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The Dream Fruit

by MadLadJoseph

Part 1: Graduation

In my world, everyone is a Hippogryph. We are all like you, we have jobs, we have hobbies, we have schools. Everywhere I look I see adult Hippogryphs running their careers happily. In my world, your career is based on what marking you are given by the gods. That day, I would graduate from school and finally get mine.
I was walking on the sidewalk to my school alone. I have no friends. I see everyone else walking in groups, when I’m only alone. I’m socially awkward, nobody likes me at school. The only thing I have is art. As soon as I finish my homework after school I draw for hours. That’s what I want to do for my job, art. I really wanted my marking to be art, art is my entire life. If the marking is a paint brush then that means art.
The way you get your markings when you graduate is that the gods descend down in spirit form, invisible of course. They then award you your marking. That marking determines your job forever, no retakes. It’s illegal to do anything other than what you’re supposed to. Some people aren’t given markings. They become homeless and live on the streets their whole lives.
I walked into the school, very nervous. Even more nervous than I usually was about everything. On the final day there are no classes. Instead they have us all sitting in an autotorium. The principal would then call us up one by one. Then the gods put a marking on our backs to represent what we’re destined to make of ourselves.
As the ceremony went on, the audience grew smaller and smaller as the others walked out. Most of my classmates were very happy with what they had been given. After they were given their marking they were applauded by the hundreds as they left school forever.
After hours of waiting, it finally happened.
“Lily Longbeak,” the principal called out. A few of the people in the auditorium laughed at my name. I’ve always been made fun of for my name. Terrified by the hundreds all staring at me, I walked down the aisle and over to the stage.
“May the spirits guide you on your path through life,” the principal said into the microphone beside me. Please be a paintbrush, please, I hoped desperately.
After a few seconds I felt the burning sensation on my back. It didn’t hurt that much, but I could feel the marking appearing from the Gods’ touch. Suddenly as it stopped, many people in the crowd gasped, others laughed. I looked up to see the principal’s face, he seemed shocked. A few in the audience clapped like they were supposed to, but eventually stopped as they were the minority. What did I get!? I wondered, humiliated.
Finally, I ran out of there crying. Once I was out the door I flew up into the sky and back to my apartment. I landed on the roof of the building. On the fly here, I couldn’t yet bring myself to look at what my mark was. After hours of crying and crying on the rooftop, I finally summoned up what little courage I had. I turned my head around to look at my back. It was a heart. That means my special ability is love. Making people love me. It meant that I would either be homeless on the streets. Or I would become a prostitute.

Part 2: The Dream Fruit

It was a few months later, I’d spent the entire time living on the streets begging for money. I had to cover up my mark, otherwise nobody would give me anything. If they saw it they would shake their heads in disgust and fly away. I couldn’t become a prostitute. I just couldn’t. Even if I wanted to, nobody ever found me desirable in any way. I’ve probably talked to about as many boys as I have fingers. We don’t have fingers.
Why did the gods give me the heart? The heart of shame, I pondered. Everytime I looked at it I would cry. The gods must have gotten it wrong, I thought. Maybe they just made a mistake? No. They’re gods. They don’t make mistakes. They probably just want to see me suffer. After all, it’s what I deserve.
Fortunately, I had a plan. I wasn’t going to spend my life like this. I needed to do something about it. There are legends of a mythical fruit. The dream fruit. This fruit could be found at the top of the planet. The legendary Mount Morrifane. Everyone knew where this place was, but nobody had ever returned. The peak of this mountain is told to be impossible to reach. But I was still willing to try.
If you eat this fruit then you can have one wish. Any wish. Anything you could possibly think of could be achieved through it. Even the ability to defy the gods’ own decisions. I was going to hike up there and eat that fruit if it was the last thing I did. Literally, because I would rather die trying than live the rest of my life an outcast.
I was going to have to hike. The mountain is cursed so that you can’t fly when you're anywhere near it. Us Hyppogryphs used to be able to fly at the speed of lightning, but after several generations and newer technology, we lost most abilities like that. We can now only fly at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. That will be helpful on the trip, but going up the mountain would be extremely hard. Maybe it would even take months? But if I survive, it’s going to be worth it. I know it will.

Part 3: Town

I was several days into my flight to Mount Morrifane. I had been flying over a huge forest for a while. Eventually I could see the mountain’s base out in the distance, towering over a small town. I began flying still in the air as I looked down at the town. I used my beak to grab my bag of supplies. My bag was practically empty.
“Looks like I’m going to need to buy a lot more food before this expedition,” I said to myself for some reason. Before leaving my apartment I’d brought with me all of my life’s savings, along with the small amount of money I’d made from begging. In all it would be enough to get me a whole bunch of food and water for the hike. It’s estimated that going up the mountain would take the average, super prepared and trained person around a month. I knew it would probably take me a solid three times that at least. Fortunately us Hippogryphs can go a while without eating or drinking.
I flew down to the town at the base of the mountain. It was just outside of the forest, and
right beside the base of Mount Morrifane. Flying down I used my super good Hippogryph vision to spot a market, I found one eventually. As I looked, I noticed that all of the inhabitants were anthropomorphic foxes. As I landed near the market, many of the foxes stared at me angrily. Many of them called out remarks like, “Hyppogryphs don't belong here!” and that sort of thing. I just ignored them and tried not to look terrified.
Apparently this place was prejudiced against Hyppogryphs, I’d wished I knew that before. When I finally reached the market where they were selling apples, the owner looked at me with a scowl and pointed to a sign. The sign said, “No Hyppogryphs allowed service,”
“Beat it,” the man barked to me.
“You’re holding up the line!” A person in line behind me yelled. I turned and walked away.
I tried many more stores, but none of them would give me service. As I’d learned from the people’s rude remarks, this place once went to war with my place. I should have payed attention in History class, I probably would have known that. I sat in an alleyway trying to think up what I should do to get food.
After a while of thinking I heard a voice call out from the shadows, “Nobody’s giving you service huh?” the voice mumbled. I looked over into the shadows.
“Who’s there?” I asked, nervously. Out of the shadows walked a fox, he was dressed in cheap, dirty clothes.
“You’re in a bit of a pickle aren’t ya?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied scared.
“I’ll help you out, if you pay me the right amount of money then I will go and buy everything you need. Then I will give it back to you here for extra.
“Why should I trust you? You’re sketchy AF,” I told him.
“Because you have no other choice. It’s either get help from me, or you don’t get any food,” he explained.
He was right, if I didn’t trust him then I would get nothing. The only other town was very far away from here, I didn’t have the food to make the trip.
“Fine, I’ll trust you,” I finally replied.
“Good, my name is Tony,” he reached out his paw to me. I put my hove to his paw and did an awkward paw/ hoove shake. I gave him the money I needed to buy stuff with, he was charging me 25% of it for his “troubles.”
“I’ll be back before you know it,” he told me.
I was able to see the food stand from the alleyway, I figured as long as I could watch him it should be fine. He took my money and walked over to the food stand with it. Nobody was in line. As he purchased the apples, a group of foxes walked in between him and me. When they had walked by, he was gone. I knew this would happen! I thought angrily.
I flew up high and spotted him running away with my money. I easily flew down on him and knocked him over.
“You didn’t think that through well at all did you?” I said to him. He shook his head.
“No, I didn’t. But I’m desperate for money. I need it to climb mount Morrifane!” he replied from under my hoof.
“Wait, you’re going to mount Morrifane!?” I was surprised.
“Yes, I’m going to wish for wealth, that way I don’t need to live on the street,” he explained.
After a while of talking he eventually convinced me to go with him to Mount Morrifane.
We both needed each other.

Part 4: The Climb

It was twenty two days into the climb up Mount Morrifane. Me and Tony were both at a campfire. In time we had become allies and learned to trust each other. He hunted rodents for us to eat and I would hold our stuff. We were a team.
“Hey, Lily,” he said to me.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Sorry about trying to rob you when we first met,” he apologised.
“It’s alright,” I replied to him. I curled up and slept. Tony slept on the ground by the fire. I always felt bad because of how itchy it must have been for him.
Day thirty two of our climb. I was starting to really get to know Tony. I grew to understand that he wasn’t a bad person at all, he merely was doing what he had to do to survive. He was actually very sweet when I really knew him. When I talked to him he actually listened, something I’d never really seen before in anyone else.
Forty days into our climb. Along the way there were several plants with berries on them. Tony was about to eat one when I stopped him. These berries poison people instantly. I’d learned that in science class.
Fifty one days into the climb. We had been climbing up the mountain some more. Tony was very tired from hunting all night, so I let him rest on my back. I was big enough to carry him and all our supplies. As I carried him, he told me about how his parents had left to climb this mountain. They never returned. That’s why he lived alone on the streets. Just like I did. He was always very reserved about mostly everything, so I was shocked when he opened up to me like that.
I responded by explaining to him how things worked in my city. All about how our jobs were determined by the markings on our backs. That the heart on my back meant that I had to become a prostitute, or a homeless person. He was the first person to not be disgusted by this. I assumed that he just didn’t understand how shameful it was in my culture.
Day sixty four of our climb. We had been roasting small rodents over the fire at night. I rolled up into myself to drift off to sleep. Then I saw Tony sleeping alone on the itchy ground. He always was scratching his back from always sleeping in the grass.
“Hey, Tony?” I called out.
“Yes, Lily?” he replied.
I paused for a bit. I didn’t want to weird him out.
“You would be more comfortable if you slept with me for warmth,” I told him nervously.
“Are you sure you’re okay with that?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s not weird, we do this at my house all the time,” I lied.
He then walked over to me and laid next to me. I then wrapped myself around him gently to warm him up. However, I was careful not to suffocate him.
Day seventy into our climb. We were getting closer and closer to the peak of the mountain. As it came closer to Winter, each night Tony and I cuddled together. Otherwise he would probably get sick. When we sleep together like that, I don’t feel weird anymore. I feel more like I’m meant to be there. With him.
Day eighty two of our climb. We were nearing the peak of the mountain. We were only a good ten minutes from arriving. When we reached the top we saw a large structure made of stone. We had finally made it to the top. We were the first to ever actually make it. Excitedly, we walked in through the huge doors. There was a gigantic Hippogryph beside a big pyramid in the center of the enormous room. The place was easily a square mile wide and tall. Eventually we reached the top of the pyramid and we were at eye level with the enormous Hyppogryph.
At the very top was a plate. On this plate was the Dream Fruit.
“Congratulations on making it this far,” the giant said in a thunderous voice.
“Unfortunately I know what your plans were. You will be upset to hear that this fruit may not be cut. Only one of you can receive a wish,” the thunderous voice called out.
“Only one of us?” Me and Tony both asked together.
“Yes, only one,” The giant replied.
Tony turned to me, “Lily, you need to wish for a different marking. You need to wish that your marking will become a paintbrush. That’s the only way you can follow your dream,”
I nodded, “Thank you, Tony. I never would have gotten this far without you,” I thanked him. I slowly walked up to the fruit and opened my mouth to take a bite.
I stopped myself.
“No Tony, I told him. You need this more than I do,” I told him.
“What!? Lily you can’t be a prostitute, this is the only way,” he told me.
“It’s alright,” I told him, “I want you to wish for you to be rich. That way you can finish what your parents started. That’s why your parents came up this mountain. I know that you don’t really want money, you just wanted to fulfil theirs wish. Their wish to give you a better life. You can do it now,” I told him.
Tony walked up to the fruit and took a big bite. Suddenly he transformed into a Hyppogryph like me. And on his back was a heart just like mine.
“I already know how to give myself a better life. I know how to fultil my parents’ desire and my own. If I went back to your place a fox, they would cast me out. But this way we can be together,” he explained. I was shocked.
“But Tony! We both have hearts on our backs!” I explained.
“I didn’t want you to feel liek an outcast anymore. I’ll be an outcast with you. We can go back to your home together,”
Now I understood what the heart really meant. The heart didn’t mean you were a slut or a pervert. It meant that love was what you needed in life.