I woke up with Eric gone but Nathan was sitting in front of me which there was fire in front of him.
"Nathan?" I said. My voice sounded so weak.
Nathan turned his body to me. "Hey there Marie." He smiled. "Eric is grateful that you let him feed off of you."
"Where is he?"
"He had to feed more." Nathan's face looked a little worried. "He almost drained you but still needed more." He turned away back towards the fire. "He, Michelle, and Conner are in Richard's Kingdom. Eric is snacking and Michelle and Conner are getting food."
"How long have I been out?" I started getting up and moved next to Nathan watching the fire dance.
"A couple of hours." Nathan's eyes darted to the entrance of the cave as Conner and Michelle enter.
"You're awake!" Michelle noticed me first. "It was brave of you to do that." Michelle had a basket of food and started handing some to Nathan, Conner, and me. "I'm really sorry that you had to go through it though. You have only known us for about two days and you are already trying to die for us." Michelle smiled.
Michelle handed me some fish and an apple and water. My eyes searched for Conner and I met his eyes who was sitting on the other side of the cave. His light green eyes moved quickly from my face.
"Where is Eric?" Nathan asked Michelle.
"He is almost done." Michelle got herself food. "He had two."
After a while Eric came in with his cheeks looking a little pink. "Ok... It is nighttime and since all Evilings will be up now we will attack during the day. So let's rest tonight. I'll take first watch." Eric's focus turned toward me. "Thank you Marie."
I didn't remember when I fell asleep but I woke up and everyone else was asleep and Conner was on watch. I wondered how long I slept this time. Conner's back was towards me and his front was facing the entrance.
I stood up and stumble over to Conner and sat next to him glazing out the cave. It was quite beautiful. The stars were shining all over the night sky. The moon was bright as a half-moon can be. And the silence was perfect. Conner and I sat in this silence for a while then he spoke to me.
"What you did for Eric today," He whisper softly which took me awhile to realize he was talking to me. "I admire that."
"It was nothing." I said shyly.
"No. It's not." Conner looked at me. "Eric could have killed you and you didn't care."
"He saved my life." I couldn't meet his eyes. "And so did you." That made Conner turned away.
"I'm sorry about how I acting in the cave." Conner dug his fingers into the small patch of dirt in front of us. I on the other hand was shocked at what he was saying to me. Conner is being nice to me for the first time since I met him. "You better get some more sleep." He said changing the subject. "Tomorrow you will meet the Black Forest and trust me, it's not as pretty as it sounds."
"And trust me," I smiled. "it doesn't sound pretty." And I left Conner with a smile on his face as I went back to where I woke up.
It didn’t feel long enough for me to be sleeping when Eric woke me up saying it was time to get ready. Honestly I didn’t know what I should be doing. Never in my life did I see this coming. I was going to be Queen and stop the war that was starting between my Kingdom and Crasirans.
“Marie?” Michelle looked at me stopping my thoughts. “Are you all right?”
“I don’t know what to do.” I figured it’s best to be honest at the moment.
She smiled at me. “Come help me put our food up. Nathan and Conner and Eric and working on our strategy of entering the Black Forest.”
“What is the plan so far?” I asked putting apples in a bag and tying them up.
“So far Nathan, Conner, and I are entering from the west side of the forest as you and Eric are entering from the east which is the closest to where the entire princess’ are at.” Michelle explained as we ration the food.
“How do you guys know that?” I wondered. “How do you know where they are kept?”
“Eric made the Black Forest.” Michelle answered as she glanced at Eric.
“What?” I too looked at Eric. “He made it! I thought he was good!”
“Marie, you are forgetting that Eric was one of the worst vampires for a time. Until Sophia.” Michelle continued with packing handing me some chicken to put in Conner’s pack.
“So Eric made the Black Forest.” I said to myself. “Wait won’t Eric get burned in the sunlight of the Black Forest?”
“The Black Forest is called Black for a reason.” Michelle and I finished. “Dark witches and warlocks have a spell over it to make it dark at all times.”
“Does Eric regret making the Black Forest?” I asked.
“No.” Michelle leaned against the cave’s wall. “It’s a place just for Evilings to hide and humans stay away from it. Everyone needs a place to hide, a place where they belong and are accepted. That’s the Black Forest to the Evilings. It was Eric’s home too.”
“You two ready over there?” Nathan called out to us.
“We are.” Michelle looked a little worried.
“OK.” Eric said as we all gathered at the entrance of the cave. “Nathan, Conner, and Michelle, take your leave.”
“Be careful.” Nathan said to both of us and was the first to leave.
“See you soon.” Michelle said to Eric then turned to me. “Don’t leave Eric’s side. Nothing will happen to you if you stay by him.” She dashed out following Nathan.
Conner looked at Eric. “Funny isn’t it? That we might die doing this?”
“Conner…” Eric shook his head.
“Good luck.” Conner then turned towards me. “Don’t die. I don’t want to drag your ass out of the Black Forest.”
“I would hate to make you do such a dreadful thing like that.” I said sarcastically and wondered what happened to the nice Conner last night.
Conner left and suddenly I thought of Trix. “Eric, where is Trix?”
“She cannot enter the Black Forest.” Eric said. “Follow me and stay close.”
“Something happen to her. It’s her story to tell if you want to know.” Eric sounded harsh. “Sorry.” He added.
We fell in silence as we hid in the shade of the mountains. The sun was shining as bright as ever and not so far away I saw grass. It looked beautiful. When I was admiring the beauty of the light Eric stopped.
We were facing trees, but the only the first set of trees everything behind that was dark and mist was flowing all around it. I looked behind me at the bright and beautiful day then faced forward to the darkness. Eric didn’t need to state where we were.
We have arrived at the Black Forest.