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In The Spirit World - Chapter 7
The Dilikan Princess Encanta
“I don’t understand why she did not use her power against the monsters down there in the valley…!” Gayon bristled with indignation.
“She needed to commune with nature… that is why we’re running toward this hill… nature feeds her power…” Ayong defended Encanta.
“So that means if the monsters overtook you in there… they could have killed you?”
“Not without a fight, Agawe…” Ayong said weakly.
Agawe shuddered at the thought. “Let’s find a place to rest and you can tell us what happened… how you got here in the underground realm….”
“We’re underground?” Ayong asked incredulously.
“Yes!” Agawe and Gayon answered in unison.
They found a clearing where they all slumped down exhausted.
The little girl sat on a rock and Agawe noticed that she was talking to someone softly. He could not hear the words but her lips were moving. “Ayong… what is she doing?” he asked anxiously.
“No… she’s talking to someone we cannot see!” Gayon bolted up, his eyes wide.
Agawe was unnerved when he felt the harsh wind on his face but the panic rising in him was promptly quelled when Laidan appeared.
“Laidan!” Agawe exclaimed.
“Agawe… I’ve been looking for you. Thanks to Encanta I found you! Sayling has to see you…”
Before he could even reply, a whirlwind came out of nowhere and carried them off. Agawe was now familiar with the feeling of riding in the air. He closed his eyes and allowed the wind to carry him smoothly until he felt soft grass tickle his feet.
He opened his eyes to see Gayon and Ayong struggling to steady themselves from the dizzying ride. The first thing Agawe noticed were the sunflowers dancing in the gentle breeze as they worshipped the sun. He stood there basking in the beauty and tranquility of the place when Ayong and Gayon pulled him to a round stone table surrounded by smooth stone stools. The table was laden with a sumptuous feast fit for humans.
“You need nourishment and rest…” Laidan said.
“Are we back to DiwataLand?”
“This is the underground territory of the diwatas, Agawe. I am not strong enough to take us to middleground. Sayling will be here soon.”
Laidan turned to Encanta, “As for you… come with me.”
Ayong made an attempt to stop Encanta but the girl said, “I’ll be alright, Ayong…”
Gayon and Ayong only took a moment to realize how hungry they were. They dived in with gusto while Agawe wondered why he was not as hungry. He took a few bites from the large red macopa before he asked, “Ayong… how did you get here? And how did you meet the little girl?”
Ayong swallowed and drank water from a small jug before he answered, “Alright… I am dying to tell you what happened…” He glared at Gayon who continued eating.
“I am listening…” Gayon said with his mouth full.
“Agawe… remember the time we were searching for Gayon… you suddenly disappeared. I looked for you until I found your horse in the edge of the forest. So I followed your tracks on foot…”
Ayong turned to Gayon, his lips pursed. “I was far from the others… and I thought if Agawe was in trouble, I could help…”
Gayon nodded oblivious of the displeasure in Ayong’s voice.
“Then…” Ayong continued, “I heard a voice, a small voice but I can’t find anyone around. Then I heard it again…”
“What did it say?” Gayon inspected the guava he took from the table.
“At first I couldn’t make it out but later I realized it was saying ‘help me’… so again I looked around… then the voice came again repeating “help me” so I followed the voice…”
Agawe sat quietly listening to Ayong’s story.
“I followed the voice to a clearing and to my amazement a tree appeared in front of me.”
“A siring was playing with you…”
“Gayon… it was not a siring… if you have not guessed by now… the voice belongs to Encanta!”
Agawe sighed, “You climbed the tree?”
“Yes… a ladder appeared so I climbed up.”
“You did not even think it was a trap?” Agawe snapped. “Witches can conjure trees and ladders!”
“Ayy, adi…” Ayong exhaled in exasperation. “I know it was foolish of me but I can’t think well that time. I don’t know why… the voice was sad and pleading… and I felt there was this force telling me to do it!”
When Agawe remained quiet, Ayong continued, “I came up and found myself in a very big house… empty house. It was made of bamboo with thick draperies… everything was golden it was dizzying… then the voice said she’s at the end of a long hallway but at the end, I found stairs going down…”
“The voice said ‘go down’ and you went down…”
Ayong snapped, “You’re right, Gayon… you’re right! I am stupid, yes… but at least I did not almost kill Agawe!”
“What?!" Gayon tossed the fruit he was eating and stood up.
Ayong got to his feet and stared defiantly at Gayon.
“Stop! What are you doing? We have all endangered ourselves but here we are... we’re together and we’re safe…. we should be grateful!”
The two did not budge.
“Ayong… no one is saying you’re stupid! We are concerned about you!” Agawe sighed, “I blame myself for what you had to go through.”
Immediately, Gayon’s demeanor changed. He was apologetic, “This is all my fault! If I did not burn the balete… this won’t happen to us.”
Anger melted from Ayong’s face. He scratched his head like a little boy. “We should stop blaming each other now… Agawe is right… we’re together… and safe…”
He reached over and tapped Gayon’s arm lightly who in turn grinned and playfully punched the younger boy’s arm.
Agawe was relieved. “We have to stick together because this is not our world. We are underground… in the spirit world!”
As the two settled back to the table, Ayong continued, “I did not even know I was underground until you told me.” He sighed. “Her voice led me to a room where she was held captive. The room was a cave… a rocky cave. She said she needed to get out to save her parents but she is getting weaker. So I offered to help her get out. I did not take her seriously when she said monsters are guarding her.”
Ayong grinned impishly. “I was confident because I did not see any monster outside. I carried her on my back and retraced my steps but to my alarm, everything turned to a rocky cave. There was no bamboo house, no curtains. I did not know how to get out of there.
Then something happened… a little mouse appeared and she asked me to follow it. It led us outside.”
Gayon and Agawe were all ears.
“She asked me to run to the hill and told me whatever happened I should not stop running…”
“That’s how we found you…” Gayon spoke up.
“I did not know she meant run for my life… I never knew I could run that fast when I realized that monsters were after us… I thought my heart would stop anytime…”
Agawe shook his head ruefully, “I could not forgive myself if anything happened to you… but it was a brave thing to do, Ayong… you were very brave.”
Before Ayong could reply, Sayling appeared. Agawe stood up. Gayon and Ayong did the same.
“Sayling… this is Gayon and this is Ayong…” Agawe introduced them.
“I know them…” Sayling smiled at the two as she swept her hand over the table and everything disappeared, clearing the stone table.
“Please take a seat…” Sayling settled herself on one of the stone stools. “You are here because you are descendants of a very special woman… your great-grandmother, the mother of your Apo Abet.”
“You know Apo Abet?” Ayong asked excitedly.
“Your Apo Abet enjoys special favors from the Diwata Queen… because her mother was a great guardian of nature. That is why,” she continued when no one spoke, “now that the world is in danger… the queen has chosen men from Apo Abet’s line to help save the world…”
It flashed in Agawe’s mind that he was not from Apo Abet’s lineage. He wondered why he was chosen.
“Agawe… King Daniyan believed that you can do this monumental task so… the queen has chosen two worthy humans to help you in this fight… she chose Gayon and Ayong.”
Read Chapter 8
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