Emily gave out a petrified desperate scream as she flew through the air at top speed. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see what could come next…
Emily felt an odd tingling spread through her body. It hurt and it was cold and warm at the same time. She groaned in pain as it became stronger. Her head buzzed as the pain became even stronger. When would it stop! Why wouldn’t it stop? Why was it even here?!
She opened her eyes to see the edge of the cloud with a castle on it come rushing forward. She screamed in a petrified fear thinking nothing else but, all is lost. This is it.
But she stuck her arms out anyway as if they would actually stop her from hitting the cloud. I mean, that is if she didn’t fall right through it or something.
Her arms in front of her… Uh her arms weren’t exactly… Her arms…
Stretched in front of her were arms alright, but they were absolutely not how she’d last seen them! They were covered in a thick fiery orange fur marked with black stripes. Her hands were huge paws with claws glimmering from their furry tips in the sunlight.
She screamed again but this time it was a roar and on came the cloud way.
When she was almost about to hit the cloud she hit her paws against it and sinking her claws into it launched herself forward.
Her large furry tail streamed behind her as she soared through the air. Roaring once more she came to earth and bounded quickly across the cloud leaping several feet in every bound.
Her black as night stripes flashed brightly in the sun and her claws dug into the ground throwing her forward as she ran. She could hear rapid German from behind her and saw a black figure shoot past her at an amazing speed. Flare!
“Flare!” She called still running as fast as she could.
Flare skidded to a stop his taloned feet throwing up dust and dirt in the air. Weird, why would dust and dirt be on a cloud? Plus she could swear that she was feeling grass touch her thickly padded paws while she ran.
Trying to put the “breaks” on her legs she began to slide across the cloud. Skidding strait past Flare she saw only seconds later the castle wall rearing up in front of her. Roaring she tried to turn while sliding only to have her claws miss their hold and for her to bang loudly into the wall.
Her whole body racked with the pain as shuddering she slumped to the ground in a pile of striped fur and claws.
Something warm was trickling down her forehead. She could make a good guess and know what it was without looking if she really wanted to. But she’d rather save the worst for later. (If not never.)
She closed her eyes and buried her muzzle under her paws with a small whimper.
The only thing that made her stay awake was a sudden scaly snout being thrust into her side. Slowly and painfully lifting her head she stared at a black as night dragon standing next to her. Flare…
She groaned, the weird pain was returning along with its tingling. A few seconds into the pain her body began to alter shape. Her arms became furless and shrank to their normal size. Paws flattened and shrank to be hands and claws became fingernails. Her tail shrank and shortened until it wasn’t even their anymore and she could feel her muzzle sink into her face and her whisker disappear. Emily was no longer a tiger. She had become a human again!
Flare was waggling his tail with his forked tongue lolling as it dripped slobber everywhere. He opened his mouth and began to speak.
“Meister ist stimmen Sie zu?” He asked with a worried tone to his smoky voice. (Translation: “Master are you ok?”)
Emily nodded and moved her arms and legs each in turn. To her relief none were broken or seriously hurt with the exception of a few bruises. Leaning her elbow against Flare for support, she slowly clambered up to her feet and hobbled to two massive wooden doors.
Not knowing what else to do she simply rapped as hard as she could against the surface of the wooden doors. Suddenly the two huge doors swung open and a tall elderly man walked out. He held a wand in his wrinkled hand and his bright green eyes flashed at her warmly. From under his bushy beard he gave a crinkly smile and motioned for her to come inside with his hand.
Emily limping up to him tried to smile but ended up grimacing in pain as her bleeding forehead creased. The old man’s own forehead creased at the sight of blood dribbling from her forehead and down to the tip of her nose.
Putting his arm around her to support her better with surprising strength and speed he led her down the hall and into a long candlelit room. The room was lined wall to wall with evenly spaced white sheeted beds and bedsides tables with kerosene lamps on them. Leading her to the closest bed he beckoned for her to get in.
Sitting on the edge of the bed she looked up at the silvery haired man waiting for him to say something. Finally he spoke.
“Hello there, my name is Professor Treefrog. I am headmaster of Ridgeway,” he said kindly with a warm wave of her hand.
Emily nodded and said slightly shakily. “Hi professor… uh, uh, Bullfrog.”
The professor chuckled heartily and shaking his head lightly said. “My name is Professor Treefrog and yes I know that it sounds a bit odd and confuses many.
Emily stared at Professor Treefrog and forced a chuckle through her throat. She was finding this more embarrassing and awkward than amusing.
Professor Treefrog crossed the long room and grabbing a small bottle he walked back over to her. Pulling out his wand from his back pocket he twirled it and made a cotton ball appear from thin air. His wand still pointed at it he made it hover in the air while he poured the bottles watery contents over it.
When the cotton swab was soaked through with the foul smelling medicine he dabbed it across her forehead to cleanse her wound. Her forehead tingled at its touch and she winced as it stung her cut. That tingling—she wasn’t going to transform again was she?
But no, she thought as she reached up to feel her forehead. She couldn’t feel the cut at all, or any more blood for that matter. Odd.
Professor Treefrog handed her a small hand mirror that sat on a bedside table next to the bed. Looking into it she gave a small shocked gasp and covered her mouth with her hand. The gash in her head that she’d expected to see… There wasn’t a cut of any kind!
Nothing was there, just her normal everyday forehead! Looking up at Treefrog she placed the mirror beside her on the bed and stared opened mouthed at him.
“A simple healing herb and poppy concoction and yet you look so shocked!” The professor chuckled loudly at her.
“I’m surprised a simple thing like that would amaze a girl like you so much,” he rasped and strode out of the room.
Emily shivered. This magic stuff was really weirding her out!
Just then she looked around with her blue eyes in search of Flare… Say where was that black lump of scales? A scraping sound sounded behind her and turning around she saw Flare in the hallway she’d come from with her luggage in his mouth.
Trudging over to her he let go of a suitcase handle and let the suitcase fall to the floor. Then standing hunched over on his two back legs his click clacked out the door making grunting noises the whole time.
Emily shook her head. She’d dropped her luggage while flying down to who knows where and Flare was still trying to retrieve it. It was like he was trying to get as far off to her good side as possible.
Ten minutes later Flare came back in and plopped another suitcase that had flung open and a toothbrush next to her. The only thing he’d carried that wasn’t bigger than him was the toothbrush.
P. Treefrog’s words came back to her as Flare began to bounce from white sheeted bed to another across the room. “I’m surprised a simple thing like that would amaze a girl like you so much.”
‘Would amaze a girl like her,’ what did the headmaster mean?” She thought aloud.
“Oof! Flare stop that you!” She muttered as Flare bounced from the next bed and head butted her stomach.
Flare rubbed his scaly black head with one long curved talon and began to chatter in German.
“Was er durch ‚ein Mädchen wie Sie‘ bedeutet, ist, weil Sie begabt sind!” He chirped sharply making his forked tongue flicker out of his mouth in a snakelike manner. (“What he means by ‘a girl like you’ is because you’re gifted!”)
“What? What do you mean by gifted?” She questioned confusedly.
“Alle Zauberer haben ein sehr besonderes Geschenk. Ihres sind Umgestaltung!” He answered quickly. (“All wizards have a very special gift. Yours is transformation!”)
Emily nodded slightly uncertainly but fascinated. Why hadn’t she known this before? On second thought, transforming would be pretty cool if it hadn’t nearly given her a heart attack from pain and shock!!