Chapter 10: Beasts of Prey

Chapter 10: Beasts of Prey

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste





Sairek was awoken by Nayleen in the very early morning hours. The sky was a deep dark blue from the sun going to rise within a few hours. Sairek looked around at his surroundings for a moment, noticing the color of the sky being a dim but brightening blue, before he soon glared at her, his eyes tensing a little bit.

 

"I thought we were going to share sentry duty evenly?" He asked in a tone that hinted that he wasn't too impressed with her decision to stay up more of the night by herself.

 

"Yeah, well you never let me carry any of the things." Plus you looked rather worn out, especially with what you had to endure the night before." She argued to him. "I can handle most of the sentry duty if you are just going to be carrying everything. Seems fair, right?"

 

The child let out a sigh. "Alright, fine, you win." He wasn’t going to argue on something he agreed upon deep inside. He knew he was worn out and his but still did feel a little bit sore, although the pains and aches were fading away since noon the day before. He also knew that Nayleen wouldn’t want to have it any other way; she already seemed to disagree with him carrying all of the supplies by himself in the first place. Fortunately, after a whole night of the spell to settle, all the items sealed inside of the gem were of little encumbrance to him.

 

Sairek pulled himself out of the sleeping bag that he was in, trading spots with Nayleen. The fire had long been out, most likely being dosed out not too long after Sairek had fallen into his slumber, not being conscious enough to control the fire from his own spell. He had been so snug inside the sleeping bag that he shivered somewhat at the cool, wet morning air that wrapped around him, despite the layers of heavy cloth he wore. It didn't really

 

Sairek sat by the burned out campfire, waiting for the sun to at least be up into the sky for around three hours. He wasn’t hungry, but he released all the items on the ground from inside the jewel since the ground was dry, or at least damp in some places. He helped himself to a small breakfast of fresh honey bread and a few berries to keep his throat a little bit moist. There were canteens of water that they had, but Sairek wanted to save them for when either of the two were dehydrated enough to need them. Despite the tough hike he had, he really didn't feel dehydrated yet either, perhaps because of the rain itself. Drinks were more precious than solid food in his opinion. One needed food to function, but one needed water to function and live. They could survive off of water a lot longer alone than anything else. Albeit, he knew he could have used his "Waert" spell to conjure up a bit of water if he had to.

 

After the three hours had passed, Sairek decided that it was light enough for them to head out, although he struggled with the decision, as he still wasn’t satisfied the amount of sleep Nayleen would have had if he woke her up now. Knowing Nayleen however, he assumed she would be angry at him for not doing so. And they had to make up for the lost time yesterday for today, if they wanted to get to the Inn in time, or they would have to be camping outside again and completely skip by the Inn, and they may not make it to Lamen by the end of the next day. There was also another problem now that he had realized... but he would need to speak to Nayleen about it while they were on the move.


Sairek moved over to the sleeping bag and lightly shook Nayleen to make her gradually come awake. Her eyes opened in an instant, as she looked up at Sairek. She blinked twice before seating herself up.

 

"You seem wide awake already. Were you not sleeping?"

 

"I was. I'm just used to sleeping minimal amounts, especially recently. My body is used to it. You can train your body to do that you know."

 

She slid herself out of the sleeping bag and stood up, stretching her body out as she let out a yawn. "Yup! I'm refreshed and good to go~!" She assured herself and Sairek.

 

Sairek looked at her curiously. “I can sleep up to ten hours and still feel tired… I wonder if that just makes me extremely stressed, or very lazy.”

 

“Your body is just too used to sleeping for a lengthy amount of time. If you slowly work your way to less hours, you won’t feel much different when you sleep as little as I do. That said, you will get sleepy later in the day much easier if you're just laying around and not doing something to keep your body active, and it's not healthy to do it for extensive amounts of time. Sometimes it may be good to take a little nap for an hour mid-day."

 

"I still don't think it's healthy to sleep so few hours in a day..." Sairek mumbled.

 

“Well, so was rushing out in the middle of that storm last night, but that didn’t stop you, did it?”

 

“Hmm… point taken. Which reminds me, I forgot to take my cloak from that house.” Sairek stated. It was fortunate we have spares, apparently. I don't know why father thought we should have more than two..."

 

The both of them packed up the sleeping bag once Nayleen got some breakfast of her own, Sairek simply fed himself a few more berries just to keep his stomach content. He stored the sleeping bag within the jewel along with the rest of the things, then they began walking off again back on to the trail. Sairek let out a few heavy breaths before exhaling out a deep sigh.

 

“We need to figure out what we are going to do to carrying this stuff around. I’m afraid it isn't a matter of me exerting myself anymore that will soon be a problem.” Sairek muttered.

 

“What else is problematic with that?” Nayleen asked curiously.

 

“The jewel is not going to be able to hold this stuff in much longer. Already since last night, I’ve felt the channeling buckling a little under the strain. It regenerated some while I was on watch, but that is only going to last for a few hours at most. The more it buckles, the more it’s going to wear me out. Eventually it will be enough to crush me if I struggle against it for too long." Sairek let out a sigh. "If I had the chance to empty everything if the ground was dry, we would be fine. But I could only do it for a few hours this morning."

 

“How long do you say you’d have before it becomes too much?” Nayleen asked.

 

“That’s really hard to predict. It depends on how many uphill slopes we have, and downhill slopes and finally how fast we simply move. By the time the jewel runs out of energy, I have to substitute my own. I can't use my staff to draw it in. And you and I both know how hard it is for me to draw in energy around me, let alone trying to walk at a pace. I'd have to start slowly killing myself to keep it contained otherwise.”

 

“Well, if you had to take a guess, how long would you say?” Nayleen questioned.

 

“Late morning. Noon if we are lucky.”

 

Nayleen frowned. “We’ll never make it to the inn by today… How long does it take to get all the energy back?”

 

“That too is also unpredictable. It depends on how much Ethereal is in the area. It uses the energy as a catalyst, much like you can do for staffs like I discussed with you last night. Gems, like diamonds, rubies, sapphires and such, tend to be just quite a bit more..... conductive, I suppose you could say.”

 

Nayleen thought for a few seconds as they walked, before stopping and snapping her fingers. “I got it!” She exclaimed, and then turned to Sairek excitedly. “Ethereal has the highest concentration underground, right? Sometimes you even find so much of it in one area underground, it’s like water dampening the air!”

 

“You’re suggesting we go look at the first cave we see? Isn’t that dangerous?”

 

“Well, unless you want to waste an entire day and a half making almost no progress, we don’t have much of a choice. That, or we could just dump it all off. If it was going to be so much trouble, I don’t know why you even brought it all in the first place. Don't forget, time is ticking...”

 

“Most of it is food that you wanted.” Sairek answered with a dull look. “The only other things we brought was canteens, some cooking tools -- for the food that you wanted -- a few sleeping bags, cloaks and then the rest is sacks to store some items in, but bags themselves don’t really weigh anything.”

 

“Well... whatever! Will that idea work?” Nayleen questioned. Sairek crossed his arms somewhat while still holding his staff, looking away from Nayleen in thought. His fingers moved, making signs, as if he was calculating something.”

 

“I suppose it depends on the level of Ethereal in the cave. But if it is thick enough for the air to be damp, the longest we would have to wait there is maybe a couple hours. If we find even a tiny stream of Ethereal, the process of refilling the gem would be only a few minutes, plus we could harvest the stream for later use. I don’t like wasting liquid food, but a bottle of Ethereal in its liquidized state is too handy to simply pass up. It can be used for so many things; fuel for the gem, a power boost for my spells in case of trouble... even medicine for either of us, despite how bitter it will taste.”

 

Sairek turned his head back towards Nayleen who was grinning excitedly that she thought of a good idea. “But,” Sairek began, which the smile vanished almost instantly. “We have to find a cave. I haven’t seen any along the way yet. Even if we do find one, there is no telling what will be in it. First sign of danger, and we back out. Understood?”

 

“Alright, deal.” Nayleen agreed. With plans settled, the two began to walk onward without saying a word as Sairek took the lead. They were quiet for a few minutes before Nayleen spoke up again.

 

“By the way, I forgot to ask you something last night.”

 

Sairek’s head turned back somewhat, not at her, but in her direction to show he was paying attention. He didn’t say anything so Nayleen resumed. “This is probably a strange question, but when is your birthday?”


Sairek stopped walking and looked at her, blinking.  He went silent for a few seconds before responding. "...That is a strange question. Why do you want to know?" He asked, cocking his head to the side.


"No reason. I'm just curious. Mine passed a couple months ago." She said.


Sairek shrugged. “Well it’s… soon. I will be missing it at the castle. 24 days left, if you count today that--“

 

Sairek soon hesitated for a split second before beginning to move away, but not fast enough as three green blades of energy whipped past Nayleen, swinging around from behind Sairek and then shooting straight for his back. Her eyes widened as the blades aimed for Sairek. He let out two grunts, before a short yell of pain as each one slammed into him; two in his back and one on the back his right shoulder. No cuts were actually apparent. It seemed the attack caused pain but no lethal damage. Nonetheless, his channeling on the jewel was broken; it flashed as all of the items spilled out onto the ground in front of him in a messy pile. Sairek stumbled a bit, balancing with the aid of his staff, before pushing himself forwards to see around Nayleen to spot what may have had attacked him.

 




“…What the heck is that?” Sairek muttered angrily.

 

“You just got attacked by a Rafilos…” Nayleen muttered.

 

Both Nayleen and Sairek were staring down at a white-furred creature that was only a quarter of each of their sizes. It looked as if the creature had the ears of a rabbit, although the ears hung down from the sides of its head. It jumped up and down short distances like an excited kangaroo. Its body was a bit plump with fat, but the weight didn’t seem to weigh down on the amount of energy it had to bounce up and down in an excited manner.

 

“That fat little thing can cast magic? ‘Wilraie’ of all things...?” Sairek growled in a bit of surprise, but anger as well. Rubbing his shoulder with his left hand, he slowly adopted his formal stance, but unlike most times he done his formal stance, he made no effort to hide the annoyed look on his face.

 

As if teasing Sairek, the little creature stuck out its tongue at the child. Letting out a high squeaky ‘Nuyah nuyah~!!’ as it did so. Sairek only narrowed his eyes in greater annoyance.

 

Nayleen crossed her arms as she stared at it. “They’re not much of a threat. They are more like trouble makers. They can be dangerous in large groups. Tend to steal things from people. In ‘monster’ society, they tend to gather a group of other monsters to raid a group of travelers, or even larger ones to attack towns; not to harm people, just to take anything they can get their paws on. And yes, they can cast that spell, but it’s really the only attack it knows. As far as I know; it's not very good.”

 

The Rafilos let out a quiet little growl, as if trying to intimidate the two when Nayleen said it wasn't much of a threat. Sairek only answered it by giving a dull look. 

 

“It must be a weak monster; the stronger the 'Wilraie' spell is, the more easily it will cut; I feel like I just hit with a broad stick three times…” Sairek said in a sly smirk while looking at the creature.

 

The child glanced towards Nayleen's waist, seeing one of her sheathed daggers and then looked up to her face. "Shall I deal with this? I think a dagger will be too much overkill for the thing. A lesson won't be taught to not mess with the Prince if the pain ends too quickly."

 

"Sure, knock yourself out." Nayleen answered with a shrug. "Maybe I can skin it after for food."

 

Sairek smirked as he took slow, threatening steps towards the creature. It let out another low growl, which undeterred Sairek as he just stepped closer. The creature's body shook, as once again three green blades of wind released from its body aiming towards Sairek. The child lift his staff up, ready, as the blades approached. Sairek quickly swung his staff, attacking each one as they came by. First swinging downwards, he brought it back up, quickly spinning the end of the staff to attack the second blade by swinging it right. Sairek then grabbed the staff with both hands, and held it out in front of the third blade as the spell was so weak, it actually bounced off of the staff and into the ground, creating a small cloud of dust that filled the air where it hit.

 

“Hey, Nayleen, do these things have something that they don’t like?” Sairek called back to her.

 

“They don’t like getting their fur wet; it’s embarrassing to them.” She answered in a flat tone.

 

“Good.” The boy replied back in a satisfied tone. He pointed the staff at the creature, which scratched the back of it’s left ear in curiosity.

 

“Waert!” Sairek chanted out loud, as a jet of water released from the head of his staff. The creatures' eyes widened before the blast of water hit it square on. Sairek kept the blast of water for at least five seconds before releasing the channeled energy around him. The creature coughed and spat water from its mouth, as it ruffled it’s fur, which soon stuck out like a fur-ball in a quick 'poof'. Nayleen covered her mouth with both hands, trying to hold back a laugh. Sairek returned back to his formal stance and grinned.

 

“That seems to be a more satisfying look for you. Why don’t you take a look at yourself in that puddle over there?” He said while pointing towards a small body of water near the creature's feet that remained from Saireks' spell.

 

The creature looked at Saireks' finger and slowly moved its gaze to the puddle where it looked upon its own reflection. It jumped back when it saw itself, before beginning to quickly waddle off from the path towards the rocky outcrops. Nayleen and Sairek both let out youthful laughs at the reaction. The boy turned himself back around to Nayleen after the both of them managed to calm themselves down some.

 

“Well, that experience was a little… enjoyable, to say the least.” Sairek spoke up as he walked back over to the items piled up everywhere.

 

“Well, now I got to see the mean side of you at least.” Nayleen said with a smirk, Sairek looked back to her and shrugged.

 

“It attacked me first and I attacked it back; although I suppose I did so more emotionally than physically. I won’t lie though, that attack I took may leave a bruise or two for a short while."

 

“I’m sure you’ll be fine with how padded that cloth seems to be.” She answered.

 

Sairek only replied in acknowledgement with a grunt, as the jewel glowed and the items began to glow. It seemed to be taking longer then normal, and Nayleen was getting suspicious with the delay before Sairek let out a short yelp as if something just burned his skin. He jerked back a couple steps and then soon stumbled backwards in recoil. He was left leaning on his staff some and left panting heavily as if he had just completely exerted himself which had Nayleen worried, but within seconds his pants stopped and he stood up like normal, which left a sigh or relief escape from Nayleen's lips. Sairek looked perfectly fine, just momentarily startled.

 

“What’s wrong? What happened?” Nayleen asked as she moved up to him.

 

“No energy was left in the gem... it tried to take mine instead; it's a weird feeling and it just startled me, that's all. It takes a lot more energy to grab and release the stuff than to simply keep it channeled." Saireks' hand lift up to the gem on his collar. "Look at the jewel...”

 

Nayleen’s eyes gaze swept down at it and a look of confusion came across her face. The jewel that had been previously white was now a bright orange.

 

“It turns orange when it’s out of energy?” Nayleen asked.

 

“That it does.” Sairek confirmed as he looked down at the jewel. “Worst part about this is, is that our stuff is just lying out in the open. We’re going to have to hide it, scout around for any caves and come back for the stuff. That, or we're camping here for a few hours as I try to absorb energy back into it."

 

“Ugh, we’re going to have to go and backtrack already, huh?” Nayleen sighed. “We are so not reaching that Inn by tonight.”

 

“We might if we hurry and get the plan into action now. We made it further than I expected to last night despite the storm. ...Maybe because I walked so fast from being angry…” Sairek muttered the last bit.

 

Nayleen nodded. Sairek put his staff down on the ground as the two began picking up or pulling some stuff behind a rocky outcrop that was out of view from the path, so if by chance anyone did wander by, they wouldn't be able to see the belongings as easily. For the bigger or heavier items, the two would drag or carry the item together.

 

When they were nearly done, the two stopped for a moment as a light tremor on the ground made them freeze. They both exchanged looks at each other, confirming to each other without words that they both felt it. Nayleen let out a yelp as the ground in front of her burst apart in a large cloud of dust; she dropped the bag of food she was carrying as its contents spilled all over on the path. The dirt that rose massed together into a giant ball, before flying towards Nayleen.

 

“Nayleen! Get out of the way!” Sairek shouted at her as she stared frozen. However, Sairek’s voice seemed to awaken her from her stupor, and she dived out of the way as the ball collided into the ground, breaking into different muddy chunks.

 

“What the hell? What spell was that?!” Nayleen shouted to Sairek as she propped herself on her elbows to look at the Prince who dropped what he was carrying, and rushed over towards his staff.

 

“Ethirul! That was Ethirul! The spell is supposed to be able to lift the earth and be able to be manipulated! Mine is only powerful enough to raise the dirt into a small hill though!” Sairek yelled out, as he picked his staff off of the ground and then changed his direction of sprinting towards Nayleen. He was forced to skid to a stop when the ground in front of him suddenly shot up; forming a wall between him and her.

 

“Sairek!” He heard Nayleen yell from the other side. It was soon he realized it wasn’t her in trouble… It was him. He looked around himself and saw that he was completely boxed in with a wall of dirt. The child soon felt something grab his right leg. He instinctively tried to pull away, but whatever had him was too powerful, it pulled his leg causing him to lose balance and he let out a gasp as his balance was pulled underneath him and he was thrown onto his back. He quickly tried move any of his limbs, but met resistance; the ground was like glue, or a thick slab of mud. He struggled and wiggled with all the might he could muster but the ground seemed to have him stuck there.

 

His eyes widened in absolute terror when he saw the walls shake. All at once they began to crash down upon him. He took in a deep breath, squeezed his eyes shut and held in the desperate breath he just took as he felt the weight of all the dirt began to fall on top of him; crushing him. He was being buried alive.

 

He heard Nayleen shriek and heard her begin running towards him. Sairek gripped his staff tightly; concentrating on the energy. Since he couldn’t mutter the magic word; he had to gather far more energy than normal. And that was difficult while trying to remain calm while buried under a large mound of dirt that was crushing him, but would sooner suffocated him if he didn't act. Sairek felt the earth all around him that had him buried. Bit by bit, with his magic, he slid the dirt off around him as a large invisible hand was just pushing it aside. Sairek quickly felt the pressure on his body become lighter and lighter until eventually he felt fresh air. He risked opening his eyes, seeing the daylight, he sat upright immediately and took a big gasp of air; coughing a little as he did so, before shaking his body as clumps of dirt and dried mud flew out of his clothes and hair.

 

“Are you okay?” Nayleen asked worriedly. Sairek quickly nodded as he still gasped for sufficient air. The spell brushed any other signs of the dirt that had been on him.

 

“Sairek, we’re fighting a Grotos… They are dangerous; take my word for it. We must have stepped in its territory. They never attack unless trespassers stay in its area for too long. We need to move now!

 

Sairek did take her word for it. He pushed himself up with his staff and quickly began to start sprinting. However, he felt a harsh pull on his hood that caused him to let out a noise as pressure was applied to his throat. He stepped back so the pressure wouldn’t be there, he quickly turned his head, eyebrows rising in curiosity, as he saw it was Nayleen that had pulled her back.

 

“Walk. Do not run.” She explained, although very vaguely. She grabbed Saireks' gloved left wrist and pulled him along. He followed with her, although every instinct in his body was telling him to pry away and run if this thing was so dangerous.

 

“Why walk?” The boy managed to mumble out in a whisper as Nayleen pulled him along. Sairek’s staff was held in his right hand; he made sure it didn’t touch the ground. If this thing was in the ground he didn’t want the scraping of his staff to attract any attention. Nayleen didn’t turn her head around but she still answered him.

 

“Running attracts attention from the heavy footfalls. It also lets the thing know we are scared of it if running away, or may provoke to attack it if we run towards it. That's why it attacked you, because you ran. To a Grotos, walking away shows we are not afraid of it, but we are leaving its territory and therefore it alone. If we run, it will know for a fact we are weaker than it and will attack just because it knows it believes it can win. And to us, that statement is correct. So just walk.”

 

“…But... But what about our stuff?...” Sairek questioned in an unsure tone. He stole a glance back behind him. Nayleen could only shrug. as she continued to pull the boy along. “Nothing we can do about it now. If you get the energy we need, we can grab it and get back out before the Grotos notices us again. I wouldn’t worry about anyone else grabbing it. A Grotos wouldn’t care for our stuff and anybody else who may pass by will definitely not have enough time to take anything important. We will just go as planned. We will just have to do the return trip a little bit sneakily. If anything, our stuff will be more safe with that thing than our bad attempt at hiding it..."

 

Sairek let out a breath of unease as they continued to walk along. His breath caught in his throat when he felt the ground underneath him have a small vibration; one that he could barely feel with his boots, but there was still no mistaking it. Nayleen still forced him to walk however. Sairek felt the slight trembling under him for about 3 minutes more as it was stalking them slowly, before it suddenly stopped. Nayleen kept on walking for another 3 before eventually slowing to a stop. She let go of Sairek’s hand and turned around to him.

 

“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Nayleen asked.

 

“Pah! Says you!" Sairek fussed. "I nearly suffocated! I was buried alive by that thing!”

 

“Wasn’t this what you wanted though? I mean, this is what you would have to go through if you escaped the castle without me. You really should have done some research on monsters too. Luckily, I have done my research on them…”

 

Sairek closed his eyes and let out a long sigh. “…Maybe I wasn’t prepared for this at all…” He muttered. “I would have ran and got myself killed probably… I was prepared to run even though you told me to simply walk.”

 

Nayleen gave a small frown, crossing her arms. “Well, I doubt you got books to study the monsters now…” She started, before thinking. In seconds, she flicked her fingers, making a snap that made Sairek open his eyes in attention..

 

“Well I will just have to teach you!” She soon stated, before grabbing both of Sairek’s hands and holding them up to her face. Sairek blinked a bit in surprise. He felt color coming into his cheeks. What was she so excited about? He still gripped his staff in his right hand despite her bringing both hands up. Nayleen grinned. “I can teach you about the monsters around night when we camp!”

 

She then dropped Sairek’s hands as she turned around. “I get to teach a Prince~”

 

A dull look came across Sairek’s face as he heard that comment. “Oh, brother... Nayleen, just because I’m a Prince does not make me special compared to anyone else…” The child mumbled. “If I am important, everyone else is too. My title doesn’t change my life being any unique to any other person or animal--"

 

“Yeah, yeah…” Nayleen interrupted waving her hand in front of them. “Anyways, let’s go find us a cave, Sairek.” The child relaxed a little when she used his actual name instead of his title. Very few people in the castle, except for his father, did that. Laure did it too sometimes, but had a habit of calling him either Prince, or Master Apprentice simply because she was supposed to.

 

The two of them began walking, going off the path and looking along the mountain sides. Lunch eventually came, but with all of their stuff guarded unwillingly, they had no choice but to skip lunch and press on. Eventually as noon passed, the stomach growling came and they had been searching for hours.

 

Sairek long ago felt hopeless by the time they had had to skip lunch. Nayleen of course, persuaded him to keep looking. It was not like they truly had any other option, after all. They had no supplies; if they just ditched the stuff, well, it would end badly.

 


Nayleens' persistence did pay off however.



When the sun was beginning its descend into the afternoon, she pointed excitedly at a rocky wall, showing the mouth of a cave in the distance.

 

Now if only there was indeed Ethereal inside of the cave.

 

“Be careful, remember…” Sairek reminded her as they were soon standing at the mouth of the rocky wall. “Anything could be in this cave… first sign of danger we see, we run and get out. Understood?”

 

“I’m with you.” Nayleen replied and before Sairek could say anything else, jogged her way inside. Sairek let out a hopeless sigh. Where did this girl get so much energy from?

 

Sairek followed her in, cautiously walking forwards. The cave quickly became dark, although he was able to make out Nayleen’s figure who was looking around in the blackness. She soon turned to him as he walked forwards. Sairek’s boots made splashes from walking through a puddle of some sort as he met up with her.

 

“Lighten this place up a little. I can’t see a thing!” She let out in complaint.

 

“…Maybe you shouldn’t have rushed head on first into the dark then and gave me a moment.” Sairek muttered. "That was completely reckless."

 

“Too late now. Light it up, please~?” She asked innocently.

 

Sairek rolled his eyes, knowing Nayleen couldn't see it despite how close next to each other they were. He held his staff up in front of him, his left hand going up to the head of the staff.

 

Balinzer!

 

Fire on the head of the staff erupted as if it was a torch light and an orange light filled the room of the cave. Nayleen looked around again and then towards her feet. She then looked around once again.

 

“That’s strange... really strange” She soon spoke up.

 

“What’s strange?” The boy asked. He positioned his staff at his side, although tilted the weapon away from him so the fire wasn't flickering too close to his face.

 

“Our footfalls produced splashing as if in water, right...? Nayleen asked.”

 

“Yes?” Sairek let out in a curious voice.

 

“Well, uh… well..."


"What?" Sairek urged her to get it out.


"...Where is the water?”

 

Sairek blinked in response to her question. He looked down at his boots. Like she had noted; there was no water where they were standing in. He spun around, and saw no water there either. He then turned back to Nayleen. They did walk through a small bit of water...


....didn't they?

 

“…That is very strange. It wasn’t a small puddle that we could somehow be missing; and the floor is rather flat. I at least splashed in it for a few steps…”

Sairek's voice trailed off, the sound of something peeling off came from nearby them which silenced the Prince. They both looked at each other at once.



"Was that you?" Nayleen asked.


"Was that you?" Sairek asked her at the same time.


"Came from above?" Nayleen asked Sairek.


"I think so." Sairek answered back.



 Instinctively they both threw their heads up to see what it was. Both of their eyes widened.

SLIME!!” They both called out at once.

It was up on top of the cavern ceiling. Peeling off of the roof, it began falling towards them. Nayleen stood frozen and Sairek gritted his teeth.

 

“Move Nayleen!”

 

Sairek instinctively rushed towards her, giving her a hard shove to her side that knocked her off her feet and sent her flying away out of the danger. Sairek soon began sprinting after her, but he heard a splat behind him and fell flat down with a hard crash which caused a gasp to escape him from colliding into rock solid ground. He tugged and pulled with his legs attempting to yank them away from the grip they were caught in, but they ceased to move while being held. He looked behind him to see what he was even caught on, only to see that his right ankle was sucked up into the slime. He yanked and pulled but could not release himself from the slimes' grip despite pulling with all his might. Almost immediately he felt himself being pulled back with such amazing speed and power he would have underestimated a mere blob to have from just looking at it. Sairek felt helpless as he felt the goo quickly envelope his entire body. He sucked and held in his breath before he felt the sickening goo cover his face too. Absorbed into the body of the slime, his flame still glowed through the slime with his staff which he still held on as it was now probably doing to be his only lifeline. The flame was an artificial flame of magic, after all; but even that didn’t seem to be damaging the slime any. apparently it didn't mind fire at all.

 

Sairek let out a breathless grunt, as he tried to shift his body around inside the slime, but he could only do slight shuffling inside the goo. It completely held him in place. He was doing his best to fight back a groan; the slime felt like it was crushing his body slowly; compressing it. A groan would mean letting out the little bit of air he had managed to suck in. He had to think of a way to get out fast before his lungs gave out. Or his body, which ever came first.

 

His eyes inside the glob of goo looked towards Nayleen. Between all the pain of being crushed and the thick mass of goo; it was hard to make her out. She stood up, daggers out; but she had no idea of how to approach the thing. Sairek couldn’t blame her. He didn’t want her to be trapped too. What could daggers possibly do to a slime?

 

“Sairek! Sairek, can you hear me?!”

 

Sairek did indeed hear her; but he couldn’t speak to her. The slime was soon crushing him harder. And he squeezed his eyes shut in the pain. He managed with all his strength force a little nod as he clenched his teeth trying to endure the slime that was starting a process to kill him.

 

“Listen, all slimes hate ice! You have to make it feel cold somehow! If you do that, it will spit you out!”

 

I-Ice…? I… I don’t have--ugh… any... ice spells…!

 

The slime was crushing him even harder now; Sairek couldn’t resist anymore; his clenched teeth opened as he let out a groan of pain that even Nayleen could hear. In response, Nayleen soon took one of her daggers; holding it at the curved tip, and threw it at the slime. It cut clean through; spinning still even through the slime as if it was thin air. The slime seemed to respond to the attack in retaliation by wobbling slightly and hopping a small distance towards her. Sairek was met with relief as the pressure eased quite a fair bit on himself from Nayleen's attack, but the grip the slime had on him was still firm. It was still crushing him, but with a fair bit of the weight of the pain now off of his mind, he tried to think best he could.

 

“Cold… Cold… What can make this thing cold…

 

"I got nothing… to make it cold… But maybe I can make it warm… and then cool it off… make it brittle…? That's my... only hope... I can't freeze it... but I may be able -- to make it cold...”

 

Concentrating the best he could while restricted like this, Sairek poured even more energy into his current flame. His eyes squeezed shut again as the slime began to crush him again in response.

 

Sairek’s ears heard another rip in the slime; as Nayleen had thrown her second dagger to provide Sairek ‘cover’. She quickly ran, moving towards both of her daggers. The slime seemed to concentrate on her now instead of crushing Sairek once again. Bits of slime extended from the main blob, being flung at Nayleen as if they were fists. The girl managed to duck, dodge, and weave accordingly. Nayleen took to rolling at times until she grabbed one of her daggers, and quickly flew it to counterattack. The blob wobbled some more; the pain must have been temporary for it, but it was keeping it distracted at the least.

 

Sairek soon felt ready; he had gotten as much energy as he could into the staff. He thought out the magical word in his head.

 

“Balinzer!!”

 

The flame on his staff soon enlarged at least four time from the original size. The slime wobbled in discomfort. It hated the cold, but a burning flame in one's stomach was not at all pleasant to feel. Keeping the energy in place, Sairek could feel his lungs burning from the lack of air. His face was a tinge of red in response to that; the slime was heating up; and therefore so was he which made it even harder to resist gasping out from pain, but this was the only thing he could think of.

 

“No, Sairek!” He heard Nayleen call out. “You need to use ice not fire!”

 

“I don’t have ice! Just work with me on this one!” He thought back, despite her being unable to hear him anyways.

 

When the heat had quickly risen enough where Sairek feared he could not take it anymore, he ceased the spell. He then began doing something he rarely did; charging two spells at once. He had only done so a few times in training. He had gotten it to work a couple times; he was praying he wouldn’t mess up now under the amount of pressure he was having.

 

With the intense heat; the burning of his suffocating lungs which dizzied his thoughts and threatened to make him lose conscious topped off with the pressure the slime was applying, it would probably be the most difficult spell he would need to have tried to pull off. Sairek concentrated the Ethereal energy into the staff. He squeezed his eyes shut; trying to channel every thing out to make sure he did not mess up this spell.

 

When he felt confident enough, Sairek released the energy; he didn’t even think of a magical word; this was a completely artificial spell. The air inside the caves blew hard into a harsh gust, hard enough that Nayleen dropped herself to the ground as her hair whipped around. Soon after, water formed, raining on the slime directly. The water pelted the slime, the artifical rain cooling it's temperature quickly. Sairek soon halted the water, and heated the slime up again, then let rain pour, repeating the steps; trying to make to slime brittle.

Nonetheless, he was thankful that the pressure from the slime was becoming more and more light, until eventually, with a sudden harsh push, Sairek was spat out. He would have yelled upon release except he desired fresh oxygen first. Gasping as he fell against the cold stone floor, tumbling a bit, and then ending up to smash his back against a wall made him bark a yell in pain. He fell flat on the floor on his stomach, the pain rendering him unable to push himself up, but even his back was of low priority as his gaze went up to the slime. To his surprise, the blob shook, and then soon suddenly exploded. Nayleen let out a surprised shriek as she ducked down, chunks of the slime flung here and there against the cavern walls and ceiling.

Everything was silent for a moment until Nayleen soon slowly pushed herself up, wandering towards her daggers slowly to pick them up as they were nearby, she then went towards Sairek who was still down on the floor. Sairek attempted to push himself up, but groaned in pain, his face turning into a grimace. Instead of pushing himself up, he simply flopped on his back.

"Are you okay, Sairek?"

"I don't have any ice spells..." He muttered to her.

She made a face in response. "Are, you, okay?" She said, pausing slightly between each word to add emphasis.

"I feel fine when a lay down, but my spine hurts bad when I try to move and put pressure on it... I... I think it may have been damaged badly when I got spat out..." Sairek let out a groan as he tried again, but when he felt pain, he didn't continue the attempt.

"From an impact like that, it would be no surprise Sairek. But the wall is pretty flat; the spine may just be in shock from the impact. You may be able to move again within half an hour, but it will still be sore for probably at least two days."

 

"Two days?" Sairek repeated in a breathy mutter. "We can't just camp where we left out stuff for two days if we're on a time-limit, Nayleen. We need that stuff to survive even...!"

"I know, but what else can we..."

Her voice trailed off as her eyes had glanced up to the mouth of the cave, a figure standing there, but impossible to make out what, no, who it was, because of the darkness of the cave, only their outline could be seen. She stood up from her crouch by Sairek's side.

"Wow... what happened here...?" The figure said in a quiet whisper.





© 2013 Sairek Ceareste


Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Chapter last updated on: March 6th, 2013.

Changelog:

- ...Now who was the stupid idiot who decided to keep the text super large apparently and didn't change it back and forgot about it for a few months?

- [Update on March 11th, 2013]: And then I forgot to fix the faded text. I'm real good at this... but it should be fixed now.


Changelog [January 15th, 2013]

- Refurbished some writing, but it was on a more minor scale compared to previous chapters
- Mostly just typo fixes (there we a lot of them, apparently...)
- Omitted some details that were either confusing, just bad or were simply needless

Changelog [January 26, 2012]

- Since pieces of writing kept disappearing (generally the last like, 10 paragraphs or something) the last like, 10 or something paragraphs are completely re-editted.... generally because I don't actually have the original paragraphs anymore. Those are forever gone.

- Changed how Sairek responded (thus Nayleen) with the jewel trying to take his energy since it ran out

- Changed how Sairek and Nayleen handled the Ralfilos, Grotos, and slime (not in terms of what events happened, but describing and stuff like that)

- Fixing Nayleen's gender because I'm an idiot (I really got to stop doing that specific typo...)

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Added on October 4, 2011
Last Updated on March 11, 2013
Tags: The, Ethereal, Elixer, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Romance, Mystery, The Ethereal Elixer
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