Mystique Academy (chapter 4)
Posted November 15th, 2020 by Mystique
November 16th, 2020
Jaida screamed in horror and fell to the ground. The bird clicked its beak, sensing easy prey.
Werden yanked his sword from its sheath and swung upwards. The sword cut straight through the monster's head and Werden stepped back and re-sheathed his sword.
Jaida gulped as the decapitated head landed next to her feet. For once she didn't look brave. "That. . . That was close. Thanks, Werden."
"Anytime." Werden pulled her up. She was shaking. "Hey, are you okay?"
"I'm fine!" Jaida sighed. "Well, not really. I guess I should tell you. I'm a tiny bit afraid of, ah. . ." She cleared her throat and fiddled with her robes. "Birds." She flinched, as if expectanting Werden to hit her.
Like he would ever do that. "Oh. Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
Jaida's cheeks reddened. "I guess I was embarrassed. I- I've been scared of birds ever since one pooped on my head when I was a Youngling."
Werden couldn't help it: he snickered. "Wow. . . Sorry. I shouldn't laugh."
"No, it's okay." Jaida cracked a smile. "It is pretty funny."
They sat down on a big rock and stared at the monster head. "I hope Mystique Academy is okay." Werden said.
"Yeah." Jaida fingered a green necklace around her neck that Werden hadn't noticed before. "This is jade, you know." She said, seeing Werden looking. "My mom gave it to me when I started at Mystique. She was so proud of me." Jaida smiled. "I told her that kids here would probably make fun, you know. A girl named Jaida with a jade necklace. But Master Wishu welcomed me and taught me to do magic."
Werden wasn't quite sure what to say. Jaida seemed lost in her thoughts. Finally he said, "Maybe we should start moving."
"Right." Jaida stood up and looked at him. "Any idea at where we're supposed to be going to defeat Toros?"
Werden pulled out the map Master Wishu had given him. He unrolled it carefully and scanned it. "Maybe we could try going to the Ri- Ristic- Mardens." The parchment was so smudged he could hardly read it.
Jaida leaned over his shoulder. "That says garden. The Ristic Gardens. I've heard of it before, in my studies. 'Ristic' means ancient in the spellcaster language. The Ancient Gardens. . ." She mused. "That might be a good place to start. Perhaps the locals can give us some advice or instructions."
"Yeah." Werden stuck the map back into his belt. Now they had a goal. "It's about thirty miles from here. If we run, we should be able to make it in. . . Three days? Four?"
Jaida snorted. "Oh, you're hilarious! No, no. I can use a spell that will allow us to fly. We'll make it in a day, tops. But the spell will drain my energy, so you'll have to defend me for a while."
"Fly!" Werden was amazed. "You can actually make us fly?" Flying was so advanced most Guardian spellcasters never learned to do it. It took so much time and effort, even Master Wishu would struggle with it.
"Mhm. Hold still. If the spell doesn't hit you straight on, it might cause your internal organs to spontaneously combust." Jaida tapped her chin. "If I could just remember the words. . ."
Suddenly Werden wasn't so keen on flying anymore. "Spontaneously combust!" He exclaimed. "How many times have you ever caused that to happen?"
Jaida pondered that. "Never. I haven't done the spell before."
"Wait, what?!" Before Werden could act, Jaida shouted, "Dristron!" And he found himself floating into the air. Jaida did the spell on herself, and soon they were both hovering above the trees. Jaida was grinning.
"Let's go!" She shouted, and shoved her arms to her sides. She shot forward like a rocket. Werden did the same thing, and soon sped after her.
"This is amazing!" He yelled, but the wind ripped his words away.
Jaida looked back at him, red hair whipping wildly around her face, and gave him a double thumbs up. He wondered how she felt, being up here with the birds.
"Jaida, about the monster bird-" he started.
Jaida's smile vanished. "Please." She interrupted. "Just. . . Give me some time." She didn't look back after that.
She must have been more embarrassed about her fear than she had let on. That was fine with him, though. The scenery alone was enough to distract him for hours.
Werden gazed down and watched the valleys, forests, rivers, lakes, villages, and mountains speed below. Everything was so beautiful. He couldn't imagine it burning.
"I will save Fremuon." He swore, and flew forward with new determination.
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