He was in the lead, pushing through the leaves and making sure everything was out of her way. They had left the field behind, in search of a more secluded place. The nest had been moved, so Luna and Rolf had to go about finding it again. The nest was in its final week before hatching, so the mother would be careful to make sure the eggs were not found when the babies hatched.
Luna's senses buzzed as she took in every minute detail around her looking for something that seemed slightly unnatural that could be the nest. This was the fun part-they had their rations, they had their sleeping bags, and it was time to find the nest and wait for the eggs to hatch.
Rolf stopped suddenly, and examined a small hole in the ground. He stood and shook his head, a leaf stuck in his hair. Luna smiled. "We'll find them soon, I can feel it," she said as she plucked the leaf out.
"I want them now," Rolf said. This was day two of the hunt for the eggs. She could tell he wasn't use to waiting or wanting something and not getting it immediately. He was smart enough to be mostly silent while they looked though.
He put his hands on his hips and sighed. "Honestly, I thought this would be better. They shouldn't be this hard to find." She didn't understand why he was whining so much. It was simple-they look until they find the eggs. She had been on month long expeditions before, this was a synch. She suspected that his grandfather had done a lot of the work when he was 'free lance' and that his amazing feats weren't so amazing.
But he still was good at what he did when he tried. He seemed to be trying almost too hard now. She didn't understand why, but it was getting the job done. She looked up at the tree they were passing and stopped. "Rolf, give me a boost," she whispered. There was a strange chirping sound coming from a branch concealed by leaves.
"You can't climb that tree," he whispered back.
Luna resisted rolling her eyes. "Just do it."
He walked over and cupped his hands so that she could step into them. Luna hesitated a moment before putting her foot in his hand and reaching for a branch while he lifted her up. He groaned a little, and she inwardly berated herself for that piece of cake she had had the night before. She reached up, stretching as much as possible to reach the lowest limb and then she felt Rolf give a great shove and she was flying through the air. Her hands flailed around and hit something hard, which she grabbed onto. She was hanging from the middle of the branch.
She looked down and saw Rolf lying on the forest floor. Then she looked up. How she was suppose to get onto the branch…she tried pulling herself up, but didn't make it far. The tree trunk had no branches lower down she could land on either. She was stuck.
She sighed, realizing what she would have to do. She released the branch with only her left hand, dangling dangerously from the branch. She swung to the right and tried to grab the branch with her right hand.
She missed. She tried it again and missed. Then her left hand slipped so that she was barely holding onto the branch. Heart racing, eyes wide, and breath coming in short gasps, she tried once more-
And made it.
She breathed a sigh of relief. She got a better grip on the branch and the swung back and forward, until she had enough momentum to wrap her feet around the branch. Now, to just get on top of the branch instead of under it. She wiggled around and shifted her grip slightly until she was finally on the top. She sat up, legs dangling off the branch, one arm still on the branch, and waved to an impressed looking Rolf below.
He smiled and waved back, shaking his head. Luna caught her breath for a moment and then looked around. The nest was just feet away from her. She carefully moved over to it, astonished that the eggs had yet to hatch.
She got out the camera Hannah had given her to take pictures with-sketches were great, but could be made up. A photograph was real proof. At least, that's what Hannah had told her. She snapped a couple pictures and smiled. These were the exact same eggs she had found. She was about to look for Rolf when she heard a small cracking noise.
She froze afraid the limb was breaking. She hadn't felt it move though. She looked down at the eggs and saw one with a huge crack in it. It moved again…and again…then a head poked through! Her mouth dropped open in silent amazement.
The small creature worked the rest of the shell away and looked up at her and chirped. Luna smiled at it. It moved over to her and she fought the instant to pick it up. It was purple and furry, with a tail and a single leg. The fur on the top of its head was made into a poof and slightly lighter than the rest of the fur. It had small wings, which were also covered in fur-there were no feathers at all.
It hopped out of the nest and toward Luna. She scooted away a bit-she wasn't sure what would happen if she touched it. Would the mother abandon it? Would it bit her? The small beak had teeth. Then it started to fall of the branch. Luna reached for it-she didn't want it to fall to the ground and die, and it obviously couldn't fly-and started to fall herself.
She hit the ground flat on her back, the small purple bird in hand. She fought to gain her breath as Rolf rushed over to her. "Are you okay?" he asked franticly.
She coughed and sucked in a few deep breaths before nodding. "Look," she breathed, holding up the small bird in her hand. "It's a Nargle."
"Did you get a picture of it?" he asked. She shook her head, so he took the camera and took a picture of her holding it. "Beautiful," he whispered.
"I know." Suddenly, there was a loud screech. A fully grown Nargle was suddenly upon them. Luna watched it's wings, the sky blue color blur flying toward them.
"that's not a very happy mum," Rolf said. He grabbed Luna's shoulders and turned, Apparating them back to the ministry.
Atkins had been talking to a new program applicant, but saw Luna appear. One look at her face and he knew something was wrong. "What is it? What's happened?" he asked, looking at her.
Slowly, she revealed the small bird she had cupped in her hands.
"Is that a…?" He let the question trail off. What else could it be? But Luna nodded her head anyway.
"It's all alone now. We don't know what they eat, or what environment it needs to live in or if it—"
Atkins cut her off. "We've got people who can figure that out. You know that."
Luna looked back down at the small chirping bird. "Well Squige, I guess you'll be okay for a little while, won't you?"
Atkins accompanied Luna and Rolf as they took the Nargle to the correct department, then had them come into his office for a debriefing. Rolf didn't have much to say until the part of Luna's tree climbing. She tried to brush it off as Rolf simply giving her a boost up, but Rolf told Atkins what really happened. Then they were sent to their respective offices to write their reports.
It was three days before Luna saw the Nargle again.
"Squige," she squealed when Rolf brought it to her in a cage. "It eats plants. And it's super adaptable for whatever environment it's thrown into.
Of course the normal articles and things came out about Luna and Rolf's find, but Luna wasn't bothered about it. She was just glad to have proven Nargles exist.