Chapter 6. The Legendary Spider.
In the forest outside the kingdom of Valle Roble.
Everyone was astonished to see Mity's last-minute saving move, with which the giant dog unleashed its wildest side to protect Leiza with a swift paw that killed the Captain of the soldiers who sought to finish her off. The dog kept emitting a sonorous growl that was even more imposing because its whole body was covered with a violet aura. In an attempt to calm him down, the thin, hunched, voiceless being who had helped them in the fight, ran squatting towards him and raised its arms in the air. The action worked amidst a tense atmosphere for all, because after a few seconds, the violet color dissipated and Mity became calm again, like the usual docile dog he was.
The menace was over. Leiza, her pets and their strange ally survived the first attempt by the King's guards to hunt them down. However, there was no time to linger and ponder things, that location was no longer safe and they had to get out of there immediately. The rickety being was aware of this, so it offered them its help in their escape. They bid farewell to the bear that fought by their side in combat and began a new journey through nooks and crannies of the forest that their guide knew perfectly. After a while, they managed to reach a quiet area full of trees, where they were finally able to calm down a bit and come to some conclusions. Leiza still was surprised, she could not believe what had just happened, but now she was sure that they could count on that strange slender being as an ally. It was only right to recognize it, the first step seemed logical to her:
-I need to give you a name... How can I call you?
She pondered for some time a name that she could give to the unaesthetic looking being. She didn't want to be disrespectful, therefore enunciated the first onomatopoeia that came to her mind.
-Zaz...May I call you Zaz?
The being nodded, and from that moment on, Leiza, Mity, Luespo and Zaz were part of the same team. It was an excellent addition that would allow them to survive the threats from the wild, as Zaz was experienced in living outdoors. However, not all of them managed to acclimate to the wild with the same ease, Luespo suffered too much from having to abandon his life as a domestic cat, although Mity had no problem adapting to the wilderness -perhaps helped by his previous experiences before he met Leiza-. For her part, the years full of scarcities trained Leiza very well for that moment, so she had few complications to get used to it. The forest became their new home. They had nowhere else to return to or to ask for help, they were fugitives from the kingdom and had only the four of them to rely on each other. In the afternoons, Zaz began an arduous training for Luespo and Mity. They would exercise their agility in circuits designed in the middle of the forest, culminating the routine with something similar to a meditation session where the three of them remained motionless for hours. Leiza was intrigued to know what they were trying to achieve with that, she could only imagine what was happening between them. Yet she was amazed at Zaz's ability to keep those restless giant animals so calm for so long. Throughout those lapses, the two of them transformed into well behaved disciples. They had a great mentor in front of them.
Once, in the middle of these static sessions, Mity's left paw shrank back to its original size, only to return to being gigantic within seconds. Zaz jumped up in a sort of glee; the dog finally achieved the first step of the training to begin controlling the Goan inside him. The objective was that they both would learn to modify their body size at pleasure, avoiding wasting unnecessary Goan by staying as giants all the time. Observing that this was possible delighted Leiza, since her wish was that her friends could soon become small once again so she could hold them in her arms.
Luespo didn't seem to get as excited about the lessons as Mity did. His cat-like personality made him become distant at the end of the training and go his own way -although sometimes it seemed like he was starting to get jealous of the top student in class-. The cat then went to Leiza, who was allowed to pet him and lay on him, but only for the amount of time he deemed appropriate. The greatest interaction between the two was in the mornings when the cat served as Leiza's escort while she was out looking for fruits for breakfast. It was not an easy task to get a sufficient quantity, as the giant stomachs of those animals were difficult to fill. On a day when they were doing this activity, Leiza was on top of Luespo's body bringing down fruits from the trees when they heard that many people were walking in the grass on the other side of the tree. She got worried and wanted to leave immediately, but Luespo growled in an attempt to drive them away, which only succeeded in revealing their location. Several agile men armed with spears emerged out of the plants and tackled the cat to the ground, leaving it immobilized. One of them moved towards Leiza:
-What are you doing with this beast? You'd better have a good reason for it, before we kill it right now.
Leiza feared that those men were King Moal's guards. Although she noticed it was clear that they were not yet aware of the stolen potion, so she tried to take advantage of their ignorance.
-We are allies of King Moal and we are on a scouting mission. This cat is good at tracking the target and belongs to the King. Release us or you'll get in trouble.
The men looked at each other and then one of them whistled loudly to call for more people. After they arrived, he told them that the woman and the cat were servants of King Moal, so they all got ready to assassinate them. Luespo realized the menace, but there was little he could do to free himself from the men who held him tightly by his limbs and pressed him to the ground. Understanding that his and Leiza's lives were in danger, his instinct for survival allowed him to emanate a red aura from his body that gave him additional strength to get rid of his captors. He got into an offensive position and the battle was about to result in a bloody outcome, had it not been for the fact that an individual with gray hair and a huge scar on his cheek walked from behind the armed men who were holding Leiza.
-I don't want any casualties! I'll take care of him.
The man fearlessly moved closer until he stood up against Luespo. When the cat lunged at him, he swiftly dodged it and knocked it down with a downward blow. He had a dangerous adversary who was not intimidated by his size and power. The two were about to collide head-on to measure their strength, but Zaz appeared leaping from a tree to defend his allies. It sought to attack the aggressor's jugular, launching a blow with its outstretched hand horizontally, but the white-haired man suddenly sprouted four elongated incandescent arms from his back, with which he parried the attack without difficulty. The forearm of Zaz that came in contact with the reddish limbs was badly burned. Leiza was perplexed, there was only one man capable of having four red arms on his back, thus she knew they were in big trouble.
The attacker turned his head to find out who he knocked down, but the moment he saw Zaz on the ground, his hostile attitude suddenly changed. The arms vanished from his back and he released Luespo. Then he gave instructions to all the other armed men:
-They do not work for Moal. This fight is over.
He walked over to Zaz and offered his hand to lift it up.
-I'm so sorry. It's an honor to see you again.
Leiza stood in disbelief, aware of who the man in front of them was.
-You are... Seip, the spider! You're a legend! Everyone talks about you in the village, you fought in the Great Revolution.
-Yes, that's how they used to call me. We all have a past that haunts us. I fought in that battle, which had nothing of a revolution in it. I'm a bit ashamed of it, the world is still the same as before, my friend. -Pointing towards the woods- You can tell your giant dog hiding behind those rocks to come out, there is no danger.
Leiza turned around and found a fearful and alert Mity, she brought him with her and returned with everyone else.
-These are not wild beasts. Did your pets drink any potion? Be honest with me, we won't hurt them. I know you're not planning anything strange because it' s with you - referring to Zaz.
-A liquid fell through the roof of my house. My cat and dog licked it up and ended up being giants. Since then, the King's guards haven't stopped chasing us.
-I see, they want to recover the Goan inside your pets because they know they have little time before their organism ends up absorbing it... They are not going to be safe here, come with me. You need to go to a secure place.
Seip instructed the others to return to their camp, taking with them some new guests. The armed men surrounded Leiza and her friends to guard them during the journey.
-The boys are going to be happy to see you. -Seip commented to Zaz as they climbed over a steep surface in the forest.
After several minutes, they emerged into a wide open field with giant boulders scattered everywhere. They walked in that direction until Leiza felt the ground trembling. Luespo and Mity were alarmed by the forest's agitation, while watching how the huge stones began to move autonomously and float in the air. Some stayed attached to others until they formed titanic boulder bodies. Half a dozen stone men rose up in front of the retinue and stopped their passage.