Exactly how much time Melora spent at Lessie’s is hard to say, for time seemed to drift as if her head was underwater. She was overwhelmed with visions of Lessie, Green Eyes, and the Killer Goose, and soon the room was spinning.
“Melora,” a voice said from far away, and for a second Melora wondered if she was caught in some dream, still at her stepmother’s house. Or was it her father’s voice?
“Melora!” the voice said again, more sharply, and Melora realized it was the Sprite. “You can’t stay here! The king and queen are waiting, remember?”
Melora shook herself out of her daze and realized the party at Lessie’s had raged while outside it was the dead of night.
“What a fool I’ve been, waiting here. We must get going!”
She ran to the door, with the Sprite and the Fox following closely behind.
‘Melora, wait!” the Fox said, “The forest is even deadlier at this time of night. You should wait till dawn.’
“No! We’ve already wasted enough time. If we leave now, we might get to the royal court by morning. If we wait any longer, we might not get there till dusk, and have wasted a whole day.”
“Ehhhhhh, she’ll be fine,” the Killer Goose said, flapping over, and bringing Green Eyes, “If she runs into any mean creatures, I’ll protect her myself. I got a fierce set of talons. And the Fox here ain’t too feeble-looking himself.”
“Well, that may be,” the Fox said, “But do we risk it?”
“Yes!” Melora exclaimed.
“Oh, I’m scared!” Green Eyes said and jumped up on Melora’s shoulder, burying her face into Melora’s neck.
“Alright,” the Sprite said, “Five of us ought to be a good number. Let’s just keep an eye out.”
And so, the group of five said farewell to Lessie before setting out into the night. It was indeed, the very dead of night. Green Eyes was terrified of everything and kept her face buried in Melora’s neck, but all the others were watchful. Melora herself felt a slight tinge of excitement, knowing she was tempting fate by being here at this hour, yet having no regrets.
“YOU THERE!!!” a voice suddenly cried in the darkness! The group of five all jumped back, while Green Eyes screamed.
“SOMEONE PROWLS IN THE NIGHT. BUT LET ME LOOK AT YOU!” And out of the darkness emerged an enormous Wild Boar, greater in size than any boar Melora had seen before.
“THERE IS ONE AMONG YOUR GROUP THAT INTERESTS ME. A SPECIMEN THAT I MUST CONSUME!”
“Lay off the girl, Porky,” the Killer Goose said, “We’re on a mission to help her get to the kingdom. And I can put up a pretty good fight myself. Just wait till I start squawking!”
“NOT HER! THE FOX!”
“I’m here, Wild Boar,” the Fox said. For it was an old custom of the land that foxes and boars were archenemies, and before Melora understood what was going on, the two creatures began to stare each other down. The Wild Boar growled loudly, his tusks shined in the moonlight. But then the Fox sprinted forward.
“No!” Melora said, “No, please don’t fight. This is all my fault.”
The Fox managed to charge forward and take a good bite into the nape of the Wild Boar’s neck. But the Wild Boar only grunted, then shook his head, sending the Fox flying.
“MISERABLE CREATURE!” he roared! The Fox landed several feet away, his neck snapping loudly against the hard ground.
“No!” cried the Sprite and flew to the Fox’s body, standing over him. The Wild Boar halted and faced her.
“OUT OF MY WAY, SPRITE!”
“Alright, you’ve had your fun! You fought with him and broke his neck. Now let him be. Let him walk away with some dignity.”
“YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO WALK THROUGH MY LANDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, AND THAT MEANS IT IS A FIGHT TO THE DEATH. I WILL FINISH HIM, AND MAYBE NEXT TIME YOU LOT WILL LEARN NOT TO DISRUPT MY DOMINIONS. NOW OUT OF MY WAY OR YOU SHALL BE GOBBLED UP AS WELL!”
And the Wild Boar began to charge forward. The Sprite closed her eyes and summoned all her powers. Suddenly she began to emit a binding light! The Wild Boar realized only a moment too late what was happening–
–and then the light consumed him, leaving only a carcass behind. The threat was no more.
“Sprite!” Melora cried, and ran forward, along with Green Eyes and the Killer Goose. The Sprite was on the ground exhausted.
‘You did it! I didn’t know Sprites had that power.”
“We almost never use it,” the Sprite confessed, “It is a dark, dark magic. Now, where is the Fox.”
They all turned to look at the Fox to see they were too late. He was dead.
“No!” Melora cried, “After all that, he can’t be dead.”
“We might be able to save him,” the Sprite said, “That is, if we take a detour to my country, where the Sprites live. But I know you’re in a rush to get the to the kingdom–”
“No, this is more important,” Melora said, “We must save the Fox.”
“Hold on a sec,” the Killer Goose said, “Now I’m all for saving the Fox, and I’m grateful to ya for getting rid of that Wild Boar, but you’re no ordinary Sprite. There’s something more to you.”
“Look, we have to move now if we want to save the Fox,” the Sprite said, “We can chat later.”
“Who are you though?” the Killer Goose insisted, “At least tell us your name.”
“My name is Melora,” the Sprite said.
And at that moment, dawn broke.