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|More from Azulazulazula||Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Highly Positive|
Jong finally escapes the Si Wong Desert, and begins to travel through a grove of swampy trees, with vines which repeatedly whack him, leaving him cut and bruised.
Jong exited the desert, his tongue dry. Dry as the bone. Yet the lay of the land didn't change at all. The sand was gone. Nothing else. The sweltering heat, the lack of any sort of life, the waterless plain...it all stayed the same. There was nothing to save him. Not yet. The sky boasted a universe of blue. Bright, clear blue. Nothing else. Not a cloud in sight, no sign of water anywhere. Only the sun, and Jong, riding through the unbearable heat. But the wind on his face made the experience somewhat livable.
He noticed his speed rising, and the thin dust in the air fading. There were tiny patches of grass sprouting from the ground, and he passed the first tree he had seen since leaving Ba Sing Se. It was a tiny tree. And it was on the brink of death. But it was something. And it meant that he was finally leaving that deserted wasteland.
Jong gazed at what lay ahead of him. Beyond the gigantic forest from which he was looking. Beyond the vast collection of trees. Beyond the massive pile of green. It wasn't much different at first glance. But he bothered himself to look beyond first glance. To gaze deep into the eyes of this wetland.
And he did.
Miles of droopy trees lay ahead of him. They were all rather tall, and it was dense. And combined with the haze, it was nearly impossible to see what was beyond them. But as his vision barely cut through the fog, he spotted a massive object in the center of all of it. Something gigantic. And he pursued it.
He tore through the wet grove of trees and vines, now sweating at the heat. It's hot. He thought. Very hot. But at least it's not the desert. The endless mass of vines slashed every corner of his body. Pain filled him. He looked down, but still saw no blood.
Maybe he couldn't see it. Maybe it was too dark for him to see it. Or maybe he just didn't want to see them. But whether he could see them or not, they were there. And they burned. They just popped out of nowhere. He couldn't even see the plants when they hit him. In fact, he couldn't see anything anymore. And he realized his eyes were open, but all he could see was black. Pitch black.
Black as night.
Black as the prison.
Black as anything. Pitch black.
He stopped his running, he halted his bending, and he sat down on a nearby log. He closed his eyes, and his mind began to reel. Why can't I see anything. And why does my body feel like a knife just went right through me? His head began to feel better, and his eyelids lifted. And his sight came back, as soon as it had left.
His arms were covered with something. It was hard to see in the thick smog of this grove. But he knew what it was. Blood.
Red liquid, encasing his arms. Covering it, from shoulder to fingernails. He looked down at his clothes. There were a few red blobs, but they looked fine. A rip here, a snag there. But for the most part, his clothes were untouched. And yet his arms still burned, and a cut spanned from his knee down.
I didn't run into that much. And it didn't hurt this bad. It gave me a headache, and I felt a couple of cuts, but I feel like my arms were just torn off, and I was just stabbed in my leg.
And at this, he turned to his side. Next to him on the log sat a blade. A machete. His attention turned to what was in front of him. Something he hadn't noticed before. An arm reached to his side, and grabbed the dagger. And wielding it was a chubby man, surrounded by two slender young men. And he pointed his machete right at his head.
- This is the longest chapter yet in the series, with more than 650 words.
- This chapter takes place during City of Walls and Secrets.
- This chapter is the first one which truly warrants a PG-13 rating, though there will be many more to come.
For the collective works of the author, go here.