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Chapter 6 ~ Unwanted Fugitives

M a y a

Movement stops so suddenly it jolts me into full awareness. The cart’s stopped, which can only mean one thing, we’ve arrived.

The silence is too loud, pierced only by my rasped uneven breaths. The air is cold and sharp, but I barely notice myself shivering, the thin pieces of clothing wrapped around my feeble body hardly protecting me against the oncoming winter.

The latch clicks and the doors open wide, the light blinding me after so long in the darkness. One of the soldiers enters my prison, releasing the shackles on my wrists from the chain that had been holding them up. My arms slump down, my shoulders aching from having them above my head for so long and I fall forward, my legs not strong enough to carry me.

The soldier spits at me to stand, kicking me roughly when I don’t comply. I fight to get to my feet, my legs as weak as a new born calf, but I fall to the ground with every attempt.

The Queen’s soldier’s impatience is growing rapidly as he spits at me, his sneer nothing lose to friendly.

“Pathetic,” he snipes.

With a quick swoop he lifts me and dumps me heavily over his shoulder, carrying me out into the open. My head bounces as he walks, my arms pulled by the sheer weight of the metal shackles attached to my bruised wrists. At every movement I try not to wince, the pain jabbing with every step forward, an instant reaction.

We’re in the capital, no doubt, the hum of the city thrums through the walls of the Queen’s domain.

The numbness has gone, leaving me with an unquenchable fear. It seeps through my every pore, I can taste it on my lips. I’m frantic, but there is nowhere for me to go. Even from my upside down position I can see that the whole courtyard is drowning in soldiers, every gateway monitored, every entrance guarded heavily.

Even if I had the strength to fight my way out of this soldier’s grip, I barely have the strength to stand on my own, let alone run across a courtyard manned by at least two hundred armed guards.

Magic is useless, my knowledge of it hardly covering any of the basics. I have nothing I can do and nowhere to run to. My fate is sealed.

The marble floor echoes along the empty corridor as he marches me through the palace, flanked by six other soldiers. It’s a dark and dingy place, odours of rot and blood stick to my senses, the taste almost making me gag.

My skin smells of sweat and old blood as I try to hide the smell, pressing my nose into my arm, but after a short period my arm drops back down, the shackles to heavy in my weakened state.

My mind races as I’m taken through a maze of empty corridors and hallways, lit by deamonfire casting the walls in an eerie like green light. The walls flickering and moving to the dancing flames nailed to the walls, hovering inhumanly away from their holders.

My fear starts to fight the numbness, timing itself tenfold and growing larger in the pit of my stomach until I can feel myself choking on it. I feel myself getting dizzy as I try to orientate myself as we move deeper into the palace. This simply disorientates me more.

Eventually, after what feels like a lifetime, The sentries around us come to a halt, the soldier holding me joining them in a juddering stop, smacking my head against his metallic back plates.

I hear large doors echo as the open, creaking as the sentries flanking us grunt and groan, pressing their entire force into moving them open. Lifting my head to see over my captors shoulder the huge doorway opens into a blanket of darkness.

A shiver runs right through me as I slump back against his shoulder blade, not wanting to look at it any more.

After a moment, we continue forward, the sentries now flanking either side of us rather than the circular motion they had going on on our way to whatever this place is.

Before I know what’s happening we’ve stopped one more and I’m thrown off the demonata’s shoulder, dumping me precariously on the hard, cold marble floor.

The air leaves my chest as I struggle to compose myself and right my airway, my auburn curls falling over my face as I write spluttering. I take this time for my eyes to scan my surroundings. It’s dark and it takes a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the thickness of the dark around us.

The sentries are spaced out in a semicircle a few metres behind me. None of them, not even the one who had carried me here, meet my eye. Theirs all face forward, their faces set in a nonchalant pose.

I slowly get to my knees, roughly pushing my hair from my face as I turn to face what they are and as soon as I do, I instantly regret it.

We’re in the throne room and sitting high on a throne carved of blood and bone sits a horror.

My blood runs cold as my gaze connects with her. She is entrancing and yet terrifying but no matter how hard I try, I simply can’t look away, my body frozen in position.

In the flickering light her skin looks a shade between a pale lilac and a sickly green. Her eyes large and gold, the pupils barely splits like those of an animal, forever watching, looking on as her prey cowers in fear. Horn like spikes protruding where her eyebrows would have been, her teeth sharp and jagged as she lifts her plump lips into a terrifying smile.

When she speaks, it’s like a thousand snakes hissing at once, a delay in their words and a hiss at the end of each sentence. I can’t refrain from physically shuddering.

“Why have you been brought here impure peasant?” she spits the last word, like it’s almost distasteful.

My mouth opens, but nothing comes out, no noise or words form on my lips. I feel frozen under her malicious gaze. Like the prey and the hunter I mentally admit my defeat, my body frozen in terror. This is the deamon of all the demonata, feared above all the rest. The Queen of this darkened, twisted place.

I feel a rough hand shove my head down. “Answer the Queen,” the voice which accompanies it spits.

I try to comply, for the sake of my life, but no sound escapes me other than an almost incoherent whimper, my heart hammering in my chest like it’s about to explode at any given moment.

“She broke the law your Majesty,” A soldier pipes up behind me when I continue to stay silent.

A flash of anger darts across the Queens eyes and she flicks her wrist, sending the outspoken sprawling into the thick wall behind me. I hear a sickening crunch as he comes into contact and cringe as another shiver runs through me. I don’t have to turn around to know that he’s dead.

“Impertinent fool,” The Queen sneers, lifting herself from her throne.

She steps forward, her gown swishing at her feet as she moves, the dress opening at her waist, and closes back at her hips, her shoulders bare, though her arms are covered by matching dark fabric of the dress. The dress as a whole screams risqué, but I assume that’s the point.

She saunters down to me as I cower on the marble floor. My legs are beginning to cramp from the cold and sitting here for so long, but I daren’t move.

She circles me, before stopping in front of me, grabbing my face with her claw like hands, lifting it so that my sunken eyes meet with her molten gold ones, her slit pupils looking me up and down with visible contempt.

“What law did you break?” she asks, her eyes never leaving my face.

I still can’t bring myself to speak, my voice hidden away by utter fear. My body trembles, a thin line of sweat covers my brow.

“Answer me before I cut out your tongue,” she tells me, her eyes now squinting at me in the bleak light.

“B-books,” Is all I can manage to utter, my lip trembling so hard I can barely form the word.

The Queen’s stare darkens and I feel myself shrink away, not wanting to look her in the eye but having no choice in the matter.

“Books contain, knowledge, to which the likes of you aids you in no way. You are too simple, too wretched for knowledge such as what these books had to offer,” her voice drips with disgust and contempt.

Finally she pulls her hands away from my face, letting it drop. Blood trickles down my neck form where her claw like fingers had held me in place.

“Take her to the pitt,” she says in a bored tone as she waves a hand and returns to her throne.

My head snaps up and my blood runs cold. My pupils dilate and my breathing comes to an immediate halt.

The Pitt

Rough hands lift me under my arms and begin to drag me away, my head shaking violently, tears forming in my eyes as I scream and plead.

The Queen seats herself on her throne, her eyes flash with amusement as I’m dragged away to the worst fate I could ever imagine.

A fate worse than hell.

R e n a

I look up from the fire and over at Kian, who I find is currently staring wide eyed at me.

“Satisfied?” I ask, my voice hoarse as I lie back down.

I let the silence lie for a few moments but when he still doesn’t answer me, I turn my head to look at him. He looks pale and withdrawn, as though still in shock from my tale. Now that I’ve told him, he knows and it’s all out in the open, I feel better now about telling him. As he’s discovered some of the truths about me, I’m somehow liberated and less alone and I like the feeling. It much less isolating, something I believe I’m far too used to.

And as an added bonus, this way the constant questions about my past will finally stop too, something I’m looking quite forward to. Though it makes me wonder what questions and topics he will bring up now.

As these thoughts begin to cloud my mind, I mentally curse myself.

I shouldn’t be letting myself get too close to Kian, not after what happened before and what will be happening all too soon. But deep down I know that whatever happens now it won’t matter. I am allowing myself to get too close, care just a little too much. I can feel myself slipping and my resistance is weakening the more I’m with him. But it won’t matter, in a few days he will be gone and I will be alone once more. The way it should have always been.

By the Gods I really need to start keeping myself in check. Have I not learnt my lesson. Casing for someone is dangerous and unpredictable to words I don’t like in my vocabulary or lifestyle. Regardless of the situation I’ve found myself in, letting him join me. He’s reeling me in and that isn’t a good sign.

I feel as though I can’t trust myself anymore, my judgment clouded by a Halfling of all things. My thoughts are becoming less and less predictable and that worries me more than I’d care to admit, unsure of how to take this new observation.

And I hate to admit it but after being alone for so long with only an owl for company, I actually enjoy his amity no matter how annoying he can occasionally get.

The problem I’m faced with is how I’m not exactly in control of myself when he’s near. Something I have come to I hate the most.

Having control over myself is the most important thing to me now, after being controlled by others for so many years I can never take my freedom for granted.

I must be daydreaming, because I jump when I hear Kian’s voice break the silence.

“Is Oriax’s brand still there?” I hear him ask, his voice wavering.

My body stiffens and I wince, I can’t help it. That’s one painful memory I didn’t want to relive or even think about. I hadn’t even expected him to even hold onto that mind less ask about it to be honest.

“It will always be there, I’ll never rid myself of it, no matter how many healing runes I use” I finally manage to say.

“Oh” I hear him say under his breath.

I watch his face carefully, his usually bright green eyes are unusually dark and serious. His mouth set is a thin line, his brow furrowed in concern. His whole demeanour screams anger and guilt which only confuses me. Pity I could’ve understood, even anger, but guilt?

It’s not as if he was the one who made me this way.

As if he can feel my eyes on him, he looks up, locking his gaze with my own. His gaze is intense, but a softness wraps around them, the colour changing with it as it takes over from the hardened look he wore only moments before. This small change twists my stomach into knots and I don’t think I can hold my gaze for much longer, when he finally speaks.

“I’m so sorry Rena” he says, his tone voice the heart he’d put into the words.

“Why the apology?” I manage, my stomach still twisted.

“What happened to you, because of people like me, because of our kind” he says putting emphasis on the final word, his hands clenched.

“None of what happened to me was your fault and it can’t be changed Kian,” I say earnestly, my voice soft.

“Well someone has to.” he replies as his shoulders slump, his fists loosening.

“You don’t” I say, my face serious, but a smile glows through my eyes, touched at his intentions.

He returns his gaze to me, his eyes intense as he watches me before a lazy smile spreads across his lips before looks away, breaking our connection, his smile dropping as soon as his eyes leave mine.

I give myself a moment to digest what has just happened. I told Kian everything, my past with no stone left unturned and the pleasure I got from sharing it with him scares me a little.

By the Gods, I think I’m going soft.

As I lay down to sleep, I can’t help but glance over at him through the flickers of the flames.

As soon as I do, I find him already watching me and heat crawls up my face at being caught. Heat rises on my neck, my cheeks burning until I’m certain that its clear even through the fire between us that I’m blushing.

“Good night” I say, quickly shifting my gaze to the floor.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I see him grin, his mouth slanted to one side. “Pleasant dreams”.

I turn over and close my eyes. I soon enter the silvery mists of dream and smile, my usual blank canvas of sleep swapped for sweet dreams dancing around my head.

K i a n

I watch over her as she sleeps. She looks so peaceful and I can’t help but smile as I watch her eyelids flicker with dreams.

The one playing on my lips soon disappears as I think back to a few minutes ago when she finished telling me about her past, the horrors still lingered in her eyes and still in my mind.

I’m not even going to try and sleep, not after all the terrors she’s told me. I feel for her and I can’t help but wonder what she would’ve turned out like, if she hadn’t had to face so many hardships from such an early age.

I’m beginning to finally understand her. Though I’m happy she opened up, I feel guilty for opening up her dark history. I could tell by the way she spoke of it she hadn’t dwelled upon it in a long time and that fact that she had actually told me surprised me.

It’s plain to see she hasn’t shared this with anyone other than myself before today and I feel proud to know her the way I’m starting to. I don’t consider her a dangerous, unpredictable at best, ally anymore, I see her as a friend, a reliant and quite possibly something just out of my reach of understanding.

The word dangerous doesn’t fit her description anymore. I can’t explain or fathom why, but I just see more than a weapon made of flesh and bone. Now that know her better, she seems to be all talk when it comes to violence towards me at least.

The idea of me leaving tomorrow night and us parting ways suddenly hits me and with this thought comes the feeling of being torn. By the Gods I want to leave this place far behind me, I need to.

Finding the lost city of Asgard is my dream, all I have left now in the world and I can’t just give up now. Not when I’ve come so far and lost so much. The problem is now I want nothing more than for Rena to join me and deep down I know she won’t.

We’ll be parting ways soon and I suddenly don’t want that to happen. It’s bad enough that Maya isn’t here with me, that I lost her. If I can’t get Rena to come with me I’ll be alone in the unknown. I could be dead in days.

The mere thought alone sends a shiver down my spine.

Sure, she isn’t always the best company to have around what with the short fuse and irrational temper but in the weeks that I have come to know her, I’ve discovered there is a lot more to her than what meets the eye. She’s grown on me and in more ways than one.

Then there’s this connection between us, something else at work between us that I can’t put my finger on, but I know she feels it too. If I leave without her I’ll never know what it is. This thought grounds me in my idea even further.

How I’m going to convince her to come with me I’m not sure. But I just pray to the Gods that it’ll work, because if it doesn’t I’ll be saying goodbye to her forever, never to see her again.

And I don’t think I’m ready for that.

R e n a

I wake up to the sound of Barnie cooing softly in my ear.

Smiling still half asleep, I open my eyes slowly, blinking at the brightness, jolting in shock when I realise Barnie is right up in my face. He flutters away, cooing playfully as I scowl at him.

I pull myself up and stretch slowly, glancing down at Kian as I do so.

He is still sound asleep and I can’t help but grin at his posture. He’s stretched out, with one arm covering his eyes and the other straight out beside him. I chuckle to myself, shaking my head as I do so.

For a few moments I don’t know what to do with myself. Barnie hops back towards me, jumping onto my shoulder and coos softly into my ear. I pet him, my smile still strong on my lips before glancing over at Kian for a third time. The idea of a short stroll grows on me as I sit there. I don’t want to wake him and he doesn’t look like he’ll be waking up anytime soon, so he won’t notice my absence.

I debate in my head whether I should go or not for a few more moments. As I run my hand through my curls I grimace. It feels greasy and grimy. It’s enough for me to decide to find a nearby bath house, grabbing a few pieces of silver from my satchel and shoving it into my jacket pocket. A mischievous grin appears on my face as I slip out of the building and down the alleyway before emerging myself in the main streets.

There are crowds of people everywhere, the streets heaving, so I pull the hood of my cape over my head, hiding my identity, and merge in with the crowd, Barnie all the while flying above.

K i a n

I wake up to a smell that makes my mouth water. Opening my eyes, I find Rena sitting by the fire, cooking something that smells delicious.

Straight away I notice that her hair is wet, strands sticking to her bare shoulders and her flushed cheeks. Droplets hang onto the ends of her curls, some falling and running down her arm while she remains unaware or indifferent I can’t tell.

It’s odd seeing her this way, her jacket flung to one side, her curves out in the open her without her jacket on, she’s has more shape than I first thought, more than Maya ever did.

“I see you’ve finally woken up,” Rena says to me, pulling me out of my stare.

“Took you half the afternoon,” she adds slyly, her eyes sliding over to me.

“I- wait did you say afternoon?” I say in shock, clocking what she has just said.

She rolls her eyes and laughs, the sound vibrate through me with unusual warmth. It’s sweet and quite contagious, so I can’t help but grin back. I pull myself closer to the fire and run a hand through my messy blonde tresses.

Her silver eyes flicker up at me while I do this, but they soon refocus on the food cooking on the fire.

“So where have you been?” I ask, grinning at her knowingly.

I watch as she opens her mouth to speak then decides to shut it. Her eyes glance up at me once more and once she catches my grin, returning it with one of her rare dazzling smiles.

“Out,” she says dubiously.

“Oh how mysterious,” I tease.

At this she laughs and then hands me some of the hot food. I don’t know what it is, a mixture of meats and vegetables thrown into a simmering pot. Either way it tastes great.

“I went for a walk with Barnie,” she explains between mouthfuls, moving the hair stuck to her face.

“And you didn’t think to tell me?” I reply, eying her carefully.

She shrugs. “You were asleep”.

“You could’ve woken me up,” I argue, though not enforcing it.

At this she shakes her head, laughter lighting up her eyes. “Where would the fun be in that, besides you’d only pester me to come along too.”

I can’t help but chuckle at her response because we both know that it’s true.

We both finish our meal in silence and I then throw the scraps for Barnie, who doesn’t seem impressed by the quantity of his meal, cocking his head this way and that as he watches it. He ignores it and flies over to Rena perching on her shoulder, his head cocking to one side as he watches the food in her hands. With a smile she rips of a piece of meat and lifts it to him.

I watch them in silence. It isn’t hard to like him though and the relationship he has with Rena is a close one, from what I have seen over the weeks being with the two.

It seems I’ve grown on him too. He’s always flying over to me and landing on my shoulder, hooting into my ear as if he were whispering his secrets to me.

I can never understand him though, not like Rena does.

She seems to know everything that Barnie is saying, all his expressions and different hoots and cooes a code for only which the two of them understand. I must admit it’s it the most interesting and bizarre thing to watch.

“Nightfall isn’t long off,” I hear Rena say, her eyes avoiding mine.

The feeling that had been gnawing at me last night has returned, and though it isn’t entirely welcome it’s accompanied by a nervousness I cannot hide. Rena must notice my expression because she turns to face my, her eyes trying to read mine.

This drives me further, encouraging me to unleash the words hovering on my lips.

I just hope to the Gods that she says yes.

R e n a

“Come with me,” Kian says, the eagerness in his voice to plain to ignore.

I’m so shocked at what he’s asking that when I take a sharp intake of breath I end up choking myself. I splutter and cough for a good few minutes before I can answer him.

“What did you say?” I manage in a half croaked whisper, my eyes averting from his.

“Come with me Rena, please,” he asks.

I can see the hope in his eyes, shining through the nerves and the worry, as he pleads for me to join him. I feel a part of me pushing me to say yes and suddenly I’m scared.

What is out there?

Can I really just leave all I’ve ever known?

Should I even consider going with him?

These and a thousand other thoughts and questions are buzzing around in my head causing it to spin and rendering me almost helpless. I can’t think straight. His question has completely left me speechless and lost.

He sips around the fire, making his way over to me and sits by my side, silently awaiting my answer. I can feel the pressure building up, the feelings resurfacing and the silence becoming deafening making me begin to feel even more confused and lost then before.

“Rena-,” he begins, his eyes softening.

“Kian I-I just- I don’t know” I stammer before running from the room and out into the streets. For now I need to get as far away from him and his coaxing words and my mixed up emotions as possible.

K i a n

I don’t think I ever seen Rena get like that before.

The inner fight and turmoil she seemed to be having with herself was hard to watch. The fear in her eyes told me enough yet deep within I know there is a part of her that wants to. To be free of Aldevia, to be free of the demonata, to never have to watch your back or constantly look over your shoulder is a life she desperately wants to have. But the cost is risking everything for it. I’ve made my decision, though I can’t help but wonder what hers will be.

Watching her run away from me was probably the hardest thing to do. Part of me itched to run out after her, but I didn’t. I willed myself to stay, rooted to the spot.

I’m speechless, unable to form words mind less sentences mainly due from shock. I don’t know how to fix this and I don’t take back what I said.

I don’t even know what to do with myself now that she’s run off and I realise I will most likely have to face this journey alone.

I sit tight with only Barnie as company and wait for her to return, but she doesn’t arrive until the fire has died out and the sky has darkened, telling me the day has come to an end.

She doesn’t speak to me at all when she arrives back, barely even glancing my way. If I look carefully I see the way her long dark lashes cling together and can only assume she’s been crying and from the look on her face I’m guessing I’d be right.

She gathers her things and so I begin to follow her actions.

I don’t bother saying anything, she won’t answer me anyway. Even if I did, what would I say to her that would be of any worth now.

She walks back over to the entrance and calls Barnie. He looks at me, before flying over and landing in his usual spot on her shoulder.

She doesn’t say anything, but I can tell she is waiting for me. I sigh, running a hand through my tousled hair and slowly make my way over to her.

This isn’t how I planned on spending my last few moments with her at all and now more than ever I feel as though we’re coming to the end of our friendship and I don’t want to say goodbye.

R e n a

It had taken all my strength to go back to Kian after what he had asked me. I still couldn’t believe the desperateness when I gazed into his bright pleading green eyes.

I had to get away, even for a little while. My mind was spinning with questions I couldn’t answer. What he had asked me to do was beyond anything I’d ever done before. I didn’t even think I was brave enough to risk everything for the unknown chance of real freedom.

I hadn’t even realised I was crying until I touched my wet cheeks. When I had finally decided to go back, the look in his eyes made me want to two things at once; run away and never look back or run to him and tell him I’d go with him. He looked so lost and oddly, hurt.

What could I say to him now that he thought I had rejected him. Nothing.

Even though I hadn’t given him an answer I could see what he suspected and maybe he was right to do so, but I couldn’t bring myself to answer, afraid of what might be said.

So I do the only thing I can and remain silent. Not letting a word slip off my tongue for him to hear.

I pull him through the streets, weaving in and out of people as I guide him toward the south gates. We reach it in good time, sneaking past the guards and the odd deamon here and there before I come up behind one of the large wagons used to bring import impure ones. I check to see if the driver is watching his wagon, but he’s busy chatting with another demon.

I nod to Kian, showing that it’s safe and he nods back, giving me a small smile, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. My stomach drops and flutters all at once and then the guilt suddenly makes it hard to breath.

“So I guess this is goodbye,” he says finally, his eyes tear themselves from mine.

“I guess so,” I say quietly, unable to meet his either.

We stand there awkwardly for a moment or two before he pulls me into his arms and wrapping them tightly around me, taking me by complete surprise and without meaning to, I stiffen slightly before softening.

“Thank you Rena, for everything,” he whispers in my ear.

Hearing this makes me relax all the more, but he soon lets go and stands back.

“Good luck, you’ll need it,” I tell him, my eyes meeting his in the darkness.

He gives me his famous grin one last time and climbs into the wagon with a stealth I had no idea he had. I cover him up in the cloths left inside it as best as I can and tell him not to make a move or even one little sound.

Stealing a glance around the side of the wagon, I notice the driver climbing in and taking the reins.

I jump back, just as the wagon begins to move forward. Pulling the hood of my cloak up over me, I watch as the wagon pulls Kian further away from me with every passing second, knots twisting in my stomach. As soon as he is out of sight, I feel a lump form in my throat.

“Odin, if you can hear me, please keep him safe,” I whisper to the wind, before slipping into the shadows.

K i a n

At that very last moment, I had really believed she would’ve changed her mind and come along with me, ready to face anything. But she hadn’t.

She wasn’t here with me, snapping at me to keep still or even giving me a reassuring kick so I’d know she was still there beside me.

She was back there somewhere, probably happy to finally see the back of me. I can only guess she’ll be planning her next move or even heading back to our last campsite.

I hate to admit it, but I’m scared. If Rena was here or even Maya it would’ve been alright, I would’ve been alright. But I’m not, I’m facing the unknown alone and unprepared.

I wanted to feel the thrill of finding new places and travelling the world to foreign lands. I wanted excitement and adventure. Wasn’t this my dream, Didn’t I want this?

I find myself unable to answer my own minds questions and squeeze my eyes shut, closing out everything I'm trying not to feel.

R e n a

I arrive back at our campsite a couple of hours later, but I’m not happy to be back, unable to shake the uneasy feeling of not having him here. Without Kian here filling the echoing walls with his annoying comments and questions, it seems eerily quiet and unwelcoming.

I watch as Barnie looks for him, I can see him trying to figure out why we left him all the way back there and this makes his absence all the more harder and difficult to ignore.

I admit it, I miss him.

These past weeks having him around wasn’t what I was used to, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Now not having him here all of a sudden, has left me with an empty, almost painful feeling. I’m alone all over again.

Barnie hops over to me, cooing to me in a soft, sad way. I know what he wants because I want him here too. He starts cooing louder and louder, becoming more desperate every time, until they become echoing hoots that bounce aggressively off of the walls.

“He isn’t coming back Barnie, he’s left and he isn’t coming back,” I say bluntly, my voice cracks, the lump in my throat growing bigger.

I sit slumped by the ashes of the dead fire and don’t bother moving. I ignore Barnie because he isn’t helping my mood. Barnie grows tired of my current mood, cocking his head to one side as if debating something and then pecks at my hand extremely hard.

I flinch and glare at him angrily as I nurse my injured hand. “Well what do you expect me to do?”

He pecks me again only lighter this time and then coos softly.

I glare at him for a long moment before looking down at my hands and sighing in defeat.

“You’re right,” I whisper, my head hung low.

I leave it for a couple of minutes before I suddenly stand up and grab my sack, slinging it over my back in a hurry.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I say as I gesture to Barnie to climb on.

He hoots at me and flies gracefully onto my shoulder, before pushing himself into the air. As soon as he’s on his way, I break into a run.

I should have never left him.

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