Casser held Wen tightly such that she could not move. “You are making a big mistake, Your Highness! If the Emperor is taking control of every city in Sendorra, then Sorrelia would be our best chance to resist him. Without Sorrelia, there will be nowhere for the forces against the Emperor to convene and plan the resistance. The resistance will be scattered like ants. Even the Emperor will soon find a way to defeat your plants and enter your realm,” said Wen, pleading at the Orchid Queen.
“You have said enough,” said the queen. Then, the plant with enormous leaves near her moved and separated, revealing an archway through which several healers entered. “Take these two to the cage while I think about what to do with them,” the Orchid Queen ordered the healers.
The healers tied Wen’s hands and they left the room with Casser following them. As soon as they left, the plant hid the archway with its leaves and stayed motionless w
Eldion saw several steps that lead upwards to a more spacious chamber. Cautiously, he climbed up the steps as he looked around. He was overwhelmed by the explosion of color and light that seemed to descend upon him from the sloping walls that eventually joined at the apex of the pyramid. The gemstones sparkled like multicolored rain while the weakening light from the dying sun descended on the raised structure occupying the center of the chamber. Looking at the intricate carvings on the wood, emphasized by well placed gilding and jewel ornaments, Eldion could not help but be drawn at the central structure. He walked towards it in slow but assured steps.As Eldion came nearer, it became apparent to him that there was a woman in purple robes sitting still on an enormous chair underneath the canopy. Her face was hidden under a thin white veil and Eldion could not tell how she looked. However, the woman held her head high and her back straight as she waited for Eldion to come nea
Huge green tentacles erupted from the giant plant behind the throne of the Orchid Queen and pushed Eldion to the floor with such force that he landed several feet from the throne. Eldion shook his head as he tried to orient himself. He looked up and saw that giant plants had uprooted themselves from behind the Orchid Queen and had moved between him and the throne. Huge tentacles moved in the air like giant flexible arms that threatened to strangle him.Eldion immediately rose from the floor and stood firmly with his legs apart. One by one, the giant plants took a swipe at him, attempting to wrap a tentacle around his body. Eldion was quick to evade them, jumping from one place to another and punching and kicking those that came close. Another tentacle attached to his leg, attempting to catch him off balance, but Eldion was quick and launched himself to the air by jumping on the tentacle. The plant’s limb was crushed under his foot, but a part of it remained attached to
Eldion picked up a piece of charred wood and threw it to the passageway. As soon as the charred wood touched the thorny plants on the floor, it was smothered by the slithering stems while several thorns shot at it like darts. Eldion remembered Rolho and knew that the plants fit the description of the terandu that can shoot poison thorns on their victims.Eldion wiped the sweat off his brows. He was starting to feel the exhaustion after creating the streams of fire that destroyed the plants meant to kills him. He breathed deeply and tried to focus as he created an enormous ball of fire between his palms. Then, he rolled the fire ball inside the passageway and it burned the snakelike terandu which slithered away at the fire. It shot some of its poison thorns at the rolling ball of flames.As Eldion watched his ball of flames incinerate the terandu on the floor, he knew that he needed to create more fire to destroy the remaining plants that slithered over the walls and ce
The Orchid Queen smiled wickedly and her eyes brightened as the oniad’s tentacle wrapped around Eldion and rendered him incapable of movement. She waited with anticipation as the oniad lowered Eldion to her level and watched Eldion’s face as he grimaced.“You fight well!” began the queen, praising Eldion for his valiant efforts against the plants. Then, her expression changed as if remembering something from her past. “It has been a century since I last saw one of your kind and our meeting had not been very pleasant.”Eldion was confused. “I don’t know what you’re saying. What do you mean one of my kind?” he asked the Orchid Queen. He felt the tentacle tighten around his body and had to stop struggling.The Orchid Queen seemed taken by surprise at Eldion’s words, but waved her hand in front of her face as if to dismiss it. “I don’t know if you are speaking the truth, but the effects of
“You know who I am,” said Eldion to the Orchid Queen.The queen stepped backwards and crouched in fear. “Forgive me,” she said as she raised her arm as if to protect herself from Eldion.“Will you let me and my friends go?” asked Eldion, taking a step forward.The queen shivered before kneeling before Eldion. “Yes. It was a mistake that I held you against your will.”Eldion nodded before speaking. “Will you give us back everything that you took from us and help us to go to our destination?”Still crouching in fear and unable to look at Eldion in the eye, the queen answered. “Yes. I will do everything that you ask.”“Now, tell me. Who am I and how do I get back to where I come from?” asked Eldion.The queen was silent as she slowly lowered her hand to look at Eldion’s face.“You are the builder of worlds, the master of creation. You a
A large bamboo raft that had been built overnight was eased into the river and was prevented from being carried away by the current by a thick rope that was tied to a rock by the bank. It was sturdy enough to carry the weight of the three travelers along with a goods-laden cart and its carabao. Casser led Noha and his cart slowly towards the riverbank and with assistance from some of the healers, managed to get both animal and cart onto the floating raft. The raft sunk a few inches into the clear water but its strong construction that used only bamboo and fiber was able to withstand the load.Eldion thought about the events of the previous night and pondered on the new powers he was able to discover while fending off the attacking plants and pursuing the Orchid Queen. He had not really known that he had those powers, only wishing for that he had the ability to create fire, the same way that Enzir and Lankko were able to shoot fire and energy bolts into the air when they were
The bamboo raft floated over the river, carried by the current towards the Kanima Mountains. The travelers were given by the healers ample food and water for their journey downstream along with some advice on where they should disembark. Eldion did not know how to feel as they left the realm of the Orchid Queen. They did get enough rest while they were there and the healers were very helpful, however, their experience at the temple pyramid and when the Orchid Queen commanded the plants to attack him remained with Eldion.“So, the Orchid Queen knew all along that you have the pearl,” said Casser as he held the long bamboo pole that helped him steer the raft over the flowing river.“That’s what Rolho said,” replied Mira. “Retta also explained that the very earth of Rokuhari is enchanted and magnified the Orchid Queen’s power. Within her realm, the Orchid Queen could sense the pearl and then had her pet lizard steal it from
“Mira! Eldion!” came a call from Casser outside. “Come here quick!”Mira and Eldion quickly got off the cart and went to Casser who was staring at something downstream. Casser pointed his finger, but it was not necessary as Mira and Eldion saw the light that spread towards the sky like the skeletal branches of a leafless tree.“What is it?” asked Eldion. “It’s like lightning, only it’s going upwards.”“It has to be magic,” said Mira. “Someone is practicing strong magic out there.” She then turned to Casser and asked. “Where do you think it is coming from?”Casser bit his lip as he tried to gauge the location of the light display. “I am fairly certain that it is coming from the outpost itself.”“Do you think it’s safe to go there now?” asked Eldion, concern in his eyes.“I don’t know, kid. At a time l