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A pang of hunger woke him. But he was so warm and so very, very sleepy. It was still dark, so it couldn't be time to wake up yet.

It knocked him up later. He had the impression he had slept for some time, but the cold was still so fresh in his mind. He didn't want to leave. Even as his hunger urged him to open his eyes, his mind only came up with more reasons to dread waking up. Max was lost at sea, most likely dead. Ayah had possibly killed herself healing his friends. Ray's Drigger had been washed out to sea, probably to meet Max at the bottom. It was all too likely that Tala had fallen into shock from blood loss on the ship and died as well. Tyson would...Tyson...

He woke up again, and the third time his hunger would not be ignored. It was ravenous, like a wolf had taken up his stomach.

So he groaned and opened his eyes. When only darkness met him, he grew confused, wondering if he had opened his eyes or not. Then he tried to move, to reach towards something that might light up so he could tell, but his arm hit a wall. The moment he hit it, he realized it was all around him, cupping him, holding him like a bird in an egg.

And he wasn't sure how he was still breathing.

The more he woke, the more he started to panic. Had he really crawled into a fire? Was this death then? It had to be, everything felt so—off. There were parts of him touching things he didn't know could touch things and senses that confused him, and the growing claustrophobia of having his knees jammed up to his chest cut off his breath like a hand over his throat.

And just as suddenly, one of his flailing arms punched through the hard something. It cracked, or more like crunched. Light poured in along with a dagger of cold. Thankfully, a normal cold, one that only graced his skin, just like a cool breeze on wet flesh.

Exactly, actually. By the little light he could tell some sort of...slime covered him, thick like jelly, and the consistency of egg whites.

Something chinked into the little opening above him. There was a shout, a large crack, and Kai's hard little cage cracked in two.

He found himself spilling out in a slippery slide of goo and into a large mess of coals. He had only the time to see Tyson's stunned and pale with a hoe in his hands before his face met coal.


Despite the slime, and the fact that Kai just had to be naked, Tyson pulled him up into a tight hug, half sobbing, half laughing.

"What the hell! You're alive! I knew it, I knew you were alive! I knew you were in there, I knew it! And...oh..."

Silence was never a good thing coming from Tyson.

Desperate to see what kind of bizarre nightmare he had woken up to, Kai weakly pushed himself apart from Tyson to look down at himself, now covered in soot-slime mud. As he did so, what felt like a second pair of arms folded out from his back. They fell beneath their own weight and spilled out across more coals. Out of the corner of his eye, Kai saw scarlet.

Tyson let loose another strange, drug-high sort of cackle. "Oh my gosh, is that a tail too?"

Too? What else was the first...oh.

Slimy, long scarlet wings spread out behind him. And, as he craned his neck back, he saw the weird tickling on his rear end was indeed an equally slimy, short feathered tail fanning out from the end of his spine. Some of his feathers still stuck to the inside of what could only be the still standing half of his cocoon of sorts, which basically looked like an egg that had been forged out of coals.

Tyson squeaked as he cried for Ray, unable to keep his hands off Kai as he pulled him from the slimy coal and attempted to right him on his feet, but the team captain had fallen into a stunned stupor and his sleepy, weak legs were little better than rubber.

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