Chapter 16:

Chia

The Stray Princess


The parrot crosses the sky, gives a couple of spins and lands near Charlotte. Then jumps while imitating the sound of a bark followed always by a whistle.Bookmark here

“What an interesting flying dog” she thinks.Bookmark here

It’s been a couple of hours since she decided to follow the bird and it was worth it. The green parrot is capable of reaching the tallest trees and get fruits from them, usually preferring to eat alone sitting on the fruit while it’s still attached to the tree but after a while it uses the beak to cut big pieces that end up on the ground where Charlotte could reach them. She feels really grateful, so far, the fruits that she ate from the ground were covered with ants or fully rotten almost all the time, it has been a while since she ate a fresh one.Bookmark here

THUD!Bookmark here

Almost a full banana lands in front of her, one side has signs of being attacked by the parrot’s beak. The bird peeps through the banana bunch up in the tree and whistles. They have been resting a while near this tree, the parrot eating inside the bunch and Charlotte under the shadow that the plant produces. Once the parrot got tired of eating it started cutting and throwing the bananas that didn’t considered tasty enough so the dog could eat some. This action was not done out of malice, the fact that it shares some of the food, shows that cares about Charlotte.Bookmark here

“My favorite!” She happily eats the fruit from the ground “So soft and sweet!”Bookmark here

KRAA! KRAA!Bookmark here

A sound comes from a neighbor tree not so far away, this tree looks similar to the one with the bananas they are eating but it has another fruit that has many big circles around its trunk, some of them are green and others are orange. Over one of the orange circles, the one nearest to the ground just one meter above it, there is a black bird. It has white feathers on its face and they go all the way to the chest and it has a very long beak that is as orange as the fruits its eating.Bookmark here

“Another weird flying dog!” Charlotte thinks very excited, this is her first time seeing a toucan “Two new flying dogs in just one day”Bookmark here

The parrot looks in a mean way at this other bird, the toucan hasn’t noticed that is being observed and keeps eating from the orange fruit. With the size of its beak is really difficult to grab a piece of the fruit so it bends the head to the left and pecks the circle in the middle, little pieces fall to the ground, the fruit already has a big hole in the middle that shows the orange interior and the many little black seeds.Bookmark here

The parrot decides to fly and to get near, leaving Charlotte behind as she returns to eat the bananas on the floor. The green bird does a couple of jumps after landing and arrives just under the fruit, the toucan notices and gets down from the tree landing in front of the other bird.Bookmark here

KRAA!Bookmark here

Is the sound that comes from the toucan while looking down to the parrot that is smaller. Taking advantage from this fact the toucan extends its wings and opens its beak, the parrot is intimidated and mimics the same movement.Bookmark here

KRAA!Bookmark here

The parrot copies the toucan’s noise. This bird species is usually known for its amazing ability to imitate, why they do it is still on speculation but one of the best reasons for them to do it is believed that they command the attention of a specie by producing sounds that the listener is familiar with, the problem is how the objective will react in the case of Charlotte she was amazed and ended up following the parrot but in the case of the toucan it feels threatened and responds with violence attacking the green bird.Bookmark here

The parrot is able to evade the attack by jumping, the expression on its eyes changed and now it feels anger.Bookmark here

SKRAA!Bookmark here

The parrot yells and tries to extend its wings more but they are not able to do it, the toucan’s expression also changes into a violent one and attacks again. The green bird moves the wings and flies, then realizes that is not able to defeat or scare such fearful opponent. The parrot moves its eyes and looks at Charlotte, an idea comes to mind.Bookmark here

HA HA HA HABookmark here

The sound of a human laughter leaves the green bird’s beak with an odd echo effect, both the toucan and the dog get disturbed by it, then flies near Charlotte and barks to get her attention. She has been following the birds each time it imitates the barking sound so she does it again, the parrot guides her to the toucan. Now the black bird feels frightened, the size of the dog is something too big to handle and decides to flee flying, the parrot mimics human laughter for a second time; the plan of using Charlotte as a bodyguard was a total success, is now time to take the loot so it moves its wings to get to the fruit and starts eating it where the toucan left.Bookmark here

Charlotte examines the new tree, it’s not so tall and she could easily reach the lower fruit, the one the parrot is eating, she gets closer and is capable to feel the scent of it and feels that she has also ate this fruit before. At the market all the food she ate had different shapes from the ones found at the wild, she remembers that the ones that the humans gave her where usually cut in little cubes so it’s really odd to have found the same aroma and flavor but in another shape like the mango or the bananas.Bookmark here

“Squishy orange food” Like before, she doesn’t know the names of fruits but recognizes the aroma that comes from the papaya tree.Bookmark here

She stands up in two feet and puts the front paws on the tree’s trunk, now is able to reach without problem the open papaya that the parrot is eating, so she gives it a bite. It’s juicy but filled with so many seeds and the peel is just too bitter, if it there was only a way to remove them before eating.Bookmark here

“Tall dogs are amazing” She thinks while chewing “Mixed with this bitterness and small pebbles, I can feel the flavor of the squishy orange food… how are they able to leave only that flavor?”Bookmark here

She gets tired of eating the papaya and decides to get back to the banana’s leftovers. They spent all day going from one area filled with trees to another, in various occasions they found some birds that got scared when seeing Charlotte, the parrot felt proud of finding such a great partner. The sunset starts, the sky is filled with the colors of the fruits they ate earlier, the clouds are few but their white contrast goes along pretty well. The parrot is flying low just some meters ahead, it lands for a moment and barks looking at her. Charlotte looks ahead, they need to get down from a hill and at the end of it there was a huge field covered with yellow flowers. When they arrive, the plants look bigger than from the top of the hill.Bookmark here

“I have never seen flowers so big before” She thinks and sniffs them.Bookmark here

They are at least two times as tall as her, but maybe if she could stand in her back feet she could reach the same height. Only small pieces of the sky are not covered with the petals of these flowers from the point of view where Charlotte is, now some stars can be seen but the red gradient hasn’t fully disappeared but a dark blue is slowly replacing it. The parrot stops from time to time standing on these flowers and whistling so the dog doesn’t get lost and continues following. There is a moment were a melody sounds in the air, is another whistle from a creature different from the parrot but as the plants cover all the vision range, Charlotte is not able to see who is doing it. Either way, the green bird recognizes the sound and responds mimicking the melody, then extends its wings and flies. Charlotte can’t follow with her eyes but hears now a tune generated by the parrot and the other creature. Finally, a spot without plants can be seen, she continues walking and arrives to a small pathway that goes across this flower field. Charlotte looks at each side, to the left the path just extends with flowers at each side, then looks at her left and there is a girl whistling with her left arm extended, in one finger the parrot sits and follows her lead with the melody, the girl that is around 13 years old has a tanned skin and a long black hair, her clothes are totally white except around her waist, where a piece of black fabric is located in a shape similar to a belt, she is not wearing any shoes or similar footwear, in her right hand she carries a brown basket and inside of it there are the upper parts of many of the flowers from the field, upon further inspection from the distance between Charlotte and the basket the flowers look like little suns inside a bowl, these plants are called sunflowers and the ones inside the basket aren’t as yellow as the majority of them in the field, in fact the circle in the middle of those flowers is dark and their petals are dry. There is another kind of plant inside the basket, it looks like many dry and furry cylinders that end up in a stem. Bookmark here

The girl perceives something moving with the corner of her eyes and turns her head to take a better look, she sees Charlotte coming out of the sunflowers and gets startled. The girl has never seen a dog before so she doesn’t recognize the creature, in her eyes a weird furry animal just stands in front of her as the moonlight starts illuminating it, the moon is almost full this night, the red from the sky has already faded into darkness and uncountable stars appear and shine.Bookmark here

“So pretty” The girl whispers, her language is not the same that Charlotte has heard people talking so far but even so she doesn’t understand it.Bookmark here

“Hello!” The parrot says in the language of the girl, then whistles and flies from the girl’s hand to Charlotte’s head.Bookmark here

The dog closes her eyes for a moment, the feet in her head feel weird but not in a painful way even if the toenails coming out from them are really long.Bookmark here

“Oh? Green Mango, is this your friend?” The girl asks the parrot.Bookmark here

The bird extends the wings and moves the neck and head up and down while saying random words like “Hello!” and “Good Morning” Even if these species are able to imitate human speech in any language, it doesn’t mean that understand what they’re saying.Bookmark here

“I’ll take that as a yes” The girl says “It doesn’t surprise me, you are a very social boy” The human approaches Charlotte “Hello” The girl extends her hand and the dog just sniffs at it expecting something to eat “It’s dark already so I better go home, take care” She waves, turns around and starts leaving the place.Bookmark here

The parrot jumps into the air and flies after her, he reaches the basket the girl is carrying and grabs by the handle of it, then sticks the head inside the basket and starts eating one of the plants.Bookmark here

“Green Mango! You are always like this!” the girl says loudly but the bird ignores her “Just eat a few, okay?”Bookmark here

Charlotte sees the girl’s figure walking away and even if it’s the first time she sees her, even if it’s been months since the last human she saw, a feeling of abandonment is painfully growing in her chest.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to be alone” Charlotte thinks and starts walking after the girl.Bookmark here

The human notices the furry creature that is following her steps and feels anxious, so she gives faster steps but no matter how faster is going, Charlotte is still behind by just a couple of meters.Bookmark here

They arrive to a small village, with huts made of sticks, wood and leaves. There are a few that have rocks instead of wood as their circular walls, but the roof is still made with hundreds of leaves. Each of these shelters is lacking a door, instead they have a long piece of fabric that covers the entrance like a curtain. In the streets of this place there are other humans walking, adults, carrying torches with them and placing them on specific spots to illuminate the surroundings. The girl starts running to one of these adults.Bookmark here

“DAD!” She yells.Bookmark here

A tall man turns around, he has black and long hair, a beard of the same color that covers his neck, tanned skin and is dressing a toga that is identical in all its characteristics to the one that the girl is wearing but in a bigger size. He gets worried when seeing his daughter running “What’s the matter my little sunflower?” he says in the same language that the girl uses.Bookmark here

“That thing has been following me” She points Charlotte with her left hand.Bookmark here

The man chuckles a little bit when noticing that the animal is not running or walking aggressively “Very odd creature indeed”Bookmark here

The girl reaches her dad and uses him as a shield hiding behind him, the basket moves and Green Mango whistles. The man gets a better look of the animal when she arrives.Bookmark here

“Hmm… Well, this is interesting” He says touching his beard “What is a dog doing around here?”Bookmark here

“Is that a dog? One of those city animals?” The girl asks.Bookmark here

“Yes, my little sunflower” He pats his daughter's head “But is not really common to see one around here, maybe it’s lost” The man crouches and moves his left hand trying to get the dog’s attention “Come here”Bookmark here

Charlotte approaches and sniffs the man’s hand, there was no food in it so she now looks at him directly. As a response, he decides to gently touch her face. Charlotte closes her eyes and feels the fingers moving around her forehead and touching her ears. The man moves and touches her on the back, she sits on the grass and starts pushing her body against his arm asking for more attention, suddenly she falls to a side and starts showing her stomach. She created this technique when she was living at the market, a surprise attack to force humans to keep patting her, showing off her abdomen almost immediately forces the humans to give her belly rubs and after a while it ends with her getting a treat.Bookmark here

“Look, she likes it” The man’s hand touches the dog’s stomach with circular motion, as Charlotte expected. He uses this situation to take a better look at her “Is a female, her bones can be seen, she probably hasn’t eaten for a while” He takes a look at the markings on her body and under her eye “Looks like maybe she was hurt” He feels sorry for the poor animal “If she is alone maybe we could take her with us, what do you think?” He asks his daughter.Bookmark here

“Well, is still a little scary but I’m willing to get to know her better” She crouches, puts the basket on the floor and starts touching the dog like his father is doing it.Bookmark here

“Good morning!” Says the parrot coming out from the basket.Bookmark here

“Oh! Green Mango is here, I didn’t notice… and is eating the seeds, that’s nice” The father laughs.Bookmark here

“He is having just some. I’ve brought plenty of them with me, sunflowers and chia” The daughter says.Bookmark here

“Good, tomorrow we will wake up early to extract the seeds. Thank you” The man smiles “well, do you want to name her as you did with Green Mango?”Bookmark here

The girl looks at the relaxed dog and thinks for a moment in the landscape that was around her when she came out from the sunflowers and how the moon was shining over her “I think she could be called...” she says “… ChiaBookmark here

“Like the moon goddess from the group that mom was from? or like the plant?” He asks the girl.Bookmark here

“Hmm… Maybe both, she is black like the chia seeds and was illuminated by the moon when I met her”Bookmark here

“Okay” The man gets up “Let’s go inside my little sunflower, come with us Chia”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Chia doesn’t understand why they stopped rubbing her belly and started leaving but decides to follow them because the parrot is still inside the basket and has started barking to get her attention.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.