"... " they stare at each other for some seconds.
"No matter how long it takes, we would find you if anything happens, I promise to bring your daughter back to you."
Not waiting for another second, she left the room, entering into the secret passage and it closes.
Watching her daughter go, a tear slid down her face and she whispered, "I love you, Astrid," then she called her maid, "Time to prepare for battle."
Nerissa looked at Astrid as she stopped thinking.
"How did you know she said I love you to me?" Astrid asked.
"I had my crystal ball with me, I watched her after we left. That's also how I knew what had happened to her."
"So you know where she is?" Asked the eager Astrid.
"No, that last power surge she did, broke my crystal ball and I do not know where she went after that, but I do know they searched for her, still no one could find her. So I ran with you."
Her gaze caught sight of the teardrops flowing down her face as she started crying.
"Don't you dare cry Astrid, she is not dead. We made a promise remember, I would reunite you with your mother. So do not cry, she wouldn't want you crying," Nerissa said trying to console and strengthen Astrid.
"B–but how can I stop crying when... I–I..."
Nerissa placed a hand comfortingly on her shoulder.
"It is going to be okay baby. Cry no more. From here on out, I need you to be strong. Can you do that for me?"
Astrid gave a slight nod as her reply and wiped her tears away.
'I'm strong. I can handle this. I can handle this," she chanted.
"Alright. So where do we go from here Aunt Nerissa?"
"Call me Nerissa, Your Highness. I'm not your aunt."
"You'll always be my aunt, Aunt Neri."
"You'll make me feel old."
"Well, you are getting old."
"Okay, okay, okay!" Astrid said while getting up, she walked close to the entrance of the cave, "Nerissa. It sounds odd".
"You'll get used to it. Now, from here we cross the mountain of fogs, then to the Elf kingdom and the Valley of lost souls, before going for... Astrid, get away from there," she shouted.
Quickly, Astrid moved her face an inch and an arrow flew past her face, grazing her hair and hitting the cave walls.
Other arrows kept flying her way and she rushes back. Nerissa quickly creates a barrier, shielding them from the onslaught of arrows.
"Damn it, they found us."
"Aunt Nerissa, how long would the barrier hold?"
"Till I can hold," she said in between breaths.
Astrid closes her eyes, taking in deep breathes, she tried feeling the surroundings till she got hold of something faint, reaching deep into herself, she could now sense the earth, the water, the air around them.
She tugged in on that energy, and she felt like she became one with the forest. Instantly the earth began shaking.
Nerissa tried looking through her barrier and before she knew it, the ground opened and the soldiers shooting arrows fell into it.
Shocked she turned her head and saw Astrid raising her hands in the air, then like a small tornado blew bast the soldiers, sweeping them away. Slowly she opened her eyes and sees Nerissa staring at her.
"How did you do that?" Nerissa asked as she let go of the magical barrier.
"I just reached in deep, since I'm a fairy, I should have some connection to nature, I felt it and tugged on the power deep within. I could feel the surrounding like I'd become a part of it and it listened to my command and then that happened... "
Shocked, she reacted and rushed towards Nerissa but the arrow struck at her side.
Nerissa staggered back and fell on her knees. Angry, Astrid turned back to the soldier that shot, gesturing with her hands, some twigs rose from the trees and snatched the soldier, tightening their grip on him till he died.
She rushed back to Nerissa's side, "let me take it out."
"No, I'll bleed more," she said through gritted teeth.
"Then what should I do?" Astrid asked, the panic and shock clearly written on her beautiful face.
Nerissa broke part of the arrow away and managed to stand with Astrid's help. "We have got to go, Astrid".
She looked ahead and could surprisingly see far. "More soldiers are coming aunt. Let's go."
They rushed out of the cave and ran towards the mountain of fogs.
The soldiers kept on pursuing them, Astrid stops on the way. Using the trees to her advantage, she used branches and twigs to attack the soldiers. But it wasn't enough, she quickly uses the earth again, but this time using it to hold the soldiers down. And she continued running.
After some time Nerissa could barely run again and fell, "Aunt Nerissa... "
"Go on without me Astrid. You must survive."
"There's no way I'm leaving you behind aunt."
"You must, Astrid," she said as she gritted her teeth in pains.
"Can't you use a healing spell or something?"
"The arrow was poisoned. It is not an ordinary wound anymore. I'm losing strength rapidly. There isn't time to use herbs, you must go. When you get to the valley of lost souls, you have to be careful. The souls of the dead would reach out to you, calling you. Show you painful memories, use your loved ones to call to you, so you would go to them and be lost forever," she swallowed hard, tears forming in her eyes as she stared at the girl in front of her.
She tried to rush her words as she spoke. Time wasn't on their side anymore.
"You must try and ignore them, only then would you come out of there. Keep in heart and mind, Astrid, you have a kingdom to protect, and a mother who is waiting for you. Be careful while passing the mountain of fogs, if you fall, you may die. N-Now go."
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