When Enrique woke up, it was not yet morning even though a little clarity could be seen through the trees. His muscles were sore and stiff due to the position he had slept in and he considered that he was in better condition that he should after sleeping on this place. He immediately secured his legs on the wide branch he was and looked around to confirm their safety. The first thing he noticed was that he was not the only one who had been sleeping. Veronica and Yeny had been back to back sharing the same spot on the trunk of the tree.
- "Good morning"- said a voice in a soft whisper.
Enrique nodded and greeted Cynthia who was completely awake and in alert but Enrique noticed that his classmate seemed to be doing the breathing technique at the same time that she was making guard. Enrique had the impression that she had not slept but decided not to comment on the idea since there were more pressing matters to take care of.
- "Any sign of those monsters?"- asked Enrique in a low voice.
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- "It's quiet now…"- she said in a low voice- "they started to dissapeared slowly some hours ago and the last one just went away some minutes ago."
Looking down, Enrique noticed that nothing remained from last night's butchery, not even bones or a single piece of anything. None could have imagined that in this same place an army of crustaceans had eaten hundreds of creatures in a mad festival of death. Regarless of what anyone could believe, Enrique would not be able to forget what had happened there for the rest of his life.
- "I'll check our surroundings"- said Enrique knowing that they had to move- "wake up the others."
Cynthis nodded and went to where Veronica and Yeny were. Enrique started to use his "Far Sight" to determine their best route. They had been lucky the previous day, and he did not want to gamble for another struck of luck.
- "No! Get away!"- Enrique heard Veronica's voice and he noticed that she had just been woken up by Cynthia and was in panic.
- "Shh! It's me... Cynthia"- said the wheat colored skinned friend putting a hand on Veronica's mouth while trying to calm her down- "don't talk loud... we don't know if those things are still around..."
Yeny's nerves were also shaken and it took them some minutes to calm down completely. Even after that, they could still be seen with a terrified expression and sometimes they jumped in terror at any sound. Enrique knew they were still shocked for what had happened the previous day, but they did not have the time.
- "We have to move"- said Enrique after Veronica ate some fruits and drank some water- "but I don't think it's a good idea to go down…"
This comment brought confusion to the girls who looked at each other to see if any of them had understood what he meant.
- "You mean… jump from tree to tree?"- asked Cynthia looking at Enrique with a funny expression- "we're not monkeys… what if we fall down?"
- "The trees here are very close to each other so the most of the time we will be using the branches to pass from one tree to another"- explained Enrique showing the parts in which the trees were practically together- "also, in case we have t jump, I don't think it will be a problem with our current strength… we just have to be careful to not break the branches we use…"
- "Why don't we just walk?"- asked Yeny who was afraid of high places- "those things seemed to have gone away."
- "We don't know if those creatures sleep underground"- explained Veronica knowing why Enrique was proposing that idea- "also... what's that?"
Enrique had also heard the noise and immediately activated his "Far Sight" to the direction of the sound he had just heard and saw in horror that above them there were many spiders which were as big as Saint Bernard dogs gathering to their position.
- "We have to move now!"- Enrique said trembling and he started to run using the branches.
He hadn't noticed the spiders until Veronica had warned him and he had definitely not found any den the last day because it was hidden far above in the top of the trees. He supposed they hadn't attacked them since the crayfishes were having their dinner in that place and the arachnids preferred to stay up there but now that the danger had passed, Enrique supposed they should be very hungry and willing to have them as breakfast.
- "Follow me!"- said Enrique forgetting any idea of hiding since the spiders knew their locations by now.
He didn't explain anymore, but the girls knew Enrique would not react like that for nothing and they just followed him not wanting to see what were chasing them. Enrique saw a near tree and calculating his impulse jumped to it. He landed safely and assured the girls it was resistant. The girls imitated him and soon they were running and jumping from tree to tree in a slow but steady pace. Enrique focused in their surroundings and he realized that the spiders were all around them. He changed directions in order to lose them, but even though he was trying to be as silent as possible, the girls were just too noisy and the spiders were alerted time and time again so Enrique started to pgive more importance to speed than stealth.
- "Hurry up!"- he shouted seeing the spiders closing the distance- "they are coming…"
The girls didn't exactly know what was coming but they were sure it was nothing good so they started to increase their speed. Soon, more spiders joined the first one and started jumping from tree to tree to catch the group of friends. They were extremely fast and Enrique was worried about where to go.
- "Where's the end of this swamp?"- asked Veronica who was pale in terror while focusing on not misstepping the branches they were using since that would mean her inevitable death.
- "It's not so far"- said Enrique looking at the fastest way to get out- "wait... now the road is being blocked by the spiders… it's as if…"
Enrique had an unconceivable idea of what the spiders were doing and he used his "Far Sight" to confirm it. He saw more arachnids waiting in an ambush ahead. They were totally surrounded and Enrique was amazed of how these insects were able to prepare this kind of schemes.
- "We are going to a trap…"- said Enrique who was thinking on what to do without stopping since he knew that the moment they did that, it was the moment they would be caught.
- "Then…"- Cynthia was thinking on what to do when one of the spiders caught up with them and almost hit her.
The spider tried to bite Cynthia with its fangs that were as big as daggers movin madly trying to slice her. Their paws were full of hair except for the frontal ones which were sharp and looked like swords. Cynthia unconsciously activated her shield and made the spider lose its equilibrium and fall to the muddy ground where it started to tremble and wiggle in desperation. Almost immediately a pincer appeared from the mud and grabbed the spider who tried to escape fighting with all it had. It was all in vain and soon more crayfishes appeared to share the meal.
- "This is a nightmare…"-said Cynthia who was trembling at the idea of being the dish on the menu and also feeling grateful to Enrique for not taking the risk of going on feet for the ground.
- "Let's go over there!"- said Enrique who was creating a plan and he changed the direction while moving the ground under them, attracting the attention of the crayfishes who started moving alongside for the ground- "we'll pass for the middle of the spiders."
- "Are you crazy?"- shouted Cynthia looking at Enrique like he had lost his mind, but not daring to stop following- "We'll go to the ambush?"
- "It's the only way"- he explained while accelerating his movement- "We're surrounded by spiders all around… only that place has the least number of insects… Once I tell you, cover yourself with your shield and Yeny make yourself and Veronica invisible!"
- "What about you?"- shouted Veronica.
- "Don't worry about me!"- shouted Enrique as he focused on his timing.
The group understood that there was no other option so they just followed him and soon they saw a group of six spiders around them which started to get closer. Enrique gave the signal and Cynthia activated her shield and Yeny grabbed Veronica's hand and became invisible. Enrique then increased his speed attracting the attention of the spiders which started to spit green liquid from their mouths. Enrique evaded some of the spits but one landed on his arm and it started to burn.
-"Acid!!"- Enrique automatically turned the most of his body into stone and this contained the acid. Enrique timed his movements and saw that now a huge quantity of spiders and crayfishes were behind him- just as planned… now, COME AND HELP ME!!!!!
The werewolves were becoming impatient as they looked for the "no-haired-humans with strange clothes," but even after looking for hours, they were nowhere to be found and the leader was getting more and more furious by the day.
- "Grrrrrr"- the leader snarled as he remembered how their brothers-of-claws that had been killed. The scent of the "no-haired-humans" had disappeared into the "no-go-place" full of hard-shell-creatures who hunt at night and no one in the pack wanted to enter. If those no-haired-humans entered there, it was possible they had died but the werewolves had to make sure… However, in that moment they heard a rumbling sound that came from the no-go-place that was becoming louder and louder.
- "Grrrrawww?"- It wasn't night, so those hard-shell-creatures shouldn't be out… but then a familiar scent entered its nose and a primal fury possesed it.
One of the no-haired-humans jumped out from the no-go place and dashed to the pack who showed its fangs and waited for him… they had finally arrived and the leader would make sure to feast on their flesh and bathe in their blood in honor of his fallen brothers-in-fangs. His mad glee, however, soon turned into despair when they saw what was coming behind the no-haired-human… the leader wanted to give the signal to retreat but he knew it was too late,
Enrique could see the terror in the werewolves and goblins eyes when they saw the hordes of spiders and crayfishes that were chasing him. It was exactly the reaction he had expected.
- "Yeny… NOW!!!!"- he shouted as he was about to literally touch the pack of werewolves.
He landed next to Cynthia and the next minute they disappeared in the air under Yeny's invisibility domain and they advanced into the forest while hearing the sounds of the battle that had started among the beasts. They did not stop running until they found a safe place and there was no presence of the beasts around. The four teenagers just collapsed on the floor while trying to recover their breath.
- "We did it…"- said Veronica grinning madly and still trembling- "I can't believe we did it…"
- "You're really crafty, Enrique"- said Cynthia laughing maniatically due to the adrenaline- "the poor doggies never saw it coming hahahaha!"
Yeny didn't say anything since she had used a lot of energy turning them all invisible but she was also smiling. Enrique couldn't believe it had actually worked and he was also very pleased. He was healed by Cynthia and then he smiled even more. However, after a while, he turned serious abruptly.
- "What?"- questioned Cynthia worried that they were stll being hunted.
- "Nothing…"- said Enrique scratching his head in embarrasment- "it's just that I was thinking that thanks to us… those crayfishes will have another banquet tonight."
The group started laughing so hard that any beast around would have been able to find them but after escaping that almost impossible and mortal situation they felt they could relax at least a bit.
A week passed from their miraculous escape and they felt that the forest was getting less thick which to Enrique, was a signal that they should be in the skirts of the forest. The encounters with the werewolves had decreased but they knew they were possibly still hunting them so they decided not to take any risks. They had found a river which were following expecting to find human presence while maintaining their guard up at all moments since humans were not the only ones looking for water.
- "Let's camp here for today"- said Enrique having found a decent place to pass the night.
- "Ok"- said Veronica who was happy to be abe to finally rest her feet and eat something- "let's divide tasks as usual."
As she started talking to the other girls, Enrique checked their surroundings once again to make sure nothing was creeping around. The immediate areas were clean but he decided to increase the range just in case. Once he did, he immediately saw something strange. There was a pack of werewolves and they seemed to be chasing something. Veronica noticed his reaction and got close to him.
- "What is it?"- asked Veronica with a worried expression- "more monsters?"
- "Yes, but they are going the other way"- said Enrique trying to find out what was being chased by the monsters- "but there is something...eh?"
Suddenly, Enrique opened his eyes like plates in surprise and Veronica reacted with great curiosity since Enrique was not one to have such reactions.
- "What is it?"- questioned Veronica with impatience- "why are you grinning like that?"
- "I can't believe it!"- said Enrique who had the biggest grin one could have and he ran into the direction he was looking at full speed leaving a baffled Veronica behind.
- "Enrique wait!"- shouted Veronica but he didn't listen. Yenny and Cynthia looked at each other and ran after him. Veronica also followed but she had to recognize that she wasn't as fast as the rest of her friends.
Enrique always managed to surprise her. When they were in school, he was mostly quiet and calm but when he started grinning like that, it always meant he was about to do something crazy like climbing higher places or entering dangerous places. The only one who dared to imitate him was Carlos, but he did just to not lose to him and they seemed to like to defy each other. It was stupid in her opinion and she always felt a creeping sensation when they both started to grin like that.
- "We push each other to our limits"- had said Carlos once- "that way we get stronger."
That was fine in the school but in this place all that was just plain dangerous, so she would obviously worry when Enrique would start grinning like that here under this crazy circunstances. The entire group had realized they could run a little faster than before. They also seemed to have more stamina, but for some reason Enrique seemed to just surpassed them by an insane margin making them wonder if he was a monster pretending to be their classmate. After some seconds, Cynthia and her caught up with him. He had transformed his arms into stone and was ready.
- "Not again"- said Cynthia just before listening a werewolf coming to their direction.
- "What's the big of idea coming here?"- asked Yenny taking out the bone dagger she had.
- "You'll see in a minute"- was the only reply they got from him but they were surprised to see that he was not nervous at all but he seemed eager to fight not stopping from grinning for even a second.
Yenny looked at Cynthia and they knew what the other was thinking. Maybe, the boy had finally gotten crazy after all the stress which would not have surprised them but they both would consider that a great loss since their survival depended in a great deal on Enrique.
- "Here they come"- he said with a mad glint in his eyes and the two girls had o other option except to prepare for battle.
Then he appeared and the surprise was far more than they could have imagined. A tall boy with bronze like colored skin appeared from the bushes being immediately followed by a huge werewolf who had furious and crazy eyes fixed on him. The boy seemed injured but he was dodging the slashes of the beast the best he could. He looked at them and his face showed relief. It was definitely a familiar face but very dirty and exhausted.
- "Just what...?"- started Cynthia who was shocked to see the boy after so long.
- "Later!"- said Enrique jumping with glee to help the boy who was his best friend.
The missing friend had returned and even though they did not know what had been of him all these weeks they did not care for the moment. They were just happy because Carlos had returned.
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