Learning to Fly
"What kind of Pteri can’t fly?”
The snide comments surrounded Dezzyton as she hung her head low in shame. The others were right, what kind of Pteri was she? She was an embarrassment. Sure, her wings were smaller than everyone else’s, but shouldn’t they still work? Her whole body was smaller than everyone else’s, surely her little wings could hold her tiny frame?
The yellow Pteri sighed as she waddled away from the group. There was no point sticking around while all the other Pteris in Tyrannia got together to go flying. She was used to this; it had been this way her whole life. In times like these, she retreated to her happy, safe space – her cave.
Her cave is tiny, just like her; it’s just big enough for her to fit her tiny feathered body inside. Her favourite part about this cave is that none of the other Pteris could fit inside, the space is just hers.
She crawled inside and flopped down on top of the little nest of twigs that lined the ground. She kept a few treasures in there, mostly shiny and pretty things found on her travels, and also a little food.
She lay there for a while, defeated. Was this going to be her routine, forever? Trying to fit in with the other Pteris, only to be laughed at and made fun of, and then retreating to her cave to spend the rest of her day alone? She fiddled with a shiny shard of glass she had collected from somewhere. In it she could see her reflection – a tiny, messy, grubby ball of yellow feathers that stood out at awkward angles. No matter how hard she tried to smooth them down, it never worked.
She loved Tyrannia, it was where she was born. When she was younger, she fit in just fine there. All her Pteri friends were small, and none of them could fly yet. But they kept growing, their wings grew more powerful, and hers didn’t.
As the afternoon went on, she decided it was time to head off home. She didn’t like being out too late, especially not after dark. She would never want this to get out, it would just be another reason for the others to make fun of her – but she was a little afraid of the dark. What if something bad happened? What if a monster came out of the shadows? It’s not like she could fly away, and a Pteri’s short, stumpy little legs aren’t exactly designed for speed.
The sun was just setting as she arrived home to her house in Neopia Central. She had a great life there, with a great owner and great siblings. But they all did their own thing during the day, having fun with their own friends, while she pretended to be doing the same.
Her sister Didtaz, a red Wocky, was sitting in the living room as she entered.
“Dezzy! Hey, Dezzy! I saw you up there today!”
“Huh?” asked Dezzy, confused by what her sister meant.
“I saw all of you Pteris flying about over Tyrannia! Well, I think it was your group, you were all so high up I couldn’t really tell. It looked like so much fun!” Didtaz sighed. “Oh, I wish I could fly too! It must be amazing!”
“Oh,” Dezzy stammered. “Yep, that was us. Uh, the wind was really good today”.
Honestly, Dezzy had no idea about the wind. It was just something she would overhear the others talking about after they went flying.
Dezzy trudged back to her room and closed the door. She wasn’t in the mood for Didtaz’s overwhelming positivity today. What is there to be positive about when you’re a Pteri who can’t fly?!
She had never given up trying, though – every night she tested her wings out to see if, maybe, there’s a chance. Double checking that the door was closed, she stood in the middle of her room and took a deep breath.
“Okay,” she whispered. “You can do this.” The problem was, she didn’t believe it.
She bent her little legs low, stretched out her wings, and began to flap – but nothing happened. Her claws didn’t move an inch off the floor.
Feeling defeated, she crawled into bed for the night, and dreamt, like she always did, of flying.
“Dezzy! Dezzy! Wake up! Dez, check me out!”
Dezzy jolted awake as she was pounced on by a big ball of pink and purple fluff.
“What…?” she opened her eyes to see a Wocky she barely recognised shaking her awake.
“How good is this! Don’t you love it!” shrieked the ball of fluff. It sounded like…
“Didtaz?” Dezzy rubbed her eyes is disbelief. It was her sister on top of her, but she wasn’t the same red Wocky Dezzy recognised.
“I’m a Faerie! I got painted! Look at me! Isn’t it cool! I’ve got wings! Now we can go flying together!” Didtaz yelled excitedly.
That woke Dezzy right up.
“Flying? You? And – and me? I don’t know…”
“Come on, it will be fun!! You can teach me! Get up, and let’s go!” Didtaz bounded out of the room, still yelling with excitement as she disappeared down the hallway.
This is it. This is the day my whole family finds out I’m a fraud who can’t fly.
Dezzy’s mind was racing, searching for a way to somehow get out of this, but Didtaz was dead set on learning how to fly.
“Come on! Didtaz was practically dragging her sister out the door. “It’s time for my first flying lesson! I’m so excited!”
Finally, inspiration struck.
“Oh, no, would you look at that!” Dezzy said, as convincingly as she good, as she walked outside.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“It’s the wind. It’s no good. Awful flying conditions. There’s no way I can teach you today.”
“Oh,” Didtaz looked deflated. “That’s a shame… but there’s always tomorrow, I guess!”
Well, I’ve bought myself one more day, Dezzy thought to herself. But she couldn’t keep lying about the wind forever.
“You know, there is something else we could do today.” Dezzy recognised the smirk on Didtaz’s face. She was up to something.
“We could give you a makeover!” the Wocky said excitedly.
“Oh, no, not again,” Dezzy groaned. The last time her sister had given her a makeover, she had glitter stuck to her feathers for weeks.
“No, no, not like last time,” Didtaz insisted. “I mean like a real makeover! Like the stunning one I’ve just had.” She gave a little twirl, showing off her new faerie wings.
“What?” asked Dezzy. “You mean like… a paint job?”
“Yeah! Why don’t you become a Faerie like me! Seriously, my fur is soo soft now. I feel amazing. You could do with a little… softening,” she said, picking at one of the stray feathers sticking out of Dezzy’s head.
“Didtaz, I’m from Tyrannia, I don’t want to be a - ”
Wait, Dezzy thought to herself. If I became a Faerie… would I get a new set of wings?
“You know what? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”
It was the strangest feeling, emerging from the Rainbow Pool. At first, Dezzy didn’t feel any different. She looked around, and everything seemed… the same. People staring at her, probably thinking that she was just so small and useless looking. She still a stray feather sitting in front of her eyes.
She lifted a wing to brush it away. And that’s when she noticed.
“Woah! Didtaz! Look at this! Look at me!”
Her small, flappy, scrawny little wings were replaced by two of the biggest, most elegant wings you’ve ever seen. They were even better than her sisters. They were no longer a dull yellow in colour, but now a bright, vibrant yellow, with purple, pink, and orange tips, all the bright and beautiful colours blending together to look like a work of art.
“You look amazing!” Didtaz screeched, rushing over to her sister’s side. “I love it! Way better than my last makeover, I have to admit, but you’ve still got some feathers out of place…”
But Dezzy was barely listening to her sister. She raised and lowered her wings, playing around with the feeling of them. She ran one wing over the other, carefully brushing each feather, unable to believe they were real, and belonged to her.
“Didtaz!” Dezzy cut her sister off, speaking more confidently than she ever had before. “Enough talking! Let’s get flying!”
“Oh, goodie! Let’s do it! Oh, but I thought the wind was bad?”
“Not any more. Wind’s perfect!” Dezzy still had no idea how good the wind actually was. But she didn’t care.
“Okay, so! First thing! You want to face away from the wind, yep, like this. Now, crouch your legs down, take a deep breath and… flap those wings!”
And just like that, Dezzy took off. She knew exactly what to do.
“Good!” Dezzy yelled to her sister, who was certainly not flying with the same ease. “Now, turn right! Like this!”
Dezzy continued to soar. This was better than she could have ever imagined. She knew exactly what to do, without even thinking. It was so… natural.
While Didtaz continued to fly low, struggling with her new wings, Dezzy flew higher and higher, higher than she thought she ever could. She thought she spotted the group of Pteris from Tyrannia, they did like to fly here sometimes. But Dezzy soared up even further, until they were just tiny specks below her. At last, she felt free.