Destiny - Book One in The Bomcard Trilogy

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Chapter 3 = Bomcard, Some Harpies and a Girl

‘He’s coming to’

Lucas felt himself slowly awakening, staring at the faces of his best friends before him. Staring at their odd appearance, sudden realization hit him as he remembered everything that had happened. Turning around, he looked at his surroundings, noticing that the kitchen was still destroyed. Staring up at the clock, he realised Linda would be home and sudden sat up.

‘Holy crap,’ he whispered.

‘What’s wrong?’ Tom asked, leaning in. ‘Do you still feel sick or like you’re going to faint again?’

‘Linda will be home soon.’

‘Don’t worry, you won’t be here.’

‘What?’

‘We are sending you back to Bomcard,’ Tom revealed, helping Lucas to his feet.

‘Why would I go back?’ Lucas asked in shock.

‘Lucas.' Tom spoke after a few moments of silence. ‘We know this is a lot for you to take in. We do not have another choice but to try sending you back. You might be able to stop this from happening.'

‘Premonitions always came true remember,' Lucas replied. ‘What if I cause this by going back?’

‘There could be a loophole. The amulet has a second half. If you can get it and talk to the goblins to join your side, it may be the only way to stop Lord Barback altogether before this ultimate evil thing is released. We have to risk it.'

‘Risk innocent peoples' lives?' Lucas looked at him, horrified. How could he say that? He would have no part in it.

Tom looked at him sadly. ‘Lucas, if you think about it, destroying the amulet is our priority. Without the amulet, Lord Barback can’t unleash this evil. Which means this world won’t get caught up in the fight.'

‘Yet I am risking this Lord Barback finding it and stealing it.'

‘You will have protection from the elves and other creatures on our side.'

‘If I find them before he finds me,' Lucas replied, standing up in shock. ‘Tom, you can't be serious. I won't risk it. Besides, elves and goblins? I have no idea what the hell I’m doing or where I’m going.'

Tom sighed and turned. It was Lucy who answered. ‘Lucas, you will have no choice. You are destined to return. You can try to prevent your dream, but it will be a difficult task. I don't think you can. If Lord Barback succeeds in freeing this evil -’

‘He cannot without my amulet.'

‘He always finds a way. If the witch's premonition showed Lord Barback and this evil freed, regardless of your amulet or not, then it will occur. This is our last chance.

‘If you remain here and have a child, they will not have any powers. A child of Bomcard born outside its world will not have any of the gifts it is destined to inherit. What happens when Lord Barback decides to travel worlds himself? He has discovered the way and sent that assassin. If he kills your child and you, he will take the amulet. This will happen, either way. The best way to prevent this is for you to go back to Bomcard and try to destroy both amulets.'

‘At the same time, he might not. Is it not better to save innocents then to condemn them?'

‘You mean kill one to save a thousand?' Tom asked in shock. ‘Is that what you are implying Lucas?'

‘That's what I feel you mean,' Lucas replied. ‘We can risk it, especially if there is a chance it won't come true.'

Lucy whispered to Lucas, ‘Would you really risk the safety of two entire worlds on chance?'

Lucas sighed as he realised she was right. How could he risk the worlds, both his home world and Earth, on chance? What if this witch's premonition came to pass? What if his did as well? After a moment, he looked at her, defeated, and asked, ‘How do I destroy the amulet?'

She looked at him. ‘The goblins are the only ones who truly know. Find the goblins and they will tell you.'

Lucas thought for a moment. ‘Okay. Find the goblins. What else?'

Tom looked at him, instructing him next. ‘Search for the elves. They will help you find the goblins. From there, how to retrieve the other piece is impossible to say. A war is coming. You need to watch out.'

‘Gee, no pressure.' Lucas mumbled, looking nervous. ‘So, who should I watch out for?'

‘The usual,’ Tom replied with a shrug. ‘You know: werewolves, dwarves, harpies, spirits, guards –’

‘Spirits? Werewolves?’

‘Yeah,’ Tom nodded softly. ‘Spirits can possess any living or dead thing, and werewolves look like normal people. The goblins shouldn’t be working with Lord Barback but who knows with the last sixteen years.’

‘Is that it?’

‘Yes. That is pretty much it. Oh and watch out for the trees.'

‘The trees?’

‘They move.’

‘They move?!’

‘They’re alive in our world,’ Tom smiled. ‘Well, most of them are. They may have been persuaded to follow Lord Barback.’

‘Fine. Then what about you two?' Lucas asked with curiosity.

They looked at each other sadly. ‘We shall not return. At least not with you just yet,' Lucy replied, turning back towards Lucas. ‘The amulet can only take one person. When you search for the elves, ask for Jacob. He will help you harness its power to summon us home. Until then, we will search for the way this assassin came through. Maybe we can go back that way.'

Lucas sat there with the elves, still in shock to even speak. Yet there was a question that he needed to ask before he left. He bit his tongue and tried to speak. He could not at first, not sure how to word it. He opened his mouth, unable to speak, and closed it again. He did it repeatedly for a few moments before both his friends noticed.

‘Lucas, what is it?' Tom asked in curiosity.

‘How will I know where to go? How to find the other elves, I mean,' he asked.

‘You will not know where to go,' Tom replied. ‘I don't know if it will work with you, but with us full blooded elves, we have the ability to sense where other elves are. Our people are always on the move. That is why we are never discovered. We don't stay in one place too long … at least when we were with them.'

‘Why is that? Why not just find one safe place?' Lucas asked.

‘It is for our protection,' Lucy replied. ‘We have done that before. It was how your mother met your father. Shortly before your father's death, Lord Barback's guards discovered our home and we had to flee. Your mother stayed behind. As half elf, you should be able to find it, but we are not positive.'

‘Yeah … should,' Lucas mumbled.

Lucas looked down at his amulet in his hand. He didn't know how to activate it and if Tom and Lucy didn't know how, then how could he make it work? As he put it on around his neck, he found that surprisingly it did not feel heavy at all and he could feel a warm sensation inside him.

It felt very light hanging from his neck, so light that he was not sure if it was there on his neck or not. He couldn't quite explain how it made him feel, but he knew it was his and his alone. He started to imagine what it would be like to live in a new world. He thought of meeting his mother then stopped, terrified. He could not help but think to himself, what if she doesn't like me?

‘Ah … nothing's happening,' Tom mumbled in confusion.

Lucy frowned. ‘Maybe it only works in times of danger.'

Tom looked at her. ‘Jacob told us that it will work for him. Not just when he is in danger.' He turned to look at Lucas. ‘You can do this.'

‘Yeah, but how?'

Lucy smiled at him. ‘Maybe try imagining your mother. The amulet might do what you want deep down. Just want to see her.'

‘What if she doesn't want to see me? What if - ?'

‘Lucas, she would be proud to see who you are, just as we am.' Lucy smiled, beaming with pride. ‘You can do this. Just breathe and concentrate. No negative thinking, think only positive. Think of how proud she will be, how beautiful she looks.'

Lucas shut his eyes and pictured the image of the woman from his dreams. He saw her smiling at him, holding her hands out to him. Her blonde hair blew past her in the breeze, and for a moment, he thought he could smell fresh roses nearby. All of a sudden, the amulet burnt hot and a white light started to engulf the room.

‘Be careful, Lucas!' yelled Lucy. ‘Don't trust anyone! Not everyone is who they seem!'

‘And don’t worry – we will clean here,’ Tom yelled out.

Lucas didn't have time to answer as the light flooded the room and then vanished with him.

* * *

‘Well you seem to be in quite a predicament,' the girl smirked at him.

Lucas snapped back to reality, out of his thoughts of what had occurred to lead him here. He didn't know where to turn. The harpies were closing in, the girl staring at him with a deadly look. All of a sudden, one harpy flew at him. Its claws reached out and just before it hit him, he ducked and rolled on the ground. It did a u-turn in the air and made a second attempt. The girl moved faster than he could have. Darting forward, she was now blocking the way between predator and victim. She launched her spear into the air, impaling the harpy and instantly ending its threat. Its body fell next to Lucas, who stared at in shock before he instinctively pulled the spear out of the dead body and got ready to fight. The girl grabbed the spear from him and handed Lucas a sword.

‘Here. Make yourself useful!' she cried at him as the next harpy dived at her.

Lucas didn't know how to use a sword; he never had. Yet somehow, just like that earlier that day, which felt so long ago, he moved faster than he ever had and had sliced off the harpy's head just before it attacked his defender. He couldn't quite understand, but he remembered Tom and Lucy saying that elves developed fighting skills, even without practice.

The other two harpies started to retreat and let out a bellow cry that sounded to Lucas like an animal dying. In the next instant, there were no longer two harpies; Lucas couldn't count how many. The sky was filled with more of the deadly creatures, the massive black cloud flying towards them, screaming the same deadly cry.

‘Run!' the girl yelled, and she grabbed his hand and dragged him to the water.

‘Wait! Watch out!' he yelled, pulling her back.

The original two harpies were behind them, moving in to attack. She grabbed a knife from a holder that was attached to her left leg and she threw it into her right hand. Lucas raised his sword, waiting to attack. The first harpy reached the girl first. As Lucas watched in awe, she avoided every attack the creature used. She darted left as it flew into a mad, berserk fury. As the harpy flew down at her head, the girl leaped at the last moment and landed onto the harpy's back, stabbing her knife into its back. The knife found her intended deadly destination, killing the creature instantly. As the body crashed, the girl leaped off and landed on her feet.

To Lucas, the entire event was like she was dancing. She had moved so fast, so deadly and so beautifully. There was no flaw in her moves; she had done this before. She turned to him and smiled, but within seconds her face dropped in horror. At first, Lucas could have sworn she was looking at him but he finally realized that she was actually looking behind him. He turned slowly and noticed the last harpy and its new backup. There were too many for the two of them. She moved to his side at once and looked at him for the first time with worry on her face. Yet as quickly as it appeared, it vanished. Now she looked on, excited and ready for her life and death match.

Lucas turned and saw with shock that the harpies were circling them and driving them back towards the forest. Their backs were now almost against the trees. Lucas looked around and counted seven creatures circling. As the harpies attacked, Lucas swung his sword and moved faster than he ever had. It was like everything was slowing down, but not enough for him to act. They clawed across his chest and his back and one harpy grabbed his hair and yanked. He had three attacking him and before he had a chance to attack, he had dropped his sword. He looked at the girl and saw that she was doing a little better than him, but not by much; she also had three onto her. As the last harpy dove to attack his face, he shut his eyes, waiting for death to come.

It didn't. Within inches of the impact of claws to face, Lucas's eyes flew open and the girl stared at him in shock. His eyes had now changed to a burning red colour. To her, it looked like he had pupils that were filled with his own red blood.

The diving harpy was thrown back by an invisible force and burst into flames. The three harpies holding Lucas let go in shock and the next instant they were also being thrown from him, slamming into the trees that were near the duo. He turned to the harpies holding the girl and the three of them flew to attack him. Lucas didn't even look down as he stuck out his hand. The fallen sword flew into his hand as the first harpy advanced.

He swung the sword, cutting the creature in half. The other two tried to flee, but the girl was onto them before they knew what was happening. As she quickly dispatched the last two, she saw another flying at her. She had no time to defend herself, but Lucas was there in an instant and slammed his sword into its chest. As it fell, they saw the last harpy flying away. They could hear it starting to cry the same call as before. The girl pulled out an arrow and on her left side, she pulled out a small bow no bigger than her hand. With a flick of her wrist, it expanded into a larger bow and she placed the arrow in, pulled back and released, sending the arrow into its intended target. It made a direct hit and the dead creature fell into the forest.

They waited, expecting the cry to have been heard. There seemed to be no movement in the forest or the sound of any more harpy cries. They looked at each other and the girl saw Lucas's eyes change back to his normal blue. She looked at him, confused, and asked, ‘What was that?'

‘What was what?'

‘What you just did?' she asked in confusion. ‘How did you do that?'

He stared back at her in confusion and replied, ‘I have no idea. I just … I just did it. Like I knew how to. I don't know how though. I have never done that before.'

‘Either way, nice fireworks trick,' she said with a smile.

The girl walked over to pick up her knife off the ground, turning back around and moving over to one of the dead harpies. She leant down onto her knees and began to move to cut off the dead creature's leg when Lucas yelled in horror, ‘What the hell are you doing?!'

‘I am cutting off its leg to sell in Stelipse,' she replied in her casual voice. She froze and stared up at him from the top of her eyes.

‘Stop it! What if its friends come back?'

‘Then you send them flying again, no pun intended … because you know … they fly.'

‘That wasn't funny and neither is what you are doing. It's wrong.'

She shrugged. ‘It sells at a high price. I need the money.'

‘I don't care. Don't touch it,' Lucas told her.

‘Why do you care?' She stared at him coldly. ‘It tried to kill you. They all did and you worry about its leg. Who are you to tell me what to do?' She turned her head on an angle as if she was analysing him. ‘Why do you care?' she repeated, nodding at him.

‘I don't,' he replied with a shake of his head. ‘It is just wrong. It's dead. Leave it alone.'

‘No.'

The girl moved to cut its leg again when all of a sudden, the creature burst into flames. Frustrated, she moved quickly to her feet and she turned in shock to see the rest of the dead bodies bursting into flames as well. The fire was out just as quick as it started, nothing left of the dead bodies but ash. She stood up and turned to him angrily, her hair flowing behind her gracefully.

‘Why the hell did you do that?!' she screamed at him in anger.

‘I didn't mean to!'

‘You did so!'

‘I didn't!'

‘Whatever.'

‘Fine.'

Lucas turned and started to walk off. He had better things to do than listen to this. He had to go find the elves and find his mother. He didn't have time to bicker with the likes of -

‘So, I don't even get a thank you?'

The girl had caught up to him, interrupting his train of thought. She was now in front of him, holding out her hand and stopping him from continuing on his path. Lucas looked at her in the same cold look she gave him before.

‘What?'

‘Well, where I'm from, when a girl saves a guy's life, the least he could do is say thank you.' She smiled at him. ‘Unless you're embarrassed being saved by a girl.'

‘Are you serious?'

‘Come on. You would have been toast without me. Admit it. I saved your life.'

‘Full of yourself or what?' He rolled his eyes at her, yelling, ‘Fine! Thank you! Are you happy now?!'

She smiled back at him in reply. ‘There, was that so hard?' She began to look him up and down, crossing her arms as she stared at him intensely.

‘Are you done checking me out?' he asked her in shock.

It was her turn to roll her eyes as she laughed. ‘Please, you wish. You have weird clothes.'

He rolled his eyes again and started to head past her, walking straight towards the forest. This girl is so annoying, he thought.

‘Where are you going?!' the girl yelled out. She ran after him, grabbing his arm to stop him before he entered the forest. She spun him around and looked at him, her shell necklace glowed in the dark shadows.

‘I'm going through there. It's not your concern,' he replied.

‘Are you stupid?' she asked with curiosity.

‘Excuse me?'

‘Are you stupid?'

‘Did you just -'

‘So, you are stupid?' she repeated. ‘Why are you going in there?'

‘To find what I am looking for. Don't call me -'

‘It is too dangerous in there, especially at night. The werewolves are going to be out.' She looked up and Lucas did the same, noticing the sun had begun to set. He had not noticed before, too occupied with the girl and his attackers. He looked back at her and noticed her necklace beginning to glow in the growing moonlight.

‘Werewolves? Great!' he laughed, more to himself than to the girl. ‘Should I watch out for the vampires as well?'

She stared at him coldly but also with curiosity, tilting her head on an angle again. ‘There are no such things as vampires. Where do you think we are, in some person's weird fantasy world? I think you're crazy.'

Lucas couldn't control himself and he burst into a laughing fit. She stared at him in confusion before quickly staring at him coldly.

‘Is something I said amusing?' she hissed.

‘It's just, this is that type of world.'

‘What do you mean?'

‘Nothing, don't worry about it. If I can't go in there,' he nodded to the forest, ‘then where do I go for the night? Obviously I need some rest as I'm going crazy.' He smiled at her, shaking his hands.

She rolled her eyes. ‘We are going into the cave over there, crazy boy.'

The girl turned and began to head to the small entrance in the wall that Lucas noticed before. He followed her quietly, smiling for an unknown reason. He could not help but wonder why she made him smile and yet drive him completely insane at the same time. As she entered, she turned and stared at a stick that she noticed was on the wall. When Lucas moved closer, he noticed it was a fire torch, except obviously there was no fire.

‘Do you mind?' she asked, pulling it out and turning it towards him.

‘I told you I don't know how.'

She sighed. ‘You have remarkable powers. Your parents must have taught you. If not them, then a teacher. No one who has powers like you have displayed does not know how to control them.'

‘My father is dead, my mother is … missing. I had no teacher. I was raised by someone who … never knew I had powers. I only discovered them myself today.'

‘That is impossible unless you were raised by a human.'

‘Well, I was.' She looked at him curiously when he asked, ‘Where did you learn your skills?'

‘My father and older brothers taught me. I am a fast learner,' she replied, smiling.

‘So, you have a power too?'

‘Yes. It is irrelevant at this stage. I need you to light this for me.'

‘I can't.'

‘You won't until you try. I'm not sure how this will work with you, but listen to what I say and do exactly what you hear. Close your eyes.' He stared at her. ‘I'm not going to do anything. Just do what I say.' He closed his eyes and listened. ‘Just concentrate. First, feel the magic inside you. To each person, their power feels different. Like a warm feeling or a cold one. Feel it move inside you and then imagine it pouring out of you. Not physically, but you know what I mean.'

Lucas listened but didn't feel anything at first. Then, just as the girl had said, he could feel a small warm feeling in his chest. He began to feel the warmest yet strangely cool feeling move from his chest, down to his arms and even up to his head.

‘Now, try picturing it taking a form. A form for whatever purpose you want it to do. Feel your magic move to your hand.' As she spoke, Lucas felt his hand begin to burn red-hot. He opened his eyes and smiled as a little fireball began to form. She looked at him and smiled. ‘See. It is possible. Apparently, you are a fast learner as well.'

As soon as she spoke, the flame died. Lucas sighed.

'Try again,' was all she said.

So, he did and this time when he opened his eyes, he concentrated on holding it in spot. He moved his hand towards the torch and the fireball stretched from his hand to the tip, lighting the torch. The girl smiled at him and started walking into the cave. He smiled at himself and his achievement, following his new companion down into the darkness.

‘As time goes, you will not have to concentrate that hard,' the girl informed him. ‘Eventually, it will be natural and you won't even have to think at all.'

They finally reached a large cavern, taller than Lucas thought was possible. Upon entering the cave originally, the roof was not that much taller than him, but as they continued moving down and further in, the roof began to expand. Being dark inside, with only a small light to guide them, he had not noticed as the roof began to slowly expand. Until now, when he couldn't even see the top any longer.

The girl turned to him and spoke in a soft voice, ‘We will rest here and tomorrow we'll head to Stelipse. We will need the rest for the journey.'

‘What's a Stelipse?'

She turned her head as she smiled, replying, ‘It's a town.'

‘Thank you for all you have done for me, but I will be fine by myself tomorrow.'

She could only stare at him, an amusing smile on her face. ‘Where is Stelipse?'

‘Ah … through the forest?' he replied, looking guilty.

‘Assuming you don't run into any trouble, I would say it is at least two to three days walk. You will never reach there by yourself.'

‘It doesn't matter. I'm not heading there.'

‘You are not very smart about the outside world,' she smiled at him. ‘About our world, are you?'

‘What?' he asked her in shock.

‘You are not from our world, are you?' the girl asked. She continued to stare at his reactions, seemingly analyzing his reactions.

‘Yes, of course -' Lucas started.

‘No, you are not,' she interrupted him. ‘Your clothes are unlike anything in Bomcard. The way you talk, the fact you have no control in your powers, yet you destroyed those harpies like playthings. You do not even know Stelipse, and everyone knows of Stelipse. You have no idea about this world. I mean, you believe in vampires,' she laughed, rolling her eyes. ‘No one here is that dumb.' She walked to one side of the cavern, which finally ended in a large stone wall, and sat down with her back against the rocks.

‘Do you always talk like that?' he asked, looking at her coldly.

‘Like what?' she asked innocently.

‘You speak in a way … I might not be from here, but you don't have to be rude and call me dumb, or crazy, or stupid. Sometimes you shouldn't say some of the stuff you say.'

She shrugged. ‘I am sorry if I offended you. That is how I was raised. To say things the way there were. You act out of place. You will need help fitting in. Tomorrow, we'll find clothes for you from this world so you won't be noticed. Trust me, if anyone found out you were from another world …'

‘What are you getting out of this?' She stared at him coldly. Realising how rude he was, Lucas apologised, ‘I'm sorry. Lately, I become harsh when I am uncomfortable. Defense mechanism. It's just... why are you helping me?'

‘I'm not getting anything out of this. I am heading that way myself. If you wish to come, you may follow.'

‘Why are you going there?'

‘That's none of your concern. You don't answer my questions, why should I answer your own?'

He sighed and nodded. ‘Touché. I'm searching for my mother.'

‘I am escaping my father,' she revealed in reply. ‘I'm not exactly in his good books at the moment. I'm sort of … running away. We need rest now.'

The girl moved to lay down on the ground the moment she struck the torch into the dirt. Lucas lay down on the other side of the cavern and tried to sleep but found he couldn't. The floor was too hard as he predicted and the thoughts running through his mind continued to plague him. One question continued to annoy him above everything else.

‘Hey, what's your name?' he asked after a few minutes, half expecting no answer.

There was a moment's silence before the reply came softly from across the cave. ‘My name is Elizabeth. And yours?'

He smiled in the darkness as he replied, ‘Lucas.'

* * *

They both awoke just as the sun was beginning to rise, the sunlight pouring in through the cracks at the top of the large cavern. It looks as large as a four storey building, obviously without the floors, Lucas thought to himself. Stone cone rocks pointed downwards, drips of water slowly falling down to the ground below.

As the pair started heading out of the cave, Elizabeth put her hand on Lucas and said, ‘Maybe you should stay here, just for an hour or less. I will go get you some clothes. You stand out like a sore thumb.'

‘Where? You said the nearest town was Stelipse.'

She smiled. ‘No, I didn't. You just assumed that. I am heading to Stelipse, but it is not the nearest town. There is a small village nearby. I will be there and back with clothes before you know it.' Without another word, Elizabeth was out the entrance.

Lucas frowned and walked outside following her, but he noticed she had already vanished. Sighing to himself, he decided that to pass the time he might practice a few of his abilities. He sat down and started concentrating on creating a fireball again. He was successful instantly and started to palm it from one hand to the other, making it bigger, then smaller, then big again. He wondered to himself what else he could do with his powers.

He noticed a small wooden log nearby, no bigger than a trash can, and moved over to it. Picking it up, he found it was a little heavier than he had thought, but he managed to drag it towards the water. He made it stand up where the sand began and the grass ended, walked away, counting ten steps, and then turned to face it.

Lucas stared hard at the wood and concentrated. He imagined throwing his arm out and the fire spraying out, so he did just that but found nothing happened. He continued to try before sitting down, both frustrated and in pain. He thought to himself how he could do it. He tried creating the fireball again and was able to do so when a sudden memory appeared in his mind. He had made it stretch before, when Elizabeth had passed him the torch the night before. With the ball in his hand, he aimed at the wood log and threw his arm out. The ball launched from his hand and hit the log dead on.

Lucas cheered like crazy. The log had not caught fire, so he tried again. He realised after a while that he could shoot the flame ball only once he created it. The more he practiced the faster and better he got. After twenty minutes, he did not need to think about creating a ball; it just happened, exactly like the girl had said it would. Then it got out of hand.

As he went to fire another ball, he imagined for a second what he wanted to do in his first attempt. He imagined the fire stretching and flying across the field to its target. Before he knew what was happening, the fire did exactly what he imagined, but this time the log was alight and burning quickly. Lucas started to panic, noticing the black smoke flying high. He rushed towards it, trying to concentrate on controlling the fire, but it wasn't working. Before he knew what was happening, the sea started to move back, seeming to him as if it was afraid of the fire. In the next instant, however, a small, hand like wave reached out and grabbed the log, dragging it back into the water's depths before returning to normal.

Lucas heard a soft noise behind him and turned to see Elizabeth standing there, her eyes a fiery blue. To Lucas, it looked little flames in her eyes, only hers were blue instead of red. She walked up to him with her bundle of clothes for him and threw them at him. He noticed that she had a sword on her back in a holder that was half the size of her.

She stared at him coldly as she said, ‘I should have said don't do anything stupid.'

‘Did you do that?' he asked, astonished.

‘Yes,' she nodded in reply. ‘I can manipulate water. A unique talent, but apparently you can as well, only fire instead.'

‘How?'

‘I'm sorry?' She looked at him, confused.

‘Well, I was told only magical folk had powers. Humans didn't.'

‘It doesn't matter.'

‘I mean … it's just …'

‘Your powers are really amazing.' She smiled at him and then looked at him in confusion. ‘It's just that no one I have heard of has been able to get it that quick. Adapting to their power, I mean. As much as I taught you to channel it, you should have burnt that log every time you hit it. I watched you. It took me years to master control and to form solid objects in the water. And I can't use my power unless I have water near me. You can create the fire and you are able to control the heat. It would have taken years of practice. It took you less than thirty minutes.' She smiled again. ‘Well, at least some good came out of it.'

Lucas smiled and she returned his gesture as he held up the clothes. ‘Thanks for the clothes. Where did you get them?'

‘A small village nearby. I know … knew some of the people there.'

‘What do you mean by "knew"?' he asked.

Elizabeth looked at him, her face falling into a look of sorrow and shock.

‘Lord Barback's guards were there. They had destroyed everything and killed everyone in the village. It was horrible. We better leave. I wouldn't be surprised if they saw the smoke.'

‘Do you mind?' he said, lifting his clothes and smiling at her.

She rolled her eyes at him and smiled in return. She turned around to stare at the forest, in case the guards did see the smoke or the harpies wanted a rematch from the day before. She could hear him slowly undressing and could not help but have a quick glance.

His body was perfect to her. He had muscle, not too much, but enough for someone with his size and frame. She also noticed he was wearing a type of amulet, but he was too far away for her to notice any details. She couldn't help to continue staring, even when he noticed her. He was already wearing his new pants and quickly threw his shirt on. He tucked the amulet under his new shirt and she turned back around until he had finished. He patted her shoulder and Elizabeth turned to face him and saw how he now looked.

Lucas looked exactly like a peasant from the town. His light brown shirt mixed well with his black pants. He had no shoes, but she had found him dark brown sandals to wear. He had buttoned up his shirt up to his chest, only a small part of his chest visible. He had also looped the small fabric ties around the small wooden buttons perfectly, closing the shirt across his bare chest. He placed his old clothes on the ground and smiled at Elizabeth.

‘Well?' he asked. As he spoke, he took a step back, holding his arms out and turning around in a circle.

She was about to answer when they heard a loud horn noise coming from the direction of the deserted village. They looked at each other and realised where the sound was heading as the second horn call became louder. She grabbed his hand and started dragging him towards the forest.

‘Hey! That's where the noise is coming from! Are you mental?!' he yelled at her.

‘We can't stay here! We can hide in there.'

As they ran into the forest, Lucas took in the beauty that surrounded him. The first moment he entered, he noticed how large and dark it really was inside. There seemed to be no end to the top of the trees or how far it stretched in front of them. Little green grass shrubs surrounded the bases of the trees and he noticed a small creek flowing down from the center of the forest towards them. It was no deeper than his foot and the bottom of the creek was covered in different coloured miniature pebbles. A small ray of sunlight was beaming in from the top of the trees, but this seemed to be the only source of light. Multicoloured butterflies flew past him into the sky and through the beam of light as the smell of pollen and lavender filled the air.

They continued to run, leaping over the small creek and as he looked back, he realised he couldn't see the entrance they had entered from. As they continued to run, Lucas noticed something coming at them from ahead.

‘Stop,' he whispered. Elizabeth stared at him confused. ‘Don't you hear them coming?' He began to look around until he finally noticed them, but she still could not see anything. The guards were coming closer, their red and black suits sticking out to Lucas like a sore thumb. She looked back at him and shook her head. They heard a louder horn sound, but this time it came from both behind and in front of them.

Elizabeth looked around in shock. ‘We're trapped,' she whispered.


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