I hadn’t planned to tell Elora about my treason. I didn’t want her to worry about anyone other than herself. But she asked her question, and we had been truthful to each other. But as I thought about our conversation earlier, I realized something. Her family valued education, which meant she must have been a noble. At least, that’s how it was in Obrenor. Those who could afford an education were nobility.
I heard Elora’s soft breaths as she slept, causing me to glance at her. I had to admit, she can become someone dear to me. A friend that I couldn’t handle the thought of dying. She was a kind and beautiful young woman. I often found myself staring at her law length golden brown hair and looking into her eyes. Her diamond shaped face. Her rose colored skin. Her petite body. It would be understandable for her to be popular with suitors.
I forced myself to walk out the door of the room and to do a small check of the surroundings to make sure things were safe. While doing so, my mind couldn’t help but think about the Elf. I knew she didn’t tell me everything about her past or her home. But I understood that she was protecting herself in any way she could.
The area looked secure, and I found nothing strange. So, I went back to the room. Elora still occupied my thoughts as I walked up the stairs. I didn’t fully know why she had become so important to me. But I reassured myself that once I got her to Alovia, my worry for her would end and so would my thoughts about her. Once I opened the door, I looked up and saw Elora standing next to the fire holding up the shovel from the tools. That was a familiar sight.
“Again, with the shovel?” I asked while I crossed my arms.
She looked at her weapon of choice. Her head dropped in embracement. “I just grab what’s close to me.”
“And it’s always the shovel.”
She put the shovel back on the rack. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re still worried.” I shook my head. “That’s normal when you’re in a situation where you constantly have to keep your guard up.”
“I just feel helpless sometimes.”
I brought my hand up to my chin and thought for a bit. “Well, what if I train you in some self-defense?”
Her head popped up and stared at me. “You’d really do that?”
“If it would help you feel less helpless.” I offered. “Besides, it would be good for you to learn how to protect yourself. That way if I can’t stay close to you, you can still make sure that you’re safe.”
“I’d like that.” Her small smile warmed my chest.
“Now, get back to bed.” I pointed at the bed.
She glanced at the bed, and her smile faltered. “Are you going to leave again?”
I shook my head. “No, I just went to make sure things were secure. I’ll be here all night.”
The smile returned and she went over to the bed. Returning under the covers, she turned to her side and let her eyes close again. After a short while, I walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. She looked peaceful as she slept. Pulling the covers up to cover her shoulder, I made sure she was comfortable. I reached over and brushed a hair away from her face. And I reminded myself, that this partnership wouldn’t last after she got to Alovia.
We ran into a little trouble the next day. Once we got into a dense part of the forest that we began to pass through, we encountered a Wendigo that had been lurking. As we were passing through the air suddenly felt more chilled then normal. I slowed Zealot to a stop before I jumped off and grabbed my sword and shield.
“Stay on Zealot.” I told Elora. “If something happens to me, ride to the next town and get help.”
“I can’t leave you behind, Luna.” She argued.
“You will if it means that you survive.” I looked back to her. “Please do as I ask, Elora.”
“But-” She didn’t get to finish her sentence.
An inhuman howl came from the trees and a sudden flash jumped forward and pushed Elora off of Zealot. She impacted with the ground hard and let out a grunt of pain. The creature wailed into the air, as if it had triumphed. I ran over and used my shield to bash into the creature, successfully throwing it off of Elora. It rolled over a few times before it got back on its hands and feet. It let out a shriek. Rotating my sword around, I raised my shield to defend myself and mirrored its movements watching each other as we rotated in a circle.
“This creature look familiar to you?” I shouted back to Elora as she worked on standing up.
“If memory serves correctly,” she said breathlessly. “That’s a Wendigo. A human who quashed themselves by taking part in cannibalism. They constantly crave living flesh.”
The Wendigo charged. I readied myself and used my shield to knock it off its path. I swung my sword at its back and connected, cutting deep into the skin. It let out another wail from the pain. It jumped into the air and landed on me. My shield was able to protect me from its unnatural teeth. Its dark sunken in eyes stared at me as it thrashed and gnashed at me. Using my legs, I was able to kick it off of me.
It landed on its back and let out a disturbing grunt. It looked up and saw Elora standing behind him. With one swift movement, it got back onto all fours and charged at her with a hunger in his eyes. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast enough to stop it.
“Elora!” I cried out.
She grabbed something from a pouch hanging from her belt and threw it at the creature. It immediately began to writhe with pain. She didn’t hesitate to run back over to me and help me to my feet.
“What did you throw at him?” I asked as I regained my breath.
She let out a scared breath. “Chili powder.”
“Really?” I was shocked. “You carry chili powder with you.”
She began to guide me to Zealot, who had moved a short distance off but stayed close. “Chili has a lot of medical benefits. I don’t know how long it will keep that thing occupied.”
“Did any of your books tell you how to kill a Wendigo?” I asked once I was able to run on my own.
I began to help her back on the gray horse as she answered. “They have a heart of ice. You have to burn it.”
“I literally can’t just stab this thing?!”
“That would at least get us to the heart. Luna! Look out!” She shouted causing me to spin around right as the Wendigo pounced.
I didn’t get my shield up in time. Its long sharp teeth managed to get beyond my armor and chainmail, piercing my skin. I let out a cry of pain but went back to focusing on protecting Elora. Raising my fist, I punch the creature multiple times, but it held on. Something caused it to recoil in pain and release me. As it tried to remove what was causing its pain, I quickly saw Elora hanging onto a dagger she had shoved into the Wendigo’s back. Ignoring my own pain, I lifted my sword and charged.
“Elora! Move!” I commanded as I thrust the blade into the creature’s chest.
She fell to the ground as the Wendigo let out one final screech of pain and collapsed. I let out a few hard breaths and walked over to the Wendigo to pull out my sword. I continued to pant and I glanced over at Elora. She too was breathing heavy. My vision began to blur and I swayed to the side. Before my vision went black, all I saw was Elora jumping to her feet to help me.