Just beyond the forest from the main road, Shuyu was seething with anger as he looked at a map spread before him on the ground. Raul knelt before Shuyu saying, “We’ll search for her tomorrow, so please get some rest, your majesty.” Shuyu shoved Raul away making Raul fall on his bottom with a grunt.
“I won’t rest until I know exactly where Yanira was taken.”
Kaysan shook his head.
“Raul and I know your concern, but it is too dark to see anything and we at least know that she was taken toward Northwest and judging by the look of her kidnapper, he seemed to be an Anyion and his type usually remain in the forest, so we can maintain our search in the forest in the Northwest.”
“That is still not enough,” muttered Shuyu. Raul and Kaysan could see Shuyu’s shoulders shaking. They could tell that he was terribly worried about Yanira, but still didn’t understand why Shuyu was so obsessed with her.
Shuyu looked at the Northwest of the map and ran his fingers along the forest.
I will find you. I won’t let anyone else have you.
Meanwhile, Yanira was soaking in the hot spring in the village with Willow washing her hair with soap that smelled like sweet pine. Yanira blew bubbles in the water making Willow giggle.
“Does the water feel good?”
Yanira nodded saying, “It feels even better compared to the springs in the castle.”
“Tell me Yanira, was this marriage arranged?”
Yanira nodded saying, “It was the agreement in order to save my kingdom from the war.”
“Oh so the war has ended? My brother and I were quite worried about that war reaching our village.”
Yanira nodded and then ducked under the water to wash away the bubbles in her hair. As she floated under the water, she noticed the vine tattoos that coiled around Willow’s abdomen. Yanira popped out of the water and asked, “Are you an Anyion?”
Willow nodded and asked, “So you know the term?” Yanira nodded saying, “It was part of my training as a priestess and I can tell that your brother is an Anyion too. A wolf spirit, if I am not mistaken.”
“That is correct…so you were training to be a priestess?”
“So this marriage was quite a shock to you right?”
Yanira nodded again and added, “But it is to save my kingdom.” Yanira said these words with confidence, but she couldn’t hide the sadness in her eyes. Willow sighed and embraced Yanira’s small form in her arms.
“You are a kind soul, Yanira,” stated Willow in a soothing tone, so soothing that yanira felt small droplets of tears fall from her eyes.
On the other hand, not far from the hot spring, Farkas was listening from behind a bush. He heard what Willow and Yanira said and he felt rage in his heart. This small girl was forced to marry a king just to save her kingdom and yet she was the one to suffer. She had her own dreams to follow and she was forced to another path. Just the thought made him feel like running to the Azseldo King and beating him beyond recognition, but even he knew that was unwise and he still needed to keep his people’s safety as the top priority.
The wolf spirit in him seemed to disagree, since he felt the urge to kill rising from within the spirit. It was to the point that his eyes were beginning to turn a deep red like it was filling with blood of rage. Farkas blinked his eyes a few times returning them to normal and then dashed as far as he could from the spring; panting and a hand to his chest.
She’s not the one you want.
Yanira soon left the spring with a green dress the same shade as Willow’s dress. Willow smiled as she knelt next to Yanira saying, “You look so adorable in the dress.” Yanira said her thanks doing a small curtsey. Willow giggled and walked toward a small cabin.
Willow opened the door of the cabin and welcomed Yanira inside. Yanira took a step into the cabin and felt her eyes widen in awe. The cabin’s layout was simple almost like the house of the three bears, but had a sense of coziness that anyone would find charming. Yanira was no different as her wide eyes seemed to sparkle.
“Your home is very lovely.”
“Thank you Yanira. This house was gift from the villagers.”
“That’s right. As an Anyion of the forest, the villagers feel obligated to offer presents to my brother and I in exchange for protection, but my brother and I would protect them regardless of what we get, but we still accept the gifts to be polite.”
Yanira nodded and sat on a brown colored couch in the corner of the room. The softness of the couch was divine like it was velvet, but Yanira could tell that it was stuffed with down feathers of geese making it more charming to her eyes. Yanira bounced on the couch a bit, before looking at Willow, who was lighting the stove, and asking, “Do you know where Farkas is?”
Willow lit the fire and then glanced at Yanira saying, “You mean my brother correct?” Yanira nodded resting her hands in her lap.
Willow giggled and stated, “I just realized that we never introduced ourselves properly and yet you knew our names right away. You are such a clever girl.”
Yanira nodded again saying, “It was hard to miss when the villagers kept saying your names.” Willow nodded grabbing a pot from a shelf.
“Well my dear brother must be wandering the woods, hopefully not trying to kidnap other little girls.”
“I doubt it and I believe he took me because he wanted to help his people, so please don’t be too harsh on him.”
“Since it is your request, I might limit his punishment to a few slaps,” stated Willow with a giggle, but Yanira wasn’t sure if that was a light punishment or not considering that Anyions were known for their unnatural strength that could shatter a rock.
In truth, Yanira didn’t know why, but she felt the urge to see Farkas ever since he left her sight. It was as if something was calling her to him. She couldn’t explain it.
Yanira got off the couch and taking a small bow toward Willow stated, “If you don’t mind, I would like to explore the village.”
“Of course, Yanira. You are not a prisoner, so you are free to explore where you want to. Just please return in time for some dinner.”
Yanira thanked Willow and immediately walked out of the cabin determined to locate Farkas.
Yanira wandered around the village and noticed the villagers doing chores like chopping wood or children playing tag with each other. It was a heartwarming scene and Yanira felt the urge to join the children, but stopped herself shaking her head and continued to wander determined to find Farkas.
Yanira suddenly felt the coolness of the wind blow through her short red hair. To normal people, it would be just a cool breeze, but to Yanira it felt like a message…a message that would lead her to Farkas. The wind seemed to pull her in a direction away from the village. She hesitated at first, but feeling no hostile spirits, she allowed her body to be pulled slightly by the wind.
Yanira journeyed through the forest as she traveled she realized that the branches of trees and bushes would clear a path for her as if welcoming a guest. Yanira paid this no mind as hanging branches opened up a clear path revealing the brightness of the full moon. It was a beautiful sight to Yanira and felt her heart soar when she noticed that in this clearing standing at the edge of a cliff was Farkas with his tail swaying behind him as he gazed at the full moon.
“Farkas!” Yanira chirped. Farkas’s tail fluffed up and his wolf ears perked up. He glanced over his shoulder with widened eyes.
Yanira nodded and approached Farkas with a giggle.
“Why are you here? Actually how did you get here? This is a place only the wolf spirit can enter,” stated Farkas clearly bewildered by Yanira’s presence.
“Let’s just say that the spirits guided me,” stated Yanira with a giggle. Farkas groaned with flattened ears and turned away from Yanira saying, “Spirits or no spirits, you need to leave.”
“Why?” asked Yanira tilting her head to the side.
“Because…ah forget it. Do what you want. You’ll be gone tomorrow anyway.”
Yanira smiled at Farkas reluctant surrender to her presence and then gazed up at the moon.
“The moon seems so close to the ground now.”
“It just looks like that,” stated Farkas without looking at her. Yanira nodded smiling up at the full moon.
“You know, when I was training to be a priestess, I was told that the best time to train my connection with the spirits was during the full moon.”
“Why?” asked Farkas taking slight interest in the conversation.
“It is because the full moon grants strength to the spirits, so when I train during the full moon, I am gaining strength as well along with the spirits.”
“Sounds interesting. Maybe that’s why the wolf spirit in me loves this spot near the moon.”
Farkas then glanced at her and asked, “You were training to be a priestess, so why marry a king? Is it just to protect your family?”
Yanira was silent and then nodded entwining her fingers together and holding her hands to her chest as if in prayer.
“I don’t want to marry the king. I want to continue my training as a priestess, but between my wants and my family, I will always choose my family, so I have to get married to ensure the safety of my family and my kingdom.”
Farkas stared at Yanira and noticed the sadness in her eyes. He sighed and patted her head making her look at him with slightly wide eyes.
“You’re a good kid and I’m sorry for kidnapping you, but I hope that your dreams do come true somehow.”
Yanira smiled and nodded placing her small hands on top of Farkas’s hands. Farkas felt the soft touch of Yanira’s hands and felt his cheeks begin to burn and his heart to race. He could also feel the wolf spirit in him growing excited.
Calm down. I keep telling you that she isn’t the one.
Farkas tried to control the beating of his heart and was about to remove his hand from Yanira’s hands, but he suddenly noticed that the dress she wore was beginning to slip from around her chest. He internally screamed and grabbed the side of Yanira’s sleeves immediately and fixed it right telling Yanira to make sure to fix her dress properly. Yanira nodded as she adjusted her dress making Farkas sigh in relief, but he suddenly noticed something on Yanira’s chest near where her heart should be: a heart symbol with two dove wings in the center. He found it adorable, but he also felt a strange attraction to it. Farkas shook his head and then held an extended hand to her.
“We better get back before my sister loses her patience.”
Yanira nodded taking his hand into her own. Farkas gripped her hand lightly and found himself smiling with reddened cheeks. As he guided her back to the village, he focused on the feel of her hand. He told the wolf spirit repeatedly that she wasn’t the one, but he couldn’t deny that just the feel of her hand made his heart warm.
“Just to let you know: Willow plans to give you a few slaps later on as punishment for kidnapping me.”
Farkas instantly felt the warmness in his heart fade and be replaced with dread. All he could hope was that his sister would show mercy in Yanira’s presence.