Chapter 5: Planet
Dani felt different. What was wrong? Why did she feel so strange?
She could feel DNA distorting and changing inside her, the cells altering at light speed, changing shape.
Her DNA helix coiled and uncoiled itself rapidly and then rearranged itself into a complex form of ribbons.
They were torn, but in a beautiful way. Perhaps it was meant to be a reflection of her soul.
She now took the time to observe the incredible view that surrounded her. She was in the centre of an unspeakably magnificent forest. There were no words to describe it, but she tried.
The grass, if that’s what you would call it, smelled different. Sweet, almost like honey or some exotic spice. It was the most incredible hue of green, stunningly electric, with a lilac tinge to the edges of it, like an unseen being had come along with fingertips of purple and showered it over the edges of the grass. White bell like flowers where everywhere, on the ground and Dani didn’t know how, but somewhere suspended in the air, as if time had come to a stop. She looked closer at them, and reached her hand out and there seemed to be a quivering shield around them, protecting them. All of a sudden the shield disappeared and the flower dropped into her hand.
It was a beautiful shape, the white was different to earth. Brighter. Clearer. Ethereal almost.
Dani looked closer into the flower and at that instance, the flower began to slowly unfurl itself, cautiously, shyly, it seemed.
Dani saw that there seemed to be a glowing blue centre, the flower opened completely and then flew out blue lights, firefly in appearance, although Dani wasn’t quite sure if they were actually fireflies.
They gravitated towards her, floating around her, some of them, grabbed tendrils of her air and then let go of them.
In that moment, Dani felt a presence behind her, as if she was being watched. She whirled around and peered curiously across the forest. Her heart jumped in her chest as she saw a pair of wings open and a familiar set of blue eyes looking at her.
She blinked and then when she opened her eyes, he was standing in front of her, a small smile tugging on his face as he regarded the amazing scene.
“It seems that they’ve taken a liking to you,” he said with amusement as he glanced up at the blue glowing lights around her then back at her.
Dani laughed. “More likely they’ve come to investigate the intruder on their otherwise peaceful planet.
An unidentifiable look flashed through his eyes, and then just as quickly vanished.
He held out his finger to a blue light and it gracefully landed in his palm. He squinted his eyes and looked closer at. He nodded his head and then grinned.
“They like your hair. We call it Saftor on this planet. Black with hints of red,” he spoke with a softer tone at the end; as he picked up a strand of it and tucked it behind her ear.
Dani ducked her head and then looked back at him with a grin on her face.
“Well, then, send them my thanks. And perhaps it’s you who they like, seeing as you can understand them.”
“It’s a talent.” A smile spread across his face.
It was then Dani noticed something.
An absence. A somewhat strange feeling of emptiness.
She was gone.
Static light flickered from within the forest, illuminating the peculiar shaped leaves, the breath – taking flora, the gleaming glass like appearance of the trees as the being approached the stone altar with the unreadable cursive spiralling symbols and the looming platform that beckoned slyly for the creature to approach.
The feet of the creature stepped into the ground, warning the trees of its arrival and they withdraw hastily from the presence of the black scaled being that moved up towards the platform of stone, the lights flickering faster, growing more choppy and static, sound seemed to emit from the beams of static but yet could not be heard by human ear. It grew in sound until it was deafening in the creatures ears; even in its strength, it winced at the thundering sound of something that wasn’t music but yet was not voices.
The static rays erupted into webs of twisted trees made of lightning, exploded in ripples of stardust and a drop of the essence of the sun, its single golden drop penetrating into the creature.
A crumpled form of a beast that was never meant to be feared.
Pale skin, dark cutting lines retreating and dissolving back into his skin, his ears fading from black to pale, his hair lengthening out over his still form. The static ceased and the sounds screeched to a halt yet its screams somehow still echoing throughout the forest.
It clutched at where its six geometric hearts lay carved into itself and tore at its black scales, and they fell the to the ground, becoming weightless as the light continued to penetrate the glinting scales of the creature, and at last, its true essence was revealed.
The Cursed Shapeshifter.
Dani spun around frantically and grabbed Caden’s arm.
“Caden, Amanda, she’s – “.
“I know where she is. She might be safe; she might not be, depending on…” Caden continued to mutter something under his breath that Dani couldn’t quite hear.
“Caden, what do you mean? Is she safe?” she asked desperately.
He sighed, and then looked at her, taking her other hand.
“She will not be harmed. But the Elf King has…varying…moods.” A look of displeasure appeared on his face, seeming to almost make shadows in his eyes.
“A bi – polar Elf King. That was something we definitely needed.”
“Wait a second.” Her brow furrowed in puzzlement. “How do you know she is near the Elf Realm?” she asked, a curiousness winding through her tone.
He smiled at the ground, then glanced back at Dani with a slight smirk on his face.
“I thought you might ask that. You have many questions.”
“And I require answers.” She stated smugly.
He took an object out of his pocket. A beautiful stone, appeared to have flames within it.
He held it up in the air and squinted at it; then lowered the stone so Dani could see it.
He stared into the flaming stone as he spoke.
“Whoever you think of, this will show where they are.”
Caden’s eyes narrowed even more and almost instantly, the flames rolled back to the sides of the stone, leaving an infinite pool of black in the middle. A fog gathered in the blackness before suddenly clearing.
As Dani peered into the fog trapped within the stone, she could make out a small figure was wandering in a forest. She exuded confidence, although Dani could sense her hesitation.
She looked closer into the trees and she saw shadowy figures, ethereal looking, that appeared to be watching Amanda.
“Who?” Dani looked up at Caden, who had shifted to stand behind her.
“The Elves. I can see the Elf King, but I can’t make any promises on his demeanour.”
This time it was Caden who looked at her with a curious eye.
“How did you know it was called The Elf Realm? I didn’t tell you that.”
Dani mused for a second as she pondered that dilemma, staring unseeingly into the vine filled forest.
“I don’t know,” she replied slowly, tracing her foot in the lilac tinged grass. She looked back up into his clear eyes.
“It just…came to me.”
Caden shook his head slowly in astonishment.
“It seems you have many…talents that we have to discover about you. Don’t we?” he said, a touch of mischief to his voice.
“I’d hardly call them talents. More like oddities. “she said with a raised eyebrow, and zipped her jacket up.
Caden leaned closer to her and whispered in her ear. Dani could feel his cool breath ghost over her skin.
“Oddities they may be, I’d still like to discover them. If you don’t mind.” He finished, backing away from her slightly, yet still quite close to her.
At that moment, everything was forgotten but Caden’s intense stare. It awakened something inside of her that she couldn’t quite identify.
“I don’t.” she breathed and took his cold hand.
“Well then. It’s settled.” With that last statement, something gleamed in his eye and he pulled Dani to him.
Dani knew what was going to happen and she didn’t resist. She couldn’t even if she’d wanted to. She was held under an unshatterable spell and captivated by his dark gaze.
Caden crushed his lips against Dani’s. She didn’t even have time to catch her breath and tangled her hands into his dark hair, pulling him to her. He gripped the collar of jacket and tugged her hair gently down, tilting her face closer to his.
His breath was closer now and all of a sudden he nipped her bottom lip with his teeth. Dani couldn’t help but let out a small moan and she fell further under his spell.
Caden’s lips moved down her cheek and onto her neck, her head leaned back involuntarily and she gripped onto his back, her nails digging into him. Caden didn’t seem to notice as he marked her neck aggressively, taking her captive, taking her as his own.
It was then that Dani saw that his wings were unfurled and splayed in the air. Light seemed to shimmer from them and they moved slowly back and forth to a melody that could not be heard.
Caden lifted up his head and respited his attack on her neck, fixing her with a look that sent a shiver down her spine. She pulled him back up to her face and pressed her lips against his desperately.
Dani realised that she was gasping for air and Caden pulled back.
He no longer had that characteristic glint in his eyes, instead they were veiled with deep emotion and tears nearly spilled from her as she saw love in his eyes.
“Why is everything so…?” she started.
“Strong? Emotions are incredibly powerful here. Love has ability to heal and hate has the power to kill. What I feel for you…cannot be stopped.” Caden said quietly, gazing into her eyes.
“I don’t want you to stop it.” Dani looked back and showed him the love in her eyes. His own eyes widened as he saw it there and he wrapped his arms around her. Everything came to an abrupt halt as they stood there together for what seemed like years.
Dani realised that something was wrong as she felt Caden’s arms stiffen and contract around her.
Then she heard it for herself.
Dani winced away from the voice in her head that bounced relentlessly in her mind, echoed out into the abyss of the hidden places in her heart.
She listened again for the voices, fearing them, yet knowing that they would help her.
“You must leave. Flee to the Cloud Kingdom, in the skies. You will find refuge there. “
It was then that she finally heard the danger, heard the pounding footsteps of their enemy, the unhindered cries of death.
Fear gripped her with vice like steel claws, but she ripped them apart with ferocity.
She had to be strong.
They had to escape.
She would not let fear hold her down.
She knew Caden had heard it, she could see the brief momentary flash of cold blooded fear in his dark iris, then saw as fear took him too. However, she watched him break the grip of fear and watched it shatter. She felt it crawl back to the dark hole in which it belonged.
She grabbed his arm, looked him dead in the eyes and he nodded back at her.
“You know where to go,” he said, taking her head and looking up into the endless plain of strangely blue skies.
She focused on the sky and things seemed to stop before her very eyes.
The sounds of footprints dimmed, the trees moved slower, the clouds drifted across the sky and seemed to part for her like the Red Sea.
She heard Caden urge her on, and she made a leap into the air.
Gravity could not stop her.
The Law of Physics did not apply.
Only magic did.
It changed continuously, mystified its users, it could never be fully understood.
It simply existed, shocking everyone who discovered it.
The ground fell further away from her as she moved upwards, it seemed as there was an invisible bridge in the air that was guiding her steps.
Caden had drifted to her side and she saw his velvet black wings moving swiftly in her peripheral vision.
She noticed a scar on the underside of his left wing. She wondered how he had gotten that. Fighting perhaps? Maybe someone hurt him. The thought of Caden being harmed made her visibly shudder. Caden saw this and was immediately at her side.
“Don’t worry about me. It’s nothing.” He said with a small smile.
She stared back at him.
He smiled a little more.
“I told you that you were too curious for your own good.” He said chuckling and glancing at her.
“You’re clearly too observant for your own good.” She replied.
“When it comes to you, I most definitely am.” He winked at her.
She tilted her head to the side and glided to his side through the wispiness of the cloud fog.
“How did it happen?” she asked quietly.
“I’ll tell you later. When it’s safer.” He whispered into her ear, just as quiet as her.
Dani felt her heart jolt as she felt his breath ghost over her.
“Why are you whispering into my ear?” she asked, her voice shaky.
He whispered back again, “You have ears like an elf.”
She looked back at him, heart still rushing.
“What are elf ears good at?”
He drifted away from her, and Dani mourned inwardly at the loss.
“Their good at listening. They hear things others don’t. So do you.”
“Some things are louder to my ears than others.” She replied.
“I’m not sure if that’s a talent or an abnormality.” She considered.
He grinned at her and tugged one of her fingers.
“Trust me, it’s a talent.”
“Discovered another one, have we now?” she said jokingly, giving an exaggerated hair flip.
“I’d like to say I have that right.” He said.
Dani realised that they had reached a new realm.
The Cloud Kingdom.
She looked up higher, into the cloud fog and saw that there were faces were looking curiously back her. Some were murmuring amongst themselves. Others were waving excitedly back at them and Dani saw that Caden was smiling and waving back.
“They know you. You’ve been here before?”
“Only once. A long time ago.”
Dani sensed there was more to the story that he was letting on, but she decided that could wait. There was so much that Dani didn’t know and so much that Caden had yet to find out, about her, about what they were dealing with.
Evidently, Caden had more knowledge about what they were up against than she did.
Which was probably why he was hiding things from her.
He didn’t want to scare her away. Maybe he thought she would run, flee from his world. From him.
She wanted to tell him that she would never run.
She would never flee.
She would be with him to the end.
Whatever it was that they were facing.