Shrubs and scattered trees seemed to congregate and grow thicker with every step that was taken. Matthew had insisted that they leave as early as possible, not wanting to run into any of the mages who constantly roamed the forest.
He'd given up on wondering what they even did in there. As far as he knew, the forest held nothing of value in it.
Maybe they were there to make certain that feline were not planning on mounting an attack on their precious city, or perhaps it was true that they could harvest the fire from the fire daisies that grew within. Either way, Matthew could not care less about such things, despite the small flicker of curiosity that he always had to shove to the back of his mind.
"How far is it?" he asked.
"Not very. An hour in this direction and we should be there," she replied, pointing past an enormous boulder that was almost as high as the trees that surrounded it.
They had just entered the walking forest. An eerie silence hung over them as if an unseen spirit was stalking and watching their every move. As they delved deeper into the forest the grass seemed to stop growing, giving way to mushrooms that glowed with a purplish hue and let fly a sparkling dust when touched.
In here, the sun barely touched the ground and wherever it did, a group of yellow daisies would grow, completely contrasting the shroom's dark violet.
The human girl seemed to eye these with curiosity. After a while she gave in and went to pick one. Before her hand could touch the bright yellow petals, Matthew moved to pull her back. She evaded him, bending her waist and slithering out of the way as he'd never seen anyone move before.
"Touch those and there'll be nothing of you left but ash," he warned, still stunned by her inhuman acrobatics.
She shrugged in return. Matthew picked up an almost weightless twig and threw it at the flowers. They exploded into a yellow cloud that scorched whatever it settled on without casting a flame. Charred remains of soil were left where the flower had been. She scoffed, not amused, and kept walking.
After what seemed like an hour Matthew stopped and looked at the girl.
"Are you sure you left it in these parts?"
"Yes, I'm sure..." she looked around, thinking.
"Come to think of it, how did you even survive crossing the forest on your own? I know the mages don't attack their own kind and trolls don't usually come this far down the mountains, but the Fire daisies should have gotten you at least, never mind getting lost when the forest moves."
At that question, her eyes lit up as if a sudden thought had just hit her.
"You are one inquisitive feline aren't you?" she asked excitedly. "Come. I think I know where the chest is."
As they walked, she kept her eyes up at the tree formed roof that hid them from the clouds. Matthew turned and looked up too, branches of those thick trunked trees formed an intricate network bearing leaves that made everything beneath them dark and cold. Matthew enjoyed the scenery for a while until an unexpected sliver of light caught his eye. Upon focusing, he realized it was a bag of some sort with jewels hanging off the sides. A silver coin between his feet confirmed the riches which lay waiting within it.
"How did it get up there?"
"We need to find a way to bring it down," the girl said, evading his question.
She swept around with her eyes until she spotted a dry branch. She went on to pick it up but noticed fire daisies growing merrily on its other side, intertwining its tips and thorns.
She gingerly held its far end and when her grip was firm enough she pulled. The yellow flowers puffed into a cloud but by the time the dust could settle on anything, she was well out of harm's way. Smoke rose from the now burnt tips of the branch. She looked at Matthew and smiled proudly.
"Yes, you can handle yourself around daisies, but how is that short branch supposed to help us retrieve the bag?"
"Just watch," she smirked.
She gazed up at her target, craned her neck whilst bringing the branch down beside her like a spear, then hauled it towards where the bag hung caught in the tree. The branch swiftly glided towards the bag but missed...
"I was just about to-"
Before Matthew could complete his sentence the branch had connected not with the bag, but with other branches that kept the bag in place causing them to sway and loosen it so that it came crashing down.
"You were saying?" The girl mocked.
"I was saying that you have a good arm," Matthew responded, looking up at where the bag had been and wondering if he could throw that far.
Humans are generally weaker than feline...aren't they?
The girl rushed over to the bag and unzipped it. It contained a small wooden chest, or remains of the chest, to be more precise. The lid had broken off and a metallic lock was cracked open. Colorful gems that had spilled within the bag illuminated the girl's face, making it sparkle beyond what any skin should, even under that brilliant light.
She collected those that had spilled out during the fall, including the silver coin. When she had completed her task she swung the bag over her shoulder with convincing effort and looked up at Matthew.
"Duck!" she screamed.
Matthew had already felt the heat wave coming at him from behind and jumped out of the way whilst twisting mid-air so as to see the source of the fireball that crashed where he'd stood only but a moment before.
"Feline scum! I should have known it was your doing." It was a mage.
A short man with a red pointed beard that flowed down from red hair covered by a black hood. The hood was connected to a black robe made from a silk so fine it shone. Fire danced around the mage's fingertips as he prepared to conjure up another fireball.
Matthew realized he could not just stand by and wait for the man to get a good aim, so he charged. The mage saw his advance and clawed his fingers, casting two smaller balls instead. His eyes turned red and smoke escaped his nostrils.
He threw the first fireball. Matthew rolled under. The second. Matthew jumped over and continued his assault. The mage took a step back with his right leg, bent his knees and pushed off the ground, spinning like a propeller. His feet caught ablaze and a circle of fire was formed in the air.
As Matthew jumped after him, he stopped spinning, just enough to kick one leg outward. The circle broke and its flame followed the leg like a snake, catching Matthew right in the chest. His body hit the ground and he welcomed its cold embrace, his chest still feeling as if it were placed over a burning forge.
He heard the mage's feet touch the ground and realized his short break was over. He thrust himself away from where he lay using his arms, just in time to see a fireball scorch the shrooms he had been on.
Ignoring his burnt chest he ran at the mage again. This time the mage had no time to prepare his ring of fire nor conjure up a fireball. Instead he braced himself for close combat. Matthew lunged at him with his knee. The mage side stepped the attack and brought his hand down to break Matthew's spine. The hand met an elbow, causing the mage to spit through clenched teeth. Matthew took this chance to spin around and face his enemy head on.
Uppercut- the fist missed, Matthew rose up with nothing but air where flesh should have been. Two quick jabs, both to the stomach, sent the wind scurrying out Matthew's lungs. He came down with an elbow. The mage had not expected this and so with a satisfying crunch, the elbow connected with the back of his head. He was now falling forward. Thinking quickly, the mage wrapped his arms around Matthew in a desperate attempt at a tackle, which worked!
Matthew was sent to the ground. He felt soft mushrooms soften his landing and for the second time was grateful for their seemingly futile existence. The mage attempted to jump off him, but Matthew's hand struck out and caught him by his robe before he was off, not wanting to give him enough space to cast those wretched flames again. The mage, still having the upper hand, sent fists raining down on the boy's face. All the while Matthew wriggled in an attempt to bring the mage under.
The mage's punches slowed. It seemed he was growing tired.
So humans are physically weaker than feline after all,
Matthew used this opportunity to get a firm grip on the man's robe and brought his head down to meet his. Foreheads rammed into each other once, twice, thrice until the man was unconscious. He hauled him off of himself and stood up.
His chest was red but didn't seem like it would swell, at least he hoped not. His face throbbed and he could feel a bulge on his forehead.
"You could've hel-"
When he finally decided to look up at where the girl had been standing, he realized that she'd fled. He wandered around hoping she was just hiding close by but she was nowhere to be seen.
He tried catching her scent. It was one of the weaker feline traits that he barely used, and his smoke filled nostrils weren't helping.
Why would she run? he wondered. It was not like the mage was after her. Guessing that she'd be waiting for him somewhere in the forest, he started walking back home.
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*Published Author: English Alive 50, a National Magazine. Phuluso-My story (A little token from when I was in high-school, good were those days.)
*Editor of The Lost Redeemer by @DavidMusk (Currently editing this. Check it out, it is Epic!)
Maxwell Dark is a pretty great fella. If he is not writing wholesome fantasy novels or poems, then he can be found reading wholesome fantasy novels and poems. Not that he does not have a life mind you. He does occasionally do the socializing and has a few he calls friends.
Now, back to the writing. Here are some of the stories that he'll be sharing on here. He would really appreciate you checking them out and perhaps chatting with him through comments or personal messages. He will make it well worth your time.
Some books to watch out for by Maxwell Dark.
*The Blades Of Fate Trilogy
- King of Solace (ongoing, also available on Wattpad)
-King of War (Coming soon)
*Dark Reviews (Only on Wattpad)
*Lillian and the Seeds Of Hope (A Blades of Fate prequel)
*Beauty In Darkness
*Mascara Tears (A Romance, Crime Thriller)
*A dreamer's Journey (A Short story Collection, featuring: Phuluso- my story)
*A Broken Man's Ballads (A poetry collection)
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