From No’va, Book IV in Wisdom Novels® series.
Jenario nudged his horse out from the trees. The open landscape was a reprieve from the looming shadows. As the heavy-set horse stepped through the tall grass, it lifted its head and tail high like the young stallion it used to be in attempts to prance across the field. Its deep blue roan coat stood out against its lighter surroundings, and with its rider atop, they appeared as one being in the newly morning light.
The lightened load of a single person sitting on its back was nothing compared to its daily work of heavy lifting and hauling building supplies. This livened its steps even more. It was something different for them both. With Jenario used to walking everywhere, it felt strange having to carried. It was also louder than expected. There was a constant creak of leather saddle in need of oiling. It had seen better days but stayed in place when its girth was tightened. Jenario kept mulling over the ingredients he intended to search for and allowed himself to bounce along a while before reigning it to a halt. There came a snort of disappointment as it pawed at the ground to continue.
“Hold on, big fella.” Jenario patted its bulky neck. “Give it just a moment, then you can fly like the wind.”
“Or like me!” Everest shot through the trees and up into the sky, giving the horse a slight spook.
“Easy! Whoa there!” The young man tried to stay in control while his mount sidestepped away from the incoming harpy. “Guess fully seeing you is different out in the open.”
Everest landed with a thud, tossing several grassy stems aside in the process. She waited until the horse had calmed before approaching. Still, its wide-eyed gaze never let her from its sight.
“Would make a decent meal, this one.” She licked her lips and gazed over its thick haunches. Still, she was aware that a well-placed kick could easily damage someone of her size. “My sisters could easily take something this large. Lucky for you, I cannot.”
“Should I have left him back at the city, then?” Jenario teased and patted the horse again, receiving a nicker when it finally stopped prancing in place. “Besides, I promised Tia I’d return before sunset. Having a ride is easier.”
“You’ve still half a day’s journey ahead of you.” Everest reminded. “Flight is far better.”
“If I had wings, or else I’d give you my bags to fill. But then you wouldn’t know what to look for.” A sigh. “Guess you’ll get there before me.”
“Care to test that?” Everest spread her wings and kicked off the ground to get some leverage off the grass. There was just enough room to get half a downstroke, and soon she was circling above.