Chapter VII : Eastbound III

Chapter VII : Eastbound

“ Little Issues “

As the day moved forward, the humans did not seem to be in imminent danger. The plants may be too slow and could not catch up to them, or perhaps their growth stopped altogether. However, the forest itself was still a threat to their survival; they were, quite literally, not out of the woods just yet. As the townsfolk continued their journey beside the nameless river, the guards tried to keep them in line. The old people tended to wander off due to their forgetfulness, while the young people tried to run off due to curiosity. But at least, they did not have to deal with the harshness of the sun for the arched oak branches above the river protected them.

Much time passed without incident, until someone screamed from beyond an oak tree. A handful of guards hurriedly checked it and they found a little boy who had fallen on the ground. He seemed to be in good shape, until they looked at his foot. It was bleeding and some red tentacles were wrapped tightly around it. The boy was an orphan but he had a guardian, the Keeper Valor. Much like Rina who was taken in by Anise many years ago, the boy was taken in by the youngest Keeper of 27.

“ Don’t cry, just calm down, Spirit, “ Valor put a hand on his son’s head and ruffled his hair gently.

His foot had been entangled by a sanguinea. Bright red and beautiful, the flower-like plant attracted a lot of unwitting victims. In Spirit’s case though, he merely tripped over the plant which was common in some parts of the oak forest. Sanguinea was a large underground plant that looked like the ancient potato. The only part that may be seen above ground was its blossom. If anything approached the blossom, it would lunge at and entangle that target. The plant would then emit an anesthetic that could paralyze its victim to keep it alive for a long time as its blood was slowly drained. If the blossom caught a plant and not an animal or human, the blossom would have let it go.

Spirit was not a plant, therefore the underground potato held onto the boy’s foot tightly. Without taking a moment to rest, the plant then began to sip the boy’s blood. Some farmers and gardeners gathered around the child as they tried to remove the tentacles. Afraid, the boy moved his foot every now and then, thus the plant tightened its grip. Errol heard about the situation and she was worried, but Anise assured her that the humans could handle it. After a bit of prodding from the gardeners, the sanguinea soon let the boy’s foot go and they patched up his wounds.

After that minor mishap, the townsfolk were on their way. Some towns had already gone ahead, but 27 did not mind. As long as its people managed to remain safe, the town as a whole did not mind if they were left behind or not. There was only one river which led directly to the Iron Wall; it would have been difficult to miss. Errol breathed easily as soon as the town moved again. However, the worst was yet to come. A loud rumbling approached the group of humans, and it seemed to be coming from the north.

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