Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 72: The Decision

For the past couple of days, Erela and the gang had been camping out in the woods watching over the little tent in the middle of nowhere for any activity. That gave the chance for the group to make some plans to remind them what to do; it also gave the chance for Erela to come to the conclusion on what she wanted to do right after the mission was over.

Erela had been distant towards Markus. She tried to balance it out so he couldn't figure it out, but in her heart she already knew that he knew something was wrong. She wouldn't return his kisses, didn't squeeze his hand whenever he held it, anything they often did that felt natural before felt foreign to her. Perhaps it was because she had been around Wisenburg for too long. Maybe she and Markus weren't meant to be. But she knew for certain it was going to end.

Perhaps, in some way, the reason she hadn't settled down with him and agreed on a date was because she knew they would gradually end. Something always bothered her in the back of her mind but she could never figure out what it was . . .

The Auror was away from their hidden campsite to practice her Protonus and thought of the happiest memory she could muster. Any happy memory she once had with Markus only hurt to remember and the silver lining would disappear in wisps. Think of something think of something . . . the time Stacee told her and Landon he and Laila got engaged . . . no, too sad . . . the day she got accepted to work as an Auror . . . no, Markus was still a part of that moment . . . when she successfully started to make potions without destroying a room . . . too weak of a memory . . .

No matter how many happy moments she had in her life, there was a reminder that something happened later in the future that tore it apart like wet paper . . .

Erela pursed her lips and thought more of her life and it always came back to the werewolf no matter how hard she tried to stay away or remind herself he wouldn't take her back. It still came back to him . . .

When they had become friends . . . when he awkwardly asked her out . . . their first kiss . . . the rare times he called her beautiful, even if she never accepted the compliments . . . one of their dates out in Hogsmeade drinking hot chocolate . . . the one Christmas they spent together . . . his smile . . .

"Erela . . ." She blinked from her trance, the silvery glow of a large wolf form disappearing in wisps before she turned toward Markus. "We need to talk."

She shifted her weight from leg to leg uncomfortably and shoved her wand in her back pocket when she answered, "Can it wait?"

"No. Right now," Markus shook his head. "Ela, what's going on?" Erela pursed her lips and shoved her hands in her pockets. "God, you won't even look at me." She exhaled a breath and stared at the man. "You've been acting really strange for a while and I want to know has been on your mind."

"Markus . . ." she sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "It's just not a good time—"

"When IS it for you?" he interrupted her. "You're hardly ever home. I don't even see you at work. It's practically a miracle that I managed to catch you for this mission. Not only that, but you've been avoiding me the whole time we've been here." Erela looked away from him and ran her hand through her hair. "Talk to me, Ela."

"I just . . ." she began. What could she tell him? Work as an excuse for her sudden change was a lame excuse and she constantly rolled her eyes at people that used work to blame anything that was going wrong in their lives. Although, it wasn't entirely false. It really was a work thing and dragged Wisenburg into the picture because he had the brains and connections. And even she lost track of that due to her emotions. "I . . . have been thinking . . ."

Markus crossed his arms over his chest.

"Maybe . . . there's a reason we've been putting off the wedding this long . . . I don't think work is the only excuse . . ." she finally said. "We've been doing this for three years and even I'm starting to think you noticed there might be another reason why we've set it aside . . ."

"Ela . . ." he sighed, "I'm all for waiting however long it'll take to tie the knot . . ." Markus paused. "But if you're having doubts . . ." Erela didn't answer, didn't even deny or show any sign of fighting his words. "I don't think we should . . ."

She pursed her lips, her hand clasped around the ring in her pocket. Erela shook her head, "No . . . I don't think we should either . . ." Erela pulled out the ring, his arm stretched toward her with his hand facing up and she dropped the ring into his hand. "I'm sorry . . ." she apologized and walked around him to the rest of the team.

Well . . . that was it . . .

It was . . . for the best anyway. He deserved better.

As she approached the tent, flickering lights was scene just past the curve of the hill and the trees. The rest of them came running from the view and a giant snake on fire came slithering past the trees and toward them. The flames licked the trees and the fallen leaves around them and set the forest ablaze at a rapid pace. Erela whipped out her wand and rose it up slowly with the tip facing the ground, the water from the ground began to rise up around them and when there was enough to use she whirled it around them in a water bubble to keep the fire out from reaching them.

Erela kept the shield up when a shadow as large as a person ran from her blind spot. "There he goes!" Richard called. "He's getting away!"

"Elsa! Richard! Vuk! Go!" Markus ordered and rose his wand and added more water to the shield Erela created. Elsa and Richard ran off after their mission in their own little water bubble while Markus and Sean managed to split out of Erela's bubble and wrapped his own case of water around the fire snake. Little by little it grew smaller while the young woman put out the fires as quickly as she could manage. Once there was nothing but charred trees and flicker of sparks, Erela looked over at Markus and Sean still putting out the fire curse out when she ran after where the other three ran off to.

The sound of snapping and loud whipping could be heard up ahead, as well as calls from one another. The must have managed to get their culprit into a duel. And STILL going on. She pursed her lips in a thin line when she broke through the gathering of trees and found the lot of them whipping their wands around jinx by curses and incantations. By the rate they were all going it would take forever and their mission would disappear if they slipped up.

She had to use it . . .

Erela let the walls down and the loud screeching came back ringing in her ears. Their culprit collapsed to the ground, clasping his hands against his ears as he rolled around the ground writhing in pain and screaming out in agony. Elsa and Richard looked up at Erela with an astonished and fearful look in their eyes, but her wand wasn't pointed at the man. Erela walked closer to him, shut her eyes tightly to imagine bringing the walls around her again when the screeching stopped.

She took out her wand and rope sprang from the tip of her wand and wrapped around the man's wrists in a strong bind. Her arms crossed over her chest when she finally looked up to Elsa and Richard. "Did you just . . . use a Unforgivable Curse?"

She shook her head. "No . . ." Erela answered quietly. "It's . . . an ability I learned I could do when I was a child . . ." she continued in a muttered tone.

The sound of feet coming from behind them could be heard and she turned around to find Sean and Markus filthy with soot. Markus made eye contact with Erela and she immediately looked away and avoided everyone else's' eyes. "Well then . . . suppose we're done . . ."

And about time for her to gather her things and move out of her flat once they make their trip to Azkaban . . .

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