Author's note: What inspired me to write this novel was from a film I had recently seen entitled "Spirited Away"... Show full author's note »
“I ask you this, how do you know that these people aren’t out there gathering their own troops to attack you all?” She asked.
“She has a point,” Said the sixth Lord standing up in his chair.
“Yes, thank you my Lord, I say that we should lessen the time given to these pathetic people, if they get what they say they are getting, then they shall be safe, however if not, let’s just say that my mistress and the Darkness has won, and that you’ll be commanded to do what he says,” She said with a grin upon her face.
“We don’t obey darkness my Lady, no matter what laws, we make the laws here, there is
“Yes, I understand that, but however if you do not cooperate with the Queen’s orders, she will take drastic actions in which I shall not implore upon you,” She smiles.
“I offer you a proposition,”
“Speak it and get out,” Said the first Lord grinding his teeth as he looked at the woman.
“Okay, if you be rid of the body of the Prince forever, you and your other fellow Lords will be allowed to set new rules for a new world that shall be created in Darkness’s vision, in fact you’ll have control over both worlds, ours, and the human realm,” Another nasty smile soon spreads over her face.
“We’ll give them till midnight tonight,” Said the first Lord.
“Good,” She said and then vanished.
Back in the darkness, Harriet gasped in fright. She knew that it was bad to spy upon the meetings of the sages, but what she had just heard; she knew at once that she had to contact Karasu, two things now bothered her. Her missing daughter, and now the death of Yume which will take place tonight!
She made sure that the conversation was back in action and that the woman had vanished before she sneaked out back the way she came. She looked around taking deep breaths trying to calm herself, she looked at the large clock that hung upon the roof that ticked silently, the second hand moved slightly towards a new minute and the full uproar of the Lords filled the chamber once again.
Harriet had made her way out of the chamber and was heading downward along the staircase, she prayed that she would not encounter anyone on the way, for that would be breaking the law, she herself wasn’t even supposed to be here without full recognitions from the Lords themselves. Her nerves were shaken. The only time she was at last relaxed was when she had managed to escape the tower without notice. She saw a few guards pacing around the streets, and a woman screams as another guard had cornered her and forced her to be searched by other surrounding guards.
She then found a secluded part in the city and hid herself inside a very dark alley way where she was sure that no one else was around. She then took out a small artifact; it was a quartz crystal that glimmered brightly in her hands. She peered into the stone and hissed softly into the crystal.
“Karasu, Karasu can you hear me?”
Back in the Western Kingdom Karasu was about to explain the condition when suddenly his staff began to glow brightly.
“Karasu, Karasu can you hear me?” Came a voice of Harriet.
Eria lifted her head at the sound of her mother’s voice; she was relieved to hear it once again.
“Mother is that you?”
“Oh darling, it’s so good to hear your voice, why did you leave us?” She asked in a low whisper.
“I had to help Karasu find the Healer, which we have, we’re just getting ready to explain to him the condition Yume is in,” She said.
“Good for I have dreadful news, they are going to burn Yume’s body at midnight tonight!” She said.
“What?” Karasu asked in a loud voice.
“Some woman whom works for the Mistress had come into the council of the Sages and convinced them that it is now completely useless to keep him, so they agreed to burn his body tonight if you don’t get back to the kingdom with the cure for his ailment,” She said in a paniced voice.
“Damn it!” Karasu shouted growling slightly eyes glowing bright.
“Karasu calm yourself, there is still time, you just have to bring the cure here before midnight,”
“We can’t afford to board the train for its heavily guarded, I myself have almost been caught, and I used my most powerful spell that weakens me terribly, and we used a mirror to get here,” Said Karasu.
“There has to be another means of transportation, a quick way at that,” Said Eria.
“I do believe I have a way,” Said the voice of the Healer.
“You do?” Karasu asked.
The Healer nodded his head.
“Okay, get here as fast as you can, before it’s too late,” Said Harriet.
“Darling stay safe,” Then her voice faded away.
Karasu cleared his throat and then continued on to what he was going to say.
“The nature of the Prince’s condition is a traumatized coma or the Dream-state as we call it sir,” He said.
“So I see,” Said the Healer.
“If he is in that kind of state, only time will tell whether or not he’ll wake up, however I do have a peculiar brew that can awaken him,” The Healer then arose from his armed chair and began to rummage through various cupboards and drawers that obtained thousands of potion bottles and vials that obtained strange liquid substance, some glowed a different color, while others were just a plain simple clear color.
A few minutes seemed like a few hours. At last the Healer pulled out a strange looking tear drop shaped vial containing a strange liquid that obtained a rainbow colored substance.
“Here we go, immediate awake elixir, sometimes rumored to even awake the dead, use it wisely my friend,” He said handing the bottle to Karasu.
“No charge sir?” He asked rising an eyebrow reaching for his belt.
“The only thing I ask of you is to save the world,” He said with a smile.
He then looked at the clock and saw that it was nearly 5:30 in the morning.
“We best get you to the Northern Kingdom before the time is out,” He said.
“Follow me and I’ll show you your transportation method,” He said and then grabbed a walking stick that rested against the door and he then grabbed a strange curled hat that was perched on a wooden coat rack that almost looked like a tree.
The others followed him outside and did the same procedure with the stepping stones until they had reached the beach of the lake. Then they began their decadence into the strange woods. The companions then reached a part of the forest where they had to squeeze through some dense undergrowth, until they had reached a faint crooked path that snaked its way through the labyrinth of trees. Karasu knew that animals had made this trail for the foliage had been disturbed.
Nearby an old gnarled tree with thorny leaves and black bark stood separate from the other trees. As they progressed upon the trail the undergrowth began to get denser. The tall trees seemed to stand close together, while some formed strange exotic clusters as if they were gathered for a social gathering. The gnarled black tree vanished behind them. A hint of sunlight was being diffused by the leaves which turned the golden light into a strange emerald glow that began to illuminate the path.
Something rustled in the thick bushes, the travelers paused and stood there in silence. Karasu noticed that some of the trees had the usual moss and lichen that decorated the base of the trunk in a lime green hue.
“What was that?” Karasu asked his eyes peering through the forest. Suddenly the path separated forming a fork. One trail led north, while the other led south.
“North,” Said the Healer whom continued down towards the North fork. The companions looked at each other. Nanon kept walking when a beam of light had at last broke through the leaves and shed upon his skin. A beam of light flooded over him and he once again resumed human form.
“Welcome back pup,” Smiled Karasu.
“You sure you don’t want a cure for that sir?” The Healer asked rising an eyebrow as they continued down the bath. The shrubs were clinging to the edge of the path; they were wet with morning dew. Birds began to sing their morning requiem as the travels then came to a large opening in the woods.
“Stay still,” The Healer ordered freezing in his tracks as a gust of wind brushed its invisible fingers across the skeletal branches. The wind grew stronger, beginning to whale and howl. Suddenly another sound was heard.
“Welcome to my woods,” Said a soft voice. Just then the caw of a crow startles the group. Nanon looked at a nearby tree and saw a raven perched on a branch, its slick black fur shined in the dim green light.
Just then out of a clearing in the woods, a young woman steps out. She was wearing floursent black silk gown, and attached to the gown looked like raven feathers. She wore a strange makeup around her eyes that looked like the wings of a butterfly. She peered at the group of wanderers in curiosity as she approached. Perched on her left and right shoulder were two very old ravens that fluttered their wings nervously.
“Why wonder in the Ravenwood my darling?” The woman asked.
“We only wish a safe passage to the fields of the Bartos,” Said the Healer in a calm manner.
“Ah yes, the Bartos, half horse half dragon am I right?” She asked.
“Yes madam, a rare breed that only live in the valley near the mountains,” He said.
“The only way across is of course a challenge, a challenge in which many have attempted, yet failed to pass,” She said.
“What is your challenge?” The Healer asked
“The challenge that I propose to you this day, is this, a simple flower lies within these woods, but could cure any ailment, even the poisoning of blood, find me this flower before the sun reaches the mountains, and I’ll grant you passage to the valley,” She said. Then a raven cawed and then a whole flock of the black birds burst out from a nearby tree and flew around her. Soon the wind began to pick up and then, she vanished.
“I sure hope you know this Healer,” Karasu said with a hostile glare.
“I think I do, what she means like Lycanthropy or Vampirism, I know this I do for I keep harping Nanon about it,” With this he smiles at Nanon, who glares in return.
He cleared his throat to ease the tension. He took a deep breath.
“The only problem is, they do not grow around here, in fact they grow underground,” He said.
“Great so that means we have to find some sort of cave that leads underground,” Karasu cursed softly to himself as he kicked dirt. He began to loath begin trapped behind rock walls.
“Right, so let us head towards the mountains away from the valley, we don’t want to be turned into a raven,” He said.
The companions wondered through the undergrowth of the woods that seemed to have gotten denser, and a dark storm cloud must have blocked the sun for now their path was black as pitch. Karasu knew they were waisting desperate time for this stupid challenge and wondered why they couldn’t avoid it without becoming ravens. He looked around the woods, looking for any signs of the peaks. They seemed closer now as they kept walking, but then again they looked further off.
“Isn’t there a faster way?” Complained Nanon who’s feet were getting sore, and was worried that nightfall might come upon them yet again and cause the curse to inflict upon him.
“Well if we’d gotten to the valley yes,” Said Karasu sighing slightly. He was getting impatient. The range was only a few hundred or more yards away from them and it appeared that the sun was teasing him for he had no chance of seeing it because of the clouds so there for he was unable to tell the time.
A clap of thunder darkened the mood even better once a sheet of rain broke loose from the lingering cloud. The companions have treaded over the woods, not encountering anything which was unusual. But their luck had run out on that, for in the distance something growled which made Karasu stop in his tracks.
“Hold still,” He hissed slightly in a low voice browsing the foliage of the trees.
“Not a sound,” He added as Nanon snapped a branch.
Another growling sound echoed through the trees, it was threatening, almost like a dog or wolf. He held his staff in preparation for attack. For a long moment nothing happened. Nanon looked around nervously, when suddenly something black and large collides with him, sending him spiraling towards the ground and onto his back. A large paw with claws sticking into his chest was placed upon him. He yelped and looked into the eyes of the beast, they were two colors. One eye was white, and the other eye was silver.
“HELP!” He shouted as he struggled. The beast itself had to weigh over a ton for it was heavy. He noticed that the wolf had strange looking spikes around its tail, and that his fur glistened in what was left of the morning sunlight.
“Don’t touch it’s fur, it consists of various spikes and thorns that contain Nightshadow, a poison most fowl, you won’t even see the lights of Asrengard,” He said.
“Looks like no one will see the ghost world today my friend,” Said Karasu taking hold of his staff and rising it into the air. Soon the tip of the staff came hurtling downward and the emeralds on top were glowing brightly as they then smashed right into the side of the wolf.
The wolf lets out a yelp as it leaps off of Nanon, a large bloody streak now on its pelt. He licked its wound and then glared at the attacker and suddenly its teeth grew longer, as did its claws and the spikes that decorated its fur also grew sharper. The beast rose it’s large shaggy head and then howled.
Before Karasu realized what was going on, his staff had managed to wrap a protective shield around the companions protecting them from the sharp needles that were shooting towards them at a fast rate. The wolf growled slightly as it eyes glared at Karasu whom had blocked its best attack that usually never failed. Its fangs bared as it approached him.
“Foolish wizard, attempting to take my pray,” Growled the wolf in a mincing dark voice of a male aspect.