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The Four Flamingos of the Apocalypse:
Pinion's Escape

That seems like a fair choice. Let's see whether Langoustine can be a bit kinder this time. Goodness knows, Pinion needs it right now.

Pinion stalked into the pond, its wings half-unfurled with discomfort. The other flamingos seemed especially wary and gave the young bird enough space that it didn't have to jostle anyone out of the way. As it strode through the water it made eye contact with Langoustine.

The leader responded by half-unfurling its own wings and puffing up its feathers. "Be calm," it commanded.

"Why did you let that happen?" Pinion demanded. It could feel its heartbeat pulsing in its neck.

"I said, be calm," Langoustine repeated, its tone anything but soothing, "if you're going to speak to me."

"I don't understand! Why put us through all of that when we can't fly anyway? If our wings are that useless then what's the harm? Don't they want us to fly?"

Langoustine's stern look turned into an outright glare. "Wings tucked, feathers down, voice quiet." It was an instruction.

Pinion looked from Langoustine to Pebble, who stood to one side. Pebble's expression was hardly any more accommodating. The elder wanted Pinion to calm itself. Pebble paused and then shook its head, before looking away.

Pinion's having a bad day, isn't it? But it does have a choice now. What would you like it to do?

- Insist on a satisfying answer from Langoustine?
- Try to cajole Langoustine into giving a better answer?
- Find some other birds to talk to?