With Neli's early-life admiration of raptors rekindled, the next two years are devoted to their study.
Pointing towards a light cyan raptor with dark blue stripes, the now fourteen-year-old Neli demands, “That one.”
The animal's stature is higher than the typical purple Stranglethorn raptor.
“Ya’s know what to do, I here ta watch.” Maj’atal affirms.
Excitement grows in Neli's stomach as they approach the reptile.
“I's stayin' here.” he whispers.
The beast investigates the glinting hilt of a broken sword, its head lowered to the ground.
Neli lifts a rock, throwing it with all her strength.
Maj’atal’s chin grazes the surface of the mud, his eyes tracking Neli’s charge into the air.
The rock produces a distracting thud in the bushes.
Landing horizontally atop the raptor, Neli wraps both arms around its neck, experiencing its rough texture.
The raptor jumps upward, lashing side-to-side.
Neli tenses her whole body, gasping to regain her breath as she strikes the ground. She stumbles to her feet, heartbeat deafening her ears as yellow eyes pierce through her gaze.
The raptor inhales through its nose, letting out a ground shaking roar.
Fighting the urge to flee, Neli feels her lips slide across the dry parts of her tusks.
She throws up an arm to deflect the raptor's claws.
The raptor's jaw closes around her forearm, swinging her against the trees.
Neli screams, bones shattering as the raptor tightens its grip.
The reptile hurls Neli upward, colliding with the ground headfirst.