The sun had just risen when Sara and Leon left the outpost.
“If you don’t mind, what were you dreaming of last night?” Sara asked.
“Nothing really, just fighting old battles,” Leon said, leading the way into the forest, “I think it’s my turn to ask a few questions.”
“Go ahead.” Sara said.
“Where did you humans come from?” Leon asked.
“Our land is called Gaia,” Sara answered, “It’s a beautiful place. We have every type of terrain and weather you can imagine. The land stretches forever in all directions. New Haven is considered a medium-sized city over there.”
“If you have so much land, why did you come here?” Leon asked.
Sara paused, “I’m sure there’s still a lot of land in Gaia that can be settled, but most of the cities were getting crowded fast. People began to think the only way we would survive is by expanding. We’ve settled a few islands at least, but nothing that comes close to Rhea. If it were vacant, we’d probably have a dozen cities here instead of three.”
Both of them suddenly stopped at the sound of some rustling.
“What was that?” Sara whispered, drawing her equinox.
“Trouble,” Leon said grabbing his staff, twisting one end and unsheathing the nearly two and a half-foot long blade inside.
“What kind?” Sara asked.
“Four arms and big teeth,” Leon answered, “That kind.”
“A Rhean Monkey?” Sara asked.
“If that’s what you wanna call it,” Leon said, without even a second to dodge what he just described.
The Rhean Monkey came swinging at him feet-first from the side of the tree. Holding onto the tree with its two left arms, it roared at Leon.
“Look out!” Leon shouted, pointing above Sara’s head.
Sara ducked just in time to avoid the three-clawed hand of another monkey. She drove her equinox into its eye and brought it crashing down.
Leon was just about to swing his sword at the first one when it suddenly leaped at him along with a third from behind. He stabbed the first one through the heart, killing it instantly. The other, however, got a good hold of him, slashing and tearing with its claws and biting down on his shoulder.
Leon growled in pain as he reached back and grabbed the monkey. With his incredible strength, he pulled it off and threw it hard against a tree.
The monkey staggered, unable to recover before Leon sliced its head off.
“Leon, are you hurt?” Sara asked, watching any wound on him quickly heal.
“I’ll be fine,” Leon answered, “Stay on your toes. These things usually travel in groups of about a dozen.”
At that moment, Sara realized several monkeys surrounded them. One suddenly roared, setting the others in a frenzy.
Leon didn’t wait. He ran at one and stabbed it through the ribs. Another jumped at him. In an instant, Leon was behind it, impaling it through the back.
Sara was amazed at the speed with which Leon was able to dodge. Four monkeys began to close in on her fast. Not wanting to get surrounded, Sara quickly ran towards one, thrusting the equinox into its neck. With no time to pull the equinox out, she grabbed the halo and swung it, slicing a second down the middle.
Leon used his incredible speed to intercept one of the monkeys and slice two of its arms off, before slashing its neck.
Sara quickly pulled the equinox out of the monkey’s neck and hurled it straight into the last one’s chest.
Leon scanned the area using his Vesuvian senses, “I think that was all of them.”
Sara retrieved the equinox, “Better not lose this. Arthur will kill me.”
“How are you?” Leon asked.
“My heart’s pounding.” Sara answered.
“We have to move, Leon said, “Vesuvia isn’t that much further.”
After several minutes jogging, Sara asked, “How often do you run into those things?”
“This is only the second time I’ve ever had to kill one.” Leon answered.
“Only the second time?!” Sara said disbelief.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t normally travel this slowly through the forest,” Leon said, “I would have just run away if I was alone.”
Sara was beginning to get winded, “Yeah, I saw how fast you moved. That was insane.”
“‘Insane’ is walking through this forest.” Leon said.
“What can I say? I trained for it.” Sara replied.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m hardly impressed with human survival skills,” Leon began, “Sometimes it just seems like desperation.”
“Okay, slow down,” Sara insisted.
Leon stopped, “Sorry.”
Sara took a few deep breaths, “You’re like a machine or something. How do you not get tired?”
“It’s in the blood,” Leon said, “As long as I have enough, I won’t go crawling around like a drunkard.”
After a few seconds, Sara composed herself.
“Should be safe now,” Leon said, “We can walk from here.”
They continued on side-by-side in a casual stroll.
“What are these Pelasgians like?” asked Sara.
Leon pushed through some brush, “Let’s just say you’ve got about as many different types of Pelasgians as Vesuvian Houses. You’ve got ones with wings, ones with horns and even ones with four feet, but that’s getting into specifics. Generally, their skin is a pasty light grayish color and everything else is black. Except the eyes – those are green with a faint glow.”
“Any weaknesses?” Sara asked.
“As far as anyone knows, sunlight.” Leon answered.
“Like a Vesuvian?” Sara said.
“It won’t kill them, but they don’t seem to like it,” Leon explained, “Besides that, they’re vulnerable to any weapon you’ve got.”
“Do they have any special abilities?” Sara continued.
“Usually not.” Leon replied.
Sara scratched her neck, “Sounds like they shouldn’t be too much trouble.”
Leon chuckled, “Most of Rhea thought the same of you humans. The Pelasgians fight like they live for it. They’re physically imposing and their numbers are anyone’s guess. We barely managed to drive them back.”
“They invaded Rhea before?” Sara asked.
“Yes, and they would have won if every Rhean hadn’t joined together. We lost a lot of good people in that war. Many call it the Dark Era.” Leon paused for a moment, “You could say we got lucky.”