Elidi had moved quickly with her group in the direction of the castle after receiving the text from Cetas. He knew they didn’t have any time to waste and had to intercept Jeriah’s arrival to the castle, but she had a feeling things just weren’t going to go as planned. When had things ever gone smoothly for them? She scoffed at the very idea.
“Minda! I packed enough snacks for a quick trip! You’re not supposed to eat them all on the first stretch of the adventure!” Oriana’s voice broke through Elidi’s thoughts and she looked back to see her looking at Minda pointedly, her tone whiny and angry all at once.
Minda looked a bit sheepish, but even as she had that expression she was handing another piece of dried squid to Tallis who was walking alongside her. “Oops,” was her first reply. “I didn’t have a big breakfast! I’m hungry. And besides, I’m not eating all of it. I’m sharing with Tallis.” Tallis held up his piece of dried squid as though to prove his solidarity with Minda in eating all of the snacks Oriana had packed.
“You have an endless supply in that backpack, though. Isn’t it your fault that you didn’t pack more?” Minda asked with a cheeky smile.
Oriana couldn’t believe they were turning this back on her and immediately she looked offended. But in a comical way, as she often did. “I won’t pack any snacks next time we go on a trip, because you guys just eat them all up before we have a break, anyway,” she said with a huff. Of course this wasn’t true, Oriana always took care of all of them. She was a kind soul, even if she had a temper that could pop off at any moment. She was just full of passion, and even more so she was full of compassion.
“Alright, calm down,” Elidi said. “Stop eating all the snacks, Minda, and let’s just be quiet, okay? We don’t have too long before we arrive in the area of that castle, and according to Cetas the Wanderers are going to be in that area and we have to stop them before they get inside. It sounds like it’s not gonna be easy, so stay alert and stop goofing off.”
They all quieted down after Elidi spoke, and Oriana nodded and she kept walking. “Yeah, Levant really seemed to get shaken up by his interaction with him,” she said softly as she looked over at Levant as he walked with them this time. He had felt too afraid to stay alone anymore. “I really hope we don’t meet with Jakob.”
“Well, Levant’s with us now and we’ll keep him safe,” Tallis pointed out. “It was definitely a bad decision on our part to leave you alone in the house during our first trip to find Jeriah, but...we didn’t know Jakob would become our enemy like that.”
“I don’t think he’s our enemy, I think he’s just afraid of what we’re gonna do to his brother,” Levant said quietly. “I don’t know.”
“Even so, we have to stick with our mission,” Elidi said with a firm nod. “Don’t get distracted. And stop eating all the snacks.” and that was that. She knew she was repeating herself, but she was trying to get them to stay focused. This seemed the best way to do it.
They were quiet after that, and just walked on and kept their gaze in the direction of the castle until it finally began looming up in the distance. It definitely looked eerie, because all of the plants had grown over the majority of the castle and much of the walls and windows and so forth were extremely damaged from years of harsh weather. It was amazing that the Monarchs had started living in there again, but they seemed to desire to take back what had been almost lost to time.
Elidi now thought about the promise she had made to Cetas. She wasn’t going to stand on the front lines, she was going to stand back and protect herself if anything happened. It was difficult for her, but she knew she had to.
“Now that we’re close, we should get into formation,” Elidi said as she gestured for Minda and Tallis to take the lead. “Oriana and Levant, you need to stand in front of me, too.”
Oriana tilted her head. “What? But you’re usually in the middle,” she pointed out.
“I know, but I can’t be anymore,” Elidi said as she waved her hand. “Just do as I say.”
“Is something wrong?” Levant asked as he looked on with a worried expression.
Elidi hesitated and then she realized it was useless to deny what was going on. If Runi knew, and the whole other team knew, then the rest would know soon enough. She didn’t want to be fussed over, but it was inevitable.
“Nothing is wrong,” Elidi said as she turned to look at them, deciding to be very blunt about this. “I’m just pregnant and I can’t fight right now.”
Everyone froze and just stared at her, then Minda let out a laugh.
“Pregnant!? You just started dating Cetas! Oh my god, don’t you guys know how to protect yourselves?” Minda asked with a big grin on her face. “Tallis and I have been dating for years and have never even had a scare! But look at you!”
“Of course we know how! But...we’re gonna get married and stuff eventually, and we just...well, maybe we weren’t thinking too much about it,” Elidi said as she tucked some hair behind her ear. “Don’t make a big deal of it.”
“But it’s a big deal!” Oriana exclaimed. “I’m gonna be an aunt!” she clapped her hands, and then she grabbed Elidi’s hand and pulled her over. “Alright, you stand behind me. Levant, you keep your shield on her the whole time.”
“I’ll do my best!” Levant said with a firm nod. “Congratulations, Eli.”
“Thank you,” Elidi said with a small nod. She was feeling shy about giving all this news. “Let’s not focus on this, okay? We have to capture Jeriah and the Wanderers.”
Tallis smiled and then looked at Minda. “Should we have children soon?”
Minda patted his cheek. “No~” she cooed and then continued walking towards the castle. Tallis just chuckled and followed after her.
“Hey! Look!” Oriana suddenly exclaimed and pointed wildly to the left. They saw in the distance another group of people heading in the direction of the castle. They didn’t look familiar, except for two of them. Minhee and Jakob.
Elidi’s stomach churned. That meant he had found his brother. One of those men in the distance was Jeriah; the person they needed to take to Prudentius. But Jakob had reached them first.
“Tallis!” Elidi whipped around to look at him. “Use your speed and bar their way. We’ll be right behind you, but we need to stop them in their tracks.”
“That’s dangerous!” Minda exclaimed. “He can’t go there by himself-”
“We’ll be right behind him,” Elidi repeated and then she looked at Tallis again. “Go.”
Tallis nodded and then bolted forward at an impossible speed, which was of course his Fate Gift. The others ran after him, intending to stand in the way of the Wanderers and their Monarch companions. They had to stop them.
Elidi wasn’t going to let her friends down.