As they crossed the threshold made by the trees it filled in with thick spiked cypress branches, encasing them inside the forest. Persephone whined in disgust as she stumbled back into a puddle of bubbling green goo, which began deteriorating her leather shoes. All around them noises were made by creatures Persephone couldn’t identify.  Harbrum scratched his chin’s stubble,”I’m not entirely sure what to do now that we’re here, but I hear you’ve been studying the plants needed for the cure.” Persephone pondered for a moment to find an answer. Even though she knew the plants, she had no idea what secrets this forest kept, the doctor never mentioned any secret openings or carnivorous green goo that seemed to cover the ground. 

Did she really have any idea what she was doing? Then again this whole journey had seemed to be a blind walk guided by a blind dog with no sense of smell. Somehow she had made it this far and encountered magic for beyond her comprehension. Something drew her into Pallow’s Forest,  a mere princess who had spent much of her life too sick to leave the castle. This was her chance to win back all the years wasted dormant, doing nothing but watch the Kingdom of Lotuses bloom around her.

  “There are two plants, they shouldnt be too hard to find. The first is the silver glowing night lily, it glows very bright and found in the darkest parts of the forest,” light seeped in on them from gaps between the wall of trees, though beyond that the leaves were a thick canopy of darkness,”Secondly is the Novus Arus, a root distinguished by the smell of rotting flesh.” A flash of an image, roses bursting into stink bombs of death, sparked in the back of Persephone’s thoughts. Harbrum looked so pale that under the little light they had his face seemed to glow, a ghost suspended by purple fabric,”I never thought I’d share this place with anyone else.” 

He broke a nearby limb and tore a piece of his robe which he tied around one end. Persephone sat with such content watching him make the torch, she always had a knack for learning new things that may come in handy later. She gasped when he blew on the purple tip of the torch and it ignited in blue flames. He looked at her and sighed with a deep frown, causing several unseen wrinkles to form, “It’s ok,  nobody knows when magic is used or who does it. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have a bit of light?” Harbrum cracked his knuckles and then a smile before moving in front of Persephone and leaving her to watch his figure and glow move on into the darkness. Snapping twigs behind Persephone made her lunge forward and after Harbrum. 

“You know I didn’t always break laws. I use to have a nice home with a lovely fiance, her name was Betty. Though this job, being a knight and all, it does come with it’s risks. Had it not been for magic I may not have come home several times. Though I suppose maybe it would have been better that way.” Harbrum lost all emotion to his face, Persephone wasn’t sure what to say or if she should say anything. Harbrum seemed like the mysterious sort as he hadn’t talked about a personal life, she didn’t want to pry and have him shut her out. “Do you ever wish you could have one moment back? A moment that would change every day after that moment and give you a completely different life?” Their eyes matched and Harbrum’s gaze burned into Persephone’s heart. “I suppose everyone does doesn’t they?” Harbrum smiled softly at her words which brought a strange warmth to the frigid forest air. Suddenly the blue flames from the torch flickered bright then with a sudden gust of wind blew out. The two bodies tumbled into something firm then something very sticky in the darkness. Both of them made frantic attempts to move. Though whatever stuck to them wasn’t letting go, it was tightening to them and preventing any movement at all. 

“Harbrum what’s going on?!” Persephone felt helpless with no idea on what was holding them.

“Princess, how do you feel about bugs?” Harbrum’s voice was slightly different from back at the dock though still firm and very angry.

“Terrified.” She tried to swallow but a lump had formed in her throat.

“Well, she eats bugs.” Harbrum seemed to be more nervous then Persephone.

“What?! Who?!” Panic now engulfed her. 

“Talik,”his voice was a whisper. Shuffling and scraping  could be heard all around them and something large was coming down upon them, shaking the trap that had the two stuck like flies. 

“Harbrum… Who’s Talik!?” She squirmed one last time before she was unable to move anymore.

“How do you feel about spiders?” 

To be continued…

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