Chapter Nine: The Beast is Dead
The beast had woken up, its roar shook the cave, rumbles of rocks fell down to the ground. Sylvia covered her head with her hands as she made her way to Wes. The beast hadn’t seen her yet and she was wanting to use it to her advantage, catching the Gagloom off guard. She reached Wes without being noticed, the Gagloom was busy looking at the entrance of the cave. Sylvia rested her knees on the cold, damp ground and rested Weston’s head on her thighs. She stroked his hair behind his ears. Her thumbs pressed against the wound on his head, figuring out how deep it was. She could see his eyes flicker open and shut every minute or so, she moves her lips to his ears and whispered. “Just stay still, I got this.”
She moved his head back to the ground as gently as she could, slid the weapon out of his hand and into her grasp. The sword was perfectly balanced in her hand, it was the perfect weight for her to hold up. Even though the sword was balanced Sylvia still felt strange about using it, something about the feeling of the sword in her hand felt foreign to her. She had always used daggers, small but sharp, quick but efficient. She had rarely used a sword, especially in battle. Sylvia has always been a believer in being familiar with your weapon. To Sylvia, her weapon is like her right arm, she needs to be familiar with it and know how it works, and she did that with the daggers. The sword, on the other hand, was making her uncomfortable, but she knew that she had no other choice.
She stood her ground, her feet pressed against the stony ground, her arms held out the sword, and she was ready to attack at any second. The beast, on the other hand, wasn’t the smartest, still turned the other way, it stood still. Sylvia searched her surroundings and the position of the Gagloom, desperately trying to come up with a strategy, she couldn’t just go without a plan. She calculated all the possible scenarios, the time it would take her to jump and reach it, how much force the stab will take, how to keep the beast away from Weston. Her mind was racing with possibilities and probabilities. Her head snapped back when she heard Wes groan in pain, his eyes were shut tight, and his wound was bleeding like a waterfall. Sylvia knew she didn’t have time, and time was the most important, more important than a plan, a strategy.
She took a deep breath in and let out as she charged towards the back of the Gagloom, she knew that at the closer she got the more it was possible for it to turn around. She had braced herself for it to turn around, ready for whatever attack it will throw at her, she was willing to take the hit. When she was about a foot behind his back she pushed her right leg to the ground and pushed off as hard as she could, the force sent her flying up, enough for her to go up above its neck. She pointed the blade downwards ready to pierce through its neck. As she was on her descent, the Gagloom turned its head up. It’s piercing ice-blue eyes were gaping at her, she felt like her body started to freeze, she shook her head, trying to pull through whatever the beast was doing to her. Even though the Gagloom had turned its head upwards, Sylvia still had a clear shot at its neck and was descending down, the wind was swinging her hair up, hitting her face like a splash of water. She struggled with keeping the sword in the same place, the force of the wind building up was starting to shake it, her balance was going to be thrown off if she didn’t keep her head in the game. There was no time for a mistake, she knew she had to finish the Gagkloom in this shot.
Seconds away from the collision her eyes shut close, focusing on keeping the blade straight. The next second her eyes opened wide, glowing greener than any forest, her fangs ripped out of her mouth as she roared like a lioness. her body shook as the sword pierced through the neck of the Gagloom. She felt a spray of something warm and wet on her face. The Gagloom let out a cry of pain, shaking the cave yet again. Her hands were still on the sword that was impaled on its back, covered in its warm, slick blood, some of it oozing out of its neck like a fountain at the royal palace. She felt the body of the beast collapsed to the ground, the force of it colliding with the ground shook Sylvia off the best and onto the ground. She landed on her lower back and on both of her elbows. She groaned as a sharp pain traveled up her spine, like insects crawling on the ground.
Before she could take a look and acknowledge her own wounds, she ran up to Wes. she ripped up a piece of her skirt and rubbed the blood off the side of his head. Some of it had dried up, but most of it was still flowing out at an alarming rate. After roughly cleaning the blood she took a closer look at the wound, there was cut going from his hairline to the back of his ear. She let out a sigh of relief at the depth of the wound, it was only a couple centimeters deep, nothing fatal.
She put her hands on either side of his cheeks and smacked them a couple of times in hopes that he would wake up. After a minute or so of slapping his cheeks, they had become as red as a tomato, and his right cheek had swollen up. Soon his eyes fluttered back to life.
“Hey.” Sylvia said with a smile as wide as the sky.
“What happened?” Wes asked in a groggy voice, slowly sitting up.
“You got hit by the Gagloom and lost consciousness.” She explained as she helped him to his feet. “I took the sword and finished it off.”
“I could expect no less from you.” He said with a weak chuckle followed by a fit of coughs. “Let’s take the heart and leave.”
“As you wish.” She said making her way towards the fallen beast.
Sylvia dug her hands in its soft fur as she climbed her way to the top so that she could retrieve the sword. The blood that spilled from its wound had dried up and had dyed its pure white fur. The area was still sticky and warm, as she pulled the sword out, a flood of new blood streamed out, hydrating the dried blood. She quickly took the sword and jumped down, landing with her knees bent and one hand on the ground. “You ready to carve out a heart?”
“I was born ready.” He said and winced when he moved to fast.
“Maybe you should stay put.” Sylvia said as she began to locate the heart. “You’re still hurt and it would be bad if you were to damage something permanently. You hit your head after all.”
“Your command is my order.” He said as he sat down. “By the way, I told you that the butterfly bit me.”
“Huh?” Sylvia questioned in confusion.
“When I was fighting the Gagloom earlier, I felt this rush of weakness and then my vision went foggy.” Wes explained. “I realized that the butterfly must’ve had some kind of poison in it.”
“Well, it makes sense since they are magical beings.” Sylvia said as she jumped up to the gagloom’s chest.
His eyes stayed fixated on Sylvia as she started to carve out the heart. She wasn’t scared by the blood or the gruesomeness of the whole process. He liked that about her. She wasn’t afraid of anything, always challenging her limits. He had known her long enough to know that she was not a person who would give up. She was willing to face the challenges to get the results. While he was used to keeping his mouth shut, she was willing to speak her mind. You could say that Sylvia inspired Weston, inspired him to follow his heart, make his own decisions, and most of all live by his own beliefs.
“Done.” Sylvia said holding up the blue heart.
It was blue instead of red. It was also much bigger than they had expected. The squishy organ resed in Sylvia’s hands as she wiped the blood off with the corner of her skirt. It was muscle and flesh, yet one of the most important organs. Wes slowly got up and walked up to her. He took the heart in his hands, knowing by the size that it would be heavy.
With one last glance behind them, the two of them followed the thread back to the cage were cormeum was. It was dark from the outside and then lit up like before when they entered. Cormeum was sat cross-legged on the floor of her cage. Her wrists and ankles were still tied up with scalding hot chains. Sylvia wondered how much it would hurt, how painful it was. Just thinking about it made her hair stand. Cormeum looked up to them and then at the heart that was in Wes’s hands.
“You got it.” she said as a weak smile spread across her face. “You have to do the spell quickly. I have the rest of the ingredients.”
“Okay.” Sylvia said, her voice shaking. “Wes, you read of the instructions in the grimoire, and I will perform the spell.”
Wes nodded as he picked up the grimoire and opened it to the page that the spell was on. Sylvia Looked down at the ingredients. The falcon’s tongue, shards of a crystal, tangled ropes, the fire of blue, and the heart of the Gagloom. There was a blue bowl set alongside the ingredients. She threw them in, one by one, in the order that Wes was telling her from the grimoire. Her hands shook as she dropped the ingredients in. The plopping sound they made each time made her heart race. All her focus was on doing the spell right. Her ears were perched for every word that Wes was saying. She stood up as she dropped the heart into the metal pot. Her yes stalked it as it fell into it. A flash of bright red light radiated from it, traveling across the hollow tree until it made its way to Cormeum.
Sylvia sheltered her eyes with her forearm against the light. As she walked back blindly she found herself falling on her back. She braced herself to hit the hard ground but found herself in Weston’s arms instead. “Thank you.” She whispered as she got up on her feet.
The two of them looked over to where Cormeum was held captive, but instead of the cage the shackles, she stood there free. From her chains. The wounds on her wrists and ankles had healed. Her eyes sparkled as she celebrated her freedom.
“You freed e.” She said floating around the small space. “Oh, how could I ever repay the two of you?”
“Well, there is one favor.” Wes said looking over to Sylvia and she shrugged her shoulders.
“Anything.” Cormeum said delighted to be of help.
“We need some ingredients for a spell. We don’t have time to collect them” Wes said. “We also need to return to our village, but we don’t have time for such a long journey.”
“That is all.” Cormeum said. “Tell me the ingredients and I shall teleport you home with them.”
“Here.” Sylvia said holding up the grimoire. “I found it earlier when we were looking for the spell to free you.”
“A power seizing spell.” Cormuem gasped. “A similar one was used on me, but this is for a specific creature. Werewolves.”
“They are going to attack our village and this is our only choice.” Sylvia said. “We would never use magic for the wrong reasons.”
“Don’t worry it is not the two of you I worry of.” she said. “Anyways, here. Are. your. Ingredients.”
One by one all the ingredients floated around Cormeum. They were circling her and then being inserted in Sylvia’s bag. There was a white glow around them, just like the thread that lead them to the Gagloom. The ingredients were going in too fast for Sylvia to count, but she trusted Cormeum and knew that she would never betray them.
“There.” Cormeum said. “Now, ready to return to your village?”
Sylvia and Wes nodded their heads. There was no questioning that they should do anything to save their village and the people they love. Even though Sylvia has not been in the village as long as the others, she was given a new family. After losing hers she felt the same love from them and she was grateful for that. Now it was her time to show them that she loves them.
“Hold on tight.” Cormeum’s voice echoed as the two of them were sucked into a blinding white light.
Their eyes were forced to shut close because of the intensity of the light. Wes wiggled his hand in the air, trying to reach for Sylvia’s. When he felt the warm and soft skin of her hand, he released a sigh of relief. The breath he released quickly made its way back when he inhaled a shaky breath as Sylvia”s fingers curled around his. Before they knew it they landed on their feet. They slowly opened their eyes and found themselves in front of the town hall.