Chapter 50. The Night In The Forest.
Sun had almost set and we had about an hour, maybe more, before it became completely dark. But getting dark wasn’t the problem. Luna, being an elf, had a better eyesight and could see clearer in the dark. She was leading the way.
I relied on my senses to assess the surroundings. I couldn’t see as well as an elf, but I never worried about being lost in the forest. Eve on the other hand was enjoying our walk in the dark adventure. She had a perfect excuse to cling to me at all times.
We walked for a while not following any trail. Luna was very confident about the direction we were going. The night was setting in and we needed a place to sleep.
Suddenly we saw a sparkling light in front of us. It came from the sky, fighting through all the branches to reach the ground.
- Wow, so pretty. - Eve exclaimed when we reached a small meadow.
The clouds dispersed allowing the moon and the stars brighten the forest with their soothing light. The atmosphere became rather romantic.
- It is a very beautiful place here. - I expressed my adoration.
- So this is the Silvernight Forest. It is truly amazing. - Eve gasped.
- No, that’s not true. - said Luna.
- Huh? What’s not true? - Eve was puzzled.
- We are not in the Silvernight Forest yet. It’s just what humans think. It is true that elves live in these woods, but we are still too far from the Silvernight Forest. - she told her.
- Is that so? - I asked.
- Yes. The real Silvernight Forest is far deeper and much further. Even for elves it would take three or four days to reach it from here. I doubt any human ever been there. - explained Luna.
- I see. Good to know. So we still have a long way to go. - I sighed.
- No, not really. My village is about half a day away from here. But I don’t think we will be able to find it at night. - she said.
- Why not? - asked Eve.
- Because it is protected by elven magic. And only elves can find a way through. Humans can’t pass through the barrier, the forest will simply confuse them and make them walk in circles. It is extremely difficult for a human to find an elven settlement. - Luna was open to tell us about it.
- I see. - I commented.
- But at night it is difficult to move around as well. We need to wait until morning. I know a place where we can spend the night. It is not very far from here. - she added.
- Ok, great. Why don’t you show us the way? - I asked.
- Sure. - Luna smiled.
The forest was was becoming quiet. All we could hear were our own footsteps. I could sense certain magic around us the further we went into the forest. It felt somewhat familiar.
We reached the area with a much bigger trees. Huge roots were growing out of the ground, looking for at least a tiny place to expand. Big branches covered the sky and the whole area was much darker due to the trees blocking the light from above.
Surprisingly, it was a very calm and quiet place. I heard a stream running not far from where we were.
- This is the place. - Luna said quietly.
Suddenly she jumped up on the tree branch, then on another and on another, until completely vanished atop one of the trees. I understood right away why she went up there.
- Hold on tight. - I placed Eve’s hands around my neck.
I didn’t have to tell that twice. Eve’s eyes sparkled in the night and her cheeks were burning red.
- Woah! - Eve exclaimed when I jumped up.
With one hand holding Eve, and another grabbing on the tree branches, I made my way up.
- Oppa... - until I finally reached the spot where Luna was.
- Wow, so much space. - Eve was surprised once again.
The top of the tree was wide and the way it’s branches grew, created a perfect hiding spot, as well as enough space to sleep.
Looking at the surrounding area from above I understood what Luna said about the forest. One could never find this place, unless you grew up in the forest. Unless you stumbled upon it only if by accident.
We were tired enough to simply make ourselves comfortable and go to sleep. One thought was bothering me, but I left it untouched. I wanted to see what happens in the morning.
Early next day I found Eve still asleep. What surprised me once again was that Luna didn’t run away on her own.
- Good morning Luna. - I said quietly and covered Eve with my cloak.
- Good morning... - she said.
- How come you’re still here? You know this forest well. You could’ve left us and went to your village by yourself. You woke up much earlier, didn’t you? - I asked her.
- You noticed it?- she turned her face away. -
It was a little awkward to see Luna blush in front of me. Especially after so many times she ‘didn’t mind’ to wash my body or even sleep next to me in the same bed.
- Hmm... - I smiled. - Yes, I did. But does it matter? I wouldn’t have chased after you.
- You wouldn’t? - that sounded more like a disappointment than a question.
Oh, don’t tell me she actually likes me? Was I that dense? I mean, she’s cute and all, but I think in elven years, she’s still a child.
I was attracted to her body. That I didn’t denied. But at the same time, she didn’t strike me as a mature woman. Not yet at least.
- To tell you the truth I am glad you didn’t run away. I know humans and elves don’t get along in this world. But after you get back home, I’d like to visit you sometime. I am sure Eve would love to see you again too. - I said.
- I would like that. - Luna smiled.
- It’s agreed then. I’ll wake up Eve, then we can have something to eat quick. - I smiled back.
- Yoaaah... - Eve yawned. - Is it morning Master?
- It’s already evening sleepy head. - I teased her.
- What?! Did I sleep that long? - Eve was flabbergasted.
- Haha. No, I am only joking. - I laughed.
- Hihi. - Luna chuckled as well.
- Oh, that’s not nice Master. - Eve was almost upset.
- Come on, get up beautiful. Lets eat something. - I put my cloak back on.
After a pleasant morning breakfast we were ready to move on. The forest, with all of it’s inhabitants, was waking up from a deep night’s sleep.
I had to help Eve get down. She was shocked when she realized how high in the tree we spent the night.
- Aaaa! I didn’t know we were so high up. - she hugged me tight.
- Relax. I won’t let you fall. - I felt like a hero rescuing the damsel in distress.
- This way. - Luna pointed out when we were on the ground.
She knew the forest well. She said it’s about half a day’s trip through the forest to reach her village. As much as Eve enjoyed sightseeing, we had to step up. We were running most of the time to get to the village faster.
- Puff... puff... I need to rest. - Eve finally slumped on the ground. - I’m sorry Master. I am not as fast as you two.
We traveled for about four hours. Luna definitely wanted to reach the safe area as soon as possible. I had to admit Eve held out quite well, considering how fast we were going.
- Let’s take a short rest. - I suggested.
- Ok. - Luna didn’t look tired at all.
- How far to your village from here? - I passed some water to Eve.
- Oh, thank you Master. - she was thrilled.
- Not far... We should reach the magic barrier soon. Then it’s very close. - said Luna.
We ate the left over food we still had as well and in about twenty minutes Eve was ready to keep going. Luna didn’t rush as much as before, so Eve could keep up. The danger of being attacked or tracked by someone has passed a while ago. We were deep enough into the forest now. Suddenly I felt a change of magic presence around us.
- We’re almost there. - Luna confirmed my suspicions.
So we’re close to the magic barrier, are we?
The barrier couldn’t be seen by just anyone. I did not see it as well, but I could sense it. Eve, on the other hand, was somewhat confused.
- Huh? This place looks familiar. Haven’t we passed here before? - she asked.
- I don’t think so. - I smiled.
- It’s the magic of the forest. It makes you confused. - said Luna, then added. - Just follow me.
The scenery looked fine to me. And I was sure I could trace my way back without a problem. For some reason I was not affected by the forest’s magic.
Maybe because I am not from around ‘here’. Anyway, let’s pretend I am.
- Yeah, it is rather confusing. - I commented.
- Are we there yet? The forest looks the same as a while ago. - Eve asked when Luna stopped all of a sudden.
- Yes, we are. - there was a bit of sadness in Luna’s voice.
So this is the barrier. I see now. That’s how elves are able to hide from others.
- Well then, I believe this is goodbye. - I said.
- Huh? What? But we haven’t reached the village yet. - Eve was surprised.
- You’re right. But I never said we will go to Luna’s village. I promised to escort her home safely. This is where our Escort Quest ends. - I smiled.
- But... - Eve was confused.
My cute forest nymph looked around, trying to see something that wasn’t there.
- You look confused Eve. - I teased her.
- Humph... No fair. I can’t understand what you mean Master. - she puffed her cheeks.
- Sigh... You know Luna is an elf, right? - I asked.
- Yes... - Eve answered, still confused.
- And her village is where other elves live? - it was more of a statement than a question.
- Well... yes. - she was still not getting it.
- And elves are hiding from humans... - I tried to make a hint.
- Ooooh! - Eve finally got it. - That means they won’t be happy to see us. Humph... you could’ve said so right away Master.
I wouldn’t be able to call her upset, even if I wanted to. Her cute face and red cheeks were anything, but angry. But then Eve became really sad. And she wasn’t the only one.
- I will... miss you. - Luna said quietly.
- But we can come visit you sometime. - Eve was cheerful, despite the situation.
I was about to say farewell when...
- Luna? - I looked towards the barrier.
- Huh? - she noticed it as well. - Someone’s coming.
But it wasn’t just someone. And they weren’t alone.
- Oh no! - Luna dashed forward.
- Eve! - I grabbed her hand and sprinted after Luna.
Soon enough we heard a noise and a child’s scream for help. After few more steps I saw an elven child running towards us. He was chased by two goblins.
- Yaaah! - Luna swiftly jumped forward and charged at the goblins.
- ‘Slash!’ Slice!′ - and both of them were dead.
- Huh? - the child stopped to see what happened.
Luna turned around to see if he was ok.
- Arneas? What are you doing here? - she recognised him.
- Luna? - his eyes were full of confusion. - Luna!
Arneas ran and hugged her tight full of tears.
- Calm down. Tell me what happened. Why were those goblins chasing you? - Luna asked him.
- The village... sob... sob... It’s under attack. - he spoke through tears.
- Attacked? - Luna couldn’t believe it.
- Me and my dad were picking berries and mushrooms... sob... when we saw monsters approaching. My dad tried to distract them and I ran... sob... But I was chased and wanted to lead them away from the village... sob... - he explained.
Wow. He was thinking straight, even when he was chased by those goblins. But it was foolish at the same time. If we weren’t here, goblins would’ve caught him sooner or later.
- I believe there’s no time to waste. - I was ready to go.
- But... - Luna looked at me.
- Yes, I know. But we need to get to your village fast. - I knew other elves won’t be happy to see us.
- Arneas are you hurt? - she asked the boy.
- No... sob... - he said.
- Ok, lets go. - Luna took him by hand.
We rushed forward to reach the village as fast as possible. Surprisingly, the boy was fast enough on his feet to keep up.
Ok, maybe I was wrong. He probably would’ve been able to get away.
I hoped his father was able to get away from the monsters as well.