“If you’re going to kill me. Make it fast,” Olivia whispered.
Her head hung low in shame and couldn’t meet his solid gaze. She couldn’t bear with the guilt anymore. Even though she believed it was inevitable, there was a small pitful part of her that hoped he didn’t kill her. A part of her believed that they could put all that had happened in the past. But in doubt, Olivia knew it was too far fetched. He would never forgive her if he spared her. Her heart ached strangely at the thought and caused a tremble in her lips. In all her life, she had never felt so ashamed as she did in the long moments of standing the cold night.
Rykal remained quiet but Olivia could feel his angered eyes burning through her. She heard the snow crunching but she didn’t dare to look up. The immense heat that radiated from his body as he drew closer made goosebumps on her skin. She wanted to feel more of his heat but fought the temptation to lean into him. She screwed her eyes shut as soon as she saw his lower body in front of her. Next thing she knew, a hot hand curled around Olivia’s chin and moved her face upwards. Sparks flew across her skin and her body shuddered in unfamiliar delight. Her eyes fluttered open and met Rykal’s blazing red eyes. She tensed. He was so close to her their noses were an inch apart.
It was then Olivia noticed how sick he really looked. His gaze was sharp but his red eyes were dull and droopy. His face was pale and drained to near colourless. What was worse, Olivia noticed a tint of green peeking out from the collar of his shirt from where the arrow was. He had been poisoned. She couldn’t hide her guilt as she shook her chin from his grasp. He only took her chin and brought her gaze to his again.
“If you dare to run again, mortal, do not expect us to come,” his words spoke the utter truth in the coldest voice. She believed him.
Olivia hobbled back, taking her chin away from his grasp and silently nodded. But she couldn’t shake the oddest of his words, What did he mean by us?
“You need help,” she whispered, giving his bleeding shoulder a quick glance of acknowledgment.
Rykal didn’t reply as Olivia glanced around Grimfore. Normally, in a village, there would be a cottage with a sign hanging over the door with an engraved picture of a staff with wings with two snakes twirling around it, apparently, it was a symbol of health. Olivia spotted it across her and the girl sighed thinking that it was going to be a struggle. She began hobbling as fast as she could toward the cottage, slowly passing clueless statues. Her thoughts brought her to the huntress. There was something about her that didn’t feel right to Olivia. It also didn’t sit well that she disappeared without a trace. Olivia shook her thoughts of the suspicious huntress as she appeared in front of the door. She glanced back at Rykal who remained as still as the statues around them. His eerie red glow still shone as his gaze was locked on her.
Olivia gulped before opening the door, immediately a waft of fresh herbs and spices rose through her nose. The cottage was empty as Olivia staggered inside making sure the door was wide open. All the walls had long shelves that connected with each other on each wall. The counter was on the farthest wall with a door next to it, leading into the infirmary. Plants, flowers, and herbs of a kind were hanging from the ceiling in circle wooden bowls. Many different sized bottles and boxes were settled on the shelves and Olivia searched through the closet shelf next to her. Her main focus was on any sort of herbal remedies for poison and possibly for her injuries.
There was a mixture of different kinds of lotions and brewed herbal medicines for bleeding attack wounds and swelling bruises. Olivia looked for a sharp blade lying about and spotted one resting on the shelf in front of her. She quickly clasped it between her teeth and turned her head back, opening her hands as big as she could. Olivia dropped the blade and snatched it in her hands before it fell and positioned it against the rope. She began moving her fingers up and down as fast as she could. The rope was being to cut but not fast enough to the impatient girl and she growled under her breath. Her impatience got the better of her and the blade dropped from her hands. She cursed louder and knew it would take too long trying to pick it up in her condition. Instead, she yanked on rope, using all her strength to move her hands apart. She strained out a grunt as her arms shook slightly. She put more force into her hands and the rope gave way.
Much to Olivia’s relief, she rubbed her free wrists and quickly grabbed the three herbal medicines that appealed to her most and moved on to the next shelf. There was only medicine for headaches, sore throats, skincare, and allergies. Olivia grabbed a bottle of herbs for headaches, knowing it’d be useful when the time came. She looked at all the shelves and there was nothing with poisons which frustrated Olivia. She quickly glanced out and saw Rykal holding his shoulder wound, his red glow began fading and Olivia knew she didn’t have a lot of time. Rykal was running out of the time.
There must be something on poisons, the girl thought and glanced at the counter.
A small empty sack was left on the counter and Olivia hobbled over and quickly put all of the medicine in. Before she left she checked underneath the counter and the shelves behind it and sure enough, she found what Rykal needed. There were different kinds of poison cures that Olivia didn’t know which to pick. Scorpion venom, spider venom, snake venom. Olivia grabbed the snake cure and shoved it in the bag. There was nothing about the poison Rykal had; she didn’t even know what he was poisoned to begin with.
Sighing, she knew she couldn’t waste any more time and grabbed a few bottles of water, a box of matches, and three rolls of bandages. Shoving it in the bag hastily, Olivia limped quickly out of the medical cottage and toward Rykal. He was getting worse by the minute as he leaned against the wall of a stall. He watched her primally and it stirred something inside Olivia as she reached him. She ignored it and was about to pull out a remedy for him when she felt her sense tingling again. The girl froze. The sense buzzed through her back and Olivia glanced over her shoulder.
Though she knew the huntress was still in Grimfore and nudged Rykal with her elbow. “Rykal, we need to go,”
He narrowed his eyes at her. The tingling frantically buzzed through Olivia’s back and she nudged Rykal again. In a split second, the huntress emerged with a crossbow in hand. She smiled sickly sweet and fired the arrow. Olivia’s eyes widened and couldn’t watch the arrow fast enough as Rykal was suddenly in front of her, and the arrow pierced his back. The red glow around him was gone, the blue glow was gone. Not a sliver of light emitted from his body as Rykal screamed in pure agony. He fell forward and Olivia quickly braced herself as she caught him. He fell limp in her arms as she fell to her knees, panic washing over her.
“No, no, no, Rykal! Come on, wake up. Rykal!” Olivia begged, holding him as tight as she could.
The huntress laughed as she walked toward them. “I must say, this is pathetic, dragon shifter. Did you honestly think you could defeat the Fantasy Hunters?”
Olivia clenched her jaw and grabbed the arrow. It burned her skin but Olivia ignored it and drew it out. Rykal winced as his head fell into her shoulder. Olivia wasn’t having it and pulled his face up to hers. Her hands held his cold cheeks as her eyes watered. The girl searched his face hopelessly, shaking his head softly, calling out his name, nothing worked.
The huntress grinned before she held out her hands. A spooky purple shone through her eyes as she began chanting in a different tongue. Olivia’s eyes widened as purple trails shot from her hands, snaking through the air and toward the dead and wounded hunters. Olivia started panicking when the hunters began to groan and twitch. The huntress was a witch, a powerful one that could resurrect the dead. Olivia gritted her teeth and swallowed the fear rising in her throat. She frantically shook Rykal’s shoulders but nothing happened. The dead hunters were beginning to move parts of their body and moaned loudly.
“This is the end, dragon shifter, along with your little friend,” the huntress cackled wickedly.
Olivia saw her life flash before her eyes as she desperately searched Rykal’s cold pale face. There was no sign of life in him, not even a little. Olivia felt a tear slide down her cheek and she swallowed hard. She really had doomed not only herself, but Rykal as well. But still, she didn’t want to die knowing that she could be as free as the birds that sang above her. She’d be damned if she died living a horrid life.
Olivia held Rykal cold cheeks again, and she felt faint sparks circling through her hands. She chewed on her lip, her mind race desperately to figure out how to save both of them. She glanced at his lips, pale pink and plump. Olivia’s heart skipped a beat as her cheeks flushed a rosy pink. Without a second thought, Olivia pulled his face forward and smashed her lips against his. Sparks so warm and pleasurable suddenly ignited inside her. Her body felt more alive than she ever felt before in her life as she kissed him. Immediately, Rykal’s cheeks began growing warm, his lips began responding to her and it all felt like a dream. Kissing him felt like she was on a cloud of pure bliss. A soft growl vibrated off Rykal’s lips and it only made her body tremble with an unnatural desire.
It only lasted a few seconds, but when Olivia pulled back, she was met with a compelling set of blue eyes. He pulled her chin in again and collided his lips with hers. Olivia squealed, her mind clouding at the delightful feeling of how perfect his lips molded with hers. But as quick as it came, Rykal snatched himself from her. She gave a startled gasp and Rykal stood and a petrifying roar burst from his lungs. But remarkably, Olivia was too caught up in the oddly sensational kiss to notice. Rykal threw his head back and vibrant blue glowed around his body. It caught Olivia’s attention just in time as Rykal roared out a spiral of mighty blue flames. The huntress didn’t have time to react as the flames engulfed her. A shrill screech was heard and Rykal snapped his gaze back at Olivia so quickly it gave her a fright.
But she noticed how his eyes were hooded once again and his breath was harsh and swallow. Olivia quickly staggered to her feet with the sack in hand. “We need to go,”
Rykal didn’t waste a second and tossed Olivia over his uninjured arm. Olivia squealed at the sudden action and held on for dear life. Rykal threw his wings in the air and flapped them heavily. The air caught underneath them and lifted the two off the ground. Olivia tucked the sack securely under her arm and held onto Rykal’s back the best she could. They rose higher and higher into the cool air before Rykal flew away. Olivia caught sight of the huntress and she gulped at the evil glare the huntress gave with her singed clothes.
Soon Grimfore village was nowhere in sight as Rykal flew underneath the night sky. The wind howled in her ears and Olivia let out the breath she didn’t know she held in. Relief washed over her and she lowered her head in exhaustion. She had learned her lesson about carelessly running away, not to mention the Fantasy Hunters would be after them. And it was her fault.
Suddenly, Rykal dropped from the sky. Olivia gasped in shock and Rykal grunted and beat his wings heavily, trying to keep them steady. It didn’t change much as they dropped lower again. Olivia winced when Rykal tightened his arm around her bruised back but chose to ignore it. Rykal panted heavily and grunted in anger.
“Just a little bit further,” he muttered under his breath.
Olivia looked at him over her shoulder before looking ahead. The moonlight lit most of the land beneath them and Olivia could see a pair of unusually shaped rocks not far ahead. They oddly resembled a ram’s horns. Rykal grunted again as they dropped closer to the ground. Olivia felt his back heave with each breath he took as he tried with all his might to keep them in the air. His wings were flapping aggressively and sloppy and they carried them closer to the ground. If Olivia tried she could reach out and touch the very tips of the tall trees.
Rykal groaned and his head fell forward, the blue glow around him was vanishing out by the second and Olivia started panicking. The dragon shifter beat his wings so hard it boosted them higher than just above the trees and Rykal shook his head and growled. Olivia looked ahead again and they were close to the odd-looking rocks, seeing an edge was right behind it with a lake above. Water accessed down between the ram looking horns as a beautiful waterfall and fell into a river leading into the forest. The clearing of trees was right beneath them when Rykal dropped once again. Olivia gave out an uneasy groan as Rykal began losing the air underneath his wings. He grumbled and Olivia wasn’t sure what he was doing as he flew straight at the waterfall. The dragon shifter tumbled through the waterfall; Olivia squealed as soon as the chilled water made contacted with her skin. The girl suddenly fell off Rykal’s shoulder and landed in the softest grass she ever felt as Rykal tumbled into it, leaving behind a trail of fresh dirt and ruined grass.
Olivia groaned as she picked herself up, feeling as her bruised back swelled with pain. Though it was the least of her problems as Rykal rolled onto his back before sitting up against the smooth wall. His breathing was far from normal and his skin had faded back into the sickly pale.
“Rykal!” Olivia gasped.
She grabbed the sack and hobbled quickly over to him, ignoring the aching pain in her leg. She collapsed in front of him and was about to reach out for him when his hand snatched her wrist and held it tightly. Olivia flinched and Rykal bored his tired blue eyes into hers.
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten your betrayal, Olivia,”
Olivia lowered her gaze in shame and gently took her hand back from the angered dragon shifter. She didn’t reply as she pulled out a decent sized bottle of herbs for bleeding wounds. Before she opened it, she slowly reached her fingers up to the buttons on Rykal’s shirt and slowly began unbuttoning them. A blush crept up her neck and warmed her ears as she opened his shirt. Her eyes took in how welly his muscles were toned and developed but quickly cleared her throat and pushed off the sleeve where his injured shoulder needed tending.
When Olivia did, her eyes widened in complete horror. The wound itself seeped red blood but was surrounded by a gnarly shade of black. Small green veins were beginning to spread from his pale shoulder and near his neck and chest. It was a horrible sight and the worse kind of injury Olivia had ever seen. Her heart ached that she was the one responsible for Ryka’s injuries. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Olivia got to work and tended to Rykal’s delicate wounds. As she did, not once did the dragon shifter move his hard gaze from her.