We pulled off to the shore, ”Lei, what would you have me do? ” I asked him.

”Pane, have Pane take charge in my stead for now. I must rest. ” He replied full of exhaustion.

I took initiative and called Pane over to me, ” Pane, the King would like for you to take charge in his stead for now. ” I whispered to Pane as he turned to look at Lei.

Lei had his eyes slightly opened and he nodded his head in agreement.

Pane returned a nod and began to walk away when Lei grabbed a hold of his ankle. Pane bends his knees and crouches down low to Lei.

Lei whispers in his ears and his eyes peered up to meet mine. Pane gives me a slight frown and I sit there pondering what words were being exchanged. Judging from Panes expression, Im not sure its good.

When Pane left Leis side he gave me a nod followed by the words, ”My lady ”.

I can hear him take charge as if it were Lei himself, ” Weather, wood, hunters… ” he yelled.

The night air seemed to have made enemies with us as its frosty breeze and fog snuck into our campsite.

Leis fever worsens and I join him on the ground. ”Lei, are you doing alright? Is there anything you need? ” I asked him. I am genuinely worried and am at the brink of tears. What will happen if he doesn make it?

”Water. ” Lei mumbled to me.

I quickly ran to the fire place to find the pot of water that had already been filtered through charcoal and sand then boiled, but the bucket was empty and all that remained of the burning fire was its wilting embers.

I grabbed a small piece of wood and threw it into the embers, blowing at it to get the fire going. I quickly searched around me and found a small cauldron. I picked it up and ran towards the river.

I ran straight into the waters, wetting the hem of my dress in the water. I scooped up water with the cauldron, but my dress was soaking up too much weight and my feet were embedding into the mud below the waters. With each step I took, my foot seems to be getting heavier and heavier.

I cup the cauldron in my left arm and with my right hand, I reach around behind me and undo the knots tying my dress in place. It fell off my waist like a burden washing away with the river. I swiftly made my way out of the river, holding onto the little cauldron like its gold.

There were three wooden buckets stacked on top of one another vertically. It was a makeshift filter system for the waters. The top bucket had layers of rocks and sand. The middle one had layers of fine sand and charcoal. The bottom bucket was used to catch the filtered water.

To deem it drinkable the filtered water then gets boiled to further clean it. It is a tedious process, but vital to ones health.

I sit and wait at the small campfire for the water to boil, but the flames are barely high enough to heat the cauldron. Again, I searched around and saw that the only firewood I had were a few branches.

”Ugh! ” I whined and then dashed to Leis side to grab his seax, a sword that isn too big or heavy for me yet not too small to call a knife.

I worked my way towards the woods all wet, cold, shivering and in my undergarments. I slashed away at the small branches blocking my path as I made my way to the dry wooded area.

I went about 10 meters deep into the woods, when I finally felt dry wood. Seeing a fallen dry log on the ground, I start to hack away. I kept telling myself, ”I don need much, just enough to get the water to boil. ”

Suddenly, I felt a burst of wind blow right through me and a whisper that carried with it the breeze, ”Be weary of the darkness that surrounds you. ” I strike the log just as the whisper came.

THUD~

The seax was deep in the log and stuck. I stood up straight and did a quick survey of my surroundings. There was no one there, not even a spirit.

”Whos there? I can hear you, you know? Scaring me won work! ” I yelled out into the woods. There were no replies but the cicada bugs ringing around me.

I turned my attention back to the seax that is deeply embedded into the log. I put all my strength into pulling the seax out of the log, but it just won budge.

”You won be able to get it out pulling at it like that, girl. ” a voice said behind me.

It made me jump, but without looking back, I already knew who it was.

”What do you want, Bjork? ”

”Girl, to tug on a mans sword, youll have to do it properly otherwise there won be any release. ” he laughed loudly and deeply. ”Shall I show you, girl? ”

He walked up behind me and grabbed hold of my waist. My hands were still on the seax, hoping to pull it out to whack him, but then I felt him rub his groin onto my buttocks. I pulled away from Bjork and the log.

”Pervert! ” I spat at him. ”I am NOT one of those women you prey on. I am the Kings~ ”

”Ya, ya, ya. The Kings chosen woman. ” Bjork interrupted me. ” Well, I have news for you, girl. Your King is dying and you with your titleless name, will become nothing but our enjoyment at our disposal. ”

He crept closer to me as he continued spewing his lewdness, ” Girl, I heard you were a witch. Ive never tasted witch before. You shall be my first. Would you do the honor? ”

Bjork lunges towards me and I jump to the side to avoid his hold. He burst into an enjoyable laughter, ”Yes, fight, girl! I love it when they fight back! Rah! ” he lunges towards me again, this time grabbing my sleeve. I pull my arms and body backwards and my whole sleeve rips off showing the front of my corset as my half boobs bounce in place.

I screamed, but I knew we were too far into the woods to be heard.

”All that effort you put into that scream is nothing. ” Bjork said with a big grin on his face. I run towards the seax that is still embedded deep in the log and I pull on it, hard. Bjork is running after me laughing.

He lunges at me again and I jump off the log. He kicks the seax deeper into the log and jumps off and I start to run, but right behind me Bjork was running after me again. He gets a hold of my undergarments and I try to wriggle away.

”I got you, GIRL! ” He yelled in delight, but I managed to wriggle out of the undergarment layer. I am at my last layers of clothing. I fall down and run back towards the seax. There was a sudden sharp pain in my leg as I was running away from him. I looked back, and he was standing there smiling at me. I looked down at my limping legs and noticed a small dagger lodged into it.

I keep on running and I can hear Bjork right behind me. I got to the seax and with all my weight I jumped up, grabbed the handle and anchored it downwards. The seax dislodges from the log and I fall onto my butt onto the ground. I swing the seax at Bjork and he tries to block it with an arm. Seeing that I was in a low position, the seax completely missed his arm and struck hard and deep into his ribs, Bjork plummets to the left upon the hit.

”Ahh, you whore! ” he screamed in agony.

I stood up and noticed torches coming towards us from the shore and voices calling out to Bjork.

”Sereen! Its Sereen! She attacked me! ” he yelled. Then he turned his gaze at me and said, ”They will never believe you, you whore. You hurt one of their men. ” Bjork starts laughing but his laughter quickly turns into a cough of blood.

I make a run for it, but not towards shore. Deep in the woods I run while limping through the pain. My lungs were burning from the cold as Bjorks voice rang out to me.

”Sereen! I know you
e out there! I WILL FIND YOU! ”

”Keep going, ” I told myself, ” die running if you must. Don let them catch you. YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH IF THEY DO! So, best to just die running. ”

The stirring and ruffling of leaves and dirt kicked up around me as I made my way deeper into the woods. Either I was losing my mind from hyperventilation or there was really something there, but running alongside me were shadowy figures, like dogs.

Stumbling on uneven ground, I fell forward downhill. I tried to brace myself and grab a hold of a tree root or log.

I fell off the edge of a cliff, down below a body of water and a waterfall to my left.

”AHHHELP! ” I screamed at my last second of life while reaching my hands out for something, anything.

A hand reaches out and grabs my hands just in time.

”Dakon! ” the male voice yelled out to me.

The voice echoed in my head as he yelled out again, ”DAKON! ”

I can understand him. BUT HOW?

”HOLD ON! ” His voice said.

The man was on the edge holding onto the roots from a tree nearby.

”Don let go! ” he said and I nodded my head. ”Don shake like that! We may fall if you shake like that! ” He scolded me.

He pulled me up slowly and my footing finally touched the earth. His biceps glistened in the moonlight as I studied my savior. He has toned and lean muscles everywhere and I am in awe of the handsomeness that is his skin.

My foot slips as the earth below my feet crumbles down the edge off the cliff.

”HOLD! ” he said again.

I look up at him as the clouds move away from the partial moon, allowing it to shine brightly at him. Our eyes met and right before me was a beautiful carmel man with long silky black hair and the most beautiful dark eyes staring back at me.

He pulled me into his arms with his one hand and I grabbed a hold around his neck. His other hand is still on that root, holding us up.

”Steady. I have a grip on you. Be steady. ” he whispered to me. Then he turns behind and shouts. ”Maiingan, come for me! ”

Clunk~

The tree root breaks off and we fall off the cliff, splashing into the water below.

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