The Boy, Part Five
“Aracha,” I tell her. It should mean ‘let’s go’. That’s how I’ve decided to interpret it.
She asks me something, “En?”
I take her to the front gate. What I’m thinking of is looking for a way out. As long as we have water with us, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to try to look for a path or something.
However, she’s showing worry, if not even fear. The closer we get to the gate, the worse her expression gets. Did something bad happen? Seeing her fearful face makes my heart waver.
There’s a syllable I’ve heard a few times at the end of several words. So far I’ve understood it as a negative expression. In other words, she’s saying that we shouldn’t go.
I promise you, I’ll be careful and listen to you if you think there’s a danger ahead.
I open the gate, and as I do, I can feel her tug my sleeve, shaking her head. I never saw anyone so worried and fearful. So there’s something out there that scares her? They, isn’t it?
They can’t harm us, not unless the conditions are met. Right?
Suddenly, my whole body feels numb for a fraction of a second, an intense pain following it. The black substance in my body courses through the veins of my arms and legs, bulging wherein it does.
Her fearfulness is replaced by shock and horror. She hasn’t seen this happen before, can’t blame her.
“Haro tyara al?”
“Curse,” I answer her, then telling her it’s bad. “Akyi.”
“Sen, muryi?” If I’m not mistaken, she’s asking my health.
“Muryinia.” Let’s put the syllable for negative to use.
You see, girl, I may not live for long. This curse may very well kill me within the next few hours, or it may torment me for a year, who knows? But my point is…
…be prepared to lose me, and soon.
After the hassle with the curse—and fifteen minutes of assuring her—we set out of the castle. The fresh breeze welcomes us the moment we step out. I can’t help but feel free as I smell the fresh scent of the lea.
She’s holding my hand by the wrist, clenching as if she wanted to tell me that she wants to go back inside.
I think we should follow the river up to the cliff. Maybe there’s a secret passage hidden behind the waterfall? Well, we need to start from somewhere, so I figure that we may just as well go and check it out.
As we rotate around the castle to the river—which streams down next to the pool by the garden—I practice my vocabulary with her, the implicit in this chatter is that I’m trying to calm her down.
I’ve improved to the point that I can form simple sentences now. By the time we get to the riverside, she’s talking as if she wasn’t so fearful anymore.
As we start following the water, I hear a silent hissing sound. I take a look around, but I can’t see anything other than the tall grass everywhere. If I’m not mistaken, she didn’t hear it, which is a good thing, of course. Her panicking is the last thing I want to deal with right now.
In fact, she is eyeing me with a puzzled look. I use my poor vocabulary to tell her that it’s okay. I think it was just an acousma anyway.
Halfway up to the cliffs, I hear the hissing sound again. Either I’m going nuts or something is lurking nearby. Don’t tell me, some new aberration like the ones we saw back in the cellar? Is this why she’s fearful of the outside? Should we head back?
“Not good,” I tell her in her language.
She tilts her head. “What?”
I turn around, taking us back to the castle while we still can. The more we add to our pace, the more I hear those hissing sounds. I bet she’s hearing them as well, seeing her fearful face.
I take a closer look at our surroundings, and there they are, dozens of them, it’s as if they’d appeared out of nowhere. What puzzles me the most is that two of them are hovering on our sides, like they were… protecting us?
We start running.
As we do, one of them tries to come at us faster than I can react to, only to be stopped by my Follower. However, now we’re vulnerable as half of our defense is occupied. Either that other Follower is hers, or then it’s an unusual one. Wait, she has a Follower as well? So she’s wished for something too? No way…
Horrified by the sudden discovery, heart racing, we run as fast as we can. Two of the other Followers come at us now. Her Follower goes ballistic, clashing with the other attacker.
“Down!” We duck, and the attacking Follower flies over us, and as it’s about to turn around for a rematch, my Follower clashes with it.
I won’t stop to watch the show. I help her up and we resume our flight at once.
When we get closer to the castle, the Followers, ours and the other ones, slow down. Strange, are they afraid of the castle?
Whatever, I don’t want to think about anything Follower-related for a while.