"Haah…haah…haa," Re'Kha gasped for breath, shielding her nose with her hands to prevent the rainwater from gushing in. The downpour had further intensified now, making her unable to run without shielding her nose.
Her body shuddered from the cold when fear struck her. She had been keeping an eye on the settlement through her Water Qi perception all along, intending to watch out for anything strange that might happen. But all of a sudden, the large block of the blank space covered by the blue radiance disappeared.
The blue radiance still outlined the structures it was flowing over before collapsing, turning into droplets as they fell to the ground. When they became droplets, the connection was interrupted, preventing her from knowing the actual situation of the settlement's disappearance.
All she could see now was a sea of blue stretching as far as her perception could conceive. Grass grew in the place the settlement had been at. Fierce winds blew for a couple of breaths before subsiding, making her shudder. The sound of the rain continued to resound after that.
Even though she was curious, fear was the emotion dominant in her now. So, she dared not head to the place to find out what had happened. She feared the settlement would suddenly materialise around her, trapping her once again. This time, she had no guarantee of escaping, not to mention surviving.
Re'Kha plopped to the ground, feeling her entire body ache. She lacked the strength to move now, having been in an intense battle for such a long duration. She placed the bag on her lap, prodding around with the shawl.
After a moment of hesitation, she began to wind it around her body. At least, she hoped to protect herself using it as a cover. The cloth banner was a long rectangular piece; she unfurled it fully, placing one end under her right foot, tying it to her leg using the two corners of the cloth's shorter side.
She then neatly wound it over her leg, covering all her skin, expertly aligning the width to not constrict her joints. She then made it circle her hip twice before extending it diagonally from the left of her hip to the shoulder on her right, draping it over her back horizontally.
She then pulled it forward, tracing right under her breasts, propping them upright as she made a revolution before tucking it within the folds. She then extended it from the front, making the breadth of the cloth form another layer above her chest region.
She then tucked it in the folds on her shoulder, tracing it from her right cheek, gently covering her Tikka jewellery as she extended it to the back of her head before tucking it on the back of her shoulder, making another extension as she traced from the back of her head, going over her tikka jewellery from the other side before tracing over her left cheek; she joined it in the folds on her front.
The side of the cloth spanned along the nose, extending a nail's width from the tip of her nose, shielding her nostrils from the rain like a visor. Her mouth, chin, and a small portion of her neck were all that was uncovered by the cloth.
She then spun it once around her arms to act as a sleeve before extending the remaining to her hip, making a loop once again—that acted as a skirt—before tucking the rest inside it. She then wrapped the remainder around her left leg, finally placing her foot on the portion near its end. The remaining part she pulled a bit and used the corners to tie them around her leg. She looked like a cocoon with limbs now.
Re'Kha stood up, stretching a couple of times to see that her make-shift dress covered most of her body, except for her hands that she couldn't wrap around without constricting her movements. She saw that the dress didn't hinder her movements, the high quality of the silk didn't worsen her wounds. It was soft and also had a bit of elasticity in it, allowing her to run without trouble.
Re'Kha held the bag and began to move, feeling a bit better now that the rain didn't directly hit her skin. The pain from her wounds subsided a little, now covered by a couple of layers of silk that absorbed all the impact from the raindrops.
It was a vast sea of blue everywhere she could see. She couldn't determine the direction she had to proceed in order to reach her city or any settlement of sorts. If she went in the wrong direction, there was a high chance she would venture into dangerous domains and lose her life. The possibility wasn't nil.
Re'Kha stopped, trying to extend the range of her perception. She first limited herself to a direction, blinding herself of the rest. She perceived a narrow path span before her. Now that she had limited herself like, the range she could perceive lengthened.
The range had increased by at least four times. Re'Kha only noticed the sea of blue in the direction, along with numerous stems of what appeared to be shrubs of some sort, along with the grass. Just based on the stem, she couldn't guess what the shrub was. She focused more on the shrub, noticing thin lines of water flow across its steam, faintly outlining its entirety.
The shrub seemed familiar but unfamiliar at the same time. She couldn't exactly determine the direction to proceed based on that. Re'Kha slowly angled her perception, spinning the path she could perceive in the clockwise direction.
She perceived like a radar, albeit many times slower, slowly moving the path as she tried to infer from the details she witnessed. When she was halfway in rotating the perceived path, she noticed a horde of beasts run across the land.
She judged them as a mixture of animals and beasts through their varied feet and fast pace of movement. They seemed to be running in a certain direction, frantically, judging by their pace and the chaotic stomping of their footsteps.
Some among them lost their footing and fell, getting stomped by the other beasts and animals. Their heads were submerged within the layer of water, allowing Re'Kha to determine their species.
'They are beasts and animals native to the Bahara Mountain Range. They are probably escaping as a resultant of master's death. Judging by their escape route, as long as I follow them, I'll probably come across a settlement along the way.' Re'Kha kept watch of the beasts as she treaded parallel to them, pacing from far away to not be pulled into the stampede.