Chapter VIII : The Iron Wall IV

Chapter VIII : The Iron Wall

“ Seaside “

The people of Town #54 warmly welcomed the survivors from beyond the Wall. They were also surprised and amazed by the fact that those people went through the pass along the nameless river instead of going around the mountain range. While the humans tried to settled down in town, those who were left at the Wall tried to find a way through. The mountainside was quite unstable and that made things difficult even for farmers.

The odd-eyed snake offered to let the humans ride on its back and it would try to scale the sides of the pass. However, most of them thought that it would be too dangerous thus, against Xing’s suggestion, they opted to go around the Wall. Only three farmers and two guards, including Steel and Thyme, agreed to ride on the snake’s back. Slowly but surely, they made their way over the fallen rock and against the high walls of the pass. On the other side, Errol and Linnorm tried to find a way to remove the rocks, but to no avail.

“ I think I found someone… “ the black-haired one said as she peered between a few loose rocks, “ Anise won’t like this at all. “

Just before night fell, two snakes slithered down to Town #54 and were greeted by the bloody thorn tree which was left to guard the border. At first, the town’s guards tried to drive them away but Anise explained that those were their companions during the journey. Upon the snakes’ backs, there laid the victims of the rock slide. Linnorm and Errol remained at the pass as they still tried to look for a way to go beyond it. If it was somewhere else, Puppy could have easily dug through the ground, but the Iron Wall lived up to its name. The tardigrade had to go around the Wall because of the mountain range’s composition, and had just arrived as the rays of the sun vanished on the horizon.

As time passed by, the people from 27 became pessimistic. White, one of the Keepers, was amongst the victims and things didn’t look well for the guards and farmers who were left behind. The artists were mostly lost too for they could not keep up with the group; but at least they still had some of their tamers and gardeners. From 54, the humans could see Linnorm moving about in front of the pass as if it was looking for something until finally, it stopped. The aurora’s colors changed just then and the Iron Wall was left in darkness.

Hunter and his mother stood by the seaside. It was the first time that he’d ever gone to a sea, even though they lived close to one, and even though Huntress told him fantastic stories about the plant and animals that lived around it. He also remembered Rina’s stories about how animals used to live within the seas but that they died out during the Age of the Sun. Hunter sighed as he looked up at the night sky; he was lost in his thoughts therefore, sudden cries and cheering from the town took him by surprise.

The tamer ran back to town just in time to see Thyme jump off of the odd-eyed snake’s back. Rina, who’d been incredibly worried, dropped everything that she was doing and ran to embrace her fiancé. More cheering resounded through the town as the pretty historian pressed her lips against the guard’s. It was a momentary kiss but Thyme felt as if he could die of embarrassment, though Rina’s colleagues cheered her on. Hunter could do nothing but laugh at the situation, for the historian was one to do as she pleased and the guard could never do anything about it.

Anise also walked up to her grandson and gave him a good pat on the back. She was just thankful that he was still alive. Huntress ran up to Xing and embraced her brave, one-armed Captain, but the older couple was more reserved than Thyme and Rina. The farmers, who did not seem to have had enough of working, immediately went to 54’s vegetable patches and inspected that town’s terrain and plants. The historians were welcomed into the Library, though the place ended up a bit cramped. In the distance, Errol and Linnorm were still at the pass. They seemed to be watching the celebrations but soon, the pair went back to digging through the rock slide.

The aurora was almost gone by the time that Errol arrived at 54. Most of the humans had settled down in houses which welcomed them. Though they lost many friends and family members, the people who lived in the Age of the World were always more thankful of the life that they still had; they rarely wallowed in the sadness of a loss. Hunter, who still thought about how he almost lost his faith on Errol because of what seemed to be Linnorm’s death, stayed by the seaside. His father and his friends were alive and well; that was all he needed to know. At that moment, Hunter wanted to go to the pass and speak to Errol, but he was ashamed of how the doubt which he felt. So, the tamer punished himself by staying away from that which made him joyful. He looked at the endless expanse of water instead of staying with his family or with the townsfolk.

“ Are you happy? “ a familiar voice that sent warm feelings throughout his body spoke up so suddenly, “ Or are you still sad about… you know… “

The black-haired girl removed her cloak for the first time in days. She then put it on the tamer’s back and she herself sat down beside him, on the cold seaside. Errol looked at the same endless expanse of water, but she did not seem to be focused on its coldness. Rather, she looked at the last dance of the aurora which was reflected upon the sea’s surface. For a moment, Hunter pictured himself being as bold as Rina- that he’d just take the dark-eyed historian in his arms and make her understand how he felt about her… but that was wishful thinking.

“ Death is inevitable. I was sad about it but… you’re here now, “ he settled for words, “ All is well. “


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