A/N: New Years resolution: upload at least a chapter or two for this story every month. At least I'm ahead in the writing part of it. Well, I do apologize that this is very late; I was a little busy, and I am having my seasonal "lack of motivation to do anything" phase. Ah, winter. Anyway, thanks to Solarius Scorch (re-edited chapters are in the works), Mr. Chat, Koryandrs, and Suricatessen for reviewing. Happy New Years and Happy Holidays!
Disclaimer: I don't own Wakfu.
Chapter 4. Road to Emelka
Yugo found himself short of succumbing to exhaustion hours after they left the castle, even though he could fall off his dragoturkey and slow down the other three. The occasional chilly breeze helped sustain him from completely toppling over as it swept by. Each time his head dipped and eyes drooped, he jerked himself back into an upright position and lightly smacked his cheek.
Eventually, Amalia turned to the eliatrope and asked, "He kept you up?"
Yugo sat up, yawning. "Err...yeah."
"Nah, Yugo has a hard time getting to sleep," answered Adamaï. Yugo turned his eyes down to his brother and met the dragon's sharp gaze. The eliatrope jerked his attention farther down the trail. The dragon snorted before adding, "Doesn't help much with your stormy beds."
The princess tossed her head and rolled her eyes. "Fine. Next time, you two will have rooms reserved in the stables."
"I'd rather use the kingdom's za'ap portal to go to Alibert's inn," answered Adamaï. He shifted in the saddle before adding, "We should probably head over there."
Amalia leaned closer to Yugo to glower at Adamaï, causing the eliatrope to straighten up again. "That thought didn't pop into your scaly head while we were a short walk from the palace's za'ap?" she demanded curtly.
Adamaï shrugged again with a feigned smile. "But that would be too easy," said the dragon. Amalia hunched over her steed, mumbling to herself as her bodyguard caught up to them.
"Do you have a lead on the cube or the child's locations?" asked Enzot, looking between the brothers. Yugo and Adamaï shook their heads. The bodyguard raised a scrutinizing eyebrow.
"Well, you try finding something that's not alive," responded Adamaï, twirling a finger in the air. "The cube is an inanimate object; it draws wakfu from around it instead of having its own consistent source. Besides, if it did, the Eliacube would be almost impossible to pin-point an exact location in the entire universe of wakfu." Enzot raised his eyebrow again, causing the dragon to fold his arms. "I'm a dragon, but don't expect miracles."
The eliatrope's head dipped before he jerked himself back up. "But it won't be any easier finding the other eliatrope kid since we've never met them before."
"Is there a way to narrow the area we will have to search through?" Enzot asked.
When Adamaï shook his head, he looked to Amalia. The princess folded her arms. "Enzot, yes, there are sadida spells I can use to make it easier to track something down, but I can't do anything unless I have a item belonging to them. Besides, it takes too long to track something down, and it's too tiring to use the spell everyday."
Yugo blinked, resting his hands on the dragoturkey's neck to steady himself. "Wait, that's how you tracked Adamaï and me down? What did you use?"
Amalia opened her mouth to respond, but her lips closed into a playful grin. "Yes, it is the same art I track you two down with. Exactly what I used, though, is my secret." She pressed her pointer finger to her lips.
Yugo frowned. The dragon rolled his eyes. "That also explains why it took you so long," muttered Adamaï, earning a glower from the princess.
Enzot exhaled, rubbing his temples with one hand. "So," he said, "We are searching blind."
"Pretty much," said Adamaï, his voice shaking in amusement.
"Wait, what about those feathers you made?" Amalia asked. The dragon looked to the princess with a confused expression. The princess raised an eyebrow and a jerk of her head.
"Oh, those. They were tuned to Nox's wakfu," explained the dragon with a shake of his head. "They're pretty useless now." Stretching, Adamaï added, "But if we have any luck, our antagonists are as blind as we are, so the kid might be safe for now. That leaves another problem. Which is the reason I want to go to Emelka."
Yugo turned to his brother, reading the other reasons from his brother's expression. The eliatrope smiled before his head dipped and finally succumbed to exhaustion. Adamaï watched as the princess said a few nasty words a princess would never utter and helped the tired eliatrope into the havensack. Once the enchanted bag swallowed the sleepy eliatrope, Amalia slung it on her back and muttered future consequences into the chilly air. The dragon caught the light tinge of red on her cheeks. He tilted his head, squinting at her. Nah. Honestly, that would be stupid, he thought.
By mid-afternoon, Yugo awoke. He pulled himself from the havensack and met the lashing tongue of an annoyed princess. After he offered her a short set of apologizes, Amalia waived it with a warning to take better care of his health. Then, she continued ahead. Shortly after, Adamaï filled him in about the new plan to get to Emelka by way of a za'ap portal in a coastal village.
Within an hour of Yugo's waking, they arrived at the crest of a hill, looking over the next leg of their trip. Adamaï and Amalia muttered something about a miracle of arriving at a destination at an expected time before looking pointedly at the eliatrope. Yugo looked away rubbing the back of his head.
Adamaï turned to the village. He stood on the dragoturkey saddle and peered over his steed's head to the village below. "Guys, something off."
Amalia frowned, studying the twin lines of huts for a second. She then looked back at Adamaï with hands on her hips. "And what would that be?" she asked in a flat tone. "Sadidas don't tolerate winter like you dragons."
"No, it feels more empty than villages like these normally are," said Adamaï.
Yugo nodded, eyes narrowed at the huts leading to the village's za'ap portal. "Ad, how many do you sense?"
"Eight, maybe twelve?" Adamaï looked back at the princess, waving for her to voice whatever insistence that crossed her mind.
"Eight?" She squinted. "That's way too few for a town with a za'ap portal." Amalia then looked back at the two. "And I thought they were all blobs until you met them?"
"I'm not measuring droplets," responded the dragon.
Enzot descended from the crest of the hill to the village, leaving the other three to keep their eyes on the trail behind them. As the tattooed cra began his exploration of the village, Yugo kept his eyes fixed on the town. Could it be another odd village? Why had they not left like the other ones? The eliatrope exhaled and studied the cra's reactions, but found Enzot hadn't paused because of a sudden warmth. Yugo closed his eyes, leaning back a little. It might not be, he thought. Opening his eyes, the eliatrope looked to Amalia and flushed slightly as he realized her attention focused on him.
He cleared his throat. "Yeah?"
"So, what's wrong with the village?" she asked.
The eliatrope shrugged before looking back out at the village at the base of the hill. "I don't know beyond what Ad noticed."
"Maybe they're the ghosts," suggested Adamaï with a mischievous smirk.
"Don't joke about that," snapped the princess. She looked back out at the village with a scowl before her dragoturkey descended down the hill. Yugo called to her, but she ignored him. Yugo urged his steed after her. Adamaï rolled his eyes and followed his brother. The princess passed her bodyguard after he moved a curtain aside to see if a possible enemy lurked within the single-roomed hut.
Enzot's ears twitched; he looked back to her with a scowl. "Princess," he warned.
"We're not going to see anything unless we throw in a root to spring the trap," answered the princess, pulling seeds from her hip pouch. She dropped them into the slushy ground at her dragoturkey's feet. Soon after, drops of purple liquid followed suit. The princess capped the flask and put it away as the seeds sprouted into dolls.
Yugo entered the village before dismounting his dragoturkey. He removed his gloves and stuffed them into his pocket. He looked about the village, using his senses to get a tally of how many inhabitants hid within the houses. He frowned. Four figures blared out from behind a thin veil of blue, crouching as if they peered after them. "What...?" began the eliatrope under his breath.
A doll screeched, startling and breaking Yugo's concentration. Color returned to the eliatrope's vision as his head jerked to the source of the noise and saw a doll scurry behind a hut. Others roamed the village, weaving about and into the abodes. Adamaï joined his brother, glowering at a doll scuttling to the za'ap portal. "Well, there goes what cover we had," muttered the dragon. The brothers turned back to make sure that no one had entered the village since they had when a pillar of fire erupted from the base of the stone ring. The explosion rang through the village and rattled the brothers. Yugo's hands flew to his ears long as the roar of fire faded into the air.
The other two turned towards the za'ap. "Who in their right mind put a bomb in front of a za'ap portal?" screamed Amalia, kicking away the fiery remains of the doll that sprung the trap. "Do they want to kill people?"
Enzot raced to the princess's side, a dagger in one hand and his short sword in the other. Yugo and Adamaï leaped from their startled dragoturkeys and joined the other two via portals.
"So, how many 'villagers'?" inquired Enzot with a mocking sharpness in his voice.
Yugo said, "I saw four in that hut."
"About five in the ones on the other end of the row," Adamaï added, his voice sharper than either of them.
A ringing cackle drew the party's attention to a lanky man waddling out of a hut next to the za'ap portal. Despite the distance, Yugo saw the white skull on the man's dark bandana. "Rogues," muttered Adamaï. "That explains everything."
Amalia scowled, making a noise equal to a suppressed roar. "Are you crazy?" she screeched, jabbing a finger at the man at the end of the village.
Enzot's ears twitched. He shifted his eyes to someone behind them.
"Of course he is, little miss. He is a pyromaniac," said a smooth voice behind them. Yugo turned his eyes to the source of the voice and scowled. A man stood in the middle of a band of men and women, each dressed in black furred cloaks and headbands. He approached the four and circled them.
The pyromaniac joined his brethren and spun on his heels to study their new prey. A manic smile curled his lips. "Ah, they have a child with them~! His parents must be terrible to let such a little one come with them~!"
"Leave the child be," said the rogue leader as he completed his study. He stopped before Amalia and Enzot, his back to the za'ap portal at the end of the village, and looked down at the four. A smirk curled his lips as his hands folded behind his back. "So, it seems we have a few wanderers, gang. A pretty sadida, a cra, an enutrof, and a freak of nature."
Adamaï growled. Yugo glared up at the rogue leader.
The man, undeterred, bent down and gingerly picked at the strap of Amalia's havensack with his meaty hands. Yugo gritted his teeth as he watched the rogue's hand flick away a bit of hair from Amalia's shoulder with a wicked grin. Yugo hissed through gritted teeth and his fingered curled into his palms, ready for use when any of the rogues moved.
Amalia knocked the rogue's hand away with her arm and glowered at him. "You will not touch a princess unless she instructs so," she said. "And there's little chance I'll let your dirty fingers touch me, my friends, or my things."
"Ow, the wittle kitten has claws," said the rogue leader, pulling his hand back and dramatically blowing on his hand. His grin returned. "Little miss, I don't think you are the one to do the commanding here."
Yugo shoved past the bodyguard and stood in front of his friend. "Yugo," warned the princess.
Enzot pointed his short sword at the rogue man. "What will it take for us to pass?"
The rouge stood up and stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Oh, just...all the kama you have," he said, leaning forward a little and sweeping a hand in front of him.
"No can do," said Adamaï. He growled at the lanky rogue who drew too close. The rogue skipped away in a fit of giggles. The group of rogues sighed and whined mockingly at what the dragon's "proclamation".
The rogue leader sighed, shaking his head. "Well, that's too bad. We can't let you use our portal for free."
"It's property of the Sadida Kingdom!" roared Amalia.
The rogues cackled. "I don't see a flag claiming it," said the rogue leader, leaning down so he could meet the princess's glare. "If no one claims it, it's as good as someone else's, no? If it belongs to someone else—say us—they have a right to charge if they choose. Doesn't that sound fair?" He then cocked an eyebrow and grinned. "Of course, there are other forms of payments that someone can give out. Especially a young miss such as yourself." He chortled, tracing curves in the air.
Yugo gritted his teeth, taking a deep gulp of air to suppress an urge to blast the rogue into the horizon. Enzot stepped closer to the girl as the rogues cackled again or gasped at their commander.
Amalia shoved past Yugo and stood in front of the rogue leader, glaring up at him with hands on her hips. She declared, "We're going to use that portal, like it or not, you uncultured swine!"
The rogue leader looked over the party's heads and called to his cronies, "Hey, gang. You heard that? Wittle pwincess wants to play adult games!"
A few of the rogues roared in laughter. Others exchanged looks of disgust.
Enzot leaned closer to Amalia. "Princess, what are you planning?"
"I have this," she muttered, unbuckling her cloak.
Yugo caught the determination in her voice. He grabbed her shoulder and gave her a critical stare. "Amalia, what are you doing?" he hissed.
"I said I have this, Yugo," she responded. She rolled her shoulder to free her of his grip before she shoved the cloak into the eliatrope's hands. As the rogue continued laughing, Amalia closed the gap between her and the towering rogue. "You and your cronies versus me. I win, we use the portal and you leave this village."
Rogues booed the idea. Their leader looked down at her, at first puzzled by the declaration. Amalia raised an eyebrow and folded her arms. "Really? Even gobballs can tell when they're being challenged."
"Amalia," hissed the eliatrope. A fire burned in his stomach, though he didn't know which had lit it: the princess's stubbornness or the rogues' mocking jeers. Either way, it was a stupid move for her to make. Amalia could take on a rogue or two, but she wasn't a fighter, not like Evangelyne or Cleophee or Tristepin or Adamaï or Ruel or himself. How would she fair without any of them?
The rogue man let a slow grin cross his face as he met Amalia's cool rage. "Feisty. I like that," he said, putting his hands on his hips. "All right, we accept your challenge." He leaned down so his face hovered an inch above hers. "—but wittle pwincess has to fight alone. If you lose, you stay with us."
"Fine," she snapped.
"Princess, do you—"
Amalia raised a hand, and the cra fell silent. "I have this," she said. Her hand moved into her hip pouch and pulled out a handful of seeds. After a few seconds, she looked back at the dark-haired cra. He waited.
After a few seconds, the bodyguard sheathed his short sword and dagger before marching off to the front wall of a hut.
Yugo watched Enzot with wide eyes before turning to his green-haired friend. "Amalia, what are you doing? We can deal with them."
Amalia turned her stern gaze to him. Her jaw set and lips bowed in a defiant scowl. She didn't say a word, but Yugo caught her message.
"Ami," he began in a low voice. Before the eliatrope could continue, he felt someone grab his shawl. The grip jerked him away, sending him into the slush. Yugo sat up, glaring towards the rogue leader, who called, "She signed her will, short stuff!"
Yugo wiped slush off his pants as he stood, glaring at the smirking rogue. The eliatrope's hands curled into fists but reluctantly joined Enzot.
The rogue and the sadida looked to Adamaï. The dragon exchanged glances with Amalia and said a few quick words before he joined his brother and the cra.
"Let her for now," said Adamaï in a heavy tone. "Let her have her stupid glory. If anything bad happens, we'll intervene." He sat down, folding his legs and gazing out at the soon-to-be battlefield. "I made that clear for her."
Yugo scowled and folded his arms, cursing his friend's stubbornness. Adamaï folded his hands and fixed his dark eyes on the rogues. Enzot folded his arms, a fist curled around the handle of a dagger.
The rogue leader called for his cronies to join him. Three of the rogues stepped to the sidelines with the princess's companions. A female rogue folded her arms and muttered about a "pig leader". Yugo looked to them but said nothing and returned his attention to his stubborn companion.
The remaining eight rogues formed a loose circle around the princess. Amalia placed her hands on her hips, examining her enemies with a faint frown.
The leader adjusted his gloves before mimicking the princess's stance. "Gang," he said, "let the little iop-sadida have the first move."
Amalia snorted, extending her fist to the rogue leader. She opened her hand and dropped the seeds. "Your turn."
Yugo's scowl deepened. Just that? He shook his head and leaned forward to see how her plan would blossom.
The rogue leader snorted, waving his hand. He then snapped his fingers. The cronies raced to her, covering the remaining yards between them and her. Amalia bent down, slamming her right hand into the snow-covered earth and the other reach into her pack. A bramble erupted from the earth and launched her into the air, leaving her enemies to switch tactics. Yugo's scowl disappeared as he watched her soar higher into the air, a glint of red in her hands. She threw it down at the base of the bramble, where it crashed into the ground.
Red liquid exploded from broken glass and combusted into flames that consumed furs of the rogues who stood too close.
The trio on the sidelines stared in silent astonishment at the chaos that followed as rogues attempted to put out their burning clothing or help other fellow rogues. Yugo clamped his mouth shut, furrowing his eyes as he followed her figure descending from the sky and into a cushioning flower summoned from the ground.
She rolled out of the flower and into the sight of a rogue not distracted by the flames. He pulled out a pistol. Before he could aim, brambles snatched the weapons from his hands. Amalia raced by as a third bramble tossed him into the open flower. Amalia waved a hand behind her, and the bud closed.
The princess zigzagged through the half-distracted rogues before skidding to a stop next to the newly sprouted dolls. She slammed a hand into the frozen ground, and the earth answered her call with brambles entangling several rogues. Amalia rose and grinned over at her companions.
"She's not so bad," admitted Yugo from the sidelines.
Adamaï nodded. "Yeah, but she only has five of them." He pointed to the two rogues that grabbed the distracted princess's arms from behind. Yugo created two portals so he could intervene, but they faded as he winced. The rogues collapsed to the ground, bound by brambles and probably moaning. Enzot nodded.
Amalia jumped backwards and grabbed two of the dolls. With the remaining ones at her feet, she turned to the rogue leader, who stood farther down the make-shift road. He discarded his black cloak and removed his gloves with red tattooed hands, a scowl planted on his face.
"So," she called, "still want to keep going?"
The rogue marched until two yards separated him and the sadida. Then, he raced forward and pulled a massive fist behind him. Amalia dove out of the way, but before she could get to her feet, a red grip wrapped around her ankle. It pulled her back to the rogues feet, leaving her half in the air and half on the ground.
The rogue chuckled as he reached for her pants, but an eliatrope and a bramble were there far before he could go any farther. The vine wrapped around the man's fist and pulled it taunt behind him back. Others wrapped around the three individually and pulled them into the air.
Amalia slipped out of her bramble held her and gingerly landed on her feet. She then glared up at the rogue leader, who hung upside down in a cocoon of vines. She tossed one of her explosive dolls at him, showering him and the ground in seeds.
The princess then turned to look at Yugo, who hung by his feet. He frowned, folding his arms. With a wave of her hand, the plants dropped the young man into the snow. Amalia approached Yugo as he rubbed his sore butt. She leaned down, glaring at him. "Didn't I tell you I could handle it?"
The eliatrope frowned again. "Didn't Adamaï tell you that we'd step in when things went—"
Amalia stood back up, rubbing her temples and waved towards the troop of rogues, bound and gagged. "Well, you assume," sighed the princess.
"This goes against our deal," growled the rogue leader.
Amalia laughed sharply and folded her arms. "Your actions made the deal null and void."
Enzot, Adamaï, and the remaining rogues joined the eliatrope and the sadida. One handed the princess her cloak. Yugo raised an eyebrow.
"What?" asked a rogue, placing her hands on her hips. "Just because we're rogues doesn't mean we're scum like him."
Amalia clipped her cloak on before joining Adamaï to gather the dragoturkeys at the base of the hill. The three didn't stop them from using the portal. Enzot, far from willing to place some of his trust in them, asked the princess to borrow the last of the dolls to make sure that the za'ap portal had no other traps laid around it.
Once the searched turned up none, Amalia grabbed a blue bead from her hip pouch and tossed it into the stone ring. The bead exploded in a firework of blue before spiraling into a blue membrane. The princess looked back at her three comrades, her eyes specifically focused on Yugo. The eliatrope frowned.
"Look, I'm glad you wanted to help, but I don't need others to protect me all the time," said Amalia.
"You need to pay more attention, Amalia," said Yugo, folding his arms.
"You need more training, Princess," said Enzot, tucking away his dagger.
"And you need focus less on impressing us," added Adamaï.
The princess's cheeks puffed up. She spun around, waving her arms dramatically. "Can't I have a 'good job' or something? I just kicked a bunch of rogues in the pansies, and all I get is criticism!" She stormed into the za'ap portal. Enzot followed her with a sigh.
Adamaï exhaled a sharp breath. "And if we give you praise, you'll think you're on top of the world."
Yugo frowned slightly. He admitted under his breath that she did take care of them. But she didn't have to put herself into that kind of situation. Sure, she could summon brambles and flowers and dolls, but with less caution, she would have lost. But, she did have a good start, thought the eliatrope.
"Bro, you coming or what?"
Yugo looked at his brother, who stood halfway through the za'ap portal. The eliatrope nodded before following his brother and stepping back to Amakna for the first time in months.
By nightfall, the four made camp and prepared to make dinner at the top of a hill in Amakna's expansive prairie. Enzot and Adamaï hunted wodents while Yugo and Amalia built a campfire with timber brought from the Sadida Kingdom. Yugo looked at Amalia, who pursed her lips.
"You're still mad about that."
"It was a stupid move," he said, taking a stick from the pile.
"Like the many times you threw yourself into battle with as much enthusiasm as Pinpin?"
Yugo turned an eye to her, and she raised her eyebrows, challenging him to argue. He wanted to say there was a difference in everything between the times and their individual abilities. But he turned back to the wood pyramid.
"Yugo, I've expanded my abilities since you left to do your training and Eva left with Tristepin," she said, sitting down on the blanket. "I may not be anywhere on your guys' levels, but I have my own advantages that hotheads like you and Adamaï do not have."
The eliatrope frowned, looking back at her. "Like?"
"Well, a brain for starters," she muttered.
"You're sounding like Eva back when we first met you," Yugo said, pointing a twig at her.
The girl pouted. "I'm not a stick in the mud. Adamaï is a better fit."
Amalia thought about it for a moment before she laughed. "You're right."
Yugo could not help but smile as well. "Still, she was always protecting you, Ami."
Amalia poked him in the nose and said in a flat voice, "Apparently, you need your eyes checked, Yugo. I may have been the princess, but she got kidnapped more. She was a perfect for Pinpin, no?"
Yugo rubbed his nose, smiling. "Yeah. It's kind of funny how it worked out, now that I think about it."
From a hill away, Enzot and Adamaï watched the two talk. Adamaï smiled slightly as he heard the two laugh. He focused his senses on their wakfu, hoping to replicate Gourgaloragran's ability to read feelings from wakfu. At best, Adamaï could speculate the two's wakfu signatures that blazed out in short chortles. Wish they'd just get it all done with.
Adamaï's concentration broke when he heard the cra's grumbling. The dragon looked up at Enzot as he rolled his eyes. "And what's your problem?"
"The last thing I need is another person to look after."
Adamaï shifted the pack full of wodent meat and chuckled. "And I thought cras wished for people to have the best endings."
"Apparently, you do not know the cra culture," muttered Enzot. He marched off to break up the now silent friends.
Adamaï frowned. Odd. Whatever.
He joined the rest of the group cooked. Adamaï started the fire as the cra stuck the skinned and gutted meat on to sticks.
Once the meat sat over the fire, Adamaï looked at the princess and the eliatrope. "Your technique sucks."
Yugo blinked. Amalia shot the dragon a dirty look. "You too? By Sadida's mask, I kicked the rogues' butts!"
Adamaï snorted. That's not what I meant, but fine. He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. "You need focus and aware of all your opponents." He paused, peeking up at the sadida's fixed face. Then, with a sigh, he added, "But it looks like you have a small start. A lot better than I thought a princess would be."
A grin replaced her glare. "Oh, you can give compliments," she sang. Adamaï narrowed his eyes as he thought about recanting his words.
After almost an half-hour, Enzot picked up one of the wodent legs from the fire and tasted it, announcing it safe to eat. The other three grabbed a stick and began eating the meat.
Amalia looked to the three. "Well, since you said I have a good grounding, how about you help me train?"
Yugo shrugged. "I guess we could," he said hesitantly, "but I do not know if sadida can use eliatrope magic."
"We have seen those who believe in the principles of wakfu similarly to our races," continued Adamaï with a slight frown, "but I have not seen anyone use wakfu—or stasis—as magic."
"Well, if I can't use it, I'm not sure what I can glean from it," said the princess, sticking her nose into the air. She paused for a second before adding, "But...I guess it wouldn't hurt to try."
Yugo and Adamaï looked at each other. The dragon grinned. "Bro, since you understood of the basics faster than I did, maybe you should teach her." He waved a hand from the eliatrope to the sadida with a slight tilt of his head.
Yugo looked at Amalia then looked away. He made hesitant noises before coughing. "...Uh, maybe you should, Ad, since you've had a lot more practice than I have."
The pleasant smile dropped from the dragon's face into a glower, making Yugo reconsider. "Well, maybe we can focus on seeing wakfu?" he suggested hesitantly.
Enzot coughed. "It would be best if you save it for later," he said curtly. "The sun is about set, and we need to set up watches."
Adamaï snorted. "Well, bro, there's always later."
"Yeah, training for later."
Amalia pouted. She pointed the stick at her bodyguard. "Then you take the first shift while I learn to see wakfu...however that works."
Her bodyguard sighed. "That would be far from wise. If we are attacked by rogues at any point in the night, you will be unable to fight them because you wouldn't wish to go to bed until you acquire this sight. Or, you give up in the late night hours and waste energy that could be used for something more productive."
The princess scowled, folding her arms. "Who planted poison ivy in your pants?"
Enzot looked over to the eliatrope. "Take the first watch."
Yugo nodded, frowning.
Amalia gave her bodyguard and annoyed look before heading off to the havensack. Adamaï raised an eyebrow at the cra before Enzot and the dragon followed the princess into the bag.
Yugo watched them go before looking around at the world around him with a frown. The sun hung just above the horizon, painting the sky crimson and gold. With a sigh, the eliatrope sat back down next to the fire and finished his wodent leg before tossing the stick into the fire. Embers lurched into the air, floated, and disappeared into the air, like fireflies in summer. "Oh well," Yugo mumbled, disappointed.
He straightened his back and crossed his legs, folding his hands. His consciousness turned to the silent prairie and all life that burrowed deep under foot. For several hours, he felt all entered and leave his field of awareness.
Valoi stepped out of the za'ap portal and into the crisp air of Amakna's east coast. The port-town grew in the years after the residence discovered the working za'ap portal. The ancient stone circles always drew such strange fascinations from people of any race and kingdom. Legend said they came from an ancient civilization, much like many of the scrolls recovered from a mysterious benefactor. After using the scrolls to control the totem statue, she could see why her superiors thought the two linked.
The woman passed the local tavern. An ecaflip called to her, waving a deck of cards in one hand and a pint of beer in another. "Hey, honey~!" he slurred. "Wanna see if you or I are in more favor of Ecaflip?"
Valoi hissed to herself as she continued along on stiff feet. She had no time to wage her "luck" against another in a silly game of cards. We are thankless, she thought as she continued her march through the dark sea-side town, eyes remained fixed on the cobblestones before her as she passed various citizens of the town. Mothers called their children in for supper. Fishermen returned home after days out at sea.
She paused, ears twitching beneath her hood. Her eyes focused in the interior of an ally between two stone houses. Her low-light vision caught the shape of a crouching little boy. The woman approached him, startling him.
He frowned at her. "Mama sent you to find me, did she?"
The woman studied his features: short pointed ears, pale eyes, the hint of tattoos along his exposed hands—a scarier. "Child, I need your help in finding Emelka. Could you tell me where it lies?"
The child scrunched up his nose. "You talk funny, lady." He stood up. "Go ask the guys at the bar. They go to Emelka during fall."
The woman stayed silent. The boy frowned. "Should be a few days northeast."
She took out a kama and placed it in his hands. "May the gods be with you, and Scarier keep your suffering short." She bowed and left the boy.
He stared at her as she disappeared back into the main street. "Lady, you're definitely weird."
Chapter 4: End.