Sayumi glared at him for a moment, then her frown softened into a smirk. “It's alright, I don't really mind as long as you aren't constantly looking into my mind. Maybe when you are putting thoughts into my head you could be a little less subtle about it, like tell me or something. We can even have secret conversations that way, since Will can't hear thoughts!” Ruki blushed a bit more and they both giggled to themselves for a little while.
“I may not be able to hear your thoughts, but I sure can hear you now!” Echoed from behind them, making the pair jump a little. Then they both whirled around to face Will, and when he saw how flustered they were he started laughing hysterically. Sayumi glared at him and exclaimed out of embarrassment, “Fine! I won't speak to you ever again! Me and Ruki will just abandon you here and not talk to you at all, just talk in our heads for the rest of our lives!” Ruki was so red now trying to cover it with his hand was a futile mission, which made Will laugh all the more.
Dawn came quickly, and when the sun rose Ruki announced, “Sayumi! See that mountain range up ahead? Well, Repremendant is right behind them. So we have two options now: go around the mountains, which will possibly add another few days to our journey, or go through the mountains and possibly never get there at all. But with me here our survival is much more likely. So, which way do you want to go?”
Sayumi thought for a moment, then asked, “How long will it take us to get through the mountains?”
Ruki shrugged. “If no one gets injured and the horses don't have troubles with the terrain, about another full day at least.”
Sayumi snorted, “So much for noon tomorrow eh Will?” She glared at Will, who held up his hands innocently. Sayumi sighed, then announced, “We are going through the mountains then.”
Ruki nodded, then added, “My horse probably won't make it through the mountains with a rider, so I will fly as much as I can. I will scout ahead of you to make sure there's no avalanches or anything blocking the path. Don't worry, with me here the mountains shouldn't be too hard.”
The mountains themselves almost seemed like they were unnatural; they didn't really fit in with the landscape. Sayumi knew there was dense forest on the other side of the mountains where Repremendant was, since the king had taught her much about the area near Repremendant when she was young. She also knew there was rumors that Repremendant's social structure was very unstable, but all the barons and dukes that had came to visit from the surrounding areas denied all the claims, saying the peasants were definitely under control. As they followed a path that had seen better days, the ground beneath Kayo started to get rockier gradually, and the grass that covered the ground disappeared. The few trees that dotted the landscape also stopped appearing after they started to scale the mountain. Ruki flew up and over one of the mountain peaks, and after a couple minutes returned shouting, “There seems to be nothing blocking the path, but there is quite a bit of snow! It's cold up here so be warned!”
Ruki wasn't kidding; once they got up high enough in the mountains for snow, a blizzard rolled in from seemingly no where, and the snow and cold was almost unbearable. Sayumi tried to scream for Ruki to come back, but he couldn't hear her over the wind. She started to worry, and she wished so badly that she was a witch so she could find him. Ruki! Come back, or you could get lost in the storm!
Sayumi relaxed with relief when she heard his reply; Okay, I'll be there in a second. Kayo was starting to get cold, so Sayumi asked, Is there a cave or something nearby that we can wait out the storm in?
Actually that's what I was looking for. I just found one up here. It's on the path, I'll light a will-o-wisp to help you find me. Immediately, Sayumi saw a tiny light up ahead. She urged Kayo forward, and quickly glanced back to make sure Will was still okay. He was there, but he looked very cold. Sayumi screamed to him, “We are going to take shelter in a cave to wait out the storm!!” Will nodded a bit, and Sayumi pressed on towards the small flame of hope ahead of her.
Once everyone was in the cave, they set up their beds and did their best to make the horses comfortable. Ruki kept his will-o-wisp burning until they decided on something they could burn. After taking their supper out, they burned the container it had been in, and the few logs and branches that were scattered around the cave. Ruki looked very tired, and Sayumi hoped he would have enough energy to fly tomorrow. Will was so cold he was huddled up next to his horse, the big draft keeping him toasty warm. Sayumi noticed Kayo was huddled next to the draft, and so was the black mare. Kayo seemed to have taken quite the liking to the mare, after all he spent most of his time next to her while Sayumi and Ruki talked happily about anything and everything.
Sayumi smiled at her horse, and she exclaimed quietly, “Hey Ruki, what is Repremendant like?”
Ruki looked up from the fire and thought for a moment. “Well, I lived on a farm so my representation may not be accurate. But I remember there were lots of people with no homes there. They just sat on the street, hoping and begging for any money they could get just to buy food. The system there is very corrupt; the barons and lords take all the money they can, and leave the peasants to die in the streets. The king seems to not care... no doubt he is getting a cut of the profits.”
Sayumi thought for a moment, then asked, “Wait, if you can hear Rakelle's thoughts from all the way over here, then can't you hear the thoughts of everyone? Like even other witch-folk in other kingdoms?”
Ruki shook his head. “It doesn't work like that: there are many people who's mind can't be read. About half of the people in the world are born with the ability to shield their minds. And a quarter of people learn the skill later in life. Then about half of the remaining quarter of those people are witch-folk, who can hear thoughts anyway. So in reality, there aren't many people who's thoughts I can read constantly. However, no one can shield their mind all the time. So, the trick is really figuring out when their minds will be open.”
Sayumi sighed. Then she asked, “What am I?”
Ruki laughed, “Your mind is open all the time. Even when you are asleep I can see what you're dreaming.” Sayumi laughed along with him, but in the back of her mind, she was a little worried. Ruki noticed and added, “Don't worry, I already promised I don't read your thoughts all the time. I'm a man of my word.” Sayumi smiled and nodded, then she noticed the fire was starting to die down. She also finally noticed the howl of the wind outside, and she whispered, “We should start sleeping now.”
Ruki nodded, and held out his hand. Sayumi scowled in a puzzled fashion, and Ruki explained, “We won't make it through the night unless we keep close for warmth.” Sayumi nodded, and Ruki sat down next to Kayo. Sayumi sat down next to him, and her shirt rode up a bit so her bare back touched the cold rock. She gasped and Ruki quickly pulled her off the ground. Ruki hissed worriedly, “Don't let your skin touch the rock, your sweat could freeze and you would be stuck there.” Sayumi nodded, and finally noticed she was sitting on Ruki's lap. Her cheeks turned a pleasant shade of pink, and Ruki smiled. He held her close to him and didn't say a word. Sayumi pulled a blanket out from Kayo's saddle that was behind her, and wrapped herself and Ruki in the blanket. She murmured, “Goodnight Ruki.”
Ruki wrapped his arms around her more tightly and waited until he knew she was asleep and murmured back, “Goodnight Sayumi.” And his kissed her forehead gently before he followed her into sleep.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE?!!” Eliah shrieked when Takumi told him about the discovery of the body of the warlock by one of his scouts. Eliah went into a rage, and started throwing books around the room, a few barely missing Takumi. Eliah roared, “You promised they would never reach Repremendant alive!! WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO ABOUT THIS?!!”
Takumi replied steadily, “I intend to go and personally ambush them on the path to Repremendant.”
Eliah crossed his arms and glared at Takumi, “Well you hurry and do that! I've given you enough chances, this is your last one! If you fail this time, you might as well just take your own sword and kill yourself; save me the trouble of doing it later.”
Takumi nodded, then he dashed out of the castle, and gathered his fellow knights to complete his mission at last. Takumi led his horse out of the stables first, a black Pegasus with blood red eyes and the strength of ten horses. The other knights rode white Pegasus that were stolen from the king of the elves long ago, and were fast like wind. Takumi mounted his, and let out a savage war cry as he raised his sword in front of his men. His men repeated the action, and Takumi lashed a whip across his horse's rump. His horse snarled and leaped into the air, and Takumi glared at the mountains in the distance.
The blizzard was almost over by the next morning, and Ruki was the first to wake up. He found Sayumi was still sleeping on his lap, and she looked very happy in her sleep. He wished they never had to leave, that he could just hold her there forever. But he quickly scanned the nearby area, and he saw that Eliah's knights had gathered at the entrance of Repremendant. He cursed under his breath; there was only one way into Repremendant, and that entrance could see clearly the entire path in the mountains from where they were. Ruki sighed and started trying to think of a way to get past them. He may be able to sneak by alone, but Sayumi and Will wouldn't be able to come with him. Then he realized that the knights were ridding the legendary stolen Pegasus, and realized he couldn't fly past them either. He also realized he would have to kill all of them somehow, without hurting the Pegasus (the Elven King had been searching for them ever since they were stolen, and wouldn't take kindly to finding out Ruki had killed them).
Will woke up about half an hour later, but Ruki still had no new ideas about how to get past them. Will rubbed his eyes and saw Ruki, deep in thought. Will asked, “What's new?” Ruki explained the position of the knights outside the gates, and how they were riding the Pegasus. Will's expression turned dark and he growled, “Our people have been searching for those Pegasus for years. They belonged to the elite elven warriors who fought in the Battle of Feresat, when we helped free the humans from slavery to the dragons who used to rule this world. This is treachery beyond words, an unforgivable offense. Even if we don't kill them once I tell my King who did this, Eliah will face the wrath of our entire people.”
Ruki nodded, a little taken aback by Will's strong feelings towards this subject. He asked anxiously, “So any ideas how we can defeat them?”
Will shrugged. “You could do some sort of 'witch-craft' on them. Is there anything you can do from a distance to quickly eliminate all of them?”
Ruki shrugged. “I could just stab all of them at the same time. Just turn their own swords against them.”
Will nodded. “That should work. How about we get right to that then?” Ruki nodded, and the two poked their heads out of the cave. Ruki saw his old home off in the distance, and he also saw a small mass in front of it. He looked at will and announced, “I can't do it from here, I need to be much closer. I need to be able to see their swords.”
Will sighed and retorted tartly, “Well that is wonderful news. How do you suggest we get there, Mr. Powerful Warlock?”
Ruki frowned and still very confused about Will's sudden attitude change, replied, “Well, teleporting isn't my specialty, but I can send us short distances. We would have to teleport a few times before getting close enough. The thing is, with teleporting its not guaranteed we will end up in the spot we want. And in the mountains, that's not a very good thing to have happen.”
Will growled, “For goodness sake, isn't there something you can do?!”
Ruki replied, “Calm down, if you want we can just fly down there and kill them all one by one.”
Will snapped, “Fine, let's go!” Ruki threw Will over his shoulder, and shot off into the sky.
After a few minutes, he landed right in front of the knights, which had all decided to take a nice nap. Ruki let Will down, and quickly stared at every sword he could find. Each one stabbed its owner in the heart, except for one which missed its target and glanced off. This woke up the soldier and he started screaming. This woke up the remaining soldiers, who started shouting about how their fellow men were dead. They then started a charge on the two intruders. Will smirked, and he pulled out the horn of a unicorn. He blew into it, and a strange sound came from it.