Sorry, it's kind of short. But, it's more a transititon chapter than anything else.

Chapter Five

Eragon was skimming the earth beneath him as the sharp air draft carried him and Saphira higher. The breeze made his eyes water and his lips crack, but it was so liberating to be soaring high above the madness of the world. Eragon closed his eyes and thought of nothing but the sweet caress of the wind on his body. Eragon knew that if he just stopped thinking and never opened his eyes he could be lost here.

We need to land soon, Saphira commented, lurching to the ground a little. You said that we had to leave soon.

I know, Eragon grumbled, I just like to be up here. Can't we just circle the camp one more time?

No, Saphira said flatly, we must land and bid our farewells. Plus, you have one last promise to attend to.

Elva. Eragon shivered just to say the name. The task ahead was so daunting that he quailed to think of it. But, this was his own fault, and he had promised to heal her. No matter his own problems Eragon could not rest until the cursed girl was made well. Let's go then, I do want to hurry this along a little.

Saphira swooped toward the ground letting her wings close making her body more streamline. The sensation at first was sickening, but now Eragon it was just like falling onto a bed. Saphira pulled up at the last second and produced Eragon to the entrance to Elva's tent.

Eragon entered the cool shade vigilantly. He didn't want to be faced once more by those stunning violet eyes that held all, that knew all. Bitterly, he recalled that he had made them that way. All that girl was, or was proving to be was his fault.

"So you decide to show up, Rider?"

Eragon spun about and noticed that Angela was seated at a table staring him down, arms crossed over her chest in an attempt to look stubborn. But, Eragon could just see in her eyes a flash of hope that he would be able to heal Elva.

"My apologies on my delay, but I have been somewhat preoccupied over the last few days," Eragon said clamping his hands behind his back.

"Cut the fancy talk and get to work!" Angela snapped, and then directed her attention to the bed.

There she was. Elva sat static on the cot; her eyes seemed to glow as they alighted on Eragon. Her breathing was so slow, it seemed like she could just vanish into thin air. She titled her head to the side, sizing up Eragon and wondering if he was capable of freeing her.

"Greetings, Elva," Eragon managed to mutter.

Little one, Saphira snorted to all in the room.

"Hello, Dragon Rider. You have come, I suspect, to heal me?" She couldn't keep the slight sense of hope out of her voice.

"That would be why I'm here, yes," Eragon said smoothly.

"Is-is there anything I have to do?" Elva asked, her eyes shining.

"Just relax," Eragon suggested, "this may take a while, or it may not. I have never preformed a spell of this magnitude." Seeing the worry on Elva's face Eragon added, "But I'm sure that it can be done."

Elva reclined onto the cot and closed her eyes. Eragon approached her cautiously keeping sure to train his eyes on her face. Casting one glance at Angela, who was watching with an intent scowl written on her face, he knelt by the bed.

Saphira, Eragon sighed, I am going to need your help.

I shall always offer it, little one.

Eragon took a deep breath and whispered one simple word, "Slytha." Elva seemed to collapse even deeper into a trance, and Eragon was at least happy to see that Elva was perfectly asleep.

The next few minutes seemed to pass by without thought. Eragon didn't really know what exactly he was doing. He was only aware of the fact that Saphira was constantly adding small amounts of her own strength to that of Eragon's. Words slipped out of Eragon's mouth that he didn't know. Light began to spread from Eragon's palm and wrap around Elva like a restricting snake. She continued to breathe the same, but Eragon began to slip from consciousness. The world began to spin as the bright light roped about Elva. When the light began to restrict Eragon felt as dizzy as he ever had; his limbs were quaking and all the strength escaped from his body.

Eragon…

Even Saphira's warm voice seemed to drift away from him. The world was going black. The last thing Eragon saw was something fuzzy and fogged. Elva's body was aglow with a pale blue light. Her form was lifted a foot into the air. From her mouth escaped a ball the sapphire light the size of a plum. As it left her body, Elva landed back on the bed. The ball of light swelled in size, and then crackled and exploded. The blue light within burst and words began to echo in the air.

Eragon collapsed on the ground, his ears ringing with the ghostlike phrase: Atra gulai un ilian tauthr ono un atra waise skolir fra rauthr.

* * *

"Is he alive…"

"Do you think he will wake…"

"When…"

Eragon…Eragon, rise, say something, anything! Saphira's voice bellowed in his head.

Stirring slightly, Eragon murmured "I'm awake" to the gathering crowd. Arya sat silent on the bed watching the young Dragon Rider with an unexpected worry. Angela, who tried to look pleased with herself, couldn't stop fretting that he was dieing. Orik was kneeling next to Eragon poking him occasionally with his stubby fingers. The blue head Saphira had pushed into the tent kept on admitting plumes of smoke. Only one person was smiling. Only one…

Elva was grinning from ear to ear, unable to contain any worry she may have held for Eragon. Her insides felt like they were jumping. Her head was no longer ringing with the thoughts of others too desperately depressed to care for life. She was free! Eragon had released her. True he had imprisoned her, but now she was free.

Hunger gnawed at her sides, but Elva wouldn't leave till the Dragon Rider was awake. She had to thank him first. It did seem very conceited to just depart without a word of gratitude.

Her eyes explored the room. Everything just seemed a little clearer. It was as though a veil had been lifted from her vision and she could finally see the world. Light seemed a slight bit brighter. Shadows a little less dark. And noises that resounded in her ears a little more joyous.

"Is he alright?" Elva asked, jumping from the bed.

"You don't seem the least bit worried," Orik commented shrewdly.

"And why should she be?" demanded Angela. "Eragon's in this state at his own fault. Let the girl just enjoy herself; you have no idea what she's been through!"

Muttering something about respect, Orik turned his attention to the most apt spell caster in the room. "Arya, do you think he's alright?"

After a moment of thought she answered, "Yes, he will be. I just wished Eragon would have told me he was planning this." As she said it, Arya cast Saphira a hurt expression. Not that she felt any true betrayal, but Arya thought she could guilt trip the dragon into an answer.

Saphira gave Arya a most surprising answer. One, since that day, Arya never forgot. The dragon's voice held a slight anger as she spoke. We had no reason to suspect that our telling you would have changed anything. Our thoughts are our own, Arya.

Startled by such a reproachful retort, Arya became silent understanding the dragon's meaning. Eragon and Saphira obviously felt this was their fault and didn't need her there to watch them. The irony of the comment became quite clear as Arya recalled the moment in time when she had told Eragon the same thing about her mother.

Eragon could just hear the mutterings of Orik as he struggled to stay conscious. His vision was becoming better and the outlines of people and things were becoming more defined.

Saphira?

Eragon, Saphira breathed in relief, how do you feel?

Horrible, how long was I out for? Eragon forced himself to sit up straight to the cries of respite from everyone in the room. Still, Saphira's voice was the only sound he cared to hear.

Half an hour at best. You used quite a large amount of energy; even with my aid you were barely able to contain the spell. Saphira shuffled her wings outside the tent somewhat ashamed of her failing strength.

"Elva?" The first word out of Eragon's mouth tasted strange and took him much concentration to pronounce. "Is Elva better?"

"I must say, Elva is," Elva laughed as she stepped through the ring of onlookers to greet Eragon. "Elva is better than ever before."

A sigh of release left Eragon's mouth. He had done it! Cured her, made amends with his own demons. She grinned at him and shook his hand.

"I hate to leave you all so soon, but I'm starving," Elva giggled, giddy as a new born foal. "Thank-you Eragon, Shadeslayer."

"You're most welcome, if ever there is anything I can do, all you must do is ask," Eragon said straining to pull himself onto the bed. With the help of Orik, Eragon managed to sit upright on the cot to face Elva.

"There is one thing you can do…" Elva said slyly.

"That is?"

With a smile spreading over her face, Elva responded, "Never try to save my life again, please."

With that simple request, Elva turned on her heel and departed. Eragon watched her go half in amusement half in astonishment. Without the constant drag of other people's worries hanging on her, Elva was actually quite good-natured and funny, and hoped she would stay that way, even if it was not destined to be so.

Saphira, Eragon laughed, will you take me home now?

And where, said Saphira with conviction, is home but where you are right now?