“Okay, we need a plan,” Michael started.
“Yes, sir!” Paul deepened his voice and held up his hand in attention.
Michael slowly turned his head to look at Paul, completely unamused. Paul bowed his head in shame.
“You done?” Michael asked softly.
“Okay, as I said we need a plan. Problem is, we’re not sure what the state of things is. If only we could talk to someone in a nearby village…” Michael mumbled the last sentence, talking more to himself than to Paul.
“Have any friends here that I’m not currently aware of?” Paul teased.
Michael ignored him.
“We’ve been walking for a while. Think we’re anywhere near Alacoria? Actually surprised we haven’t run into monsters or people trying to kill us!” Paul exclaimed.
As if on cue, a deep growl came from behind the duo.
They both immediately stopped.
Michael looked up to Paul, giving him a look that said, Really? You just had to say that, huh?
Paul shrugged his shoulders, Sorry.
Michael rolled his eyes and they silently made an agreement to turn around slowly after three seconds.
The monster growled again, digging its paw into the dirt. It looked like a normal giant dog-four paws, drool hanging from its mouth, teeth bared-but Paul and Michael both knew better. It was a Biobuil, a big creature with poison laced into its teeth, if you got bit, you’d die, there was no cure, no spell. It could grow into a size of a bear, this one must’ve been a baby.
If this one is a baby, then where are the parents? Paul thought, swallowing thickly. He tried to remember a healing spell or a defense spell, maybe a spell to physically put a bubble around them? Paul was getting slightly worried as he saw Michael slowly moving for his staff. He’d had years of learning and studying, why is it he couldn’t remember anything?
The Biobuil was now growling louder and getting ready to charge.
Perhaps Paul could distract it enough for both of them to climb a tree or get out of reach? Paul was about to form a plan but then Michael threw a rock at it and took off towards the right-the opposite direction of where Paul was.
The Biobuil instantly took off after him and Paul was frozen for a second.
Why would he do that? Does he have a plan? WHAT
Paul’s body seemed to be ahead of his mind and he took off after them.
He followed the sounds of barking and distant curses to see Michael scrambling up a tree, sword in hand. The Biobuil was on its hind legs and was trying to climb the tree to get to Michael.
“This was a terrible plan!” Michael screamed, feet sliding against the bark, inches away from the Biobuil’s dripping mouth.
Paul followed Michael’s lead, climbing a tree and whistling, trying to draw attention to him. It worked and the Biobuil immediately pounced over to Paul.
“Paul, you dumbass, what the hell are you doing?!” Michael yelled.
“Trying to save you!” Paul was nervous at how close the Biobuil was getting and moved up a branch.
“Well, now we’re both stuck, you idiot!”
“I was trying to help!”
Michael groaned in frustration, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“But I don’t have a plan so do something!” Paul shouted.
“What?! Why me?” Michael turned his head towards Paul.
“You have the sword!”
“You have magic!” Michael pointed out.
“Oh,” Paul seemed to have temporarily forgotten that fact, “Right.” He held out his hands to the Biobuil but realized he still didn’t have a spell. He looked back up at Michael, “What spell should I use?” He asked.
Michael's eyes widened, wondering how Paul survived all those years, “Rivertia!”
Paul nodded, positioning his hands again. Another question popped into Paul’s head and he opened his mouth to ask it but Michael interrupted him.
“For fucks sake, Paul, now is not the time!” Michael screeched and Paul figured he’d better ask it later.
He positioned his hands again, fully intending to actually cast the spell this time but before he could he heard a snap and all of a sudden he was falling. He fell towards the ground and Paul tried to brace himself for death but then his foot got tangled in some vines and he stopped abruptly, “Ah!”
He heard Michael yell something and was he jumping out of the tree, that is a horrible idea- Paul’s attention was drawn to the Biobuil who was now jumping, trying to bite Paul. His head was inches away from the Biobuil’s. Paul screamed and tried to reach for something to grab onto, anything.
Paul isn’t exactly sure what happened, all he knew was that Michael somehow killed the Biobuil and then he was falling onto the hard ground onto something soft-like a human body.
“Ow, you dick!” Michael cursed into his ear. “You fell on me!” Michael pushed Paul off of him onto the ground.
“Ow, that hurt!” Paul pushed himself off of the ground.
“You fucking fell on me! Do you know how heavy you are?” Michael stood up, not bothering to offer Paul a hand.
“I’m not that heavy!” Paul defended, getting up.
Michael rolled his eyes, “We don’t have time to bicker, we have to go. I’m not sure how much longer I-we have left.” It was a subtle mess-up and Michael hoped that Paul didn’t notice. Fortunately, he didn’t.
“You’re right. Which ways Alacoria? My sense of direction got a little screwed up when I was chased by a Biobuil and fell out of a tree.” Paul looked at Michael who rolled his eyes again.
“That way.” Michael pointed over his shoulder.
Paul nodded, looking towards the still body of the Biobuil, “Good thing its parents aren’t here.” As if Paul’s words acted like a beacon or a really fast summoning spell, he saw Michael’s face go white and slowly reach down to grab the sword.
“I fucking swear Paul, every time you open your mouth it’s like a bad omen!” Michael shifted the sword in his hand.
Paul did not want to turn around.
Michael’s eyes slowly went wide and Paul felt something nudge against the back of his knee and his stomach dropped.
“Paul, don’t move.” Michael said softly, trying to quickly think of a plan where both of them could get out alive.
“I wasn’t going to.” Paul tried to sound lighthearted but he was genuinely afraid. There was no cure for the Biobuil’s bite and one wrong move, or even a move from Paul and he’d be poisoned.
He remembered when he was about six, Michael and him snuck into a corridor in the main building where they were forbidden to go. It had been the medical wing and a magician had been infected with a Biobuil bite. He remembered the horrible sight of the man twisting on the stretcher, green veins visible through his skin, foam bubbling out of his mouth, the near black eyes.
They never went anywhere they weren’t supposed to again.
It was an incredibly painful way to die and Paul did not want to endure that.
He felt drool drip down his pant leg.
They had no idea how to get out of the situation.
But that’s when it happened.