I'm back with a new book! XD This one is going to be quite different then my other and it might surprise you when you figure out what it's about.

Actually, I'm doing this for school so I'm open to any criticism as long as it's not just someone complaining that they don't like the book or saying that a name or person looks funny. I'll be posting the rough draft so I haven't revised or edited it at all meaning that the grammar won't be very good and I might accidentally skip over a few words in sentences. (I do that sometimes because of my fast pace of typing...)

Also, this book will take me much longer to write than the others because I have to follow an outline that I made (I hate outlining...) and the chapters are much longer than my usual ones. (I might actually change the chapter size.)

So! Without further rambling, enjoy the story!

Character Pictures:

Jilara:

Tech:

(More pics coming soon!)

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*facepalm* Yeah...I hardly pay attention to what I say when I write. ;P I think I meant to say: "Soon we discussed the amount that we'd pay him."

I can't believe they are going out on their own.... o.O

Eee! Sliph! X3 <3 I was wondering where he'd come in.

Tech: I think he has a fanclub now...and Silver is the president.

Me: *blushes but giggles* 

Sliph:

Definitely a pretty boy. :)

A very pretty boy! X3

Finally caught up. ;)

So sorry about the long pause. School and writing has distracted me...

Chapter 9:

Hours of walking made my leg ache tremendously and once Sliph said we could rest, I sat down heavily on the ground with a groan. I’m not the most athletic person in the world but in my defense, anyone I knew would be exhausted from that long trek. Who knew that there were so many steep uphill slopes in the forest? We were constantly climbing over rocks, getting stretched by branches and trying to keep our footing as we made our way down long inclines. Sliph was as skillful as a cat when it came to these kinds of things and even though it was fascinating to watch him, I could help but feel a little jealous. Tech wasn’t doing too bad, but I always seemed to be the first to fall and last to get up…it was really disheartening, especially after all those years of gymnastics. Sliph didn’t seem to be bothered by my clumsiness and would often slow down a bit to help me. We had taken a break at the top of a high hill we had to climb so Sliph could check that we were on the right track. Tech was gazing out at the view of the forest far below as Sliph crouched down beside where I was sitting with a smile.

“How are you doing?” He asked with a chuckle.

“Fine I guess. My legs feel like they’re on fire though.” I muttered.

He laughed lightly and sat down beside me, handing me a water canteen.

“Don’t worry. Ground will be a little smoother until we reach the mountain.” He said, glancing over towards the large shape towering through the trees.

“How many times have you been to Mt Delm?” I asked leaning against a large boulder.

“Not many times. There’s nothing really up there anyways. A few old buildings and caves but no one lives up there anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked, curiously.

“It’s said to be cursed.” Sliph explained with a chuckle. “I think it’s a little foolish but the tales are enough to keep people away. Stories are told about giant monsters that live in the mountain and when they fight, it causes a huge earthquake. There was one a few years back and it was so strong that falling boulders knocked entire houses off the mountain. There’s a village at the base of the mountain and the people there are very superstitious so I’m guessing they made up the monsters inside the mountain.”

“And just because of that, people stay away from it?” I asked, not seeing why just an earthquake would keep people away.

“Well people have said that they heard strange noises coming from the mountain and every single person that has gone to explore the mountain has disappeared. Even those who go to look for those people disappear so now no one wants to risk it. I don’t go too far up the mountain just for safety.”

Tech was listening and I glanced at him nervously. Sliph saw that look but didn’t ask about it, pretending that nothing had happened.

“I know I said I wouldn’t ask, but I can’t help but be curious as to why you want to go there.” Sliph said thoughtfully. “You’re not running away from home or something, are you?”

A smile slipped onto my face and I shook my head.

“No, nothing like that. We’re just looking for someone.” I said, keeping the details vague.

“Well if they disappeared in the mountain, I doubt you’ll be able to find them.” Sliph said with his face completely serious. “It’d be best just to give up.”

“We can’t do that.” I said softly. “You see…it was my brother and mom.”

Sliph looked at me in surprise and Tech kept his gaze out to the distance. Taking a long pause before I continued, I met Sliph’s eyes.

“They disappeared ten years ago and only now did we figure out who captured them. The person who has them is someone on the mountain.” I said quietly. “We’re going to get them back…but we still don’t know completely how.”

Sliph was quiet for a moment, obviously taken by surprise. Keeping silent, I let him take it in and looked out at the view beyond us.

“Wow.” He said after a long pause. “Well, I hope you’re able to get them back. I’ll try my best to help you out.”

A smile lit by face and I looked at him gratefully.

“Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me!”

Sliph smiled kindly bad.

“No problem.” He said, getting to his feet and holding out a hand to help me up. “Ready to get going again?”

Reluctantly I took his hand, and let him pull me to my feet, feeling a slight heat creep into my face as our hands touched.

“I guess so.” I said.

Tech hadn’t taken his eyes off the view but I could have sworn that I saw them narrow slightly when Sliph smiled at me but I wasn’t completely sure. The journey resumed and Sliph had been right when he’d said that the ground would be a lot smoother from here up to the mountain. There were still a few fallen trees we had to climb over and a few ditches we had to jump but it didn’t seem quite as difficult as before. Sliph glanced around at the forest, thinking for a while and chewing on his lower lip as I noticed he did when he was decided something.

“We need to be careful from here on because these woods don’t belong to anyone so wild creatures do like to inhabit them.” He said.

Warily, I glanced around the forest, not wanting to run into another pack of those Gamlik things. We continued on without slowing our pace very much and I could tell that Sliph was still thinking about something by the distant look on his face. After a moment he glanced over and noticed me watching him and gave a timid smile.

“I ran into a gang of Tibrens last time I went through here…and I practically lost my arm.” He said, rubbing his shoulder.

“Tibrens?” Tech asked, not familiar with the creature.

“They’re like ugly brawny tigers with distorted faces. If you never meet one, you should be thankful; they’re utterly merciless.” Sliph said with a shudder.

It’d be an understatement if I said that I was feeling a little anxious about travelling without my dad now. For the next hour, we didn’t run into another living thing and as it began to grow dark, I suddenly began spotting changes in the forest around us. The leaves were much less vibrant and the trees were growing wider as well as taller. The bark of the trees was darker and looked rough and almost prickly. Tech was the one that actually bumped into one and got a long scratch on his arm confirming that the bark was indeed very coarse now. The trees grew closer together now and more than once we had to squeeze through narrow openings. The sky suddenly was painted with brilliant colors and Sliph instructed us to climb up in one of the larger trees.

“There are countless nocturnal animals that prowl the grounds at night and only a few of them know how to climb so it’s safer up in a tree.” He said, scampering up the branches and selecting a massive branch that was thicker than any I’d ever seen.

Tech let me go first and I managed to pull myself up onto the branch without too much trouble. It was wide enough for me to sit down and still have almost a foot on either side before the edge of the branch.

“Wow…this is amazing.” I said gazing down at the ground far below.

Luckily, I wasn’t afraid of heights or I’d be freaking out right now. Tech was also impressed but didn’t say anything. Sliph volunteered to keep the first watch but Tech decided that he should stay up. It was obvious that he still didn’t trust Sliph. Rolling my eyes at his stubbornness, I rolled out my mat and curled up under my blanket, hoping there weren’t any bugs that would try to eat me alive while I slept. The darkness set in quickly and I shut my eyes, slowing my breath like my dad had taught me to relax myself so I could go to sleep. For obvious reasons, we didn’t build a fire so it was completely black around us so it didn’t take long for me to drift off into a light sleep. Though the problem was that it was so light, I woke up when Tech woke Sliph for the next watch but soon after I fell asleep again and it was deeper this time but only by a bit. The dream started off with me running happily through a wide meadow of flowers without a care in the world. I made a crown of flowers and danced around the open field. But suddenly, a growl split the air and I whirled around. A large monster stood behind me. Soon I was running like crazy and the meadow turned into plain dirt ground.

The monster was still growling and hissing behind me and I felt a warm wind on my face…it was then that my eyes snapped open. It hadn’t been wind…it had been the warm breath of a giant beast and it was definitely not in my dream. My entire body froze as I looked up at the large pointed teeth dripping with siliva. That was all I could see of the monster right now and my mind was going crazy as I tried to decide if I should run away or stay as still as possible. The creature was standing over me and was about the size of a Great Dane but much more muscular and looked nothing like a dog but more like a lizard with oily black skin. Without a sound I quickly slid from under the creature and snatched my sword, rolling to my feet and pointing the blade at it, backing away quickly and being careful to stay away from the edge of the branch. My eyes flicked over to Tech’s sleeping form and then glanced quickly back at the beast as it prowled forward.

“Tech!” I said, kicking a small branch at him.

Tech snapped away as the branch hit him and he sat up quickly, looking around. The beast’s white glowing eyes looked over at him and it hissed. His sword was in his hands in and instant and Tech stood up, keeping his eyes on the creature.

“Where’s Sliph?” He asked, daring a glance around the area.

Sliph was nowhere to be found and I felt a knot in my stomach as the possibility of him having been eaten by this thing popped into my head. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I noticed now that the beast had scales instead of skin and they seemed to be rippling slightly with every breath and it didn’t have a tail or extremely long claws. The only dangerous part of was its long teeth that looked yellow and I knew that if someone got bit by it, no doubt they’d get an infection.

“No sudden moves.” I said softly. “Carefully slip around behind and attack, alright? I’ll keep its attention on me.”

Tech gave tiny nod and I took a quick step forward. The creature jumped back slightly and gave a fierce growl, creeping forward. I waved my sword in the air to keep its attention as Tech began to slowly to make his way behind it. It felt a little silly to be waving my sword around foolishly but it worked and Tech was soon behind the creature. With a nod, he quickly slid in and stabbed his sword into the creature’s back leg. It let out a loud roar that was deafening but I forced myself to quickly rush forward to attack from the from as it turned back to Tech. My sword pierced into the unprotected side of its neck as it turned its head and the creature gave a gagging noise before falling to the ground and making a snap at me with its mouth. Tech delivered the killing blow through its head before it reached me and I made a face, looking away as blood began to seep out of the wounds. It was thick and black, reminding me of oil or ink. Sliph came back into my head and I quickly glanced around again. Walking over to where he should have been sitting to keep watch, I began examining the area. There was no blood and no signs of a struggle or fight which was odd unless the creature was able to swallow people whole.

“He ran away.” Tech muttered, his eyes dark.

 Even though I really didn’t want to, I had to agree with him; Sliph was nowhere in sight and it was obvious that he hadn’t been eaten. Sitting down on my blanket I glanced up at the sky, noticing that it was slowly getting lighter.

“What time is it?” I asked, realizing now that I was still sleepy.

“It’s almost six.” Tech said, studying the sky.

He’d always been very good at telling what time it was by looking at the position of the sun.

“We should probably look for Sliph once we clean up here.” I said, rolling up my sleeping mat.

Tech shoved the dead animal’s carcass over the edge of the branch and I flinched slightly at the wet sounding thud it made when it hit the ground. It only took us about five minutes to get everything packed up and the moment we were on the ground again I heard a timid voice behind us.

“Hey…”

Sliph sheepishly came out from behind a tree and Tech fixed him with a glare.

“Why didn’t you wake us up when that thing came?” He said, crossing his arms.

“I…I don’t know. I wasn’t really thinking.” He said, looking over at the dead monster. “It was only until after I ran away that I realized that I hadn’t warned you. Sorry…I suppose I should have told you how much of a coward I am.”

It was true that I was angry he hadn’t warned us but he looked so ashamed that I couldn’t help but forgive him.

“Next time don’t forget.” I said.

Sliph nodded quickly.

“Oh I won’t.”

“Why did you run away though?” I asked, still not completely understanding.

Sliph shifted his weight and stared at the ground.

“Well…I never learned to fight and I’ve always been scared of animals since I was young.” He said softly. “I promise I’ll warn you next time.”

Tech gave a small grunt and handed Sliph his pack. Sliph began leading the way again and slowly he was able to brush off his mistake and resume his pleasant attitude. Tech still was angry at Sliph so he was silent for the entire day. Sliph silently apologized by leading us through a few short cuts and not stopping to many times. Before I knew it, the day had already passed and the mountain was even closer than I’d thought possible. The morning of the third day, Sliph announced that we’d be reaching the mountain by early noon. The moment he said that, I froze. That meant that we might be able to rescue Jayrin and mom today! …but how? I didn’t even know how dangerous this Nylic person was and if we’d be able to beat or outsmart him.

“How far are you willing to travel with us?” I asked Sliph hesitantly.

Sliph glanced at the mountain for a long while, thinking carefully.

“I’ll come with you a short ways in the mountain…but not too far.” He said slowly.

A smile slid onto my face. He was slowly starting to feel more comfortable with us. Tech still hadn’t completely forgiven Sliph for the incident and I understood that if I hadn’t woken up in time, we’d probably be dead.

“Well the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll be heading home.” I said packing up.

We started off again within a few minutes and my nerves began to take over again. My pace became slower and slower the closer we came to the mountain and once time I stopped all together but Tech dragged me on, quite literally. Sliph didn’t break his pace and he seemed almost eager to reach the mountain. It was probably because this would be his first time setting foot on the dreaded mountain that so many people had disappeared on. It was quite surprising that we hadn’t run into another vicious beast the other nights. Sliph had made us hide once as a pack of creatures ran by but that was it.

“Nearly there.” Sliph said with an excited gleam in his eye.

I glanced over at him and for a moment, his eyes looked like a different shade of blue…like a bright aqua blue instead of a pale crystal blue but when he looked over at me, they were back to normal. Something in the back of my head told me that Sliph was acting a little strange now. The suspicious was so sudden that I didn’t know what to think of it. Tech glanced over and saw me watching Sliph carefully, but didn’t say anything. My look shifted back ahead of me as we reached the base of the mountain. The ground began to slowly slope upward and that farther it got, the less trees there were. Giant rocks made up the entire mountain but I noticed that there was a wide path for us to follow around the edge of the mountain like someone had made it.

“Welcome to Mt. Delm.” Sliph said, his back to us as he gazed up at the mountain. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

Hang on a second…was it my imagination, or did Sliph’s voice just…change? Tech glanced at me quickly and I returned the glancing. Something was going on and I took a step back, not sure what it was. Sliph slowly turned around and there was a twisted smile on his face. As I watched, his appearance melted away like water and the person standing before us was no longer Sliph. His pastel orange-red hair gleamed in the sun and his aqua blue eyes glittered like diamonds. It was Nylic Vestrel.

Oh...well....

That creature was scary! T.T

*reads on*

O.O

....shoot.....

You didn't expect it to be that easy, did you?

Nylic Vestrel:

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