36. Through the Woods.

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Through the Woods.

The trek continued and with every step that Havillah took forward her mind pondered this new discovery.

"You can't tell me more. Can you?" She question ed her Guide even though she knew quite well what his answer would be.

"Not yet." Her Guide confirmed her thoughts. "After all a journey is as important as its end. You cannot truly appreciate what you have until you've walked the end and discovered it." Havillah mulled over the words in her mind even as she shook her head at the empty space that was beside her. Empty not because there was no one there, but rather, because she was not yet enlightened whatever that meant. All in all the words sounded weird. They were not straight forward neither were they cryptic enough to warrant a moment of awe. Instead, the words were just...there. As if they had just been constructed for the sake of being there.

"Mmm...Somehow I was expecting something more flowery than that."

"Like you can do better than that?"

Havillah stilled at the challenge that had been issued in his words before proceeding to shrug her shoulder after little thought.

"I guess... I can if I put my mind into it." She finally told him.

"This is not Poetry." Her guide dismissed her even as she tried to come up with a better more cryptic version of the words that had just been spoken. "What is important is that you understand its sentiments. Otherwise, you might as well be deaf to the words that have been spoken. To hear is one thing. To understand is another and to comprehend that is what will bring you to true change and bring about your enlightenment."

The words flowed, the lesson changed and at the end of it all, Havillah was left feeling more confused than she had been before. What did he want? For her to know or to understand? What was she supposed to change to and what was this journey that she had to walk? She was just walking and she knew not the path that she had taken nor the destination. What was she even doing? What was the purpose of it all? Would she continue to walk in the dark with just a candle to light her path?

"This has gone on long enough." Her Guide interrupted her mental barrage to repeat the words he had spoken earlier. "Is it South or West? Through the Forest or across it, For you have long lost your way and are heading down the wrong path."

"I thought the journey is as important as the destination." She replied quite sassily smiling at the way she had managed to twist his own words and use them against him.

"Well...I cannot stop you if your intention is to spend another night in the canopies. That is a good lesson as any and you won't find me protesting. However, the sooner you move forward the faster we'll get this over with."

"Fine." Havillah mumbled even as she rose up above the canopy to survey her surroundings. "How long have I been walking off course?" She asked him but received no answer in return. Why he did so? She could not tell. Just as she could not tell why he had attached himself to.her and was now leading her on a wild goose chase.

Havillah grumbled some more to herself and continued to look out into the western horizon or what she assumed to be western horizon as that was where the sun seemed to be heading. The end, she mused with a small smile now playing upon her lips. If truly the world was round like they said and she also suspected, wouldn't that mean that she would end in the same spot? That is assuming that she took a straight line.

A canopy dweller called from a distance and Havillah shook her head ridding herself of the daydream that had distracted her again. She needed to keep going west. To her destination. Her end even though she was not familiar with where she was going nor did she know the layout of the land that was spread out before her. She was going west just because that way seemed to be the other way from the sea. But there was also northwards and southwards and the other directions in between. In fact if she was being truly honest with herself, Havillah knew that she could also find land whichever way she chose to go including eastwards, but she was afraid. Afraid of what she would find there, of the memories that the sea would evoke. No, she would continue westwards. Even if it meant flying low over the canopy as there were no clouds to shield her from view in the open blue sky.

Havillah sped forward. This time however, she did not stop to admire the wildlife nor the flora that filled the top of these branches. As she continued with her volitation westwards, the temperature around her dropped remarkably even as the forest below her became much denser. The shadows increased and not just because the sun was way past its peak, but rather Havillah realised, because the topography was constantly changing. How she had not realised it before then, Havillah could not say but she attributed it to the fact that she had somehow veered southwards and the clouds had done a great job of hiding the mountain that had been standing before her all this while.

It was not that high, but Havillah guessed that its altitude was high enough to allow a continuous cover of fog to form around its peaks. Either that or the cool moist air from the ocean was to blame for covering up the rock fortress that now stood forbiddingly before the girl, blocking her path to civilization and the people that she so much sought. For when her Guide had spoken of helping, hadn't he meant that she had to find people? It couldn't have been animals though Havillah still had her doubts seeing that the man in question was still not answering her calls.

The sun began to slowly set behind the mountain and a deep chill settled in together with the seeping darkness. With the looming peaks ahead of her Havillah had no choice but to stop and rest for the night. She picked out a nice spot on a grassy valley scattered with a few shrubbery and the ocassional tree that stood out against the moorland. It had to be safe here she thought even as she began to set up her camp there.

The girl slowly settled at the base of a tree looking around at her surroundings as she did so. Convince d that she was all alone, Havillah opened up her knapsack and began to inspect it. She did not have much left. A little water and apart from a single load of bread, all she had left was some fruits that she had picked from her courtyard garden and some nuts.

She would have to forage. Havillah realised that even as she capped her water bottle after taking a swig of the drink. The was no river but hopefully she would find one soon. As for the vegetation, it seemed a little sparse mostly because of the moorland that marked the base of the rocky climb. No, she would find something. She thought pushing back aside the negative sentiments.

"There has to be a river here." She told herself once again even as she placed the bottle back into her knapsack and used the bag as a pillow to prop her head with. Today, there was no climbing needed as the trees were really low and the branches not high or strong enough to support her full weight. All in all, her bed that night would be comfortable as comfortable as the grass beneath her could be . Shielded from the cold winds blowing down from the mountain tops by the long blades of glass that rose up high all around her.

As the evening fully gave in to night and the crickets took over the night, Havillah found herself slowly dozing off, too exhausted from the trek and the subsequent flight that had brought her there. A yawn escaped her mouth and her eyes misted from the sleep that was slowly creeping in.

This was too peaceful...she mused even as another yawn wracked her body. All around her the air glittered even as fireflies came out and Havillah smiled at the effect it created even as they flattered above her and all around her. Finally her eyes grew heavy from all the staring and she closed them even as she gave in too deep slumber only to be roused some hours later by a loud howling of a wolf that was passing nearby.

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