Steel and Spell

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Chapter 33

Tybalt and I talked most of the way, and I even took the time to teach him the game “I spy...“, and it turned out to be iconic.

“I spy with my little eye... hmmm... something beginning with ‘S’,” I said avoiding to look at what I was referring to.

He looked around and didn’t take long to know what I was talking about. “Oh, over there,” he pointed at the branch in one of the trees ahead of us. “A squirrel.”

I nodded and it was his turn to make me guess.

“I spy with my little eye something angry,” He said and I looked around not very sure of what he meant.

“You are supposed to say the letter.”

“Well, change of rules then.”

I chuckled and looked around to see what he meant.

“Do you mean an angry bird or squirrel? Because I’m seeing none.”

“More like a person.”

“Hmmm well, that’s easy. Leo.”

“Well even though he fits the description is not him.”

“Then the only obvious option left is Gerardus.”

“Well done Lib.” He said chuckling as I laughed discreetly.

“You two seem to have fun, I want to join. What are you doing?” Quinn appeared with his horse from the back taking me by surprise.

I proceeded to teach the game to him and it didn’t take long for Althalos to join as well. Leo and Gerardus didn’t join. They rode in front of us the whole time in silence.

We finally came to a stop to let the horse rest and we all got down to stretch our limbs. My butt was hurting like hell so I decided to walk around a little to make the numb muscles in my rear work.

I looked around and realized the trees were further away from each other and a small breeze was passing through them. And that meant one thing.

Water.

There was a nearby lake or river, and for the sake of moving, I wanted to go out and figure out what was it.

“Hey, is it okay if I go take a walk? I think there’s water nearby to fill our canteens.”

“Yes, but do it quick. If you are not here before we leave, we will continue without you.” Leo said without looking at me, more focused on fixing something in the saddle of his horse.

I glared at him and decided to go anyway. It’s not like the absence of his company would bother me.

Before I could even start walking, Tybalt threw his canteen at me. “Thank you, darling, you are such a sweetie.”

I rolled my eyes but smiled nonetheless at his antics.

“Wait! Me too!” Quinn exclaimed and also threw his canteen at me. I grabbed it and put it inside the small bag I was carrying along with my stuff.

He winked at me flirtatiously and I snorted. “You better think of something to give me in exchange quickly, ’cause this ain’t going to be free.”

Althalos, being the gentleman, instead of throwing his canteen, he walked to me and gave it to me asking if I could fill it for him too.

“Of course, no worries.” I smiled at him as I received his canteen. I looked at Tybalt and Quinn with displeasure. “See? He was nice. He is getting his water for free.”

The two started complaining but I turned a deaf ear and ignored them. I looked at Gerardus and gave him the finger just in case he was thinking I could fill his water canteen too. Then I remembered it doesn't mean anything to them and just glared.

I started walking through the forest whilst thinking that even though the day before had been terrible, at that moment I was feeling as close as I can be to happiness in those kinds of circumstances.

I kept walking for a long time to the point where I started to worry if I was going to be able to get back in time. But, as soon as I thought that, the sound of running water resonated softly through the trees.

I was too close to go back.

I walked furthermore and in just some minutes found a medium-size river crossing the forest with its crystal clear water. I was surprised that the river was still running when the freezing cold temperatures had been constant for a while. Well, if it wasn’t frozen, it was probably cold like a bitch.

I went to the edge of the water carefully to avoid falling and proceeded to take the canteens out to fill them. I was humming a song while filling Althalos canteen and a loud noise of a branch snapping made me turn around at the speed of light. But I didn’t see anything.

“The hell...”

I looked around in high alert, my heart beats thumping against my chest fastly and my fingers trembling slightly with the anticipation.

Before I could even process it, a huge snake materialized itself in front of me, hissing and showing his incredibly long fangs. His head only was the size of a washing machine, with a set of red eyes that could make anyone piss themselves, and the rest of the body seemed to be too long to measure. Don’t ask about the comparison.

My mouth opened in shock and my hand dropped the canteen. My mind stopped working all of a sudden and the only reaction I could manage was letting out a high pitched scream. The snake quickly tried to snap his fangs around my head and I moved to the side just in time to avoid it by just a few inches.

I managed to take out my sword but when I turn, it was gone.

My legs were shaking so bad that I thought they’re going to give in at any moment. My breaths came out rapidly and my eyes were frantically looking everywhere to see where the damn snake went.

Suddenly, it appeared again, this time the tail so close to my legs that in just one move it made me stumble back to the floor hard. I acted quickly and before the animal could start to strangle me I used the sword and stabbed it.

I stood up as it recoiled and hissed in pain. I didn’t think twice about it and started to run towards the woods.

No, not running, sprinting. I don’t think I had ever run that fast, not even when Cassius and I were competing to see who was faster.

“A fucking invisible snake! This has to be the worst one by far.”

I kept running not daring to look back, knowing all too well by the sound of leaves and branches snapping that the snake was following me.

“Oh shit, I can’t die like this. Maybe choking on sushi, but not like this.” My brain somehow could still manage to take some humor out of the situation, and with that in my mind, I pushed myself, even more, to run for my life.

“Liberty!” I heard shouts ahead of me calling me loudly, and that was all the hope I needed.

I didn’t feel my legs anymore, but I kept going. If I was going to die, I might as well die of a heart attack caused by too much physical effort.

When I had to do a sharp turn, I almost run into a tree, but I manage to lower my speed and keep going. However, I didn’t manage to do that as a pair of hands grabbed me forcefully and pulled me towards them.

“Shh. Don’t move.” A soft voice I recognized to be Leo whispered into my ear. He grabbed my hips steadily pushing me against him, and the stupid tingling in my skin appeared once again.

My hands grabbed his shoulders hard as I rested my head on his chest and tried to control my erratic breathing.

The snake slipped quickly by us, and all I could manage to do was to hold still.

A few seconds passed when the loud noises seemed to be more distant.

Leo grabbed my chin and gazed at my face and body, trying to found any harm done. I was in such a state of shock that I didn’t even realize how close we were.

“I-it came out of n-nowhere,” I whispered.

He didn’t say anything and instead kept quiet for what it seemed forever to let me calm down and recover.

I swallowed harshly, my throat dry and tense before I spoke. “We need to find the guys, let’s go.”

He let go of my hips as I dropped my hands from his shoulders and both of us started walking fastly through the trees, trying to find the rest of the knights and possibly the snake. Somehow, my mind started to worry more about how comfortable it was to be in Leo’s hold and not the problem at hand.

“I think I have a mental issue.”

We got to the horses who were visibly disturbed and heard shouts further away from the trees.

“Stay here and don’t move,” Leo said (more like ordered me) without even waiting for my reply and run towards the guys.

I tried to calm down the horses, not doing much to help. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that took my attention instantly; it was the solution for all my problems.

I went to Althalos horse and took his bow and 2 arrows as I formed a plan in my head. Even though my skills with the bow weren’t the best, it was the only way I could help.

I ran through the trees, this time my legs pulsing with pain with each step that I took.

I positioned myself behind a tree where I had a full view of the snake, and when my eyes analyzed the whole scenario, I sadly realized I arrived too late to the party. Their backs were facing me, pointing their sword towards the snake.

Tybalt, Gerardus, and Quinn were keeping the snake away as they slowly moved forward, the animal reacting aggressively. Leo and Althalos were at opposites sides of the snake, every confident move cornering the snake more and more.

And before the snake could react, they moved so quickly that just in mere seconds Leo was slicing his head off, the loud thump of the head falling to the floor resonating through the whole forest.

"Well I'll be damned, they are really good."

I stopped hiding and walked toward the guys slowly, not realizing I was there until a few moments later. Leo didn't look happy

I averted my eyes to the snake, afraid of the possibility that it was still alive when at that moment I saw its red eyes fade into black eyes.

“Did you see that?” I said surprised, pointing to the snake eyes.

“I told you to stay with the horses’ Liberty.” Leo’s angry voice was my only answer. He kept scolding me and making a scene, but I couldn’t take out of my mind the moment the snake’s eyes changed color.

I kept looking at the snake, trying to figure out what the hell had just happened. It could even disappear and appear like a fucking rabbit in a magic show.

“Magic...what if it had been controlled by magic?”

The possibility wasn’t that far fetched, and if I was right, then this was a major clue.

“We need to go to the river,” I said interrupting Leo from his nonsense. He glared at me harshly, as if I was out of my mind.

“Are you mental? You want to go back there?” He shook his head slowly as if he couldn’t quite believe what I had said. “You have a death wish.”

I didn’t wait any longer and started jogging towards the river, too focused on the possibility of finding a clue of where was Cassius.

Impulsive? Of course. Do you even know me?

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