Everything happened in a blink of an eye. That was the best way to describe it, the whole transition, we all somehow ended up in the Eleven council’s room. Throughout the entire trip, my mind was numb, completely immersed in what had happened to me the past hour. We walked through the thick forest as I mind filtered out the constant chatter of Cathy’s voice as it droned on in pride, describing everything about her home.
The others, who were interested, were Stryd and completely enamored by the beauty of the environment that his jaws were half hanging out throughout the walk. It was quite unnerving to see because his canine teeth showed, making him look like a hungry orc ready to devour a poor soul.
I was engrossed in my thought over what had happened that I missed all the beautiful scenery that the Elven Kingdom had to offer.
Shaking my head, I tried to clear my thoughts. A gut feeling rose in my stomach, telling me that she really was the one who summoned all those legendary monsters. At first, I didn’t believe her, and it took a bit of time to settle in. Now, I am sure she was capable. It was unheard of for someone to even summon legendary creatures, but she also killed the Dragon Maiden. Anyone who could do something absurd like that was bound to be able to do something crazy like summoning legendary creatures to cause havoc.
The proof was there. She summoned two right before our eyes. No, let me correct myself. In total, there were the Hydra, Phoenix, Black Gryphon, and the Titan that was out, roaming around the world, causing mass chaos.
It was as if it was just on cue when I heard a voice penetrate my cloud of thoughts.
“Phil, are you implying that you saw the Legendary Hydra and Phoenix all in the same area?” The elderly elf, named Guinevere, who, in my opinion, looked nothing past 25 years old, asked with concern. He had lovely silver hair draped in front of his shoulder as his pointed ear peeked out from the side. Beautiful, like all races of elves. Honestly, a bit more dazzling than Phil himself, which had softer features than Phil.
Even his eyes were strikingly silver, which seems to be a regular thing with the elves. This whole place would make any man or woman drool with excitement or consider it the closest thing to paradise with natural beauty in both environment and the people.
Their traditional clothes were simple, mostly wearing from green to brown with hints of blue.
They weren’t flamboyant, but more natural as if even the clothes they were wearing would perfectly blend with the environment itself. While Guinevere had a striking face compared to the other elves that were sitting around him. He had an air of elegance, like all elves usually have, but was more refined, almost heavenly.
We were inside a well carved out large tree that was entwined into a knot. It was a simple room with a rug, rows of plants that looked like tulips that lit up the area were dangling from the ceiling. At the other end were some kind of altar or a shrine that seemed to be in dedication for some deity that I didn’t know. Even still, the warm atmosphere that the room gave off was almost lulling to the point where I could easily go to sleep.
“Truth,” Phil replied with a stern voice. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor with the other seven other elves who were present.
“Impossible,” Iaewinth, the youngest out of all the seven council elders, said with a disbelief tone. It was written clearly on her beautiful face that she didn’t believe or like Phil, which made me also defensive. Her arms were crossed in front of her as she tapped her fingers impatiently.
“Only one legendary monster is allowed to appear every 6,000 years. How is it possible that there are more?”
Phil rolled his eyes at her and replied. “Haven’t you been listening to what has happened these past years?” His voice was calm, but there was a hint of tension between them. “The Black Gryphon appeared first when the Black Dragon fell. Soon after, the Titan appeared.”
“Preposterous.” Iaewinth waved her hand in front of her. It’s just an overgrown, Orc.”
The word overgrown made me scowl. We all saw it with our own eyes, and she stated that we were all delusional at the same time, which was impossible. I was quite sure I was sane during the whole incident, which I wished was never true.
“Overgrown Orc.” Cathy snorted. “Is your head in the cloud from huffing too much magically dillweed?”
Iaewinth gapped but quickly shut her mouth as she glared. “What I am saying is that in the history of our world, having more than three legendary monsters appeared at once is impossible. The most have been two from past history.”
“See, then it means it’s possible for there to be even more. If two came out at the same time, why not four?”
“Preposterous,” Iaewinth states again, blowing off Cathy’s words. This was the second time she had said it, which was starting to get annoying.
“It’s the truth,” Stryd even butted in on the conversation. His voice wasn’t shaking, but was actually confident, which wasn’t something that he was always in. “I am the handler of the Legendary Gauntlets Asphalt.”
Iaewinth stopped for a moment to take a glance at Stryd, but she glanced away, not too interested in what he had to say. “Orcs….why are they even here….” She grumbled underneath her breath. Her voice was slightly loud, and we all heard it. I was quite sure she said it out loud for Stryd to hear.
“Do you think I’m lying?” Phil replied. He was getting annoyed at Iaewinth. “We didn’t just escape death to tell a false lie when we all saw this.”
“Pre-” Iaewinth was interrupted by Guinevere as he raised his hand to stop her.
“Enough,” He replied. The tense atmosphere was starting to dwindle down, bringing back the cool breeze of air that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I assumed that Guinevere was doing this to calm all the hotheads that were present at this moment. It was as if a small bickering war would start at any moment right now. “If what Phil had stated is true and the others testify this, then the possibility of the prophecy is happening.”
The other elders whispered in worry as they talked among themselves at what Guinevere had stated.
“You sure, Guinevere?” One of the few elders with a beard asked. “The prophecy for the end of the world to happen shouldn’t be until another hundred thousand years.”
“It seems we miscalculated.”
“That’s impossible. We had never been off by a hundred thousand years before. It was always a week or month, sometimes on rare occasions a year or two.”
Guinevere shook his head, “Mistakes happen. You do know our ability to see isn’t always spot on. Things changed….” He scanned around the room, and eventually, his eyes rested on me. “Maybe, something has caused that change to happen a lot quicker than expected.”
His eyes felt like they were bearing into my soul as he did a quick glimpse and eventually glanced away back to Phil and Cathy. I felt a shiver of unrest as if I had been soul searched at that moment.
“That…could be a possibility….”
“Though, it seems that we also have the presence of the legendary weapon wielders.” Guinevere inspected each of us. His eyes meticulously felt like they were heavy with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. “To see more than one….” His voice stopped momentarily, making the other elders turn their gaze toward him. “Is quite a treat.”
“What are you saying? Your saying there is more than one?” Iaewinth wasn’t sure if Guinevere was stating the truth or not. Her lips turned upside down, not taking his words to heart. Instead, she didn’t believe him at all. “You aren’t that old.” She sharply replied.
Guinevere snorted. “You call yourself an elder?” His hand raised up as he waved it across him in front of him in a horizontal motion. “Can’t you feel it? Cathy has the same energy flow as the other two.” His hand stopped momentarily in front of Phil and Stryd.
The others’ eyes became wide as they were surprised at what they just learned. Most of them had an inkling of the strange energy flow this group gave out, but they were too focused on Cathy’s energy flow and presumed it came all from her than the other two.
“He’s right.” One of the older names is Tri. His striking greenish silver hair differentiates from the rest of the group, which elves normally did not have. “The Orc and Phil seem to have it as well….though I don’t remember Phil having such energy flow….since when?”
Phil spoke up. “It’s been a while.” He summoned his legendary sword in front of him, causing the room to glitter and flash as it appeared. It floated in the air and came downwards as it pierced into the ground. The elders were shocked when they saw Phil’s sword.
“It’s the legendary sword, Laurel…..” Tri gasped. His mouth was half-opened in what he was seeing.
I couldn’t help but crack a smile at Phil’s extravagant display. Just to shut up these pompous elves made me feel that much better. The whole I-don’t-believe-you was getting old fast, which seemed to be the fastest way to shut them up.
Stryd and even Cathy followed after; they both summoned their legendary weapon, causing even more ruckus from the elder as they were utterly awed as the legendary weapons appeared one after the other without stopping. It was very rare to see one legendary weapon but to see three was unheard of.
“How?” Iaewinth replied. She stuttered in shock at what she was seeing and was having a difficult time believing. “This isn’t possible.”
“It’s possible,” Cathy smirked, enjoying the scene that they were creating. “Did you really think we were lying?”
“I-” Iaewinth wasn’t sure what to say next, but she quickly diminished her shock and composed herself as if she wasn’t anymore. Her eyes glistened, and her tone of voice went back to her usual tone. “So, what would three wielders present got to do with anything? It just means that your time could be wrong, and you are just its caretaker. There have been instances where the caretakers of the legendary weapons had appeared in different periods and didn’t have a chance to use it against the legendary monsters of its time.” She quickly replied.
I was appalled at her denial. It was strong in her. Bluntly stating that she didn’t believe us was a slap to our face, especially when the legendary weapons chose their wielder and decided to come out by themselves. Not only that, every one of my companions saw it happening, so it wasn’t a lie.
The other elders started to take in her words and slowly nodded. They all knew that they were instances when this happened in history, so they could see what she was talking about.
“She’s right.” One of the elders replied. “Such things have happened numerous times, which could explain the other two…..but three in one place…..I’m not so sure.” He was the rare few that didn’t seem to completely believe in her words.
Phil cut in, “We have another legendary weapon wielder as well. He and the beastkin hold the Weapon Pulse as we speak.”
The word another made the other Elders stared in disbelief. To hear four legendary weapons running around which have found its handler doesn’t happen too often.
“W-who?” Tri couldn’t help but ask as he leaned forward as if Phil would whisper it into his ears if he came closer.
“Ginger and Don.”
“Ginger?” Tri mumbled, then his eyes lit up. “The seer. So she has it now.” The information seems to hit a light bulb as he seems to grasp the situation as a whole.
“Ginger? You don’t mean that brat?” Iaewinth replied. “She’s just a kid. What could she do?”
I sighed, getting really tired at this elf. The whole image of elves being kind and respectful was starting to diminish every time she talked. Something about her made me want to punch her in the face, which I wouldn’t mind doing at all. From the looks of it, it seemed even Phil and Cathy wanted to do the same. They were both tensed, ready to smack the living daylights out of her if she kept on talking.
“That kid can hold her own against the Black Gryphon.” Phil rolled his eyes. “Either way, we have enough proof here. The main issue is what we are going to do now. Having more than three out at one time will cause destruction to many lives and cities. If we don’t get this under control, we will lose half the population as we speak.”
A burst of commotion started with the elders as they went back and forth between whether it was true or not. It was evenly divided, and only Guinevere was the only one who didn’t say anything but seemed to be thinking.
“Young mistress,” Tart leaned over as he whispered in my ears. “Why are these fools so slow? Can’t they see the gravity of this situation?”
I sighed, completely agreeing with him. This was just a waste of time, trying to persuade the idiots who didn’t want to listen to reason. At any moment now, I was ready to leave and start heading out of here. There was just no point in staying here.
“Denial,” I replied back. This was the truth. They all seem to not want to believe that three or more legendary monsters were out in the world roaming around. Honestly, if I think about it as an average person, it would sound like a mad fairy tale of the world scenario’s end.
“They need a reality check.” Tart giggled, a smirk appeared on his lips. “If you want a young mistress….I can…you know.”
A glint of mischief rolled in his eyes, catching me unexpectedly. I was so tempted to say yes but stopped myself. Shaking my head, “No. We should just leave.”
“Understood, young mistress.” His tone of voice was saddened by the thought of not doing what he wanted, but then he went back to his chirpy attitude. “Whenever you give me the word, I’ll do it.”
“Oh, I know you will.” The thought of Tart creating a small mess brought chuckles to my mind that I couldn’t help but imagine what he would do. He’s known for creating trouble, which usually gets a scolding from Coco.
“Tart.” A sharp reply from Coco erupted from behind Tart.
Tart froze. He gulped, unwilling to turn around as he stayed silent.
“What did I tell you about causing trouble when we are outside in important meetings?”
Tart started to fidget; seeing a grown man being uncomfortable with Coco was funny. Coco just had that attitude that no man or woman could easily go against without a repercussion.
“Tart?” Coco’s voice raised up an octave.
Tart straightened up. He nodded his head furiously. “Yes, Coco. I’ll be good.” He quickly replied.
“Good,” Coco replied, satisfied.
I was starting to shift and get up, ready to leave this annoying place. Staying here any longer hearing their dispute wasn’t something I wanted to do. It was getting old fast.
Just as when Coco finished speaking, Guinevere spoke, cutting through the noise. “Who else was there?”
The others suddenly became silent, wondering what Guinevere was trying to bring up.
“I’m sorry?” I couldn’t help but reply, stopping midway.
“There must have been someone who summoned them, no?”
His words caught me off guard. There was no way that any of us stated that there was an extra person there that caused the problem in the first place.
When Guinevere saw me freeze from getting completely up and actually plop back down, he spoke again. “So, there is one who did…”
“How?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“It was just a thought, though it seems it’s the truth.”
“Still…..people don’t usually think someone is behind it.”
“Well, in most cases, an unnatural disaster like this is caused by someone.” Guinevere chuckled as he saw my shocked expression. “It’s normal for the legendary monsters to come out in specific sequences, and they have always appeared in a set time. But every time an extra one or two legendary monsters appear, they are always a source or an unnatural cause behind it.”
I thought about what he had said. It made logical sense in away.
“So, who is it?” His expression darkened as his posture seemed to straighten up.
I couldn’t help but stay silent for a moment, unsure if I should tell him that it was my aunt. I was a bit embarrassed that it came from my side of the family, bringing all this trouble, but I knew it would bring more trouble if I didn’t say it.
“It’s my aunt.” It was quick but not loud. Still, Guinevere and the others caught it without me saying it twice.
A groan erupted from the other’s lips. For some reason, the whole elders seemed to know her too well.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Tri replied like it was old news. “She had a knack of striving for power that she knew wasn’t hers, to begin with.” He shook his head in disapproval.
“That explained why she came to our library to look for the summoning magic.” One of the elders replied with a serious expression.
“This is grim news, indeed.” Guinevere was in deep thought. “We need more time to think about this.”
“More time?” Cathy was appalled at Guinevere’s answer. “We don’t have forever!”
“Watch your tone.” Iaewinth sharply replied. “Even though your house is safe now, it doesn’t give you the right to speak out.”
Cathy was boiling in rage at Iaewinth’s reply. She was about to get up and shout, but Phil stopped her in her tracks. He shook his head to stop her from quarreling out loud against Iaewinth.
I, on the other hand, had enough. Slowly getting up, I took a deep breath and stood up straight, looking at the elders.
“It seems there is no point in my stay here anymore.” With a cold but firm reply, I stared down each elder with a vicious glare that told them they were making a stupid mistake by just sitting here and doing nothing. “I’ll be going to rest. I hope you won’t continue to hide and discuss behind closed doors forever and think about the grave situation that is happening right now. Thousands of people are dying while you are all discussing. I hope you remember that. “
With a quick turn, I abruptly left. The others followed behind me, leaving the elders stunned and unable to say anything else but disbelief. Some actually spoke in elvish tongue and cursed in their flowery language, which sounded like the word poo. I couldn’t help but chuckle and left the place with my head held high.
Walking out, I stopped and took a deep breath, letting the fresh air come into my lungs and fill it with bliss. I noticed the temperature, moisture, and the whole air was a lot fresher and cleaner than back. It had a sweet taste to it that actually made me want to inhale a bit more.
“So…..” Cathy came up from behind me, who was a bit annoyed at the elder’s reaction. “What are we going to do next?”
Before I could answer, Tart spoke with a grin that could dazzle any female passersby. Even some of the female elves that walked by took a momentarily stop and stared. “We shake things up a bit so they can speed up the process of their decision.” He replied coolly as if it was the easiest thing to do.
“And how would you do that?” Coco replied. She crossed her arm and looked at Tart for an answer.
“Well…..I…” His voice trailed off, trying to find something to say.
Coco sighed and shook his head.
“He has a point,” Cathy replied, “if we can shake up the elder’s decision, we could move forward in stopping Julia from her crazy antiques. At the rate she’s going, I wouldn’t be surprised if she destroyed many cities and killed thousands of people.”
“That is already most likely to happen,” said Phil. “Having four Legendary monsters roaming around is already a mind-boggling event….but we can not force the elders in making a move.” He grumbled. “This is why I wouldn’t have wanted to come here in the first place. They all have their brain mushed with rainbow shrooms huffing their life away as if nothing was happening.”
My lips twitched at Phil’s comment. To hear that they were taking drugs made me want to burst out laughing, but simultaneously, to have the elven image destroyed just like that by one line made me have a whole different impression about them.
“Anyways, let’s get a room and call it a night for today,” I replied. “We don’t have much we have going for us right this moment, and we need to get back home as soon as possible.”
The thought of something terrible happening to the city made me a bit worried. We were right next to the kingdom where the Titan was roaming around, and any day now, they could possibly start the invasion.
With a few nods, they all agreed.
“I know a good place for us to sleep.” Cathy bounded forward with light steps. She seemed to brighten up at the thought of sleeping. It was usually her favorite thing to do right after eating. Those two are the two most often things I see her doing more than usual, so it wasn’t a surprise when she acted in such a manner.
“It’s not too far from here. Just down the street and take a left. The place is called the Morning Glory Inn.” Cathy was the first to lead the way as we trailed behind her.
I couldn’t help but gape like a tourist entering a new place. Everything looked magically and incredibly beautiful. Nothing seemed to be out of place. Every time I moved my head slightly, it felt like the buildings would blend into the environment itself like a lizard.
The vines’ twist and turn that decorated many homes, exotic flowers that glowed magically when we passed and even puffed out sparkling lights. The trees even seemed to be hand-grown as it was twisted into shapes of houses and buildings. I was baffled at how they were able to warp the trees in the way they wanted too.
Eventually, we made it to the inn that we were looking for. It was a simple-looking treehouse that one actually had to take a second glimpse to see if it was there or not, but the moment you found it, it was easy to find it in the vast forest city.
We quickly made our way into the inn, checking and dividing into different rooms. I got my own room as the others as well. Without realizing how tired I was, I felt suddenly drained and tired. I didn’t expect it to hit me so hard and so unexpected. Dragging my tired body, I changed and crawled into my bed. Without overthinking about it, sleep quickly overcame me as I drifted away.
“Come again?” I asked Cathy, leaning against the tree as she was twiddling with the grass in between her fingers. Her eyes seemed distant as if she was thinking about something, but I couldn’t quite tell.
With a sigh, Cathy flipped her lush hair back. She stopped twiddling her leaf as she crushed it in her hand and then left it to fall. Which, I couldn’t help but momentarily think that Cathy wasn’t as much elf at all. I thought elves were all pro-plants, but the way she just plucked and crushed it ….made me think otherwise.
“Is something wrong?” I was getting a little impatient. She was the one who brought me out here to talk, but it seemed that she wasn’t going to spill anything soon. It was getting a bit uncomfortable to be in the middle of nowhere in the forest without completely knowing how to go back. Getting lost out here could easily mean getting lost for a very long time, which I didn’t want to get stuck in.
Cathy fidgeted one last time. She looked up into the thick branches of trees, then her eyes cast down upon me with a fierce and determined look. “No, nothing of too much of an importance.” She replied sternly.
“Then?” I was confused.
“I have a question that I would like if you answered truthfully.”
Cathy nodded. “What is your relationship with Phil?”
I stared at her, stunned, stunned, unsure what to say. We were in a kind of strange relationship. From Phil being my death flag, my friend, and even my….lover? I wasn’t sure about the last part. He does get a bit handsy a lot lately, which made me blush a little. The thought of our past interactions made me want to hide in the corner and disappear for a while.
Trying to hide my embarrassment, I quickly straightened up and looked at her. “Why?” I asked, curious about why the sudden question.
“Just curious, that’s all.”
I stared at her, a bit dumbfounded. It just felt too random, but for her to drag me out here for that specific question didn’t seem like the cause. Folding my hands in front of me, I shifted my weight. “Are you sure?” Asking again just to make sure if she wasn’t going to ask for more.
“Well….” Cathy fidgeted. She gripped her hand into a fist as she bit her lower lips. The wind started to pick up, blowing her hair in front of her. With a gentle toss of her head, she pushed it away. Her gaze eventually landed on me with a serious expression. “I suggest you be careful around Phil.”
Speechless, I held my breath for a split second before I spoke, baffled. “Why?” Completely confused, this was strange to hear from Cathy’s mouth. I did have an inkling of her saying that they were together or something, but this was different.
Cathy glanced around. She seemed a bit nervous. “Do you know Phil’s family history?”
“I think so?”
With a frown, Cathy sighed. “It seems you don’t.”
“Does it matter?” I couldn’t help but counter. Was history that much important as of now, unless something changed that made it worrisome. I trusted Phil a lot. It wasn’t something that I would so easily assume that he would do something bad to harm me….I hope.
“That depends on how you see it.” Cathy jumped down from the tree and stood right in front of me as she circled around me. “Phil’s mother has been banished from our city, but that didn’t mean Phil was. The rule only applied to his mother.”
“Why? What did she do?”
“Married a human.”
“That’s ridiculous.” I blurted out. I couldn’t help but stare because of such ridiculous reasons but realized that it was still the old times when racism was still high. Even today, I could still see the division between different races worldwide, but luckily it isn’t too much of a difference in where I lived, which was a blessing.
“Not really.” Sternly replied, her hand was behind her as she moved to my right. She lifted her chin, looking upwards into the sky. “Phil’s mother was one of the Elders.”
“She’s a high elven pureblood, meaning she’s a lot more powerful than normal Elves. High Elves has ten times more magical energy and is a force that isn’t something one should scoff at. We tend to keep our kind as pure as possible. The purer they are, the more powerful they can be. While Phil’s mother was one of the most powerful High Elf, we had.”
“Then why ban her? If she was so special, wouldn’t you want to keep her with your people?”
Cathy shook her head. “Once tainted, she’s not allowed back in. Her powers will become less powerful and eventually become a regular Elf.”
“I don’t get it.” For someone to lose power, so suddenly was a bit odd to me. It was definitely something I didn’t expect to hear.
“She was our high priestess that’s been blessed with power by our God. The requirement to be a High Priestess is to be a virgin.”
My lips turned into an O shape, eventually closing. I heard about those types of magic, where the host needed to keep their God’s untainted power to flow in through them, allowing them to control the magic with much more ease. Honestly, the elves weren’t the only one who had high priests like that, the humans also had the same requirements, and it made sense why they needed a pure elf.
“It is Taboo for a High Priestess to marry any outsiders.” Cathy’s voice cut through my mind, bringing me back from my thoughts. “If she was to marry, she was supposed to marry one of the other High Elves to continue the pure line.”
“Wait,” I held up my hand to stop her from going any further. “You guys are like the Egyptian Kings. Were you marry siblings?” My voice went up an octave, a bit shocked by what I was hearing.
Cathy was taken back from what I had said, her eyes turned big, and her lips slightly opened. “Absolutely not!” She quickly replied, disgusted at such a thought. Her pretty little hand raised up to cover her mouth. “We know what would happen if such things resulted from marrying one’s siblings. The child’s mind becomes twisted, and the child must be healthy without any deficit.”
I couldn’t help but think that such things had happened in the past because such knowledge wasn’t something unless it happened in the past. Such thoughts made me shudder.
“We don’t live such barbarous lives,” Cathy wasn’t pleased at all. “Either way, his mother was banished, unable to use her power anymore. In exchange, she had Phil, and she lived with her husband.” Her voice cooled down, and her gaze seemed to be distant as if longing for something I couldn’t see.
“They were quite a loving and happy couple.” She sighed with a slight smile on her lips. “For five years, she was blessed with happiness that I never saw on her face until I saw it with my own eyes. She told me it was the best thing that happened to her, and she was glad that she wasn’t a High Priestess anymore.”
“I see…” Listening to her story, I could see from Cathy’s voice and expression that Phil’s mother was delighted.
“You should have seen her. She looked more beautiful when she was married to her husband than being a high Priestess…..I knew she was stressed and hated the job. Going around healing the trees, doing the morning prayers, dancing every day to bring good fortune, communicating with the birds, siphoning away the dark powers and eventually cleansing an area….so many more.”
I wasn’t sure what a High Priestess had to do, but her description of how much work she had to do made me not want to become one either.
“I wish they were still here.” Cathy’s voice became quiet. A heavy, sad air around her could be even felt by me. I couldn’t help but feel a bit choked up about it.
Trying my best to break the intense atmosphere, I tried to divert the tension back to what we were talking about.
“So, what does this have to do with Phil?” I asked. It was getting a bit too emotional.
“Everything.” Her expression darkened. “She died supposedly from one of the High Elves’ hands. We don’t know who, still.”
A gasp escaped my mouth, completely shocked that they would kill their own kind so easily. “How? Why?!”
“I don’t know, but we found residue of high concentration of magic around her body when this happened.”
“So, I’m guessing Phil knows this?”
I cursed, knowing from Phil’s perspective and tone of voice when he talked about his mother, he would boil in rage. The high possibility of him having issues with them was definite. It made me want to not think about what he might do to them, but I had an inkling that he probably was up to something if he was bent on revenge.
“What will you do?” Cathy asked, staring at me quizzically, waiting for an answer. From her gaze, I wasn’t quite sure if she wanted me to help him or wanted me to stay away. It was like they were a small plea for help, but it quickly diminished, leaving behind her usual expression of saying stay away.
“I…” They were a dozen thoughts roaming in my head, unsure of what to do. I could help him, but I wasn’t sure if he needed my help in the first place. It wasn’t like it would get me not into trouble because I knew I would. “Am not sure,” I replied bluntly. All I could do was watch Phil and wait for what he would do in the first place anyway. Just butting in without knowing the full picture was stupid.
“Well, take my advice. Stay away from him.”
For some reason, the way she had said it sounded like she was shooing me away from a possible chance to get together with him more than warning me to be careful. This was the sudden thought I had had the moment she blurted that out.
“If you say so….” My thoughts trailed off. Cathy nodded as she turned around and walked away gracefully.
I stood there for a moment, thinking about what she had said. There were two sides to her tone of voice where I felt like she was warning me to be careful and the other side where she wanted me to stay away from “her” bodyguard, which made me frown. I don’t know how a female elf’s mind works, but most of the time, they usually don’t fish for answers and usually straight up to a point. Sometimes, they dance around their meaning with two different meanings, like how Phil tends to do, but that’s not always the case.
Either way, the sudden warning was thrown in the back of mind and almost forgotten. There was no point in letting it bother me. We had to get back home, mostly to prepare for the possible Legendary Monster attack already half the world.
With steady steps, I started to head back toward the inn. The warm sunlight tickled my nose and bare arm, where no clothes were covered. It was nice to have the sunlight touching my skin, especially because it brought extra energy that I needed. One could say I tend to be like a plant, waiting for the sunlight to give me much needed energy that I hungrily seek.
As I finally came through the path where fewer trees and plants were situated, I saw the elven community hustling and bustling with life. It was as if they too came out to bask in the sun. There were quite a handful of them who actually took the opportunity to lay down on the open areas where the sun filtered through to sunbathe, sitting in a lotus position and meditating.
There weren’t many children that I have seen so far; instead, many were adult females that carried baskets full of fruits on their sides and heads as they weaved through the crowds. A soft chime-like sound could be heard as the wind blew through the city, giving it a calming feel. I couldn’t help but feel like this whole place was a natural, peaceful, tranquilizer, or a perfect getaway from the bustling hustling life of a human city. Even back home, it wasn’t as peaceful but had ambient noise of people trading, laughing, and even singing.
I quickly changed my mind about doing something else than returning back to the inn. Being cooped up in the room wasn’t something I wanted to do. The exciting thought to check out the village actually made me want to tour around the whole place. I don’t know when I’ll ever have a second chance any time soon to come visit here, and I wanted to make the most of it.
It was as if the city forest brightened up and magically appeared with stores and new buildings that I didn’t know last night. The leaves and branches seem to pull away and bring out the hidden structures. They were like vivid colors of the exotic plants that I remember seeing on the internet in my past life. It matched fluidly with one another, accentuating the area while the green color unified the whole area.
My eyes sparkled, taking in everything around me. The beauty of this place was extraordinary. Somehow, my feet shuffled me forward through the city structures, eventually leading me on top of a giant waterfall that cascaded downwards from a cliff.
I couldn’t help but stand there, gazing out with a blank mind. The view was mesmerizing, reminding me of the famous Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon from how it looped like a snake. The river was flowing thickly with water, while the cliff was filled with trees that densely packed the area.
Closing my eyes, I enjoyed the feel of nature itself. Soaking in the energy from the world that I would occasionally do to get extra soft, natural energy would fill me up. With a blissful sigh, I opened up my eyes. This was the perfect time to go flying, and I didn’t want to waste a second, but before I could jump off the cliff, a voice suddenly stopped me.
“Berry?” Phil’s voice called out from behind, making me snap around toward him with a frown. My precious flying time was being stolen, and I wasn’t sure if I should snap at him or just stay silent.
“What are you doing out here?”
“Nothing,” I replied back. My fingers clenching and unclenching as my wings were itchy to take off right this moment. It fluttered behind me, opening and closing, wanting to get a good head start to lift me up into the air, but I had to do it to stop fluttering around to keep me on the ground. “Actually, I’ll be flying.” Making a split moment decision, in a rush, I waved my hands goodbye and tilted to the side as I fell off the cliff.
“Berry?!” Phil gaped, rushing over toward the side. His eyes became wide as he wasn’t sure what to do but stare.
I couldn’t help but chuckle as a smug grin erupted on my lips. The wind blew harshly against my hair, blowing back. My eyes start to slightly water from the free fall as I enjoyed the last seconds of the fall before I shifted into my dragon form.
A burst of energy erupted out from my core, extending into my toes, fingers and sliding up my neck. I could feel the hot gurgle of the flames simmering in my stomach, making me feel warm.
My neck turned long and slender; my head was triangular with majestic horns protruded from my crown. Sharp white teeth glistened as my tongue licked the side. The process of turning into a dragon happened in a blink of an eye.
My large white wing snapped open, catching me from the fall. It was a sudden jerk, but wasn’t too hard, where I felt uncomfortable.
I couldn’t help but enjoy the flight process, the freedom that it came with as I flew through the air with power and elegance.
Suddenly, an uncomfortable thump could be felt from my back as I felt something landing on my
back. I couldn’t help but snapped my head, looking over my shoulder, wondering what-in-the-world landed there.
“Phil?!” I shouted flabbergasted, the sudden turn of events made me lose balance temporarily, where my right-wing slightly dipped. This caused a sudden sharp turn that headed straight toward the cliff wall that I had to bank hard to the left to get my bearings right. Phil latched on to my spine with ease. He didn’t even fall off from the sudden sharp turn and seemed to saddle right in without any problem.
“W-w-what?” I couldn’t help but feel like my alone time was suddenly interrupted by his presence.
A cold, hard smile erupted on his face. He wasn’t pleased that I cut him off like that by jumping off the cliff when he was talking. I could even feel his silent anger radiating from his body. My senses were screaming to be very careful, or something dangerous could happen.
“Berry.” Phil coldly, with a hint of his sweetness that seemed to be dyed with darkness that mesmerized me, he called out to me. The edge of his lips went upwards into a slight smirk, but it still gave off a very scary feeling where I could feel my heartbeat slightly tremble.
“Y-yes?” I gulped, turning my head away, so I wouldn’t have to meet his intense gaze that seemed to eat me alive.
“I was talking to you before you jumped.” The words jumped, and I was stressed with a hint of peevenss. A scary aura could be felt, dying my back with darkness.
Only silence followed after between the two of us as the rushing wind blew past us. My wings didn’t pump as hard as before and instead started to slow down as I glided in the air to lessen the wind resistance that was hitting us.
It took a couple winding turns before I could have the courage to speak out to him. My throat felt dry as I gulped, eventually taking a peek over my shoulders toward him. The energy behind me was tense as the silent demon lord showed his full power without even raising a finger.
Before I could speak, he suddenly raised up his fingers, telling me to quiet. His gaze hardened as he looked out into the distance. I couldn’t help but curiously gaze toward where Phil was looking and noticed a large smoke. The forest was on fire.