“Inés!” Serena cried, hugging the other woman tight. “Thank the Gods. I thought for sure you…”
“Shhh,” Inés said. “It’s okay. I’m fine.”
“You would be,” Sylvie stated. Guess we’re stuck with you a bit longer.”
“Truthfully, I think it was close,” Inés said. “I had this… vision. I was in a strange place with a strangely kind and kid of pretty being. Part of me knew it was Thanatos, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it or even think it.”
“And what did Thanatos tell you in this vision?” Sylvie asked.
“Something about being stuck between living and dead,” Inés answered. “That was about… No, there was something else. What was it?”
“You don’t have to force yourself to remember,” Serena said. “Right?”
“She should try,” Sylvie argued. “It could be important.”
“I remember!” Inés declared, snapping her fingers. “Thanatos said that one of the Gods had given the clerics here a lot of power in order to save me.”
“Athena?” Serena asked.
“I imagine so,” Inés answered.
“Not like any of the other Gods have a vested interest in keeping you alive,” Sylvie agreed. She turned to the clerics. “How soon can she travel?”
“Miraculously, she’ll be all right in a couple days,” the elder cleric answered. “She’s very blessed. Most wouldn’t have survived those injuries. You will, of course, be provided with everything you need during that time. It’s the least we can do for the heroines who stopped Scotius.”
“We’re very grateful,” Serena said. “I feel like the two of them did more than me, though.”
Inés sat up and put a hand on her shoulder. “You did your part, with courage that no one would have demanded of you at this point in your training. You were magnificent.”
“Inés,” Serena muttered. “That’s really embarrassing.”
“She might be over-stating things,” Sylvie said. “But it was impressive. Well done.” She moved towards the door.
“Where are you going?” Inés asked.
“I’m going to try and retrieve Demure and the others,” Sylvie answered. “Assuming they’re still there.”
“Good idea,” Serena said. “They’re probably worried. Do you want me to come with?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sylvie said. “Just stick with the Mermaid. I’m sure you have a lot to say to one another.”
Sylvie went deep into the forest, eventually finding the place they’d left the pegasi.
“Demure?” she called. Her call was quickly followed by a rush of wind. The pegasus landed softly beside her, nuzzling her.
“Good girl,” Sylvie said, stroking Demure’s mane. “I’m okay. We all are. Inés and Serena are waiting for Blitz and Dusk. Where are they?”
Demure let out a series of whinnies. Blitz and Dusk approached, cautiously.
“I know,” Sylvie said. “You want to see your girls. Inés was hurt a bit. She’s going to have to rest for the next few days. But I’m sure she’d like to see you. Will you two come with me?”
Obediently, Blitz and Dusk followed behind Demure & Sylvie.
The trio managed to pass a couple of days peacefully. Serena spent the bulk of her time at Inés’ side. Except in the mornings when she would go outside to brush and talk to Dusk.
Finally, they were ready to leave.
“Here,” Omec said. “Supplies for your trip.”
“Thank you,” Serena said. “That’s very kind.”
Omec shook his head. “Compared to what you all did for us, this is nothing. I just wish we could do more. Oh, and this was found washed ashore.”
“My staff!” Inés declared. She took it. “I was worried I’d lost it forever.”
“Lucky you didn’t,” Sylvie said. “We may need it in the desert.”
“Is the desert dangerous?” Serena asked.
“Kind of,” Inés answered. “There are wyrms, wyverns, some bandits. But there shouldn’t be anything all that difficult to deal with.”
“I wouldn’t be so certain,” Sylvie said. “Scotius may be stronger than a wyvern or wyrm, but there will be a lot of them. Furthermore, you won’t be able to ride around on waves or hide underwater. Nor will we have much advanced warning of their attacks.”
“Way to bring the mood down,” Inés said. “You really need to lighten up.”
“Well, we’ll see how things go,” Sylvie said. “And we will be flying over a lot of it, assuming that there aren’t any sandstorms that force our landing.”
“Seriously, stop being so pessimistic,” Inés said. “It’s getting old.”
Sylvie shrugged. “Someone has to plan for what might very well go wrong and you certainly aren’t.”
“That’s because I just deal with problems when they happen,” Inés said. “No need to worry about it.”
“Not everything can be dealt with on the spur of the moment,” Sylvie said.
“Well, we have to go either way, right?” Serena asked. “So, let’s go!”
“Sounds good to me,” Inés said.
“Fine,” Sylvie agreed.
The three took to the sky on their pegasi. Making their way to the desert.