Oh, he could really do without this. He could really do without this on top of everything.
The ground felt rock hard under his feet as he pounded through the undergrowth, brambles catching at his legs, trying to trip him up. His breath rasped painfully in his throat, but he didn't dare stop, not when there was a massive hulking great black-furred bear on his tail. He didn't even remember what he'd done to enrage the creature so much; probably he'd merely walked past it, these animals were so bloody touchy.
Not for the first time, he wondered why on earth he'd ever set off on this wretched venture.
After all, it wasn't his fault Drakon had gone running off like that. There was nothing wrong in holding the opinion that being around the trainee mage was about as safe as being around an angry Phoenix trapped in a thatched cottage after a five-month drought, and there was nothing wrong with voicing that opinion, even if it did turn out afterwards that Drakon had been walking past at the time, overheard, and taken it rather badly. Why everyone should then immediately turn on him and nominate him to go and find the kid he didn't know, but they had.
And now he, Borysko the warrior, who could fight anything you cared to name, was haring through a godsforsaken forest being pursued by a bear, which he couldn't fight because they'd taken his sword off him. They'd said there was nothing dangerous in this forest. Nothing dangerous? Were they actually kidding?
Just as he thought his lungs were going to explode, he caught a flash of silver in the nearby bushes. That must be Drakon! He always wore that ridiculous costume embroidered with silver threads. With one last effort, he plunged forwards, heading towards the mage.