THE LAST PETAL PT 11

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Chapter Eleven

Previously : The beast is at Elaina’s house. Both Eliana and Margaret take care of him. The look inside the villain’s mind is given. Elena considers the beast her prey and plans to ruin both her sister and Margaret along with him. She had hoped that Margaret would lose her mind because of all the magical pressure in the air but till now she had managed, something that infuriates Elena.

**

Now:

The next morning the prince woke up from the non ending torment he was experiencing in his sleep. The first thing he felt was the wetness on his forehead and the next a sleeping figure resting on the bed next to him while sitting on a chair. A very awkward position indeed. He first silently touched his head making sure not to wake up the person next to him. An off white wet fabric graced his hands as he shifted around in his bed. Putting the cloth aside he tried to stand up feeling dizzy as soon as he tried and falling back on the bed. As a result the girl asleep woke up.

Margaret jolted back at the speed of lightening, falling off the chair, when she saw the beast in front of her awake and sitting. His huge frame took up all the space on the bed and he was like a king on a throne, sitting powerfully. Even though it was but a bed the presence of the beast made it somehow have more to it. His sharp red eyes darted everywhere and a pale moonlight like glow had come back to his beastly body. Margaret noticed the white cloth in his hand stood up quickly.

“You should rest still. ” She said concerned even though her fear of him was still there in the corner of her mind. Their eyes connected for a moment but the moment passed just as soon as it happened.

“You both do not have that luxury.” Eliana said coming up from behind and the bewildered beast just sat collecting his thoughts. A flash of shock passed through his face but was covered up before anyone could see.

“Eliana.” The beast said, his voice lower and scratchy than ever. From what Margaret knew, the beast had no idea Eliana lived. She simply helped him from the dark for the past century and a half.

“Adam.” Eliana responded in the softest voice Margaret had ever heard from her. Margaret knew she loved him but seeing them now, as they were, the beast on the bed with the softest gaze and the white haired witch besides her with almost a tearful voice made it seem all the more real.

“What do you mean?” Margaret said seeing the seeing the sick beast. She couldn’t journey with him knowing that he is for one sick and secondly still affectionate towards Eliana.

“The clock ticks past no matter who needs rest. I need you both to embark on the journey for his sake as soon as possible.” A dense atmosphere set between the three. The air felt heavier to breath in as the second ticked past. Unanswered doubts hung between the two females while the beast looked at them in silence. His head filled with questions more than Margaret’s.

“Eli-” The beast started but held his tongue. He knew some things were best left unsaid. Knowing that being there was just a little too much, Eliana turned to leave.

“You know what to do, leave when the sun sets. Give him that every time the sun shines. Take all the necessary things from the room next door. I won’t be there to bid you good bye.” With that Eliana vanished down the corridor not to be seen by the two for some time to come.

*

Lord Wellington and Margaret were on horses with their hoods up and bags packed the hour after that. Stallions dark like the moonless sky were their companions for the journey to come. A journey across the kingdom to another in search of a person who may or not exist now.

The journey was silent apart from the sound of galloping and owls. The beast sat clad in robes heavier than the luggage he carried. For the time of the journey the beast was to play the role of a noble soldier marred in war. This would deter any questions aimed his way. Margaret, as per Eliana’s instructions, would act as his young aid who was helping him cross borders to meet with some known herbalist in the town of scholars.

BeforeMargaret knew it, the small village that she had taken refuge in passed along with many others. She was farther away from home than she had ever been but the homesickness was driven away by the feeling of excitement even if with a little fear. The idea that the beast wasn’t well, a beast, was slowly incorporating in her mind. However it was yet to settle in fully. The prince’s outward appearance was one thing to be fearful of but to add to it his random outbursts didn’t help. She just did not know how to respond to him or behave in his presence, that was the scariest of it all. How was she to survive on the road with a person who till date did not bother having decent conversation with her? Before heading out she had filled him in on the important details but all he had done was watch with those dark, blood red eyes of his.

As the night deepened a loud howl tore the silence. Followed by it were many more howls. A pack of wolves was afoot to hunt for their next prey.
Margaret’s heart beat faster as the howl tore the silence of the starry night. Her hands, pale white as a Lily, almost rivaling those of the beast himself, gripped the reigns of the beautiful stallion tighter than before.The graceful stallion neighed and quickened his pace as a response. Followed closely behind was the beast’s stallion and howls of the wolves. The horse, though usually faster than the wolves, were tired from the hours of travel with a person and luggage on top. The wolves, hungry for a meal after weeks in the torrid snow filled winter, were faster than who had his life on the line.

“No, this not how I want to die!” Margaret exclaimed and bugged her horse to go faster. The tired horse tried to comply and maintain a decent speed without getting slowed down every few minutes. The fact that the wolves were behind them was know to him but fatigue had set in long ago and the day break was near. The tired horses on their respective master’s commands galloped as much as they could.

“Margaret! Do not deter from this road! Just run! ” The beast, who hadn’t found it right to utter a word until now, shouted seeing Margaret stuck in fear in top of the horse. How could he have done so? Here was a girl, young as she was, helping him without a thing in return. The human part in him acknowledged the fact that she was a good person indeed and not like the previous one who had somehow found that he had wealth far more than the small winter castle.

Listening to the beast’s worried words brought Margaret back to her senses. Was this how brave she was? All those dreams about traveling and exploring the world and this was all she could muster without running into trouble? No, her self respect wouldn’t let her give up now. The wolves were in sight, one look behind and Margaret could see the pack of them. Suddenly she realized something.

Red wolves, a kind of native to the place. She had heard about them before. Read them too in a book under the name ‘Legends of the old and new’. The pack of wolves who made their prey and their belongings vanish, the Red Wolves. They are said to be magical creatures. However they are also said to be in a fight with another being of the unknown. These were wolves of a legend and they were on their tails chasing them with anticipation of a delicious meal.

“Margaret!” The beast called out amongst the huffing and howling breaking Margaret’s trail of thoughts.

“Our horses won’t be able to do this for much longer! These are the Red Wolves! We need to get out of this territory!” Margaret screamed against the oncoming wind. Her voice, half reached the beast’s ears and half floated away into nothingness. In this run, the beast at some point had run further ahead of Margaret.

From what the beast heard and could make out was what he knew. A sudden act of valor struck his mind and he commanded his horse to slow down a little, just enough that they were a foot or so behind Margaret. The horse neighed loudly and obeyed.

“You run ahead. I have power enough to hold them until you escape. However I can not do it until you are out of sight for I don’t have the power to wake you up if you are unconscious again.” The beast commanded, his plan was set in motion as soon as the words ended. Stopping his horse in his tracks, he turned around to face the oncoming wolves.

“No!”Margaret didn’t know what to do. Forcing her mind to remember all she could about the legend of the Red, she watched helplessly as the beast, no the prince, stood in front of the wolves. She just hoped in her heart that the Prince had enough power in him to fight off the seven wolves.

With tears in her eyes and mind set on a goal, Margaret caressed her horse as she rode him further away from the wolves and the prince.
Margaret’s heart felt heavy as she carried on into the night. Words from tale of the Red echoed in her brain but none were within the reach of comprehension.

He would be alright.
Please let him be alright.
He would be alright.

Chants for well-being of the prince rung in Margaret’s head along with the old tale. The trees went past and within moments she had reached the end of the road to a diversion. With no idea where to head to and mind filled with worry, Margaret bit back all her worries and need to throw up.

Focus, she said to herself. Stars would help. Breathe, she instructed to her mind. Breathe. Howls in the distance were still continuing, scared for another, she took a deep breath and calmed her nerves.

‘Once,’ the echo stopped and the words in her mind gave way to to the legend of the Red. ‘By the great Oak tree lived the legendary old witch Anuyasha. Being from a long line of witches she was known far and wide in ways good and bad.

Once during her sick times, a young girl who considered her grandma since she was saved by the old witch came by to the forest. The girl, though born to humans had magic running through her veins. Magic greater than any seen in any of her age. Anuyasha knew of the Magic and also that if she were to get it, she would be healed of the illness that bid her. However to get the magic of a witch, the witch must die in a sacred ceremony.

The moment the girl, barely fifteen of age and an amateur magician, stepped into the Anuyasha’s territory she was trapped. The territory spanned over a couple of miles and took all of the jungle under it. The animals in the jungle, specifically the wolves, were directly under the command of the witch ready to do anything in a moment’s notice. They were the foremost protectors of the witch and the forest. They were given special powers that no one knows of.’

Margaret remembered the words that rung in her mind just like she had read them in the book. Anuyasha the old witch that had turned evil just so she could live another day and the red wolves that served under her. What if? Margaret thought and started to look around. In a distance to her right Margaret noticed smoke in escaping to the air. It had been a little around ten minutes since Margaret had left and she was anxious to know if the Prince was able to escape. Turning to her left, she quickly ordered her midnight black stallion to run. The sun was almost up and the prince would burn if it continued.

“Be brave,
Run wild,
There’s a lot you have to do,
Be up, awake,
Free to new possibilities,
Hush,
Don’t be scared,
Run free, run wild,
There is nothing to be afraid of.” Margaret sang to herself in a hushed voice as she started into the unknown. Her heart wished with all its might that the good witch was still alive and could hold back these wolves before they tear up the prince.

“Hello there! Where are you off to this fine dawn?” A voice came from somewhere stopping Margaret in her tracks quite suddenly. It was a tiny girl half of Margaret’s height and while she was on her horse the girl looked even shorter.

“Hello,” Margaret said cautiously. “Who are you?”

“The name’s Red. I live around here.” The girl said sweetly. With golden brown hair that reached past her shoulders and a long heavy bright red cape, the girl was beautiful.

“You do?” Margaret said with a spark returning in her dull and tired eyes.

“So. you know how to fend off the wolves? My friend is in trouble! I was searching for the great witch Anuyasha to ask for help. But I, but I don’t know where she lives. And now because of this he might be dead by now!” Margaret spoke all out rapidly. Her hands clenched in her front of her in a fist to stop her from crying out of helplessness. She was useless and this had taught her that more than ever.

“Fear not child. The moment he held back till the sun hit the horizon, the wolves had vanished back to their homes.” The girl said all of a sudden sounding extremely mature. Margaret bit down from her horse feeling it was rude to talk while she sat and the little girl stood on foot.

Out of no where the little girl hugged Margaret and took a step back again.

“Margaret Roland is it? You are truly brave to have set foot on this path. Or maybe just naive. This forest is under a witch’s spell at night to hunt intruders. Had it not been near the day break, you would have died long since.” Red said swinging a basket full of herbs in her hand. From what Margaret could guess they were medical herbs.

“Let’s go now, to your prince.” Red said and started moving leaving behind a confused Margaret to follow her.

 

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