Chapter V : Revelation III

Chapter V : Revelation

“ Deliverance “

With slow, sure steps, the long-haired woman backed away into the crowd with Hunter in her arms. The townsfolk of 144, including Thyme and Steel, then turned and faced the interlopers. Errol held an arm out to Rina and helped the girl to get up on Puppy’s back.

“ I read Hunter’s journal, “ the golden-haired historian whispered, “ You’re …  “

“ I can’t hide it forever, “ Errol shrugged.

The grass began to turn orange under Hunter and his captor. It was slowly becoming poisonous, wild grass and that color spread outward. Overhead, a swarm of dandelions gathered. Their white tufts which served as floating mechanisms were lovely, but the sharp points around what seemed to be their mouth were very dangerous. Humans were always wary of dandelions which tend to float down from the sky, and in their massive swarms; the airborne plant had a habit of swooping down at anything that moved and then it would use its toothed mouth to bite off a large chunk of flesh. Occasionally, it would attach itself to an animal’s back and stab its knife-like tongue into its flesh so that it could slowly feed on its victim’s innards.

“ You shouldn’t have come here, “ the vile, black-haired woman snickered.

“ Tch. I was hoping that Shoo was mistaken, but here you are, “ Errol spat on the orange grass beside Puppy’s right leg.

“ You’re completely surrounded, “ growled Hunter’s captor, “ You should be running. “

At that, Errol grinned. With one strong tug, she pulled the bandage off of her left arm. Black thorn-like markings were etched all over her forearm; the thorns were nothing like gardeners’ thorns- they seemed to be birthmarks, or scars. The little girl then instructed Puppy to STAY as she jumped off the tardigrade and headed for the crowd. The townsfolk moved so suddenly and reached out to grab her, but she ducked and weaved between them. The hydnorae tried their best but they were not used to controlling humans; their movements were not fast enough.

With a flick of her wrist, Errol used her bandage as a whip to grab Thyme’s outstretched arm and pulled him towards her. The guard stumbled forward and fell onto the grass, separated from the rest of the crowd. The black-haired girl then slid towards Steel; due to her size and speed, she easily passed by the hands that tried to pull her up. When she ended up below the farmer’s legs, Steel picked her up and raised him over his head. The hydnora intended to throw her away but Errol smiled.

“ Now! “ she yelled and a large shadow fell over the town hall.

A massive beast landed on the structure and crushed it completely, and as it got up, the creature’s head and dove into the crowd. It gobbled up the farmer whose general direction was revealed by Errol’s voice. The creature also seemed to swallow Thyme who was already writhing on the ground away from the other townsfolk.

“ Linnorm! “ Rina yelled out as the snake’s body surrounded Puppy tightly enough to protect the tardigrade and its passenger, but loosely enough to make sure that they weren’t suffocated.

The snake opened its mouth and Errol jumped out of it from such a height that could kill a human. However, before she reached the ground, thorny vines grew out of the sand, caught her and formed a path above the townsfolk’s heads. By then, Hunter’s captor looked worried; her eyes darted from side to side, as if she was looking for a way to escape. But before Errol could reach them, the swarm of dandelions moved in. Their sharp limbs were aimed at the black-haired intruder.

“ Ah! Help her! “ Rina yelled out to Linnorm who had just finished healing Steel and Thyme.

The armored desert snake lowered its head and spat the guard and the farmer onto Puppy’s back. It also swiped some attacking hydnorae and townsfolk away with one quick swish of its tail. Linnorm seemed uninterested in moving in to assist Errol.

“ Ugh… my head, “ Rina’s fiancé stood up as the parasite on his skull began to wither and die.

Soon, the dead plant turned to a small, shriveled sphere which popped out of the incision on the boy’s neck through which it entered earlier. Steel was also soon free of his unwanted passenger, and the wounds on their napes were healed by the snake’s saliva. They managed to look over and check how Errol was doing just as the little one protected herself with a thick covering of vines that entangled the dandelions. As Errol reached the end of the vine path, her target pushed Hunter towards the thorny plants; therefore, the girl had to dismiss the vines so that the tamer would not be injured. The hydnora on the boy’s head finally gave up; it couldn’t control Hunter’s movements no matter how much it tried, therefore it rolled up to a ball and slid out of the incision on the tamer’s nape.

“ Hunter! “ exclaimed Errol as she managed to land gracefully on the wild grass.

She caught the tamer in her arms just as he was about to fall forward. The wound on the back of his neck bled a little, but it was not life-threatening.

“ I’m glad… “ Hunter tried to put his arms around the little one, but he was too weak.

“ If only you stayed with Linnorm until I caught up to you… “ she scolded the tamer a bit as she ruffled his hair, “ Humans really are… “

Errol sighed, but there was a gentle smile on her lips. That smile was there only for a moment because soon, they were surrounded by the townsfolk of 144 and the culprit of that tragedy was quickly running away. Despite the complications of having to save the humans while going after her doppelganger, Errol would not let it get away.

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