Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Witch and The Twin Princesses : Part 2


"Well, that's one way to describe--this." Aurora gestured her eye to the trees in the forest. It has gotten much more silent than before, as if the animals were hiding underground. Yet, even the ground felt cold. Astrid got down from her horse and sat on the nearest giant tree root. "Are you sure about this, Aurora? Father might already find out that we ran away."
"We didn't run away, Astrid. We're just trying to find out what's happening in the forest."
Astrid raised an eyebrow,
"Without his permission."

Placing her palm on the tree barks, Aurora listened to her sister; "At this rate, it might be difficult for us to find out what's going on. So far, the attacks only happened at night. Right now, the sun is high above our heads. I don't think we'd find that creature."

"Whoa, whoa!" Aurora countered; "Sister, I do want to find that creature, and I do agree with you on that, but I'm not really looking for the creature exactly. I'm looking for some tracks. You don't expect us to enter the forest at night without even knowing what we're dealing with, do you? If we have some tracks, or clue on what this creature can do or what it looks like, at least, we might find some chances on finding its weakness."

Astrid stared at her sister. "How come you're so smart and detailed in hunting but when it comes to studying literature and history you make our ancestors squirm in shame?" 
And  at that moment, something caught her eye. The tree next to the one which root she was sitting on, it's bark was somehow scratched, three parallel lines visible against the dark brown colour of the tree. "Does that seem like a clue?" She pointed at the mark. Aurora looked closer, trying to trace any particular information passed down from Samuel during their past hunting sessions. Examining the width and length of the marks, she knew whatever that made that mark is not a human. The line is too wide for a sword or a knife, and there would be no reason to actually leave three marks, unless the weapon comes in a set.

Claws. Big, sharp claws. Strong enough to leave a mark quite deep, tall. The mark was made at the same height as the girls, and Aurora assumed that to leave an upward pattern, the creature only have to lift its arms up to its chest. And apparently, she couldn't recall any teachings from her brother about creatures like this. She knows that, at least; the creature is fast, strong, tall, and have sharp claws. Adrenaline pumping in her veins; she couldn't help but wanting to hunt, right at that moment; but she couldn't risk only one thing.


Aurora looked around for any possible traces, but there was nothing. No footprints, no tracks of broken twigs or unusually torn leaves. "Let's go back." Aurora suggested. Astrid thought her sister looked different, but she doesn't ask. She's leaving the questioning session after they get back safely. 

"Quick, Aurora, we have to hide these." Both of them took off Samuel's armor and hid them with their weapons in the haystack. Making sure no one is around, Aurora sat down on a small stack of hay. "What did you find out?" Astrid asked. Choosing her words carefully, Aurora answered. "Big, dangerous, with claws sharp enough to shred a human's flesh in one blow."
"Do you think there are other marks like that?"
"I'm not sure, but if we could do something about it, informing the general is a good step. If the soldiers are going to stay in the forest until the creature has been caught, the undertaker will run out of coffins. Well, that is even if their bodies can be recovered."
"But Aurora! What are we going to tell him, huh? Good afternoon, general. We sneaked out of the castle and found a clue that the creature might just have giant sharp claws? Aurora!"

"General Wilhelm, the king requests for your presence in the dining hall." A soldier reported. Wilhelm nodded and left the meeting, approaching the doorway, until a pair of hands pulled him into a dark, narrow space. His reflexes instantly aims for his sword, but another pair of arms stopped him. "Shhh! General, it's us!! It's us!!!"  Aurora whispered. Shocked, he calmed down almost immediately at the presence of the princesses, and bowed his head. "What--"

His question was cut off quickly. "Did your men find any traces, or marks, or clues in the forest?" Aurora asked in haste.

"FIND THE PRINCESSES!" A soldier's shout was heard, followed by multiple replies from other men and workers

"Oh, good heavens! Father found out! General, answer me!" Aurora pulled Wilhelm deeper into the darker side of the corner. "Wait. Alright. I don't know what's going on, princess. But so far I have not received any report on visible clues or marks left by the creature. Even the bloodhound lost trace of the victim's blood. Some of our dogs ran away, as if they were terrified by something."
Aurora and Astrid were relieved, at one point, that they could actually TRY to pass the newly-required information. "Okay. We're going to be quick. We sneaked out of the castle--"
"You what?!!" Wilhelm whispered his shout;
"And we found something in the forest." Aurora's serious tone caught his immediate attention.

"I'm going to need Samuel to come back here." King Richard sighed. in the past, Samuel was the only one who could make those girls sit quietly in the dining table. The Queen sat next to him, rubbing his aching, tense shoulders.
And suddenly they heard familiar giggles. The turned around and saw their daughters laughing. "Where were you?!" The Queen asked.
The stopped laughing; looking at their parents. "We were playing hide and seek in the eastern wing, mother. Apparently some of our drawings when we were little are still on the walls!" Astrid laughed. "Good heavens! Do you know how worried we were?!" King Richard stood up. "But we did nothing wrong, father. Everyone's busy and running here and there, talking about some beastly creature or something and we were extremely bored. It's the only thing we could do since Sam left." Astrid spoke softly, almost solemn.
King Richard sighed.

After the conversation ended, both of them walked into their room, Aurora refraining herself from laughing her heart out due to the drama, and Astrid had a smug plastered on her face. 


I stared at the setting sun, anxious. It's going to be dark soon and I hope General Wilhelm warned his men to be on their guards. I have a nasty feeling about this. Father and Mother are worried about the kingdom, and so do I, but I can't persuade them to leave the castle. They won't just simply do it. It's a part of being the king and the queen. I need to protect them. And other people too. And Astrid.

I looked at her. She's reading. I need to enter the forest again. This time, without her. I need to find out about something.

I need to see Rulf.


Black pants, leather boots, a black cape. Enough from being seen. The sleeping powder she put in Astrid's drink worked quick enough and lasts long enough for her to inquire what she needs. Sneaking out from the secret gate again, she finds herself walking in a much slower pace than she used to, cautious of any movement from the surroundings. 

The forest is so much more eerie at night. She hates to admit it, but it scares her, not knowing what might come next. She came to the place where they found the mark, and hope filled her heart; and she howled like a wolf.

Silence fell into the surroundings again. She tried to listen for any sound, and when she's confident that there was none, she howled again.

And suddenly, she heard sounds.  From behind, reflexes ordered her to grab her weapons and she shot an arrow. "It's me, stupid! You almost got me!"
The arrow hit a nearby tree, missed a couple of inches from a man's head.

"Damn it, it almost got you!"  Aurora groaned. Rulf gave her a glare. "Rulf, stand somewhere where the moonlight doesn't reach you. I'm in no mood to be distracted by your looks." Aurora spoke. "Ah, finally admitting you like me?" Rulf teased. "No, I really meant how you look. Get some clothes next time, will you?" Aurora sighed at the naked man as he moves to stand in the shadow of a big tree. 

"Have you ever seen a wolf wearing clothes, princess?" Rulf smirked. "You're right. If I see one, I might kill it out of surprise." Aurora answered coldly, earning a pout from the taller man. His black hair was as dark as the shadow he was standing in, but his eyes, glow in neon silver. 

"I need to find out what's going on in the forest, Rulf."