Chapter 83: With Every Step, Part I

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

Reads: 370

The heat fell away from Lance, and he fought the urge to brush himself off. He still wasn't used to that teleportation, or any teleportation, really. He looked ahead, seeing a forest with short trees and a path of rocks cutting through. The path it takes to get to Yowlitch; the forest of Ereithri.

They walked forward, and Zidane's hair fell flat, the bangs he had loosely styled forward draping onto his forehead. He looked up, glaring a little, as Lance laughed.

"You use energy to keep your hair up?"

Zidane took a step back, and instantly Lance felt his hair become longer and braided. He grabbed it, horrified, as Zidane grinned.

"Now we're even."

"Dude! Change it back!"

Zidane grinned even more, and placed his hands in pockets. "Nah, think I'll keep it. Looks good on you."

Lance laughed, unable to fight a grin. "Seriously. We're wasting time; change it."

Pushing his bangs up and to the side with one hand, Zidane raised the other, expanding a fist. Lance's hair grew shorter, becoming messy once again.

Hurrying off, Lance spoke, adjusting the strap of his duffel bag. "Let's get going."

Zidane caught up, instantly putting his arm out in front of Lance, catching him on the chest.

"What?" Lance asked, annoyed.

Zidane bent down, drawing a knife from its sheath on his leg. He pried it underneath the stone, flipping it up and revealing a paw-print-like symbol.

"Tracker stones." He stood, leaving the rock where it was.

Lance took a small step back, just for good measure.

"We didn't activate them or whatever, right?"

Zidane shook his head, returning the knife to its cover. "No. We should go different way."

"Alright." Lance looked around. "Where to?"

The crossbreed walked behind him, heading right. "Off the beaten path."

Lance followed close behind, seeing Zidane step over thick, thorny bushes. He followed suit, noticing how the pathway split into two and how Zidane's hand was stretched out towards him.

"Give me something to throw," the crossbreed said, motioning towards the duffel bag Lance carried. "Like food or something."

"Why?" Lance asked. "We kinda need it to eat."

"I'll skip a meal; just give me something!"

Lance softly shook his head, reaching into the bag and pulling out a container of something he wouldn't be eating. He handed it to Zidane.



The crossbreed then proceeded to toss it on the ground far away from them. The contents dumped out, spilling onto the dirt path.

"What the heck did you do that for?" Lance yelled.

He watched, stunned, as the food suddenly burst into flames and the can ignited in a cracking explosion of embers.

Zidane straightened, hands coming to his pockets.

"We need to stay off this road," he said. "This whole place is probably loaded with traps."


Lance turned, watching Zidane as he started past him, heading off to the right. "How'd you even know about that?"

Zidane stopped and turned around, his foot positioned to take a step backwards. He stared down the road.

"I figure if this place cuts off Razalek energy, that's already a pretty clear sign he doesn't want anyone in here. But if someone still wants to get in, like us, then the next logical thing is to rig the place with things that can kill them." He extended a hand out to the path behind them. "Like so."

"Like the random fire explosions." Lance tried to smile. "That's great. This is really going to be fun."

Zidane's eyes darkened, an expression of thought coming between his brows. "It'll be hard to tell exactly where all these traps are," he said, "But it's possible I can pick up the energy within a certain radius."

"I thought this place deactivated your energy..."

Zidane nodded. "It did. But the organs that allow energy influence aren't the same ones that let us sense different energy wave lengths." He looked out towards the road again, searching near the end of what they could see of the path. "It might change later on; he could very well have people watching us, seeing what we do and adapting this place enough to stop us."

"They might be setting up the traps, too..." Lance breathed, putting his hands to his hair. He stretched out his back, raising up onto the tips of his feet. "Fuck."

Zidane nodded, understand perfectly before turning around again and continuing on. "Just keep close, alright? They might try and put a bomb between us."

Lance hurried, quickly placing himself a few steps behind Zidane. He focused on the weight of the duffel bag, shifting the strap on his shoulder and tried not to think of all the things that were waiting to try and kill them in this place.

When the paths proved to be safe, they talked for the first few hours, Lance filling the silence. Zidane simply listened, adding in light comments and observations when the space between sentences called for it.

Lance knew most of the crossbreed's life; it was about time he returned the favor.

He spoke a bit hesitantly at first, the conversation brought up when Zidane asked him how much of a difference this underground world was compared to what Lance was used to. It was answered with something of a fascinated ramble, commenting on everything from Razalek technology to Spiro culture to the utensils either race used to eat food.

And then Lance began speaking a bit quieter, caught up by memories of his own. Comparing everything still, at first. Noting the contrasts between the two worlds, going as far as to say the general feel of this place was so much different than what he'd grown used to. Bustling, noisy cities and screaming television ads replaced by calm forests and energy-sensing plants.

Zidane laughed a little bit at the bluntness of this comparison, the way it was spoken, mainly. An observation with a clipping edge to it that was uniquely Lance.

The human continued on, a smile curving his words as another memory came to him.


As the sky began to grow a bit darker, Lance realized he hadn't seen a sun.

He looked up, searching the sky. But there didn't seem to be any source of direct light. In fact, when he looked at the ground around them, he barely saw any shadows from the plants and trees.

"Where's the sun?" he asked, and then his face grew confused. "Or... the equivalent to the sun."

"There is none," Zidane replied. "The sky has its own light."

Lance raised a brow. "So it comes from all directions? That's cool."

Zidane nodded, looking ahead of himself. Lance could only think of how there were no shadows; how Spiros had given them such importance while Razalek forced out the darkness altogether. Making shadows bright.

Lance smiled to himself.

As the sky grew darker, a white strip appeared.

"What's that thing in the sky?"

"The Razalek version of a moon," Zidane answered. "Called an Erethral."

Finally, something kind of human sounding, Lance thought, relieved. Zidane continued on.

"If they liked one thing about Earth, it was the view of space. But, when they came down here, duplicating it would cause too many questions about its origin, and also make them admit there was something good about human territory. So they created their own version." A pause went through him, and then in a much softer voice-a quiet tone Lance didn't quite recognize-he spoke again. "I like the moon, but there's something about this that takes me home..."

Lance looked up to the streak again, finding a nice sense of calmness to it.



Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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