The Beast Within

In a world where magic is outlawed and virtually extinct, Princess Fiamatta suddenly finds her world turned inside out by the traitorous word. From royalty, to fugitive, to leader of the rebels, Fia is forced to work with a handsome, arrogant magician she found locked away in a dungeon.

btw, this is my NaNoWriMo story so criticism is much appreciated! Thanks :)

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35. Act 34

We stood there for a while until we heard the voice of Caiden calling my name in the distance. Slowly, I pulled out of Logan’s arms and smiled up at his face. I knew deep inside of him that he had trouble forgiving humans, but that was something that I would help him over come. Together, there wasn’t anything that we could not brave.

            We walked back to camp, acting as if nothing had happened. Caiden had already packed up the food back into our bags and the captain was ready to go.

            “Natalie is scouting the way ahead, making sure that it’s safe.” He told us before beginning to move out. There were two sandwiches left out, I assumed they were for Logan and me. We both moved to grab one and ate them on the way. Caiden walked behind us, bringing up the rear, while the captain tracked Natalie’s path, leading us safely through the grove.

            By the time sunset had come we were in the middle of the Winniver Planes. A sharp wind blew, letting us know that it was going to be a chilly night. We wasted no time in setting up camp. Logan started the fire with his hands, frightening just about everyone as they watched. I could tell from the snide smirk that he thoroughly enjoyed their reactions. Caiden then took his post by the fire and began making soup. I sat beside him, and asked him to teach me. Although I had been given basic survival lessons, I still didn’t know how to make something delicious as soup in the wilderness. For a moment, I thought I saw Caiden crack a smile at my eager tone, but if I had it was gone as quickly as it came.

            The soup was delicious and definitely hit the spot. With autumn rolling in the nights were getting windier and colder. Caiden promised that next time I would make the soup and he would simply oversee my efforts. I smiled at the prospect of this and nodded, hoping that my cooking wouldn’t poison the whole group.

            I could feel Logan’s gaze on my face and I met it, still smiling. The light from the fire seemed to dance in his eyes and he looked back at it. My eyes followed his gaze and I looked into the fire. For a moment I thought it was my imagination, as a figure seemed to stand in the center of the flames. But as the flames seemed to separate into many figures I knew it was Logan. The flame figures danced in a circle in what seemed almost like a ritual. The bewitching sight captured not only my attention, but also that of Captain Tregor and Caiden. We all sat, peering into the fire when suddenly the figures blurred back into flickering flames. Our eyes all glanced at Logan, wondering why the sudden halt when the sound came like metal chimes on the wind: the sound of clashing swords.

            Captain Tregor leaped to his feet, drawing his weapon. He glanced back at Caiden.

            “Take her to the spot!” he barked at him. I felt warmth surround my hand as Caiden pulled me away from the camp. Once my mind caught up with what was happening I dug my heels into the ground and yanked my hand out of Caiden’s.

            “Logan!” I called out to him. His long strides carried him swiftly to my side. His soft hand cupped my cheek as he gazed at me.

            “I will not be gone long, no matter what I will find you.” He promised. His tender tone filled my body with warmth and his kiss on my forehead sent shivers down my spine. And then, he was gone, walking after Captain Tregor towards the sounds of battle. Meanwhile Caiden grasped my hand again and quickly directed me across the plain. If he was irritated because of the delay, he did not show it. Caiden and I ran until we came to a where the grass on the plain had grown so tall, due to many favorable seasons, that it reached up to my chest. He led me into the grass without hesitation. Although he seemed to know where he was going, there was no worn pass in front of him, making me wondered how could he tell where he was.

            Soon we stopped. Caiden sat down on the ground and I sat beside him. Until that moment we had not said a word to each other. After my lungs had gotten back into their regular breathing cycle I turned to him with questions in my eyes. He turned to look at me. It was so difficult to see any details on his face because of the darkness that surrounded us. Not even the moonlight penetrated down to the bottom of the grass.

            “When we stopped, the captain scouted out a place to hide incase we were attacked during the night. He showed it to me so that way I could guide you here and wait for his signal. “ He whispered to me trying not to disturb the silence around us. I nodded as my mind began to fill with thoughts of Logan. He had gone off with the captain and I had no doubt that he would return, but still a part of me could not help but worry. I had no idea how much magic he could use, and I knew that he didn’t have an actual weapon. No matter how much I assured myself I seemed to be getting more and more worked up.

            I felt the hand on my shoulder before I saw it. Caiden had placed it there, and from what I could discern in the darkness, wore an expression of concern.

            “The best thing you can be princess is calm.” He said as he turned his body so it was facing mine. He lifted his hands in the air, hovering them on either side of my head. “May I?” he asked tentatively. I nodded, allowing him to put his hands so his fingertips were touching my temples but his hand was extended out, narrowing my field of view to only him. “Now, relax and a deep breathe in,” we breathed in together and held it for several moments before he nodded, so we exhaled together. “Focus only on me, do not let your mind upset itself, just think about sitting right here.” His voice was cool and soothing, as it washed over me like a healing salve.

            He lowered his hands and we sat there for what felt like ages. I leaned against him, finding that the contact seemed to steady myself. I focused on timing my breathing to match his, and I tried to count every blade of grass in my field of vision; anything to distract my mind while it waited out this long night. I have no idea how long we were waiting; I could not see the moon from where we were, but it was not long enough for dawn to show. Perhaps it was only an hour, although it could have been several. Whatever it happened to be, it was too long. Our wait was finally ended when Caiden heard the captain’s bird call that signaled it was safe. We stood, dusting the dirt off of our clothes, and Caiden led the way to where he was supposed to meet the captain, outside of the grass.

            Once we left the dense cover of the grass we were bathed in bright light from the full moon. It illuminated the figures of Logan, Captain Tregor, and Natalie. As we got closer to them I could see their bodies in detail. My eyes scanned Logan for any wounds; once I was satisfied they switched to Natalie and the captain. She had blood dried on her armor, but it did not seem to be her own. The captain showed no sign of injury either. At the conclusion of my scrutiny, I released the breath I had not known I’d been holding.

            “What happened out there?” I asked, concerned. Natalie stepped forward and with a stiff bow she gave me a report. She had spotted some imperial troops that had been tracking us. Although she meant to get away unseen, one of them had detected her and a battle ensued. It ended with the death of the one soldier, but also the escape of the other.

            “He will no doubt tell Straiyer about our direction, it is plain to see our destination.” She spoke in monotone, simply giving her report since it was her duty, but it was obvious that exhaustion tugged at her features. “We will have to move faster if we are to make it to the Junip Mountains before we are intercepted by troops. Since we do not know where their nearest camp is I suggest we leave tonight.”

            Everyone nodded in agreement and hurried off back to our abandoned camp. The camp was packed up in silence; no one was looking forward for the long night ahead of us. We started back on our journey at almost double the pace we had first begun at. I could keep up that jog for only so long before my lungs protested and I had to slow to a walk. Although I was slowing the group down, no one complained. Caiden gave us small snacks that we could eat while we walked. We did not stop to eat or drink. We continued at that pace until dawn lit the sky, and even longer after that as the sun climbed higher and higher.

The original plan had put us reaching the mountains near dusk on the second day. At our new speed though, we could see the snowy peaks before midday. Finally, we had arrived at the Junip Mountains, the entrance to the Forbidden Zone.

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