Chapter 55: Travel, Part II

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 978


"Yeah," Zidane said, answering Lance's question, "This is the forest on the outskirts of Tollo. Small village of about two hundred."

A slight, tapping alarm went off in the back of Zidane's head. He turned around, seeing one of the plants moving towards Lance. A vine-like arm wiggled out towards him, and with a casual fascination the human kept himself just out of reach with slight steps away.

"It's sensing your energy. Normally it'd snap out and take anything in its range, but since you're human it's being very cautious."

"What happens if it gets something?" Lance asked, still watching the plant strain to try and reach him.

Zidane looked to his right, where a small unbloomed flower hid beneath the vein-like vines. "You see that flower on the tree? If the arms get something and drag it to that, the flower expands and digests the prey until it dissolves into the bark."

"Jesus..." Zidane didn't have to turn around to know the look on Lance's face.

"Venus flytrap of the Razelek world," Zidane concluded, turning back. "Except the plant is actually part of the tree." He followed Lance's stare up, looking at how the top of the trees nearly disappeared into the sky. They were mostly made up of trunks, which were single thick strands interwoven together. Zidane continued, explaining, "That's why they're so tall. They get energy from sunlight and whatever they catch."

"I thought this was underground."

"Makeshift sunlight." Zidane shrugged. He didn't continue, reminding himself that they didn't have a lot of time to talk like this.

Instead, he pushed out a light wave of energy, a circle that pulsed away from him. Something like a radar, it'd tell him if anyone was nearby. They needed to get into town without being killed, and to do that they were going to need some help.

A section of the circle disappeared. Forty-five degrees to his right, a mile and a half away.

"I'll be right back." Zidane used the same breath to pull himself into the shadows below his feet. As he sped along the darkness, he connected with Lance's mind.

There's someone close by. I need to know how far away we are from the town.

While his physical body was still traveling away, he traced his energy back, stopping the line at Lance's feet and creating a dome around the human. A shield that, to the Razalek eye, also made him blend into the environment like a chameleon.

After two teleportations, shadow traveling, and protecting Lance... His energy was draining fast. He could feel himself getting weaker, the pulls he made to each shadow harder to do. Zidane pulsed another wave, relieved that his target was only a few seconds away. He slowed to a stop, hiding himself in the shadow of a tree. Carefully, he released the energy binding him to the earth, peeking out enough to see his surroundings again.

Two Razaleks were sitting down, one with their back to Zidane and the other facing towards him. He could see the second's mouth moving, like he was talking, but nothing came out. Sound barrier.

So what are they hiding?

Another question came to him; was this just a sound barrier or something that protected against more than just sound? Would it interfere with the memory tap Zidane was planning to do?

Zidane pulled himself back into the shadows, immersed in nothing but the sensation of touch. He used a burst of energy, brightening his surroundings until he was looking at a colorless, mirrored image of everything around him. He focused on the Razalek closest to him, the one whose skin was now pitch black and mouth ash grey. He kept talking, seeming to be telling a joke of some sort, and the moment his hands raised in gesture—the moment his smile reached its peak—Zidane connected. Their minds clicked together, and at the speed of a single thought, information sped into Zidane's brain. Memories that were working backwards, from most recent to oldest... Things he didn't care about... and then he caught hint of a village.

He stopped the memories, inserting the slightest thought into the Razalek's unconscious.

What path did you take to get here?

The answer was drawn in the medium he requested; a map. Only a few klicks away.

He released the connection, the black and white world coming back to him. Carefully, he watched the Razalek's face, looking for any signs of alarm. There was none; he was still too engaged in whatever story he was telling.

The other Razalek was nodding along, and then raised his hand in gesture as he replied. Zidane saw there was fabric covering his hand. They must be using the energy from the surrounding plants to make... Outfits? Uniforms?

Whatever it was, Zidane could use them. He connected with the talking Razalek's mind again, briefly seeing through his eyes in fuzzy vision. Yeah, they were robes. There was a handful of them completed, neatly folded into a pile between them.

They're making this too easy...

Zidane pushed his energy above ground, reaching outward until he could feel the barrier. A combination of a sound barrier and energy amplifier. Nothing that would interrupt him.

He retracted his energy and pulled towards the shadows of the robes, slipping underneath the barrier easily. Beneath him, distant, muddled sounds of someone speaking in an Eastern Razalek language. Zidane felt a flush of nostalgia; this had been a language he only read about, never hearing personally.

He reached out to the robes directly underneath him, pinching the fabric and slowly exhaling as he drew the cloth towards him. A duplicate was pulled out, and gradually Zidane gathered the robe in his arms. When the outfit was complete, he waited for a moment, looking up at the shadowy figures above.

There was a beauty to that language, and before Zidane could hold himself there any longer, he pulled towards the forest again, quickly returning from where he came.


This is weird. It was a phrase that had been in Lance's head a lot these past few minutes, but the more he studied where he was, the stranger everything got.

He shook his head. He wasn't even about to touch the fact that they were in the center of the Earth.

Something suddenly swooped towards him, but Lance only caught sight of brown coloring and feathered wings before the tree's vine snatched the creature, the flower bud flourishing into large petals with small teeth surrounding the round stigma. A weak cry came from the flower's victim as it was dragged into the darkness of the trunk. The petals closed, its vine slipping out of the closed bud.

A low, repetitive sound caught Lance's attention. He looked up, seeing what he thought to be an owl at first. Its body was the same, but the face was very different. This thing had a long beak and... The baggy, red sac of skin roosters have under their beak. Except this skin was stretched long, swinging as the bird turned its head. Despite the fact that it was far above, Lance felt the bird studying him. Maybe sensing his energy like the tree did.

He suddenly felt something appear close by, tensing as he turned to look. Zidane gracefully rose from the ground and landed on his feet, blue eyes looking. A colorful robe was draped over one shoulder.

"What?" the crossbreed asked.

Relieved, Lance shook his head, turning back to the bird above them. "Nothing. This place is just freaking me out."

"I bet that's an understatement," Zidane responded with a grin. Lance didn't argue with him.

When he turned around again, he saw the crossbreed holding a robe out, inspecting the garment.

"Yeah, I guess this will work. I can change it as we go."

"What's it for?"

"Blending in," Zidane said, tossing him the robe he was holding. "Put this over your clothes."

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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