Chapter Seventeen

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Part Four


Animal Instincts

The night air was getting colder by the second. Nothing looked familiar. Even the trees, that had a tendency to blend, looked strange and foreign. They hung over, as if they were too weak to stand on their own. She looked around and realized the rest of the world skewed in much the same way. Birds were starting their morning call not far off from where she was.

Sitting up, she concentrated hard, her head swimming. It became obvious to her that they drugged her. Reaching out with her mind, she tried to get a sense of her location from the birds, but her attempts were futile. She could barely keep herself awake. Normally she could connect with any animal near her.

Whatever they gave her rendered her power practically useless. Two armed guards stood not far from her. They paced back and forth unaware that she had woken. There were six guards all together and she wondered where the other four went. Probably to sleep. They had been walking for almost three days straight. She was not sure where they were going, but it felt like they had been walking in circles.

Lillian didn't know what kind of person could stay awake for days at a time, but they had certainly expected her to. They had only stopped because she had nearly passed out from exhaustion. After her third attempt at escape, they started killing off the rest of her party. It was either a threat of what they would do to her, or a way to torture her.

Either way she had stayed put after that. They did not speak to her, so she had no idea what they even wanted from her. Her mission had not been easy, but it was a simple enough objective. Travel to the Forgotten Forest and retrieve an herb that her clan needed. Entering the Forgotten Forest was risky.

It had gotten its name because of the fact that most who ventured in to its depth forgot where they were, why they were there and sometimes even who they were. It was easy enough to find, a dense fog surrounded the entirety of it. Lillian's connection to the earth made her immune to the forests compulsion.

Therefore, she traveled there quite often for rare plants or herbs that the village might need. However, the men captured her before she could reach the protection of the fog. Her world was spinning and she needed to figure out how she was going to get out of the mess she was in, and fast. There had to be something around her that could help clear her head.

Trying to focus, she shifted her eyes around, scanning the area for anything that might be useful. Not too far off, she spotted a ring of mushrooms around the base of a tree. She closed her eyes, trying to will herself enough energy to reach it before the guards reached her. Her best chance was probably going to be to roll over instead of crawling.

When both the guards had their backs turned to her, she prayed silently that her body do what she needed it to. She swung her knees hard to give herself enough momentum to get going and rolled three times before slamming in to the trunk of the tree. Her whole body reeled from the hard impact, but she had to hurry.

Propping herself up on her elbows, she started pulling out mushrooms from the ground, turning them over and checking the caps.

"Hey, what do you think you are doing?" One of the guards shouted.

Frantic, she kept pulling, he was only a few feet away, and she knew he would close in on her in a matter of seconds. Finally, she spotted a black and blue beetle on the underside of the mushroom. Ideally, she would have ground up the beetle and made a tea. Obviously, that was not an option so she shoved it in her mouth, along with the mushroom, just before the guard grabbed her by the ankle.

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