The Journey To The Middle Stone

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Denial, Chapter 3: Going After

“What the fuck do you mean?!” Odette shouted at Elion. She had him backed up against a wall, and Sheela was trying to calm her down with no luck.

“That’s what I said, I saw her last night, she said she was going for a walk to clear her thoughts…”

“At that hour! Are you fucking dumb?! We all know in what state of mind she has been recently so wouldn’t it be little suspicious, even a fucking tiny bit, that she would go for a walk when the stars are out? And then there’s the fact that she didn’t wake any of us up to let us know where she was going!”

Before Elin could answer, Mic came running to them, he was little out of breath as he told to them: “Peppermint is gone. She wasn’t in her stall.”

Odette gave him an are-you-fucking-kidding-me look, and everyone waited tensed up that what would she do next. Then Odette backed down from Elion, threw her hands in the air and exclaimed: “Great! Fucking great!”

“At least we know that she’s out with a horse.” Elion said, and Sheela added quietly: “And we also know that she’s going somewhere further away, which means it will be harder to find her. Otherwise she wouldn’t have taken Peppermint.”

“Then where would she be going? Like, there isn’t much out there…” Sheela thought, but Odette chimed in in her sarcastic tone: “Yea, not much like dangerous creatures, people who would with much pleasure harm and take advantage of easily manipulated women and then the nature…”

“Okay, we got your point! Can you now drop the sarcastic act? Our friend is out there who knows where, and we need to fucking find her!” Sheela yelled at Odette, who looked surprised at Sheela. Mic and Elion were also looking surprised, and now Moire stepped out from the corner.

“You all are right, but we can’t get nothing done if we just sit here all day yelling insults at each other”, Moire shot Odette a look, and she just rolled her eyes, “so, we need to think like Ciara. She rarely wonders out there without a good reason, and she really doesn’t like going out in the wild just for the fun, because of the fear getting lost. But then there’s the neighbour village…”

“But what she would be looking for there?” Mic blurted out before he himself realized the answer.

“To get answers.” Sheela said and everyone nodded.

“So that would be our first destination then?” Odette asked and put her hands on her hips.

“But who will take care of Night Owl then?” Elion stretched out his arms, and Mic stepped up: “I can do it. I have done it many times before and you’re much closer with these people than I am. Also Nana and Mercury will be helping me, so everything should be going great.”

“Okay, that’s settled then! So guys get your things ready, we’re leaving as soon as we can.” Odette clapped her hands together and rushed out from the Night Owl to quickly get her things. Sheela sighed, and so she went also to pack her things. Elion and Moire went to make the horses ready, as to pack some food with to take with them.

Few hours later they were ready to go. Each of them had their horse and their things with them. As they left the village, they passed an old man who was carrying some wood. Little did they know that the old person had his curious blind eyes on them. To him, the game had begun.

-----

“Huh, is it morning already?” Ciara yawned as she stretched her arms and legs. Peppermint neighed and pushed her muzzle against Ciara’s face.

“Good morning to you too little one, we rode a long way didn’t we.” Ciara stroke Peppermint’s muzzle, and the horse seemed to like it. Ciara sat up and looked around. The place where they had stopped had seemed so different at night. They were under a huge Willow tree on the side of the road. The grass was dry and green under them, away was the fog and grey dullness. Ciara took the bags out and took out some carrots and apples. She gave most of them to Peppermint, who devoured them gladly.

“Wow, slow down girl. We don’t want you to choke, now do we? You have must been pretty hungry.” Ciara laughed as she bit down to her own green apple. As she was eating she remembered this one thing. The bag that the witch had given her.

Ciara took it out, and whatever was inside it was still alive. Also the roll of paper!

“Don’t open it here, she said…, but how about now?” Ciara wondered. So she decided to first open the bag with the moving thing in it. Carefully she opened it and looked in it. As she did that she almost fell on her back because whatever was in it, came out out fast as a arrow. Ciara just looked as in went up and up, and she still couldn’t really see that what it was. Then it stopped and started to come back down as fast as it had went up. With a second it was face to face with Ciara, looking curiously at her.

“Well hello, aren’t you a cute one?” Ciara smiled to the oddly cute creature in front of her. It was small, so small that it could easily fit into one’s palm. It was round, covered in black fur and it had small bat like wings and pointy tail. It also had two small horns above its two big eyes that looked like galaxies were in them. Ciara reached her hand to it, and it landed on her palm. It stuck its little pink tongue out and started to pant like a dog.

“Oh my god, aren’t you the cutest thing I have ever seen? And don’t take any offence, Peppermint, since you’re pretty cute too.” Ciara quickly told Peppermint, who had also come to look at the little creature. It sniffed it, and it licked Peppermint’s muzzle. Peppermint neighed and shook her head. Well, it seemed that she liked this fluffy flying ball thing too. The flying creature landed on Peppermint’s head, and seemed to enjoy being on there. But now to the paper roll!

“And what would you be hiding…” Ciara hummed as her anticipation grew. She opened the roll and saw…

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Was this a fucking joke? Ciara thought as she put the paper against the light. Nothing. Ciara tried to look on it in the shadows, none. She even sprayed some water on it, but it didn’t help either. Was then even the right place to open it? But if this wasn’t it then where would be it? Ciara let out a growl of frustration as she rolled the paper up again and put it then bag. Then she get up on Peppermint’s back. The flying creature flew down from Peppermint’s head and landed on Ciara’s shoulder.

“Hmm, what should I name you? Perhaps…, Mada? What do you think of that little one?” Ciara asked and the little creature let out a sigh.

“No? What about Mars then…? Or Aros? Loki?” At the name Loki the little creature lit up and gave a small lick on Ciara’s neck.

“Well, guess it’s Loki then.” Ciara laughed, and so their journey to the neighbour village continued.

“I told her not to open it there It’s still near the circle!” The witch cried, and threw her hands in the air.

“Have you forgotten how it works, dear sister?”

The witch shot the demon god a vile look, “I am not your sister of any kind. Not by blood nor water.”

“How cold of you…, but this is necessary and you know it…”

Just as the witch was about to say something the door to her cabin flew open.

“Children, children, is that bickering I hear? Can’t you be nice to each other for once?” The blind old man laughed as he put his firewood on the floor.

“You’re late”, the witch commented, and the old man took a seat next to Aionos at the table.

“Let’s see what the others are up to now…, at least the flying fluff ball of spite seemed to take a liking of the troubled girl.” The old man ignored the comment, and the witch just rolled her eyes. As she passed her hand over the bowl of water, the view changed from Ciara to her friends.

“Let’s see what the others are up to…” The man said, and Aionos had disappeared. That demon god never stays long anywhere…, the witch thought but then she shifted her attention to the others.

The game was on and the time was running. As they looked at the others, the witch started to get nervous. Because she knew from experience that this wasn’t going to be easy, and she really was afraid of Ciara’s safety…, and of her mental state.

But all she could do was to watch and hope for the best. That was the only way to do this. As they had been watching them for a while, the image became blurred and vanished. The man was pleased.

“You have done very good job, child.” The man said with a croaking voice as he got up from the chair.

“I only gave her the things she needed, the rest is up to her.”

“Yes, yes…, but remember also to keep a track on Aionos. He likes to stick his nose into things that don’t concern him much.”

“He isn’t completely out of this thing you know.” The witch said, and the old man just hummed. Before he picked up his firewood, he patted the witch on the head. The witch closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Only time will tell.” The witch heard the man say, and when she opened her eyes the man was gone. As was his firewood. Moon jumped on the witch’s lap, and looked up to its owner with its green and yellow eyes.

“I know, little one. Only time will tell.”

-----

“How far would she have gotten?” Sheela thought as they rode on.

“36 hours with a horse. So she gotta a nice head start as she left last night.” Odette answered, and Elion chimed in: “But are you really sure that she would have been moving the whole night? I don’t think so, I think she probably rested at some point.”

“Elion is right”, Moire said in a serious tone before she continued, “and speaking of breaks, I think we need one now. Not far from here is a lake with clean water so we could go there. Besides before anyone protests”, Moire said strictly and gave Odette a sharp glare, “the horses need a break. And Ciara will still be in the village when we get there so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Fine a quick one.” Odette said in a irritated tone but Moire just brushed it off. She had seen worse in her life.

When they finally got to the river the sun was up high. The horses went to the river and drank as much as they could. Moire and Elion filled their water bags too as Odette and Sheela were sitting the shadow of a giant tree.

“You need to relax, you’re tense as a violin string.” Sheela sighed and it struck Odette right in the nerve.

“Relax? Did you just fucking say that I need to relax? Try it yourself in a situation like this!” Odette hissed, and now Sheela started to get annoyed.

“You know what I mean. I just mean that it doesn’t you good to be that tensed all of the time. Like now, you have your shoulders up to your ears”, Sheela explained and put her hand on Odette’s shoulder, “let me help you with. Also your thoughts will run clearer in your head when you are little more relaxed.”

“Fine.” Odette grunted, and Sheela let out a small laugh. Because Sheela knew that from the outside Odette seemed like a harsh, cold person, even rude, and she often behaved that way. But once you got pass all that and got to know Odette more, she was one of the sweetest persons on this planet. Sheela had seen it, the good and bad in Odette, but she wouldn’t trade the Odette she knew for anything. Because Sheela loved Odette the way she is.

“Seems like we’ll have peace for a while.” Elion said to Moire and she looked where Elion was pointing. There under the giant tree Sheela was massaging Odette’s shoulders.

“It’s good. I was also worried that how this would affect the two of them. And we really need them.”

“Indeed…, but what do you say, how long it will take?” Elion asked, and Moire was confused for a second, but then she caught that what Elion meant.

“Honestly I have no clue. It’s a individual thing really.”

“I see.” Elion said, and suddenly a loud crash could be heard nearby.

“D U C K!”

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