Teen Ink on Twitter
Dilan smiled and climbed onto his horses back, kicking her sides to get her going. He didn't really talk, he just swayed and hummed a song while closely watching Regalia. Dilan rubbed his head when it started to pound at one point. "We there yet? My head is killing me!"
"Nearly," she replied, but her words were weak. "We should be there by tonight." She kicked her horse feebly, aware that she was still losing blood. Her vision began to swirl, but she shook it off and forced herself to focus. "See those cliffs?" She said angling her head to jagged outrcoppings about half a mile to the west. "Those are the boundaries of the Elves' territory."
"So, there's a path through them that we're taking to get there?" Dilan assumed. He saw Regaila shaking her head and she didn't sound like herself. Dilan decided to put off asking her if she was okay again unless it started to get worse.
Dilan randomly laughed. "It's only been a few days and already so much has happened." There was a smile on his face despite his blood-stained hair and hands.
"I know," she responded shakily. "It's all going so fast." She watched his eyes focus on the cliffs now looming above them. "The path is to the left," she whispered. The light of the half moon shone on her cloak.
Of course Dilan knew how she felt, he had only been like that yesterday morning. But now, it was the other way around. Regalia was the one who was injured.
Dilan looked to his left to see the great cliffs with a gorge in between. His mouth gaped at the sight of it. He had passed this path many times, but he had never gotten this close to it.
"I've been here too many times," Regalia muttered. "I walked beside these cliffs as a young child." She shook her head. "It feels so strange to be going back now." She started her horse in a slow pace along side the gorge.
"Bet this was a nice place to live as a kid." As Dilan and Regalia neared the mouth of the gorge, Dilan could feel a rush of cold air. He shivered and pulled his hood up over his head. The wind carried a strange scent that Dilan couldn't help but to take in. "What's that smell?" he quietly asked. "Smells like some kind of elixir." Dilan looked around at the trees and the cliff beside him to see where the smell came from.
"It is a work of the Elves," explained Regalia. "They use it to attract animals that they hunt for food." She rode joyfully along the cliffside, reminded of many childhood memories that flowed through her mind steadily like a mountain brook.
Dilan nodded, acknowlaging that that is a good tactic to catch animals. He stared and smiled at Regalia who was also smiling. "You seem very happy to be here." Dilan was happy to see Regalia smile, he had not seen her smile before, or maybe he didn't notice. When others are happy, Dilan is happy. He could be dying for all he cared, as long as everyone and everything is safe and happy. That's all he really cares about.
Regalia laughed good-naturedly, though she couldn't pinpoint the reason. Her life had loosened up in a past twenty-four hours; it didn't revolve around the king's errands. She didn't have to carry out arrests anymore, and add them to her list of guilt trips. "You seem cheerful too," she acknowledged.
Dilan let out a sigh and shrugged his shoulders. "As long as you're happy I guess." Dilan realized what he just said and stared at the ground beside him. When he looked up, he saw the gorge just up ahead. Dilan smiled and tried to reassure himself everything will be okay. After all, he was still worried after that dream he had.
Regalia smiled. "I know what you mean," but she blushed beneath her hood anyway. By now only half of the cliff towered above them, and she could see the grass where they had been earlier far below.
Dilan looked down at the grass below them. "W-we're close... right?" Dilan didn't like the look of things. He was terrified of heights, it always made him anxious. He tried to man up and stopped shaking. However, the cold breeze Dilan felt before swept over his arms again, causing him to shiver and chatter his teeth.
Regalia, however, turned her face to the wind and laughed. "This is wonderful! Look how high up we are!" Rocks tumbled beneath her horse's hooves and clacked against the stone of the cliffsides. Regalia watched them go, overcome with pleasure. She looked back at Dilan. "Sorry," she muttered when she caught his expression. "We'll be there soon."
Dilan tightly wrapped his arms around his horses neck, feeling suddenly safer. "If I were a bird or something, then I wouldn't be scared. I just don't want to die, not yet." Dilan lowered his voice so only he could hear. "But soon." Dilan saw the top just ahead of him and Regalia. He smiled and gave a relieved sigh.
"Die soon?" Regalia inquired, "or get there soon?" Her horse shook out its mane. "Just around the corner, we'll get there."
"Die soon..." Dilan muttered. He looked around the corner to see vines crawling up an archway. He looked at it as Regalia and him passed through it. He looked ahead to see nature and white stone everywhere. In the distance was a small stream that seemed to go through the whole village. "It's beautiful," Dilan whispered.
"No different than I last saw it," she replied, in the same soft tone. " Water tumbled down the cliffsides into pools filled with warm-colored fish, and arching willow trees with branches that whistled in the breeze bend over the path. She could see the alabaster castle at the top of the highest cliff, blending in with the rock itself.
Dilan looked around, a little surprised. Not from the sights, but no one was around. "Where is everyone?" Dilan carefully got off his horse and brought her over to the stream. Epona drank some of the water while Dilan watched. He didn't want to contaminate the water with the blood and dirt on his hands. "Wish I could live in a beautiful place like this..."
"Ach rem madria," spoke a flowing voice behind them. Regalia whipped around. A man, an Elf, to be specific, with black hair and piercing dark eyes and a proud stature that was common among Elves, stood in front of his pale gray horse.
"Ah," she said knowingly. "Armeron," she acknowledged the Elf with a slight curtsy. Renedan. Do not hurt him," she translated. "We are passing through. "Regalia Quince."