Chapter 20: Race against time part 2: Dream
“Mira? May I ask a question?” I noticed Elleri was standing there. I never thought she would be the one to get her hands dirty, especially the way she handled Quinn when he was moving around.
“You have a question?” I raised my eyebrow, wondering what kind of question she had for me.
“Do you still hate me? After what happened?”
“Because I was a jerk to you earlier. I let my pride and ego that got in the way and almost gotten us killed because of it.” Why is she saying this now? The Elleri I know will never admit that she is wrong, but after what has been happening for a few days lately. Anything can change.
“I don’t hate you. It’s just the way you act-” She walks up to my face.
“Had one hunter nearly turned me to ash, nearly died of disintegration had Fenrir not put the pillet in my mouth..” She points to Fenrir, he has remained focused on suppressing Quinn’s powers. “Then going into a city of said hunters who nearly killed us again and not to mention a cursed relic tempting me with promises of said power.”
“You didn’t accept it?” I had wondered about that. Elleri was full of herself and had more confidence in her talents.
“I had promises being made to me before in my younger years. My former master took me from the gutter and raised me as his daughter.”
“You didn’t have a good childhood and said foster father took advantage of it.” I summarized it as I understood where she was coming from.
“That is not all, Mira! He forced to do his dirty work for him. Assassination, Infiltration, Espionage even…” She shakes her head. She needs this. I said nothing because she needed to have someone to talk to. “Well, that’s that.”
“No, Elleri. Don’t stop. What happened if you didn’t do it?” Her expression changed when she saw I was curious about her life.
“He would threaten to throw me back out into the street and make sure no one would hire me again. I would be…” Tears fell from her face… The woman had been through enough in her life. No one should have to go through what she has.
“If I was there, I would punch his lights out!” Her eyes suddenly light upon what I said.
“No, you will not! Count Ashley is not someone you want to trifle with! Mira, just don’t!” She swipes the tears using her forearm. “He’ll kill you if you do, and I know fully well know capable he is. It’s over and I left him years ago. I even told him I never want to see him again at all!”
“Very Well!” I nodded.
“For the herb for the Dream Potion…” She seems to be at a loss for words. “I got most of the ingredients that we need…” she stalling now.
“You need an herb… But you don’t know where it is, correct?”
“The Flownghost herb. That I don’t know where it is and consulted the books and my contacts. But they don’t know where to find it.”
“I know where is…” Elleri looked at me with surprise. But she decided it was better if I explain to her. “Desolated Forest… It was where my parents died at the hand of those spirits. Me and Angharad years ago went to the forest to retrieve their bodies. It’s where violent spirits attack anyone that dares enter this place. Even the rogues themselves don’t enter this vile place.”
“We need that herb, Mira! Quinn’s life is at stake here!” I turned away from her.
“I can’t! I vowed not to enter that place again. My mate died… saving me from those spirits.” I heard her gasped when I mentioned it.
“I retrieved my parents’ bodies, but my beloved…” I shook my head at the idea.
“I’ll go then! It’s easy for me to get the herb and be back in a jiffy!” I stopped her.
“You need to stay here! I need to be ready to make the potion to stabilize Quinn. If you die, we fail! That I cannot risk or ask of you!”
“You are going into that cursed forest when you vowed not to!” I began walking toward the door.
“That is a vow will break today. Wait until my return.” I ran off from the door. Quinn needs that potion.
The Cursed Desolated Forest
“Girl… I can feel ya when you said you don’t gonna head back.” I’ve finished packing up my equipment.
“I know, Roduriga. But Quinn will die if I don’t… I have prepared myself for the dangerous mission ahead and it’s not my first time fighting evil spirits.”
“Alright, I got ya! You can always transform into comes down to that.” I stepped toward the door.
“Partial form! I will need to move fast as I can.” I transformed into my partial form and strode toward the dark forest.
Along the way, I reflected on several events that happened 100 years back in that forest. Mom and Dad took a trip into the forest to search for the rare flower blooming within the dark forest. They were also with Angharad. Back then, I was but a young child, full of wonder and amazement.
However, I ran into a spirit who guided me to said flower… A spirit with blue feathers, strands of flowing, rainbow color strands. She was friendly… they called her the mother of birds, guardian of the spirit world.
My parents found me with the flower they were looking for. Even though they chided me for running off like that, they fought an evil spirit that would have claimed my life. That when then the horror began…
“Momma!” I saw a spirit sliced open my mother’s chest like a slab of meat. Its blood, piercing eyes, glaring down at my soul. It wasn’t like the mother bird’s calming presence, it rather had malicious intent on claiming my life.
I couldn’t move… as a frightened child, I was at the mercy of a demonic being who held no mercy, compassion, or any form of reason. Didn’t understand it at the time; I was too young to know…
“Mira!” My dad jumped in, using the holy symbol. He banishes the spirit to another plane where it can hurt no one else. “It’s okay, sweetie! I got you!” He held in my arms. I felt safe when he was around.
“Minro! We need to get out of here! The forest is against our presence!”
“What about momma?”
“Mira, we need to get you here. I’ll hold them off!” I heard a growl from the heart of the forest. Tentacles that are shaped by hands suddenly burst forth onto the ground.
My father repelled them using the holy symbol, chants, incantations in Latin. He covered me and my mentor in the myrrh incense to repel the spirits. My father was a powerful exorcist in our family arts. Every demonic came upon us, my father banish it using the sacred word.
“Papa!” I watched as one of those spirits impaled my father in the heart. Blood had flowed out from my father. Yet, he gritted teeth against the creature who mortally wounded him. He took his symbol, wrapping it around his arm.
“Let’s go, Mira!” Mentor had to drag me away as my father casts his last incantation against those monsters. As we left the forest… A beam of light shined above the sky. It was an indicator… that my father sacrificed his life to save us that day.
As enter the forest, my aim is clear. Find the Flownghost herb that blooms within the forest… Avoid the spirits in the forest since they do not feel mercy, compassion, or remorse since even I would be no match for them if I engage with them. Leave the same way I came from this place.
Use the dust of a unicorn to make a circle. I am creating an energy trail, so I-
“Yo Girl, what cha doing?” Normally, I don’t enjoy being interrupted, but at least I won’t be alone. “Are you alright?”
“To think I will return to this cursed place after all these years…” I caught an eclipse of a demonic spirit who had a red-eye and a broken horn. “But I must get that herb! If I don’t…”
“Quinn will not make it.” Rodu… “I am scared, too. We gotta go in, find the herb, and not get attacked by those spirits.”
“For once, we agree, Rodu. Even in my full form, I would be no match for them.”
“Do you remember the Repel Incantation? It would be helpful, especially if those-”
“I got it already!” I don’t need him to remind me of how my family’s exorcist arts work.
“Then are we ready, then?” I used a bark mint paste to mark our path. I would do this in case we get lost in the forest.
Cure my Friend
“Roduriga! Partial! We need to hurry and locate the herb!” I kneel to the ground and let my wolf merge with me to transform.
“Keep in mind, girl! I am radar for evil spirits, so I’ll give you a head up.” Right!
I moved into the forest while in my bipedal form, thankfully this form will allow me to move like a shadow and run like a horse. However, the spirit came at me as I arrived at the crossroad and I repealed it with my symbol.
I would mark my progress by scratching the bark on the trees so I would know my way back out of this forest. The spirit appeared in front of me again but this time, I bigger variation with hoofs for feet. The repelling spell is not working, which forced me to run toward the bridge.
The spirit… didn’t follow me? It eyed on me as I stared at it for a moment. I continue to move on toward where the herb would be.
I have your scent, little girl…
What was that? There is no time to answer as hands shaped like a human, infused with the dark energies of the forest, sprang up from the ground.
I darted forward, avoiding the hands as they popped up from the ground. Knowing fully well, it is the work of a demonic spirit who is eager to devour its prey. I would not see the light of day again should one hand be successful in grabbing me.
I smell… Myrrh? I moved toward the scent… I stopped for a moment. Something is wrong. The hands stopped trying to grab me. This ground is of holy ground, the spirits know they cannot reach while its presence flow through the earth.
“The flownghost!” I spotted the herb on a tree log, I saw the soil was blooming with flowers around it.
“Rodu! Hybrid! Is there anyone around us?” I stood up to my full height as I switched to my hybrid form.
“Girl, you ain’t gonna believe this. That herb is the only thing to keep the sacred ground purified. I hope you are ready because once we get the herb…”
“They will come after us!” Now I realize why even the evil spirits would not enter this holy presence. “Before we do, let me ask you something, Rodu?”
“Now? Of all this time?” Typical rodu… Acting dramatic. “Now you are gonna ask me before we grab the herb?!”
“About Quinn… Do you think he’ll be all right?”
“Quinn, man… Yeah, he’ll be all right. Why? You still have regrets about him?”
“No, I am just worried even if with the potion… I am not sure he’ll be the same person after this.”
“And with Elleri… I could have let her enter this dangerous place since I full well that she would be ill-prepared should she take a step inside of this forest. The spirits will pretty much-”
“Ah sweet! So, you care about her?! Alright!” Rodu… I swear to the goddess, we are not friends.
“I am ready, let’s get out of there.” I wasted no time grabbing the herb and placed it in my pouch. As I did, I felt the holy energy is dissipating around us… They are coming!
Ah! Our prey has revealed herself to us.
We have hungered…
We have waited for you for a long time, Mira Suncada!! You shouldn’t come back here!
“I don’t have for this! You are going to have to catch me, you vile spirits!” I raised my voice at them as hands spout from the soil itself.
That is not a problem. We have hungered for too long in this place.
Once we catch you, little girl… We will flay you from bone to bone… layer to layer of your spirit!
How wonderful! We shall have a bountiful feast today!
AND YOU ARE THE MAIN APPETIZER!
Escape the Forest
“Roduriaga!” I jumped toward the marker I’ve placed earlier. “Partial! We gotta run!”
“Dang, girl! Can you not piss off these evil spirits? Come here was bad enough!” I ran harder to dodge the hands, trying to grab us both. “You ignoring me, girl?”
“Not a good time to argue with me, Rodu!” A hand came close to grab me had I not dodge it in time.
The Bridge! As I ran across, a group of tentacles emerge from the water, destroying the whole bridge as it rises.
Where are you heading, little girl? You don’t think we’ll let you get this far without saying goodbye?
I headed in the other direction, however; they were spirits waiting for me as soon I saw them. They were expecting me after all…
I remembered that ‘scared’ little girl who cried out… ‘momma!’. Oh, you should have seen the way your mother died.
Or the time your father sacrificed himself to save you and that ‘woman’. What a perfectly wasted sacrifice it was.
Those monsters… They knew I would eventually return to this place. They cared about nothing for the many lives they took or loved ones that were slain by them.
Give up, Mira… Join us for a feast. You can’t run from us forever.
“Go to hell!” I dashed toward the spirits, who reached out with its hands.
I jumped on top of one of them, using the incantation to boost forward. It also repels the spirits back for a bit. Another came at me with a two-handed sword. I step back and forward to dodge its swipes.
I jumped back and jumped on top of it to get some distance from those spirits. I saw the red marker I’ve made; the exit is near. I am almost there, just need to-
Ah, Ah! We can’t have you leave us all alone again now, can we?
One hand grabbed me as almost got past the marker!
“Mira! Girl-” I screamed as I revert to normal. I felt another hand grabbed me on my arm. The other hands follow suit as they grab every part of my body.
I can’t… I can’t move! I tried as I might. Their grip is too strong. I felt myself being dragged back into that forest.
Hmm… Yum. A raw, delicious morsel! I will enjoy getting a nibble out of you.
“No!” I continue to struggle against the pull. It’s… Draining my life… My strength…
Come, my sweet Lycan… It is time for you to join us in our feast. Don’t worry, we will be gentle…
I heard laughter, as they know I will be powerless to resist them. I can’t… Rodu… Please.
“Begone!” I felt the hands dissipate into nothingness. This energy…! “My child! Can you still stand?” Mother of birds?? What is she doing here?!
“Girl… Damn, I felt someone was trying to take a bite of me.” Rodu…
“Can you transform?” I asked.
“I can only go up to Hybrid right now. Give me some time to get up to Partial.”
“Hurry, my power will not keep the spirits at bay for long!” Right! I hurried out of the forest. Mother bird was flying aside me to ensure that I could make the rest of the way back.
As I ran, making haste back to Morning ridge, I felt sweat was pouring out of me. I can’t stop. The sun is going down. That means I would have until the next sundown before we lose Quinn.
“Roduriga! Partial! Let go!” I jumped into the air to transform into my partial wolf mode.
“Girl! Can I get a break? Can you see I am tired from all of those crazy spirits trying to kill us?” I am in no mood to argue with him right now. “Oh, too good to talk with me, huh?”
“Rodu! I need to hurry back to mourning ridge! Can this wait until later?!” I argue back with him. He is picking the worst time to argue.
“Ah! Hell No!” What? No… Rodu! I suddenly revert to my normal form. No, no, no! Don’t do this to me, now!
“What the fuck is wrong with you, Roduriga?!” I yelled at my wolf. Apparently, he chose this time to revert me out of my form.
“I’ll be catching some zzzs, alright? Man, I am tired! Wake me up when we get back home.” Unbelievable…
“Roduriga! You better start transforming right now!” I paced back and forth. He had a lot of nerve to do this to me now. Normally, he would put up with me and staying with me through the thick and thin. And HE had to pick this one to sleep now…
Oh, Goddess, I am going to-
“Hey, miss!” I turned around as I saw a man with a green scarf with long hair flowing his shoulder, he isn’t wearing a shirt as far I know. Is he a Rogue? “Whoa, miss! It looks you can kill a man with that look.”
“Which clan are you from?”
“I’m born to no clan. I was on my way to Mourning ridge to visit my family and friends there. It looks like your wolf is giving you trouble.” You kidding me…
“It’s fine since I heading that way myself.” I walked in that direction. The man walked alongside me.
“I understand you don’t trust Rogues, ma’am. I can let you walk there by yourself if you like. But the sun is going down… I wanted to offer you a ride since the last thing you don’t want is to be out of there at night.”
“I handle myself, thank you!” Now the man is blocking the way.
“Please, ma’am… You know they will be rogues who will not be nice as I am. Not to mention vampires on the prowl. If you feel the need, you can part ways once your wolf is good and ready. The name is Armand Benis. My friends call me Junior!” The man offered me his hand. I shook with his.
“Mira Suncada.” The man lights up when I told him my name.
“My apologies. I didn’t know who you were. But are you still up for a ride?” The man is getting to the point.
“I accept, Junior. I will hold on tight.” Grabbed his waist. I hope he is strong enough for the journey.
“Makenth!” He is calling on his wolf.
“ARROOOO!” I was surprised his wolf would shout this loud. I watched as Junior transformed into his partial form. I held tight as we made it back to the village.
On the way, we had a conversation about how he and his family came to the mourning ridge. He revealed his father was a Lycan and his mother was a human iron-fisted warrior, a slayer who killed many of our kind. His mother fell in love with him after fending off a wave of vampires who were there to kill her.
They moved to Mourning ridge 3 years ago to avoid the scrutiny of the humans that lived in that village. Raised in his homeland in the human territories for 20 years of his life, they had to move out of fear that his father would be persecuted for being a Lycan and his mother being caught in the crossfire.
At the behest of his father, he searched for a clan, however, because Rogues in our territory are not welcomed into our clans. Some of them will drive them away; at worst, they would be killed because they are intruding in our lands. It was hard for Junior since most of the clans in the territory would not accept a rogue, let alone let him be among them.
“Here we are!” He reverted to normal.
“MAN! I AM TIRED TODAY!” It’s night. Good!
“Rodu, you fucking piece of-”
“Damn, I am awake, all right?!” Oh, now you are awake?
“How long have you been awake?” I heard yawning from him. “Okay…”
“Man, I guess you two argue like a couple!” Why you…!
“Mira! Tell me you have that herb already? You can flirt with your boy toy later!” Elleri… She grabbed me by the hand and dragged inside her house. Not to mention slammed the door behind us.