Previous: Chapter 11
Chapter 12 (No choice but to go)
Ekanli rode the horse with the injured woman named Orshis, leading Igu and Modaj deeper into the Gyutrop Forest. “If we do that,” Ekanli said, voice cold, “whatever plan Tima came up with will get gutted.”
“Wonderful imagery after seeing that monster,” Modaj said, rolling his eyes and edging his horse closer Igu’s.
“Thank you.” Ekanli closed her eyes then placed a hand Orshis’s back.
Igu blinked. “What are you doing?”
“Concentrating.” Ekanli’s horse nearly collided with a tree, dancing out of the way at the last moment. “Bugger off.”
Modaj gasped, eyes wide. “Watch your language.”
“You too, you uptight tattletale,” Ekanli said, words looking as if they had struck Modaj. “If you hadn’t reported it, Yalrein would’ve never been part of that group. He’d still be with me, and I wouldn’t feel so dirty for helping Tima strike him down.” Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Modaj wilted in his saddle.
Igu opened her mouth several times before closing it.
Ekanli breathed out a sigh, and Orshis stirred.
Dark settled on everything, and Igu created a globe of fire to illuminate the haunted-looking woods. “Ekanli, what did you do?”
“What I had been training to do while you two lazy spiderchickens did nothing but waste time.”
Modaj perked up, and Igu arched an eyebrow.
“I healed the bitch. Best I could, at least. Still new.”
“Can you speak without swearing?” Igu asked.
“No,” Modaj said.
At the same time, Ekanli said, “When talking to Yalrein and Tima.”
Igu puffed out her cheeks. “I see.”
With Igu’s light guiding the way, Ekanli picked up the pace through the woods, following a pretty wide trail. “Where do we go?” She nudged Orshis a few times.
“Go?” Orshis asked.
“Yeah,” Ekanli said, “we’re heading west through these maggot-forgotten woods and have no idea where our destination is.”
“Woods?” Orshis sounded groggy.
“No, that’s over. Kind of.”
Ekanli gritted her teeth, clutching the reins tight. “How do we get there?”
“I’m going to punch you in the back of the head.”
“Stop,” Igu said, kicking her horse forward. “She’s not well yet.”
The pounding of hooves sounded from behind. A man, leading four horses, rode towards them hard. A loud boom cracked the air behind him, and three of the horses stumbled, legs breaking. The man, Weron, didn’t stop, his horse and one other managed to shrug off the shockwave. He just pointed forward. “Go!”
Ekanli glanced back at him, Orshis nearly pitching from the horse as the shockwave passed. “What?”
“There are riders following me, and whatever caused that explosion now is not something we should stick around to see,” Weron continued by, and the group followed him, heading farther west towards Yarsek and away from Tima.
Next: Chapter 13