Summary: Tira and Chocolate, by what it looked like in the Manga, were the only two to survive Sacher's 'search' for a certain child, or at least were the only two that were allowed to remain in the Sorcerer Hunter realm, if you will. What if at least one more had survived, was taken in by Big Momma, and had awaited the day when he could finally have his revenge on the man who had killed his family and the love of his life. This is his story. It's sort of put in after Book 11 or 12.
Disclaimer: I will post this once and only once if this short fic runs more than one chapter. I don't own these characters other than the ones I create. I own the mini plot I created for the story, not the main plot that the series is based on. I'm not making diddly squat for writing this, so if you sue me you'll get *counts change in pocket* $.46 and maybe what I can pawn off my alarm clock for you troubles. If you want to borrow one of these characters that are mine *please* ask before you use them. That is all.
BTW: This "..." is spoken.
And This %....% is thoughts, ok?
Lee Fletcher glided along the forest floor, his cloak flowing silently around him as he jumped up into a cave high above the ground. Glancing around, he drew the gigantic sword on his back and crept forward. Seeing something out of the corner of his eye, he turned quickly and pointed the tip at the shadow and almost laughed at himself for his stupidity.
It a mere squirrel who had set off his sensors, something that normally happened every couple weeks. "Com'ere," he said roughly, holding out his hand. "This is no place for you to be, forbidden magic's hidden here that could turn you into a monster. "I'll put you back on the ground where you be-" *BAM*
Lee crumpled to the ground, his sword falling out of his hands to lie beside him on the floor as a masked man floated past. "Go now and tell your precious 'Big Momma' what has happened," the man hissed mockingly, pushing him over the edge of the cave with his weapon. "Nothing will be able to stop me once I have all six of the hidden secrets this forest holds. Nothing."
Lee spit the leaves in his mouth out as he slowly came to, glancing around to see if he could remember where he was. A glance up proved his suspicions, the cave above him was no more, the forbidden magic's in there that had kept it standing were gone, leaving it to collapse in on itself.
Rubbing his head, he tried to remember what was in that cave. Sighing, he counted them off on his fingers. There was the wrist band thingy that made people faster than was physically impossible and gave them the ability to fly, which was needed to access the fourth forbidden magic. Unfortunately, it only worked if you had three of the few Unicorn crystals from the forest, which meant killing them. That alone was worthy of death when it came down to it. And the crystals only worked for awhile which meant you had to kill more and more. That's where the second one came in handy.
The second one was the box. All you had to do was make a wish and *poof* it would appear. The only thing was the box eventually posses the person to become paranoid of their friends, making them think everyone wanted the box and the things they possessed. That usually led to senseless slaughter, so it had been placed there as well.
He scratched his head, he knew there was one more there he just couldn't remember what it was. A fox came running by after a rabbit, making it click in his head as it did. The amulet that gave you control over all beasts, magical or not, anywhere any time as long as you had seen it before. Seeing as how the animals didn't have a choice and it once more ended up in senseless slaughter of both humans and animals alike it had been placed there as well.
Reaching in his pocket, he took out a small vile and broke it on the ground, getting up and stepping into the smog it made, Big Momma would have to be warned, and fast...
Carrot, Tira and Marron walked along the road to another town with nothing to do until Big Momma contacted them. Things had been slow after Sacher had been defeated, and other than that Maze guy they hadn't had a real challenge lately.
"Hey bro," said Carrot lazily, not seeing any cute girls yet. "When do you think Big Momma will contact us again?"
"I don't know," replied Marron slowly. "Think of it as that vacation you're always asking for."
"Hey, that's a thought!"
"Maybe we'll team up with some others for the next mission," shrugged Tira, keeping her eyes focused ahead. "Not that this group isn't fine, but we can't handle those really tough missions on our own..."
"How do you know the next mission will be a tough one?" asked Marron, giving her an odd look.
"I don't," she replied with a shrug. "But seeing as how whenever things slow down we have to take care of something huge, I'm just making that assumption."
"Hey lady, wanna have some fun!" called Carrot, about to chase after some cute chic who was running towards them. Tira's eye twitched as she pulled out a mallet and squashed him flat, leaving Marron to drag his older brother into town.
Marron shook his head as he watched Tira contain the urge to turn around and kill his brother a little ways in front of him. "Carrot..."
Big Momma frowned as she listened to what Lee had to say, nodding now and then as she did. He sat before her in midair, cloak still billowing around him in a phantom wind.
"You do realize I'll have to bring in some of my Hunters to help with this," she said, knowing how he liked to be alone.
"Who?" he asked, "A Haz knight to two? Those guys are fine with me, they get the job done and they leave."
"No," she replied. "Look." She showed him two groups in a mirror she produced, the color draining from his face.
"I'll do it myself then," he said quietly. "I'm not ready, they're not ready, it's too soon..."
"Sacher is dead, Lee," said Big Momma quietly, her normally cheerful face very serious for once. "It is time to move on. These two do need to know there is a reason why they didn't have any help that day. Why so many died. Why, since you are alive, you didn't come and see them after all those years. Of those who survived, only you and those two were allowed to keep their memories and continue as Sorcerer Hunters. The rest had their memories erased and were sent to live as orphans with other families."
"I couldn't, you ordered me not to after I was well again!" shouted Lee, pointing at Big Momma angrily. "I wanted to go fight Sacher, you refused me my revenge and let someone else kill him instead. I wanted to go see those who had lived after that one hellish day, you wouldn't let me saying it would cause too much pain. Why now, Big Momma, why am I finally being allowed to do this after it's too late?"
"If I had let you go after him when you had recovered you would've been killed. You are powerful, Lee, that's why Sacher wanted you to help him. But not powerful enough to defeat him."
"Then I would've joined Zadah at last," retorted Lee. "To be with her I would do anything..."
"You are needed as the protector of the Hidden Forest," replied Big Momma. "I need you there. This man, whoever he is, must be very powerful if he was able to get past you so easily. That or very clever. You have only had one other time when some threatened the magic and the special beasts that roam that valley, and that was years ago."
"Then I'll return there and get rid of this pest myself," said Lee pointedly 'standing up' so his feet were once more on the floor. "If you'll excuse me..."
"You'll stay right here and accept the help I'm going to give you," said Big Momma, snapping her fingers. He froze in his spot, finally sighing and giving up the struggle to move.
"Hai, Big Momma."
"I know you still resent the fact I stepped into you life so many times," said Big Momma, letting him free once more. "But it was for the best."
*sighs* "Hai, I know. Gomen, Big Momma."
"You're forgiven. Now, if you'll excuse *me*..." She vanished in a *poof* leaving him alone in the big hall. Sitting back down in midair, Lee waited and wondered what he would say when he was reunited with his foster sisters once more...
Carrot woke up awhile later, a cold icepack on his head and Marron sitting beside him reading some ancient scroll. "Uhhh..."
"Oh, you're awake," said Marron, giving him a small smile. "Tira really must've bashed you this time. Normally you wake up the moment another pretty girl walks by."
"The thought that she was still right there with the mallet in hand may've kept me down for once," said Carrot sarcastically. "I doubt it, though."
"You know, if you weren't such a pervert this may not happen all the time," teased Marron, putting the scroll down and handing him a plate. "Here's your lunch. Try not to-" *GULP* Marron looked at the now empty plate. "-inhale it."
"Hey Marron, how's- oh, you're up." Tira's glasses slipped down her nose, giving her a schoolgirl look as she pushed them up with her right hand. The left held some supplies and food. Carrot's stomach rumbled just them. "You bottomless pit," sighed Tira, "I guess we could eat early-"
" Moshi moshi!" Everyone stopped in their tracks as Big Momma popped in, literally, a lot smaller than they usually saw her.
"Hey," said Carrot, swinging his legs around to stand up. "Aren't you usually a lot bigger...?"
"Yeah, but you're not out on the road and I couldn't wait," came the short reply. "If I were my normal size, everyone in town would see me, and then there'd be mass chaos and it just wouldn't be good," she explained, wrinkling her nose. "Anyways, I have another client for you."
"Another case?" said Carrot, "And I was just getting relaxed too..."
"If you want I can send you off to work in some salt mines for a nice long time," offered Big Momma with a huge smile. "I'll even count it as your vacation time."
"No, that's ok," said Carrot quickly. "Relaxing really isn't really my thing anyway, I'd rather be working."
"Right..." muttered Tira. "So, what's the case, Big Momma?"
"You'll see when we get there," she replied. "It'll be a bit of a family reunion, I believe..."
"What, you mean my father Onion will be there?" griped Carrot, "Oh man..."
"My sister and Gateau could be working with us again," added Tira, making a face as she did.
"You'll just have to wait and see," said Big Momma as Carrot and Tira made a bet on who was right. "Although I think you're in for a surprise..." *Poof* And they were gone.
Tira, Carrot and Marron appeared next to an impatient looking Chocolate and her partner Gateau who was posing for himself in a mirror.
"Carrot!" Carrot was soon running around the room from Chocolate, who was doing her best to get Carrot to be in love with her. "Darling! Did you miss me? Have dreams about me? Pine away until you could see me once more?"
"Help!" cried Carrot, hiding behind Tira, who only glared at him and her sister, and then jumping behind Marron who was glad for the distraction. Gateau was giving him those looks again and he was not interested at all.
A figure in the background caught Tira's causing her to ignore the others for a moment. It was a guy, obviously nervous about something as he sat in midair with a cloak hanging about him. His hair was long enough cover his eyes, and as black as Marron's in color. The blade on his back looked familiar, giving her a feeling that she should know this man, though his clothes were unlike anything she had seen before. His arms and legs had leather straps and buckles on them, probably for some form of protection, and one hand wore a silver gauntlet, or at least it looked like it did...
"Now that we're all here, it's time for you to meet your client," said Big Momma, appearing out of nowhere.
"Moshi moshi," said the man nervously, "I don't suppose you recognize me, do you Tira or Chocolate?"
"Who is this fruitcake?" Carrot asked Tira quietly, seeing her struggle as she tried to place him.
"I....I don't know..."
"How do you know our names?" asked Chocolate suspiciously.
"Maybe this will help you remember," sighed the guy, drawing his blade from his back. It was about four feet long and a foot wide. The handle was at least a foot and a half long if it was an inch, and was carved bone of some sort with silver inlays and leather wrappings for grip.
Tira gasped as Chocolate rubbed her eyes to make sure it was real. "That's... Leila's sword..." Tira said faintly, looking like she might faint herself.
"I don't know how you got that blade!" raged Chocolate, tearing off her clothes to reveal her battle outfit (the one with the army boots, black pants, suspenders and a hat) and pulled out a coil of wire. "But I will kill you for having it!"
"Hey!" cried the man as he sliced through the wire that came at him. "Come on, Chocolate, I know you had a temper, but isn't this a little out of proportion? The least you could do is try and remember my name!"
"Never! You will die for touching the blade of the one person I never thought could never do any wrong!" cried Chocolate, sending several wires at him at once as Tira's eyes snapped.
"Wait!" she cried, changing herself into that leather suit and boots she wears and using her whip to bring back the wires. "Don't hurt him, Chocolate!"
"What are you talking about, Tira?" growled Chocolate as her younger sister went over to the man, a small smile on her face.
"It's Lee, can't you see it?" she replied, smiling even wider. "I can't believe you're alive, brother." She hugged him as Chocolate began to sulk and everyone's jaws dropped to the floor.
"Brother?" asked Carrot, "I didn't know she had a brother..."
"Adopted brother," corrected Chocolate, giving him a glare. "He was one of those assumed dead after Sacher went insane. But as you can see, he's not."
"What? You're not happy to see me, sis?"
"Don't call me that." Chocolate stalked back over to Gateau's side, too steamed to chase after Carrot at this point. "What do you want because the sooner we get it done the sooner we can get out of here. I can't stand wimps or traitors, so hurry it up."
Lee sighed, he had expected something like this from Chocolate. Tira frowned as she let go of Lee, standing beside him. "Chocolate..."
"It's ok," said Lee quickly. "I knew she was going to say that. But seeing as how time is short right now, we'll have to skip over that story and save it for later. I'm the Guardian of the Hidden Forest."
"*The* Hidden Forest?" asked Marron. Lee nodded. "Wow, it's a pleasure to meet you, Guardian Lee."
"What Hidden Forest?" asked Gateau with a smirk. "I've traveled all over the world and I've never heard of it."
"Most don't unless they've studies Magic extensively," replied Lee, motioning at Marron. "Obviously, he has. Anyway, we need to get moving. Big Momma, if you will?"
"What about the case?" puzzled Carrot.
"I'll tell you what happened as we go," said Lee, jumping through the portal Big Momma had created for him. "See you on the other side!" Everyone else slowly followed him, Tira the first one to go. Finding themselves in front of a huge cliff with a barren canyon behind them, everyone looked about skeptically.
"I don't see no forest," said Chocolate suspiciously. "What kind of scam are you pulling here?"
"None," replied Lee with a shrug. "Watch." He waved his hand over a portion of the cliff face, creating a tunnel into its face. "Follow me." Grabbing a torch that was just inside the doorway, he walked confidently down its length until it opened up into small clearing with tall trees surrounding them everywhere.
"Is this enough of a forest of you?" asked Lee as he pushed aside some bushes, showing how high up they were with a huge valley spread out below.
"How are we getting down?" asked Marron, seeing no paths. "None of us can fly, you know."
"I know," replied Lee with a nod, whistling sharply. "But they can." Four large griffins appeared over the edge of the cliff. "Within this valley is an assortment of magical and mystical creatures only heard of in legends and fairly tales. And I am Guardian over all of them."
"Are there any dragons? Or white tigers of old?" asked Marron as he got behind his brother on a griffin, everyone else getting on one as well.
"Yes," replied Lee, smiling as he flew off with the others behind him. "As well as Unicorns, Stormwings, Blink-lynx, Centaurs, and hundreds more."
"I can't see the ends of either side of this valley," said Marron. "How big is this place?"
"Bigger than you'd think," replied Lee. "Each of the not so normal creatures has its own area in which they preside alone or with others they get along with. Plus, there's a multitude of regular forest animals that live where they please and travel all over the place. Unfortunately its not the animals and creatures that brings you here." Lee's face became hard as he gave curt orders to the griffin he was riding.
"What for then?" asked Tira, trying to spot any unusual creatures she could down below.
"Within this valley exists a set of 6 forbidden magic spells," he explained leading them to the cave where it had all happened. "The first two aren't that powerful over all, just very erosive and stubborn. Even Big Mamma would have trouble destroying them, and that's saying something. The other four, though, get progressively stronger. The first three were hidden together in that cave."
"What cave?" asked Gateau. "I just see a hole that is plugged with rubble."
"That's the point," said Lee sadly. "It was the spells themselves that kept the old cave intact and now they're gone so it's collapsed. If you acquire those three, it makes getting the last half much easier. That is why you are here, to help me catch whoever it was who took them and get rid of him before they get all 6 and escape from the valley. You have no idea what sort of trouble a man who got hold of all 6 could do if he weren't stopped, the shear power of just the last one alone....anyways. That is your mission, ok?"
"Fun," Chocolate sarcastically. "How do we know that this guy hasn't already taken all 6 and is causing someone else trouble?"
"Because," replied Lee. "Unless you've gone over every inch of this valley, you'd easily get lost and even if you do know your way around somewhat it takes at least two days to get from one hidden spot to another."
"How long have you been gone since you were attacked?"
"A day and a half."
"Then what are we waiting for?" asked Chocolate. "You should've taken us straight to the second place instead of wasting our time here."
"Not necessarily," said Lee as his griffin and everyone else's landed by what was left of the cave. "You see, this marks the end of the griffin's territory so I'm going to find another way for us to get there without causing trouble for my creatures." He got off and everyone else followed suit, using a different whistle this time. Three centaurs with spears rode into the clearing, all bowing when they saw him.
"Hail Master Lee," they said in unison. "Hail Master Lee."
"No time for that now, fellows," said Lee, smiling at their praise. "Chief, can I get rides for my guests and me?"
"Hai sir, as you wish Master Lee," replied the oldest of the three.
"I'll need your strongest and your fastest centaurs," said Lee, growing serious again. "It will be more dangerous than the usual trips. I wouldn't drag you and your herd into this if I didn't have a choice."
"I see," said the Chief. "Come with me. I will find you my best men for you to take."
"I will go father," said one of those beside him, obviously bearing his features. "I am fast enough and strong enough."
"Are you sure you want to send him, Chief?" asked Lee as they went. "I would feel terrible if something were to happen to him..."
"As would I," shrugged the Chief. "But I cannot shield him forever. He will go."
"Ya!" Lee mounted the Chief's son (on his back for you perverts out there) and waited patiently for the others to get their rides. Gateau got to ride a very muscular, machoish stallion who was mostly brawn and no brain like himself. Tira and Chocolate shared a large mare that was very strong and fast for her size, and Marron and Carrot rode twins who were just younger than the Chief's son.
"Are we ready?" asked Lee, waving goodbye to the herd.
"I wanna get moving here!"
"Alright then," replied Lee. "Head towards the river near the east lands as fast as you can without a break, got it?"
"Hai sir, Master Lee."
"Then let's move!"
The masked man floated by the east lands stream, holding a map with all sorts of picture out in front of him. "Hm..." he muttered to himself. "It should be right....here." He tapped a stone beside the waterfall, seeing a door open from underneath it. "Bingo."
Checking to make sure he still had the wristband, the box, and the amulet in the various pockets of his attire he walked into . "Now all I have to do is find the spell and the map I hid here and finding the other two will be a cinch...watch out Big Mamma! The days of the Masked Magician are about to begin..."
"Here we are," said Lee as they rode into a clearing, the centaurs coming to a stop. "Centaurs, hide in the woods until I call for you. The rest of you, come with me." He walked over to a cliff the stream went over, quickly climbing over the edge. Everyone else soon followed, some (like Chocolate and Gateau) griping and grumbling as they did and the rest just keeping quiet.
"Oh, crap. He got here first," hissed Lee, seeing the door was open. "Come on, he may still be in here."
"Uh, Lee?" asked Tira cautiously, "What sort of Hidden Magic is this?" They knew what the rest of them were since he had explained it all on the way there.
"Um, it gives the wearer of the helmet invisibility as well as the presumption that they're invincible as well. Which of course, still leads to mass chaos and senseless slaughtering of one sort or another," he replied quietly.
"So, its dark and we won't be able to see his shadow, right?"
"Well, either way he doesn't cast one."
"So, you're saying if he's found it we're screwed."
"Eh, we've had worse odds before..."
"Shh...the rooms right up ahead."
"How do you know where you're going in the dark, Lee?" asked Carrot. "I can't see a thing."
"It's all left turns, Carrot."
They walked into a small room that was well light by torches that never seemed to burn out. In the middle was a stand off of which a caped, masked man was about to take the helmet (it's like a Roman one) and put it on.
"Put that down!" yelled Carrot, rushing forward with his sword raised before anyone could stop them. The man disappeared in the blink of an eye, stopping him in his tracks. Suddenly, something hit his jaw and sent him flying across the room into a wall.
The invisible man picked up a sword, using it to try and chop the rest of them to pieces. Lee easily dodged the attacks, seeing as how he could still see the sword waving about in the air. The man, obviously deciding this was futile, dropped the sword and instead knocked him out with his fist. The rest of them scattered through the room, trying to keep in a somewhat ring so he couldn't slip behind them. Obviously they had forgotten about the wrist band of speed and being able to fly.
Marron was picked up into the air and a sword held to his throat, a disembodied voice surrounding them. "Stay here until you hear me laugh outside. If you don't, this pretty boy loses his head, understand?"
"Don't hurt him!" cried Carrot, having recovered from his earlier blow. "Leave him here, I'll go instead!"
"How touching," came the sarcastic reply. "But he will do. If you behave and you don't force me to remove his head then I'll leave him tied in the gorge. If you hurry you might be able to save him from there. After all, the werewolves don't come to feed until sunset. Je na!"
"Oh crap." Carrot sat heavily against the stand, everyone else sitting or standing nervously around him, ready to run at the signal. Lee came too and was quickly informed of everything that had happened, shaking his head as he listened.
"This is not good," he muttered as the laugh came, all of them quickly scrambling to their feet and heading for the door. Unfortunately, it shut on them trapping them in the room.
"Nooo!" wailed Carrot, pulling out fistfuls of his hair.
"I don't have time for this!" thundered Gateau, his eyes flashing as he lifted up his fists. "AARHHHHH!!!!!" He broke through the door with his bare hands and went on, leaving Lee standing there in wonder.
"How in the world...."
"Don't ask," replied Carrot, rolling his eyes. "Just come on!"
They ran down the tunnels, Lee calling out directions as they came across intersections and such. At the end, the door was also closed and Gateu was about to crash through this one when Le stopped him and pressed a hidden button near by, the door swinging open silently and allowing them out into the open.
"This door I need to stay intact," he explained as he called for the centaurs, getting on the Chief's son the moment he could. "The gorge is fairly far from here and we only have a little while until sunset," he said quickly, pointing his mount along the river's edge and going as a fast gallop. "We need to hurry as fast as you guys, and gal, can go."
If everyone thought they had been going fast before, this was like riding the free winds. Tira and Chocolate would both swear later on they were flying, and it was certainly plausible since their mare soon took the lead and they arrived there about 5 minutes earlier than everyone else.
"Arigato," said Tira, dismounting from the mare. "What's your name?"
"Uh....Bluwynd." Considering that she was a blue sorrel and she ran as fast as the wind, they didn't ask anymore and began to look for signs of Marron.
"Can you see him?" asked Tira, walking along the edge of a very steep gorge (it was about a mile deep, give or take a few feet) "He's not on this side."
"No, I- wait! There he is!" Chocolate spotted him hanging from an outcrop by a rope about halfway down. %If I save Marron maybe, Carrot will truly be able to show me how he loves me!% *Goes off into some erotic daydream as she whips off her clothes to reveal her other outfit*
"What are you doing?" called Tira as she rushed over to where Chocolate was securing her wire to a rock and staring backing down the edge of the gorge.
"I'm going to go and save Marron so Carrot will truly love me!" she said in a sing-songy voice, continuing to go farther and farther down.
"What if your wire can't hold that much weight and you both fall to your death?" asked Tira in a practical voice. "I'm coming too."
"Fine...but I get all the credit!"
"Sure, whatever." Tira whipped off her cape to reveal her own leather outfit and whips her string around a tree a couple of times before she rappels down the brink of the gorge after her sister. Neither one talks, just waves when the others come into the clearing and continue their way down.
Their lines end just about five feet above Marron and Chocolate comes up with some half-baked plan she thinks will work. "Hey, Tira! Hold onto my line while I- hey!" While she was thinking ever so hard Tira just pulled out her trusty whip and snagged Marron from the branch, flopping him over her shoulder.
"Ready to go?" asked Tira, smiling at her sister.
"Uh, sure." Chocolate gives Tira this 'look', and asks, "Hey Tira? Why do you have a whip and I don't?"
"Well, your wire is usually enough and you don't need it to keep Carrot under control whenever he's hit by magic and needs to change back."
"Oh. One more question."
"Why did you get to travel with Marron and Carrot and not me?"
"Because I'm not openly trying to bed him and the three of us work well as a team."
"What, so you're secretly trying to bed him?" Chocolate's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Are you and darling-"
"No! What makes you think that?" Tira sweated as Marron slowly came to behind her.
"I didn't even ask you the question."
"Huh? AHhh!" Tira stopped for a moment to reassure Marron (who had come to his senses) she wasn't going to drop him and that everything was ok. "Those things that are all furry with sharp white teeth are coming up after us," he warned, cringing as he realized how vulnerable he was.
"Oh, well...come on, we're almost to the top." Chocolate hurried the last several feet, wanting to be the first to get to her 'darling.' What surprised them both was when furry hands shot over the edge and hauled them up, quickly immobilizing them at the sight of the others all tied up.
"What do you think, Tira?" asked Chocolate, her eyes flashing as she realized what these monsters had done to her friends.
"I think they need to be punished."
"I agree." The two of them threw off their captors and quickly went to working whipping the dog-like creatures to their knees. Tira rushed over to the others as soon as she could manage and set them free by slashing through their bindings with her string.
"I sure hope you can use that sword," she muttered to Lee as she freed him and more werewolves climbed up over the edge.
"Trust me," he said grimly, standing up and drawing the blade. "I can." Gateau as soon swinging his huge fists everywhere, Chocolate was taking heads off with her wire, Lee was lashing out with extreme skill at anything that moved, Carrot was just dodging everything since he wasn't getting hit with magic and could transform, Tira was tying them up as fast as she could, and Marron was lying on the ground helplessly since he was still lying to the side, all tied up.
Carrot finally rushed to his side, trying to get the knots undone before he simply drew his sword and cut through it. "Gomen!" called Tira, giving Marron an apologetic look as she realized what she had forgotten.
"Tira, watch out!" cried Marron, seeing the werewolf jump at her from behind.
"What- Ahhhh!" The creature sunk its teeth into her arm, pushing her almost over the edge. "You are so dead!" She pulled out a dagger no one knew she had and plunged it into the beast's heart, quickly detangling it from her.
"You alright, Tira?" called Lee, sounding worried.
"Yeah, I-" *crack* "Oh no..." The ledge she was sitting on began to give way, causing her to slip over the edge as she tried to scramble for higher ground. "Ahh!"
"Gotcha!" Carrot reached out and grabbed her arm, lying on his stomach as she dangled over the gorge.
"I swear, Carrot, if you drop me I'll haunt you for the rest of your life," threatened Tira, turning white as she continued to hang there.
"Don't worry," said Carrot with a smile. "I wouldn't-" *crack-rumble* "Oh dear..."
"AHhhh!!!" Both of them went over the edge and out of sight as the rest of the ledge gave way before anyone could help them.
"Bluwynd!" cried Lee, rushing to the edge and seeing they landed on a ledge about halfway down. "Go get them before they're eaten alive! Then sun's set!"
"Oh crap." Lee rubbed his head. "I give thee permission to use thine wings. Now fly!"
"Hai, sir." Bluwynd galloped over the edge of the gorge, dropping like a stone.
"Hey!" cried Chocolate, "What'd you do that for?"
"Watch." A few moments later, Bluwynd reappeared at the edge of the gorge, circling around with a pair of wings. "What are you waiting for?" asked Lee as he killed another werewolf. "Go get them!"
"Yes, Master." She dove down into the depths, and that was all they saw of her for awhile...
Tira got up the moment she thought she could move, pushing Carrot off of her and shaking him awake. "Carrot," she whispered, the fear obvious in her voice. "Carrot, get up. We have to get out of here now before-"
"Before what?" snarled a voice from the cave that led to the ledge. "I kill you? We feast on your bones? Oh, don't worry, little girl, that will happen regardless so why don't you lie down like a good little meal and just take what fate as given- urg!" Tira stood there angrily, smiling maniacally after she had snapped his neck.
"No one calls me little girl and lives to tell about it," she said in a low voice, kicking him over the edge of the ledge.
"Uhhh...." Tira turned around, seeing Carrot stirring amid the rubble.
"Come on," she said, looking at her arm which was still bleeding pretty badly. "We have to get out of here now!" He got up and nodded, about to say something when Bluwynd landed right next to them, wings and all.
"Next flight: up the gorge and out of the werewolves' reach," she said smartly.
"Boy, am I glad to see you," said Carrot, getting on right away and helping Tira up behind him. She held onto him tight with her one good arm, keeping the other near to her so she didn't get any blood on him.
"As I am glad to see you two, sugar," replied Bluwynd. Here, he got a good view of her wings. They were connected to her from where they would be on a human (right about the shoulder blades) all the way down to her lower back into her horse part where its shoulders where. "We're so outta here!" She zoomed away, barely escaping a hail of spears various werewolves sent at her as she skimmed along the wall of the gorge straight up.
"There you are!" called Chocolate when she saw them zoom over the edge into the sky. "I was getting worried about you, Darling!" As an afterthought, she added, "Oh, and you too Tira, I guess."
"So much for sisterly love," sighed Tira, sliding off Bluwynd as she tried to stop the bleeding with her hand.
"It that what happened when that thing bit you?" asked Marron, tearing some strips from his flowing robe-like shirt. "Here, let me bind that for you."
"How did you get out of the gorge?" Lee asked one of the werewolves Tira had bound up in string.
"The man who came here with the pretty boy broke the bond," explained the undead creature. "He said he would give us freedom if we killed you and the rest, Master Lee. Gomen."
"Great," growled Lee. "Get back down there with the rest, I'm closing it again in three minutes and any who aren't in there will be killed." All who were still living or paritailly living scrambled for the edge, throwing themselves over anyway they could. Lee muttered some words under his breath, clapping his hands three times. A ring of light appeared around the gorge's edge, fading away slowly.
"What did you just do?" asked Gateau, trying to touch the light but finding it just went around his hand.
"I trapped them in the gorge again," replied Lee. "They'll live, undead do somehow, but now we face a bit of a problem. This guy is supposed to be here, but he's not supposed to do the things he's doing."
"What do you mean?" asked Carrot, "I thought only you and those you invited were allowed in here."
"In a way," replied Lee. "Come on, its late and we won't get anywhere if we just sit here like this." He got up on the Chief's son once more, waiting for the others to get on their rides as well. "Head towards that camp I have on the other side of the gorge, ok?"
The Masked Magician cursed to himself as he walked them ride away, his plan had failed. Oh well, he would travel through the night and get to the third spot in the morning. He had the wristband that would help him fly over the traps in there and would be able to get the prize well before those slowpokes woke up. Then, he would set another trap for them there and let that kill them while he went and got the last prize. This would be a lot easier than he expected after hearing so many things about the current Guardian...
Oh well. "Come, Mogul," he said, stroking his winged-beast's head. "Let us go now and continue on while we can."
"I know you're hungry, precious, but you can't eat anything in this valley. When we capture those cursed Scorcerer Hunters, you may feast on them." This time the beast was silent. "Good boy, such a good boy for daddy. Now, fly!"
Lee brought them out to a clearing in a thick part of the woods, a small spring with a stream flowing from it in the middle. "We will stay here for the night," he said quickly, getting off of his mount. "Centaurs, go back to your herd and tell the Chief I said not to come looking for me until I contact him.
"But Master..." Protested Bluwynd."
"Go," ordered Lee, "It is no longer safe for you to be with us."
"Hai, Master." Bluwynd and the others said their good-byes before taking off into the dark, never to be seen again.
"Why are we staying here?" asked Carrot. "It's not like we're very well protected here..."
"No one who isn't with the Guardian of the Forest can find this place," replied Lee. "Even if he has been guardian in the past."
"Is that who this man is?" asked Marron calmly. "One of the past guardians?"
"Yes, the one who was before me." Lee said no more as he pulled a rope hanging from one of the larger trees, a rope ladder coming down immediately. "Girls, you can share that platform up there. Me and the guys will sleep over here." He went over to the tree right across from it, tugging another rope and causing another ladder to fall. "You'll find everything you need to sleep and to eat up there."
At the mention of food Carrot scrambled up the ladder, Marron following to make sure he didn't eat it all. Gateau went up after them, figuring getting something to eat with his Marron would be better than hanging around with sword boy and the two sisters.
Chocolate glared at Lee and went up to her platform, regretting having ever come on this case at all. Tira stood there for a moment, swaying from side to side before she sat down at the base of the tree.
"You feeling alright?" asked Lee, sitting next to her at the base of the tree. "You've been a little woozy looking since that werewolf bit you."
"Yeah," she replied, pushing back her overcoat thingy to reveal her arm. The blood had already soaked through the layers Marron had put on there, staining the skin around it a deep scarlet. Lee frowned.
"Come over here," he said, leading her to the spring. "I'll take care of that real quick for you."
"I couldn't get the stream dirty," protested Tira. "Just get a bowl or something and I'll wash it over there or something..."
"You won't, trust me," replied Lee gently. He went over to where the spring started, drawing her arm with him. Undoing the binding as gently as he could, he pushed Tira's arm into the water right next to where it came out of the ground. It was surprisingly warm, but the bigger surprise was when he pulled it out and there was no sign of the bite mark at all, not even a scar. The water was as clear as ever and didn't show any tints at all from her blood.
"What? How did you-"
"The Guardian of the Forest has the ability to heal all humans and creatures rightfully in his domain with the help of certain springs or pools of water," he explained, leading her back to where she could sit on the shore. "Now if you don't mind, I'm going to wash off what blood I got on me before it stains."
"Sorry about that," apologized Tira. "If you want, I can go up with Chocolate..."
"No, stay here," requested Lee, a pleading look in his eyes. "You remind me so much of her." Tira didn't need to ask who by the look in his eyes. "You always did look up to her, and she loved you and your sister so much. As well as everyone else in that place."
"And all of them loved her," replied Tira, tears forming in her eyes. "Tell me what happened, Lee. I knew her, and I know in my heart she would never willingly desert us, her children. You and her were only, what, 16? 17? But when Sacher wasn't there, it was you two who took care of us. Please, Lee, I have to know."
"Sacher offered us positions in some plan of his," said Lee softly, sitting across from her on the ground after he had finished washing off. "Neither of us knew what he was talking about, but both of us agreed to it anyways figuring it was just some project or another like always to help more kids. We were taken to a room by two of his lackeys to watch was going to happen next.
"Zadah about died when she saw what he was doing. The door was locked, but with Zadah and her blade we were able to get out. She charged right in after him, and I followed her all the way, shooting him with the same arrows he had named me by. It didn't do any good, though. He just said we were a disappointment to the cause and hit us both with one of his fire balls. I lost an arm." Lee removed his layers of tops to show her the mechanical limb Big Momma had given him in its place.
"It's warm," observed Tira softly, running her hand along it. "And Zadah? What happened to her?"
"It took off her head," he replied, tearing running down his face. "All she ever did was love you guys and do her best to take care of you and he killed her." Covering his prosthetic arm once more, he sighed and got up. "I loved her," he said slowly, taking out something out of his pocket. "And she loved me too. But she also loved all of you. She gave me this before she died, right as we were running out of the room. I think she meant for me to give it to you and your sister, she knew she was going to die."
He handed her a small piece of string and wire twisted around together as one to form a small pattern in her hand. Tira let the tears flow down her face, looking at it as memories began to flash back in her mind. "I can't take this," she whispered, handing to back to him. "It...no. I just can't."
"It was obviously meant for you and Chocolate."
"Maybe, but I already have something to remember her by." Tira pulled out a small spool of thread. "She gave me this early on to play with, I think Chocolate still has the bit of wire she gave her too."
"Oh." Lee looked at the wire and thread, holding it gingerly in his hand. "What should I do with this, then?"
"Keep it," suggested Tira. "You have her weapon, but that represents the more, um, violent side of her. This shows the side that loved her large family and took care of them to the best of her ability."
"I guess you're right..."
**high above in the guy's tree**
"What's so special about him and some bit of wire and thread?" muttered Carrot, his legs dangling over the edge of the platform. "He healed her arm and gave her some present that she 'couldn't take', bid deal. Who cares? I still don't get what she sees in that guy."
"Stop acting like a jealous boyfriend," said Marron gently, sitting next to his brother to get away from Marron who was flexing his muscles again. "It's her long lost brother and she's just spending some time with him, that's all."
"Then why isn't Chocolate down there?" asked Carrot pointedly. "I swear, if he lays a finger on either of them I'll-"
"Chill out, Carrot," said Marron, pulling him back from the edge. "He's not going to touch either of the girls and even if he does they're *quite* able to take care of themselves, let me remind you."
Carrot nodded as he remember all the times they (especially Tira) had whipped him into submission. "Yeah, alright."
**High above in the girl's tree**
Chocolate sat by herself right above Tira and Lee, listening to them talk as she fingering a small roll of wire she carried with her everywhere. There was nothing special about it like the wire she fought with now, but Zadah had given it to her and that gave her all the reason in the world to keep it.
Her mind raced as it processed all she had heard. %So Zadah didn't abandon us, and I knew she never would but...Lee's not a traitor. He was just duped like the rest of us and lived to tell of it. From the way things looked, the only way he could've escaped was by running, but he would never do that. I knew it too, I just didn't want admit it..."
She stopped and listened as they began to talk again, this time about what had happened since then.
**down on the ground below**
"How did you manage to stay alive?" asked Tira after they resolved what to do with Zadah's wire and string creation. "Losing you arm and all, I mean one can't just walk away from something like that..."
"You're right, I didn't," replied Lee, nodding his head. "Afterwards, Big Momma found me and put me in a deep sleep so I could heal without moving at all. I didn't wake up for three years, and when I did I was ready to go after him again. But Big Momma wouldn't let me. She gave me a new arm and Zadah's sword as well as my quiver and bow. I burned the bow and arrows, them being from what Sacher taught me and swore I'd never fletch another arrow again as long as I lived. So, I'm no longer called Lee Fletcher for that reason.
"Big Momma assigned me here in the forest, to work helping to protect those who lived here as well as the secrets this place holds. I hated it, not being able to go after Sacher, but I didn't have a choice. She sealed me here for three years until I gave up trying to escape and accepted the job. I practiced with Zadah's sword until I felt worthy enough to use it all the time, and got to know some of the creatures in the valley."
"You do know Sacher's dead now, right?" asked Tira, giving him an odd look. "We killed him a little while ago..."
"You were the ones who fought Sacher?" asked Lee, looking at her suddenly. "I thought it was the Haz knights, or some other powerful being who owed her a favor, not a group of young kids..."
"Hey, we are not young kids," protested Tira, looking like she might pull out her whip and beat him into submission right then and there. "You'd better start talking fast if you value your life..."
"What I mean is you and the rest of this gang don't seem like the very powerful types," he explained as quickly as he could. "What power you might have is hidden. At first glance one would not be able to tell you were the defeaters of Sacher or even Sorcerer Hunters for that matter."
"Which is why we're so good at it," grinned Tira. She yawned just then, adjusting her glasses sheepishly. "I guess I better get going to bed..."
"Hai, me too..."
"Wait!" said someone from behind them, making them turn around and look at her.
"Gomen," she said quietly, her head hanging as if she were a little kid. "I really am. Zadah loved all of us, especially you. I'm sorry I ever doubted you." She stood there, expecting some sharp remark, but it never came.
"It's ok, Chocolate," said Lee soothingly, hugging her. "I understand. A lot of the Hunters rejected me at first until they had heard the whole story, thinking I had run from the fight as well. But I don't care anymore, it's just nice to have my sisters back, even if they aren't biologically related to me." He opened up his real arm, letting Tira join the group hug. "See? We're all together again. The only three of that group who lived and remember it to tell what happened."
"Then there were others?" asked Chocolate hopefully.
"Yes," replied Lee. "But Big Momma had their memories replaced and put them in other people's homes to be raised. I guess I see now why we were the only three to remember what happened." Noticing the rings under Chocolate's eyes and that Tira was yawning again, he added. "But we can talk about that in the morning. Go to sleep, you two, I'll come wake you up about dawn."
Eh, yeah. That's the first part. Now, here's the big questions that aught to be floating around that brain of yours if you have one. Will they stop this Masked Magician in time before he retrieves all 6 of the forbidden magic items and spells in that valley? Why is Carrot jealous of Lee? Or is he jealous at all? Is it some deeper meaning that we don't understand quite yet? (There will be *no* yaoi, I'll tell you that right now.) Has Chocolate truly accepted Lee once more? What are the last two of the forbidden magic items or spells in the valley? Why am I rambling on like this for no reason at all? Find out next time on: The Hidden Forest.
One thing you should know, I had my wisdom teeth cut out of my mouth the day before I wrote this so any OOC's is due to the medication I was on. Ask anyone who talked to me, I was seriously messed up. Don't forget to review!