Getting closer to the end... Be Prepared for Chapter 6!!!
I Beat Up A Tree
The bright light of the sun shone down from through the trees. I tried to rub my eyes but I quickly remembered I only had one.
“Ugh. Tuna you always wake up so early.”
“It’s funny. I always thought you’d be a morning person.”
“They haven’t told you?”
“Who? What’re you talking about Tuna.”
“No. That’s your spirit’s name.”
“The… the chameleon?”
“Spirit of the Day.”
Random thunder boomed in the distance though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
“Yeah. They don’t like that.”
“I think you should try talking to… Buttercup.”
“That’s a weird name for a chameleon.”
“Don’t let her know that.”
“Seriously Tuna. You treat me like a baby.”
“I mean someone’s got to.”
“I hate you.”
“I hate you too.”
She ran over to me and I hugged her.
“I’ll be right back.”
“I know. Just relax and everything will be okay.”
I couldn’t do anything now. I hated that. Not being able to do anything is my least favorite thing ever.
She twitched and screamed. I tried to grab her but I couldn’t. I looked and vines of black energy were circling, my legs and holding back. I tried to run forwards but then. The screaming stopped. I just stared not knowing what to do.
“I have to help her!” I screamed and looked away.
“You are good.”
“What do you-” I turned my head and was greeted by a kiss on the cheek.
“I was just talking to Buttercup. Are you okay?”
“You were- just forget it. So um-”
“The world seems to revolve around us doesn’t it.”
“That was outta the blue.”
“Yeah, but it does feel that way.”
“I mean yeah obviously we’re like the two most powerful people in the world!”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“C’mon let’s get going. Like it or not we gotta grab stuff from our old houses.”
I turned to head north but the voice in my head,
“South is where your trail awaits. She will have her’s up north.”
“Or maybe not.” Said Amare looking at me as if to say, ‘You heard that too?’
“Um. Well. Uh…”
“I gotta go then, I guess.”
“Tuna. I have to.”
“But… but what if we won’t be-”
“If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
“Okay then. Good luck.” I turned to walk off. “Umph!”
“You forgot your hug.” She said.
“I’ll miss you.”
“Same here fish-face.”
“Yeah, yeah whatever.”
I waved goodbye and we walked in our separate directions. I didn’t look back. I couldn’t otherwise I would’ve gone back. I can only imagine that she did the same. I hung my head down in sadness.
“You made the right-”
“Please. Just shut up.”
He sounded like he wanted to protest. I was glad he didn’t.
“Where is this trial?”
“Is this supposed to be dramatic and threatening or…”
“Why am I tied to you?”
“Because I’m so amazing…?”
“No. Keep walking. We should be there by morning.”
“No. Two days.”
“You’re very unintelligent.”
“I’ll be back soon. I have some… business to attend to.”
“Okay. See ya.”
I just kept walking down the path with only my thoughts. Which if I’m being honest wasn’t great. I tried to think about other things but I just kept going back to Amare. I wanted to just run back and hug her and just forget about the prophecy but I couldn’t. I had to keep walking.
“Hello, there young man.”
“Do not be scared of me.” An old lady walked out of the bushes. She was maybe 4’2 at best with frizzy gray hair and calm golden eyes.
“Do not be sorry my boy.”
“Oh ok… who are you?”
“Aquila but most young travelers call me Crazy Qui.”
“Are you crazy?”
“If I want to be.”
“Cool. I guess. So what’re you doing in the forest?”
“Tending to the animals.”
“Child. I only show up when travelers require advice and guidance.”
“I can tell by your face that you’re having girl problems.”
“I have my ways. I can only tell you this, ‘She who you love, will join you in the end.’”
“Thanks…? What’s it mean?”
“I cannot tell you.”
“That seems to be the recurring theme.”
“Hah! I like this one.” Then with a flash of golden light that temporarily blinded me she disappeared.
I stood there for a couple of minutes wondering what the heck just happened. Then I remembered I had a quest.
“I really hate my life sometimes,” I said after three hours of walking.
Then I fell into quicksand.
“Well. This sucks.”
I grabbed onto a branch and hauled myself out. I kept walking and found a stream and some canteens were strewn across the ground. I didn’t think much of it then but I probably should’ve.
“Wow! They filter water too! Isn’t that cool-” I remembered Amare wasn’t with me.
I didn’t want to go on that quest but I guess I had to. I scooped some water from the stream and shook it to filter it. I took a swig and then downed the whole canteen. I refilled it and two others and stuck them in my bag.
I turned my head but nothing was there. It sounded like it had come from right next to me.
Then again, and again, and again.
I covered my ears but it didn’t help. It just kept coming, getting louder and louder. My eardrums rattled and my brain was slowly turning into mush. I tried to call for help but no one was there to hear me. I slammed my head on a tree and threw up. All the water came out and the screaming stopped. I looked at the sign I hadn’t seen before.
The stream of screams. I always thought it was a myth or a legend but I had experienced it first-hand and let’s just say I don’t think it’s a myth anymore.
“Who dares wake the great Arbor!” A voice boomed.
I thought I was dreaming as the tree I had run into had uprooted itself and was walking around. It had no eyes or anything but two holes on the sides of it are what I can only assume were ears.
“You!” He looked at me, or whatever you say when a faceless tree thing turns in your direction.
“Yeah it’s me, don't lose your leaves.”
“I will have you for this disgrace!” He screamed.
He ran at me. I grabbed a branch the size of my arm and smacked it right where his face would be.
“The blessing of Catus is with you.”
Then a giant lightning bolt slammed down on the stick. The stick sparked and sizzled. I realized that it was no longer a stick. It was a perfectly crafted black sword with an elegant maroon handle.
“Thanks,” I said looking to the sky.
“I will get rid of you vile traveler.” Screamed the tree.
He ran at me again but faster this time. I grabbed one of his branches and hoisted myself up into the leaves. I slammed the blade into the top of the trunk and twisted.
“I have been bested.”
He fell over and I jumped off and kept on the trail to the mountain.
* * *
I reached in my pack for some water but I remembered where it was from. I dumped it on the ground and continued waving my new sword around.
Nightfall came faster than expected. I was ¾ of the way to the mountain but it still seemed so far away. I had felt tired and weary but the darkness gave me a boost and I kept on powering through. I dusted some of the remaining quicksand off of my pants and started jogging.
“Hello, young one.”
“You have done well on your journey so far. The added help is a factor in that too but no matter.”
“Who is Catus?”
“I’m afraid I can’t share that information with you at this moment.”
“Believe me there are a lot of things I would like to tell you of but we are forbidden to tell you directly.”
“It’s fine. I just- I miss Amare.”
“I know you do. I too have a connection to her spirit.”
“Buttercup and I have been in love for billions of years. It usually carries over to our new lives like this one.”
“How old is this prophecy.”
“Two millennia symbolizes.”
“But that’s when-”
“Yes. When Buttercup and I were on this earth together first.”
“We thought- we thought we would complete the prophecy but we weren’t lucky…”
I wanted to keep asking but I didn’t want to break him. I walked in silence.
I looked up and…
“We- we’re here?”
“You have learned to Night Travel already?” He seemed as surprised as I was.
I looked in a pool of water at my feet.
“Your body is learning to harness the night.”
My used-to-be-normal eye had now turned completely black. No pupil, no iris. Just black.
“I don’t want this!” I said panicking.
“It will be okay, just calm down!”
I sucked in a deep breath and I told myself it will be okay.
“Now what?” I said, fascinated at the fact that I could still see.
“You have to climb the mountain.”
“Wait what? Why can’t I just teleport up there or walk up a trail?”
“No. This symbolizes the beginning of your trial.”
“Okay… so what now?”
“I must exit your body and you will then be able to climb the mountain.”
“I will be back if you succeed. The Spirit of the Night lives inside of you. Harness it and you will triumph.”
“I’m not ready!”
“You are little one. I believe in you.”
Then a giant dragon came flying out of my mouth and into the night sky. I staggered to one knee and I felt drained and tired and like I was gonna die. I had no idea how I was gonna climb this mountain.
I took a grab at a small stone ledge 12 feet up. I jumped and pushed myself up but my arms failed me and I tumbled down. I think I would’ve broken my arm but my bag saved me. I stood up again. I put my foot on a log and jumped up. This time I got a good grip and pulled myself up and looked for the next ledge but there wasn’t one for another 30 or 40 feet above me.
“Okay. I got this.”
I took a deep breath I thought of the moon and the stars and the darkness. I jumped up and slammed my cupped hand into the mountain face. It left a hole the size of my hand in it and I did it again in pulled myself up. I laughed and continued up. I felt great and before I knew it I was at the peak of the mountain.
“I did it... I DID IT!!!” I threw up my arms in triumph.
“Good job brother.”
“Catus…?” A man with strong arms and a massive figure stood before me.
I was intimidated, to say the least.
“Aah, yes brother. You remember me.”
“Oh. Yeah. Thanks for the sword.”
“It was my pleasure. It has been a long time since I have been able to help a hero such as you.”
“Uhm… awesome. I’m uh here for the trial.”
“Aah yes. The first step to take a dip in the Praeteritum Pond.”
“Okay. Interesting. Why do I need to take a bath in a pond?”
“Because this pond cleanses the essence of the future off you. It will be tough as you need to give up all distractions.”
“Sweet! Sounds easy enough. When do I start?”
“I know. Am I missing something? Cause it’s really starting to seem like I’m missing something.”
“That means that girl…” He snapped his fingers in frustration and then, “Ah! Amare! Yeah, you gotta give her up.”
“Just for while you’re in the stream obviously.”
“Oh. That isn’t too hard then.”
“Also if you don’t connect with the night you die.”
“That would’ve been nice to lead off with, doncha think?”
“I guess. You know I can’t die so it’s not very high on my list of possible threats.”
“Yeah, I guess. Okay. I’m ready… I hope.”
I glanced behind Catus and there was a beautiful pond. It reflected the crescent moon in the sky and made the pond itself look the pale glowing white of the moon. I stepped in and my leg felt like it was broken in half and then sewn back on upside down with barbed wire. I winced and kept going until it was up to my chest.
“You have to completely submerge yourself!”
I tried to respond but the pain was overwhelming. My vasovagal syncope kicked in and I blacked out but the pain woke me up instantly. I took another shaky step and my head was submerged.
I tried to scream but I just inhaled water. My lungs and stomach were on fire and my body felt like it was melting. I looked up and there was a shimmering image of Amare in the water.
‘No.’ I thought to myself. ‘I don’t need her.’
The image dispersed and the burning sensation stopped. I carefully stepped out of the water.
“Aah! You have done well, young one.”
“Thanks… Zero out of five would not recommend.”
Catus laughed, genuinely, and slapped my back.
“Go touch the stone over there.”
“Is it gonna punch me in the face or somethin’?”
“Go find out.” The seriousness of his tone put me off and I slowly approached the stone.
It was jet black with little flecks of white. The stone only reached up to my waist. On top of it was a handprint. I placed my hand into it and nothing happened. I turned to Catus but he was gone. Then a flash of bright, blinding white light. I turned and the stone was now glowing white and I looked down and I was glowing too.
“Young one,” Catus said, startling me. “I pronounce you, Keeper of the Moon.”