Book V Chapter 7: The Emerald Wonderland
Silent Rose Expedition Camp
"We'll find those idols soon enough," Gabriel announced cheerfully as he scribbled into his journal. "At least in the meantime, we've documented hundreds of new species in just the few days since our arrival."
"The sooner we find them, the sooner we can move on, complete our mission and return home alive," Felld murmured.
"Every moment we exist upon this accursed continent is a moment in which we are tempting fate. Thus far, we have been lucky not to have come across a situation we can't handle."
Na'than pouted. "Hey, hey, chin up. There's all sorts of nasty stuff out here, but you're well protected. The Thorne are nothing to sniff at, and, well... I'm here, too."
His last words were vaguely sulky, his ears flopping back against his head.
Despite himself, Gabe laughed before returning to his notes.
This camp was yet another temporary one, nestled snugly between two of the largest trees the group had ever seen, thick enough around that a chain of twenty people might not be enough to wrap around it, and so tall that the forest canopy seemed to disappear into the clouds.
"Heaven's Pillar, we'll call it," Gabe announced with an important air; no one had any better suggestion, and so the name stuck.
Na'than leaned against one of the huge trees, relaxing as he tossed one leg over the other and closed his eyes, one ear flicking as a passing insect buzzed at it-- mere moments before a piercing scream cut through the peace like a blade.
Everyone was on edge immediately.
"And what shall we call that?" Leo asked with the barest hint of robotic mirth.
Gabe frowned, setting his journal down to reach for his canteen of tea, taking a slow mouthful.
"Another tribe nearby, I bet. You know, no offense to all of you elves and whatnot, but are you guys sure you're not going to knife me at night because you got bored or I didn't like your tea?"
Na'than shot his automaton a sideways glance, then grinned at the human.
"Well, I can guarantee that I won't stab you at night."
Gabriel didn't know what to make of that, and wasn't certain he wanted to ask.
A second scream cut their conversation short. Loud enough to buzz in everyone's ears and echo through the forest, it had an inhuman sound that caught Na'than's ears right away.
Slowly, he rose to his feet, ears pricked.
"No one make a sound," he whispered, and the camp went silent.
The ground trembled beneath their feet in a steady rhythm, booming footsteps sounding in the distance in time, traveling closer with every thud.
Gabriel stood, carefully turning to glance in the direction of the sound; something was lurching towards them, flashing emerald in the light shining through the canopy.
Swallowing, he clenched his jaw and stood firm; he was getting used to life in Aensdoun, as little as he cared to admit it, and he knew it was far better to keep his wits about him and trust the sentinels traveling with the group to act.
They were here to protect everyone, after all, and they had yet to fail in their...
Crashing through the trees with reckless abandon, the green thing had run close enough to give everyone a clear view of it.
It was a dinosaur... and by what Gabriel knew, it was a carnivorous dinosaur.
It paused, lowered its head, and screamed; everyone clapped their hands over their ears and winced.
Seemingly satisfied, the titanic beast broke into a full charge, mouth wide open to display its jagged teeth as it hurtled forward, each step a miniature earthquake.
Just a few metres away, the green horror skidded to a stop, throwing up great clouds of dust and grass as its claws tore into the soft ground.
It rose its head, glancing around in confusion for a moment before shrieking again, short and clipped as though asking a question.
Atop its head, a stern-faced aeneski stood to gaze down upon the little camp, towering in his own right.
He frowned and disappeared from view, appearing once more upon the ground beside the dinosaur's foot, striding up for a closer look.
"...Alice?" Gabriel murmured quizzically.
The expedition stared at the newcomer and his reptilian companion in dumbfounded shock.
"What?" the mysterious elf quipped, tilting his head before breaking into a grin.
"Haven't you ever seen a dremish elf before?"
Next Chapter: Book V Chapter VIII
Category: Book V | Story