Chapter 20: The Plan

The story so far can be found on the page titled “An Elusive Hero“.

The sun was slowly descending as I was putting the finishing touches on my second day of training with Michelle. Again, the endurance potion had helped me push my efforts further. I ignored the cries of my aching body to stop, instead trying to accelerate even in what seemed to my millionth sprint that day. Michelle looked at me and seemed content with my days work.

Her training had consisted of two parts. The whole morning she had shown me various difficult stretches for my arm to perform, hoping to extend the range of motion in my shoulder. This had been far more painful than I anticipated. But it worked. At noon, I was able to lift my arm higher than a 45-degree angle again. Still not enough to block an incoming attack, but it was a noticeable improvement.

She decided that further work would only lead to more soreness in my arm and focused on getting my quickness up to speed after. The drills we did reminded me of my gym class on planet Earth. I had loved the class, but hated running without purpose. This was entirely different. We ran for hours and I followed every one of her steps diligently until I was completely exhausted. The sweat was running down my forehead as I collapsed into the meadow we had flattened over the course of the day. Michelle sat down next to me and looked at me with a pleased smile on her face:

“You’re making good progress. How do you feel?”

My thoughts wandered to Laurenar and the fact we had no idea what exactly we were to do tomorrow.

“Worried.”

I stared straight ahead at the village we had set up camp in. It was a little fishing village, close to the shore. We could see the beach in the background, with the waves slowly flowing against the sand, hour after hour, day after day. I had spent all my time in Illusio close to the sea. The next step of my journey would take me into the heart of the continent. With the sun setting, activity was low, with most inhabitants sitting inside after a hard day’s labor. Only one or two persons remained outside. I decided to ask Michelle a question I had been wondering about:

“Why are you coming with us? I mean, you don’t really have to help me. You could report back to Queen Sophia and be reassigned.”

Michelle stared at me in surprise. It took a moment for her to gather her thoughts, before she slowly shook her head.

“I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world.” She then looked directly into my eyes and I noticed how sadness crept into her expression. “We were supposed to protect and help you succeed in your mission. A lot of my friends died on the way here. And I think, I think we just want to make sure it wasn’t for nothing.”

Michelle sobbed quietly. I knew she was right. They had been ordered to help me. They had seen their friends die for my cause. And here I was, clueless as before, not sure where to start the search for one of my companions, who was taken while protecting me.

I felt the weight of the world slowly coming down on me. The pace of my breathing quickened and I thought I was going to have a full-blown panic attack, when I saw Seraphina walking towards us. Something seemed different than the days before.

She was standing straight and every step she took was measured and controlled. Her flowing red mane was bound together at the back, while her white robes looked pristine. Seraphina was oozing confidence. I glanced over to Michelle, who wiped away her tears and got to her feet. She was as startled as I was.

“Good Evening.” Seraphina eyed me suspiciously. Michelle was still teary and I was exhausted. Tired from training all day long. And drained from finally realizing what was at stake. “Follow me.”

She walked down to the little hut where I had been recovering, not speaking a word or acknowledging the activities of the day. We just walked down to find Tyler and Drake waiting for us, sitting at a table full of fruits and vegetables. Seraphina motioned us to sit down and eat. I collapsed into the chair, fully expecting to relax, while the sorceress took command again effortlessly. I could see what she had meant with recharging her energy.

“Good, now that you’re all here, we will discuss our preparations and the plan for the next stage of the journey. First of all, the logistics. We have four horses and enough food for a week. If we ration it and hunt every second day, it should even last longer.”

Tyler smiled at the mention of hunting. Seraphina continued. “We have herbs for basic medicine and about two weeks’ worth of endurance potion. Every one of you is equipped with your weapon of choice. Correct?”

Everyone around me nodded. “Good.  Now, this is what we are going to do.”

Now she was looking directly at me. “We will ride tomorrow at dawn. We will take a route leading through the surrounding forests, away from the sea. The enemy has been watching us since we arrived here. I’ve counted two spies tracking our every move. There can only be two reasons why they haven’t attacked during our stay. They are either distracted or not strong enough. We will ride through the forests, making it look like we’re heading for the villages where discontent is growing. They should keep on following us. When the time is right, we’ll turn the tables. With the element of surprise and as long as we are not caught out in the open, we should be able to overcome the spies. After that, they should be more than capable of leading us to Laurenar.”

Drake and Tyler were smiling. I could see they approved the plan wholeheartedly. Michelle nodded, while I thought it through. Without any tangible clues of Laurenar’s whereabouts, it did seem like a plan that could work. But she was wrong in one point. Maybe they hadn’t attacked yet because they knew we were coming.

_____________________________________________________________________

Thank you very much for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed the story so far. “An Elusive Hero”, the story (not the blog!) is taking a two-week break now, so I can edit the chapters I’ve written so far and put them together a bit smoother. So this is the perfect time to catch up if you’ve skipped certain chapters! The story will continue on October 25.

Please also like, share and subscribe!

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

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