At night, they're still on the path, though they moved some kilometers. They're tired and horses can't see without light, so they stop at one side of the path to sleep a bit. Ariane feels very comfortable to sleep on Bruce's shoulder. Then, a huge wingbeat is heard near their carriage. Bruce wakes up and tries to listen. It's still audible, a bit farer, and even the leaves are moving. Unsure of what's going to happen, he wakes up Ariane.
"What's up Bruce?" she asks lighting up a match to see him.
"How is your leg?" he asks first.
"I can't feel anything" she replies.
"Can you hear it? The noise, the wings...". She stays silent and listen.
"Yes, it's above us, in the trees"
"But I can't see anything". They both look out of the two windows and over their heads they can see the trees strongly shaking and a hard air motion reaches them.
"What is this? What there's there?" she asks, slightly scared.
"I don't know" replies Bruce looking up. Their horses start to panic but Bruce doesn't want to go out. They keep looking up, trying to understand what's moving up there when whatever that thing is, it nosedives against their carriage. Ariane can't see anything but Bruce sees an enormous black bat-like wing which crashes against them. He's so shocked and the scene is so quick he can't say a word about it. The carriage's support breaks down and it falls down from horses' saddles. The carriage starts rolling around, out of the path. Inside, Bruce and Ariane are pushed from one side to the other together with their bags, until, after two rounds, the carriage gets stuck, upside down, against a tree. Bruce falls down on her and their bag against him. Luckily, her crossbow was solidly tied up but his sword was just posed on the front seats. It falls down and sticks just beside their faces. He covers her with his arm to protect her. When everything has fallen down, he puts away his arm and they see the sword next to them. They risked a lot and stare at each other's eyes shocked. She then looks down at her leg and, trying to get rid of his hair in her mouth, tries to talk, mumbling some words in pain.
"Bruce, Bruce, you're pressing my leg... Ahi..."
"Oh, sorry, I'm sorry..." he says, throwing away the bags and getting up. He sits on the ceiling that is now the floor and helps her to sit too.
"Did I hurt you?"
"Well, I felt better before. What happened?" she asks, recovering her breath.
"I just know I saw something outside, like a black incredibly big bat-like wing that beated against us". They're trying to understand, their horses are already gone with fear when someone opens the door of their carriage looking inside with a torch. It's a soldier, who's actually surprised to see their noble way of dressing.
"Sir and lady, I guess you need help"
"Yes, thank you. Where are we? I mean, what county is this?" Bruce asks.
"We're near Charon's castle. My mates and I are members of the army of that castle, we can take you there". Bruce looks at Ariane to ask her opinion, she's too busy massaging her leg, everything will be ok for her.
"Ok, thanks again. Do you know what was that thing that was flying here?"
"Sure, we were hunting it and we saw it hit you. We call it Ammit, and we're trying to kill that thing since months now. What did you do to your leg, lady?". She looks up.
"Ah, an arrow"
"You were the ones shooting arrows, then?" says Bruce.
"Ah, yes. Now I understand. We're sorry if we reached you. You can't move it now, right?"
"There's some kind of poison in those arrows we use that paralyzes muscles. You know, we use them for that creature... But don't worry, we'll take you to our castle and our pharmacist will fix everything. Come". Bruce puts out their bags and weapons, then helps her to exit and he gets off too. Of their carriage, very little remains. The other soldiers were waiting there and they have a carriage with them. The soldier helps Bruce putting their things in and Bruce takes Ariane in. They stay inside with him and start driving to the castle, that shouldn't be that far. By case, Bruce finds a puppet glove in the seat and starts moving it in front of Ariane's face to cheer her up, like he always does.
"Hello Ariane! I'm Sooty, how are you?" he says, changing his voice. She tries not to laugh and just smiles.
"Bru, Bruce, put it down..." she says. The soldier, in front of them, is staring at them in a bad way.
"I think it's King's daughter's, that puppet. She surely forgot it here" he says. Bruce puts it down again, pretending that nothing happened.
"Can I ask you one thing, sir?". Bruce looks surprised and accepts.
"I don't know who you are but you are very well dressed, it seems you're nobles. Where do you come from?"
"Ahm. Our town got destroyed few months ago" Bruce explains, trying not to say that much, maybe bad news about them spread around. Ariane looks down.
"Oh, I understand. I heard there have been some catastrophes few counties from here, few months ago". But they don't want to talk about it. In a few minutes, they're at the castle. It's a big castle but it's full night and everyone is sleeping. It's dark, but for the exception of some torches hanging on the walls. They're hosted in a little room of the royal family's house, Bruce takes Ariane in his arms, he wouldn't let anyone else do that. The pharmacist gives her some other substance to use in her wound and in a little time everything should pass. Now, they're both too tired for anything and quickly fall asleep in the first chair they find, next to each other.
The following morning, the King comes to meet his new guests. With his great surprise, he finds the two still sleeping in the chair, hugged to each other in that little space. Their relationship is a strange one, such a strong bond, with so cute attitudes, not only is rare between people but even between husband and wife. So, he's a bit perplexed about these two guests and keeps observing them. Maybe because his magician's senses rang, Bruce wakes up and sees the King at the entrance of the room. He softly shakes Ariane, who was quietly sleeping on his chest, and tries to sit better.
"Hi... Hello, good morning" Bruce says, a bit embarrassed because who knows how much time he spent there. The King gets closer.
"Good morning, I'm King Charon. My serves told me I had two guests" he says solemnly.
"Ahm, yes. Thank you for your help" Bruce says, still a bit sleepy. Ariane tries to understand what's happening, she just woke up.
"May I know your names?" the King asks, seen that they weren't talking and finding strange the fact they didn't even stand up or anything.
"Oh, sure, sorry. I'm Bruce, she's Ariane". He looks at her.
"You were the one with a wounded leg? Is it better today?"
"Oh, yes, thank you" she replies. She sees he's a good person but he's very imperative and though they're powerful, they are a bit scared. They don't want to use their powers on people, or to use them at all.
"Good. I will be happy to host you until you need it. I leave you now, I see you're still tired"
"Ehm, thank you again, sir" says Bruce. The King makes a gesture with his hand and leaves the room.
"What was that?" says Ariane, surprised, when he's gone.
"Ah, oh, well, he's been kind" says Bruce, a bit confused. "I think he was surprised to see you sleeping on me" he adds, like it was the most normal thing.
"I don't generally do that," he looks at her as to gainsay her, "and you know our relationship is special"
"Yes, I know, but he doesn't. We should apologize". She leans again on him.
"Yeah, but I'm not your pillow, dear lady". She's sleeping again. At midday, they're walking around, near the guest room, he holds her on one arm because her leg is still a bit aching. They look out a window, they see people going around the square and that view reminds them of their destroyed town.
"We had something, we put all our efforts to build it... And now we have nothing again" she comments.
"Don't be sad. Maybe governing wasn't the best thing in life. Or maybe we'll do that again one day". There's a little girl running around down there, she's blonde and dressed with precious clothes. They're looking at her joyful attitude.
"She's my daughter" says a voice behind them. It's the King, they turn around and Bruce mumbles some words to excuse them but the King stops him.
"Who are you? Where do you come from? You're not the kind of people that we generally find on the roads" he says pointing at their clothes.
"Yes. Our town has been destroyed so we're on the road now"
"And you are...?" he insists.
"Bruce is a prince actually but he wouldn't ever say it" Ariane says, before he can invent something. He looks at her, thinking 'what are you saying? I'm not'.
"Ah, now I get it" says the King, still a bit confused though. "And you're his lady, ok"
"N...n-" she tries to say, but he's already convinced of it.
"Well, I'm pleased to have you here, I hope you will feel comfortable here and find whatever thing can help you to find your way. I'll introduce you to my wife Ceres and my daughter later"
"Good, thank you" says Bruce, feeling totally uncomfortable.
"Stop saying thank you, young man" says the King, patting on his arm, and then goes away.
"What were you thinking, Ary??!" he softly shouts at her.
"What? I didn't lie, you actually are a prince"
"I was, when I was 8"
"No, you still are. The fact that someone stole your throne is a different thing"
"I refused it"
"Who cares? It's a bloodline, you can't erase it". But he still doesn't like it.
She still can't walk a lot so they stay inside the castle. Luckily the royal family is a kind one. She's sitting in a stair, resting her leg, and he decides to reach her.
"Is it getting better?"
"Yes, slowly, but yes". The King is passing near them and he is still surprised: what prince sits on the floor? Bruce stops him as he passes.
"Excuse me!... sir"
"Can I ask you some things? If you're not busy...". The King is amused to see him with his educated manners, and maybe a bit scared, though he's noble too.
"Yes, you can young man. Tell me"
"Ahm... We... Before encountering your soldiers, we had a close encounter with a strange creature, I think... It completely destroyed our carriage, that has been dangerous too..."
"Yeah, I know what you're talking about" the King interrupts him. "You're referring to Ammit, right? Yes, it's a monster. It's been haunting our neighbourhood since few months now, we still couldn't kill it. It attacks those who pass in the forest, for this reason we surveil the path. Those who could see it, described it as a gigantic creature with huge black wings and claws at the end of them. Some says it looks like a dragon but we know dragons don't exist. However, witnesses say it has long big teeth and it utters high yells". The description is not that good.
"How can you live with it?"
"It just kills those who committed evil, the others, it releases them. Still, it's a problem. We try not to let people know about it and I will be grateful if you don't talk"
"Yes, sure, no problem"
"We still have to find the way to kill it. For the moment it hasn't been a direct problem for the castle"
"Yeah, I see..." says Bruce thoughtful.
"Did you get your answers? Good, and go help your lady to get up". Bruce looks surprised, luckily he didn't ask 'what lady?' but just turned around. The King goes away and Bruce turns to Ariane to help her up.
"Sorry, I'm not a good prince" he jokes.
"Oh, I don't care, my lord" she jokes, pinching his cheek.
Few days later, Ariane's leg is fine therefore she and Bruce are walking around in the castle. They walk slowly, observing around, and talking about that monster. Since the first day they got here, that thought never left their minds, they can't get rid of it. They'd like to help but they're not practicing anymore and don't know enough about it. The last time they didn't have a good time with it. People looks at them in a surprised way, they've never seen them before and everyone wonders who they are. Surely Bruce and Ariane feel what they're feeling but they just carry on.
"Have you ever wondered why that monster attacked us?" asks Ariane.
"Yes, I have. Maybe because it attacks everyone?"
"No, Bruce, you know what I mean"
"Yes, I know. And no, we did our best to save them all. Yeah, maybe we killed everyone but that has been an inevitable and unwanted consequence. We didn't have any other choice..." he is talking when someone interrupts him.
"Hey, you two!" says an old man's voice. Bruce and Ariane turn around to see what's happening.
"Yes, I'm talking to you, what are your names? Betelgeuse? And Antares?". Bruce and Ariane stare at each other, kind of shocked that someone recognized them, or better their powers. They never introduced themselves in that way and never talked to anyone about them. Something magic is going on here. They turn to the old man and slowly gets closer, hoping no one is looking at them, they don't want people to know anything.
"Excuse me, we met?" asks Bruce.
"No, but I know you, I can read everything about you" the old man replies, standing just outside his door.
"How... how is this even possible?" Bruce replies.
"Old Magus can know everything about new ones when he sees them". Every castle has his magician.
"Come in kids, we can have a chat". Bruce and Ariane look at each other and then get in.
"So, what are you real names? I can only see your powers, very powerful too"
"My name is Bruce, she's Ariane"
"Nice to meet you. I'm Charon's personal Magus since years now and I was his father's since ages before. I'm a Clairvoyant"
"Ah, I see..." says Bruce, looking down.
"What? Yes, I know the last time you met one it hasn't been very good" he says looking at him directly in his eyes. "In fact, only Clairvoyants can do some powerful spells". Bruce and Ariane feel a bit uncomfortable, they know nothing but he can know anything just looking at them.
"Yes, I also know about what happened few months ago" he says, kind of menacingly.
"About that... We didn't mean..." Bruce tries to explain.
"Surely you know..." Bruce whispers.
"I perfectly know what you were trying to do. A very risky move from two young magicians though". They look down, afraid of what he's going to do.
"I'm not scolding you, idiots! Any other choice, it probably would have been worse. You're strong and well educated, but still young. But you managed important situations. I'm sorry for what happened to your castle, I see you were managing it very well. You were starting a great mission, two magicians governing a democratic town. This surely is a good thing. Completely new, you shouldn't give up on this". He pauses but they don't talk.
"What? A cat ate your tongues?"
"We quit it. We don't practice anymore" says Ariane, looking down.
"What does it mean, girl? You can't quit, this is what you are. If you want, you can have everything, you complete each other. The composition of your system is one of the most perfect I've ever seen. Male and female, the most powerful magical duo. No one can reach the level of your affinity. You were made to be only one but like this, you're even stronger. You have such power and you refuse to use it?"
"We killed lots of people using it, we are responsible for the destruction of two towns and the deaths of thousand people..." she says, explaining the feelings of both of them.
"First, that's not true. Second, that has been an extreme solution. Using your powers doesn't mean killing people, you can help them"
"We... Just want not to harm anyone. Wherever we go, tragedies happen" says Bruce.
"You are a powerful source, obviously everyone tries to get you. What do you expect? You need to be aware of that". Now he's starting to get menacing. "And now, stop crying over your bad experiences and do what you're meant to. That's not what has been taught to you, what you learnt". Bruce and Ariane are a bit astonished by his fury against them and they have to run out his house when he sends them out.
His words stay well impressed in the magicians' minds. They know what they learnt and what they're meant to do, how to use their powers to do Good, as they used to do. But guilt and mistrust in themselves are stronger than everything. They think a lot about what he said, they'd really like to help people, but they're kind of afraid of the huge power they have, afraid to cause another disgrace and kill other people, and this feeling is actually torturing them. In a few days, the news of the monster starts spreading in the castle. Some of the subjects have been abducted and they never returned. Good people, workers, men who worked outside the castle or women who went to the river. Families start to get ruined and people is always more scared. Once, the Clairvoyant came to their room to ask them to help the King defeating the creature. In all their hearts, they would have said yes, but gently Bruce declined the offer. The Magus perfectly knows why and what's their situation, still he didn't take it good. He kept repeating them they have to act, they're probably the only ones that can do that. He yelled at them, not managing to unfreeze their soul from that terrible fear. When he left, Ariane broke out in a terrible cry, full of sadness and pain. Why everything to them? Why people expect so much when they can only cause catastrophes? What huge power if it kills everyone? They just want to live a normal life, is it too much to ask? They had it and they were bothering no one, but then everything got destroyed, everything disappeared. What is it for? They want to help people, they really do. They want to kill that monster, but something is blocking them, they can't do that, they can't use their powers. Or just bad things will come. The guilt, the indecision, the burden, all on them. She cried and cried, Bruce hugged her with tears in his eyes, perfectly understanding what she was saying. And hugged her tight to get a mutual comfort.
One morning, they are sleeping in their bed (only one bed, seen that the King still thinks they are married), the one time they managed to fall asleep and actually rest. Suddenly the door opens violently and crashes against the wall. The wake up and scared sit on their bed. The King is getting in with some of his guards, and the Magus. Bruce and Ariane stare at them in astonishment, not understanding what's happening. Some of them are not well disposed towards them.
"What's going on?" asks Bruce, a bit of fear in his voice.
"Now stop with this charade, you'll do what I say" replies the King.
"What?" says Bruce, getting close to her.
"I now know who you are. Magicians? Really? Now you're going to help me". Bruce looks at the Magus in a very bad way but he has to look down, in front of his terrible stare.
"You have the power, you have the force to kill that monster and you'll do that. It's killing my people and has taken my dear daughter too, so you don't have other choice". They listen, heartbroken. The little joyful girl playing in the square...
"We can't do this, we don't... " Bruce tries to explain, looking down.
"I don't care of what you do or not do! You're going to do this or I'll kick you out of my house and castle!!" he says very angrily, while gets to the bed and pushes Bruce against the wall. They are scared but they also know he won't do anything, because he needs them. Then, he leaves him, gives them a look of contempt then walks away.
"I want you out in five minutes" says as he leaves the room. Guards follow him while the Magus looks at them as to say 'let's see if you refuse now'. Five minutes later they're out, unsure if they're more afraid of the task or of using their powers. The Magus gives them some information about Ammit. The monster is actually leashed because a witch is governing it. Their task is to kill the monster though, the witch will be a secondary problem. It takes his victims to a cave and they know nothing about it because no one ever came back. It's reasonable to think though, they live for one day more at least after the abduction. Ways to kill it? No one known, they have to try everything. They have one day if they want to save King's daughter or, well, that wouldn't sound good for them. When they stay alone with the Magus, Bruce decides to speak clearly to him.
"How can you do that? How can you believe we can do this?! We can't use our powers and you sent us to this suicide mission??" he says, even a bit furious.
"You HAVE to do that, you'll use your powers! You just need to be in danger to see that"
"What kind of excuse is this? What if it doesn't work? I can't even close a door with my powers! We're going to die for sure!"
"Don't be tragic, kid. I see you can do that, I can see the power in you"
"Yeah, about that! Why did you tell him? I knew you didn't like us but really? Why telling everything about us? It should have stayed secret!"
"It's for your own good, you will thank me. And not everything you said it's true"
"And what would that mean?"
"When you fulfill this task, I'll help you in a good way". Bruce and Ariane don't understand. Bruce shakes his head.
"We're never gonna do this..."
"Don't be so pessimistic and remember who you are".
After few hours, they're sent out the castle with their weapons and nothing else. They walk toward the path in the forest and talk.
"I don't know Bruce... I don't use my powers since months, the last time it happened I didn't even meet you"
"I know, I'm scared too. I swear, if we... If we come back, I'm going away from that castle as soon as I can". They walk for some minutes, maybe an hour and they're far from the castle. Nothing happened, until now. Leaves start moving, they look up. They don't have a clear view but they can see its incredible dimensions. It gets lower and lower, they prepare with their weapons. Ariane shoots her arrows with the crossbow but they just bounce back. Ammit gets off the leaves and a horrible view presents in front of them: an enormous creature with black wings, as large as the length of a ship, was crawling down to them. They stare shocked: if their powers were frozen, now they are too at that terrible view. They never saw such a thing in all the books they studied. Ammit opens its mouth to them showing its white thin teeth. Bruce takes his sword, in the act of protecting Ariane and points it against the creature. It just loudly yells and hits them with a wing. Ariane falls down, Bruce does too, few meters away. Ariane tries to reach her crossbow on the ground but Ammit lands down, with its feet on her hand. She screams but her scream is covered by Ammit's yells. Bruce gets up and moves closer from the back but somehow it heard him and hits him again with the wing. He crashes against a tree and as he falls down he hits Ammit's long tail. Bleeding and sore, he falls to the ground half conscious. Ammit looks down at Ariane who can't move from there. She tries to talk to it, as it could have been useful, asking to leave them alone. It takes her in its mouth, somehow not stabbing her with its teeth but wounding her anyway. Ariane shouts but after a while her screams are not audible anymore. Ammit takes flight, taking her with it, Bruce faints. After some minutes, he recovers consciousness. He opens his eyes, looks around and just now realises what happened. She's not there, it took her. If things couldn't go worse... He tries not to get desperate but it's really difficult. He creeps to what remains of her crossbow and uses the wood as a stick to stand up. He feels really bad and everything hurts but at least he has to come back to the castle. So he starts walking, even with confused sight and headache. Not only he feels horrible but he can feel her too. At least she's not dead. In a few hours he reaches the castle. The Magus is waiting for him at the gate. When he gets there, he just murmurs some words, "It took her, it took her..." and then falls down, unconscious again, exhausted by the walk in these bad conditions. The Magus look at him surprised by his so terrible conditions.
At the same time, Ariane is laying on the ground, in some unknown place. She slowly wakes up and sees the sunlight upon her: it's still day and she's outside. She tries to sit down when she realises she's chained, chained to a huge rock. She can hear and see the sea behind her and sometimes the splashes of the waves reach her. There are just rocks around, a little beach on one side. It could seem a beautiful landscape if it wasn't for her chained there and unable to move. There's the cave in front of her. She tries to take a look inside but it's all dark and suddenly Ammit gets out. Now she can observe all its awfulness. It flies high in the sky, she can slightly discern it with the intense sunlight, but then it goes down. It lands some meters in front of her and she tries to move back as much as possible. Ammit moves forward, she moves back terrified, until chains unable her to move more. Ammit looks at her and then stares her in the eyes.
"Ariane, right?" it says with a rough, human voice. Ariane is even more terrified by the fact that it talks.
"I think I know you. You both, actually. You're half of one of the most powerful magical duo ever. Such a thing hasn't been seen here since ages" it says, getting closer. "I find it really funny to chain you here, seen your mythological name. When will your hero come and save you? I really need your boy too, but he can't stay without you too so I'm sure he will be here very soon"
"Why do you abduct people? Where are they? What do you want from me?"
"One question per time, lady. Where are they? In my reign. Abduct people? I'm sure they're happier now. You? Who can resist having you? What surprises me is the fact that those are not magical chains, but still you don't put up a fight, you don't use your magic. Why?". Ariane looks down.
"Ha! Now I get it! After all you did, you decided not to do magic anymore. Well, good point for me. But you'll have to start again very soon". Then, the monster starts yelling again, takes flight and goes back to the cave, almost hitting her with the tail. She tries to get free of the chains, she even tries to use her power but she simply can't. It's been too long, she needs something else. So she stays there, chained to the rock, sun beating on her on one side, water splashing on the other.
Bruce is at the Magus' house, laying on a blanket near the fireplace. The Magus tried to cure and take care of him while he was unconscious. Then he slowly wakes up. He opens his eyes and the first things he sees are the flames of the fire. He looks around, he recognizes the place. The Magus is sitting at his desk, Bruce looks at him, angry and suspicious. He sits.
"Are you happy now?" he asks. The Magus looks at him.
"I don't enjoy your defeats. I actually thought you could do that. Maybe you're not strong enough, maybe it was"
"Yes, sure, tell Ariane this story" Bruce says, shaking his head. "You just used us and that's what happened! Who knows where is she now? I swear, if it just breaks her a nail...". The Magus stops him.
"About that, where she is, we can do something" he says coming to him.
"No, no. I don't wanna do anything with you and don't want anything" Bruce says, trying to get up. But he's still too weak and falls down again.
"Yes, sure. You can go home if you don't". Bruce looks at him with hate.
"I'm just trying to help you. There's a trick magicians like you can use, it's a high level magic. I can lead you now, then you'll learn it how to do it faster"
"No, no! I don't..." Bruce says, scared.
"Do you want to find her or not? If she dies, you're nothing. This spell is specific for people like you with a special bond. You can feel her, right?". The Magus sits next to him, Bruce is looking terrified. The Magus pushes him down on the floor again.
"Close your eyes". Bruce looks scared at him and asking to let him go.
"Tell me it won't have bad consequences...". Seen his insecurity, the Magus covers his eyes and keeps them closed.
"Stay calm. Can you feel her then?". Bruce doesn't answer.
"Bruce? Breathe, take deep breaths, slowly" the Magus says, putting his hand on Bruce's stomach. "Tell me now. What do you feel?"
"I... She's scared. And alone. She feels... Chained" he softly whispers.
"Ok, you're doing good. Now, tell me what your, her senses tell her"
"I feel cold. But there's the sunlight on my face. Some water is splashing on me"
"Near the sea, ok. How is the ground?"
"Solid, rigid, hard. Like a rock"
"Perfect. Now see what she sees. Use her eyes". Bruce shakes a bit. "Stay calm, breathe..." the Magus says, leading his breath through is stomach.
"I... Can see around. There's a dark cave in front of me. Rocks are everywhere, the ocean on one side. I have chains on my wrists. The sun is at my right. It's windy, my hair doesn't allow me to see clearly. But... I can see... something is getting out the cave... Maybe -"
"Bruce, wake up. Wake up Bruce!" says the Magus, shaking him to make him return to himself.
"BRUCE!!". Bruce wakes up suddenly and sits on the floor, looking around terrified.
"You've been fabulous! Congrats dear boy!"
"What was that?!"
"Now you learned that you don't need to know where the other is, you can just see it in your mind. You just need to take practice with it"
"Where is she then? Do you know a similar place?"
"Yes, it's the coast at the west. You should be able to find her very quickly with the hints of the sun and the cave"
"Why did you call me back? I wanted to see"
"For your own good. It wasn't a wise thing, that view in your thoughts, especially the first time. You know she's alright, she's chained to a rock, you'll need some tools"
"She is freezing out there, and she's scared. I need to go. Can't I talk to her?"
"No, that's not possible. But she can feel if you feel calm. And you still need some more time to recover your forces"
"Will you come? With me?"
"No, I'm too old for this. But I guess you can take some soldiers with you".
After some hours, Bruce and some soldiers leave to reach the west coast. When it's starting to get dark, they arrive there. Bruce carries on his mission alone. He started using his powers again after the spell he was forced to do. He just need to find her now. He walks on the rocks, sometimes calling her name and looking around. The place is the one he saw and can hear the sound of the ocean in front of him. He calls her louder and when he's close enough, she hears him. She turns around and answers, calling him back.
"Bruce! Bruce! I'm here!". Following her voice, he sees her, sitting on the plain rock where she's chained. He hurries to her when the monster comes out of his hiding place. Bruce looks up, how horrible it looks like now that nothing is in front of him. But Bruce runs to Ariane, with Ammit yelling, maybe in happiness, flying over them. Bruce takes his tools and when he gets there he soon starts forcing the chains.
"Bruce! I've never been so happy to see you again like now since... years!"
"Oh well, thank you"
"It knew he would have come, it wants us both" she says, worried because now they're both here.
"It?" asks Bruce, surprised.
"Yes, it!" she says pointing up. At that moment, Ammit flies down to them, kind of playing, flying all around to scare them. Bruce protects her with his body as much as he can, while releasing her from the last chain. Ammit points directly at him and starts coming down. Bruce takes his sword and throws it against its wing, then it takes it back with telekinesis. The monster utters a terrible cry and flies away. He hit it but it's just wounded, it won't stop easily.
"You used your powers" Ariane says.
"Yes, that's how I found you. We have to, we need them, as much as they needed us three years ago. Don't be afraid". He takes her hand and for an instant she glows of white and he of silver.
"Come, let's go, we have to find the girl".
It's winter, there's a cold wind coming from the sea and it is in furious tempest, with some splashes that reach them as they go toward the cave. Rocks sometimes are slippery but they're walking cautiously. Sky is getting darker with clouds that don't look good. They get in the cave, it's all black and very little can be seen. As far as they witnessed, Ammit shouldn't be inside. With a snap of her fingers, Ariane lights up a flame.
"Yeah, they're still here" she comments, smiling, looking at Bruce, holding the flame in the hand. That flame is the only source of light in the cave. Though little, everything it touches with its glow, becomes orange. They walk around to see if they can find something. Then they hear a soft cry broken by a silent breath. They try to understand where it's coming from and after a while they notice the young girl, hiding in a black corner of the cave.
"Hey, little girl, are you Charon's daughter?" asks Ariane, kindly and slowly getting closer. The kid nods.
"Perfect. We were searching for you, your father sent us. Come with us, we'll take you home". Ariane offers the other hand but the girl is mistrustful, though Ariane looks like and is the kindest person ever.
"Don't be afraid, we're magicians. Do you know what it means? We fight Evil and help people. You can trust us". Ariane smiles and the girl slowly takes her hand.
"Is there anyone else here?"
"No" she replies. Therefore, Bruce and Ariane, she holding the kid's hand, go to the exit of the cave. Before they can get out, Ammit appears in front of them, at the entrance. The girl screams and holds on to Ariane, she takes her in her arms and tries to calm her while Bruce holds his sword and fights. But it's not enough, he invests it with a shockwave so they can leave the cave. Once they're out, Bruce and Ariane reach the soldiers on the plain and give the kid to one of them, who has to stay with her and protect her inside the carriage. Outside, it's war. Soldiers start attacking with their arrows at the big black horrible bird flying over them. Bruce and Ariane go on the rocks because they're in higher place. Ammit flies down to them, the arrows do nothing to it. Ariane lights a flame and throws it against it. It doesn't like fire but it doesn't hurt its thick skin. Bruce hits it again but the monster is somehow really strong and it just bounces back. It's now flying towards them, flying around to confuse them. In a short while, they get wrapped by a black veil of its wings. Bruce keeps wounding it with his sword but it just yells. A storm is coming, thunders are audible. Ariane tries to push it back with the fire and she manages, it moves back but just to hit them with the wings. They fall down but it's not a big problem. They get up again, Ariane focuses her energy against the monster and in fact it seems a bit slowed down. But not enough. Bruce tries again a move with his sword. He throws it and it would have surely killed it if Ammit didn't move at the last second to hit Ariane with its wings. She falls down, hurting her back a bit. The sword anyway hits the monster cutting out one of its hands. But it makes it even angrier. As Bruce is pulling again his weapon, Ammit hits him with the scaly tail. After the big hit, Bruce falls few meters away, on the rocks, surely not a good landing. But his sword fell next to Ariane. She takes it and gets up. The monster is standing in front of her, in some way waiting for her move. Its eyes staring fixed at hers. Bruce, laying on the ground, looks at the weird scene, surely surprised and confused.
"Make your move girl, come on. I told you, you would have started again" says the rough voice, but only she can hear it because it's very low. Ammit's huge figure towers in front of hers, short and little. She looks up at it, a thunder echoes in the plain and at that moment she decides what to do. She raises up the sword to the sky. It works as a lightning rod and a lightning hits it and flows along it. With the other hand to the monster, Ariane converges the electric discharge against it and hits it in its heart. The monster gets electroshocked but before falling down it grabs her shoulder, sinking its claws into her skin, with the only remaining hand. She screams in pain and loses the sword. As it falls down, she gets thrown away, into the water. Bruce looks at the whole scene, incredulous and shocked.
"ARIANEEE!!" he screams, getting up, though hurting. He tries to find her with his sight but he sees nothing. Ammit falls down, dead, on the rocks and a strong wind invests Bruce, as the wings of the monster fall to the ground. Bruce runs desperately down the rocks, to the beach and gets in the water. It's dark and sea is rough, it's very hard to find her. Bruce keeps calling her, shouting, gets underwater, comes back to the surface, looks around. She shouldn't be far from the shore because they weren't so near when they were fighting, but not even so far not to reach the sea. Bruce keeps swimming in the dark sea when he finally sees a blood trail on the water. He quickly swims towards it and few meters away, he sees Ariane, unconscious, floating on the water. He reaches her, grabs her and tries to wake her up.
"Ariane! Ariane!!" he calls, slapping her face. Not getting anything, he drags her to the shore and lays her in the sand, kneeling next to her. He can't feel heartbeat in her wrist nor breath. In that desperate situation, he decides for a cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He compresses her chest and exhales into her mouth to restore blood circulation and breath. He curses and calls her at the same time.
"Come on, girl! Come on! Damn it!". He tries another time, because the first didn't work.
"Shit! Damn! Wake up! Please!!". He's practicing the respiration of the third time when she finally comes back, coughing and throwing out all the water she swallowed.
"Ariane!" he exclaims, relieved and surprised. She keeps coughing and turns on one side, holding to his thigh. The soldiers came to the rocks to see and to them, just an application of secret Medicine, looks like a magical spell.
"Hey, hey... Stay calm" he says to her. While he holds her on one side, he involuntarily touches her shoulder and sees all the blood getting out of it. He helps her sitting, as she stops coughing, and hugs her very tight. She hugs him too.
"It's all over now, we're going back to the castle" he says, holding her head.
"Bruce, wait... My shoulder, you're..."
"Resist for one more second!" he replies.
"Ahi, ok. Thank you".
After few hours, in the very early morning, they're again in their room at the castle. She's sitting in a chair, in the opposite verse, with her dress opened in her back and bending from the hurt shoulder, to allow Bruce to sew her wounds. During the travel, she could only keep a bandage to stop the bleeding.
"Be careful, ok?" she says, a bit worried.
"Sure, you know I'm a good doctor" he replies, smiling.
"Oh, dear..." she comments. It's ok a bandage, or a cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Bruce sewing her shoulder with needle and nylon thread a bit scares her.
"Really? You're afraid of this? After killing that monster?" he asks.
"Yes..." she answers, depressed.
"I'll try to be as careful and gentle as I can. Oh, and anyway, I'm tired of sewing your wounds"
"Yeah, tell me! Ahi, Bruce!"
"I'm sorry, I took it wrong...". She breathes heavily. After few minutes, someone knocks at their door. It's the King, he won't ever be enough surprised to see what those two are doing.
"Ahm, good morning. Sorry for the early hour. I wanted to thank you, for killing that monster and saving my daughter". Bruce and Ariane just smile a bit.
"I didn't like forcing you but that was the only choice" he adds. They don't answer, they still don't like that move, it caused them just more problems.
"Also, the Magus would like to see you"
"Ok, tell him we'll come around in the morning" says Bruce.
"Ok, perfect" he replies and leaves the room.
"I think he got offended because you didn't say 'please' " Ariane comments.
"I don't care"
"Ahi! Bruce! Pay attention to what you're doing!"
"Oh... Hey! I almost finished the first". Ahiahiahi...
During the morning, after they rested a bit, they go to the Magus, as promised.
"I see you more shining, except for the bruises" he comments. "See? You did it and saved people, instead of killing them".
"It was a different situation, this one..." Ariane comments.
"Don't start again with this story, ok? I showed you what you can do, just keep going on this way"
"Wait, there's a thing I can't understand" Ariane says.
"That thing, the monster, talked to me"
"Oh, yes, I noticed it!" adds Bruce.
"I guess it wasn't the monster" explains the Magus. "Monsters don't talk. It was governed by a witch, so it's possible that he took control of it sometimes, just to talk to you, or observe you". Ariane starts to understand a bit more.
"I don't like it" she says, talking to Bruce.
"Yes, I guess you don't. And as far as I know, and I know a lot, you'll meet him again. And soon" the Magus says.
"What?" she asks. They both look worried now.
"You forgot I'm a Clairvoyant, girl". She looks down, worried.
"Right... That means is pretty sure"
"Yes. It can be changed but most of the times it will happen. For this reason I have something for you". Bruce and Ariane look at each other. "Honestly, I don't have much more to live, and my powers would just get destroyed. But I want to help you, because you'll need it". Bruce and Ariane get what he means.
"You want to give us your powers?! No, we can't accept" says Bruce.
"I'm not asking you"
"But you said we're already powerful. If we become even more powerful, it can be dangerous, for us, for others..."
"You're correct, girl, but I trust you. You can manage it. You will have to deal with some bad things but you just have to carry on this way and remember what you learnt this time". He gives them two bottles with strange fluorescent liquids inside.
"Take it, and drink it. I'm giving you, boy, my Clairvoyance because I saw you have some talent for it, probably it's a family thing. It's very powerful, you'll learn quickly how to use it. To you girl, I'm giving you the power to cure. You can cure every illness, except death. When you use it, you have to be in full power or not heavily damaged. You can't cure yourself from grave sickness or wounds for this exact reason. Really important ability, it can be very useful. And most important, remember to use them only when you need them, if you want to stay human. Welcome to the new level, kids". He makes a gesture to tell them to drink. They exchange a look and then drink. An instant blue glow flows on them with a shiver.
"Where are you going now?" the Magus asks.
"I guess, we're leaving again" says Bruce. And that's what they do, the same day they leave the castle. After few days, the Magus dies.
Few days later, Bruce and Ariane are riding their horses to north. They are chatting happily, as they haven't done since months now. Suddenly, Bruce stops his horse and holds his aching head.
"Bruce? Are you ok? What's going on?"
"My head... It hurts". Ariane gets down her horse and helps him getting down. She tries to understand what's happening, it just seems he's having a sudden terrible headache. He gets down because he's staggering, and tries to sit on the ground.
"Bruce? Bruce?! Talk to me!" she says, worried. He keeps his eyes closed, holding his head, and sometimes uttering some complaint of pain. She looks at him, worried, holding his shoulders, waiting for him to react. After a while, everything stops, the headache is gone, he slowly opens his eyes and looks around. He can't stand the sudden sunlight.
"So? Bruce? What happened?" she asks. He looks at her, serious and scared.
"He's coming" he answers.
Non ci sono commenti disponibili al momento.