the center, and a belly-bloated, snoring dragonfly on the purple dragon’s head.
As they walked, Spyro was already getting ready to have once more the stares and the whispering of the others of the village over him. That was one thing that Spyro had grew used to over the years growing up in these villages. No matter where he was, Spyro frequently saw himself being a target of looks and of these whispering from other creatures, and now he barely even minded anymore.
Sighing, Spyro looked at the sky, letting Sparx fall from his head into his back, right between his wings. As he looked at the clouds, Spyro could not avoid letting his thoughts wander to the one that was maybe the only one who never really judged him in any way.
Gaul, the King of Apes.
Or, as Spyro knew him: “Dad…”