2 - Right by Us

1.8K 72 5

"How do you not lose your mind in here?" Lylisia asked for the fifth time in an hour. "It's nice and cool without the sun, but it's still so dark!"

I rolled my eyes. "Lill, I can't help how dark the forest is alright? It's either the dark trees here, by ourselves, or the sunny plains north where the Corvel soldiers would be happy to figure out exactly what we're doing in Corvelen. Besides, it gives us plenty of time to relax and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the forest." I took a deep breath of fresh air and exhaled slowly. "See?"

Lylisia looked at me blankly for a while and shook her head, silver braid waggling behind her. "I'm glad I sleep while you roam the forest at night. Out here by myself, I'd be just as crazy as you!" She laughed to herself and started to skip down the trail.

After my early morning conversation with Koren, Andrin and Lylisia had woken up quickly, refreshed from their brief sleep. Our Animaré abilities allowed us enhanced endurance—I had only gotten five hours of sleep the night before but felt perfectly rested. The attribute meant that we could travel large distances with astonishing speed.

And good thing too, because the fork in the path I discovered the previous night was a problem. The four us agreed to quickly scout both paths—one pair of Animaré per path—and then meet back at the fork to decide which was best. Lylisia and I had chosen the north path. We could only hope it turned west soon, because as far as I could tell, we were still on a straight shot north.

"Hey don't go off daydreaming in your glorious forest." My Animaré was waiting for me to catch up.

"You know, after so much time in here, the wonder has really been lost," I replied loftily.

"Well we'd better keep moving, who knows how much ground there is to cover. We should be back to the fork by noon like Koren said."

"Sure. Remember Andrin needs us to look out for anything we find along the way. If we don't come back this way, we'll want to bring it."

Lylisia's skip melted into a walk at my side. "Is it really that bad?"

"Andrin says it's fine, and I believe him, sort of. But I think we should still keep an eye out for anything that he could turn into food."

"If he says it's fine, I'm sure it'll be fine." She nodded to herself and squeezed my arm, but stayed quiet.

"We'll find something, or he will."

Lylisia nodded again and took a deep breath.

"I know. You're right." She smiled, absentmindedly toying with her silver braid. "Let's get going, we've got bigger fish to fry! Well, actually nothing to eat at all, apparently, but anyway..."

She made to skip away again—with effort—but I caught her hand first. "Lyl, there's one more thing."

"From last night?" Her voice was already stronger and she fixed me with a steely gaze.

I wasn't surprised she knew what was on my mind. Sometimes it seemed that Animaré could read each others thoughts. The reality was that reading minds was impossible, for anyone. Animaré had linked souls—two bound into one, really—so while thoughts weren't connected, emotions were. Additionally, Lylisia had a special skill in reading expressions and voices, so it was natural that she knew I had something to say.

"Last night in the forest... I felt something strange." I chose my words slowly. "It was kind of a... disturbance."

"Some kind of fight?"

"Maybe not a disturbance. I felt it in the currents. It was a long way off, but I could almost feel corruption emanating from it. It's hard to describe the feeling. It sent ripples in the currents, that's how I felt it. Like it was this awful magic that interfered with them, and I just felt the shockwave."

Solace Curse: Part IWhere stories live. Discover now