Previously… Eva and her fellow companions finally possessed the treasure that the kingdom had long hidden deep down in the heart of the palace. Will its secret be revealed at last? Will it benefit or destroy their journey? Find out in this chapter.
Leaving Diamorkuz in a blaze might be the worst or the best decision we ever made. Not realizing the dangers ahead of us was extremely foolish. Adrenaline pushed my hands to the nearest vine and tied it tightly around the tree. Turquoise fireflies gathered around every branch, lighting up his wounds. His eyes squinted constantly as I attempted to pull him down with me.
Without hesitation I ripped of a piece of my shirt and wrapped it around his injury. Groaning with anguish he clutched his right arm. "You have to stay still!", I said while trying to remove his trembling hands from my wrist.
Not far away from us a branch snapped. A cold wave made my body break into full alarm. Every step we took I threw a glance behind my shoulders. The sound of paws hitting the ground echoed in the darkness. Our vision became foggier till we finally collapsed on the ground. We shut our eyes as our ears detected it hissing at us between the tree trunks. I could feel every beat of my heart hammering against the walls of my lungs. A shimmering silver light blinded our eyes when we thought we'd never see daylight again.
"Where are the others?", Merodan asked after helping us up. They must have crashed somewhere else.
"We need to find them before its too late!", I fretted. My foot failed to move as my injury still stung. Aikka held my hand back shaking his head. Our bodies were too weak. We agreed to regain our strength for one night only. Time was precious and we had no intention wasting it.
This jungle never seemed to stop shocking us. Our eyes opened to the sound of shrieking. There was no doubt that it must have been one of the twins. Panic grew fast in my mind. Merodan clasped his hand around his immense spear and guided us forward.
"Where did you get that?", I asked him. His spear was dual sided with silver tips that glowed at his command. He told us it lay in his hand when he woke up from the crash. It was as if it was meant to be his.
Up ahead of us there was water running down the crack between the walls of mosses. Perhaps they gathered around a river or a stream. Following a crooked path it led us closer and closer to an immense mountain. On our way up, a piece of clothing dangled beneath the pile of ferns. It was florally pink with white lace trims. Having that confirming we were heading the right way, we resumed further up.
A water fall with crystal purple water splashed on the cerise rocks at the bottom of the mountain. My eyes caught a glimpse of blood following the water down from the other side. With multiple shaky breaths we fought our way through the waves all the way across the steadfast stream. At first the water seemed shallow when in fact it was deeper than any river or stream on earth. We pulled the giant leaves that covered them aside and it revealed their bruises. Based on the temperature on their skin they must have been trying to survive the harsh night. One had her scraped knees tucked into her stomach, while the other one had her arms folded against her face. Nothing seemed to wake them up. Not even vigorous shaking their bodies or yelling their names over and over again.
A warm hand rested on my shoulder. Serufis gentle strokes on their cheeks and some sort of potion resulted to both Raine and Aderu instantly gasping for air. Suddenly they let out a horrified scream and with their hands and feet they kicked and pushed us away! We had to grab their shoulders and pin them down to prevent them from shuddering more. Their breaths continued intensifying uncontrollably after we released them. This abnormal behavior couldn't be caused by sickness, but severe shock.
"We couldn't see what it was, but we felt its breath on our necks.", the twins explained after calming down. This happening once must be a mere coincidence. The fact that it happened twice indicates that something or someone was doing this in cold blood.
"For all one knows it may be tracking our scents. We must move before it strikes again.", Aikka proposed.
Once everyone huddled together and finished summing up what happened after the crash we continued our journey heading north this time. None one of us had flawless skin anymore. Even the slightest scratch was visible.
We took our chances and headed east. Our instincts led us closer to a trail of citrus trees. The wind picked up the sweet smell of floral and berries. A bouquet of heliconias and cahoons peeked up around every corner. The soil was lusher here. I could feel drool dripping from the corner of my mouth. On our way towards the trees we encountered an upbeat Shigeru with arms full of provisions. He led us to the trees and recommended us certain fruits to pick. The crew set up a camp and we made a fire to keep ourselves warm over the night.
Meanwhile when everyone were on their way to dreamland I pulled the scroll we put all our labour and blood for, out of my pocket. My eyes widen at the sight of it. Something about this piece of paper seemed so familiar. It was dusty and torn out from what once looked like a book. In a flash I recalled the day Ethan and I were at the library. Just before our teacher burned it, I couldn't forget the missing page from the book. This piece of paper might be it! As I looked closer into it I noticed that it was a drawing of a landscape. The details of the scenery made me gasp. A deep purple color stood out. This was no ordinary paper.
"It's a map!", I blurted out! My hand quickly followed up by covering my mouth. The purplish water surrounded the vegetation. A spiral of nine dots in different sizes with the colors of the rainbow connected in the middle of the map. It's possible that it symbolized a place or somewhere on the map. We were currently very up northeast on the green dot. Just beside our position on the map an arrow pointed east to the next dot. Before getting more caught up I slid it back down my pocket. What had been seen couldn't be unseen. Now was not the right time to reveal the purpose of this piece of paper.
The sun stained the sky with pink stripes and blue clouds gathered around the peaks of the mountains. Its powerful streaks pierced right through my eyelids causing me to wake up with a strong headache. "What's wrong, Eva?!", Merodan asked while pinching his eyes. "We have to get into the shades! Now!", I bawled after shaking the others. Merodan quicklu pulled the others underneath the trees.
"The gas particles from the sun are far too dangerous up here. We must go south or else we might risk burning up our skin.", Serufi explained. While everyone else nodded in agreement, I on the other hand was taking it with a pinch of salt. According to the map we should head east. I pulled it up again only to let it slid from my hands! The wind carried it out into the sun and further away.
My eyes kept moving back and forth between the map and the others. Time was ticking. With a firm grip around my arm Aikka strived forcing me back. We had come so far and watching it just fade away was not an option. I shove his hands off my arm and ventured out after it. Behind me I could hear them screaming my name over and over again.
Fortunately the map was jammed in a crevasse of a tree on the other side of the mass of enormous rocks. I leaped from rock to rock all the way towards it. Everything went quiet the moment the map was in my hands.
"Are rocks supposed to move?", Raine asked with a shaky voice as they caught up.
In that moment everything froze. Crackling noises filled the air. Stinky sludge bubbled up to the surface and stuck to our shoes. Cold sweat ran down the sides of my face. These weren't rocks… they were eggs.
"Can we crack one up and make some omelets?", Shigeru asked.
Where there are giant eggs, there must be a giant mother. Whatever produced these must have an incredible hearing and brawny sense of smell.
"We have to move quickly, but cautiously.", I instructed while my feet slowly switched to reverse. Right after saying that destiny slapped us in the face. Shigeru tripped over one crack and fell into the egg! We hurried dragging him up before the mother came. The fetus inside the egg bit him on the leg as we tried pulling him out. His blood splattered all over. Suddenly the ground began shaking viperously. I turned my back with cold sweat running down the sides of my face. Our breaths became shorter as we met the mother's blood viper eyes.
The fetus shrieked causing the mother to lock her eyes on us. Within a few seconds it set after us. Everything became like a game of cat and mice. Our only advantage was our speed compared to the immense beast. The group ruptured to different directions. Some ascended up to the top of the trees, others got down on all four underneath twisted ropes of vines.
The ground beneath us jittered simultaneously with our heart beat. Catching Aderu and Raine covering their mouths beside me made my stomach hitch a knot inside. With an inner yelp my body trembled at the sight of the mother's tongue dripping ooze just above us. A blue arrow stroked right at the left paw of the beast. "We'll keep it diverted.!", Aikka and Merodan shouted from the tree tops. I grabbed the twin's hands and headed towards a cliff.
Lilac waves crashed onto the sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff. The twins buried their faces under Serufis arms. Instinct knocked into me and Shigeru as we both snatched a pair of thick twigs. Suddenly a flash of dark hair and red eyes appeared from the jungle. "That must be Calicio and Lithos!", Serufi said while pointing at two heavy armored elves running towards us.
Blue lights blasted closer and closer against us. Everyone compacted around each other when we saw Aikka and Merodan sprinting out of the bushes of ferns. Serufi and the twins huddled around behind me while Shigeru and the others covered our backs. Aikka and Merodan pulled us behind them. The king loaded his bow and Merodan wielded his glowing spear. Not only had the mother discovered us. It seemed she'd assembled an army of her fetuses which now were surrounding us. They pushed us further and further backwards till we finally reached the edge of the cliff. "They are far too many. We cannot beat them!", Serufi panicked. Without warning I caught Shigeru wavering with a shaky voice behind me. My face went pale the moment I tilted my head around. Reflexively I reached out my hand, but our fingertips swiftly touched before he completely lost his balance! "Look! They're retreating...".
Gonna leave it there ;) I know I should have updated the story with this chapter earlier last month, but don't worry. I'll try to upload a new chapter at least once a month! So within a month there should be a new chapter.
Why did the beasts chase them? Is there a connection between everything they experienced in the jungle? What will Eva and her companions face next?