Visions II: To Save an Ogrin - Part Four
They were fast approaching and Nil tried again to run, succeeding in a small wobble for a moment before collapsing again. Jix ran towards Brynn and Hanso, trying to delay them. He didn’t seem to be having much of an effect, though, and she figured it was as good as over.
“Nil!” a voice cried, and she inwardly sighed as she recognized the voice.
Two arms grabbed her and pulled her to her feet, leading her away. She looked up and smiled as the Xweetok helped her run along. She felt a bit like she was being dragged along, but her legs were beginning to gain strength again.
“Have time now?” he asked, grunting a bit from the effort.
She tried to respond, but her chest flared up again and she just nodded.
“Right, escape now, talk later,” he surmised.
They ran along for some time, dodging through streets and around passerby. Still, the Ixi thief had a natural gift in moving about. Jix disappeared somewhere in the market, but neither Hanso nor Brynn lost them in the confusion.
Nil let go of Karan and began running alongside him.
“We have to find... something to climb,” he told her, panting between each word. “They won’t be able... to climb as high... as we can.”
“Good plan,” she replied. “C’mon. I know a spot.”
Nil lead him outside of the main city and towards the mountains that some of the warriors trained on. She tried to glance behind her, but she couldn’t see what was in front of her and almost tripped over one of the rocks along the path.
“Are you alright?” Karan asked, helping her as she gained her footing again.
“Yes, just keep running!”
He didn’t need any more convincing. The two were still hot on their trail, though the Kougra seemed to be a bit worn out and was slowing down dramatically.
They ran along the small path, the Ixi still in pursuit behind them, and came upon one of the mountains. Nil immediately took hold of the rocky face and began climbing. From what she heard, Karan did the same on her right.
Hanso reached the mountain and began climbing as well. She was surprised at how nimble the Ixi was, but she could still climb better than he could.
I hope, she thought, increasing her pace and veering towards the more difficult areas. There were less holds, but she knew that both Karan and she could out-climb the Ixi.
“You know, it’d be easier just to surrender,” Hanso called to her. He was closer than she thought, and she moved up more. “I’m as good as any Kyrii at climbing, if not better. Might as well give up now and save us both the trouble.”
“Be imprisoned for something I didn’t do? No thanks,” Nil called back, moving up again. She grabbed a root jutting out from the side of the mountain and pulled herself up. The root snapped and she held on desperately with the other hand.
“Nil!” Karan exclaimed from somewhere off to her right.
She felt dizzy and light headed all of a sudden. A wave of nausea hit her and she fought it, trying to focus on her grip. The world seemed muted and she began seeing black spots on her vision. Her body felt weak and her arm ached from the strain. She tried to find another hold, something she could stick a foot or hand into and support herself with, but nothing was there. Then, she felt her fingers slip and she began to fall.
Her mind faded away and into blackness, with a final tugging sensation on her neck.
There was something soft and warm. It pressed against her fur, making her feel comfortable. She stirred slightly, but felt her entire body ache and pulled closer the warm object. A blanket, she guessed. There seemed to be someone watching her, but she didn’t care. She felt tired and wanted to go to sleep, so she did. Slowly, she faded back into sleep.
The dream was strange. It was not a future event, but rather a memory.
There Nil sat, three years old again and smiling happily. The chair was soft and comfortable. She really liked its feel and how colorful it was. Both her bright, happy eyes turned on the red Kyrii next to her. She smiled even wider at her mother, taking her hand in her own and spreading out the fingers.
“One, two, three, four,” counted Mother, pointing to each of her fingers in turn. “How many do you have, ah, Nil?”
“Four!” she exclaimed happily, holding up her own hand.
A soft, bell-like laughter came from elsewhere in the room and Nil turned her head towards it, her eyes growing wide and her mouth gaping as she looked at the beautiful faerie standing in the doorway. She had soft, golden hair and a purple dress with clouds around the base.
“Queen Fyora will see you now,” the faerie announced.
Mother stood and Nil reached out her small arms towards her, asking to be carried. Mother picked her up and cradled her in her arms before following the faerie.
In a short while, they entered a glorious throne room. Nil couldn’t remember what it looked like in great detail, but it was shining and beautiful, just like the purple faerie that sat on the throne that stood in the center.
“Queen Fyora,” Mother greeted, setting Nil on the ground. She hid behind her mother’s leg, intimidated by the radiance the Queen gave off. “This is my daughter I told you about.”
The purple faerie looked at Nil and she hid behind Mother’s leg even more, incredibly frightened of the wonderful Queen. A sort of throaty half-laugh came from the queen’s throat and she stood from her throne, coming across the marvelous stone floor towards them.
“Come on, ah, Nil,” Mother said. “Say, ‘hi’ to Queen Fyora.”
“Uh, hi,” Nil replied shyly, giving a small wave from behind her hiding place.
The Queen reached behind the mother’s legs and picked up Nil, holding her gently in her arms. She smiled at the little Kyrii and she shrunk back. “Hello. Your mother told me you can see the future, right?”
“Y-Yes,” Nil stammered, nodding a bit. The Queen was so radiant and beautiful, she felt like a little baby again instead of a big, strong three-year-old.
“Do you mind telling me about what you see?”
Nil perked up at the prospect of sharing her gift. She nodded enthusiastically and smiled. Mother never let her talk about her gift to anyone but Mother. Sharing it to the pretty Queen was a wonderful.
For awhile, Nil described all the different visions she had, doing her best to remember all the tiny things like the Queen asked her. Eventually, she finished and the Queen put on a big smile.
“Very good,” she said, patting her head. Nil let her do it, even though it was one of the five things she hated adults doing to her. “You’re really smart. Let’s go outside in my garden, alright?”
Nil smiled and nodded. “Yes, please.”
The world came back and Nil cracked open an eye, feeling a bit stronger. A brown face smiled back at her. His lips formed words she couldn’t hear, but she knew he was saying something nice. She felt deeply tired again and pulled in the warm blanket again, closing her eyes and drifting back into sleep.
All around the little Kyrii were magical flowers, sparking and glowing. Her favorite ones tickled her and chimed like bells as they moved. She loved them so much.
Maybe Mother would like them, she thought, looking over at where her mother sat, talking with the radiant Queen. Nil waved good-bye to the little plants and walked over, a big smile on her face.
“Mommy!” she exclaimed. Her mother’s face turned towards her, losing the anger as she saw her child. Mother picked her up and put her in her lap.
“What you mad ‘bout?” Nil asked, blinking at her mother.
“Queen Fyora just misunderstood something, I think,” replied Mother. “Come, ah, Nil. We’d better get home.”
“But tickly flowers,” Nil insisted, pointing over to the flowers. “I wanna show you the tickly flowers.” She looked at her mother, upset and confused.
Mother shook her head. “Maybe later. Come on. Let’s get home.” She picked up Nil and glared at the Queen. “I think we’ve outstayed our welcome, anyways.” Mother turned around and marched off, Nil looking back over her mother’s shoulder.
“Bye, tickly flowers,” she said sadly. “Bye, pretty Queen.”
“Nil?” a voice asked, gently shaking her shoulder. “Nil, are you awake yet?”
She mumbled and turned over, not wanting to get up. She wanted to go back to the garden and play with the tickly flowers some more.
“Nil, we have to get moving,” the voice insisted. “They’re searching the entire city for us. We don’t have much time before they get here.”
Slowly, she opened her eyes. She rubbed the right eye, trying to get it to work properly. As she touched the scar she remembered why. Everything came back to her and she blinked slowly, wondering what had happened to her after she fell.
Nil sat up and looked at Karan off to her left. He smiled widely in the same annoying grin he always had on. “Glad to see you're up,” he greeted, moving closer to her. “You gave me a scare there. What exactly happened up there? Why’d you fall?”
“It doesn’t matter,” she replied, pushing the blankets off her body and taking a glance at the room they were in. “What’s been going on since then? Where are we?”
“Well, I grabbed the cape of your cloak and pulled you up to safety. I climbed both of us onto a ledge and carried you into a cave, which actually turned out to be a ton of tunnels that ran through the mountains. Then, I followed them for some time, leaving you back in one of the caves, and found one of the princesses of Shenkuu. She led me back here. Oh, and you can’t tell anyone about it.”
“Let’s get back to the temple. Jix still hasn’t made a move on Brynn or Hanso and I have to stop him before he does.” She stood and looked at Karan, who was smiling at her. “What?”
“I thought you weren’t interested in helping anyone else. What changed your mind?”
Nil glared at him. “I’m not trying to help anyone. Jix attacked the Ogrin Master and framed me for that. I could have gotten by with the other thing, but that is something I will not let him get away with. This is personal.” She grabbed her cloak from the ground and put it on, fastening the button at her throat.
Karan sighed. “I’d better come along with you. Don’t want you falling again, now do we?”
“Do me a favor and stay with your dad. It’s safer for the both of you here.” She headed for the door just as a Cybunny opened it.
“There are some guards coming and checking for you two,” she said, entering the room. “I can get you to the tunnels and tell you where to go, but you’re on your own after that.” She handed her a small bag. “This has some Neopoints in it. I figured you could use some.”
Nil took it and put it in her cloak’s pocket. She looked at the Cybunny again, spotting a small trace of magic inside her. “Thanks.” She turned back to Karan, dismissing what she saw. “Come on. We’d better get going before the guards show up.”
“Follow me,” the Cybunny said, and exited.
The two followed her and Nil glanced behind her, checking for guards. Her mind was still partially in that dream, though. Back in the garden with her mother and Queen Fyora.
Who knew that... creature could be so evil, she thought, immediately remembering what had happened a year after that dream. She pushed it from her mind, not even wanting to think about it.
It’s in the past. Time to move on.
To be continued...