The Forsaken Forest
Tetra looked up to the sky drearily. It was becoming
darker with every hour.
"Are you sure we're going the right way Tetra,"
Aryll asked impatiently. The newly formed trio had been traveling for nearly
three days, and yet they were still nowhere near the shrine.
Tetra checked the compass and map he had been
using. "Yep," he replied. "We've been going straight north for about three days
now, so we should be turning west soon."
Aryll stopped dead in her tracks. She turned,
revealing a very unhappy Gelert. "What?! What do you mean we should be turning
west here soon? Haven't we been heading north-west the whole time?"
Tetra glanced at the compass. "No, you said
we needed to go Northwest for three days. So we've already gone north for three
days, now we go west." Tetra gave a stupid little smile. "I have everything
Aryll glared angrily, looking about ready to
lunge at their navigator and tear him limb from limb. "You are an idiot, Tetra!
When I said north-west, I meant for us to go directly Northwest!"
She thundered over, grabbed the compass from
the poor Pteri's wings, and shoved it back in his face, pointing to the NW sign.
"See! The NW means Northwest you fool!!"
This was all news to Tetra. "Well that's currently
a surprise," he replied scratching his head as he digested this new bit of info.
Aryll couldn't believe it! "What did you think
Tetra just shrugged. "I don't know. 'Not way'
as in 'not this way,' I guess."
Aryll stared at Tetra exasperatedly, eyeing
him as though she was going to pounce on and eat the Pteri. Pianto decided it
was time for him to step in.
"Pets, pets, listen. There's no need to be fighting
like this," he mediated. "We can solve our problems in a civilized way."
"Don't worry," Aryll reassured, appearing a
lion ready to pounce on her morsel. "It'll be very civilized when I tear Tetra
to pieces and eat the remains!" Tetra gave a loud gulp.
"But if you eat Tetra, who will make sure we
Aryll sighed and sat on her haunches. "You're
right. Besides, I'd probably just vomit him up anyway." She shielded her eyes
with one paw (more out of standard practice than anything, considering it was
very overcast) and looked off into the horizon in the distance. "We're still
"You know," Pianto suggested, "we could just
turn west here and walk that way. If Tetra was right, going north, then west
is the same as going Northwest. We should still get to the shrine anyway. It'll
just take longer, that's all."
The female just shook her head. "Nah, we have
no idea where we are. We could be walking around this plateau in circles for
weeks and find nothing."
She shielded her eyes with a delicate green
paw once again and continued scanning the horizon. Out in the distance, there
seemed to be something that looked like the edge of the plains where Tyrannia
met with the Haunted Woods.
"There," she pointed. "I bet someone lives there
who can show us the way to the shrine." She got up and set course for the forest
Pianto sighed and set forth to follow her, Tetra taking
up the back. I still liked my idea better, he thought.
The sky (or what could be seen of it through the thick tree branches) was
becoming darker and darker as the trio walked deeper and deeper into the Haunted
Woods. All around them, creatures of strange and unknown origins howled and
cried out, marking their territory.
Tetra shivered and ranted uncontrollably. "This
isn't a good place to be, not at all. Like the one time…"
Pianto looked over and saw that, for once, Aryll
wasn't paying attention to the Pteri. She seemed to be lost in her own world
"This place gives me a bad feeling," she muttered,
mainly to herself.
Eventually, it got so dark that no light shown
through the canopy. The trees, vines, and shrubbery grew so close together that
they seemed to make more of a wall than a group of plants, and it could have
been argued that they were no longer outside.
There were no longer any shadows, but it was
so dark that the whole world seemed to be just one big shadow.
Pianto pulled out his Mystery Island lighter
and used it to light up a nearby stick so that the three pets had some light
to go by.
It was damper in the forest, too; more so than
on the plains. For a while none of them, not even Tetra, said a word. But after
a while there came a high-pitch wining from the back.
"I'm hungry. Can we rest for a while?"
Aryll turned and scowled at the Pteri, the fire
reflecting off her light brown eyes. "Stop? We're not stopping until we get
out of here. We're not just going to stop here in the middle of the terrible
Tetra gave a low whimper, but brought nothing
more of it.
Soon afterwards, the group entered a large cavern.
It didn't seem like they were even outside in a forest anymore.
The roof was at least two hundred feet from
the floor. And in the very middle of the room sat a large pit, probably about
100 feet in distance across. Though it was impossible to tell what was in the
pit or exactly how far down it went, it looked deep.
Tetra, looking over the edge, gave a loud whistle.
"Whew, I hope I don't fall in there." He turned to the two Gelerts. "How do
we get across?"
Extending across the center of the pit from
side to side was a small makeshift bridge (in truth, it was more of a plank
than a bridge). Tetra saw it and heaved a sigh knowing it was their only way
"If only I could fly," he grumbled.
It took some convincing, but Aryll was able
to get Tetra to go out onto the bridge first. She reasoned out to him that if
the bridge could hold him, it would hold the two Gelerts. This, of course, made
no sense, as the Gelerts weighed more than he. But, luckily for them two, the
naïve Pteri never caught on.
Tetra went out first, holding his wings out
to help balance him. After he had a good head start, the Gelerts followed; first
the fire one, then the green one.
Pianto glanced over the edge of the 'plank-bridge'
to see something move in the darkness. He was about a third of the way out when
the Gelert heard a hissing sound coming from the pit.
Then, out of nowhere, a huge whip came shooting
out of the black of nothingness. It wrapped around Pianto's paw and began pulling
him down into the pit below.
The Gelert didn't have time to get more than
a loose grip on the bridge. Just as he lost hold and was about to become prey
to the evil vine creature, Tetra grabbed a hold of Pianto's paw. It became a
tug-of-war match for Pianto's life between Tetra and the vine.
"Don't worry, buddy. I've got ya."
But Tetra wasn't very strong and couldn't hold
on to Pianto. Just as Tetra lost his grip on the bridge, he was grabbed by another
"Hold on, Tetra," Aryll called down, struggling
to get a good hold on his wing.
"Oh yeah, like I have a choice!" he called back
Each link in the chain of pets grew weaker by
the minute as the vine, which seemed to have unlimited strength, pulled its
potential prey down into the darkness.
"Aryll," Pianto called up, knowing there was
only one chance to save themselves. "Reach into my backpack and pull out my
Using one paw to keep as much of a grasp as
she could, the green Gelert reached down past Tetra into Pianto's pack and began
rummaging for the lighter.
Out of the darkness, the creature suddenly revealed
itself. It was a gigantic flower with petals colored a dashing blue, red, and
green. They reached out for them like a child reaching for a birthday present.
As it did this, it unleashed an ear-winching screech that, in some strange way,
seemed to cause Pianto to lose a bit of grip.
"Aryll, hurry!" Pianto yelled, though he doubted
she even heard him through the shrieking.
As if to answer his pleas, Aryll pulled out
the Mystery Island lighter. She lit the flame and held it to the vine. It released
its grip and recoiled immediately, as if the child had been slapped for being
so rude as to reach.
They scrambled up each other back on to the
bridge and ran quickly across. As they did so, Aryll threw the lighter at the
plant, giving them time to escape.
Man, Pianto thought to himself glumly
watching the lighter disappear into the pit. I lose more lighters that way.
The trio made it out of the forest in time to see the sunset. Yet, they remained
as lost as before. That evening, they made a campfire and rested to eat dinner.
Surprisingly, Tetra turned down the offer to eat bread or meat and went straight
for some vegetables.
"I'm gonna get back at that big plant that tried
to eat us," he explained, happily munching on a carrot, "by eating some of his
friends and family."
To be continued...