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Chapter 18

Superior Lithia

Around the swamp they continued.

A frosty screeching came from above, and Jack, Helen and Angelus, stared up into the trees, petrified with fear! It was the high pitched screeching of a large bird! Lithia and Cristoph continued on calmly.

Angelus and Helen, hurried, and neared closer to Lithia and Cristoph, and then, Jack ran on after them! “There’s something that is stalking us!” Lithia turned to him, wellbeing intact. “Yes, I know. It’s not a big deal.”

Jack looked at her strangely, while Cristoph raised his head to see if something had been there; and then, he drew his head down, and had gazed then ahead. “It’s in front of us!”

“Mother...” Jack’s jaw dropped, when he saw what it was. Angelus and Helen, had stopped dead in their tracks, at the same time; with brought on so sudden, confusion, turning their heads at Jack bizarrely. Observation lingered to know what was going on exactly. “Mother?” Then, just Angelus, turned on his heel. “What do you mean, Mother?”

Jack stood, his back facing them, and hadn’t answered them, or even seemed to take notice they spoke. He just peered ahead in a hypnotized, entranced mind. Angelus and Helen, searched over the Forest, to find what it was, he had been looking at; but they saw nothing!

Then, suddenly, came the screeching again; it had been no mystery now, from where it came! Jack’s eyes were fixed forward, and then, like a zombie, he walked towards the sound. Angelus ran to him, seized him, holding him back by the arm. “Are you mad? It will kill you!”

Jack didn’t reply to him, but just flung Angelus off and away, like an insect, and continued to walk forward. “Yes Mother… I’m coming!”

Cristoph jumped up, landed by Jack, and knocked him down on the ground; and pinned him there with his foot.

The screeching came again, but this time, it had been followed by the sound, of powerful and fast wings, cutting through the air; finally, they saw it! It was a great black, and red-feathered, bird, with iridescent yellow, soul-sucking eyes, that were distinguished very devilishly, by its red beak!

Underneath Cristoph’s foot, Jack squirmed to be free, and repeated over and over, in a monotone voice. “Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother.”

The bird darted straight at Cristoph! The thing was quick and alert, and it would be hard to make a getaway and escape it. Cristoph picked up Jack and fled, jumping up in the air!

The bird was in hot pursuit of him; every dash through the trees, and every tricky move he had made in maneuver to shake this fowl, it still, had been right there behind him!

Jack kept on twisting, and struggling, to get free from Cristoph’s firm grasp, but it proved useless; it didn’t help much though, on Cristoph’s chances of losing the screeching goliath. The bird had gained on him, and now, snapped its beak at Cristoph’s legs! It wouldn’t be much longer, until the bird had caught him, then, it would be a wrestling battle to the death!

Just then, as the bird was about to successfully snap its beak shut on Cristoph’s foot; Lithia came flying through the air, and body slammed the right side of its head, with full force, as hard as she could!

It had been knocked unconscious; the bird dropped to the ground, and slid in the foliage, clumsily. Cristoph stopped in relief and out of breath. When he saw the bird crash to the ground, he looked at Lithia appreciatively, and nodded.

Jack came to his senses, and shook his head in puzzlement. “What happened Cristoph?”

Out of nowhere in a rushing gust, before Cristoph could respond, another bird swooped down and struck him, with the edge of its wing!

Left behind, from the passing goliath, had been a scratch, that went all the way down his arm; blood slowly ran out of the fine cut line. Lithia landed, and had her back turned to Cristoph; she hadn’t seen the bird, nor did she know, that it had now come at her!

Cristoph quickly dashed to her rescue!

The bird had its feet ready to grab hold of Lithia, but, just in the nick of time, Cristoph pushed her out of the way, and they all tumbled and rolled off to the side!

Cristoph rose upon his feet immediately, when they finally came to a stop; but Lithia, just lied there, silent and still, on the ground, looking up. Jack groaned, and rolled to one side, he complained of how much his body had ached.

Cristoph leaned down next to Lithia. “Are you alright?” Lithia stared into his eyes, mad as hell, but kept silent; Cristoph recognized this right away, that she was angry with him for knocking her down. She had a pride about her that should not be challenged. “I’m sorry, but the bird would have carried you off, if I hadn’t done anything!”

But even after Cristoph explained, Lithia still kept her silence, looked away from him, got up, then, walked off.

Cristoph watch her, while Jack still groaned. Angelus and Helen came running over. “Cristoph! We found a place to hide, in that fallen tree over there! We’ll take Jack and hide with him.” Angelus, was on this one, and knew that it would be better, if all of them stayed out of the way. “You and Lithia kill the bird!” Nox poked his head out and gasped in shock, then, fainted once again. “Bird! Hhhh…”

Cristoph had a sincere determination about him; he hadn’t even looked back at them. All he did, was agree, while he still watched Lithia. “Yes, you hide with Jack… Lithia and I, will destroy the bird…”

He glanced back for only a second, as Helen and Angelus, sat Jack down at the entrance of the fallen hollow tree, and pulled him in by the arms.

Cristoph stared forward at Lithia, walking away, and then, changed his expression to an all, so, confused one. Where did I go wrong? He came to a conclusion in his thoughts, just before he went after her. I did nothing wrong!

Lithia heard the screeching again, but this time it was close; very close! She drew her sword, and kept an eye out for the feathered giant! She thoroughly, and cautiously, gained an awareness, of all that had been around her. She heard something coming up from behind! She quickly flung her sword around!

Cristoph saw that her sword was swinging for his head; he drew his sword, and blocked it; iron clinging together, before it almost severed off his head!

Lithia stared in surprise at him as their blades met! Both swords remained against one another, while she marveled upon his appearance! Her eyes, crawling up his muscular outstretched arm, and his firm upper body; then, she returned her gaze, into his eyes assertively.

Lithia became enraged. “What do you think you are doing… I could of took your head off!” Cristoph looked at her sternly. “What do I think I’m doing? What do you think you’re doing! You should take more notice to what’s around you!” This really got under Lithia’s skin; she didn’t like to be told what to do, especially by a man. Lithia stepped forward in full angst, challenging him; and pressed and scraped her sword against his. Cristoph, boldly stared back into her eyes, as she drew her face closer to his. “I am aware!”

Lithia turned, holding out her sword, pointing down to the ground, as she walked away from him, keeping an eye out for the bird. What nonsense. She stopped and became greatly agitated, when Cristoph instigated her; he spoke softly, under his breath, after a sly short laugh. “If you would just admit that I am far superior to you… we wouldn’t have to fight about it!” She turned her head to one side, spotting him in her peripheral vision. “Superior! I highly doubt that!”

Cristoph laughed again. “Yes… but still, you needed me to knock you out of the way to escape the bird!” Lithia turned, and said, in a soft voice, with a bit of sport and fun to it. “Well then…” She rested her head on her fist, and looked down for a moment and smirked. She raised her head to reveal to Cristoph, her sense of humor in regards to all this. “Whoever kills the bird first, is superior!”

She jumped up, and started bouncing away, leaping from tree to tree! This wasn’t a game, but it was to her; yes, this was the Lithia that Cristoph was familiar with.

He opened his wings and flew after her! Lithia continued to jump on, from branch to branch, while listening for the bird, then, suddenly, there was Cristoph!

He had caught up to her, and was now, flying at the same speed as she had been jumping; this was just to tease her, really. He glanced over at her, to see the temper on her face, but there was none… she was completely fine. What tricks did she have, plotting in that tenacious mind of hers.

The high pitched screeching, pierced down from above, and Lithia leapt out, right in front of the bird as it flew, instantaneously! Before Cristoph could even look, Lithia had already cut off its wing, and the bird fell to the ground, screeching uproariously, in its failed attempts to keep from falling!

Lithia glanced down at Cristoph, victorious to see the expression on his face, as she landed on a high branch above him.

Cristoph noticed another bird, diving down from overhead of Lithia! He smirked slyly, as she continued to stare at him, watching for him to make his move.

She bounced up, and began to move towards it, with her sword ready! Cristoph bested her; he swiftly zoomed passed, and struck the bird three times with his blade!

Lithia stopped, and glared at him, with rage and frustration, watching, as the bird split apart, and plummet to the Forest floor in pieces!

Cristoph stayed there, in the air, and gazed back at her, with a fierce and unshakable, proud stare; not succumbing to her temper. She was truly the Maiden of Madness... high spirited, and egocentric as a queen with her abilities, deserves to be; but he had something to prove to her; he had to prove himself.

All of a sudden she could take it no more. She was overcome by all of this; all of him, and what he had been now; how hot and bothered this had made her. She dashed and grabbed ahold of him, and held him close to the ensnaring warmth of her body, and violently kissed him. She moved her hands skillfully and lustfully, up and over his muscles, and manhood. Cristoph grabbed her tight, and turned with her in the air, spiraling up, as he returned her kiss; kissing her more strongly! He moved with her, coaxing her to a tree, but when he came close enough to it, she kicked off of it with great force! They went coasting through the air, in the opposite direction, and towards another tree. Cristoph’s back slammed against it hard. He grabbed her, being equally rough with her, and turned, now slamming her back to the tree. She began undressing him, and threw his armor off to the side, to catch on claws of lingering branches, reaching out from the larger branch aside them.

Animalistic passion had taken over; the beast caged within, had been freed, to do what it was meant to do. They kissed, and touched each other wantonly. Cristoph glided to the branch, and laid her upon it; while he ran his hand down her thigh, and up under her armored skirt.

She wrapped her left leg around him, pulling him to her, as he removed her breastplate.

What was this? He noticed something peculiar that he had never noticed; nor had been told of… How did this happen to his beautiful Lithia. She had a large scar across her chest. He started to kiss it gently, and threw her armor off to one side. She drew up her face to his, and kissed him; he lifted her skirt, and began to enter into her; a pleasure that was craved for, more and more... Passion had overtaken them, and they had not given thought, nor had known of where, or how, their hands or bodies were moving, touching; but they moved to where it was needed... and where it brought more of this rapturous bliss; lost in insatiable want, and dependent upon their senses.

The sun had set, and Jack, Angelus and Helen, still waited in the fallen tree. Jack poked his head out of the entrance, to see if Cristoph or Lithia, were in sight. Angelus grabbed Jack, and pulled him back in. “Are you crazy? It’s not safe out there!”

Just then, the air became colder, and now, carried with it an eerie tranquility; and the Forest was struck with silence by it; then, a vile laughter broke the silence; in one, but of many voices overlapping each other, devilishly and frightful. Fright from a tragic place in time, where so many dreams had been lost, and so many hopeful hearts had been ripped out. An ancient evil, covering over, bringing the darkest of shadows; fascinated by other’s misfortune. A magnificent tragedy of torture, and cruel and bloody deeds; lost, becoming enveloped in an atmosphere of an altered reality, cursed to forever wander alone, with just a curious glimpse of what it used to be. A half asleep existence, searching for pieces of itself, that can never be found or put back together; roaming aimlessly through eternity, ruthless, restless, drifting in an alternate universe, hungry for discovery, obsessing to remember the past.

Angelus, Helen, and Jack, peered with unease into the distant surroundings! A figure of a woman, walked towards them, becoming more visible, with each deadly step, to what ungodly thing she was. Her eyes cast down, and her dark hair, covering her face, in motionless mystery.

“Coral...?” Angelus said with great confusion, as she drew her head up for him to see what it was, that had become of her. A monster! Coral’s devilish eyes, looked on at him, left him frozen in fear; all memories of her before, now tormented by this vision of her. “Coral…? My name is not Coral!”

A man, with the same pale white skin as hers, came out of the darkness and stood beside her. Her eyes turned to him, as he looked over at Jack, Angelus and Helen, inside the hollow of the tree. She smiled slyly, as he, afterwards, came to looked at her. They analyzed at each other, as if communicating without words. What was this about... Both smiled devilishly together; and opened their mouths, and gave out this horrifying, hissing whisper!

Angelus, Helen, and Jack, then saw their teeth, and Helen could not fathom. “Vampires!” Jack added with a terrified expression, by taking closer notice, to what Helen had claimed. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Out of nowhere, and from far away, he, the Vampire, appeared right there by the entrance! He bent down and gazed at them, tilting his head to one side.

They crawled to the furthest of the trunk as fast as they could, but he was there as well, like he had been waiting there all along! What trickery was this! Jack, Angelus, and Helen, were in the center of the hollowed out fallen tree, watching at both ends, and then, the Vampire started to crawl inside, from one of them, slowly… with a melody, a soft singing. It was haunting! Whisper! He looked into Helen’s eyes, and she saw him, as a man, so beautiful, charming her, making her swoon, and she began to move towards him!

Angelus quickly pulled her back, and looked to Jack. “Restrain her!” He grabbed Helen’s gun and pointed it at the Vampire!

What a demon; he appeared right in front of the gun, staring at it curiously!

Angelus pulled the trigger, and the bullet went straight through the Vampire’s head, and then out the other side!

The sight, right before Angelus, was not possible! The fiend looked at the barrel of the gun, as the bullet hole, sealed shut, in his head, and grabbed it, and crushed it into dust! The Vampire, then, seized hold of Angelus’s throat, and lugged him to his fangs! Jack pulled Angelus back, to get him away from the Vampire, but his strength was nothing compared to this blood sucking demon!

A fist, punched through the roof of the fallen tree and grabbed the Vampire by the back of his neck, pulling him up, breaking through the bark, before he sank his fangs into Angelus’s jugular! It was Cristoph!

The monster grabbed Cristoph’s arm and began to squeeze, until his skin broke and bled! Cristoph lost grip of the Vampire, and then, the fiend disappeared. Cristoph gave out a short grunt of pain, holding his arm!

The sound of a harsh exhaling breath, hissed through the trees; Cristoph held out his sword, watched, and waited; prepared for the fiend’s return.

Lithia knelt down by the entrance of the hollowed out fallen tree, and Angelus, Helen and Jack, looked at her, with wide and alert eyes. “Have any of you been bitten?”

Jack moved forth to the open end. “No!” Helen hesitated for a moment, traumatized. “I’m fine!” Angelus looked at her, feeling his neck. “Almost! But no!”

Lithia’s eyes wandered to all of them, commandingly. “Stay in there and”—From behind Lithia, Coral had appeared out of nowhere, but Lithia acted quickly. Before Coral could grab her, Lithia dodged, and severed her leg, clean off, with her blade!

Lithia had faced fiends of her kind before, she wasted no time! After she cut off the Vampire’s leg, she stealthily pulled out one of the many small knives within her belt, and then, drove them into the Vampire!

As Lithia reached for another knife, Coral grabbed her arm and flung her overhead!

Lithia flew through the air, toward a tree, but immediately, flipped forward, kicking her feet off of it! She now drifted through the air towards Coral, drew four knives, then chucked them at her, one at a time, in skillful precision! The sharp pointy quartet, flew straight for the Vampire, gleaming luster of the cold metal, that would be its end. All of the knives would have hit perfect on the target, if the target hadn’t of vanished! Yes, the Vampire was gone; for now; and the knives, stacked up on a tree, in her failed attempt. Vampires were abominations of nature, both to the human world and to the Forest. Lithia never did like Vampires, out of all she had faced. They had the reputation to taunt and toy with their victims, before doing them in. They would vanish, antagonizing them, make their prey’s heart beat anxious and terrified. This was something they most enjoyed about the kill. A satisfaction Lithia would not grant. She stood her ground, stoic and poised, playing it out like a game of chess, with prestige, matching the moves, and challenging the mind of her attacker. She knew no matter what, stay strong, stand your ground, always, to the very end; even if to your doom.

Lithia watched, and waited for the malicious fiend to show itself. But what her intuition had told her, did not bring to her attention, the surprise of a new attacker!

The alpha Vampire, appeared, right behind Lithia, bent her neck, and tried to bite her! She held him, in such a way, that would restrain him, from moving his fangs closer; but wouldn’t be able to hold him for much longer.

Cristoph quickly dashed over, a powerful sight of an airborne hero, and drove his blade into the fiend’s shoulder! He flung him off of her, with sheer effortlessness, and the Vampire went flying through the air, slipping off his sword.

The fiend smacked against a tree trunk, at tremendous speed, with a bone-crushing smash. Coral watched, and observed from off in the distance! Right as the Vampire met the tree, Cristoph darted through the air, straight at him, so fast that the sharp sound of his wings, cutting the air, hissed loudly!

The Vampire laughed, mocking him. For what? Apparently in his mind, there was a reason, but to Cristoph, he was an insane, and demented, crazed devil. Cristoph held his sword out, aimed for the Vampire’s heart, but right before he pierced through the monster’s chest, he disappeared, then reappeared behind Cristoph.

The blade missed the Vampire, and penetrated the tree, which had made the bark, of the tree, break off, falling into particles.

Before the Vampire even moved, Lithia came plunging down from above, and crushed the Vampire under her feet!

But the Vampire wasn’t dead yet.

He turned his head all the way around, unnaturally, to look up at Lithia, who stood on him, pinning him down. Lithia started to feel the Vampire, trying to sedate her mind and put her under his seducing control!

She looked back at him, but did not hesitate to crush his face with her bulky, heavy, leather, and cold metal boot!

Disgusting Vampires. If she never saw another one, it would be too soon.

Lithia continued to crush his face hard in the dirt, there was so much she did not know about herself and her past, and how it had all welled up inside her to amount to this Cloud Clan Queen, mad with power. She kept herself in check from abusing it, but it was a burden to do so. Bad things had come to pass, because of it. Regrets were a luxury. She led a remarkably frugal existence, up till now, and she would keep it that way, for the sake and the livelihood of others. That’s what a real Queen would do; a good queen, a righteous queen.

Coral appeared right in front of her, eyeing up the situation, taking a closer look, of what it was, she had to deal with; and how she would deal with it. She glared at Lithia with bloodthirsty wrath and evil, and took hold of her neck, closing her hand tighter and tighter, till she couldn’t breathe. In the shock of it all; Lithia dropped her sword!

Cristoph would not let this vile Creature, feed its disgusting pleasure and lust for blood. No one would touch Lithia, to bring her harm, as long as he had a say in it! He pulled his sword out of the tree and swung it at Coral!

Coral ducked, and the sword flew overhead, cutting off the tips of her hair; which stood up, because of the velocity and speed of her movement, and laws of gravity that could not contain the supernatural. As Coral dodged the blow, Lithia leaned down to the right, and picked up her sword, severing off Coral’s arm, which had her tightly by the neck!

The alpha Vampire rose up from the ground and stared at Cristoph, forcing him to watch, the horrific sight of his face, popping out new bones; new flesh, covering over them. Cristoph held his sword ready in his hand! Coral stood in front of Lithia, and Lithia gripped securely, to her sword, and had watched Coral’s every move!

The masculine Vampire had done nothing, but just glare at Cristoph, until his face had completely rebuilt itself. The treacherous and demonic Creature was going to speak for the first time. Quiet and ungodly, you wouldn’t think this Creature would have a brain in its head; he expected a Vampire to be more primitive and instinctual, but then, this fiend formed words; what a surprise, that Cristoph had not expected. “Let’s play.” Unpredictably, the Vampire darted at Cristoph with great speed, and sliced at his left wing. What other surprises and tricks, had this monster been capable of. Cristoph swung his sword but missed; the Vampire moved too fast... a swift, and easy execution; his movement so graceful as well!

Yet again, the fiend speed passed, but this time, he stabbed his animal like claws, into his side, and then, again he fled; had run off into the trees, at that incredible speed!

Coral’s leg had already grown back, and her arm was in the process of doing so, but Lithia wasn’t about to waste any time in killing her; for she knew it would be a hard defeat, if the she-devil had been allowed to fully recover.

Lithia bounced up and dashed at Coral, waving her sword back and forth, whipping through the wind. Coral jumped up the side of a tree, and held onto the bark with her claws!

Lithia immediately retaliated, leapt up, and pushed off another tree and came at her, while throwing knife after another, to strike her!

She dodged the knives, easily, and her arm had completely grown back, all except for her five fingers. Lithia held her weapon out, off to the side, as she neared Coral, who was still clinging to the tree!

The Vampire laughed, as he, even again, darted passed Cristoph, but this time, when Cristoph swung his sword, it had hit the Vampire, and sliced into his ribs. Cristoph had been calculating the right time to swing, so when the Vampire ran passed, it would strike him! He was successful, having the Vampire at last!

Cristoph drove his sword deeper into the demon’s middle, and carved up through his body to his heart!

The fiend collapsed to the ground, and as he did, a ghostly whisper came from an unholy dimension, and then, had left, as the Vampire’s body laid out; and he was dead.

Lithia drew forth her sword to run it through Coral, but Coral disappeared! Lithia looked around for her speedily and alert, then spotted her, there on the ground. This was odd. Coral moved slowly, and then, stopped, looking at her hands!

Lithia jumped down right behind her, and Coral turned, with a shudder of terror, as she came to see her there!

Lithia was confused at the sight of her. Coral looked human, and was staring back at her, as if she had never seen Lithia before in her life!

Lithia drew up her sword and Coral shuddered in fear! “Please, please, don’t kill me! I beg you!” Coral dropped to her knees, with her head bowed, pleading.

Lithia looked at her, studying her, then, looked off to the distance at Cristoph. She saw what had happened here; the alpha Vampire had been killed. Cristoph turned away from the body, and gazed at Lithia, standing over Coral.

Lithia stared back down, upon Coral. “Who are you?” Coral drew up her eyes to look into Lithia’s. “I am Coral Heiterbrook!”

“Let me see your teeth!”

Coral looked at her with a confused face, and Lithia held up her sword a bit higher, showing Coral, that she shouldn’t try her patience. Coral immediately drew back her lips, revealing her teeth. Lithia had a looked at them, while she commanded. “Wider.” Coral, then, dropped her jaw.

Lithia put her sword away in her belt. “You can close your mouth Coral.” Coral looked at Lithia, and sighed with relief. “Who are you!”

Lithia heard a twig snap, and saw that Cristoph, was walking over to them, with Angelus, Helen and Jack. “I am Lithia!”

Coral turned to see what was behind her, and what it was Lithia had been looking at. When she saw Angelus, she was astonished, and got up immediately. “Angelus! Helen! Jack!” Angelus began to run, and Helen, and Jack, had done so as well.

They could not believe it! She had transformed back from the Vampire. “You’re human again—“ Jack cut him off. “Did you run into Adrian? Has something happened to him?” Helen, shot her eyes at her. “Who was that male Vampire? Are there more Vampires?”

Lithia looked at each one of them, as they talked, then, looked at Cristoph and grinned, as he gazed back at her, and did not break eye contact.

Coral replied sympathetically, and regrettably. “No, I didn’t run into Adrian, sorry Jack. Angelus... what do you mean, I’m human again? Vampires? What are you talking about?”

Cristoph cut into their conversation. “Ah, she has no memory of the Vampire!” Coral turned her head to Cristoph, finding herself looking at a strange Creature, with wings. She scanned over his wings. “Yes... I don’t remember anything, that has happened, since I woke up after we all were separated, Angelus... and what is this being?” Cristoph answered the new human, inspecting him now. “We must get moving! I’m sure Angelus, Jack and Helen, would love to tell you! Well, let’s!”

Cristoph turned and started walking off, and Lithia, and then, everyone followed. Soon a great mystery would be uncovered; to them, and to Coral. Coral listened eagerly, as Angelus, Helen and Jack, told their tales, and explained what had been going on with the Forest.

The darkness of the night, brought a strange calmness to Angelus, Helen, Jack, and Coral. For the first time in the Forest, they felt safe. Finding Coral, and getting her back, as how they remembered, gave them hope. Hope they needed.

Lithia and Cristoph walked on ahead, and Jack and everyone else, gazed all around at the great, majestic, monumental titans, standing tall and strong.

Certainly there was something different about this place, not that they saw it in a new light, because of Coral, but the trees had been different. They had a near, almost, dead moss, hanging from their branches. It was yellowed and browned on the edges, but it was, still, mostly plush green. Maybe it meant nothing, but they had every reason to take precaution, of even the smallest change; whether a thing of beauty or not.

The ground had been damp, and covered in rich black soil, with a marvelous variety of brilliantly colored plants. Every now and then, as they walked, they found there to be a handful patch of petite flowers, growing close by the trees; at the very bottom of their trunks, hugging them sweetly.

For the first time in days, Jack, Angelus, Helen, Coral, Lithia and Cristoph, saw the night sky; and the radiant moon, lit the Forest.

They stopped, when Lithia turned to them. “We will rest here.”

If they only knew, why the Forest seemed to be opening up. All of them, settled down for the night, behind a boulder Lithia pointed out; where pretty beds of different colored flowers, had blanketed the forest floor.

* * *

Angelus woke up to beautiful echoing chirps of birds. He stood up, brushed off the dirt, and flower petals, from his hair, with his soiled hands. He then, had awoken Jack and Helen, just as he saw Lithia and Cristoph, walking towards them, carrying four strange purple ovals. Angelus looked around, and then, realized, Coral had been missing!

Angelus rose up on his feet! “Where is Coral?”

Jack then, stood up, and answered; though still half asleep. “She went somewhere to go, you know, nature calls...”

Lithia asked hastily, as Cristoph and her, got close enough to hear what Angelus and Jack had been talking about. “When?”

Jack watched the large and strange, purple things, in Lithia’s arms, as she dropped them in front of him. “I don’t know… not too long ago.” Cristoph swiftly flew up, to look around for any sign of Coral, but found no trace of her!

“I’m going to go look for her!” He declared, then flew off into the distance.

Cristoph soared back and forth, from in between every tree to find her, yet still hadn’t seen her! Subsequently, he found something that shocked him! He landed.

A piece of her clothes, had been wedged in the bark of a tree, and on the ground by it, there was a long trail of disturbed earth, revealing struggle; something had dragged Coral off!

He followed the trail intently, then started to find blood, drizzled on plant leaves, and as he continued, the blood became noticeably mixed in, with the dirt she was dragged through.

The trail stopped, and there was another piece of Coral’s clothing, with blood on it!

Cristoph looked on ahead, but saw no body, or anything else for that matter.

He picked up the bloody piece of cloth, and flew high up in the air, to take one last look at the disturbing area, before he started back; to break the perturbing situation, that was upon them.

Lithia had been sitting down with Jack, Angelus and Helen, when Cristoph had descended, holding out the bloody cloth to them.

They knew what this meant. This meant he hadn’t found a body. No body, means... something had eaten her. They stared at it, with shock and disbelief, standing up to their feet, as Cristoph landed at a certain point, and then, walked towards them slowly.

“She was dragged off… I followed the trail, but it ended with only this left of her...”

Angelus stared at the piece of clothing, for a while, and then, turned toward Jack and sneered at him. “Why didn’t you stop her?”

Jack was about to reply defensively. Angelus, blaming this on him? The nerve! But Lithia cut him off, and moved closer to him. “This is not the time for this! It is a shame, what happened to Coral, but a great amount of lives are lost every minute we waste, bickering or grieving! We should get moving!” Helen took the piece of cloth from Cristoph, all that had remained of Coral, and buried it next to the flower-bed, that was where she had slept; and now, would be laid to rest in peace.

Helen came to her feet, wiped a small droplet from her face, that had run down her cheek, and looked at Angelus, then, at Lithia. “Alright... let’s go...”

Lithia glanced at Jack, before she strode off. “That fruit is your breakfast… I would eat it, if I were you; it may even be your last meal.”

Jack picked up two of the large watermelon sized fruits, and Helen and Angelus, had done the same, with the other two. Helen, then, had drooped her head down to it. “I’m not really that hungry.” She carried it anyway. If she was anything, she was not wasteful.

Cristoph began to stride off as well; after he saw, they picked up the fruit.

They kept silence, with sorrow in their heart for Coral... but they had to keep moving.

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