Sylva's Spirit: Origins: Part Three
Sylva vowed to not say a word to any of the crew about the stranger looking at him.
As the day blended into night, makeshift beds were formed out of leaves on the beach. It was cold in the evenings, and leaves didn't do much to keep the heat in.
Eliza had approached Sylva, her face bittersweet, thankful to be alive and sad at the situation. The two sat down in the sand, now cool under their paws.
“Sorry this is such a horrible experience...”
“It's not as terrible as it could be.”
He looked at her, stunned. “You kidding? We're down to a third of our crew, the ONE time I bring you with me, and we're stranded. We don't have a lot of food, almost no water, and-”
“Oh, please.” Eliza rolled her eyes. “You know what we'd be doing at home? Watching potatoes grow.”
“That may be true, but at least we were safe back there.”
Eliza moved her hand around in the sand, unsure of what to say. “If we were home, what would you want to do anyway?”
Sylva paused for a bit. “Hmm... Maybe get Dean a friend.” The Manjeer was frolicking in the sand, happily snorting and barking to himself. “Something that could look after itself and Dean, because someone needs to watch him, and that can't always be me.”
“Yeah...” The two drifted off into silence.
Eliza spoke next. “Hey, I... I took this from home, to document the journey, but you might want to use it more than me, if... if you want to.” She handed him a leather-bound journal with a quill sticking out of it.
Taking it into his paws, Sylva examined it. It was worn. “How long have you had this?”
She looked away. “Doesn't matter. Do you want it?”
“Yeah... Yeah, definitely. I can use some berries for ink. If they're not poisonous.” He smiled mischievously.
Eliza grinned back. “Alright, talk to you tomorrow!” She looked at him and joking saluted, the way Alex did with his crew members on a day he felt particularity bossy.
He saluted back, and as she walked away, Sylva looked up to the stars, feeling that maybe everything wasn't as bad as it seemed.*****
It became a nightly routine to write the day's events in the journal using smashed berries sniffed out by the Manjeer. The original quill was worn within days, and feathers dropped by birds were picked up and stuffed inside its covers for future use. A rainbow of petpets lived on the island, and many were feathered, so there was no shortage. The journal captured all of the details of the island, from the pleasant fruits in the bushes, to the encounters with strange natives deep in the darker parts of the jungles that haunted Sylva and chilled him to the bone. Writing became the thing that kept Sylva tethered to reality, when none of his surroundings felt real.*****
2 weeks later
It was a quiet morning, when Sylva awoke to realize he was completely alone. The only thing around him was Dean, who was whimpering loudly. An eerie feeling hung thick in the air, and fear climbed into the Lupe's stomach like an infestation of bugs.
They were gone.
Looking around the beach, he could see pawprints. The leaf beds were torn, the foliage around the area scattered. This wasn't right,
“Dean!” He shot up, carefully clutching his sword and journal. “Dean, where'd they go?”
The petpet yipped loudly, running in circles. Grabbing some berries, Sylva shoved them in his mouth in a rush, spitting the makeshift ink to the ground in his rush and scribbling in his journal with a feather:
“They were captured during the night. There were seven of them. I don't know what to do... I must rescue her.”*****
Hacking his way through the woods, guided by Dean's sniffing, fear flooded the Lupe's body. Where were they? Where were the natives? Did they have anything to do with this? What about Alex? What about Eliza? Was it just one member captured, and the others set out to find them?
With every “swish” of his blade cutting away leaves, different possibilities crawled into his head.
They had been captured.
/Italics Swish /end
They had been hurt
/italics Swish /end
Were they okay?
/italics Swish /end
He couldn't take it anymore.
He sheathed his sword, and started sprinting, screaming at the top of his lungs.
“ELIZA!!! ALEX!! PAUL, JAKE, ALICE!! WHERE ARE YOU??”
A faint yell could be heard in the distance.
“ELIZA!!?? IS THAT YOU?”
His body didn't want him to run like this, and neither did Dean, who could barely keep up, but was trying his best. Pulling out his compass to try to make sense of where he was, he dropped the journal, feeling as if part of him left as it fell.
He didn't care, he didn't try to pick it up. All he had to do was run toward the east, where the voices of the ones he loved were.
He pushed himself, harder than he pushed anything in his life, even the new recruits to the team shrubbery and thorns tearing at his fur, but he couldn’t feel anything other than a desire to protect his crew that had grown into his family. They'd been through so much; nights spent on the beach roasting vegetables, talking about their dreams and hopes, fighting that lava ghoul in the jungle that one time, taking turns on watch, trying to keep each other safe.
When he had finally reached the area where he had heard the voices, he halted. The natives were everywhere.
Eliza and Alex were somewhere. He could see the yellow dress, still torn from the storm, and he could see the long red ears he had always teased his best friend about. No sign of the other crew members.
The natives, face paint dripping down their cheeks, turned to the Lupe, hostile. He grabbed his sword, and saw Eliza in the distance, her face in shock. All of the eyes were on him.
He ran to the place where he saw the ones he cared for, but a native reached out to stop him. He brandished his sword.
“Let me get them and take them back to camp! We mean no harm!”
He knew they couldn’t understand, trying to frantically sign with his hands. He knew, but he still hoped.
A note of pleading crawled into his voice, and his face melted.
As they closed in on him, he held his sword high, Dean at his side...*****
He opened his eyes.
There was no one around him. No natives, no one.
“Eliza? Dean? Alex?”
Silence. Only birds chirping ever so softly, as if they, too, were afraid.
The only thing around him was a letter, the letter from his pocket he had carefully take from home, and his compass. Reaching to grab the compass and check his position, he realized his paws were a transparent, milky blue. He gasped, reeling back in surprise.
Sylva rushed to a nearby puddle to look at himself. His once bright eyes were now a wide red. Red, the way he imagined the anger of the storm that had taken his ship down.
His form was shimmering, shining in the light, yet barely there.
Clutching the compass, he realized that if he wanted to, he could pass through it. He held it in his paws,
and the metal felt earthly and cold.
He glanced around, and out of the woods hopped Dean, the same blue and red-eyed way as himself. He ran up to him and tried to nuzzle his face in relief, but they instead passed through each other, Dean's tail thumping, but making no sound.
He moved, silently, making no noise, back to the clearing and picked up the letter.
I think you'll find Brightvale to be different than what you expect. We do enjoy fun, and we're not all as rich as the king. My friend Alex speaks highly of you, and I'm hoping that someday you two will do something big together, something that can change the world. Maybe the Brightvalian stereotype holds true with me, that my dreams are too big and I see too much in what isn't there, but I can't help it. You two both have unbridled potential and no patience. Indeed, he's been complaining about our university since the day we arrived.
I'm hoping you two can achieve what I believe you can, or my hopes will fade away into a ghost lupe and gelert that haunts me, metaphorically speaking.
Write back soon. University has been awfully dull.
That was what he was now. A ghost lupe, his potential wasted and empty on patience. Achieving nothing.
“Dean, c'mon. We have to go find them. We're never giving up, you hear me?”
His voice was choked with emotion, and the Manjeer yipped in approval. The pair set out into the brush.