"The mayor has a death penalty out against the Franchild sisters. Until we find their bodies, no one is allowed to rest," as the Axil look alike said this, I glimpsed a flash of resistance in his eyes, as if the words that came from his mouth wasn't the thoughts he wanted to voice.
I tugged at Axil and whispered, "we need to leave."
Axil nodded and closed his eyes tightly for a brief second. Then he turned to me and leaned down to whisper in my ear.
"I'll jump down the window first, then I'll catch both you and Liza. All you have to do is jump, trust me."
I stared back at him in disbelief. I was supposed to trust that he could catch us from a two-story house!? Was he crazy!?
I opened my mouth to refuse but then thought more carefully. It wasn't as if we had any better options. Besides, I knew a spell that could cushion our fall. I glanced at the decent sized window with a frown then reluctantly nodded in agreement.
Axil carefully stepped away from us and went towards the window. I held Liza's hand tightly and slowly followed behind him, keeping him in my range of protection.
The officers were scattered around my room, searching yet finding nothing as we carefully wormed ourselves around their bodies.
I looked at the doorway to my bedroom and clashed eyes with the Axil look-alike, freezing in my spot for a brief moment.
It felt as though he was staring right at me... but then he turned his gaze away.
A sigh of relief quietly left my lips.
We made it to the shattered window that was tearing open.
"Avoid the glass and be careful," Axil muttered beneath his breath as he carefully bent down and placed a foot on the window ledge, preparing to jump. He looked back at us again, "don't think, act."
Then he disappeared through the window.
I didn't bother to use magic. I knew he'd be fine. Unlike Liza and I...
We waited for a brief minute before we peeked our heads through the window to see a very large wolf, waiting beneath the window, a piece of clothing hanging from his mouth.
"I'll go first," Liza whispered, taking a deep breath before she forced herself to let go of my hand and jump straight through the window. A brief yelp escaped her lips as she fell.
I quickly waved my hand slightly as I called upon the wind, "gather," I muttered, directing the invisible force beneath Liza as she landed softly on Axil's back.
"What was that?" An officer asked in alarm.
I froze in place and refused to look behind me, holding my breath.
"What? I didn't hear anything."
I exhaled sharply and closed my eyes as I leaned out of the window and jumped. I didn't give myself time to think it through.
My stomach dropped as my body became weightless.
I repeated the same thing I did to Liza and guided the wind beneath me to cushion my fall.
I landed on a soft yet firm structure and instinctively clung to it for dear life. It was Axil's back.
I quickly balanced myself on Axil's back then pulled Liza back up and unto him, allowing her to place her arms around my waist.
I patted Axil to signal that we were ready.
"Prepare yourselves," Axil's voice sounded in my mind, startling me into awareness as he took off towards the forest.
If anyone had told me that I'd find myself running from the government through a forest, with Liza clinging and laughing like a damn hyena behind me and a large, possibly soulmate of a wolf under me when I moved into Sylia, I'd have stared them right in the face and said, "Stop fucking around."
I couldn't say that now though because the constant movement beneath me as the wind nipped at my flesh and the sound of Liza squealing in my ear had me in a trance of disbelief.
This was what my quiet mundane life has come to.
What a rip-off!
I shouted over the wind that howled in our ears as Axil sped through the forest, "Why are you laughing you crazy woman!?"
Liza's grip on me loosened as she removed her hands and placed them out at her sides, tilting her head back.
"Can't you feel it!? The sense of liberation after having a death experience and knowing you came out alive! I feel great! WOOOOO!"
I hissed, "don't let go of me idjit! You're gonna fall."
A chuckle sounded in my mind as Axil spoke up, "let her be. She's a very brave woman."
"More like suicidal..." I mumbled then I frowned, "how the hell are you in my head?"
No response came back.
I repeated my question firmly.
He didn't respond.
Did I imagine it? I highly doubted that.
I put the issue aside for now and leaned my head against his neck as he continued to navigate the forest as if he knew the area.
We've probably been running for about two and a half hours now. I think we've managed to escape.
I looked up ahead at the cluster of bushes as the sound of water drifted into my ears.
Axil's run slowed into a slight jog before he started walking calmly towards the shrubs.
He used his head to part the bush before he slipped us through.
"Wow," Liza breathed from behind me as a clearing came into view. There was a small hill behind here that had a waterfall pouring out of it, traveling into the decently round pond that was surrounded with vibrant flowers that bloomed and danced as the wind sang.
Red, blue, green, yellow, so many colors all coming together to bring color to the forest. The place looked untouched from outside influences. There was no weed, no animal disturbances. It was simply serene and mythical.
Axil crouched down on his hind legs, allowing Liza and I to slide off of his back as we dusted off the leaves that fell on us on our way here.
Axil trotted behind a nearby tree with his clothes in his mouth then appeared a few minutes later in his human form, fully dressed.
"How'd you find this place?" Liza asked Axil.
Axil glanced at the flowing water briefly then back at us, "this place has been here since the beginning of our pack's formation. It was rumored that it was once the home to fairies, thus making it untouched by any who wish to harm it. My father stumbled upon it when he was a little pup then later showed it to my brother and I. We came here when we needed a peace of mind to reflect and nurse our wounds."
I walked towards the little pond then bent down and dipped my hand into the cool water.
"Is it drinkable?" I asked.
"Yeah," Axil answered.
I bent down and cupped the water in my hand then brought it up to my face to take a sip. A sigh escaped my lips as the refreshing liquid traveled down my throat and quenched my thirst. I then splashed water on my face as my mind scrambled to make sense of our situation.
"It's already getting dark," Liza noted, bringing our attention to the darkening sky above us.
I sighed in exhaustion, "what are we going to do now? We can't stay here forever..."
"Why are the cops trying to kill us? Who the fuck is the mayor and what shit is he on???" Liza fumed.
"You weren't looking that angry when you were laughing your ass off on our way here."
Liza rolled her eyes, "that's different."
I shrugged my shoulders, "based on how the cops appeared after I made a commotion, I think me awakening my birth rite forced the person behind all this to finally act."
Liza hummed in agreement.
I glanced back at Axil who gazed at the pond deeply, lost in thought.
I didn't really want to interrupt him but at the same time I really needed to know.
"Axil... was that your brother?"
Axil's gaze shifted towards mine, indifferent, "yes, we're identical twins." He answered simply, not giving any further explanation.
I frowned but didn't push further. All I could do was ease his worries by saying, "it's obvious that he's being manipulated. He didn't betray you."
I pursed my lips and looked back out at the pond, contemplating our next move. It was obvious that the mastermind behind all of this was sitting comfortably in the mayor's office right now. Either that or they were manipulating the mayor.
"Our main priority right now is to release the villagers of the mind control they're under. If we do that, the mayor loses his lackies."
"But the people are werewolves, why didn't Axil sense them?" Liza asked.
"I still don't know," I replied, sitting down at the edge of the pond and hugging my knees to my chest. "We'll have to stay here for tonight. Tomorrow we could figure out what should be done."
"This area is harmless. I can start a fire over there," Axil pointed at a spot a little further away from the pond, "and you guys could sleep while I take watch."
Liza and I nodded in agreement.
An hour later, after all three of us collected dry firewood, the fire was made and we sat around it to soak in its warmth.
It was weird... being here with the both of them. Just a few hours ago we were sitting at home relaxing and now we were hiding out in the woods to keep our hearts pumping.
Liza and I sat huddled up together as she rested her head against my shoulder. Axil sat opposite of us.
I stared into the fire blankly, my mind spiraling on the events that have occurred ever since we entered that stupid garden.
I was never going to stop complaining about this, no matter how much time has passed or if we make it out of this alive. This was all Liza's fault and she damn well better remember it!
Liza nudged me with her head.
I looked down at her curiously.
"Can you sing that song you wrote when we were younger?"
I furrowed my brows in confusion, "why?"
"Because you're better at singing than I am... and I just really want to hear your voice right now... please.."
I sighed and ran my hand through her hair, resting my chin on her head and glancing at Axil who stared at us silently.
I reluctantly parted my lips and sang.
"Standing by the riverside
Breathing in the air
Serenity I realize
Is hidden everywhere
So I close my eyes
As the water is drifting
I try to memorize
The beauty that I see
This is what I long for
A place to calm the fire raging in me
This is what I've dreamed of
This place where I belong is what I need
All my trouble seems futile
Nothing bothers me
Here right by the riverside
I'm free to be me
Nothing can touch me now
Not a whisper in my ears
As the wind caresses me
It dries up all my tears."
I locked eyes with Axil as I lightly sang, running my hands through Liza's hair absentmindedly.
His eyes flashed with many different emotions as we stared at each other, yet I couldn't pinpoint a single one. His lips were slightly tilted up, making it seem as if he understood my words perfectly... as if he understood me...
My heart throbbed loudly in my chest as my tummy tingled. I quickly looked away and back down at Liza. Her eyes were closed, my voice lolling her to sleep.
"This is what I long for
A place to calm the fire raging in me
This is what I've dreamed of
This place where I belong is what I need."
My song continued to echo throughout the night, ringing in our ears even as we drifted off to sleep.
"This place where I belong is what I need."