Day 91

The companions charged.

They tore through the forest as if the caretaker of the underworld was hot on their heels. They could hear the labored panting of the creature being chased. Sharp, gasping breathes.

“Should we try and help whoever that is?” Alastair yelled.

“Sure! If you want to be eaten by the Bull Fists while trying!” Tipper called back. “My mission is to protect you children! I won’t fail you again!”

“Bull Fists? That’s what’s chasing her?” Lila squeaked.

Alastair jumped over a fallen branch, nearly colliding with Silverskin. They regained their balance and continued running. Alastair thought of the consuming fear the person behind them may be feeling. He knew that he was scared now, and that was with a good deal of distance between them and the Bull Fists. The Bull Fists were on that poor person’s heels.

“Then you guys go ahead. It’s not right leaving her behind,” Alastair shouted. He stopped and turned. The others kept running only to kick up dirt and debris to bolt back to Alastair.

“It’s nice and all that you’re willing to be chivalrous, but what can we do against all of those Bull Fists. You know. The ones that even Adriei and Agile were scared of. And do I have to remind you that Agile wiped out the Batals?” Ginger said, bringing up valid points.

“There he goes. Self-sacrificing. Gotta watch out for this one,” Digitalis fake whispered to Tipper.

“You’re right,” Tipper said. The Kitsune hovered over Alastair with a blazing flare in his golden eyes. “I’m sorry, kid, but you’re my main priority.” In a flash, Tipper had swiped Alastair and flung the boy over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

“Let me down! We have to help!” Alastair cried.

“I want to help, too, but we aren’t strong enough, Alistair,” Silverskin said. “We have to go. We’re the only ones who can tell Queen Inana about everything so she can do something about this mess!”

Alastair kicked and pounded his fists on Tipper’s shoulders. The Kitsune was as solid as marble. He would not let go of the boy, and so Alastair was forced to watch the forest ground glide by. He felt completely helpless. What use was he if he couldn’t save someone in need? Why couldn’t he be strong enough to take care of the people he wanted to save?

The frenzied sound of the pursuit behind the company became louder. Some trees shuddered and fell. The pants and howls of the Bull Fists shot the group with a wild lust to be as far away as possible from those ear twisting sounds.

Alastair watched what happened behind Tipper from the Kitsune’s back. He could see the outline of a person sprinting just beyond. Alastair’s heart squeezed. Stopping for just those thirsty seconds made the pursuit catch up to the companions. He could see the person now. It was a woman. She was tall with skin like that of tree bark. She had no hair.

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