The girl was incredibly fast! Even on all fours, Finn struggled to keep up with her. Although he had already seen her speed, having to keep up with her gave him a newfound respect for it. If it wasn't for his limitless stamina, he would have fallen behind.
The girl's legs were covered with a blueish haze, which led Finn to believe she was using her wind affinity to bolster her natural speed to great effect.
In a full out sprint, Finn didn't think he would be able to outrun her, but speed wasn't his forte. It was endurance.
Several times on their way back did the girl have to stop for a couple minutes to rest and absorb more energy.
I guess she is unable to gather on the move... Unlike her, Finn did not have this trouble. Having been doing so for so long, Finn thought it was only natural to passively recover his light energy.
Maybe it has something to do with my body? Being a magical beast, there were numerous advantages his body had over his old one, not including age. However, Finn most cleanly felt the sting of lacking the dexterity of a human.
In other words, Finn missed having fingers.
Hmm? A gap appeared in the trees as the girl ran with Finn following, allowing him to see the mountain they had run from off in the distance.
As I thought... Finn had noticed that the girl was leading them well around the mountain. To avoid encountering the inferno beast was likely the main reason, but Finn still wasn't sure how she knew where to go.
Over two hours had passed since they had left, and Finn was starting to worry.
Where are my little passengers? The light foxes had yet to find him. They had always managed to do so before, but Finn was beginning to wonder if he had gone too far.
Having grown quite attached to the little rascals, Finn would have been devastated to lose them like this.
Whoa! Finn skidded to a halt, nearly running over the girl, who had stopped dead in her tracks. She was looking down at something in her hands with great focus.
Curious, Finn peeked over her shoulder and stared at the object in her hand. It was a small white colored stone, a softer shade than his pure white scales. It emitted a pale glow.
Oh! What is it? Finn felt his interest spike. Anything with magical properties was bound to be fascinating. Along this same train of thought, he had also wanted to examine the girl's shield, but he never found an appropriate opportunity. It wasn't like he could ask directly too.
Anya examined her lodestone closely. For a while she had felt it pulling her in the same direction, but now the pull was beginning to shift, which could only mean one thing.
They are moving! I have to catch up... Just before she could return the lodestone to her pocket, she felt a breath on her neck.
"Eh"! Anya involuntary flinched, dropping her lodestone in the process as it bounced away. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she glowered at the light drake for startling her, only to realize its attention was focused completely on the stone that she dropped.
Anya watched as the white scaled drake sniffed the stone, and picked it up with its claws. It sat back on its haunches and eyed it closely.
Anya was at a loss for words. From her perspective, it looked as though the light drake was studying the stone, as if to figure out its secrets. It was too human-like, making it almost unsettling to watch.
The delicate way it was holding and turning the stone appeared incredibly bizarre with its huge size, although it did slightly alleviate her fears of the light drake accidentally breaking it.
Although she wanted the stone back, Anya was unsure of how to ask. It was the only thing she had that could help her find her people from a distance, so it would be tragic to have it break.
Suddenly, Anya's eyed widened. The drake was aiming the stone in a certain direction while tilting its head in confusion.
It already figured out its function? Incredible! The number of times she had been amazed by this creature was constantly growing. Somehow, this strange beast was smart enough to understand magical items.
Gradually, Anya's perception of the drake was changing. It no longer felt that she was looking at a magical beast, but a sentient being.
Finn missed the shocked expression of the girl, his attention focused completely on the stone in his hand. When the girl had dropped it, he noticed how the faint glow it had been emitting had ceased. This led him to believe she was pushing energy into the stone causing some kind of reaction.
When he tried doing the same, he felt a noticeable pull on the stone, similar in feel to how magnets attract eachother.
This was it! This is how the girl was finding her way. This special stone is like... a magical compass! Finn came up with an appropriate analogy on the spot.
Maybe this is my key to getting home... Finn decided he needed to learn more about this stone. This could possibly be a ticket to finding his own way.
When Finn stopped inputting energy, the faint glow and pulling sensations ceased. Carefully, he carried the stone in his claw over to the girl who was as silent as a statue.
Wordlessly, he handed it back to her and waited for her to continue on. She just stared at him in a daze.
Finn was about to tilt his head in confusion at her silence, when he suddenly detected a familiar scent. Relief instantly flooded through him. His little friends had finally found him!
Looking around excitedly, Finn did not see any trace of the little white puffballs anywhere, before he realized that they could indeed manipulate light to appear invisible.
A moment later, he felt a light pressure on his back scales created by small paws. It was quickly followed by more pairs of paws. The entire family had found him once again. All was right in the world!
Looking back, Finn was surprised to see them maintaining their invisibility. Or rather, he couldn't see them at all, but could definitely feel their presence on his back.
Why are they doing that? Finn glanced back to the girl, who was staring dumbly at her hand, lost in thought. Is it because she is here?
Finn wished he could convey to his little companions that the girl meant no harm, but it turns out there was no need. He felt a smaller presence leave his back and could see small pawprints appearing on the ground headed towards the girl.
Shrimp is either incredibly brave or completely ignorant of danger... Finn waited to see what the smallest light fox would do. He doubted the girl would hurt the little guy.
Anya gazed at the stone, still trying to wrap her head around this strange drake. It wasn't everyday you saw something that shook the very core of your understanding.
So engrossed was she in her thoughts that Anya nearly jumped when a small little white creature materialized at her feet.
Small rounded ears, pristine white fur, long tail, pudgy body. It can't be... Anya remembered a specific legend about this particular creature.
If my guess is right, that's a seraphim fox! From what she knew, these were incredibly elusive and timid magical beasts that were nearly impossible to hunt due to their innate cleverness and ability to disappear into nothingness.
They were special because one of their great ancestors had managed to befriend one as a companion.
According to legend, spotting one in the wild would bring about great fortune and luck. What were the odds of meeting one in these circumstances?
As the curious little fox sniffed the girl's legs seemingly without fear, Anya felt her face heating up. The legends don't due them justice...
It's too damn cute! Anya blushed heavily, wanting nothing more than to grab it and smother her face into its poofy fur.
However, she maintained her composure, with the only indication of her internal war being the bright blush on her face and and a sparkle in her eye.
Daring to take a chance, she slowly bent down as to lightly stroke the impossibly adorable creature's fur.
EEP! Seeing the girl move to touch him, Shrimp vanished from sight and retreated, climbing back onto Finn's head where he reappeared and chuffed at the girl.
Anya felt her heart shatter when the cute foxling disappeared, fearing that she had lost her one chance. However, when the creature reappeared on the drake's head, she fell speechless once again.
Magical beasts were always hostile to one another, yet this drake, whose species was notorious for being arrogant and proud, was letting this tiny seraphim fox hang around on its body like it was no big deal.
Anya shook her head. Nothing else would surprise her at this point. This light drake defied common sense. She needed to seek answers from someone more knowledgeable.
Anya desperately wanted to see her father. Shelving all her concerns for for now, Anya continued moving to where the lodestone was pulling her.
Another hour passed before Anya felt the lodestone pull increase in intensity and strength, which meant that they were approaching the lodestone's other half.
Excited, Anya picked up speed, forcing Finn to pick up his own pace as his little passengers gripped his scales tightly.
Just when Anya felt she should have seen someone by now, a blue tipped spear flew past her at great speed, startling her.
Ack! The spear was not aimed at her, but rather the drake right behind her.
Finn did not see the attack coming at all. The blue spear sailed through the air and hit him square his front right shoulder, breaking through his scales and digging deep into his body.
It was a critical hit! Finn, unable to support his weight on his right limb anymore, collapsed due to his momentum, creating a small ditch in the ground. His little companions all tumbled off in his fall, righting themselves and hiding amongst the surrounding foliage.
Anya was horrified, but before she could react, a loud voice reverberated throughout the forest.
"ANYA! GET AWAY FROM THAT DRAKE!"
Oh no! Her own people seemed to have misunderstood something. One by one, several of her tribesmen appeared out of the underbrush. They were likely one of many scouting parties. Most of them were holding spears while only a few had swords.
This really hurts... It wasn't the worst pain he had ever felt by far, but the spear was digging deep into his body. Anytime he moved, it was like countless needles were being shoved into his shoulder.
Looking around, Finn noticed several people similarly dressed to the girl appear from behind the countless trees. Most were men while a few were woman, and the majority were carrying spears like the one currently embedded in his shoulder.
Quickly, dark emotions from surfaced once again in his mind. Wounded pride from being ambushed and fury for them daring to attack him at all.
However, he quickly squashed them back down. Finn was hoping the girl would explain the situation well enough so they wouldn't continue their assault.
Anya could tell her tribesmen were clearly agitated at the sight of the drake, all of them shuffling nervously while angling their spears towards fully expecting it to retaliate.
"Anya! Come over here quickly!" A familiar female tribe member spoke as she held out her hand. Currently, Anya was the closer to the drake than her tribemates were to her.
"Sel, you need to stop. All of you stop attacking this drake!" Anya spoken in an authoritative voice, commanding her friend and fellow tribemates to stand down.
Her tribemates all looked at eachother and back to her as if she was crazy. They were momentarily unsure of how to proceed, taken completely aback by the unexpected command.
Shaking her head, Anya spoke with her actions as she headed back towards the drake without any fear, causing her brethren to call out in surprise and alarm.
Seeing how the injured drake was watching her without making a move to retaliate, Anya was certain there was something unique and amazing about this particular creature.
It wasn't even growling defensively, just calmly letting her approach. A normal magical beast would never do such a thing, especially while injured, a fact which she felt slightly guilty over.
Tentatively, she reached out to grab the spear stuck in its shoulder. The drake turned its body to give her a better angle.
Only slightly flinching when the drake let out a grunt, she pulled out the spear covered in the drake's blood, tossing it aside.
The onlookers could not believe what they were witnessing. Why was their chieftain's daughter helping a drake of all things? Further more, why wasn't it attacking her?
They were torn, wanting nothing more to just jump in and finish the beast, but afraid that they wouldn't be able to stop it from hurting Anya before they could get to it.
Despite their concerns though, nothing happened when Anya pulled out the spear. The drake did not even growl, let alone attack.
However, what truly stunned them all was when the drake's wound started closing at a speed visible to the naked eye. Its flesh mended itself, causing what would have likely been a crippling wound to disappear in a matter of moments.
Finn stood back up, startling the onlookers. The girl in front of him just smiled and patted his shoulder. Finn took a long look at the girl, before giving her a big lick across the face as a show of thanks for pulling the spear out.
Laughing, Anya shoved the drake's face away. "As you all can see, he is very friendly!" Anya declared proudly as her brethren stared in disbelief.
Anya's friend Sel couldn't contain herself. Gesturing to the drake with her spear, she asked directly.
"Anya, can you please explain this?"