Chapter 30: In The Woods.
Rectus sat in the study with a letter in his hands, the writing on it said,It might come to you as a shock, but that was the intention. I am going out of this place. I know that I still have not paid back the one hundred seventy shillings I owe you but do not worry, before the time you leave this place, I will pay it back.
I am going out because of obvious reasons, you can come to the forest if you are looking for me, but you will not be able to find me, you know why.
I will come back to you when my anger has settled, otherwise, I might lose control and things will become bloody. Your Highness, you have been nice to me, but that is not because of the goodness of your heart, it is my gifts that made you help me. I will pay back your favors.
See you soon, Valerian.
Last night when Quies had fallen asleep, Valerian had cast a spell to put him under deep sleep, it was a spell used by healers to help the patient relax.
Then he came out of the room, wrote the letter, used a spell to make it fly inside through the window of the room where the princess was, bypassed the guards, and left the palace for the woods outside the city.
Azula asked Quies, “How did he get past the guards”
She still could not believe it. The butler said, “He outsmarted them, he did not leave behind any traces of movement, neither did he trigger the alarming spells. Also, he has taken away a blanket with him to cover his silver hair, I presume.”
Azula looked at the butler and asked, “Do you really think I want to know the process of his evasion I want to know how did a child trained for a month could best the special guards trained by the empire, and have experience for many years.”
Rectus cleared his throat and said, “Gifts of the battlemage, ten times smart, ten times strong. You give them anything, they return it to you tenfold. Do you understand what that means now Young Azula.”
Azula gnawed her teeth and was about to lash out when an aloof voice sounded, “What happened here This place is freezing.”
Ignis the first prince had arrived at the moment, Azula turned around, her body giving off a visible mist and she said, “Leave me alone with my brother.”
Rectus and the rest were aware that the first prince was going to face the wrath of the frost princess. They bowed and left the place.
Priscilla closed the door as she came out and asked, “Any idea how he will survive inside the woods, does he think all magical beasts are nice”
Rectus was also worried about this thing and said, “I will go look for him.”
Valerian sat on the high branch of the tree, with his legs dangling in the air. On his shoulder sat a little red bird, the two were constantly making chirping noises.
Valerian was talking to the bird about life in the forest. This bird was very energetic to see that this human can talk to it as if he was the bird.
After a few hours, the bird told the boy about the places that are safe to visit and the distance of the magical beast territories. Even more, the bird has told Valerian about the location that seemed to be forbidden for every creature of the woods to enter.
Valerian was a child and he was very interested in this forbidden place, but knowing that his skills were too shallow at the moment, he did not make a rash decision. He decided to get some food and water first.
The knowledge gained from the books he had read was not forgotten. He climbed down the tree and made his way to harvest the wild fruits and water from the pond. The red bird did not leave, but followed him and would tell Valerian where to go when the boy was confused.
Soon they arrived near a pond and Valerian began to drink water from it, after quenching his thirst, he filled up a metal bottle that Quies had given him during his training.
Suddenly, he sensed something and jumped back. As soon as he jumped back, he saw a huge jaw filled with menacing fangs charging at him. His back was covered with cold sweat.
After he regained his footing only did he find that the animal in front of him was a crocodile, and not a normal one, this beast was called Metal Crocodile. This was a magical beast known for ferociousness and defense.
Even second-grade spells cannot hurt the skin of this beast, and Valerian almost became a bite of juicy meat in its mouth. The boy was aware of his skills and did not meddle with the beast and ran away for his dear life.
He did not even look back to check if the beast was chasing him. Only after reaching the tree he was initially sitting on did he calm down. He looked around and found the red bird flying over. He asked with chirps,Why did you not tell me that there was a magic beast in that pond
The red bird turned its head and said,Oh that, it skipped my mind.
Valerian had an urge to kill this bird and eat it. He sighed and asked,I need to hunt for food, you can go find food for yourself.
He was vexed by this bird and did not want to have it near himself. However, the bird began to chirp again, and Valerian felt that he was a bit too much, after all the bird was just clap-sized so how can harm him.
He mellowed and said,Fine, you can stay but do not hide things from me again.
The bird chirped in agreement and they began to look for food. Valerian picked up a few fruits from the trees and came back to eat them, he wanted to hunt beasts but not with magic. He wanted to learn on his own and see the limits of his potential.
After he was done eating, the boy moved around in the forest slowly, he has never been able to move so freely anywhere. The red bird would chirp if they were getting into the territory of any carnivorous animal.
His speed was not fast, but it was not slow either. He learned a lot of things about living in the forest. The most important thing was that he was able to bond with a lot of birds, by the time the sunset, Valerian had come deeper into the woods and had taken shelter under the colony of small colorful birds.
These birds were called the Hooters. They did not have any special traits about themselves, except they would let out long hoots while sleeping. This was a method they used to keep away the predators from invading their colony.
Valerian sat on the fork of the trunk gazing around him, he could tell that the forest was gradually coming to life. It was said in the books that the forest was much more active at night than it was during the day, but today when he experienced it, he was covered in goosebumps.
He used the magic eye spell and detected a lot of animals moving in the forest. The ground was crawling with various insects, and in some distance, he could even spot some big predators lying in wait for prey.
He was very fascinated by all this, but his fantasy did not last for long. What he thought of as beautiful was also dangerous. Valerian had come down the tree slowly, to look at the big beast hiding in the darkness, but he did not notice a small insect crawling over his trousers, slowly climbing over to his shirt.
Valerian was hiding behind a tree to look at how the predator will hunt, but suddenly, he felt stinging pain coming from the back of his neck.
He raised his hand to touch the spot and caught the insect. He threw away the insect, but suddenly he felt his head become heavy, the world spun around him as if a spin top. He stepped around to maintain his balance, and eventually stepped on a twig on the ground.
The click alerted the beast in the distance, and Valerian saw a pair of yellow eyes, looking right at him. The boy felt scared, and he raised his hand to try and cast a spell to scare away this guy, but he could not hold still his sight to aim.
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The shadows around him grew more profuse and he fell down to the ground. All he could remember was a slithering voice gradually coming closer to him as his consciousness drift further from the world, he tried his best to not close his eyes, only to find a pair of menacing yellow eyes looking right back at him.