"Did you tell him?"
It was the fourth time in half and hour Leila had asked her the same question.
"Yes I did, he better have a good reason for running late." Helen sighed. This wasn't normal, he was normally always in time. Oh well, if...
"Ok, I'm here!" Daniel said as he stumbled through the door. It took a few seconds for him to catch his breath and a few minutes apologizing for being late. "So," he finally asked, "are we going to stay here and talk all night or are we going to kick some wizard butt?" He smiled at Helen, who couldn't help in showing her amusement.
"Leave it to you to walk too early or too late into things," Leila told him. "Mostly trouble to make it worse." Turning to face the others, she told them the plan. "Alright, we shall divide into seven different groups of two people each. We shall split once we are inside the library, this way more ground shall be covered. In addition, Eza, Krystal and Seary shall stand watch at the entrance. At any sing of trouble, two of you shall go warn the others, one for the west wing and one for the east wing. The remaining one shall watch whatever the trouble be and will make sure we do not bump into it on our way out. You will keep yourself always before it."
The group nodded and listened on. "The rest of us will look for a book, no one knows for certain what it looks like or what it is called, but we will know it when we see it. In it, we presume, is the answer to our present problem." She paused and looked over the group. Helen could see she was nervous. Not that she blamed her, she herself was a bit shaken and she didn't have the responsibility of the group. A bit older than herself, Leila was a strong and beautiful woman. Both her eyes and hair where a dark chestnut color. Her daughter, Doris looked a good deal like her. "Any questions?"
"Yes," a man about Helens father age said, Isso he was called, "why groups of two and not more?"
"A good question, simply because two people can take care of themselves better than more, you can hide, if necessary, more easily than with a bigger group and you can still cover a lot of ground. Anything else? No? Ok then, that discussed then lets get going."
Leila led the way out the door and toward the old library. Cautious as only she could be.
"Hey!" Daniel called after Helen, " I know you aren't pleased with my timing, but wait up."
"Sorry, I didn't know I was walking ahead, guess I'm just a bit eager." She smiled at him.
"You have reason to be, I am myself..." he stopped to look up at the library that now came into view in an ominous moonlight. It was big. A lot bigger than Helen had thought, no wonder they had so many small groups. Now partially in ruins and overgrown in vines and other plants, it still looked majestic and forbidding.
Helen stopped to see Leila disappear in a hole in the ground. A basement? So that was the way in. All these years just waiting to be remembered. Once inside, they all divided in their groups. Helen followed Daniel into the east wing.
"It's big," she said quietly admiring the ancient architectural wonders inside. Tall ceilings painted 'al fresco' and marble pillars could be found. A stair case ran in the middle of the room surrounded by five floors of book shelves. A pair of statues lay on both sides of the stair case. They looked like two satyrs. Daniel walked over for a closer look.
"And dusty," he added.
"Where do we start?" she asked looking up at the multiple floors.
"You know what they say, the best stuff is in the middle."
They climbed three stories up and began their search. Helen lighted the book covers and read their titles looking for something suspicious. A few hours passed and they had no luck.
"Maybe another group found something," Daniel suggested.
"No," she said, rechecking a shelf. "We would have been told by now, don't you think? Wait a minute..." Her eyes stopped on a thick, leather bound book.
"What is it?" Daniel asked bringing their lamp closer to the book.
"This one has no title in its side." She took the book out of the shelf. "Wait, here. It says it here."
She cleared the dust off the cover and read. "The Last of the Witches..." She paused and looked at Daniel. "This is it, I know it." Excitement crawled all over her as she opened the book.
"The edges of the pages seem burned," Daniel noted.
"Yes, it does seem beat up, but this is it, I know it. Let's read some so you see what I mean."
They sat next to each other and began to skim through the book. "'...and to all who searcheth must find the witch of earth that liveth east of Cor. To them help shall be brought and answers found.' I knew it, we must find her, she will help us," Helen said excitedly.
"Helen they call it a witch, and as far as I know witches aren't very pleasant people."
"This one must, Daniel if not it wouldn't be written here."
"How do we know it's real and we aren't getting carried away...wait a minute, aren't those old ruins in the forest were kids play at called the ruins of Cor?" He looked at her and gave her a boyish grin. "It's real..." His mood changed suddenly.
"Daniel? What's wrong.?"
"Shhh...don't you feel that?"
"Cold all of a sudden, strange..."
"Quiet a minute.
He walked a few paces back and then returned. "We have to get out of here." He grabbed her arm and started walking toward the nearest window.
"Daniel, what's going on, I have a very strange feeling..."
"We have company, we have to leave now." He walked up to the window and pulled the drapes loose. He began to tie them together.
"What are you doing?" she asked. She felt weird, unable to think clearly and very afraid.
"I'll throw these out the window and we'll climb out." He opened the window and through the long drapery rope down.
"Where's the book?" he asked her nervously.
"I...I left it back there...I forgot all about it I can't think..."
"Wait here, I'll be right back."
He ran back to get it. After a few long minutes of waiting for his return, Helen went back for him.
"Daniel! Are you alright?" she said finding him on the floor.
"Yes...I fell, I think I may have broken my ankle..."
"Oh dear, let me see..."
"No. You have to get out of here," he said looking past her shoulders.
"I won't leave you here alone, never, I couldn't..." she said, tears beginning to gather in her eyes.
"Listen to me, you are our only hope now. Get out of here and find that witch so she can get us out of this mess." He looked into her deed, mint green eyes. "It's our only chance."
"I can't leave you..." her voice broke because of her tears.
"You have too... it's the only way." She nodded, gave him a kiss and stood up.
"Remember," he told her, "east of the ruins, always east."
"And most important of all, never look back, run Helen, time is short. Get away from here."
She kneeled down again to hug him.
"I love you..." she told him.
"I love you too...now go."
Giving him one last kiss she turned and disappeared out the window.