Fantasy of Five Lights
A storm was falling on the forest at night. The rain and the wind were the strongest in years. A little girl around 13 years old with only a black dress was running in the middle of the trees. Her long violet hair was moving violently with the wind and her body shaking from fatigue.
The sound of horses could be heard from behind. Several people with black cloaks were riding as fast as they could and was only matter of time before they reached the girl.
“Don’t hesitate to use the bows and spears to stop her!” A voice shouted from the group.
“Either way she couldn’t really die for something like that” said then to herself.
The heavy voice came from a tall woman with elongate face and short straight hair with a dark green tone and she were riding in the front of the group. The ring in her right hand not only made everyone knows that she was a witch but also the leader of the group, more specifically the group C the third strongest fraction from a witch cult which were well known around the continent and had been gaining more members in the recent years. “Lilim” was the name of the cult that was feared from everyone that hear it.
A lightning falling could be heard inside the forest. The girl who was still running seemed to be out of breath, she saw behind her, where the sound of the horses came from, but because of that she couldn’t pay attention where she stepped and then fell to the ground. In that moment her mind went blank. The little girl laying on the ground didn’t know what to do or either think. She was about to gave everything for lost.
Another lightning fell illuminating the area around her. Thanks to its light she could see a slope covered in stones. Her eyes suddenly opened and her cry stopped because now an opportunity to get out of this desperate situation was in front of her.
The slope was considerably inclined but with her weight she surely could climb it without make the stones fell down. If she manages to climb it she could finally leave the horses behind.
She stood up and cleaned her tears then with some difficulty started to climb the slope with her bared feet.
But before the girl managed to climb the entire slope the horses were close enough to shoot her with their bows.
“Shoot now! If she managed to climb it we won't be able follow her!” shouted the leader, but she hadn't even finished talking when the arrows started to fall on the slope.
An arrow lightly hurt the girl face and then stuck in the rocks, even though in some way an arrow wound couldn't be a threat for her but if one of those hurt her limbs she surely will fall down.
The little girl tried to climb faster while the arrows were increasing around her, but when she finally finished to climb an arrow pierced her shoulder and another one grazed her right leg.
Her leg didn't respond and her body began to fell backwards to the edge of the slope, but she managed to push her body forward with her remaining strength, falling on her knees on the hard ground. She could feel the pain all over her body but she didn't have time to think about it. The only thing in her mind was to hurry and escape.
She ignored the pain and continued walking even at the limit of her strength until she finally left the horses behind.
The leader tried to keep her composure but a frustrated expression could be seen in her face.
“(Looks like I don't have other choice)” she thought angrily. “ALICE!”
“Ye… yes leader Leah” said a shy and little blonde girl riding a horse.
Leah took some arrows and put their edge in her hand to cover them in blood then load the crossbow she had with them.
“Take this, climb it and follow her. With your weight you are the only one that could do it”
“Bu… but are you sure that I…”
“I don't want to hear any excuse! Just climb it and follow the girl!” Leah shouted before the shy girl could even finish talking.
Leah threw the crossbow to Alice like if it were the food you throw at a dog. She could catch it with some difficulty that almost fell from the horse.
“With those doesn't matter if is only a scratch she shouldn't be able to move anymore”
Leah's blood was very famous and feared among the cult. After some rituals she made it poisonous. If someone come to drink it or get inside the body by a wound the entire nervous system would be altered. The muscles would suffer spasms the whole body would start to writhe and breathe would become difficult, finally the victim would die in agony.
Then the blonde girl got off the horse and passed the crossbow band down her back then began to climb.
After a moment she finally finished to climb to the peak, she turned and saw down with doubt.
“Ok, now follow the trail of the girl. She shouldn't have so much strength left and is bleeding. Probably she couldn't be able to keep walking soon too. If you don't hurry and let her die you won't be able to find her, so move your ass and run”
“Yes lea… leader Leah" she then started to run into the forest.
“Is a real headache have to leave this to that annoying brat that joined us just short time ago, seriously I don't know what our mother was thinking to put her in our group”
“Leader Leah, please believe in her, I have been in charge of her training, I'm sure that she won't disappoint you”
The serious and respectful voice came from a witch with a slim silhouette and long black hair tied in a ponytail, an experienced look could be seen in her eyes even for her young appearance.
“I have taught her all the basics about tracking, there is no way she won't bring her back”
“Samira, I know that no one could be a better tracker than you but that doesn't matter when we are talking about that piece of garbage, even if she had the best teacher I'm sure she couldn't learn a single thing” Leah let out a laugh and continued “Someone that coward like her can't be nothing less than a nuisance, you shouldn't spend much time with her or will ruin your abilities, Samira”
Samira didn't say anything, not only out of respect but also because she knew that say something that contradicts Leah was clearly a bad idea.
Alice was certainly bad at learning, even with Samira as her teacher she almost hadn't learn something since she joined the cult. She used to made mistakes at every moment, but Samira knew that inside of Alice was a strong determination that make her to continue trying no matter how much she fails.
Maybe that side of Alice was something that Leah will never take into account, but Samira was sure that her strong determination will be what help her to do anything that she propose even with her lack of ability.
“Samira take the half of the group to the left side I'm going to the right side with the other half, we're going to surround this slope”
“You already heard the leader Leah! Come on, fast!”
The group divided in two and led by Samira and Leah, one on each side started to surround the slope.
Into the forest Alice was running under the rain with the crossbow in her back. Sometimes she stopped trying to concentrate to feel the smell of blood and also looking for a track of it, just how she learned from Samira.
“Ah! It's a bit weak but I think I can feel it, Yeah is close!” Said to herself.
she had her eyes closed to be able to concentrate better, then suddenly opened her eyes and said:
“I… I have to hurry, this time I'm not going to let Samira feel disappointed”
Her voice was soft but a certain determination could be felt in it.
She continued running where the smell of blood was stronger. The rain didn't stop and the wind was stronger than before.
Alice now didn't stop running and try to feel the blood, at this point the smell was strong enough to follow without problem. Alice was sure that she would find the girl soon.
Then she suddenly heard a noise behind a tree, she took the crossbow and pointed in its direction, her hand was shaking and she couldn't stop to feel nervous.
Then a shadow appeared near to another tree, her finger was in the trigger, she was about to shoot but then a shiny light followed by the strong sound of a thunder fell close enough to scared the blonde girl, she screamed, stumbled and fell on her butt.
When she could react the shadow had already disappeared.
Alice stood up and continued following the smell, she heard water flowing ahead, a river was near.
She could see a huge bridge made of wood when she came to the riverbank. The river current was flowing really fast and thanks to the strong storm and wind sometimes the water was able to hit the bridge making it shakes.
Alice now could feel the blood really close but didn't matter where she looked she couldn't find the little girl.
She took a step forward and something cracked in the ground, was an arrow covered on blood, the same that pierced the girl's shoulder. The track of blood that it left led Alice to the bridge.
She got close to the huge bridge and then saw the violet haired girl laying in the middle of it. She was still conscious, her breathing was heavy and looks like she wanted to move forward but her tired and wounded legs didn't respond anymore.
Alice stood there seeing the little girl without words, after few seconds she reacted and pointed her with the crossbow, but she didn't shoot.
The little girl noticed her and looked at Alice too. With only the sound of the storm in the background both of them were looking each other without saying anything.
Alice didn't shoot yet, the crossbow was in perfect condition but she didn't shoot. Her fingers were ready and the girl laying in the bridge couldn't move anymore, but she didn't shoot, she couldn't.
The water began to flow faster and the wind were even stronger than before. The water hit the bridge several times making it shake even more.
“(Why? Wh… why do I have to remember this now?)”
Alice's mind was confused. A lot of emotions came and hit her without warning and the storm only helped to make them more vivid. Sad memories, fear, doubt, loneliness all of those emotions came to her. She couldn't look away from the girl lying there. She couldn't stop to see herself in that girl trying to escape.
“No, how… how could I do something like this”
Alice knew that shoot would be the same as destroy her reason to be alive, why she joined to the cult and even more would be the same as reject herself.
Before Alice could react the bridge started to wobble, the sound of the wood creaking made her return to herself, but it was too late because the bridge began to fall from the other side.
She saw the river's current with fear. She tried to hold on to the bridge, but the wounded little girl couldn't move. Without notice Alice extended her hand trying to help her. She didn't know why she did it but could be a determination inside of her, the confusion or even more she was only trying to not deny herself.
“Hold my hand!” Alice shouted.
The girl only saw her without move.
“Please, take my hand!”
Now Alice wasn't thinking about capture her anymore, she only wanted to save the girl in front of her but... she would never take her hand. The violet haired girl wasn't the type that needed that kind of help. She didn't need to be saved from something like this and Alice forgot that.
The bridge completely fell from the other side everything started to collapse.
The little girl fell to the river and got lost in the current. Alice could only look how she disappeared.
Her eyes were still in the current. She was only held on a piece of wood that remained from the broken bridge.
The sound of horses was getting close to the riverbank.
“Leader Leah, Samira, a… are you there?”
“Alice where are you!?”
A voice came near to the broken bridge.
That was Samira’s voice. Alice waved her hand from side to side trying to get Samira's attention.
Samira noticed Alice and went to help her without doubt even the unstable state of the bridge wasn't enough to stop her. She grabbed Alice and brought her to a safer place.
Once there Samira took Alice by her shoulders and looked at her body for injures. Despite everything that happened Alice was alright.
Even when Samira was only a few years older she looked at Alice like a little sister that she should protect, but she remembered that this was not the time for that feelings. Samira came back to her usual serious attitude and stood up.
“Alice, What happened? And more important, Where is the girl?”
Alice opened her mouth but she couldn't answer, all what she did was looked at the river. She hadn't the courage to say something. Alice knew that there was no excuse for what she did and the opportunity she lost.
Samira looked at the same direction as Alice, the river.
“Samira!” A voice came behind, was Leah and her group “Where is the girl?”
Leah looked at the exhausted girl on the ground. Alice could feel her gaze full of disgust. Fear seized her body.
By listen the heavy voice coming from Leah. Alice only could shrink and her body froze.
“Leader Leah the girl fell to the river when the current…”
“Samira, you don't need to answer for her” Leah interrupted her, and then continued with a mocking voice “Has to be amazing to have someone that can give the face for you and pay for your mistakes, isn't it, Alice? I suppose is the better that a piece of garbage like you can do, look, you can't even take your eyes off the ground.
In that moment only the rain could be heard, the two girls in the ground couldn't say anything.
Leah gave a Little laugh and then turn around with her horse.
“Will be better come back. Doesn't matter what we do the river current in too fast. That girl now has to be kilometers far from here. Tomorrow we're going to organize a search downstream when the storm is gone”
Samira helped Alice to stood up, however she continued without say anything.
“Samira, tonight I want you to come to my room after the meeting with the other leaders, I only want to have a friendly talking” she laughed and continued riding on her horse.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The shiny sun and the breeze that shook the leaves welcomed a new morning in the forest. The smell of wet earth was in the environment because of the storm from yesterday. Thanks to the birds that were singing and the sound of water flowing in the river everything felt peaceful.
The day was going like usual if wasn't for a person laying at the riverbank. A little violet haired girl was unconscious in the ground. Her hair covered her pale face only letting see her lips with a bright red tone and her one piece black dress that was totally wet was covering her delicate body. If wasn't for her weak breath anyone could think she was dead.
The sound of steps were approaching. A person with black boots stopped in front on the girl. Leaving aside her fishing road she took a branch and began to pick the girl arm.
“Hey! Heey! Heeeey!!” despite of all that noise the little girl didn't respond.
“I wonder what happened to this girl to end up in this state? She couldn't…” she thought about the strong storm from yesterday “Nah, that can't be possible, right?”
She looked at the river and thought about the possibility that the strong current from yesterday could bring this girl here, to this part of the forest where only her should be.
Even if that was the case would be a miracle that she was still alive and even more without a broken bone.
She looked at the girl with doubt, but see her in that state was enough to make her sigh and decide to help her.
Was sure that she will blame her for be too soft even when she knew the consequences this could bring.
She bent down and checked her body. Her breathing and vital signs were normal and effectively she didn't have a broken bone. Besides her wet clothes and apparently state everything was normal.
“This… is really possible?”
She knew that a normal person would never survive to be dragged by a current like yesterday.
“If she really was brought here thanks to the current, Why she doesn't even have a scratch?
Even with all the confusion this gave her, she grabbed her with both arms and took the girl inside the forest. A sad expression was in the pale face of the unconscious girl.
“I wonder who is this girl?”
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
10:00 pm, 12 hours have already passed since she found the girl.
In a bed covered with a sheet was a little violet haired girl. Her eyes started to slowly open. She blinked trying to see around her.
She got up and with some effort she sat on the bed.
“Oh! You already woke!”
Said a surprised voice from the corner of the room. There was a girl around 19 years old with a bread in her mouth. She had a messy short black hair and one of her bangs was white Her looked was a mess too. She was wearing a white t-shirt without sleeves that almost had lost its white tone, a pair of pants with many bags in it and finally a pair of black and heavy boots.
She took another bite of bread and without even finished to eat she said:
“I was really scared when I saw you laying there at the river, tell me, Does something hurt? Are you ok?”
The black haired girl was trying to confirm if she was really uninjured due to her doubt.
She swallowed her food and continued.
“How did you came here? Or well, Did you really fell to the river?”
Would be really strange that a little girl like her were at the forest in the middle of the night and even more when was a storm falling.
She didn't say anything, she only saw the black haired girl with her light blue eyes, then she saw at all directions looking around the room and finally her eyes came back to the girl in the corner.
“Won't you say anything?”
She remained silent.
“Well, I suppose you have to be hungry right?”
She left the room and after a moment she came back with a plate in her hand.
She left the plate on the bedside table, it had meat and potatoes with some rice.
Both continued to see each other in silence.
After she left the plate she went to the door but before leaving the room she stopped and said:
“By the way my name is Juna, there's no surname, easy to remember, right?”
After say that she turned around and left the room, but before she closed the door she heard a soft voice coming from behind.
“… Thanks, Juna”
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Juna was at the entrance of her house, or rather a small cabin made by the same wood from the trees that were in the forest, even if it was simple the red flowers that came from the plants in the entrance and got entangled in the trunks that worked as a base made the cabin more vivid and gave it a cheerful tone.
She was looking at the night sky, the moon shone more than other nights, in fact there had been a full moon two days before.
The breeze was a great gift after a hard day cutting firewood, hunting and cooking, besides she had to prepare the order for tomorrow and deliver it to the old man at the village.
Juna sat on a trunk in front of her cabin and was wondering if help that girl was a good idea.
She knew that it was the right thing to do, but at the same time this would bring her more problems.
“Well I think this had to happen later or soon, I mean, has been a really long time since something out of the typical routine happened” said trying to make the things better “Talking about routine, Should I… take her with me to the village?”
She then stopped and laughed.
“What the heck I'm saying!? I don't want problems and now I'm want to take her with me!?”
She dropped her head back and looked at the stars.
“Maybe I'm too tired. Would be better go to sleep. I'll decide what to do tomorrow”
Juna came back to the cabin and wen to the room. She slowly opened the door and saw the girl sleeping again. Her plate was empty.
“To sleep again uh?”
She let out a small laugh and covered her with the sheets, then she took the plate and left the room.
She took the plate to the sink then went to the living room to prepare to sleep, her room was the only one in the cabin and because of that Juna didn't have another choice but to sleep on the sofa.
She closed her eyes and didn't take too long for her to completely fall asleep.