Wuxiaworld > The Dryad > 117 Ambush
Ivy's POV

I had cut off all power outside my body and even suppressed my internal energy circulations as much as I could. I was 'blind' only having small mortal eyes buried deep in my foliage and deaf only being able to hear with my own leaves. The eyes were the only thing that distinguished me from any other poison ivy vine. With my powers cut I could no longer sense Maximus's approach. It was agonizing, clinging there waiting for the enemy to come. After hours of waiting the sound of footsteps breaking the quiet night. The echoing of the sound of his footsteps off the trees made it hard to find his location. Suddenly he stepped in the clearing only a few strides from where I was. My leaves let out a shudder seeing him so close. He was supposed to be on the far side of the pond. I could feel tears escaping from my eyes hidden in the vines.

"This is it? I really thought that there would be more." Maximus's cold words made me feel filthy. He cast his polluted gaze over the pond and I could see disgust on his face. Sure Laurel's home was a bit plain, but what gives him the right to say anything about it?

"Where could that twig be hiding?" he said while casting his eyes around the pond again. I wanted to shudder at his words, but if I did that he would find me. Quickly, I closed my eyes, knowing they should now just look like a pair of warts on the main vine of the ivy. I was terrified. If he found me now there would be nothing I could do to escape. I could feel my leaves start to rustle more than could be explained by the wind. Panic filled me as I started losing control. He was going to find me. I pulled my consciousness tighter and tighter in fear. I felt like I was one of those little wood lice, rolling into a protective shell. The leaves that I had pulled my consciousness out of settled down and started to sway naturally in the gentle breeze. Realizing what I had to do, I pulled the remnants of my power slowly out of the plant I had become, forming a small core right around my eyes. The shaking continued to settle down. I wanted to quickly pull all my power in to hide. But Maximus might be able to feel the sudden movement of energy.

While I was doing this, silence had spread over the grove. It was tearing at me like caterpillars on a leaf to not know what was happening. But until I had gathered all my power to my closed eyes and a few small leaves, I did not dare look at what was going on.

As I slowly opened one eye I saw Maximus staring right at me. If I had a heart right now I was sure it would have stopped. He continued to watch me for what felt like hours. My insides were screaming at me to run away. The only thing that kept me rooted was the knowledge that as soon as he felt the smallest flare of my power it was over. I know if I was still in control of my body I would be shivering.

Finally it seemed that my hiding skills were enough as he moved his eyes away and started walking around the pond. I saw him looking into the forest, still trying to find me. Once in a while he muttered to himself and stopped to look closer at some plant.

With my power cut off from the forest around me I could not tell what he was saying once he made it a third of the way around the pond. Though I was able to tell from his body language that as he walked he was growing more and more frustrated. It was about two thirds of the way around the pond when he stopped to turn towards me again with a sickening smile on his face. He found me, I felt my heart tremble. Do I run for it? We have the pond between us. That gives me a good lead.

Then I realized his eyes seemed too low to be looking at me. I watched in horror as Maximus moved closer and closer to the edge of the pond. Mist! I called out in my heart. I need to help! The harder I tried to think of what to do to help Mist the more blank my mind became. He was only a single step away from the pond. The tears streaming from my eyes clouded my vision. No no nooo. I have to help. But my body would not move.

A large splash of water sounded through the heavy silence of the clearing. The water droplets flying through the air made it impossible to figure out what was going on. Maximus's arms were flailing in panic as he wheeled backward. Finally the water rained back down and I could see. He was trying to pull off a bubble of water that had covered his face.

It seems that Mist realized that she was found and chose to strike before Maximus could act. Mist's attack was merciless. Maximus's hands tried to claw the water away but simply passed through the water as he left deep scratches on his face. Maximus fell on his back as his face started to turn blue. His movements started becoming more sporadic. Did Mist just win?

I watched as Maximus's face grew more and more panicked. Then his thrashing stopped. He was still…. He died… Mist did it! She had brought down Maximus. We were finally safe. It felt a little wrong how easily Mist was able to deal with him. Why was this little sprite able to do what I could not? I do not know if I was more happy or sad about this. But his blighted death magic did not seem to have any effect on her. The ring of death caused by their fight continued to grow around him, but still Mist held on.

I continued to watch, waiting to be sure it was over. Seconds had never seemed so long. I knew she must be running low on energy trying to hold herself together outside her pond for so long. She wavered a few times as she tried to stay out of the water.

It is over, I said to myself. I spread my strength over my body, starting to gain control of it again.

With a jolt I noticed that repulsive smile.Why was Maximus smiling in his death? Then I saw his arm was slowly moving. In his hand was a jar like he used when he assaulted me. "NOOOO!!" I shouted through my leaves as I struggled to gain control of my body so I could transform back into my humanoid form.

Maximus smashed the ceramic jar in his hand splashing its contents on Mist. The black goo quickly mixed with her water turning her gray. I was just starting my transformation as I saw Mist fall into the grass. Maximus took a coughing breath. Throwing all caution to the wind I regained my legs and sent out the loudest call for help I could. I knew I could not reach Laurel, but I hoped that the fairies and elves would notice. We needed to keep Maximus from taking Mist.

As I charged around the pond Mist continued to remain a puddle on the grass. The goo that Maximus used froze her control over her body. My rush around the pond was far from silent, and the slime turned toward me. His grin made me feel sick. "There you are," I heard the vermin say as I reached into the plants between him and Mist trying to form a wall between them. While I was protecting Mist, Maximus raised his arm, his palm pointing at me. From his hand I saw what I could only describe as a black ball of light fly towards me. I was not sure what it was but I knew it was bad.

I tried to dive out of the way but my speed was far too slow. Pain radiated through the whole side of my body from where the ball hit just above my hip. The shock was so great that I did not even notice landing on the ground.

I could not let this end here. Mist needed my help. I placed my good leg under me and raised myself off the ground. But taking a step forward my injured leg gave out and I crumpled to the ground.

What am I going to do now? There was no way I could catch up with him by crawling. I could not even outrun him with both my feet. Gathering all the strength I could muster I sent another message to the elves and fairies. I might not be able to match Maximus, but a whole village of elves was a different story.

"I need you to stop doing that. It is too noisy. Though I don't think you can wake up the dead. All your little elf protectors are. Dead, you know," Maximus said walking over to me with a nauseating smile smeared over his face. There was no way I was going to listen to him. I continued to call out for help. He gave me a dirty look as I continued to defiantly plea for someone to come. "Have it your way."

Maximus then took out another jar of ooze from his pack. I frantically tried to crawl away from him. But he just laughed at me. I know my resistance was futile but does he really need to laugh? He continued to move closer to me. And stopped right next to me. Not willing to accept my fate I swung my arm at him. But he had come up on my injured side. My legs gave out as my weight shifted. A pained cry escaped my lips as I fell to the ground.

I felt Maximus stomp on my arm. I wanted to laugh at his feeble attempt to hurt me as I started to pull my arm out. But instead a scream escaped my mouth. I felt fire crawling up my arm eating me from the inside. Looking over I saw his black death creeping out from under his foot, devouring my arm.

Before I could recover from the pain, a cold sensation washed down my back. As the feeling spread my strength went with it. I struggled to get away but one side of my body was screaming in pain and the strength in my good arm vanished. I felt my body slowly sink into numbness as I face planted into the wet soil.

The last thing I managed to do was to turn my head a little to see Maximus's feet next to me. Then everything went black.