As the girl, Rosalie, clambered onto the phoenix beside Kamika, Thorn's mind was whirling.
Another one, he thought numbly, another person the Mist didn't take. That makes two now, her and Arrow. This doesn't make sense. Surely it would have taken her too, if it took her at all. How does this happen?
Chewing his lip confusedly, Thorn tried to puzzle out the answer to a question that seemed to be getting more and more complicated by the moment. First Arrow, now this girl Rosalie. What was it about them that either made the Mist leave them behind, or unable to take them as it did the others?
However, no matter how much Thorn puzzled over it, no answer came. Eventually he gave up and sat staring out at the horizon, feeling thoroughly frustrated. Only two days ago he had had nothing more to worry about than getting boxed ears for being late to a lesson. Now here he was, on the run from an enemy that hadn't been seen for five thousand years and faced with a decision that would, inevitably, kill either himself or one of his friends.
Why me, he thought, why did it have to be me that got stuck with this? I don't know how to save the forest, heck I barely know how to save myself!
Why did the forest give me this task when it's so blatantly obvious that I don't know how to carry it out?
However, at that moment, Rosalie said something that made Thorn's ears prick up. Lurching upright he turned to face the girl, mind reeling,
"What did you just say?" he asked, eyes wide as dinner plates. Rosalie looked at him confusedly, as if she thought he might be mad.
"Nothing important," she said slowly, "I was just telling Kamika about what happened before the mist came. I felt it coming and tried to run away, but it caught me and next thing I knew I was here. I was trying to remember what happened but all I remember is a swirling white and lots of coloured dots dancing in front of my eyes," she paused, then looked up at Thorn as if remembering some long-forgotten memory, "And the trees! I heard the trees too, just before the mist took me...
I heard the trees singing."