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"I know that I don't understand people, but is why I'm paranoid. I explore every avenue of possibility with total clarity. Just because I'm not always right, doesn't mean I take any chances."
I am not childish. No matter what mama says. I flip over another freshly caught mouse and my lip curls in disgust. A murmur of conversation draws my attention away from my perusal of the larder, and I gaze with narrowed eyes at the huddle of dragons in the corner.

So. A group of hatchlings this time. A band of fiendish little demons who batted their eyes and got their way, as slick as fish with their words. They glance back at me and snigger. I know, I just know they're laughing about me. They have their secret network of information, encrypted in a code of sly glances and mouthed words, a backhanded trading of lies and slander. What utter nonsense, what ridiculousness!

Mama sighs as if exasperated, "Aegis," she says, "you are being dramatic."

Dramatic? It is as if the world is blind. Seeing everything from a keyhole, and I am the only one who can see the devilish smirks and the dark gleam in the eyes of the dragons around me. It's a conspiracy, it must be. Some organisation of hidden agendas, slotting together like pieces in a puzzle.

I turn away with a huff and bend to pick up some sparrows that still look relatively fresh. Giving it a quick sniff, I sigh and consider my options. I always had a sweet tooth, perhaps some honey..?

I find cooking therapeutic. There is a beauty in its preparation. In the blending of perfectly smooth scents and flavours, painting with broad strokes on a canvas that does not last longer than the hour. Recipes hold the comfort of familiarity and predictability yet excitement in that hint of spontaneity.

The group suddenly laughs and snaps me out of my reverie. My claws clench. Through my second pair of eyes, I watch them, a mass of feathers and scales, red and yellows of radiant heat, their shape distorted and their voices indistinguishable.

I spin around and hiss with fury, my tail scattering the nearby pile of beetles over the ground. The group pauses, quietens, and fixes their polychromatic eyes upon me. A moment passes, where the world holds its breath... The wave breaks, they chortle loud, and start up once more, turning back and huddling closer.

Mama calls me dramatic, but she loves the spectacle more than anything.

Often I half expect to turn around and see her huddled within the group, sharing her own sly glances, with something darkened in her gaze and something twisted in her soul. Sometimes I wonder, in that shapeless crowd of flashing feathers and scales, if I already have.

“Aegis thinks I still might be the same person after all these years. I'm different. I am something she has to keep figuring out, keep learning, and deep down, that frightens her. How she can never fully understand another person, even as our lives converge. Secrets breed paranoia, and the paranoid are not interested in what you say, but what you hide.” - Glanders
"There's a reason why Aegis keeps her relationships brief. She never lets them in, so no one can ever hurt her. Of course, no one can help her either. But she can live with the anguish, as long as there is no hope. It is the hope she fears, the idea that there could ever be something more, that's how they get inside. Once you have hope, they can hurt you. A sword against your heart. It's everything you're supposed to watch out for. Everything that mother tried so hard to keep her safe from." - Sepulchre

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