Chapter XVII

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Black. So much black. Everything was black around. Black and liquid.

A sea, it looks like a sea.

It certainly seemed to be a sea, but how could a sea be so dark and yet call me so much?  It was dangerously appealing, the kind of attraction you'd rather see from afar, from a safe distance and marvel about such a combination.

Then, a rose came out of the tides, in the middle of the sea, and the waters, wild and untamed, became calm. Its petals were black as wel, but had a dark aura around it, totally different from the sea's. Such a beautyful flower, and yet it felt sad, as if it was a prisoner of the tide, waiting for someone to come.

She needs help. Wait, she?

I woke up then.

I needed a short time to remember where we were. The floor, the walls, the dark blue colors all around, the dead plants that decorated the place. After blinking several times, I could saw the living room more clearly.

We had founf that house after walking several hours, only stopping to eat, rest and fight a bull-like-shaped shadow that tried to kill us, again. Just so as not to lose the habit. I was ready to hit it, but my witch came to front before.

Pandora had been angrier than with the past ones, she was tired of so many creatures. I remained with Wiese and told them to see how a witch, a real and powerful one, fighted. They was still a little uneasy about magic, but there was something on their eyes that told me they was eager to see. Just in case, I had my daggers ready to be used.

The shadow moved first. Its horns were longer than those of the real bulls. Twice longer. But Pandora didn't move. She only muttered a few words, drow an arrow in front of her pointing at the bull in a fast movement, and when the sign materialized with blue energy, the shadow froze on its place.

It gave Pandora enough time to conjure a circle around herself in a few seconds, just touching the ground with her palm. She pointed to the creature, which became rigid. The air changed around us, it became heavier, giving me a clue of what was happening.

A witch needed to know where the danger came from in order to stop it, and Pandora was doing right that. I covered Wiese's before the bull's eyes rolled to the back of its head. "Careful, this is something even I found difficult to get used to," I said when they moved in discomfort.

It took her just a few seconds before Pandora released the creature, which was already dead. Black blood tears came out of its body, but with a hand gesture, she turned it into dust and made it go with the wind. Only then I allowed Wiese to see.

"Wow." They said. "You should fight more often."

"I wasn't fighting, honey," said Pandora with a smile. "We need to know why those creatures are after us, and I was trying to follow the steps of this one."

"You can do that?" They asked amazed.

"Yeah, but it's hard. That's why I don't always fight," she blinked an eye at the kid and then turned her attention to me. "They are getting order from out of this world."

"The real world, you mean?"

"Exactly. Someone wants us dead. Who could it be?" She said in an overacting tone full of black humor.

"You have to be kidding." I said more to myself than to anyone else.

"What is it?"

"It's a long story, Wiese, I'll tell you later." I didn't want to go over it again, remember it all in that moment, but the kid deserved an answer, so I gave them what I could. "It's the on who trapped me in this place."

"Me, too," said Pandora. "We have to move. If I read the creature's thoughts correctly, as long as they keep coming, we're in the right direction."

We kept walking until we reached an aristocratic style house, not very well maintained or maintained, but in good shape and an inviting look that we all liked. As soon as we came in, Pandora went to the garden to practice some spells from the book, but asked us to see if there was a library in the house, which we found easily.

The many different books, the titles, the covers, and even the smell of pages in the air of that room made us fall in love with it the second we entered it. "Be careful," I said to Wiese as we walked inside.

There was a lot of light, and so the room was easy to see. A simple library with high shelves, all of them filled with different books, a big window with shattered glass and some carpets here and there. Hanging in the walls, I saw what I thought were the remains of several paintings. It had its enchant in an unusual way.

We spent the time in there, reading and commenting. Wiese had found a volume "Children's and Household Tales," which authors  I recognized. they were a pair of psychic brothers who worked for royal families. Those tales were told to them by the spirits they helped, stories that meant to help the living, although very few knew about that fact.

We where lucky enough to find enough food around, vegetables and meat, while we waited for Pandora, until she came to us. We ate in silence, ejoying the peaceful environment we had found, and went right to the bedroom with a bed large enough for the three of us.

Not that I expected a perfect rest under that stress, but I did think I would be given a few more hours before opening my eyes again. My body felt better, but my head wanted a couple of minutes. Minutes I knew I couldn't and wouldn't give it.

I was the first one, and Wiese ad Pandora were still sleeping. I wondered if I should or not wake them up. Our days haven't been easy and we all needed a good rest, no which were our reasons, but the words felt wrong to keep inside any longer.

There was no reason to wake them both up, Pandora would know what to do in that case, and so I went to her, and as I was nearer, I heard a couple of words that made me wonder what kid of dream she was having.

"No," she said asleep. "Stay... Protect you... I will protect you. Stay. Stay." A nightmare, I simply thought. But she said my name then, afraid and caring tone. What? My mind gave an answer right away. Of course she cared. We were friends. We've been in danger. We've been almost killed. She's worried.

Another sea, but this one made of words, flooded my head, making it hurt a little while the thoughts keep coming and going. I took one, that which I needed to focus on. I know where you are, Gail. Keep breathing.

 Keep breathing

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