Chapter XIX

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"Pleased to meet you, Draxen Dramuni," I gave him my hand. "Can I know why your last name sounds so familiar to me?" I started to walk to the house and trying to think on what would Pandora and Wiese about Draxen. I had a bad feeling about my friend, and Wiese... they was finally okay with her, but with a wizard that neither her not I knew?

"Our families used to be in good terms, Princess Alynne," he said, "but seems like your father and mine decided that they would not be able to understand each other. Maybe you heard your father speaking about mine, or read about my family; don't misunderstand me..."

"I know you mean no offense," I cut him. All that formality and fear for saying the wrong thing... It had been a long time since I faced it, but I still loathed it the same as then. "You don't need to be so formal, we are not in Sel, in my land."

"Will not offend you if I call you by your name, then, Princess?" He asked, still surprised.

"Not at all, you can be sure, there's no need to be so formal."

"Then consider at least my debt to you for helping me." Draxen spoke seeing right to my eyes.

"I will think about it."

"Prin... Alynne," he corrected himself, "if I can know, does this mean that the legend is true, then? About the Tenth and Sel?"

"Yes, yes it is." Even though I knew it, admitting it aloud made it difficult, more real. "She has trapped me in here, but I'm still trying to return."

"Again, if there is anything I can do for you, please, let me know, and..." He couldn't finish as a crash cut the air around us.

We silently agreed and ran to the house, I leading the way, until we came in and say that a shadow the shape of a snake with crab claws was trying to get Wiese, with Pandora fighting it the best she could. Because of the way her symbols vibrated, unstable, I knew she had not prepared and had had no time to center herself.

"How did that thing get inside?!" I shouted, stepping on the creature's tail and kicking it into the room.

"I don't know, just kill it!" She was in front of Wiese, arms extended, trying to anticipate its movements.

"I deal with it," I told Draxen, "protect them". And I ran to the creature, watching that he went to my friend.

The creature was fast, more than usual, and the claws seemed to become bigger as it tried to cut me into pieces, destroying the room around us. I had my daggers again with me, but couldn't find any entry to even harm it, and when I began to think I'll need some help, it came.

A dark cat being, wrapped in a red, electric energy, jumped in front of me and started to attack the shadow, even faster than the creature. I had enough time to see behind me and realize that, oddly, it was being controlled by Draxen and Pandora, as she disliked strangers, but what other option had she?

I faced the shadow again, a dagger in each hand, and waited for the cat to give the chance, right after a couple of seconds. I stepped on its head and, in a quick movement, cut what was supposed to be its throat. What happened then surprised me even more. The cat, as if it was the most common thing, ate the remains of the shadow as they disappeared.

"That way I eliminate them completely," explained Draxen. It wasn't like that that I expected him to meet my group, fighting and protecting people he knew nothing about, but after an awkward while, things became more comfortable.

Draxen wasn't  a very talkative person, but he certainly was friendly and kind; the first proof of it was taht he called Wiese by the correct pronoun. I wouldn't lower my guard, at all, but there seemed to be no reason to worry.

While he was teaching Wiese about some runes they could draw in case they'd need them, I took my chance and spoke with Pandora, telling her about my dream and what I thought I meant, taht maybe it showed where we would find Gail.

"It's strange, you never had those kind of dreams," she said, not really trusting it. "How do we know it is not a spell?"

"You would have known already, silly," I said smiling. Knowing how sensite she was, there would not be any kind of magic that could affect us without her noticing at the moment.

"Yes, but..."

"Hey," I cut her, "I know it's strange, but there's a first time for everything. We have already taken quite a while, but I think we're still on time."

"Alynne, the Black Sea has no exact location, you know that," I nodded, though she kept talking, "how are we supossed to find it?"

"Maybe I could help you," said Draxen. We both looked at him; apparently, he had finished explaining to Wiese the issue of runes. "Alynne," he said, still trying that his discomfort would not be noticed, when we were talking about, "I know we barely know each other, but my family always gave a hand for those in need, and I'd be honored to do the same for you."

"You may mean well," said Pandora, "but there are things that even magic cannot resolve. You need to know where to go before yopu create a portal."

"Yes, I mean well, but my family's magic works differently. Those creatures I create prove it."

"He has a point," I said to Pandora, and Draxen smiled at my support.

"I can focus on one goal, one person, and it will work equally," he explained.

"How do we know you're not trapped here for treachery? You might as well be looking for something out of this whole thing."

"Pandora!" I said in surprise. "Draxen is a stranger, I understand your mistrust, but I do not remember his last name in a bad way. You know a witch's word is important."

"A witch's word is sacred," she responded, "but for all we know, he could easily be a sorcerer."

"In fact, he would appreciate a gesture of gratitude. I'm looking for some ruins in this forest, I hoped you knew where to find them."

"Okay, let me explain this: I do know where they are and I can perfectly make a spell for you to find a way to them, but the very same will kill you if you have any kind of desire to harm us, am I clear?" Pandora spoke faster then any of us.

"Deal," said Draxen. I was still looking at Pandora when he looked at the sun; there were some hours before sunset. "I'll go and search for some things I need for the ritual." After a gesture that changed his clothes to others in green tones, the wizzard went to the forest, giving us time to talk.

" After a gesture that changed his clothes to others in green tones, the wizzard went to the forest, giving us time to talk

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