The Five Wanderers

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Chapter 11

“Come on, we need to find Jeriah,” Runi said as he began hurrying in the direction where the two guardians had come from. He seemed more urgent than usual and Cetas could understand to some degree why he was, but he felt like they should air on the side of caution with the warning from Joy and Mirae.


Runi was so concerned about Elidi being careful, but didn’t seem to care about himself or the others very much. It made Cetas wonder even more about his earlier overreaction.


They kept running through the darkness with Royse’s torch casting a light for the way, but with how they were running the light was shaking and barely shining on their path at all. They were in a rush because Jeriah had been captured once already and he would clearly be on high alert for the next attempt.


They arrived on the top of a hill a few moments later where a campsite had been decimated. Embers of a campfire were still smouldering and tents and blankets had been abandoned.


“Investigate the tents, we might find a clue as to where they’ve gone,” Cetas said as he began checking around the campfire.


Laguna nodded and ran over to the tents with Royse and the two of them began checking inside, but it seemed that everything important had been taken out of the tents.


“Nothing in here,” Royse called out.


Laguna was about to say the same, but then she saw a note folded up in the farthest corner of the tent. She crawled inside and picked up the note, carefully unfolding it. It had Jakob’s name at the top of the paper, so it was clearly a note that was meant for him.


“Hey! There’s something here!” Laguna called out.


Soon the entire group were either inside the tent or peeking into the tent and staring at Laguna with great curiosity.


“What is it?” Darya asked. “A map?”


“No,” Laguna shook her head. “It’s a note to Jakob. It reads, ‘Dear Jakob, I’ve been searching for you under the stars, but I can’t find you. I don’t know how to save you, but I’m going to make sure I’ll be here when you can finally find me. I know you might not be proud of me for what I have had to do to stay here long enough to meet you again, but I didn’t know when you were going to wake up so I had to do risky things. I have no control over your future, but I have some control over mine. So, I’ll be waiting. Just find me. We’re always going to be connected. We’re twins, aren’t we? I’m sorry we’ve been apart for so long. I won’t let it happen again. I just hope you can forgive me for what I have had to do to survive. I’m sure you’ll understand, you’ve had to survive, too. I’ll see you soon. I know I will.’ “ She looked back at the others. “He knows Jakob is trying to find him.”


Runi rubbed his chin and glanced aside. “That’s not good,” he muttered.


“How does he know that?” Royse asked. “We haven’t seen the Monarchs in a long time, we don’t even know what they’re doing.”


“Maybe they have some sort of telepathic connection because they’re twins,” Darya suggested. “I mean, they’re guardians. It’s not an impossible thing to consider.”


“Maybe,” Cetas agreed. “But if he left a note for him, he must believe Jakob is nearby. We really need to hurry and get this contract over with. I don’t think Jakob is going to take kindly to what we’re going to do, especially since Jeriah seems keen on fighting anyone who tries to stop him, and he’s well armed.”


“I’m sure we’ll be able to convince him to come with us, I don’t think we’ll have to resort to violence,” Darya said softly. “I want him to be able to reunite with Jakob when this is all over, too.”


“That’s the goal, but we don’t really know how this is going to end,” Runi said as he got up and moved out of the tent. “We do need to hurry. Let’s take these tents with us instead of going back to get our own. We really need to just keep moving forward.”


Laguna tucked the note into her back pocket. “That’s fine by me,” she said as she began taking the stakes out of the ground that held the tent in place. Cetas helped her as she broke down the tents and they folded them up enough that they could fit into their backpacks.


Runi stood off to the side, just staring out into the darkness and Darya came up beside him. “What’s the matter? Do you have a bad feeling?” she asked.


“Kind of,” Runi said. “I just feel sorry, I guess. There’s a strong emotional energy here. Fear and sadness.”


“Really? But you feel sorry?” Darya asked as she tilted her head.


“I feel sorry for having to capture Jeriah,” Runi said. “He just wants to be reunited with Jakob. I can understand that sentiment, you know? And he’s being hunted by more people than just us so he must have had a hard time. It’s just a sad situation. I hope we can help him by getting him to return what he stole.”


“I’m sure we will,” Darya smiled and patted Runi’s shoulder. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you so sympathetic before.”


“I just feel emotions in this place, especially after hearing that note,” Runi muttered. “I have a bad feeling, too. There’s just something lingering over me and I don’t know what to think about it. I’m worried about this threat to my family. You’re all my family, you know? I can’t let anything happen.”


Darya blinked and then laughed and shook her head. “Ahhh, don’t be like that! Come on, we’ll be fine. We’re always fine, aren’t we? We survived being poisoned, we’ll survive getting this contract done,” she said. “Ah, looks like Cetas and Laguna have the tents down now. Let’s go, right?”


“Right.”


They began walking down the other side of the hill, following a light trail of crushed grass that had been left by Jeriah and his fleeing companions. Runi was still curious about what had happened between Jeriah and the two guardians, Joy and Mirae, because it seemed that the girls had been quite shaken by the attack even if they were clearly very powerful. Perhaps Jeriah’s desperation made him just a little stronger, or perhaps he had his own strange powers that might be quite dangerous. Runi wasn’t sure, but his mind certainly was wandering.


Not to mention the fact that he knew very little about the companions that traveled with Jeriah, as well as very little about the man they were hunting himself. They were a mysterious band of guardians that rarely made any news in the world as it seemed they kept a low profile and never stayed in one place long. That mystery made him nervous, because one might speculate that they weren’t anything special by not being able to find out information on them, but Runi assumed the worst. He assumed they were quite powerful and remained hidden because it was safer for them.


After all, Jeriah was Jakob’s twin brother. And Jakob was one of the most powerful guardians in existence, alongside the other Monarchs. Whatever happened next was not going to be easy, but he hoped they would be able to catch him off guard or convince him to come with them.


He hoped their combined powers would be enough to bring these powerful guardians to the Underworld so they could complete their contract to Prudentius. He was willing to risk his own life to ensure that, as long as it didn’t risk anyone else’s.

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