Angels Can't Die

By Ashwath Narayanan All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 21

The witch was on her way out of the cave, a satchel in her hands to collect firewood. She came over to Rogue and tightened her bonds, checking if they were intact. This was her chance to escape. Rogue waited for a while as the witch made her way out of the cave, humming on some ancient melody. The humming soon grew fainter, and Rogue waited till she could hear it no more. Rogue quickly untied her bonds, and made her way out of the cave. Being sold into slavery had taught her a lot of things. She had tried escaping from her master quite a lot of times, but all she had done was untied her ropes before she was caught. Her chains had been a sign of slavery, and she was happy that she had finally escaped.

As Rogue made her way out of the cave, she quickly checked around for Eris and Aerys, but she couldn't find them. Maybe they were safe up in a tree or hidden in the bushes, but Rogue had to get the cure as soon as she could. She made her way up the mountain, treading carefully and aware that the witch could be anywhere. However, the witch couldn't be seen. After an hour, Rogue heard a heart stopping scream. It was the witch, and she finally knew Rogue was gone. Rogue increased her pace. She had to make it to the valley as soon as she could. She did not know anything about the witch, and she was sure the witch would do something to get her back.

Rogue trudged on and on, as fast as she could. Alone to the rustling of the leaves and her own thoughts. She hoped they would be able to defeat Satan. The three had braved so much already, and all Rogue could do was wish they get out of this fix alive. She reminded herself, get the cure, sneak in and find Eris and Aerys, feed them the cure and then run back to the valley. She had to stick to the task, and Rogue hoped she could make friends in the valley and get their support.

Night was approaching, and Rogue took shelter in a bush. She could hardly see the sky as there were very less spaces between the tree branches. Rogue had almost finished the uphill climb, and she planned to make it to the valley the next day. She had to hurry, for who knows what could become of Aerys and Eris while she was away. The unpredictable witch could do anything. Rogue just hoped Aerys and Eris would be unharmed till she got the cure. The witch shouldn't do anything now Rogue thought as she fretted about deserting her friends. She had just left them, and if anything, happened to them it would be all her fault. Oh cruel world, why do you do this?

Rogue slept with worries filling her head, as she wondered how they were going to find an army with so many rising problems. It seemed like they had finally come to an end, but all Rogue could do was be brave and hope that she had it in her to save her friends. She had to save those people who had risked everything for her, and she closed her eyes. The next morning, she would set out to find the cure with renewed courage. For now, she would sleep.

The next morning, Rogue woke up and grabbed some apples from a tree. There seemed to be a lot of apple trees around, and food wouldn't be a problem until Rogue grew tired of apples. Rogue had no difficulty climbing down the hill, and soon she began to see a kingdom in the valley. It was between the two mountains, and it seemed out of a fairy tale.

She ran down the mountain, but it was a good two hours before she reached the bottom. The kingdom had seemed close, but they were quite far away. It was silent, as Rogue had woken up at the crack of dawn, and maybe the people woke up later in the morning.

She walked into the kingdom, and up to some structure that looked like a palace. It was the most impressive of structures, and yet even the houses in Ashanti were better than it. It was a two storied building like structure that had intricate carvings of a warrior on its exterior walls. It depicted scenes and battles in which armour clad men and women fought against the forces of the evil. Surely Rogue would get help here. She had to make haste. Fortunately, the guards of the palace were still there, and after Rogue explained the situation, they took her to the warrior who was in his quarters.

“Sir, there is someone who wishes for your audience.” a guard said to a man who was seated on a chair. He was tall and had a muscular frame. His arms were filled with scars, and they were probably signs of his battles and war expertise. They really needed the warrior, he would help them finish their task.

“My friends Eris and Aerys have been given a potion by the witch of the mountains, and have been put into a dreamless sleep. I really need help, please do you know where the cure is?” Rogue said, falling onto her knees and pleading. She was very distraught, and had to make haste as she was unsure of what the witch would do to Eris and Aerys in the meantime. Rogue was really worried, and she hoped that these warriors would help her, at least in rescuing her two friends. “Please help me in saving my friends” she said, still on her knees.

The warrior scratched his head, thoughtful. “This witch you are talking about, I know not of her. But someone in the kingdom is sure to know because there have been instances where people go into the mountains and never return. We will look for the cure later, first let us go rescue these friends of yours. You need to lead us to the exact location.

Rogue rose. Finally, they had gotten help. After so much going wrong, something right had happened at last. They could finally free Aerys and Eris and set out on their journey.

The warriors got ready fast. Even fast was an understatement. The main warrior, you couldn't call him a king, as warriors served kings; picked up his sword and called up three guards who looked fierce, but not half as fierce as the old man did. Yes, he was old, and his battle scars themselves told tales. Maybe he could teach Eris?

They set out throughout the kingdom that was slowly coming alive. People were venturing out of their houses, and as the warriors walked, Rogue could see the people staring. The warriors walked on, not a glance in any other direction as they remained focused on their task. But Rogue thought it best to warn them. “The witch isn't someone to be meddled with. I am sure she has some trap ready for me as she had captured me too. No one knows what she can do, and we have to be careful.”

“We'll see about that” The warrior replied with a grunt. Rogue knew he was being over confident, and his tone was authoritative, and confident. It was the tone of a man who knew what he was doing. Rogue was glad that he knew what he was doing, and that he was the one leading them. She was impressed that he had come himself. Any other leader would have sent his people, but he had come himself. And Rogue respected that.

They set on, up the hill with Rogue in the lead. She led them higher and higher, hoping they would she would be able to correctly navigate to the witch's lair. By noon they had gone most of the way uphill, and they stopped for a rest.

“Where have you come from?” The warrior asked Rogue, and she knew it was an inevitable question. She knew it was coming, and she would have to tell him eventually.

“We come from Ashanti” she said and the king rose to his feet, sword in his hand. ” But we are against the king and Satan so you can put your sword down.” Rogue said quickly as she watched the wicked blade in the warrior’s hand as he sat down again. “The king is hunting for us, and you will see why when we rescue my friends. Please help us even after we rescue Aerys and Eris, because we need all the help required.” she said to the king.

“You must be of some importance for the witch to have captured you. Only important priests or people from the kingdom go missing once they enter the mountainous forest. You should stick behind me and show us the w ay because when she sees you she will go berserk, so we have to ensure that we get into her cave and then act. You should hide a distance away from the cave and wait.” the warrior said to rogue.

“Be careful, and please do not drink the potion she gives you. It will harm you in some way or the other. She will appear nice, but do not be fooled by her.” Rogue said, her mind going back to the nice way in which the witch had talked to them. “She will also entice you by appealing to your tired conscience so that you accept the potion she gives you. Who knows, she might even try new tricks on you so please be careful, and let me also lead the way till we are almost there.”

Saying that, they set out till they were only but a distance from the cave. It was there that Rogue hid up a tree and waited, wondering what would happen, as she saw the warriors head out towards the cave. She could faintly make out the witch coming and greeting them, inviting them inside the cave. And she watched the warriors go inside the cave. And then she waited, hoping that her friends were saved. If anyone could save her friends, it was these people.

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