by Brendan McGrath

Chapter Thirteen


After an hour, the two friends continued on to the Haunted Forest. They passed Gaia's Navel on the way. Gaia's Navel was a river valley, with many water falls. At the bottom was a big lake, the drain being a cave. The water had eaten away at the cliff that the water fell from. Now a deep cavern was under the cliffs. The cave was often halfway up to the ceiling with water. To reach the entrance to the cave, one had to travel around the river bed, which was shaped in a circle, with its lowest point being the center, where the cave entrance was. The winding path around the river be often went through the river. Luckily, Link and Lilak only had to travel along the left side of the navel, up to a sign that said pointed north, towards the Haunted Forest.

"The portal should be around here somewhere..." said Lilak, as she punched a buzz bee and hurled him over her head onto a lullabud.

"What does it look like?" asked Link, as he pinned a rabite to the ground with the spear.

Lilak went to Link's side, and popped the rabite. "Well, they can look like anything," she explained. Some have a circle carved in the ground, some are a glowing button, but that's usually the kind you find in a building. I think-wait! Those pillars... that might be it!"

The two friends went over to the portal. They stepped into the cluster of pillars, and suddenly were in darkness. Then, they were in the middle of a forest. They saw the other side of the portal, only it was a tile on the ground, a double circle, with a double triangle in the center. We would probably think this to be an incredible experience, but portals and teleporters were actually quite common in this world. It just so happened that Link had never been through one. All they really are is something that takes you somewhere nearby.

The two friends were in a dense forest. The trees formed a canopy, shutting out most of the light. But there was enough to see. They were in almost like a room in the forest, the walls being tall, dense bushes and trees. The ground was somewhat flat, but there were a few small cliffs. This was the basic terrain of the whole forest.

"Which way is Elinee's Castle, Lilak?" asked Link.

"I don't know exactly. I think it might be north of here. Dyluck told me that there are portals in each 'room' of the forest, each one leading to another 'room'. It's like a maze."

"But which way is north?" asked Link, "when we went through the portal, who knows where in the forest we are? How do we know which way to go?"

"I think that's a trail there," said Lilak. She pointed to a place where the ground had less grass and more dirt. The path seemed to lead to a small cliff, about 20 feet tall. "Maybe it leads to the next portal."

"It's the best shot we have," said Link "Come on."

The two friends continued on their way.

There were many thorn bushes on the right side of the path. Suddenly, an arrow struck Lilak!

"Owww!" She screamed. "Quick! Give me some of the healing candy that we found!"

Link gave her the candy. Lilak was instantly recovered. "That was a strong arrow!" said Link. "Where did it come from?"

"I don't know," said Lilak, "It came out of nowhere! But whatever shot it, they're still around." Lilak heard a faint sound. It sounded like rustling... in the thorn bushes. Then she heard a stretching if a string were being pulled to its limit. She then saw in the thorn bushes something glowing red... no two things glowing red. One of them suddenly ceased to glow, as if to get a better view... or angle!!! "Link! Duck!"

"Huh?! What?

There was no time for explanations. Lilak pushed Link to the ground, just in time to avoid the deadly arrow, which struck a tree behind them, off the trail. In doing all this, Link had been knocked unconscious. Lilak grabbed the spear from the strap on Link's hip. She had never used a spear before, but there was always a first try. She knew the spike knuckle wouldn't work against a distance weapon like the bow the hidden monster was using.

Suddenly another arrow shot out of the bushes, and this time, a Chobin with it, the size of a human. He was dressed in green, with red eyes. He had little horns that stuck out of his head piercing the hood that he had on. He walked erect, and he had the face of a wild boar. His fur was brown, very rough and coarse to touch. Not that Lilak intended to touch the Chobin.

Lilak deflected the arrow away from herself with the tip of the spear. It was by pure luck that she was able to do that. Or was it luck? she thought. I felt some sort of power flowing through me... the power of the Seed of Water! I must have received it through the glove. Yes! Link sealed the seed with the Mana Sword so he received the power... he used the spear, awakening the Mana in it, then the sword awakened the Mana in the glove, ... and I used the glove... and the spear... so now I have the power, too.

There was no time for wondering now. Only concentration. The Chobin took a step closer, another step towards Lilak's doom... and Link's. Another arrow shot, and this time she dropped to the ground, and rolled over. The Chobin was confused. In that moment, Lilak the Chobin, sending him to the ground with her. But this was not over yet. With quick thinking, Lilak leaped up, and whirled the spear above her head, to gain momentum. She could feel the Mana Seed helping her a little. She thrust the spear into the Chobin, his body crumbling into bones that instantly disintegrated into the ground.

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