The tranquil and serene atmosphere of the forest was an inviting one. Had it not been interrupted by the arrival of two guests; one of which slid through the dirt and into a large tree, it would have remained that way.

     “I don’t care how many times you promise; I will never get used to your method of travel,” Chase said, brushing the dirt from his clothes and wincing at the imminent arrival of new bruises.

     “I never told you to jump through the portal. Next time, you should stand still,” Tripp advised with a grin.

     The forest remained silent for a moment as though it were analysing its new guests. Once it felt they were of little threat, or rather, once it realised what the men had arrived to do, it returned to its state before their arrival.

     “Now, what should we be on the lookout for?” Tripp asked.

     “According to reports, this Djinn is like the one you found before, but with a few differences. This one takes to fauna rather than flora,” Chase explained, “We should start by asking the nearby village about any unusual activity,”

     Tripp pulled out the partial map he had been given and excused himself for a moment before vanishing through one of his portals. His companion hated being left alone in an unknown place and wished to be back in his lab. That longing, however, soon evolved into grief as he was reminded of why he was with Tripp in the first place.

     “Everything alright?” Tripp asked with a look of worry for his companion.

     Chase hadn’t realised the position he had taken. He had crouched into a ball with his arms wrapped around his knees. Without a word, Chase stood and nodded profusely as he wiped something away from his eye and walked towards where Tripp had reappeared.

     “Did you find anything?” he asked.

     “We won’t be needing to find the village; I’ve found what we’re looking for,” Tripp explained.

     On his brief reconnaissance, Tripp managed to spot a large gathering of animals near a cave a few kilometres north of their location.

     “Whatever has called those animals looks to be pretty big!” he said.

     “Left to their own devices for long enough, they will grow quite powerful. Best tread carefully, even with our new-found talents,” Chase cautioned.

     The pair travelled northward on foot for much of their journey, with the apprehensive Chase taking to Tripp’s teleportation only when necessary. He was aware the journey could be made in an instant; however, with his talent for misfortune, he would have most likely provoked the Djinn into running away or worse. After a few hours of travel and several new bruises on limbs, Tripp and Chase found themselves on the outskirts of a monstrous gathering.

     “You weren’t wrong about the size,” Chase said, “I estimate the beast to be at least sixty feet long and its mass about eighty tonnes,”

     “You have a keen eye, Doctor. I assume those horns will cause a bit of trouble for us,” Tripp said.

     “I’d be more concerned about keeping your footing while it moves. You should be fine with your skills; however, I may have to sit this one out,” Chase said.

     Tripp noted the flora growing along the beasts back and wondered if he could use that to his advantage, with his recent capture at his employ. His plan would require getting within a few feet of the beast, but his teleportation should make quick work of the task. He explained his idea to Chase before taking a few deep breaths and teleporting away.

     “Good luck,” Chase whispered to his already vanished companion.

     Tripp’s entry point was directly above the beast at the top of the trees. He timed his jumps to increase his speed until he felt he had enough to get close to the beast to summon the spirit of flora and run away, but something stopped him. His body; met with a solid force, was thrown into the clearing, surrounded by several dozen violent animals.

     “I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that easy,” he groaned as he stood and dusted himself off.

    “Well, let’s get started, shall we?”

Published by Paul Schembri

I'm a writer living in Australia.

One thought on “Cartographer

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