The sun was fully risen in the sky by the time Vivet awoke. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and stared up at the sky, her eyes burning.
Her brain finally understood what she was doing and she shut her eyes, trying to calm the burning in her eyes.
When she opened them again, Vivet looked at Lux, who was gone from his hammock. From the looks of it, he hadn't rolled out of it in his sleep, so she assumed he was out looking for herbs.
Vivet rolled into the pine needles, stringing herself to the tree as she unlatched the hammocks and let them disintegrate into the tree. Making her way to the forest floor, Vivet slipped on her shoes and followed the subtle footprints Lux left behind.\
She emerged at the end of the forest, with the sun brightly over head. A small river flowed ahead, where she finally spotted Lux sitting on a large rock picking at mosses.
"How interesting can moss be?"
Lux didn't look up. "I'm trying to get under it, but it keeps growing back. It must be magic moss or some weird fungus." He picked at the moss again, flinching as it latched onto his finger.
Vivet walked up to the rock and rubbed the moss from his finger. She scooped some water into a leaf and washed her hands, motioning for Lux to do the same. "It's weird. We should get going."
"Yeah, I'm not liking this moss's growing rate," Lux said uncomfortably, rubbing his hands together in a cringing motion.
The two set off down the remainder of the mountain, hopping over creeks and giant logs. Vivet bounced across some stepping stones and, in the attempt to look graceful, fell straight into the water.
From the bottom of the creek, the sunlight barely streamed. Her hair floated around her and she let out air bubbles, trying not to laugh. Lux's distinct cackling could be heard from the above muffled air.
Suddenly, Vivet felt a disturbance in the water. The currents shifted slightly, but too quickly to be natural. She knew at once what was happening.
Leaping up from the water like a dolphin, Vivet gasped for air before pulling Lux down under the surface with her. He struggled in her grasp until she shoved kelp onto his mouth and willed him to breathe.
"What the heck was that for?" Lux panted, inhaling he bubbles of oxygen coming from my kelp.
"Look at the water," Vivet pointed, sinking as far down as the creek would allow. The bottom was far enough down that they wouldn't be spotted, but someone was defiantly up there. "Wind Elemental."
Lux groaned. "But I thought we ditched them on the other side of the mountain!"
"Well the only other option is a Matter Elemental, and last time I checked, they're extinct. So yes, it's a Wind Elemental for sure-"
Vivet felt her body go numb, the flowers on her dress freeze and shoot toward the surface. Her entire body gave a huge jolt and she was shot out of the water. Opening her eyes and snapping her head around her, she observed that she was a few feet above the surface.
Her words were cut off by another yelp as Lux was shot up and stopped beside her. They both sat, brushing their wet hair from their faces. A low voice began to laugh.
"I never thought I'd see Plant Elementals hiding in the water like fish. I didn't know you had swapped."
"Oh, shove off," Vivet shouted, her eyes still squinting water out, "Go back to the other side of the mountain and practice on the trees!"
"But of course, Planty, I could never do that. The trees are too tall for my material reach."
"My name is- HOLY HORSETAIL!" She had finally cleared her eyes of water and was now staring in the girl's face.
"Vivet relaaaaAAAAHHHH!" Lux now began to start yelling too, as he layed his eyes upon their kidnapper.
Vivet squinted at her, observing as much as she could. She knew it would be soon that she would be disassembled and restructured.
The girl had long silver hair, with tan skin and grey eyes. Her outfit consisted of a small t-shirt and shorts combo, with a slip on pair of silver holographic slides to top it all off. A holographic twinkle in the girl's eyes indicated her status, a Matter Elemental.
"What's the matter, Planties?" The girl cocked her head, a mocking grin on her face. "Never read a spellbound before?"
"Of course we have," Lux challenged, "It's not every day you see a species presumed dead and hunted down."
"I could say the same about you."
Lux flowed with anger, the one trait that stuck with him after his Power Swap.
"From the looks of it," the girl continued, "You weren't originally a Planty, were you?" She looked at his face and clicked her tongue. "Ah, a Light Elemental."
Vivet tried to hide her stunned expression. "How do you-"
"I know everything, darling. Speaking of which, I should find out your names-"
"Vivet, and that's Lux. Now can you put us down?"
The girl snickered. "She's a feisty one, huh?" She said to Lux. He struggled in response. "Anyways, I should introduce myself too, although it isn't just a standard Latin translation."
"So that's the language," Lux whispered.
She ignored Lux. "My name is Celena. And I take it you want to..." She trailed off as she put the pair down.
"What are you waiting for," Vivet jeered, "Just dissemble us while you can!" Lux growled quietly behind her.
"Oh you thick playthings, that's just an old folktale. Although I do have the power to, I will spare you, on one condition."
Vivet rolled her eyes. "Okay whatever, what's the condition?
Celena sat on a rock, inspecting her fingernails. "You take me wherever you're going." She ignored Vivet's moan and turned her gaze back to Lux. "You won't mind that, will you-"
Celena's words were stopped as Vivet grabbed the front of her collared shirt and yanked her forwards, their foreheads almost touching. "We can't do that. You see, we have a certain-"
"Vivet, will you stop defending yourself for one minute and listen?" Lux stared her in the eyes, throwing his hands out in front of him in a gesture of frustration. "She's not gonna do anything bag to us, okay?"
"Yeah, clover head, if I was going to kill you, I would have twisted your insides and snapped your bones by now."
Vivet crossed her arms and thrust Celena back. "What a refreshing image."
"So can I come with you or not? I kind of have a lot to do today."
Vivet sat as still as possible, feeling the trees sway beneath her. She harnessed the power of the nearby branches and closed her eyes. Summoning all of the leaves and twigs to follow her command, she took a deep breath and opened her eyes. "No."
At once, Celena was wrapped in branches. She was still, and wasn't struggling. She stared Vivet in the eyes and a leaf behind Vivet contorted in so many confusing ways it looked as if it were folding itself.
Vivet grabbed Lux's wrist and summoned a leaf mask over Celena's eyes. The leaf lay still again. Vivet tied some vines around it (shot from her wrist) and silently whispered, "Run."
Vivet started to fall out of the sky. She felt herself loosen her grip on Lux before she dragged him under the water. She stuffed a wad of kelp in his face and motioned for him to tie it on.
"We need to swim upstream, but keep close to the floor."
"Just trust me," Vivet whispered, pulling him along and avoiding the sharp rocks. She heard Celena finally start to struggle, and Vivet summoned a tree root to gag her. When she finally heard choking, she swam faster.
The sun had begin to fade when Vivet finally let go of all of the plants. Without saying a word to Lux, she sighed and summoned a spying vine to make sure Celena wouldn't follow them. The water currents had shifted, giving them more speed.
Once she knew Celena wouldn't follow, she motioned for Lux to duck into a nearby hole, which she assumed opened into an underwater cave. She swam in after him and rolled a chunk of dirt over the hole, tying the inside with vines to hold it shut.
She looked around quickly, spying Lux in a far corner. There was a pocket of air there, where he had taken out a glowing mushroom and tossed it into the corner Vivet was in. She sighed, summoning her own light source and sticking it in the ground. She summoned a sea sponge, which took most of her efforts, and sucked up the water, leaving dirt and dust flying through the air.
Vivet pulled off the kelp wrapped on her mouth and sighed, fresh air seeping into her lungs. She tried to get the taste of kelp from her tongue, eventually giving up and walking to Lux, who had done the same.
"Now will you explain why we're in a dirty cave underwater, running from a harmless-"
"She wasn't harmless, she-"
"Will you please stop interrupting me!" Lux's shout shook the whole room, and he ignored Vivet's gesture to stay quiet.
"Fine," Vivet hissed, "Believe that's she's innocent. But I doubt you saw the rune on her necklace."
Lux froze, dropping to a silent panic. "Please don't tell me it was..."
"Yep, the mark of Karfro, I'm sure of it."
"How can you be sure-"
"I traced the lines in my head and could hear her voice, the normal side effect of seeing the mark! Karfro made it very certain that we would notice each line on her stupid mark, so we can't trust a seemingly extinct elemental who sides with her." Vivet sat on a stump of packed down dirt. "We have to go farther than our vantage point, to avoid possible discovery. I say we take a teleportation seed and instead of continuing North, we head Northwest a few thousand miles."
"But by that rate, we'll be half way back to where we started!"
Lux sat down next to her and put his head in his hands. "How much longer is this trip going to take? I just want to sit back in our new home and relax."
Vivet placed a hand on his shoulder. "I know you do. And so do I, but until we can distance ourselves from any other Elementals, we have to keep going."
Lux nodded his head. "I know."
Vivet stood up from her little dirt stoop and brushed the dust from her dress. "We should get going, before Celena finds us. Besides, the flowers on my dress are wilting. We can't stay underwater without sunlight for too long."
The two got up and using a vine Vivet had shaped into a point and a curve, they hollowed out a tunnel to the surface, keeping as low as possible until they could no longer see the other side they came from. Lux shot a vines full of dirt and packed their entrance tightly, so there was no trace of their escape. Vivet used a tube of flower stem and filled the room with water again.
The sky was shades of pink and purple by the time they had found their way out of the forest. They had discovered, upon tunneling out of the dirt, that they had went straight through another plateau on the opposite side of the mountain. Luckily, there were Wind Elementals on the top to hopefully keep Celena out.
As they walked, Vivet popped a leaf of acacia in her mouth. They would need all the protection they could get.
The moon had risen a bit over the horizon when Lux finally spoke. "Do you think we should eat another leaf of peacock begonia?"
Vivet nodded, her hand already thrust into her bag. She pulled out two leaves and a few blackberries to activate the cloaking.
Lux ate the herbs quickly this time, seeing as he had already done it once, and he knew what he was getting into.
"Here, put this in your pocket." Vivet handed Lux a leaf of calamus, closing it into his hand.
Lux raised his hand to his nose to smell the leaf, before Vivet slapped it away. "Don't smell that, it's poision! The farther from your mouth, the better!"
Lux, wide eyed and hair on end, shoved the leaf in his pocket and rubbed his hands on his shirt.
"Here, eat this. It's crampbark. It will calm you down, seeing as you look like an earthquake."
Lux ate the strange herb and glanced over his shoulder at the rising moon. Vivet looked away from him, and her eyes fell on a strange bundle of herbs on the forest floor. "This could make a nice smudging stick," she said aloud.
"What's smudging?" Lux asked, stopping at a tree to pick off a few berries.
"You smoke herbs to cleanse an area or a body- don't eat that, those are crampbark berries."
"Didn't I just eat crambark?"
"You didn't eat the berries, now did you? They're toxic." Vivet picked up the bundle of strange herbs, inspecting it further.
"Forget-me-nots," she whispered. They were rare for the climate they were in, and she had only ever seen them in another Plant Elemental's herb stock, after their voyage to- well, she wasn't quite sure where. They were always quiet about it.
She felt Lux hovering over her shoulder. "What's so good about those? Don't they just cause memory regain and love effects?"
At the word she blushed, glad she was barely visible. "You never know who we need to interrogate, or who will wipe our memories. It's always handy. Besides, I can feel the herbs in our house wilting. We need to restock."
Lux nodded, taking the bunch from her and shoving it into his bag. "Let's just hope the bunch doesn't crush the house."
"It shrinks as it falls. It's like a little pocket of space in there."
"Good. Wouldn't want Cochlea to be crushed."
Lux received a punch in the shoulder for that remark.