The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 34

I didn’t really know whether those shadows that I had seen were friend or foe, but I could never turn my back on someone who was wounded. The smell of blood slowly got stronger the closer that I got to them. They must be pretty badly wounded for the smell to be this strong already. I really hoped that I wasn’t too late.

My heart clenched in my chest at that thought and I picked up my pace. It took me a lot longer than I had first thought that it would take me to reach them. When I finally did manage to reach the area that I had last seen the figures, I couldn’t find them. I could smell them, but with the mixes of the other blood that was soaked into the soil it was difficult to locate exactly where they were. They had to be close by but where exactly were they?

Since I couldn’t seem to find them using my sense of smell or sight, I tried to listen for them. Whether they were conscious or not they would still make some sort of noise. I just had to follow the noises that would sound the most…human I guess. Even though I knew that they were most likely Elves. Truthfully, I haven’t seen another human anywhere around here but then again I guess I shouldn’t have expected to see any.

With all of the things that have been happening to me. I was even starting to question my own humanity, and my life that I had had on Earth. Could there be other humans up here that had survived, or was it just me? One of these days I was going to have to ask, but for right now I still needed to locate the wounded guys in the battle zone.

I listened closely, straining my ears to hear to try to find any sort of sound, any sign of life. At first there was nothing but the wind whistling through the charred debris. The harder I listened the more differences I could find within each sound. It wasn’t just the wind that I could hear but also the scamper of the animals running through the open field.

I could hear a fox approach behind me, cautiously. I could hear some wheezy and someone choking out words. They were both dying, that much I could tell. I needed to hurry up and locate them, and the healers needed to get out here faster. I walked quickly in the direction of the noises, being careful not to step on either of them once I’ve found them.

When the noises got to their loudest I finally spoke. If they mistook me for the enemy or if it was a trap I didn’t want to be within reach of a deadly strike. Being out in the open like I was, in the dark during a war, heightened all of my senses and I automatically tensed up my muscles in case I was caught by surprise. All of this stuff felt reflexive and natural, like I have done this stuff a thousand times before.

“Who are you?” I asked as I looked down to where I thought that the wounded people might be.

The fireflies had disappeared a little while ago so I had almost nothing to go on light wise. The stars and the moon created just enough light to show figures but not features. Now that my eyes had adjusted to the dark completely I could more or less distinguish between objects and the ground. Which was how I could generally see where both of the people were lying down. They had moved after I had spoken, which helped me even more to locate them.

The one guy raised had raised his head. But the movement was pretty slow so I assumed that it was difficult for him to move around. Oh we were going to be in deep trouble if those healers didn’t get out here soon.

“Help us…please,” the voice called from the darkness. It was a male, but the voice was garbled and scratchy like his throat was raw from overuse.

I knelt down beside the two bodies. The guy who had spoken was still moving around a little bit, but the other guy still hadn’t moved or made a sound. Damn, I was afraid that I might’ve arrived too late but I was hoping to god that he had just passed out.

I couldn’t really see what was going on so I couldn’t really fix the main problem. I could probably heal their wounds but if there were other complications such as poison or an object in the wound, than I might actually kill the person. Well that is if they aren’t already dead.

Suddenly blue light started to shine from behind me, illuminating the wounded soldiers in front of me and a small section of the landscape. Startled that I hadn’t heard anyone approach from behind me I whipped around to face whoever was behind me. I was tensed and ready to strike if I needed to.

Standing behind me, on all fours, was the fox that I had heard following me earlier. I had originally dismissed it as a threat because I was pretty sure that I could handle myself against other animals. Apparently I was wrong about this fox not being a threat.

The fox wasn’t all that large so I assumed that it must’ve been a cub. The light that had illuminated the soldiers and the landscape had come from an orb of blue fire that was floating just a couple of inches above the fox cub. The orb of fire moved towards me and then another one appeared above the fox cub, and then another.

The cub kept his eyes closed like it was either concentrating very hard, or it was terrified of me. I doubted that the last one was the reason though. I watched as three more orbs appeared above the cub and came towards me. Each one floated around me and stopped somewhere behind me, illuminating more and more of the landscape. I could feel the warmth of the flames against my back.

Once the fifth orb floated past my shoulder the fox cub opened his eyes and padded over to me. He yipped and rubbed head against my leg. I wanted to pet him but I was afraid that I was either going to scare him or provoke him. So I just held very still.

This wasn’t an ordinary fox cub. Foxes don’t use magic and definitely can’t produce fire out of thin air. He was either a fox demon or a fox spirit. Even if he was only a child he could still be rather dangerous.

“Miss Lucy,” a voice rang through my head. It felt like it was radiating up my body from where the fox was resting his head on my leg. Was he projecting his thoughts through his contact with my leg? “Lucy, it’s me, Tray.”

The voice was rather quiet, so it sounded almost like a whisper. If he was projecting his thoughts than that was a long distance for them to travel. Wait a second, did he just say Tray?!

I could feel my eyes widen with surprise. You’d think nothing more could surprise me anymore. But I guess I was wrong, things can always surprise you.

“Tray? Um, what are you?” I asked trying to stay as calm as possible. Why do these things always happen to me?

“What do you think I am? I’m a fox demon,” Tray replied sounding very proud of himself, even his tails and ears perked up.

Tray didn’t seem all that dangerous. In fact he looked really cute and fluffy. But I guess looks could be very deceiving…probably. From what I had read in the Elvin library, demons were supposed to be just myth and legend. They were supposed to exist in this land, or so the Elven people believed.

“Did you create those fire orbs yourself?” I asked Tray as I turned my head to the side to see where the fire orbs had disappeared to. The warmth behind me hadn’t changed so I knew that they were somewhere behind me, but I couldn’t really tell exactly where they were.

As I turned around I could finally see where all of the orbs had gone to. All five of the fire orbs floated around the two wounded soldiers, casting just the right amount of light and heat so that it wouldn’t bother the soldiers.

“Yeah, pretty cool huh?” Tray commented excitedly. His excitement made a sort of tingly feeling go up my leg. It was actually a really nice feeling. Was he sending his emotions through the contact as well? Now that was pretty cool. I wonder if he could feel my emotions and hear my thoughts too. He might be able to later on but for right now he might just be too young to do it.

I nodded absently as I turned the rest of the way around to check on the two soldiers. They were both in much worse shape than I had first thought, much worse. I was surprised that they were both still alive and stunned that the one guy could still move.

He probably couldn’t feel all of the pain yet, adrenaline could do that to you. Once the adrenaline wore off though that would be another story entirely, and he would be in a lot more pain.

Excessive amounts of blood dripped from both of their bodies, soaking the ground around them and their clothes. Well, what was left of their clothes anyway.

“Can you keep those lights going Tray?” I asked as I got closer to the unconscious Elf and knelt down beside him.

“Yes Miss Lucy,” Tray’s voice was even fainter now that we had lost the connection. “But only until the others get here. After that I must leave. I can’t have anyone see me like this until the war is over.”

Wait a second, does Tray know what this war is about? Damn it, I was going to have to ask him about that later. I quickly went to work on healing the unconscious Elf first. He seemed to be the one that was in dire need to be healed at the moment.

I quickly examined each of his wounds for any sort of obstructing objects and for any potentially harmful poisons. I was happy that I didn’t find anything harmful in any of the wounds. I went to work on the worst of the Elf’s wounds first, hoping to slow down the loss of blood and the further deterioration of muscle tissue.

I used my own powers and the liquids in the ground around me to heal up his wounds to the best that I could. I knew that I shouldn’t heal him up completely because he would need time to adjust to the new skin. If I did completely heal him up it could cause some big medical problems like; his skin being stretched so tight that one wrong move and all of it will crack open and bleed.

I finished healing the worst of his wounds and, feeling slightly light headed and dizzy, got up. I stumbled over to the other wounded soldier who was still sitting up, watching me. His eyes were filled with a dull caution, almost like he was starting to fall asleep.

“Hey come on now, don’t fall asleep on me,” I told him quietly as I lightly smacked the side of his face to try to encourage him to stay awake.

I wasn’t sure what exactly was wrong with him yet, so if he did fall asleep he might not wake up again. The soldier’s eyes slowly began to refocus on me. Then all at once his muscles tensed up making the blood ooze more rapidly out of his wounds. I guess he really was starting to doze off on me.

“Sorry, I just feel really tired…” the soldier replied his voice deepening with his body’s need for sleep.

“Well, no sleeping yet,” I told the soldier as I slightly smacked him on the side of the face a couple more times. That seemed to make him more alert. I grabbed his chin and looked into his eyes to check for any sort of damage. It didn’t seem like he had a concussion but I didn’t want to take any chances for other brain injuries. “What’s your name?”

It seemed to take him a moment to process my question. That was definitely not a good sign.

“Um, my name is Verron,” the soldier replied slowly as if he had to think about each word first before he said it.

“Well Verron I need you to stay awake for just a little while longer, okay?” I told him as gently and as patiently as I could. I was trying to be nice but I really needed to keep him awake at least for the time being.

With Verron’s permission, I quickly examined his body. I checked again for poisons and any other potentially harmful materials that could be within the wounds, and thankfully found none. I began to heal the worst of his wounds, but when I was halfway done I heard a yip from Tray and the fast scampering as he ran away.

That could only mean that my backup was getting closer. As soon as I couldn’t hear Tray anymore the fire orbs began to slowly disappear one at a time, until I was in complete darkness again. The darkness really didn’t help me with my dizziness, it really just made it worse.

There was nothing for me to focus on except the black expanse that went for miles in every direction that I looked. Then over a hill behind me I saw about four or five little orange puffs floating around in the air. As the puffs got closer I could see that there were people underneath them.

Well, here comes my backup finally. There was a group of about seven people, including Avin, jogging towards us with torches in their hands. Everyone was armed with some form of a weapon and had packs attached around their hips that probably contained medical equipment.

“Well, what took you guys so long?” I asked once they were within hearing range, smiling. But I was already starting to feel the exhaustion creep up on me so I didn’t bother to try to stand.

I’ve never used up this much energy before, and now I was really starting to feel the effects of what I had just done. My vision was starting to get blurry, my thoughts were starting to get fuzzy, and my muscles screamed like I had just finished my first day at a military boot camp. Everything was starting to hurt, even the slightest of movements hurt to do.

I had used up way too much energy today, and I was afraid that this might not be the last time that I felt like this. I was in a war zone after all, I was going to have to get used to the feeling of being exhausted. There were probably going to be some things that walked on to the camp that would gross out even a veteran healer.

“Sorry, it was difficult to wake everyone up and even more so to convince them to come down here,” Aquaphira replied glaring at the healers that were behind her. They all looked away, none of them dared to challenge her. Even in this poor light I could’ve sworn that their faces were flushed with embarrassment.

I was a little disappointed at the fact that they wouldn’t leave the camp to come out onto the battlefield to save someone else without having to be persuaded. Looks like I was going to have a lot of stuff to work on tomorrow. I sighed and rubbed a hand over my face. I was just too tired to deal with this right now.

“Okay, well he has been healed up as much as he can be for today,” I said to Aquaphira as I pointed to the unconscious soldier. Then I pointed behind me to the soldier that was still conscious. “He is only half healed.”

Aquaphira said something to the other healers in Elvish but I was too tired to catch what exactly it was that she had said. One of the bigger healers, who I assumed was a guy however I don’t believe that we had been properly introduced, walked over to the unconscious Elf and picked him up carefully. The male healer turned around and started to jog back to the camp with another healer jogging beside him with a torch in hand. One down and one to go.

Aquaphira said something else to two more healers, they walked towards me and the other wounded soldier. The healers walked around me and attempted to help Verron to his feet. I assumed that they thought that he could walk so they were just going to help hold him up as they walked back to the camp.

“Will you be alright?” Verron asked as he watched me concerned. I must’ve looked pretty back considering how I was feeling right then.

“Yeah, I’ll be okay,” I told Verron, even though I knew that it was a lie. I tried to smile at him with my most convincing smile, but it felt like my face was going to tear to pieces with the effort. I wasn’t sure that he completely believed me but he did nod.

“Thank you for saving my friend,” Verron commented before being led away by the two healers that were at his sides. A third healer went with them carrying the second last torch. The only people that remained now was Aquaphira, who was carrying the last torch, and Avin.

“You really shouldn’t have done that you know,” Aquaphira said, and for a second I thought that she was mad at me for coming out here. I was about to argue with her but when I looked up at her she was smiling. “You are really shaking things up around here, you know that right? But I that’s exactly what we need to get ourselves back on track.”

I couldn’t really see Aquaphira’s expression all that well but her tone sounded excited and sympathetic. She was probably going to be the only person that wouldn’t object to the changes that I was going to make here.

“Now the question remains, can you get up?” Aquaphira asked as she shuffled closer to me. Avin shuffled closer too but on the opposite side of me. The light of the torch flickered across Avin’s face, but his face didn’t give away anything that he was thinking or feeling at the moment.

I had been sitting down for a while so maybe I could stand now. I was quite doubtful about it though, still I nodded slowly. I slowly got into a crouch, my hands on either side of me to help keep me balanced as I felt a wave of dizziness hit me. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to ward off the dizziness.

As soon as the dizziness became manageable I began to straighten out my legs and slowly try to stand up. Not only did the dizziness come back in full force but I had pain radiating up my entire body. My legs and arms felt like there was thousands of needles being stabbed into them all at the same time. My spine felt like Jell-O, and it was becoming difficult to breathe.

I bit my tongue to keep from crying out and tried my best to breathe normally. I tried to take a step forwards but my legs just couldn’t take the pressures and gave out underneath me. Just before I hit the ground I felt arms grab me around my waist. I was pulled up to the chest of my rescuer. My feet were no longer touching the ground as the person held me bridal style.

I looked up into the face of my rescuer with some difficult because I could barely keep my eyes open. Avin looked back down at me with his pale purple eyes. As I looked into his eyes I could see the concern that he had and the little bit of humor that he was trying to hide. He was laughing, well his eyes were anyway. What could he possibly think was so funny? I let it go after a moment because of the feeling of being surrounded by Avin’s warmth was starting to make me really sleepy.

“Well at least that wasn’t a complete lie, you did manage to stand up,” this came from Aquaphira who was watching my exchange with Avin with piqued interest. Which reminded me of what she and Sally were talking about when we were alone in the greenhouse.

They wanted Avin to be happy, and they thought that I might be his best chance for a happy ending of sorts. I was pretty sure that it was mostly Aquaphira who wanted this for Avin though. After what Sally had made him do I wasn’t too sure where I stood with her. I did like Avin so there wasn’t a problem on my end anymore, Avin on the other hand was a completely different story. It was just that Avin was engaged to the Princess Amavin, just thinking her name makes me want to kill something, and I wasn’t too sure that he even liked me in the same way that I liked him.

Ah, headache. Okay that’s enough thinking for tonight. I leaned my head against Avin’s chest, suddenly very tired.

“Damn, you really did wear yourself out. Well, we’ll make sure that you get back to the camp in one piece so you can just go to sleep if you like Lucy,” Aquaphira commented, smiling sympathetically up at me. Then she turned on her heel and started walking away. I felt Avin move to follow her as I slowly started to doze off into sleep while listening to Avin’s unusual heartbeat. After a couple minutes of that I passed out in his arms, but just before I did I could’ve sworn that he had kissed the top of my head.

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