The group has been traveling for a few days now with Papi. John sees a large lake in the distance and says “I see a lake up ahead. I don’t know about you ladies, but I would like to take a bath.”
Kenta says “Indeed I think we all could use a bath.”
John starts to walk away from the others as they get closer to the lake. Nasha says to him “What are you doing?”
John says “I’m going to find another spot to change and go for my bath. Unless you are okay with me here when you undress.” Nasha and Kenta stand stunned for a moment then John says “I’m not” and leaves.
John finds a spot a bit away from the women and strips off his clothes, even taking off the mask and amulet. He puts the amulet and mask on top of his clothes and says “Stay put” to the amulet. He then gets in the water. He finds it refreshing and relaxes a little. He looks out over the water and decides to take a risk and go for a quick swim.
John finds the water is clearer than any water he has swum in before. He stops swimming to relax in the open water. He feels a shadow pass overhead. But he realizes that it’s a clear day and looks up. He sees the silhouette of what can only be the largest bird he has ever seen. John tries to dive underwater but is grabbed and lifted out of the water. He looks up to his captor and sees that there is a human head where there should be a bird head.
John is carried for what seems like a mile to a cave on the side of a mountain and toss into a nest with no eggs. John quickly gets to his feet to face the Harpy and feels the amulet bounce against his chest. John looks her over as she looks him over. She is much larger than him even when crouching over. He thinks she could stand at eight or even ten tall if she wanted to with a wings span to match for a bird of her size. The Harpy says “You don’t look like anything from around here. But you are male. Maybe I’ll keep you around as mate.”
She looks to be preparing to pounce when John says “A bargain!” causing her to stop and look at him in shock.
John walks up to others while finishing dressing. He sees the others are pretty much done also. Papi runs up to him and he picks her up. He greets them “Hello, I hope you ladies had a good bath?”
Kenta says “yes we did” as John approaches Nasha’s items.
John takes Nasha’s quiver of arrows and says to Kenta “Can you keep Nasha there.”
Nasha says “What are you talking about?” as John walks away and then sets Papi down in the opening.
John says “I don’t know how you are going to react to a…friend that I just made.” John holds a hand high in the air.
Soon the Harpy Eagle is coming in for a landing. Kenta grabs Nasha to keep her still as the massive Harpy lands. The Harpy looks at Nasha as she is cursing at her and trying to fight free of Kenta’s grasp on her.
John says to the Harpy calling her attention back to him “Your bargain!” motioning to Papi. Harpy Eagle nods and moves towards Papi.
Papi starts to run as the massive Harpy comes at her. The Harpy eagle is quick to get in front of her and tries to get Papi to stand still. The Harpy eagle finally swipes a wing across Papi, brushing her off her feet. The Harpy Eagle then steps on one of Papi’s wings and pins her to the ground. The Harpy Eagle releases Papi after a moment of looking her over. Papi runs back to John who scoops her up in his arms. The Harpy Eagle says “You were right she is very young. Her flight feathers are starting to peek through her down though. Expect her to go through a growth spurt soon. As for her flock, I have not seen her pattern around here. But my sisters talk about flocks that migrated east of here.”
John says to the Harpy Eagle “Did you have to be so ruff with her? You could have told me what you were looking for!” John takes a breath then says “Thank you.” John sets Papi down and motions her towards the other. Nasha has started to settle down a bit as Papi approaches them and hides behind one of Kenta’s back legs. John steps up to the Harpy eagle and swallows before saying “You held up your end. I will now hold up my end.”
The Harpy eagle turns and walks away saying “It is not that time yet.” She opens her wings saying “know that you will see my shadow again when it is” and takes flight.
John sits down on a log to catch his breath after watching the Harpy Eagle fly away. He looks at the others saying “Sorry, I didn’t think I had time to explain with her circling. I decided to go for a swim while bathing. She caught me like a fish and took me to her nest. While there, she mentioned me being a mate. I realized that she being a Harpy Eagle, and I can understand now why you have a disdain for them Nasha, that she would know about the local Harpy flocks. So I made a bargain with her. In exchange for information on Papi…I…would…mate with her.”
Nasha and Kenta both stare at John for a moment then Kenta leans over to Nasha saying to her without taking her eyes off of John “I hate to admit it. But that was a good bargain to make with her.” Nasha seems to agree with her.
True the Harpy Eagle’s words, Papi gains an almost voracious appetite within days. Nasha has to hut for almost as much food for Papi as she does for everyone else. Even Kenta pitches in by searching for nuts to feed Papi. John starts teaching Papi how to hold things with her thumb claws so she can eat on her own. Within a week Papi’s new appetite starts to show in her as she almost doubles in size. But from what John has seen of Harpies, he knows Papi may be lucky to stand above five feet in height.