[Chapter Thirty Two]
The group slept in their own way, Rykal slept like a star with Olivia next to him using his arm as a pillow. Vil fell asleep in a sitting position with his head tilted right up over the log, Ava laying sideways on his lap as a cat. Raegel, however, was a bit more awake than he should be as Salvesta slept around the worths, more worried about the snake than the goods.
Morning hit like a brick to Olivia as she woke up to a throb pounding at her skull. The sky was still dark and looming with lighter shades of blue in the east. She didn’t want to go back to sleep and decided to drink something. Salvesta was still asleep but opened his eyes when hearing movement. He perked his head up at the girl as she went into her sack.
“Don’t suppose you know why I have a headache, Salvesta,” Olivia murmured, grabbing the half-empty bottle.
Salvesta laid his head down again, poking his tongue out. Olivia drank down the rest of the water, having a strange after taste and put the bottle back in the sack. She looked at the sleeping group and smiled to herself, grateful she was with them all, despite their flaws. Raegel’s snoring was the loudest of the group while laying on his back with his feet over the log. It’d look like he’d fallen backward. He was skinny for his height, around the same as Olivia only he a little shorter.
Rykal yawned and stretched out his arms and wings. “Morning,”
“Morning,” Olivia replied.
Rykal rubbed his eyes and glanced at the onlooking snake. “Morning,” the snake poked his tongue at Rykal and Rykal humphed playfully. “You’re not debating about giving me blindness again, are you?”
Salvesta looked at Raegel and slowly began slithering to him. The oblivious elf snored loudly while his leg twitched, muttering under his breath. Rykal chuckled and sat on one of the three logs, watching Salvesta crawl over his legs. Olivia shook her head, knowing Raegel was going to freak out but didn’t want to pick up Salvesta, a little too brave for her comfort.
“Morning, folks, it be a pleasant morning,” Vil mumbled, yawning with a sleeping Ava.
“Good morning, Vil,” Olivia greeted as she took a seat next to Rykal.
His tail went across her back and settled next to her thigh, barely touching. Olivia paid no attention as Ava woke up, stretched out her body and meowed. She walked behind the tree and Ava walked back in her human form, adjusting her large pointy hat. She smiled at Olivia and the girl smiled back when suddenly there was a scream.
Everyone looked as Raegel jumped up, kicking and yelling and staggered back before he fell over again. “Get that lizard thing away from me!”
Vil chortled loudly, throwing his head back with his hand slamming on his thigh. Rykal laughed along with him and Olivia sighed. Ava gasped and quickly snatched up Salvesta. The snake swiftly wrapped around her arm and settled on her shoulders.
“Did elf hurt you, precious?” Ava cooed, petting Salvesta’s head.
“You should be asking me that,” Raegel exclaimed. “He tried to eat me!”
Ava looked at him, giving him a once over and turned back to Salvesta, “You fine,”
Raegel gapped his mouth and stared at the witch before crossing his arms and grumbling under his breath. Olivia gave him a concerned look and Raegel glared at her and looked away again. Olivia looked down, feeling that it was her fault. Rykal’s tail went onto her lap and she glanced up at him. He nudged her head with his, tapping her thigh with his tail.
“We should leave now,” he murmured and she nodded.
Rykal stood up and went over to the tent where their sack was, passing a cooing Ava and happy hissing Salvesta. Vil got to his feet, stretching out his limbs and Olivia noticed that he was also slim and near the same height as Rykal. Ava glanced at Olivia then at Rykal and put Salvesta down. The witch walked up to Olivia and snapped her fingers. Trees sprouted up from the ground around Olivia. She gasped in fright as the trees grew higher and denser, vines twisting around the trees to provide for additional cover. The trees grew over the gap above and the vines followed behind; forming a tree dome.
“What are you doing, Ava?” Olivia called out, finding it suddenly dark.
“You change privately now,” Ava called.
A dim, warm light filled the dome. Olivia looked around, seeing that she couldn’t see out and thanked Ava. Olivia’s bottomless sack appeared in her hand but she didn’t get to pull anything out when it disappeared again.
“Shower first?” Ava asked, in which Olivia screamed a desperate yes.
Ava chuckled and clicked her fingers. Olivia’s clothes disappeared, instinctively, the girl covered herself before warm water suddenly rained over her; a dark grey cloud was above her. Olivia smiled and stretched up her arms while the water ran down her body. A bar of white soap appeared in her hand Olivia made a mental thought to hug Ava tightly. The girl took her time washing her body, rubbing the jasmine-scented soap all over her skin. She paid more attention to her womanhood and thighs.
A smile was sewen on her lips as Olivia scrubbed her face. She gave her body one last thorough wash whilst savouring every part of the shower. It was a piece of heaven to her, it would wash away all her worries, thoughts and replace it all with a scented bar of soap and tranquility. Cold showers in Limrock were okay, maybe the best part of her week when she got one, but a warm, peaceful shower, Olivia didn’t know such a thing existed. It was so relaxing; as the water rolled down her body it took away any stress and tension in her muscles.
Then the soap disappeared, the water stopped, and the cloud cleared away. Part of Olivia was sad, hoping to cherish the pleasurable shower a little longer. A black cloth appeared in front of her and Olivia grabbed it and dried off the water droplets. It then disappeared when Olivia was finished and her winter outfit appeared in front of her. Olivia smiled, noticing Ava made some changes to the ‘fit for a woman’ outfit.
Instead of a dress, Ava had made the dark blue fabric into a separate pair of slim trousers with a black belt and a long-sleeved shirt with little open buttons down the middle. A long black cloak that reached just above the trousers hung behind with thick black boats settled on the ground. Olivia smiled broadly as she dressed herself, noticing Ava had included her grey sweater but made it more to her size and thicker. Olivia felt so warm that in the summer air it was hot and tightening. She wasn’t complaining as she was about to face a blizzard.
The tree and vines surrounding her suddenly broke apart and crumbled to the ground, decaying into dust whilst a small gust blew them away. Olivia caught Ava’s orange eyes and gave her an approved smiled. “Outfit for winter,”
Olivia couldn’t help but run over and hug the witch tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered. “Thank you so much,”
Ava giggled and returned the hug. “You know now?”
“Know what?” Olivia pulled back and asked.
Ava leaned into her ear and whispered, “I’m no witch. I’m enchantress,”
Olivia’s eyes widened and she stared at the woman in shock. “Really? But I thought. . .”
Ava shook her head. “Naye, no witch click fingers and poof! Magic. Witches need potions, spells, and I bored of it. Past true, identity not. Disguised as witch from enemies. Staff disguised as broom,”
Olivia stared at her for a solid second before pulling her back into a hug. “Witch or enchantress, you’re still my friend,”
Ava hugged back tightly. She pulled back again and jumped up and down, “Excited when Dragale finishes,”
Olivia glanced around and saw two more tree domes, one larger than the other and Olivia guessed Rykal was in the larger one because of his wings. For the next few minutes, Ava was busy snapping her fingers whilst Olivia got all their things ready. Vil had gone in the village for something and Salvesta circled around Olivia’s feet, giving small hisses. Of course, Olivia wasn’t used to the large snake and tensed. She looked down and couldn’t fight against the small spike of fear thumping through her heart.
“Yes, Salvesta?” Olivia said, trying not to let her voice waver.
The snake poked his tongue at her and circled around her more and Ava hollered out, “Salvesta approves adjustments,”
Olivia glanced at Ava before looking at Salvesta again. “I’m glad you like the changes as much as I do. I wasn’t really comfortable wearing another dress in winter. It’s more of a spring, summer thing,”
Salvesta nodded his head and hissed softly and Ava said, “Quite appropriate for cold season,”
Olivia smiled at him and Salvesta lifted up his head. He nudged Olivia’s hand and she felt nervous. The snake continued nudging her hand and Olivia swallowed the little lump in her throat and stretched out her palm. Ava continued with the men and Olivia gently pet Salvesta’s head, wondering if she was doing it right. Salvesta didn’t seem to pull away and leaned more into her hand.
“Finished,” Ava sang as Vil came walking back with a large brown saddle on his back.
Olivia smiled at the heaving satyr as he staggered over to the log he normally sat on and dropped the saddle. “Oo, I’ll be,” he groaned. “Folks would think saddles were light,”
“You should stick to selling pig and leave the heavy lifting to stronger men,” Raegel quipped.
The elf wore a white shirt hidden behind a black sweater and a firm brown jacket. His legs were covered by dark brown trousers fitted with black shoes and to finish the look, Raegel tied his hair into a low man bun though extra silver bangs fell to the side of his face. Olivia approved of his clean appearance better than his ragged, messy one.
“I don’t remember asking for your opinion, runt,” Vil scoffed.
“Wake up, runt. Lady Ola has a task for you.”
Quinstella’s voice ran in her head and for a moment Olivia looked down and frowned. Part of her did worry about the brat, but not enough that she wished Quinstella was okay. Instead, Olivia shook her head and walked to Ava. The girl noticed that Rykal was still in his tree dome.
“What’s taking Rykal so long?” Olivia asked.
Ava glanced at her. “Thorough wash and clean up,”
Olivia looked at the enchantress weirdly and she only smiled before snapping her fingers. The trees broke apart and crumbled. Rykal stood in the center and Olivia frowned a little as the tree turned to dust and blew away. The dragon wore just a plain white shirt and black pants. Ava gave her a grin and nodded at Rykal. Rykal nodded back.
He spread his wings and took off into the air. He flew up and reached up to the clouds. Olivia couldn’t see him anymore and Ava widened her grin. The enchantress snapped her fingers again and the saddle disappeared from beside Vil. The satyr gave a startled gasp as a loud roar filled the air. A dragon emerged from the clouds and gracefully landed in front of the group. Exiron.
He stood high, twice the size of the little tree as his dark scales dully shone in the sunlight. The blue glow around his body seemed to make him appear that more powerful. The mighty dragon stretched out his wings and shook out the little leaves stuck between his large horns. He yawned and Raegel mumbled under his breath as he quickly stood behind Olivia after getting a view of Exiron’s teeth. Olivia was just amazed at the row of pointy teeth lining inside a sharp jaw.
“Well, I’ll be,” Vil exclaimed. “Dragons are magnificent creatures,”
Exiron turned and bowed his head at the satyr. ”I am glad you think a polite thought,”
The satyr beamed at the dragon and nodded his head. “Folks, we’re witnessing something amazing, here. Pork only five silver coins,”
Olivia giggled as Ava snapped her fingers. The saddle floated over to Exrion and he stood straightly. The saddle placed itself comfortably on Exiron’s back and latched securely under his slim abdomen. Ava awed at Exiron and spoke quietly to him.
"We shall, enchantress. In the future,” Exiron replied. Ava nodded, sweeping her hand slowly on his front leg with fascination.
“You can’t be serious!” Raegel bellowed. “I’m not getting on that thing,”
Ava snapped her fingers and Olivia turned over her shoulder to say something, she couldn’t though when the elf disappeared and reappeared on the saddle on Exiron’s back. The elf shrieked in fright and Olivia rolled her eyes. But she couldn’t judge when she was the same once. Ava gestured Olivia to Exiron and Exiron gazed at her with wonder. He stretched out his wing to the ground and Olivia walked to it. Her palms grew sweaty and clammy and the girl rubbed them against her trousers. It didn’t work as she stepped on Exiron’s wing. She looked at him, seeing if it was okay and it was like he knew what she was thinking.
"It is alright, Dragella, you may continue,” he murmured with a nod that properly calmed her, unlike Rykal’s hopeless nods.
Hesitantly, Olivia lifted her arms to her sides and slowly walked up the large wing to the saddle. It was brown with black stitches and thread sewen through tightly, an additional metal bar in front. Raegel was at the back, secured in place by a thick black band Ava must’ve added in. Olivia sat down in the front and pulled the second band over her thighs and strapped it into place. The girl looked at Vil and Ava standing next to each other, each wearing a grin and Ava clicked her fingers one last time. All they’re belongings appeared behind Raegel — he didn’t notice — and were strapped and secured in place.
“Added extras for trip,” Ava told in which Olivia smiled beamingly at them.
“Thank you for everything,” Olivia replied. “We should meet again someday,”
Vil laughed. “No doubt about that,”
Exiron bowed his head to both of them before he flapped his wings. Raegel gasped and whined and Olivia grabbed hold off the handle in front of her. She held it tight as the dragon lifted into the air. Olivia glanced down at the two that grew smaller and smaller by the second and bravely waved at them. They were already waving up at them before Exiron took off. He flew off into the air, freely diving up and down and doing turns, the elf didn’t like it at all. Olivia took deep breathes and controlled her mind not to panic. She was safe. Until she realized Salvesta wasn’t with them.
“Wait,” the girl cried. “We forgot Salvesta!”
Olivia snapped her head down but couldn’t see them anymore. Ava watched the dragon’s figure fade into the loose clouds as Salvesta hissed softly at her hand rubbing his head. She tittered and Vil crossed his arms at her.
“Ava,” he said. “Salvesta will leave you for Olivia,”
Ava groaned and rolled her eyes before cooing the green snake. “Be seeing precious soon,”
"I look forward to our nextttt encounter, madam enchantresss,” Salvesta agreed in a slithering voice.
Ava giggled before nodding to the snake and snapping her fingers. Salvesta disappeared from her shoulders and she heard a shrill scream. Vil scoffed and muttered about growing up and Ava hummed.
“Vision same,” she said.
Vil glanced at her with a frown. “Still the same? Was there nothing you could change?”
Ava shook her head with a sad gaze. “Naye, not changing clothes, food, or time leaving. They flying into doom,”
Vil sighed. “Rykal is strong, and that snake is connected to Olivia. I’m sure the folks will be fine,”
“I’m worried about past. Past catching up. They in danger,” Ava told.
The dragon emerged from the clouds again, barely a black spec in the sky and both Ava and Vil watched on. The dragon roared in declaration before disappearing through the portal. Vil gave her a reassuring nudge with his elbow. Ava glanced at him and gave a weak smile, telling herself that she’d see them, all of them again, alive and healthy. She only wished she didn’t have to lie to herself.