May 4, 2018 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

Quick as the wild things that they are, the stob-goblin and WooFZee go racing back through the mining tunnels. Up they go, moving through the twisting paths with the fluidity of someone that knows far too much. There is little MeaZea can do but hold on for the ride. She buries her face in WooFZee’s thick fur to try and protect herself from the rancid smoke.

When they get to the entrance, there is a young boy standing there, waiting amidst the stones, over turned carts, and stob goblins. He has skin dark as soot with eyes pale as the moon, and a tussle of unkempt ashy hair upon his brow.

“You,” he says, simply enough.

WooFZee pauses before him. Their stob-goblin guide skitters behind the boy and vanishes into an impossibly small rock crevice.

“These mining roads are dark inside,” says the boy. “We told everyone not to come. We told them to go hide. Long ago, these bells began to ring, and the sun burnt the fields, and we lost everything.”

“The bells are gone now,” says MeaZea, uncurling herself from WooFZee’s ruff. She coughs a few times, trying to clear the awful smoke from her lungs. It makes the back of her throat burn. “We got rid of them.”

“You didn’t leave,” says the boy, his words a mockery of the same song that MeaZea has, thus far, been unable to hear. “You didn’t run away. Now, the sun has come back to these tunnels. Soon, it will surely come back to the rest of our mining lands. I owe you my life.”

WooFZee shakes his head. His tail wags, hard enough to thump against the stone wall. “Your life? We don’t want your life. We just want a spring.”

MeaZea frowns. “You could tell us how to get to the Chapel of Halithorn. We must speak with the Queen. It’s as important as the path of the moon.”

The boy shakes his head. “Tell you how to get there? No, no, I can’t do that.” When he grins, it’s to show off checkerboard teeth. “But I can show you how to get there.”

MeaZea smiles back at him. “You’re from the Chapel of Halithorn?”

The boy lowers himself into a sweeping bow. “Better than that,” he says, voice like a laugh and a song and a fire all at once. The smoke is getting thicker in the air behind them. “I am the Prince of the Stob-Goblin’s and the Crown Prince of the Chapel of Halithorn. I will speak to my mother-in-law for you. We shall get you a spring.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author