The setting red sun caught in every branch of the primordial forest and cast its diffused glow on the already red fur of Prince Triclick. He was currently adjusing a milky white apron so it sat more easily over his wings. His companion, half his size and several shades lighter, not to mention bearing none of the battle scars that crossed and recrossed Triclick’s war worn flesh, gazed at him with skepticism pouring out of his beady black eyes.
“You,” the flight second said. “You, are going to be a nurse?”
Triclick hissed in passive irritation as he pulled out a tin of polish to add a little scented shine to his three remaining sensory horns, and ease the ever present pain in the five stumps.
“No,” he said firmly. “I am simply volunteering my off hours to give aid and comfort to our allies who have sacrificed so much to our cause.”
“Oh I would never question how much we owe the humans,” the flight second said grimly. “Granted they gained from this campaign too but we would have never reclaimed this world without them.”
“So you sound my depth,” Triclick said. His voice distorted slightly as he examined his teeth, still needle sharp he thought proudly, in the reflection on the back of his tin.
“They call us Hellbats,” the flight second said bluntly. “I have seen humans who have been allies for months burst out screaming when a flight breaks from the ground in front of them. We literally,” he held up his wing claws for emphasis, “resemble nothing so much as the messengers of their underworld.”
“Your point?” Triclick asked blandly as he checked his appearance on more time.
“What,” the flight second demanded, “in the name of the First Flight makes you think that the presence of our most feared warrior would offer injured humans any comfort at all? Most likely they will just sit there in mortal terror and fear of offending you.”
“One would think,” Triclick admitted. “But that has not been the result observed by the medics.”
Before the flight second could respond Triclick leapt off of the branch they had perched on and flew in lazy spirals towards the tent on the forest floor marked with a bold red cross. The flight second hissed and followed him. However there was no chance to begin the conversation again before they fluttered to a stop outside of the insect repelling netting. They slipped through the barrier and landed on the massive desk that served the human medics. The one on duty smiled up at them from his paperwork and waved them in.
There was only one human in the medical ward today the flight second saw. A young human, one of the new batch he supposed. From the pale tint of his face and the audible gurgling from his abdomen he had been bedridden for some digestive malady. The flight second grimaced but Prince Triclick flew fearlessly up to the human and landed on the edge of the bed. As the flight second had expected the human started violently at seeing Triclik.
“Greetings friend Smithson!” Triclick said, dipping his head as he landed. “Are you ready to begin your therapy again?”
To the flight second’s surprise the agitation almost immediately left the human’s face and he nodded eagerly.
“Sure thing Commander-“ The human began.
“Ah, sttttt,” Triclick hissed in remonstrance.
“Right, right, no ranks in here,” the human said with a laugh.
“One mustn’t offend the medics,” Triclick quoted in all seriousness. “Now, let’s begin.”
He hopped over and laid himself flat out on blanket that covered the human’s knee. The human reached out a hand hesitantly and then gently lowered it to stroke the exposed length of fur between Triclick’s scared wings. The flight second watched in astonishment as the human relaxed back against his pillows with a happy sigh as he continued stroking the fourth in line to the throne.
“Now where was I,” Prince Triclick began when the human seemed to have achieved a proper paced. “Ah yes, Five-trills and the second prince of the golden cliffs. Now it was the latter days of the great migration.”
The flight second blinked in astonishment for a moment then shook his head. Triclick had always been a bit of an odd one. But how was he going to explain this in his report? One didn’t just upend two decades of xeno-psychology research with a field note that says, and they like petting furry things.