An Undesired Turn (Not What She Expected XXIV)

10 Sep 2022  C. chou  7 mins read.

She paused besides Sylin, who crouched at the top of the hill, silently observing the scene below. Following his gaze, she caught sight of a large and unusually gnarled tree. On careful inspection, it had a purplish hue that only served to enhance its eeriness, and distinguish it from all the other trees that they had passed over their months of travel. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, Sylin pulled her down to a level where the tree was only barely visible. Turning toward him in annoyance, she found him watching her with a finger on his lips.

Though confused, she nodded, indicating her understanding. He gave her a brief smile, before motioning her to follow him. Slinking along the ground, they finally arrived at a group of trees that granted more coverage near ground level. Finally close enough, she caught sight of a bear. The same sort of bear that they’d previously encountered. The same sort of creature that previously granted Sylin his injury. Alongside them, hovered skin-colored figures with lengthy bodies. Standing at a height over two human men tall, they looked like lengthy fingers coming out of a hand hidden beneath the ground.

Feeling a tug on her sleeve, she turned toward Sylin, realizing that she’d been staring for far too long. What were those creatures? Were they the non-mutated form of the petrification worms? Though her textbooks in school discussed the existence of such creatures, this was the first time that she’d been close enough to see them in person. While the texts mentioned that they were long, she never expected them to be able to stand like a serpent. Weren’t worms supposed to be invertebrates? Following Sylin’s footsteps, she couldn’t help glancing backward in curiosity.

Her face crashes into a figure before her. She almost thought it was Sylin, before it occurred to her that their pack wasn’t quite as filled anymore. She’d abandoned most of its contents after he’d been injured. Though it had been the size of an average backpack, its weight was not. Having to carry him on her back, she had no choice but to leave behind most of its contents. With the way Sylin had set it up, the pack had become nearly empty after her emergency purge, and wouldn’t have reached anywhere near full capacity regardless of what food Sylin could find in the forest.

“You’ve got some explaining to do, young lady.” A stern, yet familiar voice said from behind her.

She turned, not fully believing her ears, but her eyes only confirmed what she’d heard.

“Xev.” She said in realization. Her brother. Somehow he’d caught up with her. But wait. Where was Sylin? Her brother hated warlocks. Sylin was no exception. Regardless of what he was, he probably still had more injuries than he’d let on. Her brother would never let him leave this place alive. Not after finding them. Not after she’d left without facing him.

Scanning the area, Sylin was no where in sight, confirming her fears. Sylin wasn’t the type to abandon her. There were only two possibilities. Either they’d accidentally separated in her moment of curiosity or they’ve caught him. Though she hoped it was the former over the latter, at the risk of further alienating her brother, she had to know.

Looking intently at her brother, she uttered words, in a tone that she’d hoped that she’d never have to use toward her sibling. “Xev, where’s Sylin?”

C. Chou
C. Chou

A writer that loves cabbages and bamboo, but also enjoys writing and sharing fiction (particularly the fantasy genre). Find me on Medium at: