Chapter 4. A Mysterious Encounter.

Chapter 4. A Mysterious Encounter.

In the forest, on the outskirts of Valle Roble.

Luespo was running at the front of the group with his agile feline movements. He was followed by the recently enlarged dog, Mity, who carried Leiza on his back as they moved through the forest trees. The three continued their escape from the King's guards and the colossus that emerged from the wreckage of their former home. They went deeper into the area to seek safety, stopping their march once they reached a section where a river completely cut off the path. Leiza asked the dog and the cat to stop running, both obeyed the instruction without objection, never demanding a hierarchical rearrangement regarding who would be the head of the household now that they were noticeably larger than a common human. Nothing changed in their eyes and she remained the provider, which was a fortune for Leiza, but also a threat. She wondered how she would be able to control two animals of such dimensions. Living with them would invariably represent risk at all times, yet she could not abandon them because they were all the company she had. She sat down on the grass to analyze her new reality, as Mity and Luespo drank water from the river as if it was their old bowl at home. Within seconds, Mity stopped sipping to start barking and growling in his new, menacing deep voice coming from his enlarged vocal cords. He ran hard towards Leiza's sitting place, stopping a couple of meters before completely running her over. Leiza panicked and tried to stand up quickly, but halfway through her movement she could see a wild bear charging at her from behind, which saw her as its dinner for the day. Mity came to her defense and jumped over the forest animal that looked small compared to the white dog's size. The bear's aggressions were harmless against Mity's new body and it ended up subdued with extreme ease, suffering severe damage from the pressure exerted by all the dog's weight leaning on it. Although lacking a killer instinct, Mity was on the verge of taking the bear's life with his excessive strength. That image was hard to see for an animal lover like Leiza, who was willing to save the bear, but at the same time knew that the latter came close to eating her. She incessantly shouted her dog's name, but even she was not sure with what intention she was doing it, as she did not know if it was better that Mity stopped or not with his attack. Leiza's screams were slashed to the ground when she saw a slender silhouette fall from the sky and knock Mity down with one blow, thus freeing the bear. The wounded wild animal fled as fast as its diminished physical condition allowed it, leaving only an incredibly strange being in front of Leiza and Mity's eyes.

It was a skeletal creature full of marks and wounds, its bald head seemed to have been burned and its skin melted, just a green toned eye partially peeked out of one of its sockets. An exposed hole was in the place where the nose once stood, and there were few teeth left inside its mouth. Its back was hunched over and the only way it could stand was in a squatting position. Both Leiza and Mity were frightened to see this being in front of them, the dog sensed Leiza's terror and became brave enough to try to save her. He pounced on the rickety individual in front of them in an attempt to chase it away, but was easily dodged and kicked to the ground. The being jumped on Mity, subduing the enormous dog of about four meters, which surprisingly could not get rid of a skeleton of less than fifty kilograms. The aggressor raised itself as much as its curved spine allowed it and rested its arms on its thighs, planted its feet on the dog's chest and they started radiating the reddish color of the Goan. Mity's barks changed from threatening noises to signs of uneasiness and fear.

Suddenly, Luespo the cat stopped drinking water and became interested in meddling in the conflict. With his natural agility he reached the invader with speed and fatal intentions, emitting a loud growl that indicated that he was not there to play. The edge of his claws was going to make contact with the skin of the being that remained static, but the whole contour of its body was illuminated in red and did not allow the attack to enter. Then the reddish aura grew in size and seemed to mold itself to concentrate on a spot that exploded in Luespo's face, throwing him several meters back. The cat could not get up again after that impact and Leiza was left alone against that creepy creature.

The being raised its right arm and extended one of its fingers in her direction. It then moved the same finger towards its own chest and did the same, emitting a raspy and dry guttural sound while pointing at it. The dog Mity could only watch how the rickety figure of the aggressor still standing above him tried to communicate with Leiza. That being had a horrifying appearance, capable of affecting the senses of whoever saw it, but even more frightening was the great power it possessed, one to which neither a giant cat nor a giant dog could present any opposition. Yet, contradictorily, Mity sensed less and less of a threat in him. Being on its back, he seemed to give up and stopped kicking.

When the being saw that the canine was no longer resisting, it stopped radiating the reddish color from both soles of its feet, jumped off Mity and fell on the grass, caressed the dog's belly, who meekly allowed the stranger to do so. Within moments, Mity was resting in total tranquility, as if nothing just happened. Then the unknown being moved towards the cat, gently rubbing him as its hands glowed red on the feline's face and whiskers. A serene Luespo then stood up and began licking his paws. Leiza watched in panic how her two brave guardians were just easily tamed by the aggressor who had the strength to do whatever it wanted with her. It was the turn of the being to stop in front of Leiza, it pointed its index finger at her again and then did the same on its own chest. The image of the being in front was threatening, but something did not make sense; a peculiar peaceful vibe began to permeate the atmosphere.

The being turned its back to Leiza and ran towards the trees. A reddish glow emanated from the forest, which ceased after a few seconds. Soon after, the hunched being returned, riding the bear that had fought with Mity minutes before, it no longer had any wounds on its body and behaved in a friendly manner. Somehow this being was able to establish communication with the animals.

The atmosphere relaxed a little and Leiza began to feel less threatened, she tried to talk to the being riding on the bear's back.

-Who are you? ... Are you planning on attacking us?

The creature only answered with a guttural sound, while moving its index finger in negation and then pointing it towards its throat, trying to tell her that it was incapable of speaking. It then pointed towards Mity, Luespo and Leiza, finally doing the same towards its own chest and ended up folding its arm in a sign of strength, like trying to communicate to them that it was offering them its protection. Leiza was very confused, a being with such a terrifying appearance could not constitute an ally, however, they required someone with his abilities to get out alive from the kingdom's guards who were looking for their heads. It was a risk she had to take and accept the invitation, there weren't that many options. Fortunately for Leiza, her doubts began to dissipate instantly, when the being's loyalty was put to the test.

A royal guard using a monocular spotted Mity's huge recumbent body from a distance and made his trumpet sound to indicate its location to the expedition in charge of hunting them down. A dozen soldiers appeared with haste from the trees, swords drawn and aiming to kill them all on the spot. Their new ally descended from the bear and remained static in its usual crouched posture. Something happened in those seconds of silence, because Mity, Luespo and the bear all took up a coordinated battle stance. The three of them formed up on the flanks of the thin, strange being and prepared a united front against the soldiers that threatened them. Despite being animals, they seemed to have a sophisticated degree of organization, strategically dividing their adversaries and only assigning two soldiers to the weakest member of the team, the wild bear.

The aggressions began and Mity jumped gleefully back and forth over the bodies of three specific soldiers. Luespo was tossing each of his corresponding three rivals as if they were toys for his entertainment, and on the left side, the thin and tiny creature moved at a great speed connecting kicks and blows that resounded like cannon shots in the armor of the adversaries. All of them were easily defeated, none remained standing after a minute, with the exception of their Captain, who had not been touched by any of Luespo and Mity's attacks. The giant cat and dog sought to stop him with swipes that landed on the grass because the man managed to anticipate every time. The Captain counter-attacked by jumping up to land an ice-covered kick in Luespo's face, but the leg of its new scrawny ally got in the way before it could happen. The impact generated by the collision of the two limbs produced a strong current of air that lifted the heavy cat off the ground and threw him backwards. The red glow emanating from both legs colliding showed that they possessed the power of Goan. But the color on the slender being was more intense, managing to melt the opponent's ice quickly. The part of the armor protecting the soldier's shin was left in very poor condition, while the bare leg of the strange ally remained intact.

The Captain, in great pain, realized the disparity of forces. He recognized himself surpassed by the rival troops, but he was aware that he could not run away so easily from the duel. Some result had to be presented to his superiors in order to justify the defeat and loss of all his men. So he decided to focus his energies on the weakest of the rival members; the young woman with curly hair and turquoise blouse who was watching her pets fight from a distance. He would bring her head to his superiors in order to return with dignity to the kingdom.

He channeled his ice ability into his right arm, creating a pointed frost stake on it. Pretending to attack his hunched opponent by running towards it, he changed direction at the last moment to target the helpless woman. The voiceless being noticed this too late and was unable to catch him, even with its high velocity. The Captain was going to connect a clean blow with the sharp hand that would decapitate Leiza without any problems. It seemed that there was no way to stop the attack... until the inertia of the onslaught was stopped by a tremendous violet lightning that buried the soldier's body in the grass. The Captain died in an instant, crushed by an angry Mity who lifted from the ground the paw with which he protected Leiza, while radiating a violet aura all over his body.

Chapter end

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