Between Dimensions- Chapter 5
Once they find a place to stay for the night, Adrian leaves in search of food and Becca tries to start a fire. Friction, heat, fire, friction, heat, fire, she keeps telling herself as she rubs two rocks provided by Adrian. While some distance away, Adrian is busy collecting berries. The last time she was here, she had to spend days in this forest before she could find her way out. And she was alone. All that time here had at least given her some experience. She remembered all that Doerian had taught her. Blue colored berries, the ones she thought were the most beautiful were the most dangerous ones too. Their poison didn’t kill you immediately; it took time, months even. But during those months, the poison would cause hallucinations and dreams so horrible that it drove any person to madness. And the worst part is that there is no cure for this poison. They’re called the Bluedeath. Next she comes across white, ripe fruits, hanging low from their branches. Their snow white color attracts all. Instant death.
Walking further, she sees something and stops. On the ground, matted with dirt, she finds what she’s looking for. The Exilr. One of the only three fruits in this forest which can be consumed. She crouches low and plucks as many as she can carry in her hands and starts walking toward the stream to wash off the dirt.
Becca throws the rocks in frustration. Friction creates heat, heat results in fire. As simple as that. Adrian must have given her the wrong sort of rocks, she decides. She stands up and looks around. The forest fascinated her from the moment she landed here, but she didn’t have time to actually look at it before now.
The trees are of the same size and build of her dimension, but the leaves, the blossoming flowers and the ripe fruits are something she’s never seen before. On one tree, for example, the leaves are not green, they are deep purple and red. And on top of that, they are not shaped like what she has always associated with leaves. They are hexagonal. The fruits hanging on this peculiar tree are pure white and the most beautiful sort of fruits she has ever seen.
Another tree is totally bare. There is one vine which covers every inch of the tree, suffocating it. The flowers are deep pink. The petals are layered on top of one another and in the centre; there are two small tentacles which start moving as soon as Becca goes near them! One of the weird tentacle things inject into the bark of the tree.
“It’s a parasite. Stay away.” Says a voice behind Becca.
She jumps around and takes her dagger out of its heath in one sweeping movement. She comes face to face with a boy, who seems to be her age. Even he holds a dagger, but in his defense rather that offense. She takes a step forward and he goes back,
“Calm down, I’m not here to hurt you. If I wanted to, then I would have already. You were standing with your back to me, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“What do you want?” she asks suspiciously. Idiot, she curses herself, he is right, he could’ve killed you. You’re lucky, be thankful.
“I want to help you. I know you’re here to slay the Queen.”
After she’s done washing the Exilr in the cool water of the tiny stream, Adrian heads back to the clearing. The way was full of tiny bushes and shrubs, all present clearly in her head. It was like walking down a memory lane. She found the forest to be extraordinarily beautiful. Extremely dangerous if you don’t know your way around, but majestic anyway. The colorful flowers and leaves and berries were not something you found in her world. But she hadn’t seen them for a long while either. Her bittersweet memories are interrupted when she reaches the clearing and instead of finding Becca alone, she sees her with Logan.
“Logan!” she gasps involuntary, “We all thought you were dead!”
He turns around upon hearing Adrian and lowers his dagger, but Becca keeps her weapon poised, should he attack.
“Hi Adrian!” He says, “Nice to see you too.”
“What’s going on here?” Becca interjects before Adrian can reply.
“Becca this is Logan. He works for Doerian. We-”
“With,” Logan interrupts Adrian, “I work with him. Not for.”
Adrian ignores him and continues, “We worked together. And at the last moment, he disappeared.”
“Yeah about that. I didn’t disappear like you all think, the Queen caught me. Now she thinks I work for her. You don’t know how difficult it is for me to take orders from that bitch.”
“Whatever. We were unsuccessful, that’s what matters.” Adrian retaliates, not believing him.
“If you work for her then you can get us into the castle!” exclaims Becca. She didn’t think it would be this easy.
“I still don’t trust him.” Adrian replies, stubborn as ever.
“You know Doerian and I can’t go against each other because of the bond. And even if otherwise, I wouldn’t dream of it. Unlike you, we all have something against her.”
“I’d forgotten about the bond,” Adrian admits, a little guilty, “But you are wrong. Even I have something against her. You just don’t know about it.”
“What bond? You know, I hate being the one who doesn’t know anything.” Says Becca sullenly.
“You can call it a contract. A contract if you break you die.”
“Okay,” sighs Becca, “I’m hungry.”
Adrian hands her the berries and takes the plastic bottle to the stream. While Becca eats the berries, Logan lights the fire. Becca looks at him in awe.
“It was that easy?! I kept trying, but…”
“Practice makes perfect. So you’re the new one, huh?”
“If by new one you mean that I was forcibly transported from my cozy room to some inter dimential place, then yeah.”
Logan chuckles and continues,
“So tell me something about your world. Adrian never told me-”
“Hey!” exclaims Becca, “This thing has a pearl for a seed!”
“Yeah,” Logan laughs, “Want to hear a story?”
“Go ahead.” Replies Becca, still looking at the white pearl in awe.
“Long, long ago,” He begins dramatically, “This forest had nothing but poison. People kept well away from here. Still do, but they’re not as scared as they were at that time. A lot of people came in and got lost. Some came to show their bravery, some by chance, and some were thrown in as a punishment. The rulers sent all those who opposed them here. People started dying in great numbers,” he pauses and looks at her, expecting her to gasp in a ladylike manner, but she just frowns, so he continues, “I don’t know if it was a merciful God or Goddess, or some warlock, but one of them took pity and spread some pearls in the dreaded forest. There were four pearls- white, black, silver and one was transparent. All bore different consumable fruits. And the transparent one turned into springs and streams. There’s a pearl inside each fruit, if you throw it, it will turn into another fruit bearing bush or tree and maybe save the life of another. Or you can keep it.”
“But if people knew,” Becca asks, “that there are only poisonous fruits here, then why didn’t they bring seeds or something?”
“You’re smart.” He compliments, expecting a blush, but instead,
“I know. Now answer.”
“People tried, of course. But nothing could grow in this soil,” he pauses as if waiting for something and then says, “You could thank me, you know.”
“For what?” she asks curtly.
“I did just tell you an important fragment of the history of me world.” He replies, shocked by her rudeness.
“I didn’t ask you to. You offered. You shouldn’t expect thanks.”
“Don’t bother,” says Adrian, who just came back, “You won’t find any of those stupid ladylike manners in her. That’s not how things work in our world.”
“They used to,” says Becca, folding her arms, “Long, long ago. Not anymore.”
“Well then that’s a huge problem.” Replies Logan with mock concern.
“Why?” ask both the girls together.
“Because you need to act like ladies if you want to get into the castle.” Logan replies with a mischievous grin in his face.