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The Dark King
Jerz woke up, the trilling voices of birds around him, and the smell of fresh leaves and grass in the air. He lay there for a second, wondering where he was.
He bolted upright, remembering what had happened. He had fell, and then... he remembered nothing. His body was in full working order, though, and he didn't have so much as a bruise.
Jerz looked around. He was in fairly long cave, with bright sunlight streaming through the entranceway. The wall at the back of the cave looked strange and fluctuating, as if there were tiny pieces of crystal embedded in the rock, glinting in the light.
Jerz saw a still form in the corner. He looked closer, and then recoiled in disgust. It was the wolf, only, it wasn't alive anymore. Not wanting to see-or smell-anything further, he turned away.
Jerz's attention was diverted by the sound of whistling from the cave entrance. Szifa strode in, whistling an old tune. His arms were full of crimson apples. Jerz's stomach grumbled as he beheld the delicious looking fruit.
Szifa saw him and smiled. “Good, you're awake.”
Jerz asked him, “What happened? I don't remember anything but... falling.” He shuddered as the memory coursed through his mind.
Szifa shrugged. “Can't help you there. I don't remember any more than you do.” He laid down the apples. “But you can help me eat these apples.”
Jerz reached for one, and bit down deeply. They tasted as good as they looked. “Ahh.” he sighed. “These are the best apples I've ever eaten.”
Szifa reached for one himself. “Yes. This place seems to have better... well, better everything. The place invigorates me. And wait until you see the scenery! The plants are like bits of emeralds carved into intricate shapes, full of life, and the animals are as gentle as doves, and the sun is as bright as, well, the sun, and trees are as leafy as the day is long.”
Jerz laughed. “This place also makes words float from your mouth like turtle doves on a gentle summer wind.” He paused suddenly. “As well as me, too.”
They both laughed. Once they were done with their vegetarian meal, the two went to explore. Szifa had been right about the flora and fauna of this new country. The colors were unbelievebly vibrant, like an artist had picked the brightest colors from her collection and painted the landscape.
As they walked, Szifa and Jerz made sure to mark their way with colored bits of cloth tied to twigs, as neither of them had knives to mark the trees with. Even if they would have had knives, they would not have used them as not to mar the landscape. Scarring the beautiful scenery would've felt like an unspeakable crime.
After exploring for a hour, they sat down in a clearing with long, jade grass. Jarz lay faceup, hands behind his head in the grass, basking in the warm sunlight. He looked up at the clouds, and noticed one narrow cloud close to the ground was a familiar gray. Jarz followed it down to the horizon, and he suddenly realized what it was. “Smoke!” he yelled, scrambling up and pointing.
Szifa stood up too, and together they stared at it.
“Let's go.” Szifa said, answering the unspoken question that hung in the air. Wordlessly, the two friends walked in the direction of the smoke, wondering what they would find at the source.
No, they are not in heaven... Just making sure that you all know that. :)