Chapter 35 - Move!
34;The winds are not sounding good. 34; He pointed towards the clouds. 34;Look at them. There is turbulence there. 34;?
34;A blizzard is coming this way! 34;?
34;That would be better. 34;?
What did he mean? Even though Anastasia was too sleepy by now, she couldn 39;t help wondering why a blizzard would be better than anything. She closed her eyes. Perhaps she was too tired after riding non-stop for so long. Her limbs felt weak.?
34;Anastasia, you have yawned for the tenth time, 34; he said. 34;Why don 39;t you go off to sleep? 34; They shouldn 39;t have ridden for so long, he supposed.?
She rubbed her neck. 34;I am not used to this kind of journey. 34;?
34;I know, princess. 34; Ileus held her tightly against his chest. 34;Just sleep, okay? I am here. 34;
With a weak smile at his assurance, she slumped against his chest and immediately fell off to sleep, knowing that he was there... for her...
The group crossed the valley and reached the base of the mountains in an hour. The sun was setting and the sky was a shade of periwinkle, grey and a deep blue announcing the approach of dark night. Slowly the lights of the sun drained and there was not enough for the shadows. The forest started growing dark, ominous. They had to find the mouth of the cave before it became completely black. The stars and moon appeared but were somewhere hidden behind a thick veil of clouds like a blanket of the night. Ominous winds whirled in those dense clouds. Thunder cracked every now behind those clouds and then just to show its dangerous presence. The air was filled with a strange aroma. Snow continued to fall in soft flurries.?
Ileus mentally communicated to the cavalcade to move fast and they increased the speed. As they anxiously raced towards the base of the mountains, every inch of ground they covered was filled with danger. Anastasia hadn 39;t woken up and her hands and face and neck had become cold despite being in the warm fabrics and despite being close to him.?
Soon, the blackness of the night slowly shrouded them. Guarhal, who was right in the front, torched a light to lead the way for the others.?
34;Where is the damn entrance of the tunnel? 34; Ileus hissed.?
Kaizan, who was riding alongside, grunted. Usually a very calm and composed man, Kaizan was also feeling restless. He nudged his horse and raced to where Guarhal was. It took another hour before they could find the entrance to the tunnel. The red cross mark on the huge elephant-sized high boulder that had hidden it was still showing bright. It was Guarhal who had marked it when they were coming to Vilinski.?
34;Got it! 34; he said excitedly. 34;I am pretty smart! 34; He said loudly and dismounted the horse to displace the boulder. Along with Guarhal, Kaizan shifted the boulder and it rumbled off towards the right. They all entered the tunnel, mounted on their horses. Guided by the torches, they moved inside.?
The tunnel was at least five stories high. Horses plodded on the uneven surface that was littered with stalactites and small rocks. Kaizan led them all through a winding path, which would have a dry bed of river. Massive rock walls layered in hues of gray, pale pink and white. Gushes of win from the outside whistled over the stones. Small drops of icy cold water seeped through the ceiling dropping over them.
34;She is too cold, 34; Ileus rasped. 34;We need to find a place to rest as soon as possible! 34; He adjusted the hood of her cloak to cover her face.
Suddenly there was an echo as if a rock had fallen into a deep chasm. Kaizan signaled them to stop. When the noise subsided, they started. Only the noise of hooves clopping along the winding path was heard. Occasionally they heard animals running while hissing at the intrusion. The smell of wet stone and water wafted through the air.?
Kaizan continued to move his horse ahead.?
34;The horses are tired Kaizan, 34; Aidan protested. 34;We have to stop! 34;?
But Kaizan ignored him. 34;And they want water. We need to reach the stream! 34; he snapped.?
After what seemed like eternity, they reached an open area where from a distance everyone could see the underground stream. And the sight was mesmerizing. As the stream undulated in between the stony outcrops and uneven path, their gaze was held by the bioluminescence inside it. Pink and blue lights emitted from the clear waters. The light radiating from within the water reflected on the walls and the ceiling, softly illuminating the entire place in pink and blue and violet shades. Throughout the length of the stream, as far as they could see it meandering on the ground, there was bioluminescence.?
They took their horses near and dismounted. The equines were left to drink water after they were tied to columns that rose from the grounds.
Ileus shook Anastasia to wake up but she didn 39;t. Kaizan came immediately and held her down. Her head lolled to one side. Ileus jumped down and held her face in his hands. His skin lined with goose bumps and heart stilled.?
There was pink froth on the left corner of her mouth.?
34;Anastasia! 34; he shook her face. 34;Get up! 34; He seized her from Kaizan and sat on the ground, his mind freezing and his blood draining from his face. With panic-stricken eyes he looked at Kaizan. How could he not notice her condition? He thought that she was too tired. After all she was never subjected to this kind of travel. 34;What is wrong with her? 34; He couldn 39;t understand. He shook her shoulders again. 34;Anastasia! 34;?
Kaizan narrowed his eyes. There was a frown on his broad forehead. 34;She appears to be poisoned. 34;?
Ileus stared at him disbelievingly. Blood drained from his face and his mind reeled. His Adam 39;s apple bobbed up and down. He regretted asking her to sleep. He pushed his panic down. 34;Keep holding her, 34; he said and ran to the saddlebag that Aidan 39;s horse was carrying.?
Others gathered around Kaizan and Anastasia. 34;Move out. Give her some air! 34; Kaizan growled.?
34;How can she be poisoned when all of us ate the same food? 34; asked Darla as frustration rose in her chest. She looked at Anastasia with annoyance.?
34;Get some water! 34; Kaizan barked. He touched Anastasia 39;s forehead.?
Nyles strode right next to her. She cupped Anastasia 39;s cheeks and shook her. 34;M 39;lady, m 39;lady! 34; When Anastasia didn 39;t wake up, she pressed her fist into her mouth. 34;What has happened to her? 34; She looked at Ileus who was rushing towards them with a paste of some herbs in his hand. 34;What the hell are you giving her? 34; she said with wide eyes. Then she knelt in front of Anastasia and spread her arms wide. 34;I will not let you give her anything that would jeopardize her life! 34;?
Ileus grated, 34;You stupid woman, can 39;t you see she is already unwell? Move! 34;?
34;She is a Fae, a royalty. She will recover on her own. Leave her! 34; She growled. Her hand went to her side and suddenly she tore the side of her gown and took a dagger out. She pointed it at him and snarled, 34;If you come near her, I will plunge this dagger in you! 34;?
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