62 New best friend
Evlin and Gustav finally reached the exit of their tunnel. They were finally ready to get out of the dark cave filled with a giant bottomless pit in it.
"I can see the light!!"
"We did it!!"
The two took a peek outside and could feel the cold breeze kissing their skins.
"Coooold!!!! So cold!!!"
"It's a good thing we have these monster bodies... They seem to have some resistance to this temperature."
Outside of the cave they found many monsters and demons just walking around and eating some dead carcass. It appeared to be some kind of dead elephant and the creatures were feeding on its meat.
"Ugh... Gross... I don't see anyone else... Do you?"
"None... Ashley wanted us to separate so we wouldn't raise suspicion by arriving as a group... Each tunnel probably leads to a different exit on the mountain..."
"So... How do we reunite ourselves again...?"
"We need some common point... Something that will catch their attention easily and where we can regroup..."
"... Something like that...?"
Evlin pointed her arm towards something that could easily caught her attention. A mountain not too far from the one she was standing on, and on top of it, a pathway that would spiral around the mountain until it reached it's top
At the end of the path, it was possible to see a kingdom being surrounded by the clouds. A large collection of houses and buildings, and on the higher point a massive castle.
The mountain was so high up that snow could be seen slowly falling on top of it and showering the view in the color white. Gustav was in a trance.
"The south kingdom!"
"The demon kingdom..."
"Evlin... Look over there..."
Evlin aimed her attention towards Gustav's direction and noticed the group of monsters that were eating the elephant's meat. They suddenly started to fight against each other trying to steal the large piece that had fallen over.
"Monsters really don't get along well do they...?"
"It's better if we are not seen together... I'll go first, you wait in here..."
"Ok... Be careful..."
Gustav proceeded to walk towards the exit of the mountain trying not to call any attention towards him. As he kept walking the fight between the monsters became even more aggressive and the large piece of meat ended up flying in the air.
Gustav just tried to ignore it but before he noticed it, the piece ended up falling on his back.
Before he could react he noticed the monsters running towards his direction trying to fetch the piece. Gustav saw the creatures jumping to grab him but they were completely destroyed in mid-air.
A large demon with the body of a man covered in spikes and the head of a crocodile empaled every monster while they were jumping. Gustav knew he was a demon because after he locked eyes with him the creature whispered a few words.
Gustav hurried to take the meat out of his horseback and threw it at the demon.
The demon looked weird at him, probably confused as to why another demon would just give up the meat so easily without a fight.
The demon walked away leaving Gustav alone completely nervous and thanking the heavens he wasn't discovered.
He finally reached the exit path of the mountain and waited for Evlin to come too.
[Be right there.]
Evlin exited the cave as well and walked towards the end of the mountain. Since the fight for the elephant's carcass was over she assumed there would be no problems. She realized she was wrong however, once the spiked-crocodile locked eyes on her and came towards his direction.
The demon approached her in a hurry and pounced on top of her. She released some healing magic to boost her speed and leaped out of his way.
"What's the big idea???"
"Chicken and cat... My two favorites..."
"Chicken and ca- Oh..."
She understood, this was a demon that fed on griffins. The ability to throw spikes to knock a griffin out of the air and a huge crocodile mouth to bite it before it could resist. It's natural predator.
"So that's how it is... Ok big guy... You want a little taste? Come and grab it!"
The demon rushed towards Evlin while throwing several spikes at her and keeping his mouth wide-open for the bite.
Thanks to Evlin's boosted speed and agility she easily grabbed the spikes in mid-air and using modeling magic, merged them all together to make a giant spear.
"Over here handsome! Say aaaahh..."
She followed that up by throwing her spear on the crocodile's open mouth and impaled him against the wall of the mountain.
Evlin turned around while cleaning her hands and approached Gustav's side who was looking at her in amazement. She noticed him staring at her and made a smug smile while touching his cheek with her finger.
"What...? Want me to feed you as well?"
"No, no... I'm good..."
Gustav stared at the demon stuck against the wall and started to realize how lucky he was to have gotten away with just a punch in the stomach the last time he angered Evlin.
"You know, I joke but I actually am getting hungry... Making that bridge was really tiring..."
"Then we should search for supplys before we continue... I doubt there will anything good to eat inside of that place..."
The two stopped by a tree that they managed to find along the way and took a small break to catch their breaths after spending so long on those tunnels and started tasting some of its fruits.
"Evlin... Will you be ok tonight...?"
"I think so... It's like you said... They will just be projections in the end... They can't really hurt me..."
"Well... I just want you to know... If you need someone to be by your side..."
"What... You want to spend the night with me? You planning to try and crawl into my bed...? At least buy me dinner first..."
"What!? No, no!! That's not what I- I would never-"
"Never!? Oh, I see... Am I not pretty enough for you? It's the tail isn't it? Do guys don't like girls with tails?"
"Miss Evlin... Please I'm being serious..."
"Yeah well, I'm not... If you want to help me out, just keep blushing your face like this and let me continue to tease you!! Trust me, is helping me out a lot, hihi!!"
"I- If you say so..."
Evlin approached Gustav's side and hugged his neck with one arm and a grin on her face.
"Don't worry poney-man! Thanks to our little talk, I'm feeling better than ever!! Once I see Marcus and his silly chess-club I'll just tell them all to piss off. I'm not going to let a bunch of losers scare me anymore!"
"I'm glad to hear... You can let me go now..."
"No! I don't have Sphinx right now so form now on, you will be my new pillow!!"
"Miss, please let go!!!"
"Oh yeah, how about we take this time to get an update on everyone?"
"That's a good idea. Hold on..."
Gustav started to focus to reach his friends with his telepathic power.
[Everyone, this is Gustav-]
[And Evlin!! Hiiiii guys!!!]
[... And Evlin... We just exited the mountain and are waiting on the path towards the demon kingdom. What are your statuses...?]
[Auren here, me and Ria just got out of the spider cave and can see the exit right ahead... We should catch up with you in no time!]
[No... More... Spiders... Please...]
[She still hasn't recovered from the cave... She will be fine once we leave, don't worry...]
[Ok Auren... Daren, Lilith, how are you two doing...?]
[We are still lost in the maze... This will take a while...]
[Do you two have food with you, do you need anyone to come and fetch you?]
[Don't worry, we are fine... Lilith is just taking a break from using her future sight so much... We should catch up with you soon as well.]
[Understood... Ashley, what about you...?]
Ashley was not responding to Gustav's call so Evlin became worried and tried to call her on the chat-room.
[Ash? Sis...? Are you there?]
[Ah! Evlin!! Yes I'm here!!]
[Ah!! Sis!! I'm so glad to hear your voice!!!]
[Me too! Are you ok? Is anything wrong?]
[Everything is A-Ok! I'm just hanging out with Gustav and teasing him a bit! It's a lot of fun!!]
[... I- Is that so...? You... You are not worried about...]
[About Marcus's pack of idiots...? Yeah, I was, but the two of us had a little chat and now I'm over it...]
[I... See... That's good!! That's... That's very good...]
[Yeah, so hurry up and come over here! I don't like leaving you alone with that weird plant-girl on your head.]
[Excuse me?? It wasn't enough to kidnap me, now you want to badmouth me as well?]
[Eh...? Is that- Is that the dryad??]
[Yes... She is still helping me... Drya, this is Evlin, my little sister...]
[Oh! Are you the one that punched me?]
[... She seems lovely Ashley... I can't wait to introduce her to my special friend as well! His name is Mr. Herbicide, I'm sure they'll get along just fiiiiine!]
[Do you have any problems with me miss stick armor? It seems like you are in a bad mood... Could it be that someone tried to kidnap you while you were sunbathing just minding your own business or something?]
[... Not today actually, but it's still early in the morning... Who knows what could happen...]
[Oh right, I forgot, you're like a kidnapper's magnet aren't you? Must be nice having so many people constantly going after you all the time... You sure are loved!]
[... Ashley, I don't think I like you hanging out with this girl...]
[I'm fine Evlin... And stop wasting time and move towards the kingdom... We will meet you later...]
[What?? But I want to wait for us all to go together!]
[We can't be seen in groups remember? Just wait until night falls and we will find a place to regroup.]
[Fine... Hey you, green girl!]
[What do you want stick-girl?]
[... You better not do anything weird to my sister while I'm gone!]
[What am I going to do, think about ugly names...? I'm a voice inside her head!!]
[Just behave! I'll separate you two in no time. Be careful sis!]
[You too Evie!]
Gustav observed as Evlin finished speaking in the mind chat-room.
"So, what now?"
"You heard Ashley... We can't be seen as a group or the demons will get suspicious... We will enter the kingdom first and try to reunite with everyone once we are inside."
"Is it safe to leave them alone?"
"Daren has Lilith with him, she can predict any danger, and Auren and Ria have a blessed barrier to protect them. I still don't know if it's ok to leave Ashley alone thought..."
"Maybe we should wait for her..."
"You think she will be mad?"
"Maybe... But I think a mad Ashley is better than a harmed Ashley... Let's wait for her for a while..."
Ashley was standing on top of the exit of her path. She was observing from a distance Evlin and Gustav relaxing under a tree having a snack without a care in the world.
A few minutes ago she was ready to join their side still under the idea that her sister was still terrified from the upcoming threat of Marcus and needed her help to feel better.
However, she quickly realized Evlin was better than fine once she impaled a demon with a huge smile on her face and later started to tease Gustav as if they were best friends.
She wasn't sure of what had happened, but it seemed like Evlin was feeling much better now. Even during her telepathic message she just kept picking fights with Drya as if nothing major was going on.
[Guess I was wrong... She seems like she didn't need you that much...]
[Honestly... Seems like she kinda replaced you for Mr. horse over there...]
[You... Not going to reunite with them?]
"I... Don't want to see her right now..."
[I see but... It seems like they are waiting for you...]
[Look... They aren't moving...]
"They are waiting for me...? Why...?"
[Because they still think you're defenseless... They don't know how powerful you became!]
[She still thinks it's her job to protect her big fragile weak sister...]
[What are you going to do?]
"... I'm going to show her what I can do..."
Ashley started to concentrate and began to call for Gustav using his telepathic power.
[Gustav... Can you hear me...?]
[Miss Ashley, what happened?]
[Drya found me another shortcut. I'm almost inside the kingdom. Are you and Evlin much further?]
[What?? You are almost inside the kingdom??]
[Yeah... I'm entering it right now actually... Please hurry! I don't want to go in alone!]
[J- Just hang on! Evlin and I will be there in no time!!]
[Ok, thanks! I'll see you guys soon.]
Ashley observed as Gustav stood up in a panic and began to scream something at Evlin. She widened her eyes and the two started to run along the path trying to reach for Ashley who they assumed was already at their destination.
[Is it ok to lie to them...?]
"It's fine... Once we are all inside, it won't matter who came first or last..."
[Still... Don't you want to reunite with your sister...?]
"Not while she keeps thinking I can't do anything without her help..."
[I see... So what's next?]
"We wait for a bit and start moving as well..."
[What if we run into some kind of danger...?]
Ashley stared at her arm. The arm that Drya used to stab a dying man and that she used to slash four dryads in one move. The arm that just a few seconds ago was covered in blood before she cleaned it with the snow. Her arm. The arm of a killer.
"Then we just deal with it..."
[... You're not afraid...?]
"... I have you on my side after all..."
[That's my girl!]