Restless. Restless.

Piksel kicked at the sheets, twisting again. Every movement felt weird. Off-balance. Of course it did.

He kept thinking his tail was leaking blood, kept having to check. It wasn’t, naturally. It had stopped bleeding minutes after he’d dropped it. Would be a pretty poor survival mechanism that left a trail of blood, after all. But it itched like hell, and between the foreign bed, and the last few days, and that he was all alone with his thoughts again …

With a frustrated noise, he kicked off the covers and turned up the lamp. The stump of his tail was just short enough to make examining it difficult, because everything had to be difficult. The students they had rescued were quick to offer bandages, which he had gladly accepted. He didn’t want to look at the wound. So naturally he found himself tearing the gauze off, craning his neck to get a good look at the mess.

It felt … wrong. His sister had never said anything about the wrong feeling. He touched the raw edges of the scales, having never had opportunity to do so before, and winced when he found the pressure was uncomfortable. With a grimace he re-dressed the thing. You can’t use magic on your tail, he remembered his mother very sternly telling his sister. It has its own magic. If you try to fix it with spells, it’ll never grow back.

He would never look the same again.

Piksel did not know how to handle this knowledge. He did not know how to handle most of the knowledge that seemed to be coming to him, lately. He hated the idea that his tail would look wrong now. Was he really this vain? He’d never thought he’d put that much stock in his appearance. His tail itched. He hated this.


He scrabbled out of his clothes, pulling off shirt and pants until he was naked on the bed, and began a meticulous examination of his person. He didn’t know what he was looking for, just … something. Something wrong. Could he even recognize it if he found it? Scales were the right color, all his spots were in the right place. He noticed faint lines and crescents and circles in his skin that he was sure hadn’t been there until the last week, wounds magically knit back together. There was a chip in one of his spikes and another on the side of his right horn. He was missing his tail. Why was that bothering him so much?

Because, said a voice in his head, it’s another reminder that you’re not who you thought you were.