It had been six hours since Dicio was walking non-stop. His throat started burning two hours ago but he didn't pay attention to it. His legs were throbbing. Sweat beads emerged from his forehead. His body was on fire but he still ignored it.
'Where are we?' He asked Solan.
'The place where you started. The Wicked Woods.' Solan said calmly.
'I never knew it was so dense.'
'You were too small.' Solan smiled.
Dicio continued walking. He didn't ask for a rest or a small break, he just kept walking. He knew he has to face many more hurdles than this. The woods were getting darker and darker and denser and denser. The more they entered the more the woods got mysterious. Trees were oddly shaped. Some had twisted roots while some were straight. Some trees looked dangerously eerie while some looked merely horrified. But something was odd. They didn't seem old. Not even a day old at all. It was like they were newborn.
Dicio felt weak. His throat was on fire again. His legs hurt, he was unable to cope up with his body weight. He tried to do magic, but he failed. His whole body was aching. He felt like he was losing something. Like he is evaporating into the thin dark air. But he still kept on walking and following Solan. He started to feel tired and dizzy but he knew that he has to face much more than this. His vision was starting to blur. Black dots were appearing everywhere he looked. He could not see properly. He was again feeling weak. He felt like he is being dragged into a dark and deep abyss.
On the other hand, Solan kept on walking like he was enjoying it. Dicio saw his father walk with much more enthusiasm, it was like he was not feeling anything. He kept on paving his way.
Dicio felt like someone was watching him, he turned around but didn't see anyone. He again felt a sharp pain in his head which he was ignoring. But this time it grew to its limits. The trees were now seeming odd. They were frozen but still to him, they seemed alive. He felt like they were talking, whispering, he could not feel anything, he was just walking and as the moments passed, he was feeling weaker.
The man with the bony hand was waiting for Markus to arrive. He was waiting and that was the thing he did not like at all. He hated the ones who were late. He served them with punishment. So harsh, that they would never ever forget it. He hated thinking, and that is what someone do when they are waiting. He wanted to punish Markus, he wanted to curse him. He wanted to give him the most painful death. He could have done anything with Markus. He could have tortured him for the rest of his life.
But he didn't. Today he was satisfied. He was happy. He was cheering because Markus had followed his orders. Aeosus was dead. And that did not bother him at all. But it did Markus and he knew that. So he gave Markus some time to repent and cry while he waited.
Markus emerged from the following room, he was still carrying the blood-dripping dagger. His clothes were soaked with blood as he had stabbed his brother countless times with fury, with rage which did not belong to him. He had then held his brother in his arms and cried for what seemed like a millennium. He stood in front of his master. The dagger still clutched in his hand.
'Well done, my boy.' The voice hissed, his master got up and patted Markus on his back. Markus felt chills, his body turned cold as his master patted him. He felt like he is going to pass out but he didn't.
'Why did we have to kill him?' Markus asked. His head still bowed.
'We have a reason. The boy is coming. He has his destiny set and I don't want them to advance further. I have had enough loss. Stop them, we have to. They are weak as long as they are in the woods. At least the boy is weak. He won't be able to cope up with the curse. He may lose his power and that is the time we should take our step. We shall take advantage of his weakness. The old brat will not be able to do anything. We can just knock him out of our way. But don't forget, we need the boy. I need him. I still have to find the last piece. And he is my free pass for that.' The voice hissed.
'What do I have to do? Do you want me to-'
'No, my boy. You don't have to go this soon. They are in my woods. Lets use our weapon.'
Dicio sat on an uneven rock wondering about his whereabouts. The place now seemed much more foreign to him. It was completely different. He knew that they were still in woods but he was still unaware. The trees were getting denser and denser and darker and darker. He knew that the sun was setting but he couldn't see it as he was completely surrounded.
Solan on the other hand sat under the tree watching the slow stream on rays trespassing into the woods colony. He seemed relaxed. He was a tough man, Dicio knew it. Even though he was aging, his confidence in himself and his intelligence was not even downing a speck.
Dicio drank a sip from the bottle and offered to Solan. He accepted it quietly and drank.
'I am feeling weak, father.' Dicio said.
'What do you mean?'
'I mean that these woods are causing you this trouble. It is cursed. That is why it is known as The Wicked Woods. These woods have survived for nearly eight millennium but it still looks fresh and newborn. It is because of the curse. Its a long story, son. And now coming back to your problems, the blood which runs through your veins belongs to a different race of wizards. It is rare but it is filthy. The blood which runs through your veins belongs to those who once were known as traitors. And thses woods, it is under the curse of black magic. It's totally evil. And you, you are completely opposite of it. I don't know much about the myths which were carried on earlier but I would like to tell you that the evils doesn't like you. But keep one thing in mind my son. Opposite attracts. Even though it knows that once they meet, there will be nothing left but vast emptiness, but still they attract. The same is happening with you. Your powers, your thoughts, your strengths, your possession, your control is being attracted, it is being snatched away from you. One thing you should always remember son, you are not weak, you are just incapable. And that is your worst disadvantage.'
Dicio was confused. His mind was still stuck on the word 'Traitor.' He tried to think more about it. He was getting more and more confused as Solan's face showed no expression at all.
Am I really a traitor? Is that why my family was killed? Why doesn't hr tell me the whole story now? Am I a traitor?
The more he thought, the more he got confused, the more he got angry. His migrane was increasing rapidly. He wanted to sleep. But he couldn't.
'What happened to my family?' He asked.
'Learn to reserve somethings for later, Dicio. Know your worth. Time will tell the tale. But till then, just don't struggle with your mind. Focus on your destiny, don't get confused.'
'Are you hiding somethingfrom me?'
'It's not me, son. It's you who is having secrets. I am not hiding anything, it's you who has hidden treasure, but still you are unaware of it.'
'And what is it?'
'I don't know. Only you can know it.'
As time passed, Dicio felt more and more weak. His back was aching and his body growled for energy. He was trying his best to steady himself. But he was failing.
'Father, do you think it's safe for us?'
'No, son. It's the most dangerous place in the whole world.'